Dating in Sweden

Sweden boasts an illustrious history that stretches back to prehistoric times, when the first settlers began to arrive on its territory around 12,000 BC. Its historical timeline is filled with significant events and eras, including the Viking Age in the late 8th century, which saw Swedish Vikings travel far across Europe, Asia, and North America, expanding their cultural influence. Sweden also holds a prominent position in European history as an influential military power during the 17th century, known as the Swedish Empire period. These historical aspects have left a profound impact on Swedish culture, contributing to the nation’s unique combination of old-world charm and innovative spirit.

When it comes to dating culture, Swedes embrace a mix of traditional values and modern norms, which can be attributed to their historical background as well. Swedish dating culture is known for its progressive nature, mirroring the country’s strong emphasis on gender equality and individualism that evolved through history. Swedes often champion independence and directness in romantic relationships, with the concept of ‘sambo‘, or cohabitation before marriage, being widely accepted. At the same time, the historical importance of social harmony, a principle known as ‘lagom‘, meaning ‘just the right amount’, is visible in their dating norms. This promotes balance and respect in relationships, with neither party being expected to dominate. Thus, the intertwining of history and present societal values makes Swedish dating culture a fascinating blend of tradition and progressiveness.

dating in Sweden
Stockholm, Sweden – Sodermalm district

Sweden is known for its progressive and egalitarian society, and this is reflected in its dating culture. The Swedish approach to dating is generally more relaxed and informal compared to some other countries, with a strong emphasis on gender equality and mutual respect. Swedes tend to be reserved and respectful in their interactions with others, and they value honesty, direct communication, and mutual consent in romantic relationship.

As part of the greater European dating scene, the dating culture in Sweden represents rich of traditions, customs, and norms that have evolved over centuries, influenced by historical events, societal changes, and the diverse cultural heritage of the continent. European dating culture is not homogenous; it varies significantly from one country to another, offering a fascinating study in cultural diversity. Therefore, the way that Swedes date can be different that other Europeans do.

As we hope you will find in this article, dating in Sweden is a fascinating subject, reflecting the diversity of cultures, traditions, and societal norms on the European continent. As society evolves and intercultural interactions increase, these customs continue to intermingle and evolve, creating a dynamic and intriguing Swede dating scene.

Interesting facts about dating in Sweden

  1. Swedes often don’t use the word “date.” Instead, they might ask someone to “hang out” or “meet up” without labeling it as a formal date.
  2. In Sweden, it’s common for couples to live together and have children before getting married. Marriage is seen as more of a personal choice rather than a societal expectation.
  3. Swedes are known for their love of “fika,” which is a coffee break that often involves pastries or cakes. Many Swedish couples will go on fika dates as a casual and low-pressure way to get to know each other.
  4. The concept of “jantelagen,” or “the law of Jante,” emphasizes humility and discourages individualism. This can sometimes make Swedes hesitant to boast about their achievements or express their feelings too openly in romantic relationships.
  5. Swedes often value privacy and personal space in their relationships, and it’s common for couples to have separate apartments or living spaces. This can help maintain a healthy level of independence and prevent feelings of suffocation or dependence in the relationship.
  6. Gender equality is a key aspect of Swedish dating culture, with both men and women expected to take an active role in pursuing and maintaining relationships.
  7. Swedes tend to be environmentally conscious and eco-friendly, and this often extends to their dating preferences. Many Swedish couples will go on “nature dates” such as hiking or biking to enjoy the beautiful natural scenery.
  8. In Swedish culture, there is no set timeline or expectation for when couples should become exclusive or “official.” Instead, relationships tend to evolve naturally over time.
  9. Swedes often place a high value on honesty and authenticity in their romantic relationships, and they tend to be straightforward and direct in their communication.
  10. Swedish weddings often incorporate traditional elements such as a church ceremony and a reception with speeches and dancing, but they also tend to have a more casual and relaxed vibe compared to some other cultures.

