The SBS Student Blog

Life as a student at Stockholm Business School

What is a fika?

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When you move to Sweden, you can be sure to encounter a Swedish word fika at some point during your stay.  Fika is probably one of the most famous Swedish words as it has become a big part of the Swedish culture.

The word fika doesn’t really have a perfect English translation. The word can be used both as a noun and a verb. As a noun, the meaning is something like “a coffee break” or “a coffee date” which includes drinking coffee and usually also eating something sweet and having a conversation with someone. Used as a verb, fika implies “going for a coffee” or “having coffee”.

There are many types of fikas. It can be a break from work, a part of a business meeting, getting together with friends or even a date. It doesn’t necessarily even need to include coffee; you could enjoy a tea or a soda or eat something small and still refer to it as a fika. But in its most traditional form it includes coffee and some form of baked goods, most likely a kanelbulle. Kanelbulle is a traditional Swedish cinnamon bun and it is one of the things every Swede will tell you to taste when in Sweden. Swedes actually take such big pride in their cinnamon buns that since 1999 they’ve had a day dedicated to them called Kanelbullens dag (Cinnamon Bun Day) which is celebrated the 4th of October.

In Sweden fika is considered to be a big part of the local culture, it is already somewhat a social institution. I don’t think any other country in the world appreciates coffee breaks to the same extent as Sweden. Whether you wanna have a break and relax in the middle of a hectic day, catch up with friends or get to know someone new in a casual situation, it’s always a good time for a fika. So when in Sweden, make sure not to miss it!