"You Will Now Be Connected to Sweden"
Recently, a Swedish Tourism agency created a single phone line that connects international callers to randomly selected Swedish volunteers to chat about whatever is on their minds. The goal of the service is to generate interest in the country and encourage tourism to the frosty nation. Ever wondered about Norse culture? How do the Swede's deal with 18 hour nights, what the northern lights look like, and why they like to forrage for berries? Well... call them up and ask!
The telephone number is 46-771-793-336 and the website is The Swedish Number.
The tourism website invites callers to “talk about anything you want.” When you dial the number an automated voice responded: “Calling Sweden. You will soon be connected to a random Swede, somewhere in Sweden.”
By letting everyday Swedes communicate directly with foreigners, tourism officials hope to present a more authentic picture of the country than one conjured up by a marketing agency, said Magnus Ling, the secretary general and chief executive of the Swedish Tourist Association. As of 8 April, about 3,000 Swedes, many of whom had heard about the number through the local news media, had downloaded a mobile app that would put them on a list to talk with strangers for the next two months. To date, the site boasts that 130,000 calls have been made from countries like the US, U.K., Turkey, China, Netherlands and other countries totaling 256 days worth of talk time.
So if you are interested in connecting with people from different cultures and learing about the world, but can't afford the thousand dollar plane ticket, pick up the phone and call a random Swede!
Below is a video of Vox media and YouTubers calling Sweden through the line.