When God of Thunder/Marvel Superhero played by Chris Hemsworth created Sweden, he laid the groundwork for a popular furniture store and place to get lost in for days.
IKEA was founded in Sweden in 1943 (right in the middle of World War II). It’s name is an acronym. The “IK” are the initials of the furniture company’s founder, Ingvar Kamprad. “E” represents Elmtaryd, the name of a farm he grew up on, and the “A” is for Agunnaryd, the village that contained this farm. When Ingvar Kamprad died in 2018, he was the 8th richest person in the world.
Not only is IKEA known for being the next evolutionary step to make your apartment look a little less like a college dorm but not quite like an actual home, it’s also known for disrupting the tourism in Sweden.
Their products often use the names of beautiful locations throughout Sweden.
For example, they have a popular set of shelves called Kallax, which also happens to be the name of a small locality near the Lulea Airport.
Voxnan is both a beautiful river that supports plenty of camping, canoeing, and paddle boating. It’s also IKEA’s shower head.
Jarvfjallet’s beautiful snow-topped mountain range is a haven for skiers, but it’s also IKEA’s brand of uncomfortable, poorly-reviewed gaming chair.
Toftan and Bolmen are gorgeous lakes, but at IKEA, they are a trash can and toilet brush, respectively.
Sweden’s official tourism website put together a pretty cute video about it.
Still, it’s estimated that 1 out of 10 Europeans are conceived in an IKEA bed, although I’m not sure if putting the bed together is considered foreplay or not over there…
Speaking of getting screwed, the enormously profitable IKEA is technically considered a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Like any massive corporation, IKEA is a overly elaborate fascicle of holding companies, charity foundations, trusts, and businesses, and the keystones are all located in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Lichtenstein where the holding group can take the most advantage of tax loopholes. There are some similarities between IKEA and Amazon when it comes to their tax shenanigans and robbing the public. In fact, some leaked documents were revealed that the two companies acted as “business partners” where IKEA offered assistance to Amazon to better grift the system.
Since we’ve been talking about Sweden so much, it’s also worth noting this odd cultural norm. If you get invited to someone’s house in Sweden, even if you are spending the night, don’t expect to be fed. Unless you were invited over specifically to have dinner, you’ll be left alone while your host and their family eat without you.