6 April, 2017

Learning Swedish with TV shows


When I was a child I was only allowed to watch TV after I was done with my homework. Now, back as a student at SFI and SAS, I hear the teachers advising to watch TV and practise Swedish. Things have changed and I have actually learned a lot by watching TV.

Firstly, one does practise Swedish while watching TV, as you can hear different dialects, learn new words, and get used to the pronunciation, also known as the Swedish melody. Secondly, one can also learn about culture, habits and Sweden itself. Here are some TV shows that have taught me something.

Welcome to Sweden

The comedy Welcome to Sweden tells the story of an American and a Swede who fall in love and move to Sweden. The episodes might be full of clichés and the details exaggerated for effects of comedy, but how many of us have not been through similar situations when we first moved here? The struggle with the language, the search for a suitable job, the first winter, and so many others things. The show is mostly in English, with some Swedish in between, which works well for newly arrived Newbies.

Inte OK

Inte OK is a Swedish show about the everyday unwritten rules of society and what Swedish people think is OK and not OK. It uses some statistics and different sketches to show how certain limits can easily be crossed, always in a nice and funny way. I find it quite interesting and it helps us to understand certain behaviours found in the Swedish society.


Lyxfällan is also in Swedish and is about helping people who find themselves in economic troubles. The hosts, Magnus and Patrick, travel around the country and show different people where to cut their costs and how to make an appropriate budget. On one hand, Lyxfällan disproves the myth that everyone in Sweden is rich. On the other hand, it teaches us important vocabulary in the financial area, which is always useful.

Through this show I have learned important words such us debts, interest, loan, etc. I have also learned about Kronofogden and what happens when one doesn’t pay his rent and/or bills in Sweden.

Vem vet mest

Vem vet mest is a quiz show in Swedish. The questions go from relatively easy to very difficult, and cover all sorts of themes. The contestants have to answer each question within 5 seconds, which is quite fast for those who watch and are at the beginning of the Swedish learning curve.

The questions, however, are also written and shown on the screen, which makes it a lot easier.

Mästarnas mästare, Superstars and Det största äventyret

It is quite obvious that swedes love sports and there are many live transmissions of different competitions on TV. I don’t know about you, but for me there’s no winter Sunday morning without a session of skiing on TV. Besides being sport lovers, Swedes cherish their athletes, even after they stop competing. There are several TV shows in which former athletes are challenged and compete with each other.

In Mästarnas mästare and Superstars the athletes compete through different exercises or games. Anything from throwing rings or balls, to standing on a trunk of a tree for as long as possible.

Det största äventyret combines the passion for sports with the passion for travelling. Each episode is filmed in a different part of the world. Two teams of former athletes are left in the middle of nowhere, without any kind of orientation tool and they have to find a place with electricity where they can place a phone call to the host. It’s all very exciting!    

Swedish hobbies

Whatever your hobby is, there’s a Swedish TV show for you. Food, decoration, gardening, art, animals, you name it. The shows can vary from cooking competitions like Sveriges Mästerkock or Bästa bagare, to DYI (do it yourself) shows like Äntligen hemma. You can enjoy the competition or be taught how to turn an old boring drawer into a beautiful decorative piece. Or how to take care of your garden. Or learn about animal behaviour.

The list is already long and there’s still a lot more to choose from, including comedy shows, interviews, and other competitions. Not all of the shows mentioned are currently showing on TV, but most of them are available on the internet through Viaplay and Viafree. All you have to do is choose your favourite and enjoy an easy, fun and entertaining Swedish class.

Sara Costa
Hej! I’m a Portuguese Newbie in Sweden. I have also lived in Brazil, Poland and the Czech Republic. It’s been fun to be a foreigner in so many different countries and I enjoy learning about other cultures. I’m a fan of sports, some to watch and some to practise, my favourite being running. I also love food, reading and blogging. I hope you enjoy my posts!

2 Comments on “Learning Swedish with TV shows

Karishma Desai
6 April, 2017 at 21:54

Nice one. This is an amazing list and I cant agree more. May be you can try ‘Svenska till varje pris’ also.

Mariana Kasses
8 October, 2019 at 11:41

Nice list, thanks Sara! Check Språkplay too, pretty useful. Both SVT and UR, the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company, has a new system called Språkplay where you can watch their series with interactive subtitles in Swedish and pick to translate them into up to 25 other languages. Check SVT Språkplay and UR’s site:


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