7 Surprising Things That Florida and Sweden Have in Common

When you think of Florida and Sweden it's not likely that you will have the same associations. Still, these two culturally and geographically different areas have more things in common than one could imagine.

Sweden gave us Abba, Bergman, Greta Garbo, Absolut Vodka, Volvo, Alfred Nobel, and Florida gave us Miami Vice. In Sweden old means centuries ago, in Florida art deco style area is considered historical. But there are similarities between the two that you probably haven’t ever thought of.

And just in case you’ve got the other idea, I’m a huge fan of South Florida, although not a fan of the series and not a fan of Don Johnson.

1. Sunny Delights

People are drawn to Florida thanks to sun. Florida is known as Sunshine State. Even though rain is a daily thing in the summer, it doesn’t take long after pouring rain to see the clear sky again.

In Florida, you may feel cold. Let’s say you forget that you sleep without your lover and leave the AC on the same low temperature as the night he was there. But it’s not likely you will feel cold in Florida without AC.

You can jump into the Ocean anytime of the year in South Florida while water in Sweden even in the peak summer season is not for the faint of heart. In Sweden, they hardly see any sun in the winter. But it’s the summers that earned Sweden its nickname – Land of the midnight sun.

One hundred days without darkness, that is the midnight sun. It is visible in clear weather and best seen from an elevated position where the horizon is not obscured. The further north you travel, the longer you will see the midnight sun. At times, it makes me think that’s not fair.

I want to sip some fresh squeezed juice on the warm beach and have sunset after midnight. But I manage with moonlit South Beach. As long as I can wear not much more than my bikini, I’ll live. But there’s one occasion that would make me put on sweaters and jackets without complaining. It’s another night spectacle that Sweden offers – northern Lights, winter Sky spectacular.

Seeing that glow in a variety of colors across the heavens is something extraordinary, completely different from anything else you might see in the sky. The most intensive part of the Northern Lights often lasts for less than ten minutes. Some more intense pleasures last less than that.

Give me one night, one glimpse of Aurora Borealis and the rest of the year I’ll hang on the beach. Lauderdale by the Sea. I’ll chose Florida over Sweden any day, but I’ll pick Swede over American. Maybe I say that just because of the one Swede that made snow covered Kebne feel hot. But then again with the same Swede I didn’t have to reach any mountain peaks to feel high. Florida is as flat as it gets and still, with him, I felt on top of the world.

2. Nature and Naturists

sunset on long pines key lake in everglades national park

Swedish first nine National Parks were created in 1909 as the first of their kind in Europe. Presently there are 28 of them. Two largest National Parks of Sweden are in Lapland. Mountain scenery prevail the parks’ area.

Florida State Parks were voted “America’s best.” Biscayne National Park is the largest marine park; Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the US. Dry Tortugas National Park is a cluster of seven islands composed of coral reefs and sand. It is situated next to the Key West – the most southern point of the US.

Sweden has been blessed with a long coastline and many lakes and watercourse. Just like Florida.

Haulover national park in Miami is one of the most famous nude beaches. Sweden too offers plenty of opportunities for naturism.

3. Cities on the Water

Swedish capital Stockholm is placed where Lake Mälaren meets the sea. You sure know about Miami and its vices, Orlando and its Disneyworld, but maybe you missed knowing that Tallahassee is the capital of Florida.

Stockholm is built on 14 islands, so there is nearly always a view of the water. Fort Lauderdale is called Venice of the US. Naples (one on the West coast of Florida, not the Italian one) too.

The Göta Canal is the most well known canal in Stockholm, but there are also many other canals that can offer a range of adventures.

Stockholm is blessed with endless amounts of clear and clean water. You can even swim (if you are brave) or fish in the middle of the city. What you can do in Florida, and it’s not very likely in Sweden is to buy a whole island for yourself. And you won’t see alligators in Swedish canals.

4. Pleasure Comes Through Mouth

Swedish capital, Stockholm is a cosmopolitan city, so you can find restaurants from all over the world there. But certainly choice can’t match American restaurants offer. On the Swedish menu, you can find a reindeer, not so common in the States.

