Why Are Scandinavians So Weird?

Scandinavians have many personality traits that differ from those of other Western countries. While some of their customs and social characteristics are considered normal, others might be regarded as weird.

Scandinavians are considered weird because they’re quieter and more reserved than people from other nations.

Their calm nature is because it’s considered polite to keep to themselves instead of bothering others. They may also be regarded as weird because they don’t always feed their guests.

This article will discuss why Scandinavians have a reputation for strangeness.

It will also discuss the standard customs and politics of the country, which may be considered odd or even off-putting to the majority of the world.

Also, see Why Aren’t Scandinavians Religious? to learn more.

Scandinavian house
Why do some people think Scandinavians are unusual? See below

Why Scandinavians Have a Reputation for Strangeness

Scandinavians are thought to be strange, but are they really? Here are some of the characteristics that give them this reputation.

They’re More Reserved and Quiet 

One of the significant reasons people view Scandinavians as weird is that they’re quiet and reserved. In Scandinavian culture, it’s common for conversations to have long silences.

While these silences may be considered awkward or uncomfortable in places like the UK or US, they’re entirely normal in Nordic countries.

Scandinavian people prefer to speak when they have something important to say, so they avoid saying meaningless things to keep a conversation going.

In other countries, it’s normal to talk to strangers or friends and acquaintances about the weather or other conversation-starters.

However, Scandinavians would remain quiet because they don’t like small talk

It’s not just small talk and other conversation-starters that Scandinavians prefer to avoid. They also avoid asking strangers for help and being loud in public settings.

Many Scandinavians may feel embarrassed or rude if they must ask a stranger for help, so they try to avoid it.

They also like to keep their speaking volumes low in public to prevent grabbing attention.

All the above qualities can be seen as strange by people from other countries, but they’re not odd for Scandinavians.

They’re simply cultural differences that are important to know and respect if one ever visits a Scandinavian country.

They’re Considered More Socialist Than Many Other Nations

When people think of socialist countries, Scandinavian nations like Norway and Sweden might pop into their heads.

In reality, none of the Scandinavian countries are truly socialist because they have open economies and rely on foreign trade and investments.

Plus, Norway has a history of being governed by different right-wing parties over the years. [1]

Still, Scandinavian citizens are generally treated well by their governments through social welfare and housing schemes, which is why some consider them socialists. 

The level of care many Scandinavians get from their governments is a big contrast to the levels of care and support received in many other developed countries worldwide, so it’s no surprise Scandinavians are seen as weird or different from other people.

Northern Lights
Why don’t Scandinavians feed their guests? See below

They Don’t Always Feed Their Guests

Scandinavians usually don’t feed their guests (unless it was planned in advance). For example, a parent won’t offer their child’s friend food if they come over after school.

Instead, the friend would have to sit at the table while everyone else eats or sit in a different room until the family finishes eating.

This is undoubtedly considered rude and weird in many other cultures, but in Scandinavian countries, specifically Sweden, it’s entirely normal and acceptable behavior.

The assumption is that each person is responsible for looking after themselves and their children.

Furthermore, families often plan their meals in advance and don’t have enough food to offer guests.

Many people from other countries would feel guilty if they ate dinner while the guest sat and watched, so it’s no surprise this is one of the reasons Scandinavians are considered so weird.

Also, see Is Finland Part of Scandinavia? to learn more.

New Parents Get Plenty of Help From the Government

In Scandinavian countries, it’s normal for the parents to get a lot of help so they can put all their energy into their newborn.

For example, parents receive one year of paid parental leave in Norway, and the time off can be divided between the mother and father. [2]

Parents receive care packages in Finland after the birth of a child. These packages come with all the essentials needed in those first few days and weeks of life. 

Although paid parental leave and care packages are excellent initiatives, people from other countries don’t receive this same level of care.

For example, parents in the US generally have more financial concerns when it comes to taking time off work after the child has been born because paid parental leave isn’t mandatory nationwide

As a result, the Scandinavians may be viewed as different or strange to outsiders, particularly those from places with little governmental help.

Scandinavian sunrise
Do Scandinavians celebrate Halloween? See below

Scandinavian Parents Let Their Babies Sleep Outside

In most countries, parents don’t let their babies out of their sight and prefer to keep them indoors where it’s warm and safe.

However, it’s a different story in Scandinavian countries. Nordic parents frequently leave their babies outside to nap, even in freezing temperatures. [3]

Of course, they clothe the babies appropriately and have plenty of blankets to ensure they don’t get too cold. Still, it’s a strange custom that one wouldn’t see in most other European countries.

When tourists come to a Scandinavian country and see a baby asleep in a stroller in the freezing cold, they will undoubtedly think the parents are weird.

They Don’t Celebrate Halloween as Much as Other Nations

Halloween has become one of the year’s biggest holidays in many countries worldwide, including the US.

While it is celebrated in Nordic countries, it’s less popular than elsewhere. For example, one would likely only see a few Halloween products advertised or sold in stores around the country.

Halloween has become highly commercialized in other countries, with decorations and candy sold everywhere during October to prepare for the holiday.

Therefore, some people might consider Scandinavians weird because they don’t get super excited about Halloween.

While Scandinavians don’t make a big deal of Halloween, the Swedes like to go trick-or-treating at Easter. It’s known as “Easter Witch.” Children dress up to get candy from neighbors’ homes.

Since their Easter celebrations are similar to Halloween, Swedes might be considered weird by some.

Also, see Why Do Scandinavians Have Blue Eyes? to learn more.

[1] Source
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[3] Source

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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