Red houses
The first thing you notice when you travel in Sweden is that the countryside is dotted with little red houses. The Swedish idyll is a little red cabin in the woods by a lake. And why red, you might ask?
In the 17th century, red paint was a symbol of wealth. In cities, wooden houses were painted red when the king came to visit. In the countryside as well, wealthy people painted their houses red. The color quite simply stands out in the landscape, shouts “Notice me! I’m rich!” Red paint became a true status symbol.

Then one day around 1700, people working at the Falun copper mine discovered that they could make a very inexpensive red paint from the waste products of copper production. Suddenly the status symbol was affordable to everyone. And the genuine irony of the whole story is that Falun red paint was not only cheaper, but also made the wood more weather-resistant, so it was also better than the red paint the original aristocracy had used!
Swedish phenomena
- Red houses
- Signs
- Winter darkness
- Feathersticks
- Easter hags
- Going Postal

Funny stories
- “Is that in Europe?”
- The Good Ship Vasa
- The openness principle