Stockholm is Not the Capital of Scandinavia!

An Open Letter to the Stockholm Visitors’ Board

[I’ve been meaning to write this e-mail for several years. I finally just sent it… to the Stockholm Visitors’ Board and their press department. Stay tuned for a response. Or, go do something else. –Dave]


Dear Stockholm Visitors’ Board,


My name is Dave Fox. I’m a travel and humor writer from the United States. I also work as a tour guide in Scandinavia every summer. I used to live in Norway and I speak Norwegian fluently, but don’t let that frighten you! Really! Over the years, I have come to really love Sweden as well, and I always tell my American tour groups very nice things about the Swedes when I take them around your country.

Stockholm-logo There’s just one thing I am curious about. A few years ago, your city’s slogan was, “Stockholm: Beauty on Water.” It was a nice slogan. You had a fun cartoon drawing of the city on all of the plastic bags you gave out at your tourist information office. Then, one summer, maybe five or six years ago, I arrived back in Sweden for another summer of tour guiding, and you had changed your slogan to “Stockholm: The capital of Scandinavia.”

Who came up with this new slogan? Did you consult with the Norwegians, or the Danes, or the Icelanders before you printed up all of those new plastic bags and put signs all over your airport? Didn’t Sweden sort of get in a few wars and things with Denmark when the Danes made similar claims a few centuries ago?

Just curious. Skriv gjerne tilbake på svensk om det er lettere. (Feel free to write back in Swedish if it’s easier.)

Dave Fox

P.S. I agree wholeheartedly with the Swedes that King Christian II of Denmark was a pretty big jerk.

Published on Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2 Responses to “Stockholm is Not the Capital of Scandinavia!”

  1. August 28, 2009 at 8:00 PM

    Hi Dave,
    I just stumbled upon your site. Great content! I presume the norwegians wouldn´t agree if we asked them first about the Scandinavian capitol :-) I´ve also noticed the Swedish Institute ( have an english slogan (“sharing Sweden with the world”) but a different one in Swedish: “sätter Sverige på kartan” (putting Sweden on the map). Well, according to the latest image report, we´re more and more unknown abroad. Keep up the good work!

  2. September 2, 2009 at 1:09 AM

    Open answer to Dave!
    Thanks for your mail and for loving all the Scandinavian countries – so do I. I will try to answer all your questions below…
    Yep some years ago we changed the slogan “beauty on water” to our new brand Stockholm – The Capital of Scandinavia. The brand reflects Stockholm’s position as one of Europe’s most interesting regions and its built round facts like Stockholm being the largest city, in the largest country with the largest number of visitors in Scandinavia – to mention a few facts.
    Read all about it here:
    Gyro is the company that we worked together with in the development of the brand. Read more about this here:
    Nope, we didnt consult our neighbouring countries before we launched the brand, and we are still good friends!!!! We have good neighbours!! As a matter of fact we work side by side with Danes and Norwegians in attracting visitors to our region of the world. But we want – of course – to be the first choice! And I know that my colleagues in Denmark and Norway are just sorry not to have come up with the idea first ;-). Anyways, Im half danish myself and I used to work for Danmarks Turistråd and lived in Denmark for some years before I started to work for the City of Stockholm.
    About consulting before you launch. Do you think the city of New York consulted the apple industry before the claimed to be “The apple”? Do you think Coca Cola asked Pepsi for acceptance when they decided on the slogan “is it” or McD asked Burger King for advice when launching “Im loving it”. The competition sharpens the competitors or colleagues in the business, right?
    Hope to see you soon in Stockholm

Leave a Reply