25 People You Might Not Know Are Swedish

Swedes are some of the most accomplished people in the world, excelling in diverse fields such as medicine, art, and computers. For centuries, Sweden and her people have been making our world a better place, and they continue to do so with remarkable gusto today. Maybe due to their easy embrace of an international lifestyle or their excellent English skills (the best in the world for non-native speakers), many famous Swedish people are often mislabeled as American, English, or some other nationality. In this list, we aim to bring back the rightful notoriety and respect Sweden deserves for giving us such wonderful people.

Maybe you’ve heard of some of the famous Swedes on this list, such as legendary actress Greta Garbo; maybe you haven’t, such as they guys behind The Pirate Bay or the most successful YouTube personality in the world. You’ll likely be surprised to see some of these names – and yes, we purposefully left out ABBA: the standard answer whenever anyone asks if you know someone from Sweden. From entrepreneurs to movie stars to novelists, check out these famous Swedes who have made important contributions to our world (many of who still do) in our list of 25 People You Might Not Know Are Swedish.



PewDiePieSource: The Atlantic, Image: In Queue via Flickr

Born as Felix Kjellberg, PewDiePie is a YouTube personality with over 45 million subscribers and over 12 billion views. Videos of him playing video games have made him the most subscribed YouTuber in the world. He’s also Swedish, born in Gothenburg.


Niklas Zennström

Niklas-ZennströmSource: Swedish Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Image: PICNIC Network via Flickr

Niklas Zennström is a heavy-hitting Swedish entrepreneur, responsible for both the peer-to-peer file sharing network Kazaa and the peer-to-peer internet telephony company Skype.


John Ericsson

John_Ericsson_Battery_ParkSource: Sverige Tourism, Image: Wikimedia

The North may not have been successful during the American Civil War if it weren’t for Swedish inventor John Ericsson. Famous for inventing the propeller, Ericsson played an important role in American history by constructing the iron-clad, propeller-driven warship the Monitor.


Pirate Bay Founders

Fredrik_Neij_and_Peter_Sunde_during_TPB_trialSource: International Business Times, Image: Wikipedia

Arguably the best-known peer-to-peer file sharing system, The Pirate Bay was founded and operated by Swedes Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, and Carl Lundström, all of whom were arrested, imprisoned, and fined for facilitating copyright infringement.


Alfred Nobel

Alfred NobelSource: Stockholm News, Image: Wikimedia

One of the best-known Swedes on this list, Alfred Nobel blessed the world with countless patents – 355 to be exact. Nobel is best known for creating dynamite (a safer form of nitroglycerin) and bequeathing the funds to start the Nobel Prizes.

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