Some of us cross borders for the thrill of exploring new destinations. Others do it to attend an important business meeting and, of course, many of us do it for love: to visit family and loved ones who live abroad. No matter your reason, it’s something that takes preparation, some form of documentation and usually a substantial amount of money—definitely not something you’d do several times a day, for convenience purposes. Unless you live in Scandinavia, that is.
For a Scandinavian (or a Nordic country citizen, for that matter), borders are a more fluid thing than for the rest of the world. If you’re crossing from Sweden to Norway with your car, for instance, nothing really happens; nobody will stop you or demand to see your papers (of course there are cameras that monitor any suspicious behavior). Also, everybody will understand you: all three Scandinavian languages are mutually intelligible, so if you’re fluent in Danish let’s say, you’ll have little problem understanding a Swede or a Norwegian. This lack of barriers, both physical and intellectual, has created some peculiar habits in everyday Scandinavian life. Ready to see why most Scandis cross the borders on a daily basis?
For their 9-to-5
Believe it or not, there are many Swedes who work in Norway…who then take the train back to Sweden in the afternoon. The main reason? Norwegian salaries are considerably higher, but so is the cost of living—so by working in Norway and paying rent in Sweden you’re getting the best of both worlds.
For their grocery, alcohol and tobacco shopping
For all their similarities, the Scandinavians have one crucial difference: their currencies. Norwegian krone (NOK), Swedish krona (SEK) and Danish krone (DKK) all have slightly different values, with the Danish krone being the strongest currency of the three, and the Swedish krona being the weakest. Norway is the most expensive country, especially when it comes to alcohol and tobacco. As a result, Norwegians will routinely cross the borders to Sweden to visit a Systembolaget (the Swedish version of a vinmonopol) to buy alcohol, or just to do their grocery shopping for the month. As for the Swedes, they just take a ferry to Denmark to shop there, where everything is cheaper. (The Danes go to Germany for the same reason, but that’s a different story.)
For a (Tinder) date
It may sound like overkill, but hear us out: the Tinder app gives you the option of setting your profile’s radius up to 150 kilometers—which means you can be visible to people 150 kilometers away from you. In Scandinavia, that could very well mean matching with someone from a nearby country.
As for crossing the border just for a date? Keeping in mind that a train ticket costs more or less the same as a drink, cross-country dating is not that bizarre after all. If you’re coming from Norway it will actually be cheaper for you to go out in Sweden for dinner or drinks, and same rule applies if you’re coming from Sweden to Denmark. So, just swipe right and hop on a train.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.