Swedish Culture


Primary Author
Chara Scroope,
  • The most common greeting in Sweden is a handshake. It is usually firm and accompanied with eye contact.
  • Most adults will shake hands with each person present when entering or leaving a social setting.
  • In rural areas, the custom of handshaking is not as common on a casual basis. Rather, it is associated with sealing agreements, resolving disagreements or greeting in more formal circumstances.
  • If people are far from one another, they may nod their head or raise their hand to greet another person. 
  • Friends and family will often hug when greeting one another.
  • Between men who are close to one another and have not seen each other for a long time, a half-hug with a light backslap is common.
  • People typically address one another by their first name. Titles are reserved for very formal situations.
  • The most common verbal greeting is a casual ‘Hej’ (‘Hi’).
  • People will usually say goodbye with the phrase ‘Hej då’.

Get a downloadable PDF that you can share, print and read.

Guaranteed secure stripe badge

A unified, searchable interface answering your questions on the world's cultures and religions

Sign up for free