Swedish 1sts: A Day in the Life

Gold antique Swedish coin

Comprising only 0.14% of the global population, Swedes have reached and improved the daily lives of billions. In line with the first issue of our relaunch, we will be taking a look at Swedish firsts that have changed the way we interact with our world in fields ranging from programming to packaging. Although it is not in our nature to boast, it is worthwhile to take a step back and marvel at the instrumental role Swedish thinkers, explorers, designers, inventors, artists and entrepreneurs have had in shaping the world as we know it.

I Have a Dream reverberates in your head as ABBA heralds in a new day. Climbing out of your DUX bed you throw off your H&M pajamas, slide into Björn Borg underwear and into an Eton shirt or a Filippa K dress. Groggy, you make your way over to the kitchen to gulp down a cup of Gevalia coffee. The milk for your cereal is pasteurized by Alfa Laval heat exchangers and preserved in Tetra Pak packages in an Electrolux fridge. Peering out through the fogged windows while munching on your Kalles Kaviar egg sandwich on Vasa crisp bread, you spot the thermometer and notice that the temperature has dipped below 0˚ on the scale developed by none other than Swede, Anders Celcius. Glancing at your Sjöö Sandström watch you realize it’s time to leave for work. Once inside your Volvo, you buckle your 3-point seatbelt courtesy of Nils Bohlin and let the Swedish-enhanced GPS system guide you as the car “rolls on” thanks to its SKF ball bearings. At work, you sit at an EFG desk, take phone calls routed through an Ericsson exchange, scan papers printed by Swedish inkjet printer technology and Skype your clients overseas. Returning home you lay out your IKEA table with Rörstrand plates, a bouquet of flowers classified by Carl Linnaeus and light the candles with a match, another Swedish invention. An Ingmar Bergman film starring Ingrid Bergman follows on your flat screen TV made possible by the Swedish discovery of ferroelectric liquid crystals. Before calling it a night you read your kids a story by Astrid Lindgren. All in a day with a name rooted in Norse mythology.

Anton is an economics student at Sciences Po Paris and Columbia University. He has journalistic experience as a member of the Communications Management Team at the 2011 World Scout Jamboree in Sweden and previously interned for the magazine Monocle in London.