Most Romantic Day in Sweden

While Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Sweden, it’s not considered the most romantic day of the year. Instead, many Swedes celebrate “Alla hjärtans dag,” or “All Hearts’ Day,” on February 14th. This holiday is similar to Valentine’s Day in that it celebrates love and romantic relationships, but it’s also a day to show appreciation for all the important people in your life, not just your romantic partner.

While Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Sweden, it’s not considered the most romantic day of the year. Instead, many Swedes celebrate “Alla hjärtans dag,” or “All Hearts’ Day,” on February 14th. This holiday is similar to Valentine’s Day in that it celebrates love and romantic relationships, but it’s also a day to show appreciation for all the important people in your life, not just your romantic partner. It is however on the same day, so it is easy to associate it with Valentine’s Day.

Swedish Midsummer's day
Midsommar in Sweden

In addition to Alla hjärtans dag, Swedes also celebrate “Midsommar,” or Midsummer, which is the longest day of the year and typically falls on the weekend closest to June 21st. This holiday is a time for feasting, dancing, and celebrating with friends and family, and it’s often seen as a romantic time to spend with a significant other.

Another romantic holiday in Sweden is “Lucia,” which is celebrated on December 13th. This holiday is named after Saint Lucia and involves a procession of people dressed in white carrying candles and singing traditional songs. It’s seen as a time to celebrate light and hope during the dark winter months, and many Swedes view it as a romantic time to spend with their partners.

Overall, while Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Sweden, there are other holidays throughout the year that are considered just as or even more romantic. Alla hjärtans dag, Midsommar, and Lucia all provide opportunities for Swedes to show their love and appreciation for their partners and loved ones.

Typical First Date in Sweden

Dating is quite normal in most European countries, especially large cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmo. First dates among Swedish singles tend to be quite casual in nature, but what a couple decides to do depends on a number of factors.

First, how they met is somewhat relevant. If it was a situation where there is an expectation or high intention, such as a dating app, then their date may be more formal and focused. Secondly, personal beliefs (i.e. religion) and goals. Thirdly, socioeconomic factors and where the couple is located are also taken into consideration.

Even though there is some variation in a first date in Sweden, generally, it should be somewhat informal and casual with a focus on getting to know your date. It could be a coffee, a drink, or a walk – regardless, it is ideal to choose a setting where you can chat openly, vibe check, and lastly see if there is a good connection and potential for continuing the relationship.

If you are looking for suggestions, here are a few ideas for first dates in Sweden:

  • Coffee or drinks: The most common first dates in Sweden tend to be at a cafe or bar. Many Swedes prefer to meet for a “fika,” or coffee and pastry, as a way to break the ice and enjoy a low-pressure conversation. Cafe culture is quite important and it makes for a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Dinner: If you start with coffee or drinks, your date may progress to lunch or dinner (or even breakfast). Sweden has a range of food options from casual street food to fine dining. Try a favorite or discover a new Swede speciality.
  • Museums or art exhibitions: Europe is known for its affinity to the arts. Many cities like, Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmo, have a great museum scene. For an intellectually stimulating date in Sweden, perhaps try the arts. Bring out your inner sapiosexual.
  • Outdoor activities: If the weather is nice, Sweden has some great outdoor activities. If you are located near some nature spots, hiking/walking, picnic, biking or even a combination of activities could be a great first date.

Dating etiquette and social cues

The majority of Europeans, including most Swedes are pretty similar when it comes to social cues. Though there are definite differences between cultures, most cues are somewhat standardized. Much like we can think of dating in East Asia as unique, dating in Europe is somewhat unique to itself.

