Welcome to Sweden, Not Switzerland: Country Launches Tourism Campaign to End Confusion
People worldwide continue to confuse Sweden and Switzerland. To put an end to this mix-up, the Swedish state agency VisitSweden, responsible for promoting tourism in the country, has initiated a campaign today with the aim of preventing confusion between Sweden and Switzerland.
The official video from VisitSweden references an incident when U.S. President Joe Biden, at last year's NATO summit, accidentally referred to Switzerland instead of Sweden when discussing the latter's NATO membership application.
"It's time to draw a clear distinction in communications between our two countries, decisively determining who is talking about what and taking responsibility," the video states.
For example, in the VisitSweden video, they propose that Switzerland should be associated with "banks," while Sweden should be linked to "sandbanks." Further, they suggest associating the Swiss with LSD, "because you invented it," and the Swedes with the Northern Lights, "another semi-real experience."
"As long as both tourist organizations adhere to this division in all their communications with the outside world, the confusion should come to an end," the host in the VisitSweden video concludes.
The names "Sweden" and "Switzerland" do have some linguistic similarities in many languages. Their flags also share some resemblance, as both have crosses. In 2018, they were even confused by the New York Stock Exchange, marking the exit of the Swedish tech giant Spotify.
Previously, a similar mix-up occurred between Australia and Austria. While these are not the same places, it's clear that not everyone understands this.
"Imagine you're looking for kangaroos and start seeing signs in German," writes Buzzfeed.
The problem of mixing up these two countries has become so widespread that in 2021, even at Salzburg Airport in Austria, an information stand with a signal button was installed, with a sign that reads, "Sorry, this is Austria, not Australia. Need help? Press the button!"
So, for travellers who mistakenly misread their flight booking websites and headed to Austria in hopes of seeing Australian kangaroos, this has become their first rescue.