8 Things You Use Every Day and Had No Idea Were Swedish

Sweden, it’s a pretty cool place— all those ice hotels and tall individuals. A lot of us have it on our bucket list to visit this country. But I bet you didn’t know how many of the things you already use every day are of Swedish origin.

1. Spotify

spotify logo


The music streaming company (which is playing music into my ears as we speak) quaintly started as a small Swedish startup in 2008. But now, six years later, it has grown to service 40 million users. The innovative company is awesomely open about how it’s forward-thinking engineering culture made its quick growth possible.

2. Skype

skype logo

That’s right, the survival of your long-distance relationship has two Nordic men to thank. Created by Niklas Zennström of Sweden and Janus Friis of Denmark, Skype came to be with the help of technical support from Estonia. While it was first released in 2003 in beta form, by 2010 the communication service had 663 million users.

3. HM

H&M ad summer

The first clothing store of the famous chain — now represented in 53 countries — opened in Västerås, Sweden in 1947. HM currently has 2,325 stores across the globe and is ranked as the second largest clothing retailer worldwide. Also, their dresses are just so dang cute.

4. The Pacemaker portable DJ system

pacemaker portable dj systempacemaker portable dj system
globaldjnetwork.com /www.core77.com

While you likelyonly use this invention every day if you’re a DJ of some kind, it’s still a pretty nifty invention.This portable DJ system was invented by Jonas Norberg, who is in fact a Swedish DJ and engineer. You can try a free download of the app here.

5. Modern refrigerator

refrigerator swedish invention

The game-changingabsorption refrigerator(one that uses a heat source to drive the cooling process) was invented in 1922 by two precocious Swedish engineering students:Baltzar von PlatenandCarl Munters. Now you know who to mentally thank the next time you reach for thoseTGIF frozen mozzarella sticks.

6. Your first furnished apartment (because Ikea)

ikea bedroom furniture swedish

Okay, so you probably did know Ikea, the famously affordable ready-to-assemble furniture store, was Swedish (what with the subtle accents of blue and yellow throughout the store), but you likely don’t know how this company got its start. Before Ikea was the world’s largest furniture retailer it was founded in Sweden in 1943 by 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad.

7. Zippers

zipper swedish invention beige

While there were multiple people involved in the development of this time-saving device, Swedish-American Gideon Sundback played a crucial part in making the zipper what it is today. (Seriously, think how lost we would be without this invention. I don’t even want to imagine what travel would be like. Button-up luggage?!)

8. Alexander Skarsgård

Alright, so this is a person and not an invention, but I don’t have to explain why this Swede is important, do I?Not only is he a pretty stunning vampire in True Blood, he’s also gracing our screens in lovely indie roles like the part of Monroe in the boundary-pushing film The Diary of a Teenage Girl.

So yes, we have Sweden to thank for the following:

Alexander Skarsgard

Well done, Sweden.

[Lead image via Thinkstock]

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