What Do Swedish People Look Like?

Sweden is a beautiful country that attracts many tourists and ex-pats each year. However, if someone has never been there before or doesn’t know much about it, they might wonder what Swedish people look like.

Swedish people often look pale due to a lack of melanin. Their eyes are light in many cases, including blue and green.

Also, many Swedes have light hair, but it’s not always blonde–some may have light brown hair. Although light features are standard, some swedes have darker hair and eyes.

This article will discuss what Swedish people look like in more detail. Keep reading to learn more!

Also, see Why Do Some People Call Swedish People Squareheads? to learn more.

What Are the Most Common Swedish Facial Features?

The following are the most common Swedish features.

Light Eyes

As briefly mentioned earlier, light eyes are a common trait among Swedes. 

Eyes are typically lighter when there is a lack of melanin in the iris [1]. And since many Swedes lack this melanin, their eyes take on different light colors.

The most common light eye colors in Sweden include:

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Gray

According to an article by WorldAtlas, up to 78% of Swedes have blue eyes [2]. This percentage is exceptionally high because light eyes generally are not dominant in most countries outside of Scandinavia.

Only approximately 17% of the world’s population has blue eyes, a stark contrast with  Sweden’s 78% [3].

So, if a person ever decides to visit Sweden, they should be prepared to see lots of blue eyes!

Pale Skin

Another common facial (and body) feature of Swedes is their pale skin. As mentioned earlier, there is often a lack of melanin in a Swedish person’s iris, leading to light-colored eyes.

Additionally, there is also a lack of melanin in the skin, causing it to turn pale. 

The pale skin is generally genetic, but it can also be attributed to the fact that Sweden is a cold country that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, especially during winter. 

Since sunlight exposure is one of the best ways to absorb vitamin D, it’s normal to wonder if Swedes are often deficient in this vitamin.

However, the lack of sunlight shouldn’t be a big issue in most cases because Swedes with pale skin can absorb vitamin D faster than those with darker skin.

A study by the National Library of Medicine concluded that it’s more challenging for skin with more pigmentation (i.e., darker skin) to absorb vitamin D [4].

So even though many Swedes don’t receive a lot of sunlight during certain parts of the year (especially up north), they generally have adequate vitamin D levels [5].

While most Swedes have pale skin and other light features, some may have darker features, like Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, who has brown hair and eyes.

Light Hair

Swedes are not only known for having light eyes and pale skin but also for their fair hair.

All shades of blonde and light brown colors are standard in Sweden, and some Swedes even have red or ginger-colored hair.

Of course, there are Swedes with darker hair (like dark brown and black), but it’s not as common as in other nations.

Up to 78% of the Swedish population has some kind of blonde or light brown shade of hair [6]. That’s a high amount, considering that only around 2% of the world’s population has blonde hair [7].

Thus, tourists are sure to see plenty of light-haired people if they visit Sweden!

Soft Features

While not every Swedish person has delicate features, many do. Soft features mean the face is less angular and has fewer harsh lines (like sharp jaw bones and chin definition).

The cheeks tend to be rounder, and there is generally less definition around the face. 

But again, this isn’t exclusive to every Swede, so it’s still possible for some to have more angular faces. 

Are Swedish People Tall?

Swedish people are generally tall, like many individuals in Nordic countries (like Denmark and Norway).

The average height of Swedes is slightly higher than the average height of Americans, both male and female.

The average height of a female Swede is 165.6 cm (5 feet 5.23 inches), while the average height of a male Swede is 179.73 cm (5 feet 10.76 inches) [8].

Swedish people are known to tower over others due to their long legs, so it’s no surprise they’re considered a tall nation.

However, this doesn’t mean that all Swedes are tall. A small percentage of Swedish adults may be below the national average.

Why Do So Many Swedes Have Light Hair and Eyes?

So many Swedes have light hair and eyes because it’s in their genetics. Although blond hair and eyes are recessive genes, Swedes are more likely to receive these genes because they procreate with one another.

This procreation keeps these genetics alive.

If a light-haired and light-eyed Swede had a child with a dark-haired and dark-eyed person, the child is less likely to have light hair and eyes because the darker colors will be more dominant.

Nevertheless, since many light-featured Swedes have children together, the same traits are passed down through generations.

As a result, much of the Swedish population has similar light features.

Are There Many Swedes With Dark Eyes?

Some Swedes have dark eyes (like brown), but it’s more common for people in the country to have blue and other lighter-colored eyes.

Since up to 78% of the Swedish population has blue eyes, it’s easy to see that blue is the dominant color, even if it is technically a recessive gene!

Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t many Swedes with brown eyes. Also, they can have dark eyes with dark or light-colored hair.

Are There Many Swedes With Dark Hair?

Some Swedes have dark hair, but it’s more common for them to have lighter hair. While it doesn’t necessarily have to be blonde, it can also be different shades of light brown.

However, it’s not uncommon for Swedish people to have dark brown (or sometimes even black) hair.

A Swedish child is more likely to have dark hair if the other parent has dark hair. So, whether or not a Swede has dark hair ultimately depends on the parents’ genetic makeup.

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Christian Christensen

Christian started Scandinavia Facts to explore his family heritage, raise awareness of one of his academic interests as a professor, and civilly promote the region. Please see the About page for details.

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