Social guide


In Sweden, there is a strict queuing etiquette in banks, post offices, pharmacies and shops. Many institutions use a system of “queuing tickets ”. When your number shows on the screen, or the shop assistant calls your number, it is your turn. If no queue tickets are available, you are expected to stand in line and wait for your turn. No excuses are good enough to get in front of the people who arrived before you!

No Smoking

Smoking is not allowed in public spaces like restaurants, pubs, banks, post offices, train stations or other public buildings. If you do not know whether you are allowed to smoke or not in a particularly place, look for ash trays or ask. Please check with your landlord if smoking is allowed in your accommodation.


The charge for different services, for example in restaurants, bars and taxis, is included in the price given.  At restaurants, a service charge is included in the bill, but a small gratuity is expected for evening meals (approx. 7-10%). Taxi drivers should be given a few extra kronor. A good rule is to round up the fare shown on the meter.


Punctuality is expected at work and socially. A dinner invitation at 18:00 means that the hosts really expect you to be there at 18:00.

Shoes indoors

Swedes take their outdoor shoes off when they go indoors. When you visit a Swedish home you will find it convenient to follow the Swedish habit and bring a pair of light shoes with you to wear indoors or just walk around in your socks. 

Informality and equality

In Sweden, students and teachers tend to treat each other rather informally at the university. The informal attitude also applies to other social contacts in Swedish society and is of course related to the Swedish view on equality and democracy. We often address each other with "du" (you in an informal sense) without using Sir/Mr/Ms. Equality between men and women is considered as very important in Swedish society. 


One of the Swedish words you will use the most… Means taking a coffee and something sweet to eat like a cookie or a bun. Alone or together with friends.


Laundry is free of charge and the laundry facilities are close to, or in the same building as, your accommodation. Before you use the facilitie, you are expected to book a time slot according to instructions - to launder only then, and to leave the laundry room (and the dryer’s lint filter!) clean behind you. This is otherwise known to sometimes
be a major source of irritation between Swedish neighbours.