Arrived in Sweden this weekend and was welcomed with wonderful weather. Will be here for 2 months before going back to Singapore.
To celebrate I thought I would share some Swedish entertainment and explaining two words, Lagom and Jante, to help non-Swedes understand us better.
The funny sitcom Welcome to Sweden puts us on the spot with a lot of anecdotes and slapstick humor. So if you want to get to know all the strange things about Sweden and Swedes, this is almost a documentary.
It’s been busy times since arriving, except the regular work things, there have been some other major things to do. These three Instagram photos do summarise it quite well (at the bottom of this post). A lot of BBQ, moving the lawn (or what used to be the lawn) and get accustomed again to “mellanmjölkens land” aka the land of ‘lagom’ and ‘Jante’.
Lagom and Jante
These words, Lagom and Jante, that do not exists anywhere else.
Lagom is a Swedish word with no direct English equivalent, meaning “just the right amount”.
The Swedish-English dictionary defines lagom as “enough, sufficient, adequate, just right”. Lagom is also widely translated as “in moderation”, “in balance”, “perfect-simple”, and “suitable” (in matter of amounts). Whereas words like “sufficient” and “average” suggest some degree of abstinence, scarcity, or failure, lagom carries the connotation of appropriateness, although not necessarily perfection. The archetypical Swedish proverb “Lagom är bäst”, literally “The right amount is best”, is also translated as “Enough is as good as a feast”. That same proverb is translated as “There is virtue in moderation”.
The Law of Jante is the idea that there is a pattern of group behaviour towards individuals within Scandinavian communities that negatively portrays and criticises individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate.
Generally used colloquially in Sweden and the rest of the Nordic countries as a sociological term to negatively describe a condescending attitude towards individuality and success, the term refers to a mentality that de-emphasizes individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while discouraging those who stand out as achievers.
Sweden is a fantastic country and I have rally missed you. The air, the nature, the people and also the quality of a lot of things. Swedes and Sweden are really good at many things, we are just a bit poor on telling it to the world.