Sweden is a fascinating country known for its food and natural wonders - and for blessing the rest of the world with Ikea, of course. Well, it turns out it's not just the famous Scandinavian furniture that makes this European nation unique from any other place. From trees that send text messages to a hotel made of ice, this country seems to have strange surprises waiting around every corner. Lucky for you, we've got the photos to prove it, so grab your passport because we're going to Sweden.
This Pharmacy Has Stayed the Exact Same Since the 1800s
Sweden is a country with a long history that spans over a millennium. With that history, it is no surprise that the entire country is filled with establishments that have been around for hundreds of years. Look at this pharmacy, which has been at this location since the 1800s. Not only has this multi-generational pharmacy been at the exact location all these years, but they have also kept the original decor.
Only in Sweden does a routine trip to the pharmacy become a trip down to a museum. With a country filled with so much history, everyday stores become historical.
They Have the World's One and Only Taxidermied Blue Whale
That is correct; the only land-based blue whale in existence is the taxidermied blue whale in Gothenburg, Sweden. Not only is seeing this whale a special occasion since you will never see anything like it anywhere else in the world, but it also comes with a fun story. Once upon a time, the whale's mouth hung open to show off its impressive jaws, and museum visitors could walk inside. But when a couple was caught making love inside the whale, the museum closed its mouth permanently except for special events.
It is rumored that the couple is still inside the whale... just joking. The couple was removed from the whale, and then it was decided to close its jaw.
Blood Donors Get a Text Message Whenever Their Donation Helped Someone
Blood donations are a great way to give back to your fellow humans. It requires minimal effort on our part to donate something that can help save a life. What is even better about donating blood in a place like Sweden is that you are told when your blood helps someone. After making your donation, you will receive text messages whenever your blood is used. Isn't that a great way to motivate people to continue giving?
This person in the photo has already donated blood three times because of the text messaging system they have only in Sweden. We doubt that Sweden ever struggles to find donors.
Their Road Signs Test Is Like No Other
This is a sign in Sweden that means no cars are allowed. In most countries, the "no cars allowed" sign is usually a red sign with a vehicle that is sometimes crossed out, depending on the country. However, in Sweden, they have broken the mold with this street sign. It is a red sign with a yellow center that shows a turned-over car and three people standing over it, holding spears in triumph.
This sign seems to warn people that this road will have some savage barbarians ready to attack them, not that no cars are allowed. But we guess both messages would lead to the same result, anyway!
You'll Need to Take a Swim to Get to Gothenburg's Complaints Box
The town of Gothenburg has placed its complaints drop-off box in the only place they thought it should be: a few dozen meters off the shoreline. That's right - their complaints box is off, floating in the water. This can mean one of two things: either the Gothenburg residents have no complaints, so there is no need for a box, or it's the exact opposite situation, and there were so many complaints that they threw the whole thing out.
We want to give Sweden credit here and say that it is rather unlikely that its citizens have complaints to file, so why not throw the complaints box out?
Itty Bitty Records Store for Lund's Lucky Mice
Within the town of Lund, located in Sweden, they have stories of all kinds for everyone, and we mean everyone. Here is an example of a mini records store whose miniature size is geared towards a clientele of mice-sized record lovers. The storefront is superbly well done and looks realistic, with tiny vinyl records on display in the store's windows. The best part about the store is that it wasn't even there just a day before this photo was snapped.
That is correct; within a day, artists went out on the streets of this Swedish town and created this small store. Imagine walking out of your apartment on a random Monday and seeing this; it would just make our day!
Companies There Know That Dads Change Diapers, Too
Most diaper brands wrap their packaging with images of a baby or a mother and her child. We are not entirely sure why pretty much every diaper brand in the world does the same thing, but Sweden is breaking the mold. Here on this local diaper brand, they show a baby asleep on his father's chest. The imagery is a nice reminder that dads can (and do) change diapers.
Fathers are just as capable of changing a baby's diaper as a mother is, and men are just as capable of being parental figures as mothers, and Sweden knows it.
The Subways' Air Vents Have a Little Surprise
It is always a little fun when authorities or public officials get in on pop culture. It makes them seem more down to Earth and a bit more approachable. Countries like Sweden have artfully accomplished the task of having fun while being efficient. Take, for example, their Subway system. The system works as designed to get people from point A to B, but they also had fun leaving little easter eggs for passengers to find.
