Sweden- A Scandinavian country people know not much about! You might not know about IKEA and H&M. But, sorry, you’re not even close to knowing about this beautiful and historic country with people so loving and caring, not only towards the human race but also, the environment.
Let’s read here some interesting facts about Sweden to understand the country in a much better way.
Sweden- A Country Towards Sustainability
Sweden, being the first country to pass an environment protection act in 1967, has grown economically while reducing its carbon emission and simultaneously limiting pollution. More than 50% of Sweden’s energy supply comes from renewable resources, aiming to reduce their greenhouse gas emission much further.
The Swedish Government is now aiming ambitiously to make Sweden fossil-free by 2045 and going 100% on renewable resources, which might seem impossible on the outside but seeing the country among the top 10 countries on the Environmental Performance Index by Columbia and Yale universities, it doesn’t seem so difficult.
Let us now move towards our goal of knowing some interesting facts about Sweden and having a much better understanding of Swedish culture, politics and status worldwide.
Interesting Facts About Sweden
Officially known as “the kingdom of Sweden”, the country’s capital city is Stockholm, with other important countries like Gothenburg, Malmö and Uppsala. The Swedish capital is also Sweden’s largest city.
When we talk about the languages spoken in Sweden, first comes Sweden’s official language- Swedish (Svenska), while there are other official languages as well- Yiddish, Finnish, Sami, Romani and Meänkieli.
One of the Sweden facts that impresses me the most is that the country, being a member of the European Union, has successfully retained its currency (the Swedish krona). Let’s learn more facts about Sweden further.
1. Sweden Is The Biggest Of All Scandinavian Countries
Sweden is the fifth largest country by land area in Europe and the largest country in Scandinavia. Sweden is also the sixth oldest country in Europe, with 1000 years of history as a sovereign state.
It has one of the oldest monarchies, dating back to a thousand years, with King Carl XVI Gustaf serving as Swedish king. Critical members of Swedish royalty, Sweden also include Queen Silvia and Princess Victoria.
2. A Neutral Country
Despite being a great empire with great military power once, Sweden chose to remain on a neutral side in all the wars since 1814, along with the two world wars.
3. Sweden Has One Of The Highest VAT Rates In The World
A standard VAT imposed in Sweden is 25%, which is among the highest in countries such as Norway, Croatia and Denmark. The only countries having VAT higher than Sweden are Myanmar, Bhutan, Hungary and Djibouti.
4. Donations Are More Than 1% Of GDP
A very proof of Swede’s generosity can be the donations they give out to help all around the world, and these donations are more than 1% of the country’s GDP, which is one of the most impressive facts about Sweden. Sweden is the only country that gives away so much to help in every area.
5. North Korea Owes Sweden A 45-Year-Old Huge Debt
Just after the Korean war, North Korea, in an attempt to improve its relations with the west, started some engineering projects and opened up financial relations with them.
Around this time, the country ordered almost 1000 luxury Volvo cars from Sweden, which were delivered in 1974. But the payment never came through, and it was clear North Korea never wanted to pay the debt. Hence, the Swedish government recalculates the debt every year and sends the invoice to North Korea.
6. Sweden Imports Waste From Other Countries
Some interesting Sweden facts also include the country’s love for recycling. This country loves recycling so much that they import other countries’ waste. Only 15% of their waste goes into landfills, 50% is recycled, and the rest is used to generate energy.
7. Sweden Is Mostly Covered In Forest
Most Nordic countries with large land areas and low populations have great green space, beautiful flora, and fauna. Sweden is covered in greenery, thanks to the 85% of the population that chose to live in urban cities, leaving behind untouched woods in the countryside.
8. A Major Number Of Moose Roam Freely
As discussed earlier, Sweden’s extraordinary flora and fauna are why animals can roam freely anywhere. Among which moose is Sweden’s national pride. Around 300,000 to 400,000 moose roam freely in the forest.
These animals are abundant in Sweden, and their number depends year to year on how many of them were hunted for the local delicacy.
9. A Hotel Made Up Of Ice, Sweden
The Swedish village of Jukkasjärvi is home to the famous Ice Hotel, crafted from scratch every year from ice from the river Torne as soon as winter starts to kick in, in the Arctic Circle.
Have you ever thought about an Ice hotel getting a fire alarm? Interesting, right! Every year the artisans and workers thrive on making the Ice hotel unique, following all the safety regulations such as fitting fire alarms.
10. Stockholm’s Metro Is Another Art Gallery
Stockholm is full of history and art; the most extensive art gallery is underground. Most Stockholm metro stations are painted or decorated, making you feel like you are entering the world’s most comprehensive art exhibition.
Agree? Stockholm metro station is painted in different hues and features graffiti, mosaics, sculptures, and much more.
11. A Global Exporter Of Music
Sweden is known for its rich pop music culture and is famous as a global exporter of music after the US and UK.
The most popular is ABBA, and famous artists include the Swedish house mafia, Zara Larsson, Robyn and Alesso.
