call sweden
Now you can talk to a random SwedeSwedish Tourism Association

Have the desire to chat to a random Swede? Now you can, as Sweden has become the first-ever country to have its own phone number. Answered by any Swedish person who has signed up to the app, calling +46 771 793 336 (international charges apply) connects you with a person at random who is happy to speak to people from all over the world about all things Swedish.

IBTimes UK called Sweden's brand new hotline and spoke with bartender Chris, from Malmo, who told us he had already taken 10 calls today.

"It's a very interesting idea and I think Sweden has been in the limelight recently with things like politics and sports," he said. "We are a nation of 9 million people, and Swedes like to tell the truth about Sweden as there is a lot of prejudice about Sweden, and we want to tell people we are progressive as a country."

With some calls taking up to half an hour of Chris's time, and the majority coming from people in the US who are keen to talk about Swedish politics, the service isn't for everyone. However, Chris said the chance to talk to people from all over the world made it an interesting prospect for him.

"It is mostly people in their 20s and 30s who have signed up to do it," he said. "People who are in their 50s and over probably haven't done it because they would need to know how to use the app – you have to download an app to do it.

"Today I have taken 10 calls and most calls last about half an hour. Most of those are about politics and the refugee crisis, especially the longer calls are mainly on politics."

The initiative, set up by the Swedish Tourist Association, aims to open channels of communication between Swedes and people from all over the world.

Magnus Ling, general secretary and CEO of the Swedish Tourist Association, said in a statement: "We are making Sweden the first country in the world with its own phone number and giving our fellow Swedes the opportunity to answer the calls, express themselves and share their views, whatever they might be."

Despite the positive message behind the campaign, IBTimes UK's phone answerer Chris said he had experienced some negativity: "There's definitely negative experiences, when you create something like this, people are going to take advantage of the situation and I have had a few people being idiots.

"It's interesting, though, you can talk with strangers around the globe. I'm a bartender, so most of the people I speak to are usually drunk."