If you live in the United States, or anywhere outside of Sweden for that matter, you may not know a whole lot about the Nordic country. If you’re willing to learn, however, Sweden now has a phone number that you can call to be connected to a random Swede and ask questions.
The Swedish Tourism Board set up a phone number for to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Sweden becoming the first country to abolish censorship. In the spirit of openness, the country is opening its phone lines to strangers who are curious about the country. When you call the number, someone from Sweden who has the corresponding app on their phone will get your call.
In fact, if you get lucky enough, you could even reach the Swedish Prime Minister, who has reportedly been taking calls and even featured in a video for the program.
“It was great to answer on behalf of Sweden. To me it was natural to help draw attention to Sweden as a tourist destination. Tourism is extremely important to us and the goal is for more people to discover everything Sweden has to offer,” said Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in a statement to TheLocal.se.
The team has been marketing the idea for a while now to try and get Swedes to sign up to the new service and download the app. According to Björn Ståhl, the Creative Director at INGO Stockholm, few people are more willing to talk about their country than Swedes.
“Every time Swedish people are abroad, we like to talk about what a great country Sweden is to live in. We’re selling our country every time we travel,” he said in an interview with Fast CoCreate.
I gave the number a call to see what I could find out about Sweden, even though I was able to visit a few years ago. A guy named Arash picked up the phone, and was very willing to talk about his country. According to Arash, if you want to visit Sweden, there are three things you should consider. Stockholm is the best place to visit if you’re into history, but if you want to get more of a sense of today’s culture you should head to Malmo.
The third category? Fish. If you want to go to Sweden for the fish, then head to Gothenburg (I can attest to the fact that Swedish fish is very worth the trip). And if you end up wanting to visit Sweden, Arash says the best time is in the Fall. Arash wasn’t overly pushy about people coming to visit Sweden, though. “I prefer L.A.,” he said.
It’s certainly an interesting experience, which could be useful for travelers, would-be immigrants, and others who are simply curious about Sweden. The number itself is +46 771 793 336, and although you do have to pay international calling fees, Google charges 1 cent per minute for making international calls on Google Voice.