How do you celebrate a Swedish company going public on your stock exchange, the world's biggest, oldest and most respected? Well, for the NYSE it inexplicably meant hoisting the Swiss flag.
Ahead of streaming giant Spotify's IPO debut at 9.30am New York time on Tuesday, the stock exchange tried to honor the company's Swedish heritage. It didn't quite work out that way.
"… we looked up at the building and suddenly we saw a Swiss flag. It's evidently the stock exchange's nonchalant staff who don't know the difference between Switzerland and Sweden," said newssite DI Digital's reporter Sven Carlsson and tweeted this picture:
At this point, a security guard told DI Digital that the wrong flag had been hoisted by mistake, and the Swiss red and white flag was replaced by a blue and yellow one some 15 minutes later.
Nån kvart senare hissades den svenska. ”Ett misstag”, säger säkerhetsvakten. pic.twitter.com/ZOIM2hOGHW— Sven Carlsson (@svenaxel_) April 3, 2018
For those unfamiliar - like certain NYSE employees for example - Spotify was founded by Swedes Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in 2006.
To be sure, as The Local.se notes, Sweden and Switzerland do share common points: They both have a history of neutrality, have great skiing stations and stunning nature. But they also have plenty of differences, including different languages, and that one of the two countries is located in Scandinavia, while the other is, well, not.
That said, confusing the two is not an uncommon mistake, and it does not only happen in anglophone countries. In Spain, 'Suecia' and 'Suiza' are rather too close for comfort, as are China's 'Ruidian' and 'Ruishi'.
In fact, ask any Swede or Swiss person if they have ever been subject to people confusing their country with "that other European country", and you will get a lot of nodding heads.
Last year, a Swiss airline even launched a competition aimed at ending the never-ending mix-up by offering to take 24 winners on a tour through the non-existing 'Swederland'.
In 2013, Swedish authorities launched a competition in China, where people were invited on social media to come up with funny ways to keep Sweden and Switzerland apart.
The good news is that Spotify management, employees and shareholders won't care: at last check Spotify shares were indicated to $167/170, suggestion a valuation of over $30 billion when the stock breaks for trading.