Difference between revisions of "Sweden"

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{{About|the country}}
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{{quickbar
{{pp-semi|small=yes}}{{pp-move-indef}}
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|image=[[Image:SwedenStockholmSergelsTorgNight.jpg|noframe|250px]]
{{Infobox country
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|location=[[Image:LocationSweden.png|noframe|250px]]
| native_name={{native name|sv|Konungariket Sverige|icon=no}}
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|flag=[[Image:Sw-flag.png]]
| conventional_long_name=Kingdom of Sweden
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|capital=[[Stockholm]]
| common_name=Sweden
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|government=Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy
| image_flag=Flag of Sweden.svg
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|currency=Swedish Krona (SEK)
| image_coat=Coat of Arms of Sweden.svg
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|area=450,295 km<sup>2</sup>
| image_map=EU-Sweden.svg
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|population=9 500 000 (Dec 2011)
| map_caption={{map caption|location_color=dark green|region=[[Europe]]|region_color=dark grey|subregion=the [[European Union]]|subregion_color=green|legend=EU-Sweden.svg}}
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|language=[[Swedish phrasebook|Swedish]], large [[Finnish]] speaking minority (470 000, RUAB 2005), most people speak English
| national_motto=<span style="line-height:1.33em;">[[Royal mottos of Swedish monarchs|(Royal)]]&nbsp;"''{{lang|sv|För Sverige i tiden}}''"{{Ref label|aaa|a}}&nbsp;<br /><small>"For Sweden – With the Times"&nbsp;</small></span>
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|religion=23% theist (mainly Lutheran with Muslim and Catholic minorities), 76% non theist (including 23% atheist)
| national_anthem={{lang|sv|''[[Du gamla, Du fria]]''}}{{Ref label|bbb|b}}<br /><small>''Thou ancient, thou free''</small>
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|electricity=230V/50Hz (European plug)
| royal_anthem={{lang|sv|''[[Kungssången]]''}}<br /><small>''The Song of the King''</small>
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|tld=.se
| official_languages=[[Swedish language|Swedish]]{{Ref label|ccc|c}}
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|timezone=UTC +1
| demonym=[[Swedish people|Swedish]] or [[Swedes]]
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|callingcode=+46
| ethnic_groups=90.8% [[Swedish people|Swedes]]<ref name="SCB Bef">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.scb.se/Pages/Product____25785.aspx?produktkod=BE0101&displaypressrelease=true&pressreleaseid=257212|title=Befolkningsstatistik|publisher=www.scb.se|accessdate=2009-06-16}}</ref>{{Ref label|ddd|d}}<br />≈3%[[Finns]]<ref name="Finns" /><br/>≈1% other [[Nordic countries|Nordics]]<br/>
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≈5.2% [[:Category:Ethnic groups in Sweden|other]] (2011)<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.scb.se/Pages/TableAndChart____26041.aspx|title=Summary of Population Statistics 1960–2008|publisher=www.scb.se|accessdate=2010-06-03}}</ref><ref>Note that [[Swedish-speaking Finns]] or other Swedish-speakers born outside Sweden might self-identify as ''Swedish'' despite being born abroad. Moreover, people born within Sweden may not be ethnic Swedes.</ref>
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| capital={{Coat of arms|Stockholm}}
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| latd=59|latm=21|latNS=N|longd=18|longm=4|longEW=E
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| largest_city=capital
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| government_type=[[Constitutional monarchy]], <br>[[Unitary state|Unitary]] [[Parliamentary system|parliamentary]] [[representative democracy]]
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| leader_title1=[[Monarch of Sweden|Monarch]]
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| leader_name1=[[Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden|King Carl XVI Gustaf]]
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| leader_title2=[[Prime Minister of Sweden|Prime Minister]]
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| leader_name2=[[Fredrik Reinfeldt]] ([[Moderate Party|M]])
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| leader_title3=[[Speaker of the Riksdag|Speaker of<br />the riksdag]]
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| leader_name3=[[Per Westerberg]] ([[Moderate Party|M]])
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| sovereignty_type=[[Consolidation of Sweden|Consolidation]]
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| sovereignty_note= Middle Ages
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| legislature=[[Parliament of Sweden|Riksdag]]
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| EUseats=19
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| area_rank=57th
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| area_magnitude=1 E+11
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| area_km2=449,964
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| area_sq_mi=173,745
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| percent_water=8.7
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| population=
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| population_estimate_rank=88th
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| population_census=9,415,295<ref name="population"/>
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| population_census_year=2011
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| population_density_km2=20.6
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| population_density_sq_mi=53.8
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| population_density_rank=195th
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| GDP_PPP=$381.719 billion<ref name="imf2">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2012/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?pr.x=92&pr.y=3&sy=2009&ey=2012&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&c=144&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP%2CPPPPC%2CLP&grp=0&a=|title=Sweden|publisher=International Monetary Fund|accessdate=2012-04-22}}</ref>
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| GDP_PPP_rank =
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| GDP_PPP_year=2011
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| GDP_PPP_per_capita=$40,393<ref name="imf2"/>
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| GDP_PPP_per_capita_rank=
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| GDP_nominal=$538.237 billion<ref name="imf2"/>
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| GDP_nominal_rank =
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| GDP_nominal_year=2011
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| GDP_nominal_per_capita=$56,956<ref name="imf2"/>
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| GDP_nominal_per_capita_rank=
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| Gini=23
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| Gini_year=2005
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| Gini_category=<span style="color:#090;">low</span>
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| HDI={{increase}} 0.885<ref name="HDI">{{Fcite web|url=http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/HDR_2010_EN_Table1.pdf|title=Human Development Report 2010|year=2010|publisher=United Nations|accessdate=5 November 2010}}</ref>
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| HDI_rank=9th
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| HDI_year=2010
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| HDI_category=<span style="color:#090;">very&nbsp;high</span>
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| currency=[[Swedish krona]]
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| currency_code=SEK
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| country_code=SWE
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| time_zone=[[Central European Time|CET]]
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| utc_offset=+1
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| time_zone_DST=[[Central European Summer Time|CEST]]
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| utc_offset_DST=+2
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| date_format=yyyy-mm-dd
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| drives_on=right{{Ref label|eee|e}}
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| cctld=[[.se]]{{Ref label|fff|f}}
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| calling_code=[[Telephone numbers in Sweden|46]]
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| footnotes=
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a. {{note|aaa}} {{lang|sv|''För Sverige – I tiden''}} has been adopted by Carl XVI Gustaf as his personal motto.<br />
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b. {{note|bbb}} {{lang|sv|''[[Du gamla, Du fria]]''}} has never been officially adopted as national anthem, but is so by convention.<br />
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c. {{note|ccc}} Since 1 July 2009.<ref name="Swedish"/><ref name="Swedish2"/> Five other languages are [[Minority languages of Sweden|officially recognized as minority languages]].<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.sprakradet.se/servlet/GetDoc?meta_id=2119#item100400|title=Är svenskan också officiellt språk i Sverige?|publisher=Språkrådet (Language Council of Sweden)|date=2008-02-01|accessdate=2008-06-22|language=Swedish}}</ref> They are: [[Finnish language|Finnish]], [[Meänkieli]], [[Romani language|Romani]], [[Sami languages|Sami]] and [[Yiddish language|Yiddish]]. The [[Swedish Sign Language]] also has a special status.<br />
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d. {{note|ddd}} As of 2008, 18% of the population had foreign origins (13% if excluding Finns and 9% if also excluding other Scandinavians), with 14% foreign-born and another 4% born in Sweden of two foreign-born parents.<ref>[http://www.scb.se/Pages/TableAndChart____26041.aspx Summary of Population Statistics 1960 – 2008 – Statistics Sweden] (proportion of foreign background, including foreign-born and Swedish-born with two foreign-born parents)</ref><br />
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e. {{note|eee}} Since [[Dagen H|3 September 1967]].
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f. {{note|fff}} The [[.eu]] domain is also used, as it is shared with other [[European Union]] member states.
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}}
 
}}
'''Sweden''' ({{IPAc-en|audio=en-us-Sweden.ogg|ˈ|s|w|iː|d|ən}} {{respell|SWEE|dən}}; {{lang-sv|Sverige}} {{IPA-sv|ˈsværjɛ||Sv-Sverige.ogg}}), officially the '''Kingdom of Sweden''' ([[Swedish language|Swedish]]: {{Audio|Sv-Konungariket_Sverige.ogg|''Konungariket Sverige''}}), is a [[Nordic countries|Nordic country]] on the [[Scandinavian Peninsula]] in [[Northern Europe]]. Sweden borders with [[Norway]] and [[Finland]], and is connected to [[Denmark]] by a [[Øresund Bridge|bridge-tunnel]] across the [[Øresund]].
 
  
At {{convert|450295|km2|sqmi}}, Sweden is the third largest country in the [[European Union]] by area, with a total population of about 9.4 million.<ref name="population">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.scb.se/Pages/Product____25799.aspx|title=Befolkningsstatistik|publisher=Statistiska centralbyrån|accessdate=2010-05-18}}</ref> Sweden has a low [[population density]] of {{convert|21|PD/km2|PD/sqmi}} with the population mostly concentrated to the southern half of the country. About 85% of the population live in urban areas.<ref name="publikationer2007">
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{{otheruses}}
Statistics Sweden. ''Yearbook of Housing and Building Statistics 2007''. Statistics Sweden, Energy, Rents and Real Estate Statistics Unit, 2007. ISBN 978-91-618-1361-2. Available online in [http://www.scb.se/statistik/_publikationer/BO0801_2007A01_BR_BO01SA0701.pdf PDF format]</ref> Sweden's [[capital city]] is [[Stockholm]], which is also the largest city.<!-- see [[Stockholm#Historical_population]] for ambiguity about Stockholm's population -->
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Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the [[Middle Ages]]. In the 17th century, the country expanded its territories to form the [[Swedish Empire]]. The empire grew to be one of the [[great power]]s of Europe in the 17th and early 18th century. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries. The eastern half of Sweden, present-day Finland, was lost to [[Russian Empire|Russia]] in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by military means [[Union of Sweden and Norway|forced Norway into a personal union]]. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, practicing [[Swedish neutrality|"non-participation in military alliances during peacetime and neutrality during wartime"]].<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/dec/2/among-the-disclosures-in-the-19-documents-released/|title='&#39;WikiLeaks reveal Swedes gave intel on Russia, Iran'&#39; |publisher=Washington Times |date=2010-12-02 |accessdate=2012-05-20}}</ref> However, Sweden has been a member of the European Union since 1 January 1995 and is a member of the [[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development|OECD]].
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'''Sweden''' (''Sverige'') [http://www.visitsweden.com/] is the largest of the [[Nordic countries]] in Northern [[Europe]], with a population of about 9.3 million. It borders [[Norway]] and [[Finland]] and is connected to [[Denmark]] via the bridge of Öresund (''Öresundsbron''). The Baltic Sea lies to the east of Sweden, as well as the Gulf of Bothnia, which separates Sweden from most of Finland.
  
Today, Sweden is a [[constitutional monarchy]] with a [[parliamentary democracy]] form of government and a highly developed economy. Sweden has the [[List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita|world's eighth highest per capita income]]. In 2011, it ranked fourth in the world in ''[[The Economist]]'''s [[Democracy Index]] and tenth in the [[United Nations]]' [[Human Development Index]] (third on the [[List of countries by inequality-adjusted HDI|inequality-adjusted HDI]]). In 2010, the [[World Economic Forum]] ranked Sweden as the second most competitive country in the world, after Switzerland.<ref>Klaus Schwab [http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_GlobalCompetitivenessReport_2010-11.pdf The Global Competitiveness Report 2010–2011]. World Economic Forum, Geneva, Switzerland 2010 ISBN 92-95044-87-8</ref> According to the [[United Nations|UN]], it has the third lowest [[infant mortality]] rate in the world. Sweden also has the lowest [[Gini coefficient]] of all countries (0.23), making Sweden the world's most equal country in terms of income. Sweden's wealth, however, is distributed much less equally than its income. At a Gini of 0.742, Swedish wealth inequality is similar to the global average.<ref>[http://economics.uwo.ca/faculty/davies/workingpapers/thelevelanddistribution.pdf The Level and Distribution of Global Household Wealth]</ref>
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==Understand==
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Although having been a military power and spanning about three times its current size during the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war in almost two hundred years.That is a very good thing for most people in Sweden. Having long remained outside military alliances (including both World Wars), the country has a high peace profile, with internationally renowned names such as Raoul Wallenberg, Dag Hammarskjöld, Olof Palme and Hans Blix. Sweden is a monarchy by constitution, but king Carl XVI Gustaf has no executive power. The country has a long tradition of Lutheran-Protestant Christianity, but today's Sweden is a secular state with very few church-goers.  
  
==Etymology==
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Sweden has a hybrid socialist/capitalist system (sometimes known as "Scandanavian" or "Third Way" socialism) and is a developed post-industrial society with an advanced welfare state. The standard of living and life expectancy rank among the highest in the world. Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, but decided by a referendum in 2003 not to commit to the European Monetary Union and the euro currency. Leadership of Sweden has for the larger part of the 20th century been dominated by the Social Democratic Party, which started out at the end of the 19th century as a labor movement, but today pursues a mix of socialism and social-liberalism. Since the 2006 election, a coalition of center-right liberal/conservative parties has come into power.
{{Main|Name of Sweden}}
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The modern name ''Sweden'' is derived through [[back-formation]] from Old English ''Swēoþēod'', which meant "people of the Swedes" (Old Norse ''Svíþjóð'', Latin ''Suetidi''). This word is derived from ''Sweon/Sweonas'' (Old Norse ''Sviar'', Latin S''uiones''). The Swedish name ''Sverige'' (a conjunction of the words ''Svea'' and ''Rike'' – first recorded in the cognate ''Swēorice'' in [[Beowulf]] – with the consonant 'k' softened to 'g'<ref>{{Fcite book |last=Hellquist |first=Elof |title=Svensk etymologisk ordbok |year=1922 |publisher=Gleerups förlag |location=Stockholm |page=917|url=http://runeberg.org/svetym/1005.html}}</ref>&nbsp;– compare "rige" in modern [[Danish language|Danish]]) literally means "Kingdom of the [[Swedes (Germanic tribe)|Swedes]]", excluding the [[Geat]]s in [[Götaland]].
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Variations of the name ''Sweden'' are used in most languages, with the exception of Danish and [[Norwegian language|Norwegian]] using ''Sverige'', [[Icelandic language|Icelandic]] ''Svíþjóð'', and the more notable exception of some [[Finno-Ugric languages]] where ''Ruotsi'' ([[Finnish language|Finnish]]) and ''Rootsi'' ([[Estonian language|Estonian]]) are used, names commonly considered etymologically related to the English name for Russia, referring to the people, ''[[Rus (people)|Rus']]'', originally from the coastal areas of [[Roslagen]], [[Uppland]].
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Sweden has a strong tradition of being an open, yet discreet country. Citizens sometimes appear to be quite reserved at first, but once they get to know who they are dealing with, they'll be as warm and friendly as you'd wish. Privacy is regarded as a key item and many visitors, for example mega-stars in various lines of trade, have many times realized that they mostly can walk the streets of the cities virtually undisturbed.
  
The etymology of ''Swedes'', and thus ''Sweden'', is generally not agreed upon but may derive from [[Proto-Germanic]] ''Swihoniz'' meaning "one's own",<ref>{{Fcite book |last=Hellquist |first=Elof |title=Svensk etymologisk ordbok |year=1922 |publisher=Gleerups förlag |location=Stockholm |page=915}}</ref> referring to one's own Germanic tribe.
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Sweden houses the Nobel Prize [http://www.nobel.se/] committee for all the prizes except the peace prize which is hosted in Oslo, a memento of the Swedish-Norwegian union that was dissolved just over 100 years ago.
  
