The Nordic Miracle. A phenomenon of the social, political, medical, educational, technological kind. The belief that the Scandinavian trio (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) can do little wrong, that their books are the ones the rest of the world should be dog-marking.
But is Sweden true to its utopian allure that it casts on foreigners, promising a happy society, sleek design, and gender equality?
As I have previously discussed, there is more to this country than most first-time Scandinavian travellers might expect. Sweden’s antithetical dark side has recently been made known internationally by several influential writers:
- In his witty book ‘The Almost Nearly Perfect People‘, Michael Booth imparts some surprisingly disturbing details diminishing Sweden’s idyllic image. Despite its apparent egalitarianism, Sweden is one of the world’s largest weaponry manufacturers. He also focuses on consumerist influences and Sweden’s rigid social conformity, undermining the Nordic model for which Sweden is so famous among foreigners (see more).
- Most travellers wouldn’t be aware of Sweden’s emerging xenophobic attitude, influenced by the recent prominence of right-wing groups and the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigration party. These are the kinds of ideas Swedish author Stieg Larsson echoed in his leftist journalism. Moreover, his novel ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo‘ reveals a darker side of Sweden, alluding to crimes against women despite its supposed gender equality, among other issues.
This begs the question, is it right for Sweden to maintain its sublime image when it’s merely an ideal, continuing to fool the world? Or is the solution to suddenly broadcast all of Sweden’s dark side for potential travellers and visitors to see?
No matter what you believe, I remain ambivalent until I have the opportunity to be a well-informed, culturally-aware, smart traveller by seeing Sweden’s dark side for myself.