Popular Sports in Sweden: Football, Hockey & Some Weird Ones

Popular Swedish sports - How to be Swedish

Swedish people are rather active in their leisure time. They like to motionera, “move” or “be active”.

In case you consider “having a walk” as a bit boring and prefer to compete, you can choose from an array of sports to “be active” like a typical Swede.

Popular Swedish sports

Highly popular sports in Sweden that are regularly covered by media:


Many Swedes, foremost men, like to talk about football. Whenever you hear a Swede talking about football with a person from another country, you can count the seconds until he will lead the conversation in a way so he can talk about Zlatan.

Book about Sweden - How to be Swedish

If a football-Swede talks to a German, they never forget to mention the 4:4 draw of the game Sweden against Germany in Berlin, 2012

Among Swedish football fans, Zlatan has reached superstar status. I guess I’m not going to far, if I say that the has an equally high social status for Swedes as ABBA or Ingvar Kamprad or even Pippi Longstocking.

Another great event of Swedish football history: the third place in the World Cup 1994 in the United States. Players of that team still appear regularly as commentators on TV, often trying not to compare current events overly much with their own experiences back in the days.

Ice Hockey

Not that surprising that ice hockey has become so popular when there are thousands of lakes spread all over the country, and winters are long and cold. Nowadays you find an ice hockey center in almost every slightly bigger city in Sweden.

Swedes just call it hockey, since there is no field hockey in Sweden anyways.

Hockey idol: “Foppa” Peter Forsberg.

The Swedish Ice hockey team, Tre Kronor (three crowns) has won Olympic gold in 1994 and several World Championships.

More sports

Alternatives if you don’t like to run after a ball or hold a club in your hand:

For those Swedes who like to jump, run fast or throw things far away there are athletics. The flexible Swedes do gymnastics. Those Swedes who like to get wet, swim. And others who like to take care of an animal while being active find their luck on the back of horses.

(Weird) Swedish sports

Sports that you haven’t heard of before but that are popular in Sweden:


If you have thought about playing hockey, but tend to stumble while skating or don’t like the idea of constantly wearing a bulky, smelly equipment and a helmet that ruins your stylish hair, innebandy might be just right for you. No special equipment needed, just a club that looks like a lightweight ice hockey club and a plastic ball. And off you go.

Sweden is regularly world champion in innebandy. But then, it’s not really difficult to be world champion in a game no other nation has a clue of


Orientering actually really is cross-country running. It’s about running a course, outside in the nature, often through a forest, looking for check-points marked on a map, as fast as possible. At each check-point one must collect a stamp to prove that one has run the whole course. No mobile phone with Google maps allowed. You’re only equipped with the map and a compass.

It is a sport Swedes like to do with the whole family. If one family member gets lost in the vast Swedish forests, they still have a compass to find their way back to parking lots where the family collectively waits already in their Volvo.


So, dear new-Swede, pick your favorite Swedish sport and start motionera!


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