==History==
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==Regions==
{{Main|History of Sweden}}
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{{Regionlist
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| regionmap=Map-Sweden01.png
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| regionmaptext=Regions of Sweden
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| regionmapsize=200px
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| region1name=[[Norrland]]
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| region1color=red
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| region1items=
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| region1description=the sparsely populated, northern part of the country (It spans more than half of the country's total area), with nine provinces. Lots of wilderness, with forests, lakes, big rivers, enormous marshes and high mountains along the border to Norway. Great for hiking. Largest cities are [[Gävle]], [[Sundsvall]], [[Umeå]] and [[Luleå]].
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| region2name= [[Svealand]]
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| region2color=green
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| region2items=
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| region2description=the central part of the country, includes [[Stockholm]], [[Uppsala]] and the provinces of [[Dalarna]], [[Närke]], [[Värmland]], [[Södermanland]], [[Uppland]] and [[Västmanland]].
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| region3name=[[Götaland]]
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| region3color=blue
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| region3items=
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| region3description=comprised of the ten provinces in the southern part of the country, including the islands (and provinces) of [[Öland]] and [[Gotland]]. The largest cities in Götaland are [[Gothenburg]] in [[Västergötland]] and [[Malmö]] in [[Skåne]].
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}}
  
===Prehistory===
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==Cities==
{{Main|Prehistoric Sweden}}
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;Major cities
Sweden's prehistory begins in the [[Allerød oscillation]], a warm period, c. 12,000 BC with Late [[Palaeolithic]] [[reindeer]]-hunting camps of the [[Bromme culture]] at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province. This period was characterized by small bands of [[Hunter-gatherer|hunter-gatherer-fishers]] using [[flint]] technology.
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*[[Stockholm]] - The capital, spread out over a number of islands.
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*[[Gothenburg]] ([[Gothenburg|Göteborg]] in Swedish) - On the west coast.
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*[[Västerås]] - The center of the Swedish industrialization. Only an hour away from [[Stockholm]].
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*[[Linköping]] - The 5th most populous city of Sweden. University city.
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*[[Kiruna]] - A mining town in [[Lappland]], and the northernmost city in Sweden.
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*[[Luleå]] - Industrial city in northern [[Norrland]], with a technical university.
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*[[Malmö]] - Down south, 30 minutes by train from the Danish capital [[Copenhagen]].
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*[[Umeå]] - University city in [[Norrland]].
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*[[Uppsala]] - Lively pretty old university city. Fourth largest city in Sweden.
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*[[Örebro]] - Old shoe manufacturing center, halfway between Stockholm and [[Oslo]].
  
Sweden enters proto-history with the ''[[Germania (book)|Germania]]'' of [[Tacitus]] in AD 98. In [[s:Germania#XLIV|Germania 44, 45]] he mentions the Swedes (''[[Swedes (Germanic tribe)|Suiones]]'') as a powerful tribe (''distinguished not merely for their arms and men, but for their powerful fleets'') with ships that had a [[prow]] in both ends ([[longship]]s). Which kings (''kuningaz'') ruled these Suiones is unknown, but [[Norse mythology]] presents a long line of legendary and semi-legendary kings going back to the last centuries BC. As for literacy in Sweden itself, the [[runic alphabet|runic script]] was in use among the south Scandinavian elite by at least the 2nd century AD, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts, mainly of male names, demonstrating that the people of south Scandinavia spoke [[Proto-Norse]] at the time, a language ancestral to Swedish and other [[North Germanic languages]].
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==Other destinations==
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* [[Bolmsö]]
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* [[Gotland]] - Sweden's largest island, as well as the largest island of the Baltic Sea, situated in the [[Baltic states|Baltic Sea]]. Its capital [[Visby]] is on UNESCO's World's heritage list. It's a common vacation spot for Swedes from the mainland.
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* [[Kullaberg]] Nature Reserve
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* [[Kungsleden]] - a marked well-known hiking trail that runs through Norrland.
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* [[Österlen]] &mdash; picturescue southeastern district of [[Scania]]
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* [[Åre]] - One of Sweden's largest ski resorts, with 44 lifts.
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* [[Lund]] - University city in [[Scania]].
  
In the 6th century [[Jordanes]] named two tribes he calls the ''Suehans'' and the ''Suetidi'' who lived in [[Scandza]]. These two names are both considered to refer to the same tribe. The ''Suehans'', he says, has very fine horses just as the "Thyringi" tribe (''alia vero gens ibi moratur Suehans, quae velud Thyringi equis utuntur eximiis''). [[Snorri Sturluson]] wrote that the contemporary Swedish king [[Adils]] (Eadgils) had the finest horses of his days. The Suehans were the suppliers of black fox skins for the Roman market. Then Jordanes names the ''Suetidi'' which is considered to be the Latin form of ''[[Svitjod]]''. He writes that the Suetidi are the tallest of men together with the [[Danes (Germanic tribe)|Dani]] who were of the same stock. Later he mentions other Scandinavian tribes for being of the same height.
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==Get in==
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===Entry requirements===
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{{Schengen}}
  
Originating in semi-legendary Scandza, believed to be somewhere in modern [[Götaland]], Sweden, a [[Goths|Gothic]] population had crossed the [[Baltic Sea]] before the 2nd century AD, reaching [[Scythia]] at the coast of the [[Black Sea]] in modern [[Ukraine]] where Goths left their archaeological traces in the [[Chernyakhov culture]]. In the 5th and 6th centuries, they became divided as the [[Visigoths]] and the [[Ostrogoths]], and established powerful successor-states of the [[Roman Empire]] in the [[Iberian Peninsula]] and Italy.<ref>[http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/239637/Goth Goth (people)]. Britannica Online Encyclopedia.</ref> [[Crimean Gothic]] communities appear to have survived intact until the late 18th century.<ref>Ingemar Nordgren (2004). "''[http://books.google.com/books?id=-wZYqf3G45cC&pg=PA520 The Well Spring of the Goths: About the Gothic Peoples in the Nordic Countries and on the Continent]''". iUniverse. p. 520 ISBN 0-595-33648-5</ref>
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Citizens of the above countries are permitted to work in Sweden without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay. However, this ability to work visa-free does not necessarily extend to other Schengen countries.  
  
===Viking and Middle Ages===
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===By plane===
{{See also|Early Swedish history|Foundation of Modern Sweden|Varangians}}
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For arrival and departure times, as well as lots of other information about flights and airports in Sweden, visit '''Luftfartsverket - Swedish Airports and Air Navigation Services'''[http://www.lfv.se/]
The Swedish [[Viking Age]] lasted roughly between the 8th and 11th centuries. It is believed that Swedish Vikings and [[Gutar]] mainly travelled east and south, going to Finland, the Baltic countries, Russia, [[Belarus]], [[Ukraine]] the [[Black Sea]] and further as far as [[Baghdad]]. Their routes passed [[The Trade Route from the Varangians to the Greeks|through the Dnieper]] south to [[Constantinople]], on which they carried out numerous raids. The [[Byzantine Emperor]] [[Theophilos (emperor)|Theophilos]] noticed their great skills in war and invited them to serve as his personal bodyguard, known as the [[varangian guard]]. The Swedish Vikings, called "[[Rus (people)|Rus]]" are believed to be the founding fathers of [[Kievan Rus']]. The Arabic traveller "[[Ibn Fadlan]]" described these Vikings as following:
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{{quote|I have seen the Rus as they came on their merchant journeys and encamped by the [[Volga|Itil]]. I have never seen more perfect physical specimens, tall as date palms, blond and ruddy; they wear neither tunics nor caftans, but the men wear a garment which covers one side of the body and leaves a hand free. Each man has an axe, a sword, and a knife, and keeps each by him at all times. The swords are broad and grooved, of Frankish sort.<ref>Quoted from: Gwyn Jones. ''A History of the Vikings''. Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-19-280134-1. Page 164.</ref>}}
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Major airports:
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* '''Stockholm Arlanda''' ({{IATA|ARN}}) ({{ICAO|ESSA}})[http://www.arlanda.se] - serves most major airlines. Check the [[Stockholm#Get in|Stockholm]] page for information on transfer between the airport and Stockholm City.
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* '''Göteborg Landvetter''' ({{IATA|GOT}}) ({{ICAO|ESGG}}) [http://www.landvetter.lfv.se/] - serves several international airlines and provides convenient bus transfer (~20 min) to central [[Gothenburg]].
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* '''Copenhagen Kastrup (Denmark)''' ({{IATA|CPH}}) ({{ICAO|EKCH}}) [http://www.cph.dk/] - serves most major airlines. Located on an island between [[Copenhagen]] and [[Malmö]] and is ideal for travelling in southern Sweden. Train connections leave from the airport to both cities.
  
The adventures of these Swedish Vikings are commemorated on many [[runestone]]s in Sweden, such as the [[Greece Runestones]] and the [[Varangian Runestones]]. There was also considerable participation in expeditions westwards, which are commemorated on stones such as the [[England Runestones]]. The last major Swedish Viking expedition appears to have been the ill-fated expedition of [[Ingvar the Far-Travelled]] to [[Serkland]], the region south-east of the [[Caspian Sea]]. Its members are commemorated on the [[Ingvar Runestones]], none of which mentions any survivor. What happened to the crew is unknown, but it is believed that they died of sickness.
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Smaller airports:
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* '''Stockholm Skavsta''' ({{IATA|NYO}}) ({{ICAO|ESKN}}) [http://www.skavsta-air.se/en/] - airport for low fares airlines like Ryanair [http://www.ryanair.com] and Wizzair [http://www.wizzair.com]. Located quite a distance (about 100 km) from Stockholm, near the town of [[Nyköping]].
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*'''Stockholm Västerås''' ({{IATA|VST}}) ({{ICAO|ESOW}}) [http://www.vasterasflygplats.se/] - international flights to/from Copenhagen and London. Also about 100 km from Stockholm.
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* '''Göteborg City Airport''' ({{IATA|GSE}}) ({{ICAO|ESGP}}) [http://www.goteborgcityairport.se/] - situated just 14 kilometers from central [[Gothenburg]], this airport is used by Ryanair, Wizzair and Germanwings [http://www.germanwings.com/].
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* '''Malmö-Sturup''' ({{IATA|MMX}}) ({{ICAO|ESMS}}) [http://www.lfv.se/templates/LFV_AirportStartPage_Arlanda____38763.aspx] - serves domestic flights and low fares flights. Located about 30 km from [[Malmö]].
  
;The Kingdom of Sweden
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Most airports can be reached by '''Flygbussarna - Airport coaches''' [http://www.flygbussarna.se/] for tickets around 70 to 100 SEK. Copenhagen airport is best reached by train. See '''Skånetrafiken''' [http://www.skanetrafiken.se] for schedules.
It is not known when and how the kingdom of Sweden was born, but the [[list of Swedish monarchs]] is drawn from the first kings known to have ruled both [[Svealand]] (Sweden) and [[Götaland]] (Gothia) as one province, beginning with [[Eric the Victorious]]. Sweden and Gothia were two separate nations long before that into antiquity. It is not known how long they existed, ''[[Beowulf]]'' described semi-legendary [[Swedish-Geatish wars]] in the 6th century.
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[[File:Suecia Gambla Ubsala högar.png|thumb|300px|[[Gamla Uppsala]], (Old Uppsala), a site of religious and political importance in the early days of Sweden.]]
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===By train===
;Cultural advances
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You can reach Sweden by train from three countries at present:
During the early stages of the Scandinavian Viking Age, [[Ystad]] in [[Scania]] and [[Paviken]] on [[Gotland]], in present-day Sweden, were flourishing trade centres. Remains of what is believed to have been a large market have been found in Ystad dating from 600–700 AD.<ref name="Sawyer" /> In Paviken, an important centre of trade in the Baltic region during the 9th and 10th century, remains have been found of a large Viking Age harbour with shipbuilding yards and handicraft industries. Between 800 and 1000, trade brought an abundance of silver to Gotland, and according to some scholars, the Gotlanders of this era hoarded more silver than the rest of the population of Scandinavia combined.<ref name="Sawyer">Sawyer, Birgit and Peter Sawyer (1993). ''Medieval Scandinavia: from Conversion to Reformation, Circa 800–1500''. University of Minnesota Press, 1993. ISBN 0-8166-1739-2, pp. 150–153.</ref>
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[[St. Ansgar]] is usually credited for introducing [[Christianity]] in 829, but the new religion did not begin to fully replace [[paganism]] until the 12th century. During the 11th century, Christianity became the most prevalent religion, and from 1050 Sweden is counted as a Christian nation. The period between 1100 and 1400 was characterized by internal power struggles and competition among the Nordic kingdoms. Swedish kings began to expand the Swedish-controlled territory in Finland, creating conflicts with the Rus who no longer had any connection with Sweden.<ref>Bagge, Sverre (2005) "The Scandinavian Kingdoms". In ''The New Cambridge Medieval History''. Eds. Rosamond McKitterick et al. Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-36289-X, p. 724: "Swedish expansion in Finland led to conflicts with [[Kievan Rus'|Rus']], which were temporarily brought to an end by a peace treaty in 1323, dividing the Karelian peninsula and the northern areas between the two countries."</ref>
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* '''Denmark''': Trains depart [[Copenhagen]] and Copenhagen's airport for [[Malmö]] every 20 minutes, and cost only about SEK 100 ("Öresundståg / Øresundstog" regional trains). The train goes over the magnificent ''Öresund Bridge'' to get to Sweden in less than 30 minutes. Furthermore direct trains (X2000) leave from Copenhagen to [[Stockholm]]. The [[Elsinore]]-[[Helsingborg]] connection, known as one of the busiest ferry routes in Europe, might also be used (change to ship).
  
;Feudal institutions in Sweden
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* '''Norway''': Main connections between [[Oslo]] and Stockholm and [[Gothenburg]] as well as connections between [[Trondheim]] - [[Åre]] - [[Östersund]] and [[Narvik]] - [[Kiruna]] - [[Boden]] - [[Stockholm]].
Except for the province of [[Skane]], on the southernmost tip of Sweden which was under Danish control during this time, [[feudalism]] never developed in Sweden as it did in the rest of Europe.<ref>Franklin D. Scott, ''Sweden: The Nation's History'' (University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, 1977) p. 58.</ref> Therefore, the peasantry remained largely a class of free farmers throughout most of Swedish history. [[Slavery]] (also called [[thrall]]dom) was not common in Sweden,<ref>[http://runeberg.org/nfcj/0106.html Träldom]. Nordisk familjebok / Uggleupplagan. 30. Tromsdalstind – Urakami /159–160, 1920. (In Swedish)</ref> and what slavery there was tended to be driven out of existence by the spread of Christianity, the difficulty in obtaining slaves from the lands east of the Baltic Sea, and by the development of cities before the 16th century<ref>Scott, p. 55.</ref> Indeed, both slavery and [[serfdom]] were abolished altogether by a decree of King Magnus Erickson in 1335. Former slaves tended to be absorbed into the peasantry and some became labourers in the towns. Still, Sweden remained a poor and economically backward country in which barter was the means of exchange. For instance, the farmers of the province of [[Dalsland]] would transport their butter to the mining districts of Sweden and exchange it there for iron, which they would then take down to the coast and trade the iron for fish they needed for food while the iron would be shipped abroad.<ref>Scott, pp. 55–56.</ref>
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[[File:Valdemar Atterdag brandskattar Visby (1882).jpg|thumb|[[Valdemar IV]] takes control over Swedish [[Gotland]]. The final fight outside the walls of Visby ended with a total massacre of 1,800 Gotlanders.]]
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* '''Germany''': [[Berlin]] to [[Malmö]] with "Berlin Night Express". There are also several trains per day from Hamburg to Copenhagen, and night trains from München, Basel, Köln and Amsterdam to Copenhagen. See Denmark section about how to get from Copenhagen to Sweden.
;The Plague in Sweden
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In the 14th century, Sweden was struck by the [[Black Death]]. The population of Sweden was decimated.<ref>Scott, pp. 56–57.</ref> During this period the Swedish cities began to acquire greater rights and were strongly influenced by German merchants of the [[Hanseatic League]], active especially at [[Visby]]. In 1319, Sweden and Norway were united under King [[Magnus IV of Sweden|Magnus Eriksson]], and in 1397 Queen [[Margaret I of Denmark]] effected the personal union of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark through the [[Kalmar Union]]. However, Margaret's successors, whose rule was also centred in Denmark, were unable to control the Swedish nobility.
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;Minors and Regents
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A large number of children inherited the Swedish crown over the course of the kingdom's existence, consequently{{mdash
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}}real power was held for long periods by regents (notably those of the [[Sture]] family) chosen by the Swedish parliament. King [[Christian II of Denmark]], who asserted his claim to Sweden by force of arms, ordered a massacre in 1520 of Swedish nobles at Stockholm. This came to be known as the "[[Stockholm blood bath]]" and stirred the Swedish nobility to new resistance and, on 6 June (now Sweden's national holiday) in 1523, they made [[Gustav Vasa]] their king.<ref>Scott, p. 121.</ref> This is sometimes considered as the [[foundation of modern Sweden]]. Shortly afterwards he rejected [[Catholicism]] and led Sweden into the [[Protestant Reformation]]. Economically, Gustav Vasa broke the monopoly of the Hanseatic League over Swedish Baltic Sea trade.<ref>Scott, p. 132.</ref>
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The Hanseatic League had been officially formed at [[Lübeck]] on [[Baltic Sea|the sea coast]] of [[Holy Roman Empire|Northern Germany]] in 1356. The Hanseatic League sought civil and [[commerce|commercial]] privileges from the princes and royalty of the countries and cities along the coasts of the Baltic Sea.<ref>Robert S. Hoyt & Stanley Chodorow, ''Europe in the Middle Ages'' (Harcourt, Brace & Jovanovich, Inc.: New York, 1976) p. 628.</ref> In exchange they offered a certain amount of protection. Having their own navy the Hansa were able to sweep the Baltic Sea free of pirates.<ref>John B. Wolfe, ''The Emergence of European Civilization'' (Harper & Row Pub.: New York, 1962) pp. 50–51.</ref> The privileges obtained by the Hansa included assurances that only Hansa citizens would be allowed to trade from the ports where they were located. They sought agreement to be free of all customs and taxes. With these concessions, Lübeck merchants flocked to Stockholm, Sweden and soon came to dominate the economic life of that city and made the port city of Stockholm into the leading commercial and industrial city of Sweden.<ref>Scott, p. 52.</ref> Under the Hanseatic trade 2/3rds of Stockholm's imports consisted of textiles and 1/3 of salt. Exports from Sweden consisted of iron and copper.<ref>Scott</ref>
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* '''Finland''': Travel via [[Kemi]]-[[Tornio]]-[[Haparanda]]-[[Luleå]] / [[Boden]] by bus. Interrail tickets are valid on that bus. There's no train connection as Finland and Sweden use a different gauge.
  
