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Things that happen when you live with a Scandinavian

Things that happen when you live with a Scandinavian person

Maybe you’ve already moved in and you’re now frantically Googling “strange things that happen when you live with a Swede/Dane/Norwegian” – don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place for answers. Here, we give you a heads up what things might be like in your home. Most of these things are just perfectly normal, to us – at least.

They make you leave your shoes in the hallway.

Everything off in the hallway – and on with a nice pair of slippers. It’s a hygiene thing (although in Denmark you can sometimes get away with it). Guests will be asked to take their shoes off, too, even at dinner parties. This is how it will be from now on. On the plus side, less cleaning of wooden floors.

Announce when it is pee-pee time

We don’t even realise this is not done elsewhere: Swedes especially announce when they need to wee. Even in board meetings, at restaurants, at home – the announcement is likely to be made. “I think I’ll go for a pee now” will become a staple sentence. You may well find yourself adopting this habit in your non-Scandinavian life.

The heat is ON.

Despite what people think, Scandinavians hate to be cold inside. Your house will now be a comfortable 23 degrees all year around. Any less and there will be complaints.

Also, you will ‘air the room’ before bed. Yes, open bedroom windows, even if there is a blizzard outside, just to make sure the room is fresh and ready for sleeping.

Re-decorating & furniture

Living with a Scandi, decorating is simple: There is only one colour to choose from (white). This colour is also applied to skirting, radiators, ceilings and floorboards. If you live with a Dane, you likely will not need curtains any more so just get rid of those.

If you don’t have a sofa table, one will appear within a week of the move because not having a sofa table in unheard of (where will we put our coffee?)

Most importantly: You no longer need carpets anywhere. Start your goodbyes now, the days of carpets are gone. Hello wooden floors.

No more nik-naks

One by one, those little cute trinkets you own will be replaced by stylish candle holders and sleek things. No more souvenirs from Tenerife, no more ornate fireplace clocks. Eventually, you’ll find them all in a box in the attic. Good bye, forever.

The only exception to this rule is at Christmas, where from mid November until 27th December, every shelf will be decorated with little Christmas gnomes (and similar).

Is it a cult?

Candles burn daily, sometimes entire packets of tealights in one room. Don’t fear, this is not a cult; it’s just cosy. Also, you may find that 4-5 small lamps are added to each room. Because, hygge.

Your double duvet is replaced by two single ones.

This is not a declaration that the love is dead, merely that nobody will steal your duvet again and you will keep your cold feet to yourself. THIS is true love.

Specialist equipment starts to appear in your kitchen:

Exhibit 1: OSTHYVEL

For slicing cheese. What is important to know is 1) You must NEVER make a ski slope  and 2) you will never again be allowed to hack away at the cheddar with a blunt knife. Ever.

Exhibit 2: Filter Coffee Machine

Scandinavians drink more coffee than anyone else in the world. If you live with an ultra Scandi, you’ll have a MoccaMaster (these brew the fastest and at 6 degrees hotter than all other machines, but any filter machine works). From now on, your coffee will be so strong you’ll be awake 19 hours a day. Coffee before bedtime (around 9 pm) may even become a thing. Milk in coffee is for wimps. As is sleep.

Exhibit 3: Smörkniv

A knife, only for butter. Never use your own, only use the designated knife for butter. Usually wooden. He who uses his own knife in the butter will be banished along with the indoor shoe wearers and cheese-hackers.

Increased Nakedness

Look, it’s a body. It’s not anything Scandinavians think is sexual: It’s skin. We don’t care. There will be nakedness. If there is a sauna, there will be nakedness there, too. You may sit next to your new Father-in-law, naked. On a small flannel. Get used to it and let it all hang out and finally feel free of the chains.

Breakfast changes

You will have open sandwiches for breakfast. Lots of glasses of milk. Your breakfast sandwiches may have both cheese and jam on them because, delicious. In some places, little tubes with salted creamed cod roe might appear – don’t confuse this with toothpaste. There will be coffee, a lot of coffee. There will be crispy bread, too – and it will re-appear at lunch. And for snacks. The crispbread never, ever ends.

Dinner is at 6 pm

Dinner is at 6. Not 6:05, but 6 pm. When you invite people over,  the invite might be for 6 pm, so therefore people must arrive at 6 pm. By 6:05 food is served. DO NOT BE LATE. for anything, ever again.


Before you eat, say ‘Velbekomme’. When you’ve finished your food, say ‘Takk for maten’ (thanks for dinner). Fail on this and you will sleep with the fishes.

Shots of 40% alcohol with some meals will eventually become the normal (always look people in the eye when you say ‘skål’)

Cosy days

Fridays will become Cosy Fridays. You will start to share big bags of crisps (dip each chip in ‘dip mix’ which will also be made available). There will be darkness, 117 candles and Nordic Noir. After a while, they will start to add the dreaded….

…Friday Tacos

Because: Tacos are Scandinavian, everyone knows that. Tacos = burritos, nachos, quesadillas, enchilada, chimichanga… It’s all just tacos. All of it. But only on Fridays. This will becomes a thing especially if you live with Norwegians, where Tacos is in danger of replacing the Grandiosa pizza as the national dish.

Saturday Sweets

Don’t be surprise if you after a while of living with a Scandinavian you start to consume around half a kilo of sweets every Saturday. Only uncivilised people eat sweets the other six days of the week, but on Saturdays, you can go mad.

Salty liquorice.

It’s normal. You WILL like it eventually, don’t fight it, we’re only doing it for your own good, you know… Go on, just try this little Jungle Scream, it’s not too bad…

If you don’t like it, we will continue to ask. Every time. Because we simply do not understand why you do not.

Weekend: Hiking days

The weekends will become 48h opportunities to get outside. Seeing as there is ‘No such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes”, every weekend will be a selection of hikes, walks, runs, bikes etc. Outside, with your backpack and your “all weather jacket”. If your chosen Scandinavian is a Norwegian, he or she will make sure to pack a fresh orange and a bar of Kvikklunsj chocolate.

Any snow and you will hear the words: “Snow? Really? You think this is snow? When I lived in Denmark/Norway/Sweden/Finland…. “ etc.

Mid-May is Eurovision

You can try to fight it, but at some point, your Scandinavian will be found in front of the telly, Pina Colada in hand, with a score sheet and dismay when Sweden doesn’t give Denmark 12 points as planned. A few of us pretend we don’t watch it, but really, we probably do.

Flags everywhere.

Flags are now for every occasion, but only on occasions. Birthdays = flags. Flags in cakes. Flags on sandwiches. Picking up someone at the airport = flags. Eurovision = flags. Midsummer = flags. National day = flags.

The fridge

You may start to see strange things in tubes appear in the fridge (again, not toothpaste). Or cheeses that look like blocks of plasticine. You will start to add remoulade on every meal once the Danes are done with you.

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