What is the difference between Sweden and Switzerland?

Many times, both in sports and other contexts, people mix up Sweden and Switzerland. In this post we will explain the differences and similarities between the two countries. We begin with some basic facts and then have a look at sports and culture.

Basic facts

Both Sweden and Switzerland are European countries. While both claim to be neutral in politics and war, it is safe to say that Switzerland have true neutrality while Sweden often take (informal) stands. Sweden is a member of the European Union while Switzerland is not. Geographically Sweden resides in northern Europe and is a part of Scandinavia and the Nordic countries. Closest neighbours are Norway and Finland. Switzerland lies in central Europe and have borders to France, Germany, Italy, Austria and Liechtenstein. Switzerland is famous for their alps with Matterhorn being one of the more famous mountains with its 4478 m above the sea. However, the highest mountain in Switzerland is Dufourspitze (4634m). Sweden also have alps, although in lesser scale. The highest mountain in Sweden (Kebnekaise) measures 2106 metres above the sea. A few summer’s ago, the editorial staff of Chicken Swedes reached Kebnekaise’s summit after a long walk 🙂

Both Sweden and Switzerland are democraties, however Switzerland is mostly famous for their direct democracy. Both countries have strong independent local regions. Switzerland is officially a federation while Sweden is a constitutional Monarchy. The Swedish king has no legislative power. The capital of Switzerland is Bern and the capital of Sweden is Stockholm. Sweden has almost 10 million inhabitans and Switzerland havs 8 million. In Sweden, Swedish is the official language while Switzerland have four languages: German, French, Italian and Romansh.

Sports in Sweden and Switzerland

When it comes to sports, ice hockey is a big thing in both countries. However, there are no big rivalry between these two nations. While Sweden is an established hockey nation that have had a number of big star in the National Hockey League (such as Börje Salming, Peter Forsberg and Daniel Alfredsson) and many triumphs with the national team (10 World Championships gold medals, the latest from 2017. In 2013 we won the IIHF hockey final against Switzerland. Sweden also have 2 Olympic gold medals). The Swiss hockey league is well known in Europe and generally, the salaries are better there than in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). The silver medal in the 2013 World Championships was a big success for Switzerland. Before that we have to go way back to find medals for the Swiss national team: A World Championship silver from 1935, Gold in the 1926 European Championships and two Olympic bronze medals (1928 and 1948).

Soccer is another big sport in both Switzerland and Sweden. Switzerland made it to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. They got eliminated by finalist Argentina in the round of 16. In Sweden, soccer is profiled as the “National Sport”, however the competition from hockey and individual sports is fierce. Switzerlands best result in the World Cup is quarter final. Sweden has a silver medal from 1958. The latest success was a bronze in the 1994 FIFA World Cup in USA. Sweden beat Switzerland in the 2018 World Cup round of 16. When it comes to individual sports, Switzerland has a number of good alpine skiers, while Sweden is more of a nordic ski country. However, Dario Cologna is an excellent Swiss nordic skiier and Swedish women such as Pernilla Wiberg and Anja Pärson were dominant in downhill.

Other interesting facts

When it comes to culture and crafting, Switzerland is famous for excellent clockworks, army knives and cheese. Swedish industry was dominating with car and airplane manufacturing in the 1900’s, but now the car manufactors have been sold to USA and China. Currently, the Swedish service sector is growing thanks to globalization and digitalization forces. Switzerland have a famous cheese. Sweden has sour fish. For real!

Ok, so how do we conclude this post? Some key points:

  • Sweden and Switzerland have some common political features. However, Switzerland is more formal in their standings while Sweden is more informal.
  • Sweden and Switzerland are big winter sports nations, with Sweden being dominant in ice hockey and nordic skiing, while Switzerland have many prominent alpine skiiers.
  • Switzerland is an excellent crafting nation. Sweden is a dusty industrial nation, currently transforming into a digital economy.
  • Both countries have stinky food, but Sweden’s food is the stinkiest!

More info:

Sweden at Wikipedia

Switzerland at Wikipedia