However, the Swedes began to resent the monopoly trading position of the Hansa (mostly German citizens) and to resent the income they felt they lost to the Hansa. Consequently, when Gustav Vasa or [[Gustav I]] broke the monopoly power of the Hanseatic League he was regarded as a hero to the Swedish people. History now views Gustav I as the father of the modern Swedish nation. The foundations laid by Gustav would take time to develop. Furthermore, when Sweden did develop, freed itself from the Hanseatic League and entered its golden era, the fact the peasantry had traditionally been free meant that more of the economic benefits flowed back to them rather than going to a feudal landowning class.<ref>Scott, pp. 156–157.</ref> This was not the case in other countries of Europe like Poland where the peasantry was still bound by serfdom and a strong feudalistic land owning system.
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===By bus===
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Get into Sweden by "Eurolines" [http://www.eurolines.se] or "gobybus" [http://www.gobybus.se]. All connections here go via [[Copenhagen]].
  
===Swedish Empire===
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Buses from and to the Western Balkans are also operated by Toptourist, [http://www.toptourist.dk/index.html]. Call + 46 (0 ) 42 18 29 84 for more info
[[File:Swedish Empire in Early Modern Europe (1560-1815).png|thumb|The [[Swedish Empire]] between 1560 and 1815]]
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{{See also|History of Sweden (1611–1648)|Swedish Empire|Swedish overseas colonies|Sweden and the Great Northern War|Absolute Monarchy in Sweden|Sweden-Finland|Union between Sweden and Norway}}
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===By boat===
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{{infobox|[[Baltic Sea cruises]]|''"Our level of drunkenness was normal for a cruise of this kind."'' The managing director of shipping company Tallink gave an interesting quote after his and the entire board's drunken rampage on one of Tallink's cruise ships in 2006. (The accusations against the VIP's included sexual harassment against female staff, beating up a bartender and causing a fire by putting a fish in a toaster.) The director's explanation clearly shows the main PR problem about the cruise ships on the Baltic Sea: they have a reputation as trashy booze boats, far from the glamor of other international cruises. This is largely due to the fact that the tickets can be dirt cheap - sometimes less than 50 SEK - and that tax-free alcohol shopping is among the main attractions. Still, some of the new ships are really pretty, and it is an easy and cheap way to get a glimpse of a country on the other side of the Baltic Sea. Also, not all cruises include obnoxious drunks trying to toast fish. [[Stockholm]] is the main port in Sweden for the cruises, and the main destinations are [[Helsinki]], [[Åland]] and [[Turku]] in [[Finland]], [[Tallinn]] in [[Estonia]] and [[Riga]] in [[Latvia]]. Ships are operated by Silja Line [http://www.silja.com/en/], Viking Line [http://www.vikingline.se/], Birka Cruises [http://www.birka.se/] and, of course, Tallink [http://www.tallinksilja.com/en/], MSC cruises [http://www.msccruises.se/]. To get the cheapest tickets, try to go on a weekday in low season, share a four-bed cabin with some friends and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for last minute offers.
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|print=fullpage}}
  
During the 17th century Sweden emerged as a European [[Great Power|great power]]. Before the emergence of the Swedish Empire, Sweden was a very poor and scarcely populated country on the fringe of European civilization, with no significant power or reputation. Sweden rose to prominence on a continental scale during the tenure of king [[Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden|Gustavus Adolphus]], seizing territories from Russia and [[Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth|Poland–Lithuania]] in multiple conflicts, including the [[Thirty Years' War]].
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====Belgium====
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* From [[Ghent]] to [[Gothenburg]] by DFDS Torline [http://freight.dfdsseaways.com/dfds_ferries/north_sea_ferries/gothenburg_ghent_ferries/] ([[Freighter travel|cargo line]] with limited passenger capacity)
  
During the Thirty Years' War, Sweden conquered approximately half of the Holy Roman states. Gustav Adolphus planned to become the new [[Holy Roman Emperor]], ruling over a united Scandinavia and the Holy Roman states, but he died at the [[Battle of Lützen (1632)|Battle of Lützen]] in 1632. After the [[Battle of Nördlingen (1634)|Battle of Nördlingen]], Sweden's only significant military defeat of the war, pro-Swedish sentiment among the German states faded. These German provinces excluded themselves from Swedish power one by one, leaving Sweden with only a few northern German territories: [[Swedish Pomerania]], [[Bremen-Verden]] and [[Wismar]]. The Swedish armies may have destroyed up to 2,000 castles, 18,000 villages and 1,500 towns in [[Early Modern history of Germany|Germany]], one-third of all German towns.<ref name="Population-HLS">{{Fcite web
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====Denmark====
|url=http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/population_thirty_years_war.htm|title=Population|publisher=History Learningsite|accessdate=2008-05-24}}</ref>
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* From [[Grenå]] to [[Varberg]] by Stena Line [http://www.stenaline.com].
[[File:Sodra Bancohuset Suecia Antiqua et Hodierna..jpg|thumb|left|Stockholm in mid-17th century]]
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* From [[Frederikshavn]] to [[Gothenburg]] by Stena Line.
In the middle of the 17th century Sweden was the third largest country in Europe by land area, only surpassed by Russia and Spain. Sweden reached its largest territorial extent under the rule of [[Charles X of Sweden|Charles X]] after the [[treaty of Roskilde]] in 1658.<ref name="HayesPSH">
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* From [[Elsinore]] to [[Helsingborg]] by Scandlines [http://www.scandlines.se/SEFront/Front_COM] and Sundsbusserne. [http://www.sundbusserne.dk/]
"A Political and Social History of Modern Europe V.1./Hayes..."
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Hayes, Carlton J. H. (1882–1964),
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''Title: A Political and Social History of Modern Europe V.1.'',
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2002-12-08, Project Gutenberg, webpage:
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[http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/etext04/7hsr110.htm Infomot-7hsr110].
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</ref><ref>However, Sweden's largest territorial extent lasted from 1319 to 1343 with [[Magnus IV of Sweden|Magnus Eriksson]] ruling all of the [[Lands of Sweden|traditional lands of Sweden]] and Norway.</ref>
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The foundation of Sweden's success during this period is credited to [[Gustav I]]'s major changes on the Swedish economy in the 16th century, and his introduction of [[Protestantism]].<ref name="GusEB">
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"Gustav I Vasa – Britannica Concise" (biography),
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''Britannica Concise'', 2007, webpage:
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[http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/article-9366349/Gustav-I-Vasa EBConcise-Gustav-I-Vasa].
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</ref> In the 17th century, Sweden was engaged in many wars, for example with the [[Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth]] with both sides competing for territories of today's [[Baltic states]], with the disastrous [[Battle of Kircholm]] being one of the highlights.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.kismeta.com/diGrasse/images/kircholm_27_sept.htm |title=Battle of Kircholm 1605 |publisher=Kismeta.com |accessdate=2010-08-25}}</ref> One-third of the Finnish population died in the devastating [[famine]] that struck the country in 1696.<ref>[http://countrystudies.us/finland/9.htm Finland and the Swedish Empire]. Source: ''U.S. Library of Congress''</ref> Famine also hit Sweden,<ref>[http://www.algonet.se/~hogman/sljordbruk_eng.htm Agricultural Yields and Years of Famine – Sweden]. Hans Högman.</ref> killing roughly 10% of Sweden's population.<ref>Elizabeth Ewan, Janay Nugent (2008) "''[http://books.google.com/books?id=6oOCfHxQDtwC&pg=PA153 Finding the family in medieval and early modern Scotland]''". [[Ashgate Publishing]]. p. 153 ISBN 0-7546-6049-4</ref>
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The Swedes conducted a series of invasions into the [[Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth]], known as the [[Deluge (history)|Deluge]]. After more than half a century of almost constant warfare, the Swedish economy had deteriorated. It became the lifetime task of Charles' son, [[Charles XI of Sweden|Charles XI]], to rebuild the economy and refit the army. His legacy to his son, the coming ruler of Sweden [[Charles XII of Sweden|Charles XII]], was one of the finest arsenals in the world, a large standing army and a great fleet. Sweden's largest threat at this time, Russia, had a larger army but was far behind in both equipment and training.
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====Estonia====
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* From [[Tallinn]] to [[Stockholm]] (via [[Helsinki]]) by Viking Line [http://www.vikingline.fi/index.asp?lang=en].
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* From [[Tallinn]] to [[Stockholm]] (direct connection) by Tallink [http://www.tallink.com/].
  
[[File:Battle of Lutzen.jpg|thumb|Death of [[Gustav II Adolf]] at the [[Battle of Lützen (1632)|Battle of Lützen]]]]
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====Finland====
After the [[Battle of Narva (1700)|Battle of Narva]] in 1700, one of the first battles of the [[Great Northern War]], the Russian army was so severely decimated that Sweden had an open chance to invade Russia. However, Charles did not pursue the Russian army, instead turning against Poland-Lithuania and defeating the Polish king [[Augustus II]] and his Saxon allies at the [[Battle of Kliszow]] in 1702. This gave Russia time to rebuild and modernize its army.
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* From [[Helsinki]] to [[Stockholm]] (via [[Åland]]) by Tallink Silja [http://www.siljaline.se/] and Viking Line.
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* From [[Naantali]] to [[Kapellskär]] by Finnlines [http://www.finnlines.com/ferry-trips/].
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* From [[Turku]] to [[Stockholm]] (via [[Åland]]) by Tallink Silja and Viking Line.
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* From [[Vaasa]] to [[Umeå]] by RG Line [http://www.rgline.com/?lang=en].
  
After the success of invading Poland, Charles decided to make an invasion attempt of Russia which ended in a decisive Russian victory at the [[Battle of Poltava]] in 1709. After a long march exposed to [[Cossack]] raids, Russian Tsar [[Peter the Great]]'s [[scorched-earth]] techniques and the [[Russian Winter|cold Russian climate]], the Swedes stood weakened with a shattered morale and enormously outnumbered against the Russian army at Poltava. The defeat meant the beginning of the end for the Swedish Empire.
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====Latvia====
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* From [[Riga]] to [[Stockholm]] by Tallink [http://www.tallink.lv/lv/].
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* From [[Ventspils]] to [[Nynashamn]] by Scandlines.
  
[[File:Marten's Poltava.jpg|thumb|left|The [[Battle of Poltava]] in 1709. In the years following Poltava, Russia occupied all the Swedish annexations on the Baltic coast and even Finland.]]
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====Lithuania====
Charles XII attempted to invade Norway 1716; however, he was shot dead at [[Fredriksten| Fredriksten fortress]] in 1718. The Swedes were not militarily defeated at Fredriksten, but the whole structure and organization of the Norwegian campaign fell apart with the king's death, and the army withdrew.
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* From [[Klaipeda]] to [[Karlshamn]] by DFDS Seaways [http://www.dfdsseaways.se/#].
  
Forced to cede large areas of land in the [[Treaty of Nystad]] in 1721, Sweden also lost its place as an empire and as the dominant state on the Baltic Sea. With Sweden's lost influence, Russia emerged as an empire and became one of Europe's dominant nations. As the war finally ended in 1721, Sweden had lost an estimated 200,000 men, 150,000 of those from the area of present-day Sweden and 50,000 from the [[History of Finland#The 17th century – the Swedish Empire|Finnish]] part of Sweden.<ref>''[http://www.algonet.se/~hogman/slsoldat.htm#Mobilisering Losses statistics at Militaria].'' (Swedish)</ref>
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====Germany====
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* From [[Travemünde]] to [[Trelleborg]] by TT-Line [http://www.ttline.com/en-GB/United-Kingdom/?c=1].
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* From [[Travemünde]] to [[Malmö]] by Finnlines [http://www.finnlines.com/ferry-trips/].
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* From [[Kiel]] to [[Gothenburg]] by Stena Line.
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* From [[Sassnitz]] to [[Trelleborg]] by Scandlines [http://www.scandlines.se/SEFront/Front_COM].
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* From [[Rostock]] to [[Trelleborg]] by Scandlines and TT-Line.
  
In the 18th century, Sweden did not have enough resources to maintain its territories outside Scandinavia, and most of them were lost, culminating with the 1809 loss of eastern Sweden to Russia which became the highly autonomous [[Grand Duchy of Finland|Grand Principality of Finland]] in [[Imperial Russia]].
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====Norway====
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* From [[Sandefjord]] to [[Strömstad]] by Color Line [http://www.colorline.com/]
  
In interest of re-establishing Swedish dominance in the Baltic Sea, Sweden allied itself against its traditional ally and benefactor, France, in the [[Napoleonic Wars]]. Sweden's role in the [[Battle of Leipzig]] gave it the authority to force Denmark-Norway, an ally of France, to cede Norway to the King of Sweden on 14 January 1814 in exchange for northern German provinces, at the [[Treaty of Kiel]]. The Norwegian attempts to keep their status as a sovereign state were rejected by the Swedish king, [[Charles XIII]]. He launched a military campaign against Norway on 27 July 1814, ending in the [[Convention of Moss]], which forced Norway into a [[Union between Sweden and Norway|personal union]] with Sweden under the Swedish crown, which lasted until 1905. The 1814 campaign was the last war in which Sweden participated as a combatant. Swedish troops partake in peace-keeping missions and currently have forces deployed in [[Afghanistan]] and [[Kosovo]].
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====Poland====
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* From [[Gdansk]] to [[Nynäshamn]] by Polferries [http://www.polferries.pl/en/home].
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* From [[Gdansk]] to [[Visby]] by Polferries.
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* From [[Gdynia]] to [[Karlskrona]] by Stena Line [http://www.stenaline.pl/en/ferries/].
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* From [[Świnoujście]] to [[Ystad]] by Polferries.
  
