Spotify: Swiss or Swedish? Whatevs, says New York, flies the wrong flag

The Local Sweden
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Spotify: Swiss or Swedish? Whatevs, says New York, flies the wrong flag
That ain't the Swedish flag. Photo: Sven Carlsson/DI Digital"

When you're trying to honour a Swedish company on its first day of public trading on the world's largest stock market there's one thing you don't want to do. Hoist the Swiss flag.


If only somebody had told the New York Stock Exchange.

Ahead of streaming giant Spotify's debut as a publicly traded company on Tuesday, the stock exchange tried to honour the company's Swedish heritage.


"… we looked up at the building and suddenly we saw a Swiss flag. It's evidently the stock exchange's nonchalant staff who don't know the difference between Switzerland and Sweden," said reporter Sven Carlsson, in New York to cover the event for DI Digital (a tech newssite run by Dagens Industri).

A security guard told DI Digital that the wrong flag had been hoisted by mistake, and the Swiss red and white flag was replaced by a blue and yellow one some 15 minutes later.

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Spotify was founded by Swedes Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in 2006.

Their home country and Switzerland do share common points: They both have a history of neutrality, have great skiing stations and stunning nature. But they also have plenty of differences, including different languages, and that one of the two countries is located in Scandinavia, while the other is, well, not.

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But confusing the two is not an uncommon mistake, and it does not only happen in anglophone countries. In Spain, 'Suecia' and 'Suiza' are rather too close for comfort, as are China's 'Ruidian' and 'Ruishi'.

In fact, ask any Swede or Swiss person if they have ever been subject to people confusing their country with "that other European country", and you will get a lot of nodding heads.

Last year, a Swiss airline even launched a competition aimed at ending the never-ending mix-up by offering to take 24 winners on a tour through the non-existing 'Swederland'.

And 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.


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