Top 8 Innovations That Belong to the Swedes

While it is easy to group Scandinavian countries together into one Nordic cluster, each country takes pride in its own unique culture. We’ve already shared some of the top innovations proudly credited to the Danes, and now have a collection of inventions, artists, and food that are Swedish. Read on to see what they are!

1. Cinnamon buns
Perhaps Cinnabon’s wafting scents through a shopping mall are what come to mind when you think of cinnamon buns? Though they are not drowned in icing, Swedish kanelbullar are possibly the most popular treat to pair with coffee during Swedish fika. Try one when you fika with your Visiting Hosts, or if you want to treat yourself at a cafe. These are often homemade, or picked up at a local bakery, and are the perfect dose of sugar for a pick me up.


2. Alicia Vikander

Though she plays a Danish woman in The Danish Girl, this up and coming actress is a born-and-raised Swede. Originally from Gothenburg, Alicia also lived and studied in Stockholm, and was recently nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actress. Though accents can be easily masked on the big screen, we love that this actress has Scandinavian roots!

Alicia Vikander

3. Stieg Larsson
Stieg Larsson’s drama The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has become a huge sensation in the ‘Millenium trilogy’ book series and on screen. His novels put Scandinavian Crime Fiction on the map, and DIS Stockholm’s Scandinavian Crime Fiction course dissects Larsson’s themes such as social identity, gender, social realism, and more. Though Stieg Larsson passed of a heart attack at too young of an age (50 years), his legacy lives on in this popular series.

girl with dragon tattoo

4. Pippi Longstocking
The lovable children’s book about strength and independence of a pig-tailed, freckled girl is one of the most popular children’s characters in Swedish literature. If you are living in a Homestay with DIS Stockholm, you might spot a few Pippi dolls in the house, and possibly even hear it being recited as a bedtime story! Author Astrid Lindgren’s creation is now translated in 70 languages, and inspires children from around the world to be courageous adventurers. (Stieg Larsson’s protagonist in his Millenium Series, Lisbeth Salander, was developed to resemble an older version of Pippi Longstocking!)

Pippi Longstocking

5. Adjustable wrench (‘Monkey Wrench’)
A staple in every handyperson’s toolkit – this tool was originally invented by an English engineer, then improved and nicknamed the ‘Swedish Key’ by Swedish inventor Johan Petter Johansson. The adjustable wrench is now a popular tool across the world, and might come in handy when assembling a piece of IKEA furniture!

monkey wrench

6. Icona Pop
Sweden’s biggest export is music – with a range of genres from ABBA’s disco pop to the electronic beats of Swedish House Mafia. Now, Sweden maintains a source of high quality musicians, still covering all genres from pop sensation Icona Pop to the folk duo First Aid Kit. Chances are, somewhere on the Top 40 list, there lies a Swedish musician.

Icona Pop

7. Ultrasound
The ultrasound is a transformative innovation in healthcare, and Swedish physician Inge Edler can be credited alongside German researcher Carl Hellmuth Hertz for developing this medical tool. You have the opportunity to use tools such as these in DIS Stockholm’s courses in pre-medicine and health science, such as core course Translational Medicine: From Bench to Bedside, elective course Immunology and Infectious Diseases, and elective course Tumor Biology and Oncology, all of which look at various aspects of healthcare from a European perspective.

8. Three-point seatbelt
Though its original prototype was created by American inventors, the three point seatbelt was modernized by Swedish inventor Nils Bohlin for the Swedish car manufacturer Volvo. This invention has been crucial to saving the lives of many individuals, and is something Sweden is very proud of!


2 thoughts

  1. Do we really think people count as innovations? this seems like a buzzfeed or a facebook article, lets do better next time please.
    DIS is an amazing program and we expect more

    1. Hi Jonah,

      Thank you for reaching out. We apologize that you feel this post does not meet your expectations. These posts are meant to be easily-digestible bits of information that hopefully inspire students to learn more about Scandinavian culture.

      We are glad to hear that you had a great experience with DIS! We hope you find other content on the blog that interests you.


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