Gamla Stan is the Old Town in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo by istock

Sweden has had enough. After decades of confusion, Sweden is tired of being mixed up with Switzerland. And Switzerland is probably just as tired of being mixed up with Sweden.

It’s a common mix-up that has led to countless humorous anecdotes and, in some cases, life-altering experiences. But now, Sweden is taking a stand to end this confusion once and for all.

Google Searches Reveal Confusion

To truly appreciate the extent of this mix-up, consider the fact that 85,000 Google searches originated from the United States last year asking: “Are Sweden and Switzerland the same?”

Visit Sweden, the folks responsible for luring you to Sweden’s charm, then decided to do a little sleuthing. They conducted a survey to peek into people’s perceptions of these two European gems.

And the results? Well, they make it pretty clear that even half of the surveyed population couldn’t quite tell their Swedish meatballs from their Swiss chocolate.

Swedish coastline
Sweden has more than 2,000 miles of coastline. Photo by Halland/

A Solution for Decades of Confusion

Sweden decided they should request Switzerland’s help in a little country-culture crash course. They launched a light-hearted campaign aimed at highlighting the unique attributes that set it apart from its Swiss counterpart.

For instance, over 80% of survey respondents associated both Sweden and Switzerland with mountaintops, yet less than 20% connected Sweden with its stunning coastline that stretches for nearly 2,000 miles.

Even natural wonders like the Northern Lights were occasionally attributed to Switzerland, despite this phenomenon being a proud Swedish claim to fame. And let’s not even get started on the topic of meatballs.

Northern Lights in Sweden
Northern Lights in Sweden. Photo by Akerstrom/

READ: Top 10 Places to View the Northern Lights

However, the consequences of this confusion extend beyond minor mix-ups. One in 10 respondents admitted to booking, or nearly booking, a flight, tour, or activity in the wrong country when planning a visit to Sweden or Switzerland.

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A Proposal from Sweden to Switzerland

In response to this ongoing issue, Visit Sweden is humorously reaching out to its European neighbor, Switzerland, with the goal of highlighting the distinctions between the two countries. While the names of the nations cannot be changed, their identities can be made more distinct.

Sweden aims to emphasize the luxury of a different nature that it offers, contrasting it with Switzerland’s reputation as the pinnacle of luxury. Susanne Andersson, CEO at Visit Sweden, states, “If people struggle to separate our two countries, we need to help them. We can’t change the names of our nations, but we can become more distinct.”

Lakes in Sweden
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Visit Sweden

The campaign from Sweden to Switzerland proposes a clear division of attributes: “We will be able to celebrate attributes like sandbanks, rooftops, and silence. Meanwhile, Switzerland will focus on banks, mountain tops, and yodeling.”

With a dash of humor, Sweden is on a mission to untangle this long-standing web of confusion and make sure future tourists don’t have an identity crisis on vacation.

From frolicking through charming island clusters in the archipelagos to being bedazzled by the alluring Northern Lights, Sweden is the home of an extraordinary and totally accessible style of luxury that’s as different from Switzerland’s as cheese is from Swedish meatballs.

The full proposition and information about Sweden can be read and signed at with the goal that hopefully, in the future, tourists will know that they are visiting Sweden (and not Switzerland).

It’s a whimsical fix for a mix-up that’s been cooking for decades, and it’s sure to leave tourists with crystal-clear travel plans and a hearty dose of amusement for everyone who’s ever been befuddled.

Read More About Travel in Sweden

Read More About Travel in Switzerland

Janna Graber
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