Here are a few common tips for social cues and dating etiquette in Sweden:

  • Communication Style: As a whole, Europeans often value directness and honesty in communication. This can be reflected in dating, where it is generally appreciated to be clear about your intentions and feelings.
  • Conversation Topics: Many Swedes enjoy deep, meaningful conversations, including discussing global current events, culture, history, and personal passions. However, it is generally wise to avoid controversial topics on a first date.
  • Dress Code: For most, Swedes dressing well is for dates as it is a form of self presentation. It is a sign of respect to the other person and indicates that you have put thought and effort into the meeting.
  • Modesty: Boasting can be seen as unattractive in Sweden. It is often more appreciated to be humble and let your actions speak for themselves.
  • Politeness and Manners: Good manners are appreciated across Sweden. This could be as simple as saying \”please\” and \”thank you,\” or more specific customs like waiting for everyone to be served before eating.
  • Independence: Both parties in a dating scenario are generally expected to be independent. This can manifest in various ways, such as splitting the bill, planning dates, transportation, and personal space.
  • Punctuality: A controversial topic in Europe but punctuality is generally important for dating in Sweden. Being late could be perceived as a lack of interest or respect. That being said, if you are into multicultural dating you might be in for some fun. In some countries like Germany or Switzerland, it is considered rude to be even a few minutes late while in Spain or Italy time is more of a guideline than an exact number.
  • Public displays of affection (PDA): To a degree, public displays of affection, or PDA, can be more common in Sweden, especially in cities, than in places like Southeast Asia. Light kissing, hugging and hand holding are typically completely normal in Swede society. Pay attention to the body language of your date and cues to determine what is appropriate.
  • End of the date: How the date ends can also convey a lot. Walking the other person to their car or home, or arranging for their safe return, is often seen as a sign of care and respect. If both parties enjoyed the date, it is common to express interest in meeting again.

The importance of language

Though compact, Europe is a linguistically diverse continent. This is diversity is evident in the dating scene as well, where many lovers find themselves in multicultural situations. In Sweden and other parts of Europe, language knowledge is frequently an integral part of getting to know someone new.

In Europe, typically each country, like Sweden, has at least one main language spoken inside it sometimes more than one. Officially in Sweden, Swedish is the only language. However, since Swedish shares the same roots as other Scandinavian languages Swedes will often have familiarity with them as well. In the north of Sweden, called Lapland, the Lappish language, also known as Sámi is spoken. Further, because there has been significant immigration in recent years, it is in not uncommon to find Arabic, Turkish, Romani, Somali or other language speakers as well.

As the distance between countries and cultures inside of Europe is small, most Swedes are multilingual. Swedes are often highly competent in English. Further as Sweden borders Norway, Finland and Denmark (via maritime border), students will often study and/or have familiarity with Norwegian, Finnish or Danish for practical reasons. This is especially true in bordering towns and cities since the need to use the language in everyday life is tangible.

If you are a foreigner or tourist, we do always recommend learning language and studying local culture. Language is incredibly important form of human connection and knowing some of the local language will greatly enhance your experience. It may not be possible to learn all languages, especially if backpacking through, but relying on your English is limiting and alienating. If you can learn to speak basic or intermediate level Swedish, a few phrases will go a long way. Nothing shows your date more respect than genuinely learning about his or her culture.

While many Swedes will also speak English or other languages, being able to communicate in any other local language can help to build stronger relationships with, facilitate communication in a variety of contexts and gain respect or trust with Swedes. It is a win-win situation for you and Swede culture.

Is Sweden gay friendly?

When it comes to gay friendliness and LGBTQ+ tolerance, Europe tends to lead the world, with countries like Sweden and Iceland in Scandinavia among the most supportive1. The culture of Sweden tends to be very liberal and therefore the average Swede likely has a relatively open view of homosexuality2. Though this might be the average generalization, the personal beliefs among individual Swedes may vary greatly across the scale.

Per the ILGA, homosexuality is legal in Sweden. For LGBTQ+ daters, you should know that Sweden has constitutional protections for sexual orientation. Therefore, protections for the Swedish LGBTQ community are typically quite high3.

gay pride in Spain

Same-sex sexual activity has been legal in Sweden since 1944, and same-sex marriage has been legal since 2009. The country has strong anti-discrimination laws and actively promotes LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance.