People eat fish everywhere in Stockholm. You can have a lobster, but it’s very likely it’s imported from the United States. For native Swedish shellfish, you can try crayfish. Nowhere is the crayfish so passionately worshipped as in Sweden. In the middle of August, the Swedes meet up with their friends to enjoy a crayfish party. Apart from the crayfish, this party usually includes schnapps, songs, silly hats with crayfish designs and decorations in the form of paper lanterns.

Stockholm has not escaped McDonald’s, Burger King, 7 Eleven… You feel just like in the middle of an American city. Americans import all of the world’s good(s) and then other countries import their junk. World may blame America for selling around some junk, but American McDonalds is never as packed as one in Europe or Asia.

You can find cinnamon rolls in Sweden, but in America, they put cinnamon everywhere: cakes, cereals, coffee…

Swedes have quite a collective sweet tooth. There are candy shops at every corner and, despite Sweden’s cold weather, ice cream shops are always readily found which is also very American and it’s not reserved for Florida exclusively.

5. Ice

pretty woman at the bar of an hotel made of ice

Here’s another surprising similarity. Both people in Florida and in Sweden love ice. Even when they drink ice cold water, Americans will fill it up with ice.

In Swedish Lapland, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle lays the village of Jukkasjärvi. Very few tourists came there during the long, dark, cold and snowy winters. In 1989, Jukkas AB (now Icehotel AB) decided to look upon winter as an asset instead, which is a very American way of thinking. It all started with the exhibition of ice art. Shortly afterwards, a cylinder-shaped igloo was built directly on the ice of the River Torne. The Icehotel concept was born.

Yes, Swedes get plenty of snow and ice. And those in Florida (unless they are running away from cold) can only dream of snow and get more of their icy drinks.

In Florida when temperature drops to 15 Celsius it’s very cold. In Lapland, an indoor temperature of around five below zero is relatively comfortable compared to the outdoor temperature, which can drop lower than forty below zero.

The Ice Hotel has rooms for guests, an ice chapel used for weddings and christenings, an art gallery for ice sculptures and many more ice-cold things.

6. Carnivals, Amusement Parks, Clubs…

In Key West, you can see Hemingway’s home, and it is a home of famous Fantasy festival, every year with a different theme. In Sweden, every summer, you can see the Vikings’ festival and be placed in a completely different era. The little town on the isle of Gotland steps back in time to the Middle Ages.

In Stockholm, you may visit Royal Castle. In Orlando’s Disney World, you have to visit Cinderella’s castle. In Orlando, you can have a ride in the Universal Park. In Sweden, you can enjoy attractions at Astrid Lindgren’s World. In Orlando, you get to meet Mickey Mouse, in Sweden – Pippi Longstocking.

There’s one guy you can meet in Sweden and America, both. One old man that kids love the most.

7. Long Live Santa!

santa claus

Based on one of traditional stories Santa Claus lives in Sweden.

Dutch brought the legend with them to America. Sinterklaas was Americanized to Santa Claus.

Santa Claus appeared in various colored costumes. His image was further modernized by the Coca-Cola company, who at the turn of the 20th Century featured the character in a variety of advertising campaigns. The final version was designed in 1931 by the Swedish-American artist Haddon Sundblom, who used the Swedish Tomte as a model for Santa.

L. Frank Baum, the man who wrote the Wizard of Oz, wrote Santa Claus’s history.

When one teacher in American school tried to disillusion the first grade kids saying that Santa Claus was just a make-believe, parents asked for her to be fired.

Santa may start his journey in Lapland. Then he travels throughout the world with Coca Cola around Christmas time. When Santa reaches Japan, though, it carries no religious connotations. Christmas is mainly the time for lovers to exchange gifts.

Religious or not, commercial it stays.

In the end, if we are what we eat, then countries are what their people are eating. Some will imagine America as a gigantic fatty double cheeseburger. Continue reading.

About the author


Writer, talker, walker, joker. Contradictory, capricious, postmodern fragmented, direct, too direct sometimes, playful, holding no grudges and regrets. If you can't find her, she's somewhere chasing summer around the world.


Click here to post a comment