===Modern history===
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====Russia====
{{See also|Modernization of Sweden|Swedish emigration to the United States}}
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[[File:Farewell to home, Göteborg, 1905.jpg|thumb|Swedish emigrants boarding ship in [[Gothenburg]] in 1905]]
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* From  [[Saint-Petersburg]] to [[Stockholm]] by St. Peter Line [http://anastasia.stpeterline.com/en/OnBoard/News.aspx].
There was a significant population increase during the 18th and 19th centuries, which the writer [[Esaias Tegnér]] in 1833 attributed to ''"the peace, the ([[smallpox]]) [[vaccine]], and the [[potato]]es"''.<ref>{{Fcite book|coauthors=Paul Robert Magocsi|year=1998|title=Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples|publisher=University of Minnesota Press|isbn=0-8020-2938-8|page=1220|author=Paul Robert Magocsi, editor.}}</ref> Between 1750 and 1850, the population in Sweden doubled. According to some scholars, mass emigration to America became the only way to prevent famine and rebellion; over 1% of the population emigrated annually during the 1880s.<ref name="Einhorn">
+
Einhorn, Eric and John Logue (1989).
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''Modern Welfare States: Politics and Policies in Social''
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''Democratic Scandinavia''. Praeger Publishers, p. 9: "Though
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Denmark, where industrialization had begun in the 1850s, was
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reasonably prosperous by the end of the nineteenth century, both
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Sweden and Norway were terribly poor. Only the safety valve of
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mass emigration to America prevented famine and rebellion. At
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the peak of emigration in the 1880s, over 1% of the total
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population of both countries emigrated annually."
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</ref>
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Nevertheless, Sweden remained poor, retaining a nearly entirely agricultural economy even as Denmark and Western European countries began to industrialize.<ref name=Einhorn/><ref>Koblik, Steven (1975).
+
''Sweden's Development from Poverty to Affluence 1750–1970'',
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University of Minnesota Press, pp. 8–9, "In economic and social
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terms the eighteenth century was more a transitional than a
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revolutionary period. Sweden was, in light of contemporary
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Western European standards, a relatively poor but stable country.
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[...] It has been estimated that 75–80% of the population was
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involved in agricultural pursuits during the late eighteenth
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century. One hundred years later, the corresponding figure was
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still 72%."
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</ref>
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[[File:Starvation image from Fäderneslandet 1867.jpg|thumb|left|upright|Illustration of starvation in northern Sweden, [[Finnish famine of 1866–1868|Famine of 1866–1868]]]]
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Many looked towards America for a better life during this time. It is believed that between 1850 and 1910 more than one million Swedes moved to the United States.<ref>Einhorn, Eric and John Logue (1989), p. 8.</ref>
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In the early 20th century, more Swedes lived in [[Chicago]] than in [[Gothenburg]] (Sweden's second largest city).<ref>Ulf Beijbom, [http://www.americanwest.com/swedemigr/pages/emigra.htm "European emigration"], The House of Emigrants, Växjö, Sweden.</ref> Most Swedish immigrants moved to the [[Midwestern United States]], with a large population in [[Minnesota]], with a few others moving to other parts of the United States and Canada.
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Despite the slow rate of industrialization into the 19th century, many important changes were taking place in the agrarian economy because of innovations and the large population growth.<ref name="Koblik9-10">Koblik, pp. 9–10.</ref> These innovations included government-sponsored programs of [[enclosure]], aggressive exploitation of agricultural lands, and the introduction of new crops such as the potato.<ref name="Koblik9-10"/> Because the Swedish peasantry had never been enserfed as elsewhere in Europe,<ref>[http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-29865/Sweden#403810.hook Sweden: Social and economic conditions] (2007). In'' Encyclopædia Britannica''. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 19 February 2007.</ref> the Swedish farming culture began to take on a critical role in the Swedish political process, which has continued through modern times with modern Agrarian party (now called the Centre Party).<ref>Koblik, p. 11: "The agrarian revolution in Sweden is of fundamental importance for Sweden's modern development. Throughout Swedish history the countryside has taken an unusually important role in comparison with other European states."</ref> Between 1870 and 1914, Sweden began developing the industrialized economy that exists today.<ref>Koblik, p. 90. "It is usually suggested that between 1870 and 1914 Sweden emerged from its primarily agrarian economic system into a modern industrial economy."</ref>
 
  
Strong grassroots movements sprung up in Sweden during the latter half of the 19th century ([[trade union]]s, [[temperance movement|temperance]] groups, and independent religious groups), creating a strong foundation of democratic principles. In 1889 The Swedish Social Democratic Party was founded. These movements precipitated Sweden's migration into a modern parliamentary democracy, achieved by the time of World War I. As the [[Industrial Revolution]] progressed during the 20th century, people gradually began moving into cities to work in factories and became involved in [[socialism|socialist]] unions. A communist revolution was avoided in 1917, following the re-introduction of [[parliamentarism]], and the country was [[democratization|democratized]].
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====UK====
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* From [[Immingham]] and [[Tilbury]] to [[Gothenburg]] by DFDS Torline [http://www.dfdstorline.com/Infobridge/] ([[Freighter travel|cargo line]] with limited passenger capacity).
  
===World Wars===
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==Get around==
{{See also|Sweden during World War II}}
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[[Image:Stockholm taxi pricey vs cheap.jpg|thumb|300px|'''Taxi rip-off alert:''' NEVER step into a Swedish taxi without checking the yellow price sign on the rear window first! Taxi drivers are legally allowed to charge rip-off prices as long as they are stated clearly on the sign. The taxi to the left is twice as expensive as the one to the right, and there are cases where tourists have been charged around 30.000 SEK for a trip to the airport! The price tag should say around 300 SEK for a Stockholm cab.]]
Sweden remained officially neutral during [[World War I]] and [[World War II]], although its neutrality during World War II has been disputed.<ref name="Koblik303-313">Koblik, pp. 303–313.</ref><ref>Nordstrom, p. 315: "Sweden's government attempted to maintain at least a semblance of neutrality while it bent to the demands of the prevailing side in the struggle. Although effective in preserving the country's sovereignty, this approach generated criticism at home from many who believed the threat to Sweden was less serious than the government claimed, problems with the warring powers, ill feelings among its neighbours, and frequent criticism in the postwar period."</ref> Sweden was under German influence for much of the war, as ties to the rest of the world were cut off through blockades.<ref name="Koblik303-313"/><!---Koblik, pg. 307. "Through the blockade of foreign trade that culminated in the establishment of the [[Skagerrak]] blockade in connection with the German invasion of Denmark and Norway in April 1940, Swedish imports were reduced by approximately one-half and exports by about one-third in comparison with the average volume of 1936–1938."---> The Swedish government felt that it was in no position to openly contest Germany,<ref name="NB313-319"/><!---Nordstrom, pg. 315 "Charting a path that might ensure the survival of the state was the government's primary goal."---><!---Nordstrom, p. 319 "For a time virtually all of Sweden's production of industrial goods and raw materials went to Germany in exchange for necessary fuels, food stuffs, and manufactured goods."---> and therefore made some concessions.<ref>{{Fcite book|last=Zubicky|first=Sioma|year=1997|title=Med förintelsen i bagaget|language=[[Swedish language|Swedish]]|publisher=Bonnier Carlsen|location=Stockholm|isbn=91-638-3436-7|page=122}}</ref> Sweden also supplied steel and machined parts to Germany throughout the war. However, Sweden supported Norwegian resistance, and in 1943 helped rescue Danish Jews from deportation to [[concentration camps]]. Sweden also supported Finland in the [[Winter War]] and the [[Continuation War]] with volunteers and [[materiel]].
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Travelling around Stockholm and visiting various places can easily turn quite expensive. Therefore, Stockholm offers a card called The Stockholm Card. With it you can ride with trains, busses, ferries and the tram for free. It also offers free admission to over 75 museums and attractions and also comes complete with a multilingual guide to the city.. [http://www.adventurestockholm.com/getting-around/stockholm-card/][http://www.acprail.com/attractions/europe/sightseeing-passes]
[[File:Swedish soldier during ww2.JPG|thumb|left|Swedish soldier during World War II]]
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Toward the end of the war, Sweden began to play a role in humanitarian efforts and many refugees, among them many Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe, were saved partly because of the Swedish involvement in rescue missions at the internment camps and partly because Sweden served as a haven for refugees, primarily from the [[Nordic countries]] and the [[Baltic states]].<ref name="NB313-319"/><!---Nordstrom, p. 317: "In the last year of the war, Sweden became a factor in humanitarian efforts and attempts to end the war. It also became a haven for refugees from ''Norden'' and the Baltic states, and Swedes were involved in rescuing Scandinavian victims of internment camps." --- Nordstrom, p. 318: "By late 1943 Sweden was a haven for some 11,000 refugees from Denmark, including over 7,000 Danish Jews, and about 30,000 Norwegians."---> The Swedish diplomat [[Raoul Wallenberg]] and his colleagues may have saved up to 100,000 Hungarian Jews.<ref>"[http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/wallenberg.html Raoul Wallenberg]". Jewish Virtual Library.</ref> Nevertheless, internal and external critics have argued that Sweden could have done more to resist the Nazi war effort, even if risking occupation.<ref name="NB313-319">Nordstrom, pp. 313–319.</ref>
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The ancient '''right to roam''' (''allemansrätten'') grants everybody a right to move freely in nature on foot, horse, ski, bicycle or by boat, even on others' private property. With this right comes an obligation to respect the integrity of nature and the privacy of others. It is therefore important to understand the limitations.
  
===Post-war era===
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===By plane===
Sweden was officially a neutral country and remained outside [[NATO]] or [[Warsaw pact]] membership during the cold war, but privately Sweden's leadership had strong ties with the United States and other western governments.
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Although Sweden is a fairly large country, most of the action takes place in the southern parts where the distances are not huge. Domestic flights are mainly for travellers with little time or much money, however if you are heading for the far north you may want to consider it. There are also low-price tickets, but they must be bought well in advance.
[[File:Tallberg house.JPG|thumb|A typical red house in [[Tällberg]], Sweden]]
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Following the war, Sweden took advantage of an intact industrial base, social stability and its natural resources to expand its industry to supply the rebuilding of Europe.<ref name="NB335-339">Nordstrom, pp. 335–339.</ref><!---Recovery from the material damage and economic shocks of the war was more rapid than many expected."---> Sweden was part of the [[Marshall Plan]] and participated in the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development ([[OECD]]). During most of the post-war era, the country was governed by the [[Swedish Social Democratic Party]] largely in cooperation with [[Swedish Trade Union Confederation|trade unions]] and industry. The government actively pursued an internationally competitive manufacturing sector of primarily large corporations.<ref name="svensteinmo"/>
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Sweden, like countries around the globe, entered a period of economic decline and upheaval following the oil embargoes of 1973–74 and 1978–79.<ref>Nordstrom, p. 344: "During the last twenty-five years of the century a host of problems plagued the economies of Norden and the West. Although many were present before, the 1973 and 1980 global oil crises acted as catalysts in bringing them to the fore."</ref> In the 1980s pillars of Swedish industry were massively restructured.{{bywho|date=May 2012}} Shipbuilding was discontinued, wood pulp was integrated into modernized paper production, the steel industry was concentrated and specialized, and mechanical engineering was robotized.<ref>Krantz, Olle and Lennart Schön. 2007. Swedish Historical National Accounts, 1800–2000. Lund: Almqvist and Wiksell International.</ref>
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The most important domestic airlines:
  
Between 1970 and 1990 the overall tax burden rose by over 10%, and the growth was low compared to other countries in Western Europe. Eventually government began to spend over half of the country's [[gross domestic product]]. Sweden GDP per capita ranking declined during this time.<ref name="svensteinmo">''Globalization and Taxation: Challenges to the Swedish Welfare State''. By Sven Steinmo.</ref>
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*'''SAS''' [http://www.sas.se/en/] - the international airline has many domestic routes as well.
 +
*'''Skyways''' [http://www.skyways.se/] - the largest number of domestic routes, several from [[Copenhagen]].
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*'''Blekinge Flyg''' [http://www.blekingeflyg.se/mainmenu/book.aspx] - the most south east airport in Sweden and the only one in [[Blekinge]].
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*'''Nextjet''' [http://www.nextjet.se/] - has many domestic routes to smaller places, has taken over some of Skyways routes.
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*'''Direktflyg''' [http://www.direktflyg.com/] - several domestic routes and also flights to [[Norway]].
 +
*'''Norwegian''' [http://www.norwegian.se/] - several domestic and a few international destinations.
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*'''Malmö Aviation''' [http://www.malmoaviation.se/] - serves domestic destinations, [[Brussels]] and [[Nice]].
 +
*'''Gotlandsflyg''' [http://www.gotlandsflyg.se/] - connects [[Stockholm]] and the island of [[Gotland]].
  
===Recent history===
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===By train===
{{See also|History of Sweden (since 1989)}}
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Sweden has an extensive railway network. Most major lines are controlled by the government-owned company '''SJ'''. To buy a railway ticket, or to obtain information, phone +46 771 75 75 75 or check their '''website''' [http://www.sj.se]. As of summer 2009, the cheapest SJ tickets are released exactly 90 days before departure, so time your online ticket purchases carefully if your itinerary is set and don't buy tickets earlier than 90 days before your trip. SJ recently started auctioning last minute tickets on the Swedish eBay site Tradera [http://www.tradera.com/ticketfinder/] (site only in Swedish), available from 48 until 6 hours before departure. Because point-to-point tickets are quite expensive, for more train journeys in Sweden InterRail [http://www.interrailnet.com/interrail-passes/one-country-pass/sweden] (for European citiziens) or Eurail [http://www.scandinavianrail.com] (for non-European citiziens) pass might be useful.
[[File:Tratado de Lisboa 13 12 2007 (081).jpg|thumb|right|Sweden joined the European Union in 1995 and signed the [[Lisbon Treaty]] in 2007.]]
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A bursting [[real estate]] bubble caused by inadequate controls on lending combined with an [[international]] recession and a policy switch from anti-unemployment policies to anti-inflationary policies resulted in a fiscal crisis in the early 1990s.<ref>Englund, P. 1990. "Financial deregulation in Sweden." European Economic Review 34 (2–3): 385–393. Korpi TBD. Meidner, R. 1997. "The Swedish model in an era of mass unemployment." Economic and Industrial Democracy 18 (1): 87–97. Olsen, Gregg M. 1999. "Half empty or half full? The Swedish welfare state in transition." Canadian Review of Sociology & Anthropology, 36 (2): 241–268.</ref> Sweden's GDP declined by around 5%. In 1992, a run on the currency caused the central bank to briefly increase interest rates to 500%.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-1025624.html |title=Sweden's `Crazy' 500% Interest Rate; Fails to Faze Most Citizens, Businesses; Hike Seen as Short-Term Move to Protect Krona From Devaluation |publisher=Highbeam.com |date=1992-09-18 |accessdate=2010-08-03}}</ref><ref>{{Fcite book|url=http://books.google.com/books?id=NxFh9qk0wBYC&pg=PA44|title=The Great Financial Crisis in Finland and Sweden |publisher=Edward Elgar Publishing |isbn=1-84844-305-6|author=Lars Jonung, Jaakko Kiander, Pentti Vartia|year=2009}}</ref>
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Unlike most European countries, however, bicycles are generally not allowed on trains. The list of trains transporting bicycles is on SJ website [http://www.sj.se/sj/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=222&a=139310&l=en]. The bicycle surcharge is 149 SEK and you should buy it at least one day in advance.
  
The response of the government was to cut spending and institute a multitude of reforms to improve Sweden's competitiveness, among them reducing the [[welfare state]] and [[privatizing]] public services and goods. Much of the political establishment promoted EU membership, and the Swedish referendum passed with 52% in favour of joining the EU on 13 November 1994. Sweden joined the [[European Union]] on 1 January 1995.
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The national public transport authority is called '''Rikstrafiken''' [http://www.rikstrafiken.se], and it has online timetables in English, which include schedules for trains, buses and ferries. The service is called '''Resplus''' [http://www.resrobot.se].
  
Sweden remains non-aligned militarily, although it participates in some joint military exercises with [[NATO]] and some other countries, in addition to extensive cooperation with other European countries in the area of defence technology and defence industry. Among others, Swedish companies export weapons that are used by the American military in Iraq.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=3013&date=20060207|title=New Swedish weapon in Iraq|work=The Local|accessdate=2007-06-23}}</ref> Sweden also has a long history of participating in international military operations, including most recently, [[Afghanistan]], where Swedish troops are under NATO command, and in EU sponsored peacekeeping operations in [[UN]] protectorate [[Kosovo]], [[Bosnia and Herzegovina]], and [[Cyprus]]. Sweden held the chair of the [[European Union]] from 1 July to 31 December 2009.
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Regional public transport is usually operated by companies contracted by the counties. For instance, when travelling regionally in the province of [[Scania]] (''Skåne'' in Swedish), one should refer to '''Skånetrafiken''' [http://www.skanetrafiken.se ]. For travelling in the region of [Mälardalen] (the "Lake Mälaren Valley"), you can check all train and bus operators on a mutual website, '''Trafik i Mälardalen''' [http://www.timinfo.se]. This regional traffic cooperation includes many of Sweden's major cities, such as ''Stockholm'', ''Uppsala'', ''Västerås'', ''Linköping'', ''Norrköping'', ''Örebro'' and ''Eskilstuna'', and reaches more than three million people. '''Connex''' [http://connex.se/tmpl/XStartPage____36412.aspx?epslanguage=EN] provides affordable railroad transportation up north. If you're on a tight schedule, be aware that trains, especially those bound for far destinations (i.e. the Connex and SJ Norrland trains), sometimes have quite significant delays (up to 1-2 hours).
  