12. Sweden Is The Birthplace Of Some Great Brands
Swedish design, manufacturing and technology tactics are unique in every way. Sweden is the birthplace of many global brands and companies. Some companies include IKEA, H&M, Ericsson, SAAB, Volvo, and Electrolux.
13. Sweden’s Pirate king
Reading about Swedish royalty can be as fascinating as reading a fiction novel, but the story of one king is the most bizarre. Eric XIII of Sweden became king after the death of Margaret I. He inherited a war that his predecessor had been winning and managed to lose a big part of the kingdom, losing the war alongside.
He annoyed the nobles of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and as a result, the Danish nobility refused to give their approval for him being a successor. He then fled to become a pirate in the baltic sea to take revenge. It was only, after 10 years, that he returned as Duke of Pomerania.
14. Nicotine Replacement Gum Was Invented In Sweden
The first nicotine gum, also known as Nicorette, was made by Leo AB in Helsingborg. It was tested by smoking Swedish submariners who were asked to switch their regular tobacco intake with Nicorette.
It helped with withdrawal symptoms and helped many people quit tobacco.
15. Sweden Is A Land Of Northern Lights And Midnight Sun
Sweden is located far north geographically of the globe. As a result, the country swings between both ends of the daylight spectrum over a year. When the summer is at its peak, Sweden experiences the phenomenon of the Midnight sun, when the sun never sets.
It means that some parts of the country experience 24 hours of daylight in the north, whereas, in the south, the sun gets to the horizon but never really sets. Hence, it’s never actually dark.
On the other hand, in Winter, the north is entirely dark, making it perfect for the phenomenon of the Northern lights.
16. Scale Model Of The Solar System, Sweden
Though Sweden is no astronomical leader, one thing that makes it unique is having the world’s largest scale model of the solar system.
The sun is, actually, the global arena of Stockholm, the largest spherical building in the world. At the termination shock, the scale ends 950km from the sun.
17. Passport Of Sweden
Lesser people know that Sweden is also the bearer of one of the most powerful passports in the world. The Swedish passport is ranked second in the list of the most powerful passports in the world in 2022.
18. Fika Is Absolutely A Thing
World-famous Swedish coffee culture or Fika is nothing but a coffee break where friends or family halt in a day from their regular routines to sit down, have some conversation and enjoy their coffee along with some warm cinnamon roll or a muffin.
Contrary to what we see in the Western world, where a break is just on paper, in Sweden, Fika, a coffee break is a thing. It is not only communal but also compulsory, and if someone doesn’t take one, it is considered rude of them.
19. A Swedish Drink, Julmust, Sells Out Coca-Cola
Who hasn’t heard about coca-cola? Moreover, who doesn’t like it? Swedish people love to sip on their local drinks more. In December, during the Christmas period, Julmust (“Jul” means Christmas in Swedish) enjoyed a lot, hence outselling coca-cola, including every soft drink brand combined.
The same drink is then served again in different packaging when Easter comes, under the name of Påskmust. Apart from these two occasions, the drink is nearly impossible to be seen.
20. Sweden Is The Land Of Vikings
Like all other Dane and Norse Vikings, Swedish Vikings (8th-11th century AD) were spine-chilling skilled warriors who invaded and made Northern and Eastern Europe their home.
21. Secular In An Authentic Way
Evangelical Lutheran, the church of Sweden, was the main religion until it was separated from the state. Now there are a lot of religions that co-exist in Sweden, like a sizeable Jewish community, other Christian denominations, Buddhism, Islam and many more.
Co-existence of this many cultures in one land area might also be the reason for the country’s peaceful attitude. Sweden has been playing a moderating role when it comes to the world’s conflicting ideological and political ways. This and maybe a reason why Swedish politicians fill in critical positions in the UN.
22. Paid Parental Leave
There is a reason why Swedish workers are known to be one of the happiest in the world. One of the reasons you have already read about it is the famous Fika. And the other is 450 days of parental leave every Swedish parent in a job gets. Amazing, right?
By now, you must have known that Sweden is just not about Swedish meatballs, funky vintage shops, Swedish art, the midnight sun or a Swedish museum. Hope all these facts about Sweden that we discussed have enhanced your knowledge about the country and have given you a logical perspective to observe the country, leaving behind all the stereotypes.
Sweden is a great nation with one of the most peaceful societies where people are generous and always look out for each other. They want to grow sustainably, think about the environment and make their economy stronger simultaneously. The country is determined to see the Swedish flag given respect in every domain.
Hope you get a chance to meet these beautiful people of such a great nation soon. Hope they help everyone and every country see what they lag in and promote the idea of being a part of progressive thinking.
Hope you have understood the country much better and are ready to explore the country. You might also come across more of the Sweden facts we don’t know about. Nothing is better than having a hand on experience. So, why wait? Pack your bags and give yourself the best educational and cultural tour of a lifetime.