In addition, Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, has a vibrant and visible LGBTQ+ community, with many bars, clubs, and events catering to the community. The annual Stockholm Pride festival is one of the largest LGBTQ+ events in Europe and attracts visitors from around the world.

There are several popular gay dating apps in Sweden. Apps like Grindr and Tinder, have in-app protections in place for gay travelers looking to meet locals. Dating apps with features like these can be huge allies to the LGBTQ community.

Gender roles

In Europe, the concept of gender roles in dating is as diverse as the continent itself, with traditions and norms varying significantly from one country to another, reflecting each unique cultural and societal value by region. However, it is important to note that these are generalizations and individual experiences can vary widely as they do in Sweden and for the greater Swede community.

While these general patterns can provide a broad understanding of Sweden dating cultures, it is crucial to remember that individual behaviors and expectations can differ greatly. With the increasing influence of global media, migration, and the principles of gender equality, traditional gender roles are continually being challenged and reshaped. Furthermore among Swedes, personal beliefs, education, and exposure to other cultures also play a significant role in the approach to dating and relationships.

Best way to meet singles in Sweden

In general, most European destinations are exciting places to meet and mingle with singles. This is also true of Sweden in popular destinations like Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmo. Depending on your preferences and comfort level you will be able to find plenty of activities for socializing in Sweden, especially during the summer months when Swedes tend to spend lots of time outdoors.

If you are ready to meet singles in Sweden, here are 7 general methods that can be helpful:

  • Social Events: Europe has a rich culture of social events, including music festivals, local carnivals, food and wine tasting events, art exhibitions, and more. These can be great places to meet like-minded Swede singles.
  • Nightlife: The nightlife scene in many European cities is vibrant and diverse. Whether you prefer bustling clubs, cozy bars, or live music venues, there is something for everyone. Cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmo are the most well renowned for their nightlife in Sweden.
  • Meetup groups, professional organizations and language exchange events: Websites like Meetup, Couchsurfing, InterNations and others offer a variety of group activities based on shared interests. Though they are not dating apps, they offer ways to expand ones social circle, which is important to having a healthy dating life. Language exchange events are common and are a great way to meet locals and other travelers alike. Who knows, maybe your soul mate is traveling through. Regardless, this can be a more relaxed and natural way to meet Swede singles with no expectations.
  • Sports Clubs and Outdoor Activities: Europeans love their sports and outdoor activities. Joining a local sports club or participating in activities such as hiking, cycling, or skiing trips can be a fun way to meet Swede singles.
  • Volunteering: Volunteering for local causes or events can provide a meaningful way to connect with others and contribute to the Swede community.
  • Through Friends and Acquaintances: Often, meeting new people can be as simple as getting to know the friends of your friends. Do not be shy about asking to be introduced. However, exercise caution about dating friends of friends as this can sometimes jeopardize your friendships.
  • Online Dating: If all else fails, there is always online dating to save the day. Online dating has become increasingly popular in Sweden in recent years. Major websites and apps like Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, and local platforms like Meetic in France, Lovoo in Germany, and Badoo, which is popular in many southern and eastern European countries, can all help you connect with local Swede singles.

Is it safe to date people in Sweden?

