Today is a Swedish squeeze day

Today is a ‘squeeze day’ in Sweden. What, you may wonder, is a squeeze day?

– It is not a day when everybody goes around hugging each other.

– Nor is it a day when people pinch each other’s cheeks or rear ends.

– It is not either a day of drinking copious amounts of fresh citrus juice.

No, a ‘squeeze day’, or ‘klämdag’ in Swedish, is a day of the week that falls between a public holiday and a weekend.

In Sweden, when a public holiday occurs on a Tuesday or a Thursday, a common custom is to take the day between the holiday and the weekend as a day off. Sometimes this is subsidized by the employer. In English, this is called a ‘bridge day’ but in Swedish it’s cutely referred to as a ‘squeeze day’.

In Sweden, there are 11 public holidays (known as ‘red days’) and there are masses of squeeze days this year. New Year’s Day was a Tuesday this year. Yesterday, Thursday, was Ascension Day (which is always on a Thursday) and so today is often taken as a holiday. This year, there are many floating ‘squeeze days’. Next week, National Day on the 6th of June, falls on a Thursday, so the following Friday is also a day off for many. Coming up, this year Christmas Eve is a Tuesday, Boxing Day is a Thursday, and even New Year’s Eve is a Tuesday.

So, Swedes this year are having a lot of time off work. Add to this, the Swedish concept of the de facto holiday – the day before a bank holiday is taken off, either as a full day or a half day. Most employers recognise and allow for this.

It’s a good job that Swedes are so efficient when they do work – otherwise the country would grind to a halt!

When Stockholm becomes a ghost town 

With the summer holidays in full swing in Sweden, many urbanites leave their cities and head for their country houses, their boats and further abroad. As a result, Stockholm empties out and turns into a ghost town. Fewer cars and fewer people contribute to a calm environment. Many establishments are closed for business and back in August. Most of the people you see are tourists or unfortunates who have to still go to work. 
Although it has changed over the years, Sweden is still affected by the so-called ‘industrisemester‘ when companies used to completely shut down production for the whole month of July. Even though this has changed now thanks to globalism, July and August are the times when most employees take their holidays and it is noticeable how vast numbers of people disappear from the cities and towns. According to Swedish law, employees are entitled to 5 weeks holiday and can take 4 of these in July-August and there is a right for these to be conjoined.