Here is one of those easter eggs, a little Pac-Man being chased by some Ghosts from the famous arcade game. They can be found carved into the Sunway's vents.
Shopping Carts Include Maps of the Grocery Store
In most parts of the world, there are very few, if any, features to your standard shopping cart. The purpose of a shopping cart is simple, and therefore the design is simple. However, in Sweden, they have maps of the supermarkets placed on the shopping carts so people can easily find their way through the stores. This is a life-saving design for anyone who is directionally challenged and has gotten lost in a supermarket.
Not only do they have the maps installed on the shopping carts, but they also have a place specifically to hold a scanner—simple changes making significant differences.
Sweden Was Made for Those Who Love Beautiful Sunrises
We've all seen at least one corny dating profile where someone writes things such as "Sunrises are so romantic" or how they want to "watch the sunrise with someone." And we once gagged when we read such lines about the beauty of sunrises - it's so cliche, after all - but we feel differently now. Now we think that if we lived in Sweden, we'd also include that on our dating profiles. Just look at how stunning this Swedish sunrise is!
The beautiful landscape the sun begins to shine on can only be described as romantic. Suddenly all those dating profiles are starting to make sense to us.
Welcome to the "Disgusting Food Museum"
There are certain delicacies that only people from that culture will understand and appreciate. For example, in the USA, Twinkies and Pop-Tarts are childhood favorites of many who grew up there. But these treats might not be seen as delicious in other parts of the world - as confirmed by this photograph. Sweden's "Disgusting Food Museum" has a varied collection of food items that the Swedish feel is gross.
These museum displays include North American favorites: Twinkies and Pop-Tarts. Anyone who hates these food items or feels the same as the Swedish might find themselves at home in Sweden.
Bikers Can Grab Onto This While Waiting for a Light to Change
Many countries around the world have made their roads accessible to both drivers and bike riders. And Sweden has been ahead of the game with this change; they've come up with some ingenious designs for their bike lanes that other parts of the world haven't even imagined yet. Just take these Biker Stands located at stoplights in Sweden: these little guys allow bikers to easily halt at a stop light without disembarking.
No longer shall bikers hold up traffic by remounting their bikes and wasting precious seconds. With these stands, they are ready to fly the second that light turns green.
Swedish Supermarkets Know Their Female Clientele
In Sweden, they have revolutionized the menstrual hygiene shopping experience by placing their pads next to their store's chocolate selection. For those unaware, chocolate is a must-have for many people during their monthly period. Instead of hunting down both items separately, the Swedish realized they could place them in the same aisle and save people the hassle. While having a period might never be enjoyable, Sweden makes it a little less unenjoyable.
Not only is this great for the customers, but it shows the Swedish business brain at work because it was a no-brainer when they realized they'd sell more chocolates this way.
A Subway System Out of a Fantasy Movie
Everyone is familiar with the horrors of public transportation around the world. And we're not saying Stockholm's underground transport is perfect and doesn't suffer from some of the same issues other countries' subways struggle with. But there are at least two issues that most of us have to deal with that the Swedes do not: sketchy platforms and slightly horrifying surroundings. In Stockholm, they have transformed their underground station into works of art that transport one to some magical realm.
While people riding public transportation in Sweden might still have to deal with the long waits and weird strangers, people will at least have to deal with this in a beautiful location.
This Is Not a College Dorm - It's a Prison Cell
We would never want anyone to pursue a life of crime, but if you are going to be doing so, then you should probably be doing it in Sweden. Below is one of the prison cells in one of Sweden's most brutal prisons. We'll be honest here and say what we're all thinking: this is nicer than some people's apartments. It looks like a luxurious college dorm room complete with computer screens, bookshelves, and a twin bed.
Honestly, we would voluntarily lock ourselves in this room to escape the everyday mumbo jumbo for a bit. It is astounding that this is considered a bad situation in Sweden.
The Ice Hotel, Where Everything Is Truly Made of Ice
This hotel is called the "Icehotel," and its name is as accurate as it gets. This hotel appears to be a simple snow fort in the middle of an arctic wasteland, but once someone enters, that notion swiftly disappears. The hotel is a high-class luxury escape that has leaned artfully and excellently into the ice theme. Their hallways and walls are art pieces, and the bedrooms feel like an ice king's throne room.
