Sweden is a Scandinavian country located in Northern Europe. It is a fascinating country with some really cool inventions and a colourful history. How many of these facts did you already know?
Interesting facts about Sweden
1. Sweden has one of the highest VAT (25%) in the world. The people here are also the world’s highest taxpayers. The total taxation in Sweden amount to 54.2 % of GDP.
2. Swedes are known for being generous and this is the only country where donations stand for more than 1% of the GDP.
3. The renowned Nobel Prize is distributed at Stockholm City Hall by the Swedish Royal family. Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been awarded 567 times. It is the legacy of Alfred Nobel, who invented dynamite in 1866. When he died, Nobel directed that the bulk of his vast fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be “annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”
Sweden has had seven Nobel Prize winners in Literature, including Selma Lagerlöf, who was the first woman to win the prize in 1909.
4. Sweden is home to one of the largest population of moose. There are about 300,000 – 400,000 moose roaming freely in the woods. These galloping creatures are considered the most dangerous in Sweden as they cause approximately 6,000 road accidents every year. There is an annual hunt that takes place in the country where about 250,000 people participate and sadly over 100,000 moose are shot.
5. Sweden is one of the homosexuality friendly countries in the world. Gay relationships have been legalized since 1944, and in 1972, it was the first country in the world to allow for a legal change of gender identity.
6. Sweden was the first country to ban smacking of children. In 1979, it banned corporal or physical punishment in all forms, including parents’ right to spank their children.
7. Did you know that Minecraft was developed by Swedish programmer Markus Notch Persson singlehandedly as a hobby?
The famous game Candy Crush is also developed by a Swedish company called King. The game has been downloaded almost 500 million times and counting.
8. Sweden has one of the highest life expectancies in the world, 74 years for men and 80 years for women, and one of the lowest birthrates (1.7 children per woman).
9. Craving for a Big Mac? Sweden got you covered. The country has the highest number of Mcdonald’s restaurants in Europe per capita.
10. There is a 4th-century silver Bible sitting in Sweden’s Uppsala University which is considered one of the world’s most valuable book.
11. Ice hotels or igloos are very popular these days. Do you know the world’s first ice hotel was built in Sweden in 1980? Every year the hotel is created with block of ice and the builders make sure, it looks unique every time. One funny thing is that despite being made entirely of frozen water, the gigantic igloo is still required to have fire alarms fitted.
12. The winters in North of Sweden are really dark and gloomy. The lack of sunlight causes people to get SAD. Yes they are not happy but SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder which is a widespread depression affecting one in five people in the country. We all need a little sunshine in our lives.
13. The winters however bring the northern lights, or aurora borealis. These spectacular displays of green-blue shimmering arcs and waves of lights are caused by solar wind, or streams of particles charged by the sun, hitting the atmosphere. People from all over the world visit the Nordic countries to experience the dance of these northern lights.
14. The Swedish monarchy is one of the oldest in the world. It dates back a thousand years and has included 11 dynasties, with the current one, the House of Bernadotte, ruling the longest. Carl XVI Gustaf is the current king of Sweden.
15. Sweden is home to IKEA. The store selling ready-to-assemble furniture was founded in Sweden in 1943 by 17 year old Ingvar Kamprad. Since 2008, IKEA has been the world’s largest furniture retailer with stores in 40 countries.
16. The Swedish passport is one of the strongest in the world. The passport gives you an entry to 154 countries without Visa. I find it very cool to be able to book tickets to any country without the hassle of applying for visa.
17. It is one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. 55% of the energy in Sweden is renewable. Sweden has also one of the world’s best waste-handling and recycling systems. 99% of the country’s waste is recycled. In fact, they love recycling so much that they import garbage from Norway and UK and recycle it. Funny thing is these countries pay Sweden to take away the garbage. It’s a Win Win situation.
18. Sweden has a rich and thriving music scene. The country is the world’s third largest exporter of music. In recent years, artists like Avicii, Swedish House Mafia and Icona Pop have given Swedish music more visibility, but songwriters, musicians and producers are also important pieces of the Swedish music scene.
Today, Sweden is responsible for much of the shape of popular music. Spotify, one of the most famous music app is based out of Sweden. In music industry, people respect you just because you are a Swede.
19. Sweden is one of the few countries in the world that gives every person the freedom to roam in nature. You are free to walk, cycle, ride, ski and camp in the country without asking for permission or being answerable to anyone.
20. There was once a pirate king. Erik XIII, the king of Sweden was forced away from the crown as he wasn’t the best King. So he fled to Gotland, where he crowned himself the Pirate King of the Baltic Sea to take revenge from the merchants who had caused much trouble during his reign. His stint lasted for 10 years after which he returned as Duke of Pomerania.
21. The country has invented a lot of things. The discoveries include dynamite, car seatbelt, pacemaker, ultrasound, safety match, astronomical lens, marine propeller, refrigerator, and computer mouse.
The country also has the highest number of patents per capita in Europe. If the Swedes get any idea, they patent it.
22. Sweden was the first country in Europe to establish national parks. In 1909, a law was passed to establish protected areas and nine national parks were created. Even today, the country’s forest cover is huge covering more than 60% of Sweden.
23. Work-life balance is extremely important in Sweden. There are many companies who have introduced 6-hour workdays here. The workers enjoy many benefits including 5 weeks of paid vacation.
We all love taking coffee breaks between work. But in Sweden you take a fika. It’s like a coffee break but still so much more than that. It is about the social interactions and building those bonds. Fika is a communal and pretty much compulsory thing. So much so that in most companies anyone not taking part is considered rude. So the next time you are in Sweden and anyone asks if you would like to have fika, the answer is always YES!
24. There is a long due debt towards Sweden which North Korea needs to pay. In 1974, North Korea purchased 1000 Volvo cars from Sweden but did not pay anything. Every year, the Swedish government recalculates the debt and sends a new invoice. The chances of the debt ever being paid are highly unlikely, but Sweden is making sure that it is never forgotten
Trip leader Sakshi’s Recommendations if you are visiting Sweden:
Stockholm’s Archipelago: Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, has been called the “Venice of the North” because it is a city built around water and around 30,000 islands lie in Stockholm’s wondrous archipelago. Take a boat around different islands that surround Stockholm. During the summer, they become big attractions for locals as they boat around and spend nights on the tiny islands.
Gotland: Gotland is Sweden’s largest island in Baltic Sea and one of the most popular summer destinations. Visby, the only city on the island, is a beautiful walled town which has preserved most of its townscape and historic buildings. It feels as if you have stepped back in medieval times in this quaint town.
Kungsleden: Kungsleden or The King’s Trail is Sweden’s longest and most well-known hiking trail. This 440km trail stretches through some of the most remote and pristine landscapes in the country. The changes in the landscape are astounding featuring both alpine sceneries in Lapland to forests full of birch trees, clear lakes, small villages and mount tops. It takes one month to hike the entire trail, but there are plenty of short hikes to take if you want to just go for a day hike.
Swedish Lapland: Located in the far north is Lapland. It is also home to the Sami, Sweden’s indigenous people. You can spot reindeers, go skiing and experience the Arctic north. Winters is when you will see the famous Northern Lights and can also stay in the Ice Hotel here.
Visa Process: Check https://www.onhisowntrip.com/visa-sweden/ for details