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Of course there are exceptions, such as my neighbours who insist on dumping their takeaway litter by the side of the road every Friday night.
, has as its stated mission ‘to minimise alcohol-related problems by selling alcohol in a responsible way, without profit motive’.
Even the far north, where the mercury can plummet to -40°C in the winter, can get hot.
Often in the early summer we in the south shiver and splash about in puddles while Arctic Lapland basks in sunshine and temperatures in the 20s. Volvos are safe, understated, and they drink too much. Despite now being under Chinese ownership, Volvos remain very much in the hearts – and on the driveways – of the average Swede.
This non-hierarchical approach to decision-making obviously doesn’t work everywhere.
I recently spoke with a Swedish manager who has tried to bring in an open-door policy at his office at an Asian car company, actively encouraging his employees to share their opinions or raise problems.
They even have a place in the aspirational ‘Swedish dream’ of ‘villa, Volvo, vovve’ (a house, a Volvo and a dog).
There are no special offers, no promotions, and limited opening hours. According to a report by a panel of international experts, if the monopoly was abolished and booze was sold in supermarkets, the estimated annual toll in Sweden would be 28,680 more assaults and 1,418 extra deaths – a 42 per cent increase. For the record, Swedes rank fifty-second in the world when it comes to pure alcohol consumption per adult – i.e.
But then the first real day of spring comes around and it somehow all seems worth it.
Plus summers in Sweden can be glorious – summer nights are long throughout the country and you even get the midnight sun up north – and many of the beaches are fantastic.
Saab, the other brand that once accounted for similarly large percentage of car sales, has disappeared from the list altogether, having collapsed despite frantic efforts to save it in 2011.
Considering that old Saabs are known to run for 1 million-plus kilometres, they should be on the roads for a while yet, anyway.