Sweden has become the first country in the world to have its own phone number, which people from around the world can call to speak to a Swedish person about anything they like.

The Swedish Tourist Association is behind the initiative, which was launched in time to celebrate the country’s 250th anniversary of abolishing censorship.

From IKEA to fika

The idea is to spark people’s curiosity about Sweden, particularly the culture, nature and mind-set of the people. While some may phone to discuss clichéd Swedish things — the Northern Lights, IKEA furniture, meatballs, Abba, and Volvo cars to name but a few — it’s also an opportunity to find out about local ways of life. Find out about fika — taking time out for coffee and cake, and lagom — which means ‘just the right amount’. And of course, find out about neighbourhood gems and local pastimes to do when visiting the country too.

Anyone who lives in Sweden can be an ambassador for The Swedish Number, meaning the chance of being connected to the same Swede twice is unlikely. In just a few phone calls, multiple perspectives on the country can be gained, for callers to weave together unique sets of stories of Sweden and Swedish people.

Worldwide Swedish curiosity

Since the service launched at the beginning of April 2016, almost 100,000 calls to Swedes have been made, with a total call duration of almost 190 days. People in the USA, UK, Turkey, the Netherlands, China, Austria and Russia have placed the most calls so far, but people have phoned from 174 different countries. The average call lasts just under three minutes.

Phone The Swedish Number on +46 771 793 336

Website: The Swedish Number