Swedish beer is divided into classes according to its alcohol content. There are class I (lättöl), class II (folköl) and class III (starköl) beers with a class I beer being the weakest and a class III beer being the strongest beer.
Class I and II beers are available in supermarkets, whereas class III is only on sale in licensed shops (Systembolaget) or pubs, bars and restaurants. One of the biggest beer breweries in Sweden is Pripps, but to be honest, I can't say that their beer tastes very good.
At most places with customer service (e.g. Post Office, Tourist Information, Money Exchange) you have to take a number from a machine. Then you have to wait for your number to be called or to be shown on the display with the appropriate counter. So instead of waiting in a line you are able to browse through other things while waiting for your number to be called.
In Scandinavia door locks or keys often have to be turned contrary to how you might be used to turning them to open or close a door.
For example, in Germany a door with a door handle on the right side is usually locked by turning the key clockwise, whereas in Scandinavia you might have to turn it anti-clockwise.
Sweden is a member of the European Union (EU) since 1995, but not a member of the so called Euro-Zone. That is why the local currency is not the Euro, but the Swedish Crown (Svensk krona).
One Swedish Crown is subdivided into 100 Öre. Banknotes have the following values 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 Crowns.
Cash money is available from cash points (ATMs) or exchange offices. However, credit cards are widely accepted and in use, but the pin code is almost always required.
When you go to a restaurant for a meal, there will be a counter manned by one person to deposit your jackets. It costs 15Kn per piece. It is kinda "compulsory" to deposit the jacket. Perhaps, it's just another money earning opportunity...
Remove everything from the pockets of your jacket. I saw a small sign stating that they do not take responsibility for anything been lost.
I'm sure many of you know by now that Göteborg is famous for being the birthplace of so many Internationaly popular exports, such as Hasselblad cameras, Volvo passenger cars, SKF ballbearings and those ice-cream vendors turned pop stars; Ace of Base, but Does Your Mother Know, Fernando, that one of Sweden's most famous sons, Björn Ulvaeus of yes you guessed it; ABBA fame, was born here in 1945?
Well,...it's true, Waterloo.
I can see it now when he heads for that giant Disco dance-floor in the sky; right in the center of Gustav Adolfs Torg, beside the majestic, classical bronze of the city's founder, will stand a 10 meter high, pink and cream spandex covered likeness of Björn depicting what he did best.
I think I should visit again before that happens, you know what I mean Dancing Queen? I do, I do, I do, I do, I do!
I guess this could be considered more of an "observation" than a "custom", but I noticed that almost everything in a Swede's flat is built upon tiny legs. I noticed this most in the bathroom with the bathtub. Now, I'm not talking about the old-fashioned "clawfoot" tubs here; a Swede's tub looks like ours but don't seem to ever be "built in" as they are here in North America. Instead, they sit in the corner standing atop tiny little adjustable legs, and some people even cover these legs with little foam-rubber shoes. Who says Swedes don't have a sense of humour?
Another thing I noticed is that it seems in the corner of everyone's bathroom stands a long-handled rubber squeegee and in the center of the tiled floor there is a little drain. I've never seen this except for in Sweden (and public washrooms) and since you're not allowed to wear shoes in the flat, I was terribly worried that I'd catch my toe in there while squeegee'ing the water I had spilled during my shower.
I have small toes.
Blame my mother.
Just a simple tip.
When visiting someone's house in Sweden (and I've found the same in other Scandinavian countries) you take off your shoes when entering their house.
In Australia (where I live) you usually only take your shoes off if they're really dirty (caked in mud or something). But here, no matter how clean your shoes are, you take them off, it is the respectful thing to do.
Pay attention young Grasshopper, it's really quite simple:
When the clock strikes 3:00, take the hand of your favorite coffee-companion and head out to your favorite café.
Quietly enter, stake your claim to a table then while standing in line, tease your soul by perusing the display case of tasty delights. When the young woman behind the counter asks what you two have selected, tell her in a calm voice and watch as she gently removes your treats from the shelf and places them on your tray, but don't touch them yet. Even though they sing the Siren's song to you, without a coffee (or Chai Tea) they're simply not ready to be devoured. Now, pay the young woman, lift your tray and take it to the table where your famished Fika-friend awaits your arrival.
Sit down and gently place each item in their appropriate spot, look into the eyes of your patient partner and begin your Fika!
"Fika" is simply the term for coffee-break but here in Göteborg it takes on a whole new, almost religious, meaning. It's an experience everyone should have and Brogyllens on Södra Hamngatan is a wonderful place to have it.
In Swedish you'll find many vowels with dots on top of them. I'm not going to give you tips of how to pronounce them, but they sometimes make an interesting composition as on this photograph. (I guess they don't have the saying "From A to Z" in Sweden?)
Also, in Swedish "G" is pronounced as "ye", making Göteborg sound something like "yoe-te-bor". It was funny to hear announcements in trains in Swedish version of English starting with "Ladies and Yentlemen....".
If you're like me and you get caught in the rain, then a great way to get warm again is to enjoy a sauna. Now, saunas are actually Finnish in origin (they pronounce it "sow' nah"), but you will often find them in Swedish residences too.
It is very relaxing sitting in a sauna. You just sit there in a towel for about 20 minutes and that's all you need. Lean against the wall and contemplate your day, read a book, or have a sauna with a friend and just chat.
Although make sure that you remove any jewellery before entering a sauna, as the metal will heat up and 'burn' against your skin, not pleasant.
For instructions on 'how to take a sauna', check out the website below :)
Just a little language tip:
In Goteborg I saw a word that I had also seen when I was in Stockholm. In english you would take offence at this word, but remember you are in Sweden and therefore words can have a different meaning in Swedish.
And the word is 'sl*t' (insert a vowel where the star is - I didn't think I should actually write it). The signs would say 'Sl*t Rea' which means, basically, 'end of sale' - and it would usually be in large letters across store-fronts. I had guessed the meaning, but asked my friend who I was with in Goteborg just to be sure :)
So english speakers, don't take offence, as it is not slander in swedish!
Nowhere else I have lived have been able to beat the amount of fireworks. None as spectacular as in Stockholm with all its water but the AMOUNT of fireworks here are amazing. Opening and closing of Liseberg, New Year, Easter and all sorts of birthdays. I suspect a lot of it has to do with the fact that Chalmers' Technical University run all sorts of trials too...:) Apart from the ones from Liseberg, many are fired from mount Ramberget on the other side of the river and the Skansen Kronan hill (see general tip) is a popular place to see them all from - loads gather here on New Year's Eve.
Okedoke, we all know the rumour that Swedes are cold and unapproachable but I'm here to tell you that this is merely gossip, probably started by their jealous, less attractive neighbors to the South.
Believe it or not, Swedes are an extremely social people so scattered literally everywhere in Göteborg are picnic tables with either benches or chairs for everyone to use, and this is where I met quite a few people simply by sitting down with a coffee. Yes, it's true; most people in Göteborg walk around expressionless, but the minute you say "Hej" their faces light up with a giant smile and they become most pleasant to talk with.
My suggestion for making friends while in Göteborg? Make the first move. You'll be very glad you did. ;o)
Carl Milles' famous Poseidon fountain at Götaplatsen really has seen it all. I cannot recommend you to swim in it. I did it once when Sweden won its World Championship bronze medal in football (soccer) and then I walked home (15 minutes) in a soaked dress. Consequently I lost my voice completely for a week. Could have had something to do with the shouting too I suppose :)))
Poseidon's water is also often filled with washing powder by local students when they don't put a silly hat on him instead or a mask on his face...