This hotel is unique and claims to be the only one made entirely out of snow and ice. Based on these pictures, we believe it is at least worth one night.
Forget Drive-Through - Sweden Has Ski-Through
McDonald's is back at it in Sweden. You can find all sorts of unique McDonald's in this country, such as one that is made entirely for bees (more on that later). This one is another unique one, and it is the only one of its kind; instead of having a drive-thru lane, this one has a ski-thru lane. They even changed the name from McDonald's to McSki to keep with the theme of their one-of-a-kind ski-thru window.
Imagine being able to ski right up to the drive-thru window and placing an order to nourish your body after a long day on the slopes.
How People Wait for the Bus (pre-Pandemic)
This photograph of a bus stop in Sweden shows two miraculous things. For starters, Sweden has public transportation that is heavily used and sought after by the public. Secondly, the Swedish people know the concept of lines and have excellently implemented it into their society. Look at this line at a random bus stop in Sweden! There are over a dozen people here, all spaced evenly apart, waiting their turn to board the bus. And this was long before any social distancing guidelines.
This line is so orderly that it feels like it deserves a medal for its accomplishment. It is even more impressive since it happened all on its own.
Leave and Take Clothes Freely From Stockholm's "Wall of Kindness"
Throughout the world, there are many different ways for people to donate and gift their used belongings to those in need. However, it has never been easier to help someone out than in Sweden. In Stockholm, there is a wall called the "Wall of Kindness," and it's pretty much a coat-hanging wall. The deal is that you can place a coat on one of this wall's hooks for someone to take.
It can get pretty cold in Sweden, and this method of giving out coats to those in need is straightforward and easily accessible. Anyone who needs it can grab one.
Sweden's Underwater Bridge Connects It to Denmark
The Øresund Bridge is an underground tunnel that travels underneath the Øresund strait, a body of water between Sweden and Denmark. This tunnel allows a railway to connect the two countries and provides easy transportation between the two nations. Not only is it efficient, but this underwater underground tunnel is also somewhat magical. Riding on the bridge, you will find yourself seemingly pulled underwater only to emerge on the other side in another country.
Not only is this an excellent transportation system, but it shows off Sweden's skill at civil engineering and the wonders the country has created with regard to its infrastructure.
The Trees Send Text Messages When They Need Water
Trees are pretty amazing things. However, due to their lack of thumbs or inability to purchase cell phones, it would seem impossible for trees to send texts. However, trees are unique in Sweden because they can do the impossible. Thanks to sensors installed in the trees, they can send texts when running out of water. These moisture sensors send out messages with details about the trees' moisture levels and their exact location.
These texts allow people who receive them to go out and ensure that their neighborhood trees are getting enough water—quite ingenious but also sort of scary.
This Parking Spot Is for Santa Clause Only
IKEA is one of the great inventions of the Swedish. This Swedish company has gone international, and many countries now have their own IKEA, but Sweden was where it was created. It would make sense that the original IKEAs would have some extra features and distinguished guests, but no one expected this one. This IKEA has a permanent reserved spot for their number one customer, Santa Claus, and it makes a lot of sense.
Not only is that spot reserved with a custom-made sign for Santa Clause, but they even decorated the spot for his famous sleigh and reindeer with landing lights.
Just Another Night Under the Northern Lights
While sleeping under the stars is a beautiful idea that many people would love to do, they have something better in Sweden. Here, captured on camera, is a picture of a neighborhood in Luleå, Sweden. In this neighborhood, the sky is not filled with stars but the Northern Lights. We would be lying if we said that sleeping underneath the Northern Lights was worse than sleeping under the stars.
The thing that makes this superior to sleeping underneath the stars is that people get to see the Northern Lights from their bedrooms rather than going camping to see the stars.
These Public Armories Are Scattered Across the Country
When people think about the Swedish, they are often not associated with their military power. However, that does not mean that anyone should mess around with them. During the time of the USSR, there was a constant worry that the Russian powers would attempt to attack and invade Sweden. To thwart any attack, the country installed armories that the public could access. These would provide weaponry and supplies to those in the area and allow for the immediate defense of Sweden.
We are not sure that the USSR didn't attempt to invade Sweden since the 18th century because of these armories, but they are a deterrent against anyone trying to mess with Sweden.
