Sunny cliffs, magical forests and Viking culture are all nice, but for the foreign tourist, the Swede himself (or herself, perhaps) is the main attraction.

“Swedes are seen as friendly to guests, modern and progressive. That sparks the curiosity in foreign tourists,” says Thomas Brühl, managing director at Visit Sweden, a company that took a look at the tourists’ view of the Swedish people. All in all, Swedes are seen as creative and honest, with roots in both international and domestic traditions. Swedish city life combined with the nearness to pristine nature is also something exotic for many people.


“Previously, tourists have gone sight-seeing, but now we see that they also go ‘life-seeing’ in order to discover new life styles. We Swedes are not viewed as closed as we imagine, but as an exciting people who is advanced. Openness, freedom of expression, and our habit with social media also adds to this image,” Brühl says.
But the Swedes’ image of themselves is very different, he explains.

“We don’t think our lifestyle is anything out of the ordinary, but for the Spaniards and the Dutch it is different. In their eyes it is very exotic and different.” Different nationalities value different things when visiting Sweden. Russians, Norwegians and Danes feel they get a lot for their money coming to Sweden. Americans are mostly curious about Swedish food, and Germans value the Swedish nature most of all.