==Geography==
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===By bus===
{{Main|Geography of Sweden}}
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'''Swebus''' [http://www.swebus.se] and '''gobybus''' [http://www.gobybus.se] runs a number of bus lines in the southern third of the country, Götaland and Svealand. They tend to be a little cheaper than going by train if you can't take advantage of SJ's youth discounts. '''Y-buss''' [http://www.ybuss.se] and '''Härjedalingen''' [http://www.harjedalingen.se] operate between Stockholm and Norrland.  
[[File:Suorvajaure in stora sjofallet park.jpg|thumb|left|View of the [[Stora Sjöfallet National Park]]]]
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Swebus also operates from Stockholm and Göteborg to Oslo.  At the county or ''län'' level, buses are a good method for traveling short distances from town to town (as they are more frequent and cheaper than trains). It is best to check with the local transportation authority for routes and schedules. A newcomer on the bus market is Bus4You [http://bus4you.se/]
Situated in [[Northern Europe|Northern]] [[Europe]], Sweden lies west of the [[Baltic Sea]] and [[Gulf of Bothnia]], providing a long coastline, and forms the eastern part of the [[Scandinavian Peninsula]]. To the west is the [[Scandinavian mountain chain]] (Skanderna), a range that separates Sweden from [[Norway]]. [[Finland]] is located to its northeast. It has maritime borders with [[Denmark]], [[Germany]], [[Poland]], [[Russia]], [[Lithuania]], [[Latvia]] and [[Estonia]], and it is also linked to [[Denmark]] (southwest) by the [[Öresund Bridge]].
+
  
Sweden lies between latitudes [[55th parallel north|55°]] and [[70th parallel north|70° N]], and mostly between longitudes [[11th meridian east|11°]] and [[25th meridian east|25° E]] (part of [[Stora Drammen]] island is just west of 11°).
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===By car===
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In [[Svealand]] and [[Götaland]] driving takes you quickly from one place to the other. In [[Norrland]] the distances tend to be bigger between the different sites so the time spent driving may be long. Unless you really like driving, it is often more convenient to take the train or fly to the sites, particularly in Northern [[Norrland]]. Traveling by night can be dangerous due to unexpected animals on the roads and the cold nights during the winter. Collisions with moose, roe deer, or other animals are a not uncommon cause of car accidents.
 +
See also [[Driving in Sweden]] and [[Winter driving]].
  
At {{convert|449964|km2|sqmi|0|abbr=on}}, Sweden is the 55th largest country in the world,<ref>{{Fcite web|title=Country Comparison: Area|url=https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2147rank.html?countryName=Sweden&countryCode=sw&regionCode=eu&rank=55#sw|work=Central Intelligence Agency|publisher=Cia.gov|accessdate=19 August 2010}}</ref> the 4th [[Area and population of European countries|largest country entirely in Europe]], and the largest in Northern Europe. The lowest elevation in Sweden is in the bay of Lake Hammarsjön, near [[Kristianstad]] at {{convert|-2.41|m|ft|2|abbr=on}} below sea level. The highest point is [[Kebnekaise]] at {{convert|2111|m|ft|0|abbr=on}} [[Above mean sea level|above sea level]].
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===By thumb===
[[File:Swedish landscape - ramsjö.jpg|thumb|right|Lake landscape at the outskirts of [[Ramsjö]]]]
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Sweden has a reputation for being a pretty difficult country to hitch in, though it's still quite possible to hitchhike (but not assured to be risk-free). Ordinary people are often reluctant to pick up strangers. Truck drivers are probably most likely to pick up hitchhikers, so target them. Asking at gas stations works pretty well. Bus stops are common places to attract attention, position yourself before the actual bus stop so the vehicle can stop at the stop. This works best if the road is widened at the bus stop, allowing cars to pull off easily.
  
Sweden has 25 [[Provinces of Sweden|provinces]] or ''landskap'' (landscapes), based on culture, geography and history. While these provinces serve no political or administrative purpose, they play an important role in people's [[self-concept|self-identity]]. The provinces are usually grouped together in three large ''[[lands of Sweden|lands]]'', parts, the northern [[Norrland]], the central [[Svealand]] and southern [[Götaland]]. The sparsely populated Norrland encompasses almost 60% of the country.
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===By bike===
 +
Most Swedish cities have excellent bike paths, and renting a bike can be a quick and healthy method of getting around locally.
  
About 15% of Sweden lies north of the [[Arctic Circle]]. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, with increasing forest coverage northward. Around 65% of Sweden's total land area is covered with forests. The highest population density is in the [[Øresund Region|Öresund Region]] in southern Sweden, along the western coast up to central [[Bohuslän]], and in the valley of lake [[Mälaren]] and Stockholm. [[Gotland]] and [[Öland]] are Sweden's largest [[islands of Sweden|islands]]; [[Vänern]] and [[Vättern]] are its largest lakes. Vänern is the third largest in Europe, after [[Lake Ladoga]] and [[Lake Onega]] in Russia.
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===By foot===
 +
Cars are by law required to stop at any unattended crosswalks (zebra stripes in the road without red-lights) to let pedestrians cross the road. But keep in mind that you are required to make eye contact with the driver so that  they know that you are about to cross the street.
  
===Climate===
+
==Talk==
{{wide image|Kebnekaise Panorama.jpg|900px|The [[Scandinavian Mountains]]}}
+
[[Swedish phrasebook|'''Swedish''']] is the national language of Sweden, but you will find that people, especially those born since 1945, also speak English very well - an estimated 89% of Swedes can speak English. [[Finnish phrasebook|Finnish]] is the biggest minority language. Regardless of what your native tongue is, Swedes greatly appreciate any attempt to speak Swedish and beginning conversations in Swedish, no matter how quickly your understanding peters out, will do much to ingratiate yourself to the locals.
  
Most of Sweden has a [[temperate climate]], despite its northern [[latitude]], with four distinct seasons and mild temperatures throughout the year. The country can be divided into three types of climate; the southernmost part has an [[oceanic climate]], the central part has a [[humid continental climate]] and the northernmost part has a [[subarctic climate]].
+
'''Hej''' (''hay'') is the massively dominant greeting in Sweden, useful on kings and bums alike. You can even say it when you leave. The Swedes most often do not say "please" ('''snälla''' say snell-LA), instead they are generous with the word '''tack''' (''tack''), meaning "thanks". If you need to get someone's attention, whether it's a waiter or you need to pass someone one in a crowded situation, a simple "'''ursäkta'''" (say "or-shek-ta") ("excuse me") will do the trick. You will find yourself pressed to overuse it, and you sometimes see people almost chanting it as a mantra when trying to exit a crowded place like a bus or train.
However, Sweden is much warmer and drier than other places at a similar latitude, and even somewhat farther south, mainly because of the [[Gulf Stream]].<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/climate/impact/gulf_stream.shtml|title=BBC Climate and the Gulf Stream|accessdate=2008-10-29}}</ref><ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/div/ocp/gs/|title=The Gulf Stream Myth|accessdate=2008-10-29}}</ref> For example, central and southern Sweden has much warmer winters than many parts of Russia, Canada, and the northern United States.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.fao.org/WAICENT/FAOINFO/SUSTDEV/EIdirect/climate/EIsp0002.htm|title=Global Climate Maps}}</ref> Because of its high latitude, the length of daylight varies greatly. North of the [[Arctic Circle]], the sun never sets for part of each summer, and it never rises for part of each winter. In the capital, [[Stockholm]], daylight lasts for more than 18 hours in late June but only around 6 hours in late December. Sweden receives between 1,100 to 1,900 hours of sunshine annually.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=7608&a=21429&l=sv|title=Number of hours with sunshine (map)|publisher=Swedish Meteorological Institute}}{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}</ref><ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.smhi.se/klimatdata/meteorologi/stralning/1.3052 |title=Normal solskenstid för ett år &#124; SMHI |language={{sv icon}} |publisher=Smhi.se |accessdate=2010-01-27}}</ref>
+
  
Temperatures vary greatly from north to south. Southern and central parts of the country have warm summers and cold winters, with average high temperatures of {{convert|20|to|25|°C|F|0|abbr=on}}<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=7628&a=21614&l=sv|title=July average high temperature map|publisher=Swedish Meteorological Institute}}{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}</ref>
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Many Swedish people are over-confident with their English skills. One problem can be excessive swearing (accepted in colloquial Swedish, and augmented by Hollywood movies), but also some false cognates can be shocking for a native English-speaker; some examples are ''fack'' ("trade union" or "compartment"), ''fart'' ("speed"), ''prick'' ("spot") ''kock'' ("chef") and ''slut'' ("end" or "sold out"). Be sure to forgive such misunderstandings.
and lows of {{convert|12|to|15|°C|F|0|abbr=on}}<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=7628&a=21654&l=sv|title=July average low temperature map|publisher=Swedish Meteorological Institute}}{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}</ref>
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in the summer, and average temperatures of {{convert|-4|to|2|°C|F|0|abbr=on}} in the winter,<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=7628&a=21572&l=sv|title=January daily average temperature map|publisher=Swedish Meteorological Institute}}{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}</ref>
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while the northern part of the country has shorter, cooler summers and longer, colder and snowier winters, with temperatures that often drop below freezing from September through May.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=7628&a=21704&l=sv|title=Date of first autumn frost (map)|publisher=Swedish Meteorological Institute}}{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}</ref><ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=7628&a=21706&l=sv|title=Date of last spring frost (map)|publisher=Swedish Meteorological Institute}}{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}</ref>
+
The highest temperature ever recorded in Sweden was {{convert|38|°C|°F|abbr=on}} in [[Målilla]] in 1947, while the coldest temperature ever recorded was {{convert|-52.6|°C|1|abbr=on}} in [[Vuoggatjålme]] in 1966.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=7522&a=20978&l=sv|title=Low temperature extremes|publisher=Swedish Meteorological Institute}}{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}</ref><ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=7522&a=20974&l=sv|title=High temperature extremes|publisher=Swedish Meteorological Institute}}{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}</ref>
+
  
On average, most of Sweden receives between 500 and 800&nbsp;mm (20 and 31&nbsp;in) of precipitation each year, making it considerably drier than the [[Precipitation (meteorology)|global average]]. The southwestern part of the country receives more precipitation, between 1000 and 1200&nbsp;mm (39 and 47&nbsp;in), and some mountain areas in the north are estimated to receive up to 2000&nbsp;mm (79&nbsp;in). Despite northerly locations, southern and central Sweden may have almost no snow in some winters.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=7618&a=21516&l=sv|title=Annual precipitation map|publisher=Swedish Meteorological Institute}}{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}</ref><ref name="Sweden's climate">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=5441|title=Sweden's climate|publisher=Swedish Meteorological Institute}}{{Dead link|date=August 2010}} (in Swedish, see also the [http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=sv&u=http://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp%3Fd%3D5441%26l%3Dsv&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=1&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dhttp://www.smhi.se/cmp/jsp/polopoly.jsp%253Fd%253D5441%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG Google-translated version])</ref>
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Some things get English names that do not correspond to the original English word. Some examples are '''light''' which is used for diet products, and '''freestyle''' which means "walkman". Sweden uses the metric system and in the context of distance, the common expression ''mil'', "mile", is 10 kilometers, not an English statute mile. Because of the distances involved, ''mil'' is used in spoken language even though roadsigns all use kilometers.
  
{| class="wikitable" style="text-align:center"
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Swedish people learn British English at school, but also watch films and TV programs in American English. Whether they use British or American standards in speech varies from person to person; as a rule of thumb, young people are more likely to speak American English while British English is more prevalent among the older generations.
|+ Average high and low temperatures in various cities in Sweden (°C)<ref>{{Fcite web|author=weather |url=http://www.msn.com/weather |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20080511023744/http://www.msn.com/weather |archivedate=2008-05-11 |title=Local, National, and International Weather – Forecasts, Radar Maps, Video, and News |publisher=Msn.com |accessdate=2009-05-06}}</ref>
+
|- style="background:#e5afaa;"
+
! scope="col" | City
+
! scope="col" | Jan
+
! scope="col" | Feb
+
! scope="col" | Mar
+
! scope="col" | Apr
+
! scope="col" | May
+
! scope="col" | Jun
+
! scope="col" | Jul
+
! scope="col" | Aug
+
! scope="col" | Sep
+
! scope="col" | Oct
+
! scope="col" | Nov
+
! scope="col" | Dec
+
|- style="background:#c5dfe1; color:black"
+
! scope="row" | [[Kiruna]]
+
| −10/−16
+
| −8/−15
+
| −4/−13
+
| 2/−7
+
| 8/0
+
| 14/6
+
| 17/8
+
| 14/6
+
| 9/2
+
| 1/−4
+
| −5/−10
+
| −8/−15
+
|- style="background:#f8f3ca"
+
! scope="row" | [[Östersund]]
+
| −5/−10
+
| −3/−9
+
| 0/−6
+
| 5/−2
+
| 12/3
+
| 16/8
+
| 18/10
+
| 17/10
+
| 12/6
+
| 6/2
+
| 0/−3
+
| −3/−8
+
|- style="background:#c5dfe1"
+
! scope="row" | [[Stockholm]]
+
|1/−2
+
|1/−3
+
|4/−2
+
|11/3
+
|16/8
+
|20/12
+
|23/15
+
|22/14
+
|17/10
+
|10/6
+
|5/2
+
|1/−1
+
|- style="background:#f8f3ca"
+
! scope="row" | [[Gothenburg]] ''(Göteborg)''
+
| 2/−1
+
| 4/−1
+
| 6/0
+
| 11/3
+
| 16/8
+
| 19/12
+
| 22/14
+
| 22/14
+
| 18/10
+
| 12/6
+
| 7/3
+
| 3/−1
+
|- style="background:#c5dfe1"
+
! scope="row" | [[Visby]]
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==Governance==
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Foreign television programmes and films are almost always shown in their original language with subtitles. Only children's programmes are dubbed into Swedish.
  
Sweden is a [[constitutional monarchy]], in which [[King Carl XVI Gustaf]] is head of state, but royal power has long been limited to official and ceremonial functions.<ref>[http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Quick-facts/Sweden-in-brief/Government-Politics/ ]{{dead link|date=September 2011}}</ref> The [[Economist Intelligence Unit]], while acknowledging that democracy is difficult to measure, listed Sweden in fourth place in 2010 in its [[Democracy Index#2010 rankings|index of democracy]] assessing 167 countries.
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==See==
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There's plenty of nature in Sweden, during the summer [[Kungsleden]] in northern Sweden attracts lots of visitors who enjoy a solitary hike between cabins or camp sites in the beautiful mountains. A Swedish right (though not guarded by any law, only by tradition) gives anyone the right to walk over others property, as long as you do not disturb the house they are living in. This means that you can go sailing or canoeing and make camp on island in the [[Stockholm Archipelago]], you can go hiking and make camp almost whereever you want. Sceneries of nature, less populated than most of Europe. Ice and snow during winter.
  
The nation's legislative body is the [[Parliament of Sweden|riksdag]] (Swedish Parliament), with 349 members, which chooses the [[Prime Minister of Sweden|Prime Minister]]. Parliamentary elections are held every four years, on the third Sunday of September.
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==Do==
[[File:SWE-Map Kommuner2007.svg|thumb|upright|Sweden municipal borders]]
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{{infobox|Where are the Vikings?|[[Image:Viking ship in Stockholms strom.jpg|170px|centre]] Many tourists from English-speaking countries wonder where they can see real Vikings. Unfortunately, they have not been around for a thousand years. ''"Viking"'' is not the name of a separate tribe or nation - it is simply the old Norse word for ''"sailor"'', ''"navigator of the fjords"'' or ''"pirate"'' depending on etymology. While most Swedish, Norwegian and Danish people of these days were ''not'' Vikings, but sedentary farmers or fishermen, some men (and in a few cases women) joined expeditions of trade, exploration and piracy, reaching as far as present-day Canada, Morocco and the Caspian Sea. As the pagan Scandinavians were christened around AD 1000, the Viking raids declined. There are still traces from the Viking age, such as ''runestones'' and burial mounds, everywhere in Sweden. Some good places to see Viking age artifacts are '''The Museum of National Antiquities''' ("Historiska museet") [http://www.historiska.se] in Stockholm, Gamla Uppsala in [[Uppsala]] and Birka and Adelsö just west of Stockholm.
  