Indiana Jones Street Art Like We've Never Seen Before
Sweden is not the first country one thinks of when it comes to art, but after a thousand years of history, they have made a name for itself. If you have any doubts, you can look around Sweden and see some unique artistic installments. Look at this one of a pixelated Indiana Jones. The imagery is iconic of Indiana Jone's famous moment where he switched a precious artifact for a bag of sand in "The Raiders of the Lost Ark."
That moment has been cemented in most of humanity's minds, whether or not anyone has seen the movie. It is artfully captured in a unique way here only in Sweden.
Old Quarry Turned Concert Venue
There are some pretty nifty and unique places out there that have been formed into excellent venues for concerts and other activities. Sweden is no exception to this practice of turning what is already there into something special. Take the Dalhalla venue, for example. This theater was once an old limestone quarry that, after being finished, was transformed into a massive, open-air theater. This theater even has international recognition for its outstanding acoustics.
Not only are we looking at a fantastic use of space, but this outdoor theater also hosts varied tastes. During the summer months, they host all kinds of different global musicians.
The Mice Need a Place to Eat, Too
It is not what you think. It would appear in the streets of Sweden, specifically in the town of Malmö, mice have opened a replica of the restaurant Noix De Vie. On the sidewalk, right underneath the original Noix De Vie, is a miniature version of the restaurant that appears to be geared towards a clientele of significantly smaller stature. Fortunately, for our sanity, mice aren't doing this. Instead, it is an art piece.
These small establishments geared towards the mice populations are scattered throughout the country and crafted and installed by artists within the country. Nevertheless, that doesn't stop these from being adorable.
"Fika" Is a Swedish Word for "To Have Coffee, Cake, And Chit-Chat"
Learning a new language is a beautiful thing. There are so many languages out there, and within these languages, there are unique words that one wouldn't usually find in their native language. Take the Swedish word "Fika." This word, translated to English, means "To Have Coffee, Cake, And Chit-Chat." We have never had more need for a word to be incorporated into English than now. How have the British not come up with this word?
If the Swedish have the word "Fika," imagine all the other words they selfishly hide within their native tongue. Guess we all know what language we are learning next.
A Real-Life Idyllic Snow Globe Town
While the North Pole is not located anywhere in Sweden, the town of Kiruna is giving some North Poles vibes. The entire town is filled with colorful buildings covered with a layer of snow, and it is not hard to believe that Santa Claus might be living here during his off months. So while it might never have elves living there, and you will never be neighbors with Santa Clause, it isn't such a bad place to live.
Honestly, this town is so quaint and perfect on the outside that no one should be surprised if we suddenly found ourselves looking to buy a place over in Kiruna.
Homer Simpson Takes a Trip to Sweden
One of the great parts about traveling the globe is the potential to see world-famous stars. You would be surprised to discover that many movie stars and celebrities live worldwide. Take the world's most famous cartoon Dad (and we are not talking about Peter Griffin). This cartoon family's father is a bit more yellow. That correct! It is Homer Simpson from the all-American cartoon, The Simpsons. He is spotted here hiding in some bushes off a roadway.
Okay, that is not Homer because he is a fictional cartoon character, but it is a very well-done pixel art piece crafted by one of the great pixel artists in Sweden.
A McDonald's for Bees
Mcdonald's is a restaurant chain that has seemingly opened up everywhere. We would not be surprised if it were discovered that a functioning Mcdonald's was at the bottom of the ocean. Therefore, it is no surprise that they have successfully landed in Sweden. However, this particular Mcdonald's appears to be focused on a different clientele, bees! That is right; this is a picture of a miniature Mcdonald's with a drive-through and everything, but it also serves as a beehive.
Who would have ever thought that this sort of expansion by McDonald's into the flying insect clientele would be a success? Based on the picture of a full beehive, it's working.
The Public Voted to Name This Train "Trainy Mctrainface"
Very often, when corporations and officials look to the public to make a decision, they create an open invitation to the internet's trolls. This is especially true when it comes to anything conducted over the internet, such as this Swedish railway's decision to ask the people for the name of their new train. The public voted on the name "Trainy McTrainface," Instead of canceling the vote, the railways decided that the people had voted and officially named the train "Trainy McTrainface."
The train was officially given its name in Gothenburg, Sweden. They even placed a cartoon face on the face of the train to complete the look—a very handsome train.
