In 1766 Sweden became the first country in the world to abolish censorship, and the Swedish Tourist Association wants to honour this anniversary by offering anybody, anywhere in the world the opportunity to call Sweden and get connected to a random Swede. Call, and the person you get connected to is a local, living somewhere in Sweden, and you can have a conversation with them about anything you feel like (ummmm, can anybody tell me what all the Ikea furniture names mean, and maybe explain how to put together my new VITTSJÖ while we’re at it? Also, I’d love some secret family recipes for meatballs. Aaaaand some tips on the best places to visit and things to do if I ever make it to Sweden)
This certainly seems like the kind of fun, if not slightly offbeat, activity that could only ever fly in Scandinavia, but this is a real thing and the Swedish Tourist Association wants to use it as a way to connect people and spark interest in the country. A statement from the Swedish Tourist Associations CEO, Magnus Ling explains:
“In troubled times, many countries try and limit communication between people, but we want to do just the opposite. We are making Sweden the first country in the world with its own phone number and giving our fellow Swedes the opportunity to answer the calls, express themselves and share their views, whatever they might be.”
The number went live only two days ago, and already over 44 days worth of call hours have been racked up from almost 22,000 incoming calls. But the project is only on for two months, so you’ve got a limited amount of time to get all your burning questions about Sweden answered straight from the source. Watch the official youtube video below, or visit the website theswedishnumber.com for more info. Ready to start a conversation with a random Swede? Call +46 771 793 336. International calling rates from your phone service provider apply, but there is no additional charge for this service, just a friendly, random Swede ready to have a chat on the other end.