Swedish Businessmen with Backpacks

When I see one of these men in a foreign airport

I go straight to him and say

“Hej, vad heter du?”

There is a long silence

And the usual answer is

“Hur visste du att jag var svensk??”

(How did you know I was Swedish?)

It works every time

And then I usually give them a book

I made great business contacts that way


While a man in a suit wearing a backpack

is a common sight in Sweden

It may be slightly unexpected in other places around the world

In many countries

those who carry things on their shoulders

are either students

Or workers doing manual labor

For Swedes

It is just more practical to have a backpack

You never know if you will need to climb a mountain

Or carry your food over several kilometers

Putting it on top of an expensive suit is no problem


In societies where social classes are more present than in Sweden

(This is more or less the rest of the world)

Locals may have difficulties to know how to relate to you

Not give you the credibility you deserve

Or sit you at the wrong place during a reception

Learn more about how you may be perceived by non-Swedes in

 "The Social Guidebook to Sweden"

By Julien S. Bourrelle

Watch him on TED

Book a lecture  julien@thesocialguidebook.se