Thursday, August 19, 2010


The Swedish language actually has a word for Swedes living abroad: utlandssvenskar. The literal translation would be abroad-Swedes, or Swedes abroad. I've asked a few people, but I haven't been able to find another language, or culture, that makes the same distinction.

The connotations of 'Swedes living abroad' are not positive. The stereotype is negative: someone who retires early, moves to a warm and sunny climate, and from that vantage point proceeds to criticize the old homeland, while at the same time growing increasingly out of touch with what actually goes on there.

Obviously this is interesting to me because I am one of those Swedes living abroad, and I don't think the stereotype applies to me. I keep wondering why this category exists, what that reveals about Swedish culture. I haven't been able to come up with a good answer.

1 comment:

Taina said...

Hm det här var ju intressant. Har inte tänkt på det, finne som jag är och som emigrerade till Sverige och nu USA. Jag använder i och för sig inte uttrycket utlandssvensk på mig själv. Känner inte igen mig i det. Inte heller finländare utomlands. Jag är jag och platsen jag bor på ändrar inte min "status" på något vis.