How #Swedengate has taken over the internet

Often famous for its pop music, beautiful greenery and flat furniture – Sweden found itself at the center of an internet debate this week. What started with a conversation about catering to guests has multiplied into a much larger conversation about the Scandinavian country.

Swedish culture peak?

in the forum p/AskReddit, a user asked: “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve had to do in someone else’s house because of their culture/religion?”

One response caught special attention when a user explained: “I remember going to my Swedish friend’s house. While we were playing in his room, his mom yelled dinner was ready. He checked it out. He told me to wait in his room while they ate.”

Before long, other netizens were sharing similar experiences, and people across them reddit And other social networks shocked them.

One comment said: “As an Italian, I could never,” while another wrote: “In Spain, I think you can call the police if that happens.”

Another replied: “From the southern United States… the concept of not aggressively feeding a guest is literally out of the question.”

The discussion gained more momentum when it was shared Twitter, which currently contains thousands of retweets, quoted tweets, and likes. Even the Swedish pop singer Zara Larsson injuredsharing a screenshot of the stories with the caption: “The heyday of Swedish culture <3: '-)"

from long ago, Instagram user Share LoverOfGeography Map of places in Europe that they said were color coded based on how likely they were to serve food to a house guest. Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are marked as places “unlikely to serve you food”, while countries such as Italy, Spain, and Greece are labeled as “always” serving food to house guests.

As the tweets kept coming in, thousands of people took part in the debate – from outright disbelief to understanding and trying explanations. But soon the discussion began to shift away from the dining table.

Sweden looks sideways

As the debate continued, many netizens began shifting the conversation to discuss Sweden’s history of imperialism, colonialism and racism.

Twitter users have begun sharing their evidence for such claims. One user wrote: “Finally, justice is coming to Sweden. The Scandinavian nation’s problems reach the timeline through #Swedengate after having long avoided criticism for its contemporary racism and historical role in slavery and empire.”

Others re-posted 2012 Article from BBC News who reported an incident in which former Swedish Culture Minister Lena Adelson Lilleroth faced calls to step down after she was photographed cutting a cake in the shape of a nude black woman.

People online have started to trade accusations of racism they have been exposed to in the country. Several referenced Study from Stockholm Universitywhich found that men with “foreign-sounding names” were significantly less likely to get jobs than those with traditional Swedish names.

Another Twitter user She shared her thoughts: “I started looking forward to Sweden when I found out there is an indigenous minority there. Any white country where there are indigenous people and they are a minority, the white majority is rubbish. The rules, it’s a pattern.”

The Sami descend from a nomadic people who inhabited northern Scandinavia for thousands of years. In the thirteenth centuryThe Swedish crown began to demand tribute from the Sami, before other countries including Norway and Russia followed suit. In the 15th century AD, Swedish King Gustav Vasa declared that land traditionally owned by the Semites “belongs to God, to us, to the Swedish king, and to no one else.”

In late 1673, Sweden promised its subjects Tax exemptions and freedom from military service if Lapland is colonized. The colonization of traditional Sami lands continued for years, and there were reports of forced sterilization of Sami people were reported until the 1970s.

The treatment of indigenous peoples in the past has been likened to Treatment of First Nations Tribes in America. In recent years, the High people began pressure on the Swedish government For the Truth and Reconciliation Process to address historical and ongoing human rights abuses against indigenous people, including allegations of forced sterilization, violence, and murder. In 2021, Nordic countries, including Sweden, set up lofty reconciliation commissions to investigate indigenous grievances.

“I love Sweden”

But as the global controversy raged, many began to come to the aid of Sweden.

One Twitter user said: “When people realize that Sweden is the biggest giver of donations to other countries per capita. Biggest immigration in the last decade with real benefits. Big pensions as if you’ve worked here for life. [are given] for immigrants. but not. We should be racist.”

while, Another user wrote: “We pay about 70% of our income in taxes. So people in this country can have a roof over their heads and food on the table. This includes all the victims of war created in America, Russia, Turkey etc. And now you’re making fun of Sweden because we don’t cook food for you.”

Sweden has a longstanding reputation for its generous refugee policy. The number of people with refugee status living in the country between 2011 and 2019 has steadily increased and reached even more 254,000 in 2019. After the slight decline during the COVID-19 outbreak, the country has also seen more than 34,000 asylum applications from Ukraine Citizens fleeing the current Russian-Ukrainian war.

Sweden is also seen as a world leader when it comes to progressive social policies. While it is paid for through high taxes, government funding of a social safety net, generous parental leave, and publicly funded healthcare and education are believed to contribute to Sweden’s rating above average when it comes to citizens’ life satisfaction.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Better Life Index Residents are asked to rate their life satisfaction on a scale from 0 to 10, and The Swedes rated their country above average with a score of 7.3, with many citing notably high scores in the areas of education, work-life balance, and safety. in contrast, US citizens rank the United States lower A satisfaction score of 7 is particularly low when it comes to work-life balance and safety.

A Swedish citizen and Twitter user later shared their confusion over the origins of the debate, revealing much of what was being suggested. they wrote: “Literally everyone is hospitable here and I have no idea where the #Swedengates*** are coming from. Did you see a single picture on Reddit inconspicuously and espouse your vision of an entire country beyond it?”

Share another internet user Their personal experience of Swedish hospitality: “As a young traveler, I spent a month with a Swedish family. They housed me, fed me, lent me a car, and let me stay in their apartment in Stockholm. I love Sweden and its people.”

Swedish delegate
From a post shared via Reddit, the internet has become intrigued by the debate about the Scandinavian country with the hashtag #Swedengate receiving responses from all over the world.
iStock / Getty Images / Twitter