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Why is ‘everyone called Glenn’ in Gothenburg?

We find out if everyone in Gothenburg is really called Glenn and where the old joke comes from.  

How many Glenns actually live in Gothenburg? Photo: Per Pixel Petersson/
Swedish football legend Glenn Strömberg, supposedly one of many Glenns from Gothenburg. Photo: Scanpix

If you’ve been to a football match involving IFK Göteborg, you’ve probably heard this chant from fans: Alla heter Glenn i Göteborg! Alla heter Glenn, Alla heter Glenn, Alla heter Glenn i Göteborg!

But why is “everyone is called Glenn in Gothenburg” a football chant? And is Gothenburg really a city of Glenns? 

It started in the 80s. At the time IFK Göteborg had four star players called Glenn: Glenn Hysén, Glenn Strömberg, Glenn Schiller and Glenn Holm.

Hammarby, a rival club from Stockholm, came up with the chant to taunt the opposing team. But IFK Göteborg’s fans quickly co-opted it and started singing it themselves. 

The Glenn-filled team of the 80s went on to win the Swedish Cup and the UEFA Cup, so the name turned into something of a good luck charm that persists to this day. 

Glenn Hysén in a match between Hammarby IF and IFK Göteborg in 1986. Photo: Jack Mikrut/SvD/TT

According to census data from Statistics Sweden when we wrote this article in 2021, a total of 5,455 men in Sweden have Glenn as their first name. Most are over 50 years old. There are also 10 women called Glenn in the country. 

But the public database Ratsit has found that most Glenns, in relation to population, are found in Munkedal, a town about 110 kilometres north of Gothenburg. Only about 212 people called Glenn live in Gothenburg. There are 19 dogs called Glenn in the city too. 

Nonetheless, the joke (and chant) survives to this day.

In fact, a sports bar which opened over a decade ago in the centre of Gothenburg is called Glenn i Göteborg (the owner is not called Glenn). 

There’s an outdated dad joke that is popular among older Swedish men: “What would happen if Glenn Hysén married Glenn Close? They would both be called Glenn Hysén.”

*Pause for laughter*

The city has even named a train Glenn.

In the video below, you can listen to the four Glenns – Hysén, Strömberg, Holm and Schiller – as they sing the chant themselves.

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There are now more than 600,000 Gothenburgers living in Gothenburg

Sweden's second-largest city is now home to more than 600,000 people, new data shows.

There are now more than 600,000 Gothenburgers living in Gothenburg

The western city of Gothenburg grew by more than 3,700 people in 2023, passing the 600,000 people milestone in May, according to number-crunchers Statistics Sweden’s latest figures.

Its population has grown by almost 13 percent in the past decade, a faster growth rate than Stockholm’s ten percent but not as fast as Sweden’s third biggest city, Malmö, at 15 percent.

Around 360,000 people live in Malmö, so it’s still not close to overtaking Gothenburg.

Gothenburg, a city known for its industrial port, seafood, football and a lot of men called Glenn, is celebrating its 400th anniversary this year (two years after its actual anniversary, with the festivities postponed due to the pandemic).


Uppsala, Nacka and Malmö are the three municipalities that have grown the fastest in the past ten years.

The university town of Uppsala has grown by almost 19 percent since 2013, whereas Nacka – a popular commuter suburb for people working in Stockholm – has grown by almost 17 percent.

Nacka is also the municipality that’s seen the fastest population increase in the past two decades, with a 42 percent growth sending it from Sweden’s 21st biggest municipality to the 15th biggest.

Sundsvall on the east coast, some four hours north of Stockholm by car or train and home to Mid-Sweden University, is bottom of the growth table in the past two decades, at barely seven percent.

In May, Sweden also got a new smallest municipality, as Bjurholm passed Dorotea.

A total of 2,377 people were registered as living in Dorotea, a remote town some 200 kilometres west of Umeå, in May. Bjurholm, about 60 kilometres west of Umeå, had one more resident.