A Rarely-Seen Cloud Phenomenon
In Sweden, the sky is not only graced with stars, beautiful sunsets, and the Northern Lights. Sweden has also had some stunning clouds. Pictured here are Nacreous Clouds, a phenomenon where clouds form at extremely high heights. The result is beautiful rainbow-colored clouds that look like the child of a packet of skittles and your standard white, fluffy clouds. The results are pretty majestic and make the skies of Sweden even more attractive.
In vast portions of the world, there are your normal clouds; in some places and a few or no clouds. But only in Sweden do you get rainbow clouds.
"the Guardians" Watch Over a Campsite
Sweden has an artist named Manfred Kielnhofer, known for his art series known as the Guardians of Time. He believes that humanity is watched and protected by mysterious creatures or people. Based on this belief, he has built statues of the god-like beings he believes watch over us all and sometimes come down to visit. These statues can be seen all over, and here is one such exhibit of his sculptures. It is three robed figures sitting around a campfire.
These statues go from looking like a scene out of a medieval fantasy movie to a more creepy scene that makes us feel like someone is watching us.
Even Sweden's Remote, Isolated Islands Have Crazy Fast Wifi
Every country has some weird flex or maybe a few odd flexes. Sweden was already entering the game with a bizarre flex in the meatball department with Swedish Meatballs. However, that is not the only one. The country has some of the fastest internet speeds. The countries with the highest speeds usually have internet speeds in the 200s Mbps, but Sweden is showing speeds of nearly 700 Mbps on a remote island within the Swedish nation.
With speeds such as this, it is no surprise that Sweden has so many start-ups, especially ones geared toward technology and the internet. The speeds surely help them out.
Be One With Nature at the Tree Hotel
Right off the Lule River in Sweden, there is another unique hotel where people can get a room for a night. This hotel, similar to Sweden's IceHotel, is called TreeHotel and is keeping with the theme of forests and trees. Each room that they have is unique and has a contemporary design. One looks like a glass box, another looks like a hovering spaceship, and even one is made of tree branches.
While we can't see what is inside these unique rooms, their exteriors are works of art, and, amazingly, these are also functioning rooms rather than just pieces of art.
Swede Pizzerias Have a Fine Taste for Art
Hanging in a random pizza shop in the capital of Sweden is a pretty odd self-portrait. We have all seen these before; it usually has some stern-facing men looking down on their inferiors. This time, it isn't some colonial white men; instead, it seems like some android overlords decked out in long coats. The background looks like they are standing on some desolate planet, looking down on Earth. What makes the painting come together is that they include their pet jaguar.
The jaguar is not just any big cat variant but is a Black Panther. The painting of the two androids with their pet cat brings the entire thing together.
Anyone Who Works for the State for 30 Years Earns a Gold Medal
This gold medal is awarded to anyone who has worked within the government for thirty years. We hope this is not the only thing you get after three decades of service in the public sector. However, if this gold medal comes with a retirement package, then this is starting to look like a pretty sweet deal. It is nice to know that anyone can get a gold medal in Sweden, not just Olympic athletes.
We wonder if people in Sweden will wear these gold medals out and about in the office space. Or is this purely ceremonial? All we know is that we want one.
1661 Theater Used for Dissecting Bodies in Front of People
Universities seek to gain new knowledge and share it with others. This is vital to anyone learning medicine, as the human body is full of undiscovered mysteries that constantly lead to new discoveries. One teaching method about the human body is doing live dissections in front of students. Let us introduce you to the University Of Uppsala's Anatomical Theatre, where they would dissect human bodies in front of dozens of students.
The room is specifically shaped to allow for a large number of people to get a clear view of the body on the table at the bottom of the room.
The Idyllic Town of Gullholmen
Sweden is known for its beautiful landscapes and gorgeous natural preserves. However, it has also perfected the perfect town. Sweden's old architectural practices of having brightly colored buildings are well represented in Old Town within the city of Stockholm, Sweden. However, that is not the only place. Right off Sweden's western coastline is the town of Gullholmen which sits on a tiny island. Captured is a picture of this island and its colorful buildings with a light snowfall blanketing the city.
The scene is beautiful and feels like a miniature of what a perfect island town would look like, but it is not some art piece but an actual town that people live in.