Culture of Sweden


The Culture of Sweden has long been known for the accomplishments of a wide variety of artists.

Silver coin minted at Sigtuna for a Swedish king around the year 1000

Prehistoric Sweden was the source of Norse culture, dominant in all of Scandinavia for hundreds of years, and the Temple at Uppsala in Sweden was a site of pilgrimage for Scandinavian peoples take the Aesir. Western culture mostly recalls Vikings of Norway and Denmark for invading France, England, Scotland and Ireland, but Swedish Vikings influenced Byzantine culture, where they were known as Varangians, and are also known for founding the Kievan state.

Of the country's many monarchs, a few of the more powerful ones, such as King Gustav III and Queen Christina, have been exceptionally important to its cultural development.

In modern times, many Swedes have been internationally celebrated for their cultural work, among them Jenny Lind, PewDiePie, August Strindberg, Ingrid Bergman, Ingmar Bergman and ABBA. Automotive designs such as those of Volvo and Saab have also been widely known.

Foreign influences on SwedenEdit


Historical provinces of Sweden

The 25 historical provinces (landskap) of Sweden, which early in their histories had poor intercommunication, each have a distinct culture, though today they have lost their importance as administrative and political regions while the population of Sweden still identifies with them. Each province has its own history and individual nature. In early times, some of them were so separate from Sweden (as known) that they had their own laws. Historically, some of the regions were independent or longtime parts of Denmark and Norway. They have more-or-less different indigenous dialects within the frameworks of North Germanic languages or Sami languages, and all have ethnic minorities.

Food and drinkEdit

The consumption of alcohol in the home was noted in 2006 as less than in many other European countries, owing to the government's monopoly on alcoholic beverages, but not at restaurants and bars.[1] Swedish punsch is a spirit of particular historical significance in Sweden.[2]

Sweden ranks among the top 50 nations in alcohol consumption per capita with 440 AA groups in the country working on problems with alcoholism.


Poster for The Seventh Seal

Lasse Hallström, Ingmar Bergman, Victor Sjöström and Gunnar Hellström are four of many Swedish film and television directors who have had noted international careers, and British director Colin Nutley, living in Sweden, has been highly productive there.

Swedish-born actresses and actors known internationally include Maud Adams, Malin Åkerman, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Bergman, Britt Ekland, Greta Garbo, Signe Hasso, Felix Kjellberg, Dolph Lundgren, Helena Mattsson, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Olin, Ann-Margret Olsson, Mikael Persbrandt, Rebecca Ferguson, Noomi Rapace, Stellan Skarsgård and sons Alexander, Gustaf, and Bill, Peter Stormare, Ingrid Thulin, Alicia Vikander and Max von Sydow.


With singing popular in Sweden, of its 9 million inhabitants 600,000 belong to various choirs.[3]

Internationally known songwriters like Jörgen Elofsson and Max Martin live in Sweden.

ABBA in Rotterdam in 1979

In popular music, the ABBA group was world-famous during the 1970s and early 1980s. Roxette emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was also successful in the USA. Europe, Ace of Base and The Cardigans are additional Swedish pop groups that have been popular internationally.

Pop promo director Jonas Åkerlund is from Sweden and known for The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up and Madonna´s Ray of Light video.

Indie pop/rock has done well in Sweden. Gothenburg has spawned prominent bands and artists, thanks to labels such as Sincerely Yours and Service. Notable Swedish indie bands and artists include Jens Lekman, The Knife, Love Is All, The Concretes, Broder Daniel, The Tough Alliance, Peter, Bjorn and John, Little Dragon, El Perro del Mar, Maia Hirasawa, Fever Ray, Popsicle (band), Studio, The Embassy, The Honeydrips, Brainpool, Air France, jj, Joel Alme and Pacific!.

