Sweden or Switzerland? Airline to end confusion with ‘Swederland’ campaign

For many people, Sweden and Switzerland seem almost impossible to tell apart. And on occasion, the two European countries are even merged into the one and same, or “Swederland”. Now, a Swiss airline is offering tickets to the mysterious “Swederland” in a bid to teach people the difference.

Sweden or Switzerland? Airline to end confusion with ‘Swederland’ campaign
‘Swederland’ apparently has great chocolate, cheese and cinnamon buns… Photo: AP/TT

Ask any Swede, or Swiss person for that matter, if they’ve ever been subject to people confusing their country with that “other European country with almost the same name”, and you’ll get a lot of nodding heads. Or more common still, people referring to their homeland as “Swederland” – some kind of European paradise apparently filled with blondes, chocolate, snow, Volvo cars, cheese, fika breaks and much, much more.

The problem is, it doesn't exist…

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This week, Lufthansa’s Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) launched a competition aimed at ending the never-ending mix-up between the two countries, by offering to take 24 winners on a tour through the non-existing “Swederland”.

“We decided to put an end to the confusion by sending those in need of clarification to Switzerland, accompanied by a Swedish tour guide, to once and for all explain the differences between the countries,” Gabriel Leupold, Senior Director Sales Nordic & Baltic Countries, Lufthansa Group, said of the marketing campaign.

Sweden and Switzerland may share many common points: They are both democracies located in Europe, have a history of neutrality, have great skiing stations and stunning nature. But they also have plenty of differences, including the fact that Swedes don’t speak any of the Swiss languages, and one of the two countries is located in Scandinavia, while the other is, well, not.

“During our years of trafficking the route between Sweden and Switzerland, we’ve encountered this confusion numerous times,” he said. 

But the airline is not the first to launch such an initiative. In 2013, Swedish authorities launched a competition in China, where people were invited on social media to come up with funny ways to keep Sweden and Switzerland apart.

READ ALSO: Swedes implore Chinese: 'We are not Swiss'


Switzerland orders temperature checks for travellers from Sweden

Switzerland opened its borders Monday to travellers from European Union countries but said temperature checks would be required for those flying in from Sweden, which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Switzerland orders temperature checks for travellers from Sweden
Illustration photo: AFP

Like a raft of other European countries, non-EU member Switzerland reopened its borders on Monday after months of coronavirus curbs, to travellers from all 27 countries in the bloc, along with Britain, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

But its health ministry said that people entering the landlocked country from nations with high numbers of new infections could be subjected to temperature checks.

“This is currently the case with regard to Sweden,” it said.

“From June 15, passengers arriving on direct flights from Sweden will therefore have their temperature checked at the airport,” it said, adding that “persons with signs of a high temperature will be given a medical examination and, if necessary, be tested for COVID-19.”

Sweden controversially took a far softer approach to reining in the outbreak than most countries.

It kept cafes, bars, restaurants and most businesses open, as well as elementary and middle-schools, in recent months as COVID-19 spread, stressing that citizens could be relied on to practice the recommended physical 
distancing without legally-binding measures.

While Sweden's Nordic neighbours have reported deaths linked to the pandemic in the hundreds and have seen new cases slow to a trickle, Sweden has reported nearly 5,000 deaths and more than 50,000 cases.

The country of 10.3 million people continues to report around 1,000 new cases each day.

Meanwhile Switzerland, population 8.5 million, has registered over 31,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — with just 14 new cases reported on Monday — and 1,675 deaths.