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Sweden or Switzerland? Swedish tourist board launches campaign to explain the difference

They are both countries in Europe that begin with S and 120,000 people a year mix them up, Google searches show.
They are both countries in Europe that begin with S and 120,000 people a year mix them up, Google searches show. Copyright Raphael Andres
Copyright Raphael Andres
By Rebecca Ann Hughes
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Every year, 120,000 people ask Google whether they are the same country.


Sweden’s tourist board has decided it is time to make it clear that the nation is not, in fact, the same country as Switzerland.

According to Visit Sweden, the two countries are constantly being mixed up.

To dispel confusion, the tourist board has launched a humorous new campaign.

Here’s how you can tell the difference between the two European countries.

Sweden launches video to show tourists it is not Switzerland

Visit Sweden’s campaign video is titled ‘Welcome to Sweden (not Switzerland)’ and was circulated on social media this week.

Each year, 120,000 people Google whether Sweden and Switzerland are the same country, according to news site SwissInfo.

A study conducted by Visit Sweden in the US found that half of the respondents were not sure if there was a difference between the two nations.

Even global leaders have made the blunder. During a NATO summit speech last year, US President Joe Biden erroneously referenced Switzerland while discussing Sweden’s bid to join the military alliance.

In the satirical video, an official representative standing at a podium between two Swedish flags addresses the “leaders and citizens of Switzerland.”

She declares that it is time to make the distinction between the two nations clear by deciding “who talks about what.”

Switzerland can talk about mountain tops, yodelling and watches, for example, but Sweden has a communication monopoly over rooftop bars, silence and forgetting about time.

“As long as both tourism organisations stick to this division in all communication with the outside world, the confusion should come to an end,” Sweden proposes.

How is Sweden different from Switzerland?

To make the distinction clear between the two countries, Visit Sweden has also detailed some ways in which the two countries differ on their website.

While Switzerland has one of the world’s largest gold reserves, Sweden has ‘forest gold’. Each autumn, Swedes forage for Chantarelles, a type of mushroom with a gilded sheen.

If you like historic banks, head to Switzerland, but if you prefer strolling down beaches and sandbanks, you should visit Sweden, the tourist board says. Sweden has 48,000 kilometres of coastline and wild archipelagos that jut out into the Baltic sea.

In Switzerland, you can “enjoy some spectacular light shows made with projections and LEDs,” Visit Sweden says, but “in Sweden there’s no need for electricity to put on a show.” The Nordic country has its own natural spectacle - the Northern Lights.

Finally, the tourist board reminds visitors that while Switzerland is a country of “many interesting sounds” like yodelling and cowbells, Sweden is a place of peace and quiet where the soundscapes will help you “wind down and connect with nature.”

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