===Administrative divisions===
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The Viking Age heritage has been contorted through history - romanticized during the 19th century, abused by neo-Nazis, but more truthfully re-enacted by neo-pagans and live-action roleplayers. Most Swedes are proud of their Viking roots, though they don't take it very seriously.}}
{{Main|Counties of Sweden|Municipalities of Sweden}}
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Sweden is a [[unitary state]], currently divided into [[Counties of Sweden|twenty-one counties]] ({{lang|sv|''[[län]]''}}): [[Stockholm County|Stockholm]], [[Uppsala County|Uppsala]], [[Södermanland County|Södermanland]], [[Östergötland County|Östergötland]], [[Jönköping County|Jönköping]], [[Kronoberg County|Kronoberg]], [[Kalmar County|Kalmar]], [[Gotland County|Gotland]], [[Blekinge County|Blekinge]], [[Skåne County|Skåne]], [[Halland County|Halland]], [[Västra Götaland County|Västra Götaland]], [[Värmland County|Värmland]], [[Örebro County|Örebro]], [[Västmanland County|Västmanland]], [[Dalarna County|Dalarna]], [[Gävleborg County|Gävleborg]], [[Västernorrland County|Västernorrland]], [[Jämtland County|Jämtland]], [[Västerbotten County|Västerbotten]] and [[Norrbotten County|Norrbotten]].
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Sweden is great for outdoor life - skiing, skating, hiking, canoeing, cycling and berry-picking depending of season. Stockholm and Gothenburg have great nightlife and shopping opportunities. Most cities have well-preserved preindustrial architecture.
  
Each county has a [[County Administrative Boards of Sweden|County Administrative Board]] or ''länsstyrelse'', which is a Government appointed board. It is led by a Governor or ''Landshövding'' appointed for a term of six years and the list of succession, in most cases, stretches back to 1634 when the counties were created by the Swedish Lord High Chancellor [[Axel Oxenstierna]]. The main responsibility of the County Administrative Board is to coordinate the development of the county in line with goals set in national politics. In each county there is also a [[County Councils of Sweden|County Council]] or ''landsting'' which is a policy-making assembly elected by the residents of the county.
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===The year in Sweden===
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Swedish weather is best during summer (late May to early September). If you like snow, go to Norrland or [[Dalarna]] in December to April.
  
Each county further divides into a number of [[Municipalities of Sweden|municipalities]] or ''kommuner'', with a total of 290 municipalities in 2004. [[Municipality|Municipal]] government in Sweden is similar to [[city commission government]] and [[cabinet-style council]] government. A legislative municipal assembly ''([[kommunfullmäktige]])'' of between 31 and 101 members (always an uneven number) is elected from [[party-list proportional representation]] at municipal elections, held every four years in conjunction with the national parliamentary elections.
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Be aware that daylight varies greatly during the year. In Stockholm, the sun sets at 3 PM in December. North of the Arctic Circle one can experience the midnight sun and Arctic night. However, even at Stockholm's latitude, summer nights exist only in the form of prolonged twilight during June and July.
  
The municipalities are divided into a total of 2,512 [[Parishes of Sweden|parishes]], or ''församlingar''. These have traditionally been a subdivision of the [[Church of Sweden]] but still have importance as districts for census and elections.
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The major holidays are Easter, Midsummer (celebrated from the eve of the Friday between June 19 - 25), Christmas (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are all considered holidays), and the "industrial vacation" throughout July. Expect closed establishments, heavy traffic (for the holidays) and crowded tourist resorts (for July).
There are older historical divisions, primarily the [[Provinces of Sweden|twenty-five provinces]] and [[Lands of Sweden|three lands]], which still retain cultural significance.
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{{Further|Subdivisions of Sweden|National Areas of Sweden}}
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===Political history===
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Note that most Swedish holidays are celebrated on the '''day before''' (Midsummer's Eve, Christmas Eve etc), while Swedish people do hardly anything on the holiday proper.
[[File:Scandinavia-12th century.png|thumb|left|Kingdoms of [[Swedes (Germanic tribe)|Svear]] (Sweonas) and [[Götar]] (Geats) in the 12th century, with modern borders in grey]]
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The actual age of the kingdom of Sweden is unknown.<ref name="sh">Hadenius, Stig; Nilsson, Torbjörn; Åselius, Gunnar (1996) ''Sveriges historia: vad varje svensk bör veta''. Bonnier Alba, Borås. ISBN 91-34-51857-6 (in Swedish) (1996:13):
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{|
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|-
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| &nbsp;
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|Hur och när det svenska riket uppstod vet vi inte. Först under 1100-talet börjar skriftliga dokument produceras i Sverige i någon större omfattning [...]
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| &nbsp;
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|How and when the Swedish kingdom appeared is not known. It is not until the 12th century that written document begin to be produced in Sweden in any larger extent [...]
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|}</ref> It depends mostly on whether Sweden should be considered a nation when the ''[[Swedes (Germanic tribe)|Svear]]'' (Sweonas) ruled [[Svealand]] or if the emergence of the nation started with the ''Svear'' and the ''[[Götar]]'' ([[Geats]]) of [[Götaland]] being united under one ruler. In the first case, Sweden was first mentioned as having one single ruler in the year 98 by [[Tacitus]], but it is almost impossible to know for how long it had been this way. However, historians usually start the line of [[Swedish monarchs]] from when Svealand and Götaland were ruled under the same king, namely [[Eric the Victorious]] (Geat) and his son [[Olof Skötkonung]] in the 10th century. These events are often described as the [[consolidation of Sweden]], although substantial areas were conquered and incorporated later.
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Earlier kings, for which no reliable historical sources exist, can be read about in [[mythical kings of Sweden]] and [[semi-legendary kings of Sweden]]. Many of these kings are only mentioned in various [[Norse sagas|saga]] and blend with [[Norse mythology]].
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==Buy==
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<div style="float:right;padding:10px;">
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<!-- begin conversion table -->
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<table style="background-color: #f3f3ff; border: 1px solid #9866FF; background-color: #f3f3ff; border-collapse: collapse;">
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<tr><td style="text-align: center; border-bottom: 1px solid #C9AFFF; background-color: #ddddff; padding: 2px;" colspan="3">Currency conversion table  (April 2011)</td></tr>
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<tr><td style="text-align: center; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px; font-weight: bold;">'''Foreign currency'''</td><td style="text-align: center; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px; font-weight: bold;">'''Either one'''</td><td style="text-align: center; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px; font-weight: bold;">Swedish Kronor</td></tr>
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<tr><td style="text-align: left; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">&euro;0.11 Euro</td><td style="text-align: center; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">1</td><td style="text-align: right; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">8.55</td></tr>
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<tr><td style="text-align: left; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">&pound;0.10 Pound Sterling</td><td style="text-align: center; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">1</td><td style="text-align: right; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">9.63</td></tr>
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<tr><td style="text-align: left; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">&#036;0.16 US Dollar</td><td style="text-align: center; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">1</td><td style="text-align: right; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">5.68</td></tr>
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<tr><td style="text-align: left; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">&#036;0.18 Australian Dollar</td><td style="text-align: center; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">1</td><td style="text-align: right; border: 1px solid #C9AFFF; padding: 2px;">6.35</td></tr>
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</table>
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<!-- end conversion table -->
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</div>
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The national currency is the Swedish ''krona'' (SEK, plural ''kronor''). Automatic teller machines take major credit cards. Most stores, restaurants and bars accept all major credit cards. You usually need an ID card or a passport when shopping with a credit card, regardless of the amount involved, though usually not in supermarkets and such where PIN code is king.
  
The title ''Sveriges och Götes Konung'' was last used for [[Gustaf I of Sweden]], after which the title became "[[Kings of Sweden|King of Sweden]], [[King of the Goths|of the Goths]] and [[King of the Wends|of the Wends]]" (''Sveriges, Götes och Vendes Konung'') in official documentation. Up until the beginning of the 1920s, all laws in Sweden were introduced with the words, "We, the king of Sweden, of the Goths and Wends". This title was used up until 1973.<ref>[http://lagen.nu/1973:702 Kungl. Maj:ts kungörelse med anledning av konung Gustaf VI Adolfs frånfälle]. SFS 1973:702. Justitiedepartementet L6, 19 September 1973.</ref> The present King of Sweden, [[Carl XVI Gustaf]], was the first monarch officially proclaimed "King of Sweden" (''Sveriges Konung'') with no additional peoples mentioned in his title.
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It is not common to bargain in shops but it might work in some instances, especially when buying more expensive products. Bargaining is also okay at flea markets and in antique shops. When dining out, a service charge is often not included in the bill and a tip of 5-10% is standard unless you are really unhappy with the food and/or service.
  
The term ''riksdag'' was used for the first time in the 1540s, although the first meeting where representatives of different social groups were called to discuss and determine affairs affecting the country as a whole took place as early as 1435, in the town of [[Arboga]].<ref name="Riksdagen">The Swedish Parliament. [http://www.riksdagen.se/templates/R_Page____798.aspx The history of the Riksdag]{{dead link|date=February 2012}}. Retrieved 13 February 2007.</ref> During the assemblies of 1527 and 1544, under King [[Gustav Vasa]], representatives of all four [[estates of the realm]] ([[clergy]], [[Swedish nobility|nobility]], [[Bourgeoisie|townsmen]] and [[peasants]]) were called on to participate for the first time.<ref name="Riksdagen"/> The monarchy became hereditary in 1544.
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Most shops, at least major chains in downtown areas, are open all week, even on Sundays. Closing times are rigid, most often on the minute.
  
Executive power was historically shared between the King and a noble [[Privy Council]] until 1680, followed by the King's [[autocracy|autocratic rule]] initiated by the common estates of the Parliament. As a reaction to the failed [[Great Northern War]], a [[parliamentary system]] was introduced in 1719, followed by three different flavours of [[constitutional monarchy]] in 1772, 1789 and 1809, [[Swedish constitution of 1809|the latter]] granting several civil liberties. The monarch remains as the formal, but merely symbolic, [[head of state]] with [[ceremony|ceremonial]] duties.
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Many Swedes translate the word ''krona'', which means ''crown''. For example, instead of saying ''50 kronor'' they might say ''50 crowns'' when speaking english.
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===ATM===
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{{Style}}
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The most used Swedish word for ATM is ''Bankomat'', although this is technically a trademark of the Trade Bank Consortium, much like the term ''cash point'' in the United Kingdom, and therefore not used by several banks. A more generic word would be ''Uttagsautomat''; ''Uttag'', ''Minuten'' and ''Kontanten'' may also occur. Nearly all machines regardless of operator will accept the MasterCard, Maestro, Visa, Visa Electron and American Express. You can withdraw up to 10 000 SEK ($1420/€1110) per use. During a seven-day period you can withdraw a maximum of 20 000 SEK ($2840/€2220).
  
The [[Riksdag of the Estates]] consisted of two chambers. In 1866 Sweden became a [[constitutional monarchy]] with a [[bicameral]] parliament, with the First Chamber indirectly elected by [[local government]]s, and the Second Chamber directly elected in national elections every four years. In 1971 the parliament became [[unicameral]]. Legislative power was (symbolically) shared between king and parliament until 1975. Swedish [[taxation]] is controlled by the [[Parliament of Sweden]] (riksdagen).
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You have three attempts to enter the correct PIN code. If you fail a third time, the machine retains the card and closing it. In order to facilitate the visually impaired have the keys on the machines equipped with Braille. You may have spoken guidance, press the TALK button. In some ATMs you can withdraw euros if you have a card issued by a Swedish bank. You may take up the maximum 1000 EUR per use. You can make multiple withdrawals after the other but a maximum 20 000 SEK per week.
  
Sweden has a history of strong political involvement by ordinary people through its "popular movements" (''Folkrörelser''), the most notable being [[trade unions]], the independent Christian movement, the [[temperance movement]], the [[women's movement]] and more recently the sports{{Clarify|date=April 2009}} and [[Pirate Party (Sweden)|intellectual property pirate]] movements.
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===Costs===
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Compared to other OCED-countries, Sweden is one of the more expensive countries to inhabit, though you can find cheaper alternatives if you look around. For example: Sundries like a 33cl bottle of Coca Cola costs 10 SEK ($1.70/€1,2), a beer in a bar will cost you around 45 SEK ($7/€5), the average price of hotel accommodation is around 1300 SEK ($215/€155), a room in a hostel varies between 150 and 350 SEK ($30-50/€25-35), a bus/subway ticket in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö will set you back around 25 SEK ($4.20/€3,1), one meal will cost you around 100 SEK ($16,5/€11,9), 1 litre Petrol costs about 15 SEK ($2.50/€1,8) and a pack of 25 cigarettes will cost you 70 SEK ($11.60/€8,3). If you are a bit careful about your expenses, a daily budget of around 1000 SEK ($156/€112) will be enough. While house prices are probably amongst the cheapest in Western Europe and recently opened discount stores such as "Lidl", "Netto" and "Willy's" offer a wide range of items (why not buy a sewing machine while doing the weekend grocery shopping?), accommodation and dining out are cheaper in Stockholm than in most other west European capitals.
  
Sweden is currently leading the EU in statistics measuring [[equality of opportunity|equality]] in the political system and equality in the [[education]] system.<ref name=EUEqualityReport>European Commission Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs And Equal Opportunities, ''Report On The Equality Between Men And Women'',http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/publications/2006/keaj06001_en.pdf February 2006</ref> The ''Global Gender Gap Report 2006'' ranked Sweden as the number one country in terms of [[gender equality]].<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.norden.org/webb/news/news.asp?lang=6&id=6605 |title=Nordic countries rank highest in gender equality |publisher=Norden.org |accessdate=2009-05-06}}</ref>
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===Shopping===
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[[Image:Dala_horse_by_Jake73.JPG|thumb|right|200px|caption|An example of a Dala Horse]]
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*An unofficial national symbol, the '''Dala Horse''' (Swedish: ''dalahäst'') is the souvenir of souvenirs to bring from Sweden. Named after their origin, the province of [[Dalarna]], these small wooden horses have been around since the 17th century. They are normally painted orange or blue with symmetrical decorations. They are fairly expensive: expect to pay around SEK 100 for a very small one or several hundred crowns for bigger versions. The horses can be bought in souvenir shops all over Sweden. If you want to know more about how the horses are made, visit Dalarna and the municipality of [[Mora]] where the horses are carved and painted in workshops open for tourists. And if driving towards Mora from [[Stockholm]], keep your eyes open when you pass the town of [[Avesta]] where the world's largest (13 meters high) Dala Horse overlooks the highway.
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*Swedish '''glass''' is world famous for its beauty. Several skilled glass artists have contributed to this reputation through innovative, complex (and expensive) art creations, but mass-produced Swedish table glass has also been an international success. Part of the province of [[Småland]], between the towns of [[Växjö]] and [[Kalmar]], is known as the '''Kingdom of Crystal'''[http://www.glasriket.se/]. 15 glassworks are packed into this small area, the most famous being ''Orrefors'', ''Kosta'' and ''Boda''. Tourists are welcome to watch the glass blowers turn the glowing melt into glittering glass, and you can even give it a try yourself.
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*Exclusive wines from [[#Systembolaget|Systembolaget]].
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*Sweden has good design, spanning from furniture to jewlery, but is also known for it's inventive nature. You are likely to find good presents to bring home. In the major cities, for example, there are chain of stores called Designtorget which offers multiple products. Svenskt Tenn is another store whitch offers beautiful items with designers like Josef Frank.
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*Music and literature is also a major export. In the major cities there are special bookstores or sections in other languages than swedish. Some magazines are offered in English.
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*There are some items for the home that are invented by swedes that might be fun to bring home such as the cheese slicer, adjustable spanners or adjustable wrenches, safety matches, paraffin cooking stove (Primuskök)or a good old Celsius thermometer. (Items like dynamite, the pacemaker and blowlamp (blowtorch) are also Swedish inventions but might not be good souvenirs...)
  