Life in Sweden is generally quite safe. There are always bad neighborhoods or less safe crowds, but general in large cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmo, safety should hopefully not be a major concern in normal circumstances. That being said, here are some tips which can help you to stay safe while dating in Sweden:

Stockholm old town city skyline at sunset
  • Lookup your date: If you have any doubts about the person, perhaps do a quick online search to verify their identity. If you find they have some presence on professional networks or social media you can review their profiles.
  • Choose a reputable dating platform: There are many different dating apps, use a trusted and reliable app or website that requires identity verification. These apps can help weed out fake profiles and scammers with their powerful AI metrics.
  • Use the messaging service on the dating app: In many cases, it is safer to use the messaging service provided by the dating site until you are comfortable sharing your contact details. This is because dating companies have a record of your chat but also because you can easily disconnect with someone should you feel uncomfortable.
  • Keep personal information private: In general, you should never share sensitive information like your financial details, address for where you live or other private information with someone you have just met. This can be more true with someone you met online.
  • Tell someone about your plans: It can be a good practice to tell a trusted friend or family member your dating plans. For example, where you are going, who you are meeting, and when you expect to return. If they do not hear from you by that time, then you can call to check on you. You can also ask them to call at a certain time to check on you.
  • Meet in public: On your first few dates, meet in a public place like a café or a park where there are plenty of people around. In a cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmo, it should be quite easy to find a nice public space.
  • Stay sober: If you drink alcohol on your first date, consider limiting your intake at first to ensure that you really get to know the person and are fully aware of your surroundings. Because alcohol can impair your judgment, it is safer to drink less when you first get to know someone.
  • Trust your gut: Our instincts often know more than we give them credit for. If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts and do not feel obliged to stay in a situation that makes you uncomfortable. Remove yourself from a bad situation when it feels right to do so.
  • Safe sex: Safe sex is smart sex. If you decide to become intimate with your date, remember to practice safe sex. This includes using protection and getting regular check-ups for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Remember, safety first. It is important to take precautions and use common sense when dating in Sweden, whether online or offline.

Dating scams in Sweden

Every day across the digital world, dating scams prey upon lonely and naive people online. This is just as true in Sweden as it is anywhere else in the world. Dating scams online are rampant and can happen to anyone. It is always a good practice to be careful and approach online dating in Sweden with caution.

Getting to know someone new, whether in real life or digitally, can and should be a fun process. It is important to build trust and use good judgement before sharing personal details.

In terms of dating scams specific to Sweden, we do not currently know any. However, across the world these common dating scams which are widely reported on dating apps and websites:

  • Catfishing: One of the most common is simply catfishing. Catfishing is essentially when someone presents themself as someone else using fake profile information, stolen or altered photos. Usually, they will use attractive pictures to lure in a person, but in reality they are quite different.
  • Gift Scams: After forming a relationship with you, scammers might ask for expensive gifts or money to buy such gifts for you. Once the gifts or money are received, they will disappear.
  • Advanced Fee Fraud: If you check your spam inbox you will likely see a few emails like this. Most commonly, they come from countries West African countries like Ghana or Nigeria, but can originate from anywhere. Usually the scammer forms a relationship with the victim and then asks for money to help them access a large sum of money they have supposedly inherited but cannot access. If it sounds to good to be true, then it usually is.4
  • Military Scams: In these scams, fraudsters pose as Swede military personnel who are serving overseas or outside of Sweden. They form a relationship with the victim and then ask for money, often claiming that it is for a leave application, medical expenses, or other fabricated reasons.

This is not an all inclusive list of dating scams. Scammers are constantly coming up with new ways to take advantage of people. Be vigilant.

Online dating in Sweden

The state of online dating in Sweden is an interesting one. The digital transformation of Europe and adoption of social technologies has definitely impacted the way that modern Swedes date along their single journey.

Unlike Africa, where growth in the online dating industry has been slow, many Europeans were early adopters to the dating industry. In fact, some of the oldest online dating websites are European.

With a population of around 10.3 million5, there are plenty of Swedish singles to support online dating platforms. Though many Swedes are more open to the idea of online dating in Sweden, cultural and historical influences still impact the Swede dating scene today.

How has online dating been effective

Swedes are generally quite open to multiculturalism. After all, “Unity in diversity” is one of the core tenants of the European Union. Since Sweden is a member of the European Union, Swedes are likely to place value in this ideal.

