For members


Norwegian expression of the day: Å bruke svenskeknappen 

If your phone, tablet or computer is giving you trouble, it may be worth doing what Norwegians refer to as “pressing the Swedish button". 

To press the Swedish button.
If you're having computer issues, you might want to press the computer button. Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash / Nicolas Raymond/FlickR

What does it mean? 

Directly translated, it means pressing the Swedish button on a device. Now obviously, you may have noticed that there aren’t any devices that have a button with a small Swedish flag on them. However, if you have ever seen such a gadget, we are certainly impressed. 

It actually means that when you are having trouble with a device, you should use the tried and tested troubleshooting method of turning it on and off again. 

Therefore, if somebody suggests pushing the Swedish button, then you should try hitting the power button to get things working again. 

Why do I need to know this? 

As fun as it is to learn a bit of slang, this expression can also offer a cultural insight into what Norway and its neighbours think of one another. 

The saying, meant and used in jest, is an example of the many jokes the Scandinavian countries share about one another and how these jibes make their way into everyday language. 

An example from Danish would be mullets being referred to as svenskerhår

Below you can see a map of which countries other European countries reportedly joke about the most. 

Use it like this

Har du prøvd å trykke på svenskeknappen?

(Have you tried pushing the Swedish button?)

PCen min hang seg opp helt, så jeg måtte trykke på svenskeknappen for å få den til å virke.

(My computer completely froze, so I had to push the Swedish button to get it to work) 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members


Five Norwegian words which help sum up May 17th

Norway's national day, May 17th, which marks the signing of the country's constitution, is a unique celebration with plenty of traditions. Here are five words that help explain the occasion.

Five Norwegian words which help sum up May 17th


Breakfast the most important meal of the day. This is no different in Norway, and on May 17th, the meal that people enjoy the most or put the hardest work into if they are hosting (but not any literal blood, sweat or tears, hopefully) is breakfast. 

May 17th normally begins with a champagne breakfast to kick start a day of festivities. The breakfast is typically held relatively early so that people can head out to join in with the celebrations, although some will do it afterwards as a kind of brunch. 

This won’t be your typical Norwegian breakfast. Instead, the canned leverpostei is likely to be parked in favour of more upmarket and luxurious sandwich toppings. 


An event that typically follows the breakfast is the childrens’ parades all over the country.

The word literally translates to ‘children’s train’ but refers to parades. Kids up and down the country will typically participate in parades, usually with their school classes. This will be through the town or city centre. 

The most famous of the childrens’ parades is the one which sees kids in Oslo make their way up Karl Johan Gate Street to wave to the royal family who watch on from the palace. 

The parades usually end with a russetog. The russetog is a procession of russ students. Russ is where final year high-school students in Norway party in the lead up to May 17th. 

This parade maybe isn’t as wholesome as the kids’ one as the students tend to look a bit worse for wear after a month of partying. 


On Norway’s national day, you’ll see plenty of locals dressed in their national costumes. 

The day is so closely associated with the bunad that the national costume could be seen as a symbol of May 17th. 

The origins of the bunad has its roots in the period of national romanticism in Norway in the 19th century. This period led to an interest in traditional folk costumes in Norway and countries such as Germany. 

Folk costumes were worn in Norway a long time before the period of national romanticism, however. For example, in Setesdal, southern Norway, there is a tradition of folk costumes that stretches back to the 14th century. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about Norway’s national costume


This means the national anthem or song, Norway’s national anthem is Ja, vi elsker dette landet (yes, we love this country). It was only adopted relatively recently, in 2019. 

While Sønner av Norge, was considered the proper national anthem up until this point, Ja, vi elsker dette landet was considered more of a de-facto national anthem and certainly the anthem of May 17th. 

It was first performed publicly on the 50th anniversary of the signing of the constitution, giving the song an incredibly close link with the country’s national day. 

If you do fancy brushing up on the lyrics, just remember it’s typically just the first and last verses that are sung. 


This one may not be overly beneficial in expanding your vocabulary, but there is no May 17th without the flags. Most apartments in Norway have a flag holder on their balcony with Constitution Day in mind. 

Not only will the majority of houses and apartment blocks have Norwegian flags on display, but most people also heading out will be carrying flags. 

The flag mania doesn’t stop there, as most breakfast tables will be adorned with flags or decorations depicting the flag. 

One rule would be to ensure that you don’t