===Political system===
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==Eat==
{{Main|Politics of Sweden}}
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{{infobox|The world's stinkiest fish dish|Adventurous diners might want to try ''surströmming'', which is (coastal) central and northern Sweden's entry in the revolting-foods-of-the-world contest. It's herring which is fermented in a tin can until the can starts to bulge and almost bursts. It all gets so foul-smelling that the fish is only eaten outdoors to keep it from stinking up the house, although it has been known for unsuspecting visitors from other countries to be "treated" to an indoor surströmming experience for more intensity.[[Image:SwedishSurströmmingJake73.jpg|center|noframe|240px]]
[[File:Sveriges riksdag fr vasabron.JPG|thumb|The [[Parliament House, Stockholm|Parliament House]] in [[Stockholm]].]]
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It is considered bad manners not to notify (or invite) the neighbors before having a ''surströmmingsskiva'', a party where the delicacy is consumed. It is claimed that the best way to get over the smell is to take a deep breath of it just when you open the can, to as quickly as possible knock out your smelling sense. Surströmming season peaks in August. |print=fullpage}}
[[File:King Carl XVI Gustaf at National Day 2009.jpg|thumb|[[Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden|Carl XVI Gustaf]], the [[Monarchy of Sweden|King of Sweden]] and ceremonial head of state]]
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Swedish cuisine is mostly hearty meat or fish with potatoes, derived from the days when men needed to chop wood all day long. Besides the ubiquitous potatoes, modern Swedish cuisine is to a great extent based on bread. Traditional everyday dishes are called ''husmanskost'' (pronounced whos-mans-cost). They include:
Constitutionally, the 349-member riksdag ([[Parliament]]) holds supreme authority in modern Sweden. The riksdag is responsible for choosing the prime minister, who then appoints the government department heads (cabinet ministers). [[Legislative power]] is only exercised by the riksdag. [[Executive power]] is exercised by the prime minister and the cabinet, while the [[judiciary]] is independent. Sweden lacks compulsory [[judicial review (theory)|judicial review]], although the non-compulsory review carried out by ''lagrådet'' (Law Council) is mostly respected in technical matters but less so in controversial political matters. Acts of the parliament and government decrees can be made inapplicable at every level if they are manifestly against constitutional laws. However, because of the restrictions in this form of judicial review and a weak judiciary, this has had little practical consequence.
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*'''Meatballs''' (''köttbullar''), the internationally most famous Swedish dish. Served with potatoes, '''brown sauce''' and '''lingonberry jam'''.
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*'''Hash''' (''pytt i panna'') consisting of meat, onions and potatoes, all diced and fried. Sliced beetroots and a fried or boiled whole eggs are mandatory accessories.
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*'''Pea soup''' (''ärtsoppa'') with diced pork, followed by '''thin pancakes''' afterwards. Traditionally eaten on Thursdays since medieval times when the servants had half the day off as it is an easy meal to prepare. All lunch restaurants in Sweden with any self-respect serves pea soup and pancakes every Thursday.
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*Pickled '''herring''' (''sill''), available in various types of sauces. Commonly eaten with bread or potatoes for summer lunch or as a starter. Virtually mandatory at midsummer and very common for Christmas.
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*'''Blodpudding''', a black sausage made by pig's blood and flour. Slice it, fry it and eat it with lingonberry jam.
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*'''Gravlax''', a widely known and appreciated cold appetizer made by thin slices of salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill.
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*'''Falukorv''', a big baloney from [[Falun]]. Sliced, fried and eaten with ketchup and mashed potatoes.
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*Sweden has more varieties of '''bread''' than most other countries. Many of them are whole-grain or mixed grain, containing wheat, barley, oats, compact and rich in fiber. Some notable examples are ''tunnbröd'' (thin wrap bread), ''knäckebröd'' (hard bread - might not be an interesting experience, but is nearly always available), and different kinds of seasoned loaves. Bread is mostly eaten as simple sandwiches, with thin slices of cheese or cold cuts. Some more exotic spreads are '''messmör''' (whey butter) and '''leverpastej''' (liver paté).
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*'''Tunnbrödrulle''', a fast food dish, consisting of a bread wrap with mashed potatoes, a hot dog and some vegetables.
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*'''Kroppkakor''' Potato dumpling stuffed with diced pork.
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*'''Ost''' Hard cheese. Swedes eat a lot of hard cheese. In an ordinary food market you can often find 10 to 20 different types of cheese. The most famous Swedish hard cheese would be Västerbotten, named after a region in Sweden.
  
Legislation may be initiated by the cabinet or by members of Parliament. Members are elected on the basis of [[proportional representation]] to a four-year term. The [[Constitution of Sweden]] can be altered by the riksdag, which requires a simple but absolute majority with two separate votes, separated by general elections in between. Sweden has three other constitutional laws: the Act of Royal Succession, the Freedom of Press Act and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression.
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Other Swedish favorites:
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*'''Soft whey butter''' (''messmör''), breadspread with a sweetish, hard-to-describe taste.
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*'''Caviar''', not the expensive Russian or Iranian kind but a cheaper version made from cod roe, sold in tubes and used on sandwiches. The most famous brand is ''Kalles Kaviar''.
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*'''Julmust''', stout-like Christmas soft drink that every year annoys The Coca-Cola Company in Sweden by lowering Coke's sales figures by 50%.
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*'''Crayfish''' (''kräftor''), hugely popular around August, when Swedes feast on them at big crayfish parties (''kräftskivor''). Silly paper hats and lots of alcohol included.
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*'''Semla''', a cream-filled pastry eaten around Fat Tuesday.
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* '''Rabarberkräm/Rabarberpaj''' rhubarbcream or rhubarbpie with vanilla sauce ( other cakes or pies on fresh blueberries, apples, or just strawberries with cream or ice cream are also very popular in the summer)
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*'''Spettekaka ''' A local cake from Skåne in south Sweden, made of eggs, sugar, and potato starch.
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* '''Smörgåstårta''' A cold Sandwich layer cake, often with salmon, eggs, and shrimps. (Also often with tuna or roast beef)    Swedish people often eat it at New Year's Eve, or birthdays and parties.
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* Lösgodis" candy from boxes that you mix on your own, sold by weight, is one the most popular candy among this candyloving nation. A choice of chocolate, sours, sweet and salt liqorice are always offered.
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*Swedish cookies and pastries like bondkakor, hallongrottor, bullar or cakes like prinsesstårta are widely popular. It used to be tradition to offer guest 7 different cookies when invited over for coffee. If you have a sweet tooth you should try chokladbollar, mazariner, biskvier, rulltårta, lussebullar, the list goes on...
  
The [[Swedish Social Democratic Party]] has played a leading political role since 1917, after [[Reformist]]s had confirmed their strength and the [[Left Party (Sweden)|revolutionaries]] left the party. After 1932, cabinets have been dominated by the Social Democrats. Only five general elections (1976, 1979, 1991, 2006 and 2010) have given the centre-right bloc enough seats in Parliament to form a government. However, due to poor economic performance since the beginning of the 1970s, and especially since the fiscal crisis of the early 1990s, Sweden's political system has become less one-sided, and more like other European countries.
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As in most of Europe, inexpensive '''pizza''' and '''kebab''' restaurants are ubiquitous in Swedish cities, and are also to be found in almost every small village. Note that the Swedish pizza is significantly different from Italian or American pizzas, American pizzas are usually sold as "pan pizza". '''Sushi''' and '''Thai''' food are also quite popular. The local hamburger chain '''Max''' [http://www.max.se] is recommended before '''McDonald's''' [http://www.mcdonalds.se] and '''Burger King''' [http://www.burgerking.com], for tasteful Scandinavian furnishing, clean restrooms, no trans fats and free coffee with meals. In parts of Norrland it is customary to eat hamburgers with fork and knife - available at Max. Another type of fast food establishment is the ''gatukök'' ("street kitchen"), serving hamburgers, hot dogs, kebab and tunnbrödrulle (se above).  
  
In the [[Sweden general election, 2006|2006 general election]] the [[Moderate Party]], allied with the [[Centre Party (Sweden)|Centre Party]], [[Liberal People's Party (Sweden)|Liberal People's Party]], and the [[Christian Democrats (Sweden)|Christian Democrats]] formed the centre-right [[Alliance for Sweden]] and won a majority of the votes. Together they formed a majority government under the leadership of the Moderate party's leader [[Fredrik Reinfeldt]]. In the [[Sweden general election, 2010|September 2010]] election the Alliance contended against a unified left block consisting of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party. It also saw the first election of the [[Sweden Democrats]] into the [[riksdag]].<ref>{{Fcite news|url=http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Society/Government-politics/Reading/Center-right-wins-Swedish-election--but-short-of-majority/|title=Center–right wins Swedish election — but short of majority|author=Sveriges Radio International/Radio Sweden|accessdate=2012-02-16|date=2010-09-20}}</ref>
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Highway diners, ''vägkrogar'', have generous meals, but might be of poor quality, greasy and overpriced. If you have time, a downtown restaurant is preferable. Gas stations offer decent packed salads and sandwiches.
  
Following is the current party lineup in the Swedish parliament, {{As of|2011|10|df=us|lc=on}}, organized by the [[political spectrum]] into the categories of [[centre-right]] and [[centre-left]]:<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.riksdagen.se/templates/R_SubStartPage____272.aspx|title=Ledamöter & partier|author=Sveriges riksdag}}</ref>
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You can get a "cheap" lunch if you look for the signs with "'''Dagens rätt'''" (''meal of the day''). This normally costs about 50-120 SEK (€5,50-€13,30) and almost everywhere includes a bottle of water; soft drink; or light beer, bread & butter, some salad and coffee afterwards. Dagens rätt is served Monday to Friday.
  
{| class="wikitable"
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The world famous furniture retailer '''IKEA''' has stores at the outskirts of 15 Swedish cities. These have great diners, which offer well-cooked Swedish meals for as little as 40 SEK, and the store exit usually has a café selling hot dogs for as little as 5 SEK. (They hope that you spend some money on shopping too.) Great if you happen to pass by. Expect crowds at rainy weather.
|-
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! English name          !! Swedish name                !! Abbr. !! Seats !! In Government
+
|-
+
| '''centre-right parties'''||                          ||      || '''192''' ||
+
|-                      
+
| Moderate Party        || [[Moderata samlingspartiet]] || (M)  || 107  || Yes
+
|-                                                               
+
| Liberal People's Party || [[Folkpartiet liberalerna]]  || (FP)  ||  24  || Yes
+
|-                                                               
+
| Centre Party          || [[Centerpartiet]]            || (C)  ||  23  || Yes
+
|-                                                               
+
| Christian Democrats    || [[Kristdemokraterna]]        || (KD)  ||  19  || Yes
+
|-
+
| Sweden Democrats      || [[Sverigedemokraterna]]      || (SD)  ||  19  || No
+
|-
+
| '''centre-left parties'''<!-- SEE REFERENCE SUB HEADING "THE SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY," FIRST SENTENCE. --><ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Society/Government-politics/Reading/Swedens-political-parties--a-quick-guide/|title=Sweden’s political parties — a quick guide|author=David Wiles}}</ref> ||                                ||      || '''156'''  ||
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|-
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| Social Democrats      || [[Socialdemokraterna]]        || (S) || 112  || No
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|-                                                       
+
| The Greens            || [[Miljöpartiet]]              || (MP) ||  25  || No
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|-                                                       
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| Left Party            || [[Vänsterpartiet]]            || (V)  ||  19  || No
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|-
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| '''Independent'''      ||                              ||      || '''1''' ||
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|-                                                       
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| Independent member    || Utan partibeteckning          ||      ||  1<ref>Mandate is held by a previous Sweden democrat</ref> || No
+
|-
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!                        !!                              !! Total parliament !! 349
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|}
+
  
The Alliance won a plurality of 173 seats, but remained two seats short of a 175-seat majority. Nevertheless, neither the Alliance, nor the left block chose to form a coalition with the Sweden Democrats, and the Alliance is currently governing as a [[minority government]].<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.val.se/val/val2006/slutlig/R/rike/roster.html
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If you're on a tight budget, self-catering is the safest way to save your money.
|title=Val till riksdagen|author=The Official Website of the Swedish Election Authority}}</ref>
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Election turnout in Sweden has always been high by international comparison, although it has declined in recent decades, and is currently around 80% (80.11 in [[Sweden general election, 2002|2002]], and 81.99% in [[Sweden general election, 2006|2006]]). Swedish politicians enjoyed a high degree of confidence from the citizens in the 1960s, However, that confidence level has since declined steadily, and is now at a markedly lower level than in its Scandinavian neighbours.<ref>{{Fcite book|editor=Pippa Norris|author=Sören Holmberg|title=Critical Citizens: Global Support for Democratic Government|publisher=[[Oxford University Press]]|year=1999|pages=103–123|isbn=0-19-829568-5}}</ref>
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Vegetarian and vegan lifestyles are accepted in cities, less common in the countryside but you should be able to find a falafel in every smaller town.
  
Some Swedish political figures have become known worldwide, among these are: [[Raoul Wallenberg]], [[Folke Bernadotte]], former [[United Nations Secretary-General|Secretary General]] of the [[United Nations]] [[Dag Hammarskjöld]], former Prime Minister [[Olof Palme]], former Prime Minister and [[Foreign minister]] [[Carl Bildt]], former President of the [[United Nations General Assembly|General Assembly of the United Nations]] [[Jan Eliasson]], and former [[International Atomic Energy Agency]] Iraq inspector [[Hans Blix]].
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==Drink==
  
===Law, law enforcement, and judicial system===
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===Coffee===
{{Main|Judicial system of Sweden}}
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Swedish consumption of coffee (''kaffe'') is among the highest in the world. Drinking coffee at home or in a café, an act called ''fika'', is a common Swedish social ritual, used for planning activities, dating, exchanging gossip or simply spending time and money. Swedish coffee is much stronger than American one. Italian varieties (espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte) are available at most city cafés. One coffee will cost you around 25 SEK ($3,5/€2,8).
  
The [[Supreme Court of Sweden]] is the third and final instance in all civil and criminal cases in Sweden. Before a case can be decided by the [[Supreme Court]], leave to appeal must be obtained, and with few exceptions, leave to appeal can be granted only when the case is of interest as a [[precedent]]. The Supreme Court consists of 16 Councillors of Justice or ''justitieråd'' which are appointed by the [[Government of Sweden|government]], but the court as an institution is independent of the [[Parliament of Sweden]], and the government is not able to interfere with the decisions of the court.
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===Alcoholic beverages===
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The most famous Swedish alcoholic beverage is '''Absolut Vodka''', one of the world's most famous vodkas. There are several brands of distilled, and usually seasoned, liquor, called ''brännvin'' or ''akvavit''. When served in a shot glass with a meal it is called ''snaps'' (not to confuse with the German "Schnapps"). It is part of custom to drink snaps at midsummers eve and at Christmas.
  
[[Law enforcement in Sweden]] is carried out by several government entities. The [[Swedish Police Service]] is a [[Government agencies in Sweden|Government agency]] concerned with [[police]] matters. The [[National Task Force]] is a national [[SWAT]] unit within the [[Swedish National Criminal Investigation Department|National Criminal Investigation Department]]. [[Swedish Security Service]]'s responsibilities are [[counter-espionage]], anti-[[terrorism|terrorist]] activities, protection of the [[constitution]] and protection of sensitive objects and people.
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Sweden does produce some outstanding beers, and have in the recent years seen a rise in the numbers of microbreweries. If you are looking for great local beer keep an eye out for  breweries like "Slottskällans", "Nils Oscar", "Närke kulturbryggeri", "Jämtlands ångbryggeri" and "Dugges Ale- & Porterbryggeri". You may have some trouble finding them, unless you go to a bar specialized in providing uncommon beer, or one of the well stocked "Systembolag", but you will find a few of them in every major city. Despite this the most common beer is the rather plain "international lager". The beer you get in normal food shops is called ''folköl'' and has 2.8 or 3.5% alcohol. You are able to find a variety of different brands of beers in food stores, Swedish, English and even Czech beer. Sweden has a seasonal beer for Christmas, ''julöl''. It is sweeter than normal beer and usually seasoned with Christmas spices, mostly it is of the beer type ale. All Swedish breweries make at least one type of julöl.
 +
Wine is popular, but the Swedish production is very modest.
  
