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Sweden. Why do they seem to get everything right?

(36 Posts)
Tinker Mon 15-Aug-05 17:24:05

Or do they? Who knows more details about the country that is always quoted re bf rates, banning of smacking, decent benefits etc.? What price are they paying for this? I know income tax if high but are salary levels higher? anyone?

Tinker Mon 15-Aug-05 19:24:50

bump. It's not so boring is it?

fqueenzebra Mon 15-Aug-05 19:25:40

I think they have terrible racism problems, does that knock wind out of your sails?

Tinker Mon 15-Aug-05 19:29:08

Oh, that does rather zebra. It's just that the Swedish model is always quoted and it seems like the country with no downsides.

purpleturtle Mon 15-Aug-05 19:29:33

Apart from being dark for 6 months a year?

spidermama Mon 15-Aug-05 19:30:49

I went there in the 80's. Humour is possibly not a high priority. I gather the suicide rate is quite high too.

vickiyumyum Mon 15-Aug-05 19:31:37

i know what you mean tinker, they are quoted in alot of obstetric and midwifery texts as having, the best breastfeeding rates, the best natural birth rates etc etc etc and it does kind of make you think oh no here we go again the perfect bloody swedes!

i know beer is expensive!

Tinker Mon 15-Aug-05 19:31:42

I like the winter.

Tinker Mon 15-Aug-05 19:33:57

No, I like the Swedes (snogged one a few times ) but am intrigued how they manage to seem to get it right, ie, why can't we?

Expensive booze is a dowside though. Could = high suicide rate, of course.

PrincessPeaHead Mon 15-Aug-05 19:44:29

I think some of you are getting a bit mixed up with finland re the darkness and alcoholism. It isn't particularly dark in the winter (well no more so than Edinburgh for example) assuming you live in stockholm or the mid - to- south bit that most people do and not up in the very far north. Lots and lots of snow though and bloody freezing.

Their education is fantastic - one of the best in Europe even though formal education only starts at 7. I found the sense of humour pretty good actually - much closer to the UK than eg the dutch or germans. They are huge fans of monty python for eg whereas many european countries just don't get it.

Really sporty people - very active, healthy, always out biking, skiing, fishing, etc. Great diet too, lots of fish. Healthy.

Income tax fairly high, but salaries lower, or rather the salary range generally is much flatter. eg teh difference between what a worker gets versus what his ceo gets is a much much lower multiple than the Uk and other countries. more egalitarian attitude if you like.

I used to work for/part own a swedish company btw.

motherinferior Mon 15-Aug-05 19:45:41

Also people with Swedish grandparents are beautiful, witty and stylish, of course

Tinker Mon 15-Aug-05 19:47:54

Income tax fairly high, but salaries lower, or rather the salary range generally is much flatter. eg teh difference between what a worker gets versus what his ceo gets is a much much lower multiple than the Uk and other countries. more egalitarian attitude if you like.

Ah, this is more the crux of it, I think. Can't type much more, baby on my knee.

mi - I claim viking ancestory No evidence just my name

spidermama Mon 15-Aug-05 19:49:04

That wouldn't be you by any chance would it motherinferior? With Swedish GPs?

motherinferior Mon 15-Aug-05 19:50:28

Just the one, Spidermama. Along with the English one and the two Indian ones.

katierocket Mon 15-Aug-05 19:52:06

PPH you are SO flash

PrincessPeaHead Mon 15-Aug-05 19:57:00

nothing flash about central sweden in january, katierocket, let me assure you...! brrrr. in fact I refused to go between mid dec and mid feb in the end because I kept getting stuck there because "the runway is too icy"...
but it was always very sunny and light!

tribpot Mon 15-Aug-05 20:03:09

Hmm, I used to live in Sweden, perhaps I can muse a little on this.

First, yes, tax is very high. On the other hand, the level of welfare is also very high, god only knows why I left when I should have been trying to recoup my hard-earnt taxes in maternity benefit and stuff. They are unbelievably right-on, I was told by a friend this week that they are considering passing a law to force parental leave to be split 50:50 between parents (sod choice) because women are still taking the majority of the parental leave, which is affecting their marketability in terms of employment.

Education - I'm not sure about this because it's hard to compare. A friend whose kids have just returned to Edinburgh after c. 5 years in Sweden are at least a year behind their contemporaries. Also, no-one ever fails exams in Sweden. No marks are ever published, or grades given in high school, so as not to make people who have done less well feel bad.

It's a very homogenous society, and it depends on that. For example, they have a 'crayfish' season this time of year (ish) where everyone gives crayfish parties (mainly an excuse for massive drinking) yet all the crayfish have to be imported from Turkey. Everyone has to take the same five weeks off in the summer. Five weeks - nice. All the same - bit restrictive.

Darkness - yes, it's not so bad, not great though. We were right down in the south of Sweden and it was pitch dark by 3:30 in midwinter. The sea froze. And the shops shut early "because it's winter". Shopping generally was a nightmare best not spoken of, buying booze even more of a nightmare - the off-licence shut at 2 on a Saturday (9-6 in the week), and that was the only place you could buy booze.

Oh yes, and the driving! Of course Swedes obey the speed limit without the pesky need for speed cameras. But most of the roads are single carriage way, so you are forced to drive at some ludicrously low speed for mile after mile after mile behind someone who won't get out of your way.

On the plus side, it's a very safe country, the people are extremely polite and I found them to be most humorous as well. Part of their success is in having a MUCH smaller population than the UK, it's not possible to compare, in my view.

The main thing was, their menfolk were much better trained than ours. The normal working day in Sweden is 8:30-4:30 and no-one would ever arrange a meeting to start after 3:30 because most people, not just the women, would have kids to pick up at kindergarten at 4:30. It was perfectly acceptable for a bloke to refuse a meeting outside those hours because of childcare duties, in a way that I think in the UK would still be odd or unacceptable.

ks Mon 15-Aug-05 20:04:28

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ks Mon 15-Aug-05 20:05:30

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Hulababy Mon 15-Aug-05 20:07:06

From what DH's cousin says (she lives there with her DH for years now; have 3 children children - one here at uni now) there is a lot of depression. I know one of the girls had a friend who just walked into the sea one day as she was so depressed at home - was only a youngish teenager too And the alcohol is very expensive!

ks Mon 15-Aug-05 20:08:17

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motherinferior Mon 15-Aug-05 20:09:38

I thought the high suicide rate was a myth put about by right wing Americans in the 1970s to counteract the idea that Swedes were all happy nudists?

moondog Mon 15-Aug-05 20:12:58 odd about the crayfish.I have always had fond images of little blonde kids scooping them out of crystal clear rivers...
Must enquire further,as I am in Turkey and am having a Swede round for dinner on Wednesday!

ks Mon 15-Aug-05 20:13:43

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moondog Mon 15-Aug-05 20:16:41

Eh?? You could go in the sauna naked but not the river??

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