Keeping this in mind, dating apps are great ways to meet people from different backgrounds. The reason is because there are opportunities to meet people outside of your personal social network or social circles. People living on the border with Norway, Finland or Denmark might even find a match abroad.

Most dating apps and websites are quite accessible to Swedes. Though not every dating app will localize for Swedish, some apps will, especially large international dating apps. Swedes also have a high comprehension of language so it is usually not a problem.

While not all Swedes are affluent, the majority can afford technology. Most young Swedes will have at least smart phone or computer, which will give them access to a dating app or dating site respectively.

Dating apps in Europe

Another important reason why online dating is somewhat popular is because casual relationships are typically normal in mainstream Swede culture. Though individual Swedes will have personal preferences, social dating is very common across Sweden and the greater European region. Views towards premarital sex, marriage, and romantic relationships are generally quite fluid among Swedes.

Many Swedes view online dating as a way to level the playing field and make it easier for both men and women to pursue relationships on equal footing.

However, religious Swedes may hold more traditional beliefs or practices. Particularly, native European Christians, Jews and Muslims or even immigrants living in Sweden may choose do date or marry within their respective community to preserve and adhere to their cultural roots.

Challenges with online dating in Europe

Though Swedes are increasingly more open to online dating, the industry in Sweden is not without its challenges. Here are a few considerations which may help to explain why online dating in Swede might not be popular with all single daters.

First, dating apps are often viewed as superficial and lacking substance. Swedes tend to be cultured and give great importance to social interactions. Since many dating apps like Tinder, are focused on a hot or not concept, they are not overly appealing to many Swedes. Instead of judging someone purely on their outward physical appearance, Swedes are looking for deeper value and connection from a potential partner. Though Tinder may not offer this, other apps like Hinge do. Therefore, certain dating apps may be more popular than others in Sweden.

Second, there are security concerns with online dating and American tech companies in general. In addition to the number of popular online dating scams in circulation, data privacy is major concern for Swedes. After all, Europe led the charge with their insistence of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law which forced all tech companies to comply. Though we think this is a great thing for consumers, it presents a challenge for tech companies who have a history of collecting large amounts of personal data on their users. This is especially in online dating where lots of personal information might be exchanged.

Third, another obstacle for online dating in Sweden is the fact that it is already quite easy for Swedes to meet other singles. Swedes spend a lot of time walking around or in commute. In addition, Sweden has a relatively vibrant night life and social scene. Swedish singles can easily meet in a cafe or any other public setting. Therefore there is lack of need when compared to North American countries like the United States or Canada.

Another important and subtle challenge for online dating in Sweden is the simple fact that it has an aging population. While regions like Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia have young and growing populations, the population in Europe is actually in decline. As of 2020, the median age in Europe was 42.5, while 41 in Sweden.6

While this list of challenges for online the dating industry in Sweden is not inclusive, these four points highlight some of the obstacles dating apps might face there.

Top dating apps in Sweden

As we have just discussed, online dating in Sweden is a relatively mature industry. Most Swedes, have likely tried a dating app or website in Sweden at least once. It is possible that they used the app while living abroad or perhaps they wanted to meet other local Swedish singles. Regardless, there are a number of popular dating apps in Sweden.

As European markets tend to be viable, most dating site and app companies have localized their apps into Swedish or at least other languages which Swedish might commonly speak. Therefore, knowledge of dating apps and how to use them, is usually strong.

That being said, here are the top dating apps in Sweden:

  • Badoo – a popular dating app in most of European countries.
  • Bumble – a niche dating app where Swedes women have the ability to make the first move.
  • Happn – a dating app that functions based off of your daily location and who you might cross paths with in real life
  • Tinder – traditionally one of the more popular dating apps in Europe, definitely in terms of brand recognition


1 European views on homosexuality:

2 & 3 Swede views on sexual orientation and homosexuality

4 Popular dating scams as it relates to Sweden:

5 Population by country:

6 European median age, and median age for Sweden