Sweden is not Switzerland

china_siEntries close next week for a competition asking Chinese people to come up with funny ways to help differentiate Sweden and Switzerland. Both nations’ names start with the same symbol in Mandarin. Sweden is Ruidian and Ruishi is Switzerland and many Chinese confuse the two.

I suspect they are not the only people who mix them up. Spanish speakers can mix up ‘Suecia’ and ‘Suiza’. I have been told by people how much they love the Swiss furniture store Ikea. People also mix up Taiwan and Thailand. I once confused the Caribbean island of Grenada with Granada in Spain. Thankfully I was playing Trivial Pursuit and was not mid-journey!

I have lost count of the number of people who have referred to my home country of Australia as a little country next to Switzerland that uses the Euro and has nice ski-ing. Have even been complimented on my English and lack of German accent on a few occasions!

The Swedish and Swiss consulates in Shanghai have set up the competition to tackle the confusion between their countries, on the Swedish Consulate website . Entrants are to come up with funny, ( yet “correct” way) to tell Sweden and Switzerland apart. Submissions can be accepted as a blog post, cartoon, photo, short film or in any other format. Entries will be accepted until November 20.

The winner with the best submission will receive a 12-day trip to Sweden and Switzerland. They will be expected to report back on their impressions of both countries following their trip.

The organisers have also devised a campaign logo portraying a collection of people and objects associated with each country superimposed on the relevant map.

Sweden’s map includes meatballs, a Viking, Pippi Longstocking from Astrid Lindgren’s books, as well as two male cartoon figures with a rainbow heart between them symbolising gay marriage:



Switzerland’s map features cheese, fondue, the Alps and a picture of Roger Federer:switzerland

It will be interesting to see what the competitor comes up with.
What places have you been confused between?


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  1. In Spanish, Sweden is “Suecia” and Switzerland is “Suiza” now that is as close as it gets !

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