In contrast to its large pop music output, Sweden boasts a very prolific death metal scene. Gothenburg is known for a "melodic death metal" sound. Many bands from there, such as In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, At the Gates, The Haunted, as well as Stockholm's Amon Amarth and Opeth, have seen increased commercial success in Europe and the USA. Notable there is the popular titling of Amon Amarth's style as Viking metal. The nation is well-known in the extreme metal community for its late 1980s to early 1990s death metal scene, spawning bands like Entombed, as well as more obscure, brutal bands like Repugnant and Treblinka (later called Tiamat), and especially now for Meshuggah (formed in 1987 alongside the aforementioned, but most recognized for works from 2000 thru today) and Vildhjarta. Meshuggah's lead guitarist Fredrik Thordendal is often cited as the forefather of the Djent subgenre and movement; the band is thus noted as a major influence by many modern metal bands and was certainly a force in the much wider adoption of extended range guitars (see Seven-string guitar), especially 8-string guitars. Vildhjarta, a much younger group, has found greater popularity for a much more aggressive sound they've dubbed *thall,* marked by a mix of the low, open-string tones djent is known for with use of the highest frets on the guitar, which significantly shorten the vibrating segment of the string and thus produces a very different tone, especially when overdriven.

Other Swedish music acts on the international scene are Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, Ghost, Dungen, José González, Måns Zelmerlöw, Lykke Li, Mando Diao, The Sounds, The Hives, Neverstore, Sahara Hotnights, Robyn, Movits! and The Shanes. Some are only famous on the domestic Swedish music scene, such as Kent, Håkan Hellström, Veronica Maggio, and Lars Winnerbäck.


The work of Carl Linnaeus has had a profound impact on the world of taxonomy. Other Swedish authors known around the world include August Strindberg, Astrid Lindgren and Selma Lagerlöf.


National costumingEdit

Traditional Swedish national costumes according to Nordisk Familjebok.

Colourful traditional Swedish folk costumes are sometimes worn on such special occasions as Midsummer. Sverigedräkten, designed by Märta Jörgensen,[4] mainly in blue and yellow, has been the established National Costume since 2004 (the first since the 18th-century Nationella dräkten) and is thus worn by royal women on some official occasions.[5] There are many other variations of the folk costumes of Sweden, many provinces and even parishes having their own designs. Some of them have long histories and traditions while others have been recreated or created in modern times.


Modern clothing is internationally influenced. In recent years, Sweden has gotten more involved in the fashion industry, headquartering best-known brands like Hennes & Mauritz (operating as H&M), J. Lindeberg (operating as JL), Tiger of Sweden, Acne Jeans and Filippa K within its borders.

A new breed of smaller Swedish fashion labels like Odd Molly, WESC, Hope, Nakkna, Velour, Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, Cheap Monday and Nudie Jeans are emerging and being recognized.[6][7]

Furniture design has been influenced worldwide by the considerable international success of IKEA, and the design of automobiles by Volvo and Saab. Artisan-made glass products from the so-called Kingdom of Crystal have also achieved international recognition.


Self-portrait by Anders Zorn in 1915

Anders Zorn was an internationally known image artist. Also in the 19th century, painter Carl Larsson shaped an idyllic image of domestic Swedish country life not unlike that of US artist Norman Rockwell in the USA. Among Swedish sculptors, Carl Milles and Claes Oldenburg are notable.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Anderson, P.; Baumberg, B. (2006). Alcohol In Europe A Public Health Perspective (PDF). London: Institute of Alcohol Studies. pp. 78, 266. ISBN 92-79-02241-5.
  2. ^ "Swedish Punsch in History and Mixology". Archived from the original on 20 January 2019. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-11-07. Retrieved 2005-10-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ Bagerius, Henric (25 January 2021). "Märta Emilia Matilda Jörgensen" (in Swedish). Svenskt kvinnobiografiskt lexikon. Retrieved 3 February 2021.
  5. ^ "Kronprinsessans knep mot isande vindar". Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  6. ^ "® – mode, trender, shopping och skönhet!". Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  7. ^ "Stockholm Fashion Days – Your Trusted Fashion Source". Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 20 August 2017.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit

  • Sweden at
  • Picturesque Sweden (1950s) at