According to a victimization survey of 1,201 residents in 2005, Sweden has above average [[crime rate]]s compared to other EU countries. Sweden has high or above average levels of assaults, sexual assaults, hate crimes, and consumer fraud. Sweden has low levels of burglary, car theft and drug problems. Bribe seeking is rare.<ref name="burdenofcrime2005">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.gallup-europe.be/downloads/EUICS%20-%20The%20Burden%20of%20Crime%20in%20the%20EU.pdf|format=PDF|title=EUICS report, The Burden of Crime in the EU, A Comparative Analysis of the|last=van Dijk|first=Jan|coauthors=Robert Manchin, John van Kesteren, Sami Nevala, Gergely Hideg|year=2005}}</ref>
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===Systembolaget===
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Access to alcoholic beverages is, as in [[Norway]], [[Finland]] and [[Iceland]], quite restricted and expensive. The only place to buy strong alcohol including ''starköl'' (beer which contains more than 3.5% ABV) over the counter is in one of the state-owned shops called '''Systembolaget''' [http://www.systembolaget.se/Applikationer/Knappar/InEnglish/] (also sometimes referred to as simply "Systemet" or "Bolaget"). They have limited hours of operation, usually 10-6 Mon-Wed, 10-7 Thurs-Fri, and 10-3 on Saturdays, with long queues on Fridays and Saturdays. Closing time at Systembolaget is more than rigid no matter how long the queue outside the store is, something the Swedes themselves joke about. They are always closed on Sundays. Most shops are of supermarket style. The assortment is very good, and the staff usually has great knowledge. Systembolaget does not serve customers under the age of 20 and will most likely ask for identification from younger looking customers. This also applies to any companions, regardless of who is making the actual purchase.
  
===Foreign relations===
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Beverages are heavily taxed by content of alcohol, some liquor is very expensive (vodka is around 300 SEK a liter at Systembolaget), but the monopoly has brought some perks - Systembolaget is one of the world's largest bulk-buyers of wine, and as such gets some fantastic deals which it passes on to consumers. Mid-to-high-quality wines, and exclusive spirits, are quite often cheaper in Sweden than in the country of origin; sometimes even cheaper than if you were to buy the wine directly from the vineyard. This does NOT apply to low-quality wines, however, due to the volume-based tax on alcohol.
{{Main|Foreign relations of Sweden}}
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Throughout the 20th century, [[Swedish foreign policy]] was based on the principle of non-alignment in peacetime and [[neutral country|neutrality]] in wartime. Sweden's government pursued an independent course of nonalignment in times of peace so that neutrality would be possible in the event of war.<ref name="NB335-339"/>
+
  
Sweden's doctrine of neutrality is often traced back to the 19th century as the country has not been in a [[war|state of war]] since the end of the [[Swedish campaign against Norway (1814)|Swedish campaign against Norway]] in 1814. During World War II Sweden joined neither the [[Allies (World War II)|allied]] nor [[Axis Powers|axis]] powers. This has sometimes been disputed since in effect Sweden allowed in select cases the Nazi regime to use its railroad system to transport troops and goods,<ref name="Koblik303-313" /><!---Koblik, p. 313---><ref name="NB313-319"/> especially iron ore from mines in northern Sweden, which was vital to the German war machine.<ref name="NB313-319"/><ref>Nordstrom p. 302: "In fact, the plans were mostly a ruse to establish control of the crucial Norwegian port of Narvik and the iron mines of northern Sweden, which were vitally important to the German war efforts."</ref> However, Sweden also indirectly contributed to the defence of Finland in the [[Winter War]], and permitted the training of Norwegian and Danish troops in Sweden after 1943.
+
All brands are treated equally and there is no large-pack discount. Therefore, microbrews cost largely the same as major brands, and might be a more interesting choice. Beverages are not refrigerated.
[[File:ODA percent of GNI 2009.png|thumb|300px|[[Official development assistance|Development aid]] measured in [[Gross national income|GNI]] in 2009. Source: OECD. As a percentage Sweden is the largest donor.]]
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During the early [[Cold War]] era, Sweden combined its policy of non-alignment and a low profile in international affairs with a [[security policy]] based on strong [[national defence]].<ref>As context, according to [[Edwin Reischauer]], "To be neutral you must be ready to be highly militarized, like Switzerland or Sweden." – ''see'' Chapin, Emerson. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE2DC163AF931A3575AC0A966958260&scp=1&sq=edwin+o+reischauer&st=nyt "Edwin Reischauer, Diplomat and Scholar, Dies at 79,"] ''New York Times. September 2, 1990.</ref> The function of the Swedish military was to deter attack.<ref>Nordstrom, p 336: "As a corollary, a security policy based on strong national defences designed to discourage, but not prevent, attack was pursued. For the next several decades, the Swedish poured an annual average of about 5% of GDP into making their defenses credible."</ref> At the same time, the country maintained relatively close informal connections with the Western bloc, especially in the realm of intelligence exchange. In 1952, a Swedish [[DC-3]] was [[Catalina affair|shot down]] over the Baltic Sea by a Soviet [[Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-15|MiG-15]] [[jet aircraft|jet]] [[fighter aircraft|fighter]]. Later investigations revealed that the plane was actually gathering information for [[NATO]].<ref>National Geographical News, web article, ''Cold War Spy Plane Found in Baltic Sea''[http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/10/1010_031010_swedishspyplane.html] 10 November 2003.</ref> Another plane, a [[PBY Catalina|Catalina]] [[search and rescue]] plane, was sent out a few days later and shot down by the Soviets as well. Olof Palme, the former prime minister of Sweden, visited [[Cuba]] during the 1970s and showed his support for Cuba in his speech.
+
  
Beginning in the late 1960s, Sweden attempted to play a more significant and independent role in international relations. It involved itself significantly in international peace efforts, especially through the [[United Nations]], and in support to the [[Third World]]. Since the assassination of [[Olof Palme]] in 1986 and the end of the Cold War, Sweden has adopted a more traditional foreign policy approach. Nevertheless, the country remains active in peace keeping missions and maintains a considerable foreign aid budget.
+
===Bars and nightclubs===
 +
The minimum age requirement is 18 to get into bars and to buy regular (3.5% ABV or less) beer in shops (to prevent teenage drunkenness, some shops have decided to enforce a minimum age of 20 for 3.5% beer as well), and 20 in Systembolaget. Many bars have an age limit of 20, but some (especially downtown on weekends) have age limits as high as 23 or 25, but this rule is arbitrarily enforced. Bring passport or ID.
  
In 1981 a Soviet [[Whiskey class submarine]] ran aground close to the Swedish naval base at [[Karlskrona]] in the southern part of the country. Research has never clearly established whether the submarine ended up on the shoals through a navigational mistake or if an enemy committed [[espionage]] against Swedish military potential. The incident triggered a diplomatic crisis between Sweden and the Soviet Union.
+
Some clubs mandate dress code, ''vårdad klädsel'' is casual dress; this is also arbitrarily enforced. For male guests, proper shoes (not sneakers or sandals), long-legged trousers (not blue jeans) and a dress shirt is almost always good enough.
  
Since 1995 Sweden has been a member of the [[European Union]], and as a consequence of a new world security situation the country's foreign policy doctrine has been partly modified, with Sweden playing a more active role in European security co-operation.
+
Age or dress rules are not rigid, and doormen have the right to accept or reject any patron for any reason other than gender, sexual orientation, creed, disability or race. Though illegal, nightclubs are infamous for rejecting "immigrants", which usually means anyone with hair and skin darker than the average Swede, on pretexts such as "members only," "too drunk," or "dress code"; men of Middle Eastern or African origin are most often subjected to this. You might avoid this problem by dressing properly and behaving well.
  
===Military===
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Sweden has enforced '''non-smoking''' in all bars, pubs and restaurants, save outdoor areas such as terraces, and designated smoking rooms (where drinks are not allowed).
{{Main|Swedish Armed Forces}}
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[[File:Swedish JAS-39 Gripen landing.jpg|thumb|The [[JAS 39 Gripen]] is an advanced Swedish multi-role [[fighter aircraft]] of the [[Swedish Air Force]].]]
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''Försvarsmakten'' ([[Swedish Armed Forces]]) is a government agency reporting to the Swedish [[Ministry of Defence (Sweden)|Ministry of Defence]] and responsible for the [[peacetime]] operation of the armed forces of Sweden. The primary task of the agency is to train and deploy peace support forces abroad, while maintaining the long-term ability to refocus on the defence of Sweden in the event of war. The armed forces are divided into [[Army]], [[Air Force]] and [[Navy]]. The head of the armed forces is the [[Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces|Supreme Commander]] (''Överbefälhavaren'', ÖB), the most senior officer in the country. Up to 1974 the head of state (the King) was ''pro forma'' Commander-in-Chief, but in reality it was clearly understood all through the 20th century that the Monarch would have no ''active'' role as a military leader.
+
  
When King [[Gustav V]] asserted his right to decide and bypass the government in military matters just before the First World War (''"borggårdskrisen"'', the Castle Court Crisis) it was seen as a deliberate provocation against established terms of how the country would be ruled. The office of an appointed Supreme Commander was set up in 1939; before that date, from the late 19th century onwards, the leading men of the army and navy would report directly to the cabinet (and the king), and no fully unified command existed in the professional military sphere itself.
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The prices at clubs and bars are often expensive compared to other countries: a large beer (half a liter) usually costs 45-55 SEK (~US$7), but many low-profile bars advertise ''stor stark'' (0.4 L of draft lager) for as little as 25 SEK. A long drink costs around 60-110 SEK. For that reason many Swedes have a small pre-party ("förfest") before they go out to get buzzed before they hit the town and go to nightclubs.
  
[[File:Swedish CV9040.JPG|thumb|The Infantry fighting vehicle [[Strf 90]] produced and used by Sweden.]]
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Large clubs can require a cover charge, usually about 100 SEK (or more at special performances). They usually offer a rubber stamp on your hand so you can re-enter as you like without having to pay again.
Until the end of the Cold War, nearly all males reaching the age of [[military service]] were [[conscription|conscripted]]. In recent years, the number of conscripted males has shrunk dramatically, while the number of female volunteers has increased slightly. Recruitment has generally shifted towards finding the most motivated recruits, rather than solely those otherwise most fit for service. All soldiers serving abroad must by law be volunteers. In 1975 the total number of conscripts was 45,000. By 2003 it was down to 15,000.
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On 1 July 2010 Sweden stopped routine conscription, switching to an all volunteer force unless otherwise required for defence readiness.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.forsvarsmakten.se/sv/Rekrytering/Varnplikt/|title=Värnplikt [Conscription]|accessdate=2010-04-21}}{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}</ref><ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://svt.se/2.22620/1.1595556/allmanna_varnplikten_skrotas?lid=puff_1597044&lpos=extra_0|title=Allmänna värnplikten skrotas [General conscription scrapped]|accessdate=2010-04-21}}</ref><ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.thelocal.se/21494/20090816/|title=Military conscription phase out under fire|accessdate=2010-04-21}}</ref> The need to recruit only the soldiers later prepared to volunteer for international service will be emphasized. The total forces gathered would consist of about 60,000 men. This could be compared with the 80s before the fall of the Soviet Union, when Sweden could gather up to 1,000,000 men.
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Be aware that you often have to stand in line to get into a bar or a club. Many places deliberately make their customers wait in line for a while, since a long queue indicates a popular club. At the very fanciest places in the major cities, the queue is often replaced by a disorganized crowd, and the doorman simply points to indicate who gets in and who does not (to be sure to get in either be famous, very good-looking or a friend of the doorman. Or simply a regular).
  
Swedish units have taken part in peacekeeping operations in the [[Democratic Republic of Congo]], [[Cyprus]], [[Bosnia and Herzegovina]], [[Kosovo]], [[Liberia]], [[Lebanon]], [[Afghanistan]] and [[Chad]].
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Most bars that are open until 1AM will have a free entry policy.  Most bars and clubs that remain open until 3AM will charge an entrance fee. There some clubs in the larger cities that remain open until 5AM. Their entrance fee will usually be around 200 SEK (~US$28.00) and their entry policy will generally weigh less favourably for the non-rich, non-well-moisturised, non-Swedes, non-friends and non-regulars.
  
Currently, one of the most important tasks for the Swedish Armed Forces has been to form a Swedish-led [[European Union Battlegroups|EU Battle Group]] to which Norway, Finland, Ireland and Estonia will also contribute.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.sweden.gov.se/sb/d/9133/a/82276|title=The EU Battlegroup Concept and the Nordic Battlegroup|accessdate=2008-01-19|author=Swedish Ministry of Defence|date=2008-01-08|publisher=Government Offices of Sweden}}</ref>
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The club's wardrobe (or coat-checking) fee is often mandatory, usually around 20 SEK.
The [[Nordic Battle Group]] (NBG) had a 10-day deployment readiness during the first half of 2008 and, although Swedish-led, had its Operational Headquarters (OHQ) in [[Northwood, London|Northwood]], outside London.
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==Economy==
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Authorized security guards carry a badge saying ''Ordningsvakt'', see [[#Stay safe]]. The club's own doormen carry a badge saying ''Entrévärd''. Though not allowed to use force, these should be taken seriously.
{{Main|Economy of Sweden}}
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[[File:Sweden GRP per Capita2004.svg|thumb|upright|[[Gross Regional Product]] (GRP) per capita in thousands of kronor (2004).]]
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[[File:Nordstan Öst.JPG|thumb|left|[[Nordstan]] is one of the largest shopping malls in northern Europe]]
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Sweden is an export-oriented [[mixed economy]]. [[Timber]], [[hydropower]] and [[iron ore]] constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward [[foreign trade]]. Sweden's engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Telecommunications, the automotive industry and the pharmaceutical industries are also of great importance. [[Agriculture]] accounts for 2% of [[Gross Domestic Product|GDP]] and employment. The country ranks among the highest in telephone and Internet access penetration.<ref>https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sw.html</ref> Income is relatively flatly distributed; Sweden has the lowest [[Gini coefficient]] of any country, at 0.23.
+
  
In terms of structure, the Swedish economy is characterised by a large, knowledge-intensive and export-oriented manufacturing sector, an increasing, but comparatively small, [[business]] [[service sector]], and by international standards, a large public service sector. Large organisations both in manufacturing and services dominate the [[Swedish economy]].<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.infoexport.gc.ca/science/nordics_sweden_report-en.htm|archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20061004050916/http://www.infoexport.gc.ca/science/nordics_sweden_report-en.htm|archivedate=2006-10-04 |title=Doing Business Abroad – Innovation, Science and Technology |publisher=Infoexport.gc.ca |accessdate=2009-05-06}}</ref> High and medium-high technology manufacturing accounts for 9.9% of GDP.<ref>http://www.conferenceboard.ca/hcp/details/innovation/high-medium-high-technology-manufacturing.aspx</ref>
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'''Moonshine''' (''hembränt'') is popular in the countryside, though illegal. Though some shipments can be as good as legal vodka, most are disgusting, so you should stick to the real thing.
  
The 20 largest (by turnover in 2007) companies registered in Sweden are [[Volvo]], [[Ericsson]], [[Vattenfall]], [[Skanska]], [[Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB]], [[Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget]], [[Electrolux]], [[Volvo Personvagnar]], [[TeliaSonera]], [[Sandvik]], [[Scania AB|Scania]], [[ICA AB|ICA]], [[Hennes & Mauritz]], [[IKEA]], [[Nordea]], [[Preem]], [[Atlas Copco]], [[Securitas AB|Securitas]], [[Nordstjernan]] and [[SKF]].<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.largestcompanies.com/default$/lev2-TopList/lev2Desc-The_largest_companies_in_the_Nordic_countries_by%A0turnover%A0%28excl._national_subsidiaries%29/AdPageId-102/list-2/cc-SE/ |title=20 largest companies in Sweden |publisher=Largestcompanies.com |date=2009-10-06 |accessdate=2010-08-25}}</ref> Sweden's industry is overwhelmingly in [[private sector|private]] control, unlike many other industrialised Western countries and publicly owned enterprises have always been of minor importance.
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==Learn==
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All education in Sweden is free for residents. Although the government has subsidized schools and classes, there also exist many private alternatives where a tuition fee is required. Students' Union membership is optional since 2010, but the union fee of around 500 SEK/year can give several perks, such as mediation of dorm rooms or entrance to union parties and events.
  
[[File:Sw real gdp growth.svg|thumb|left|Real GDP growth in Sweden, 1996–2006.]]
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As a foreigner wishing to study at a Swedish university or other school of higher education, you do not have to pay tuition fees. However, the current center-right government have introduced tuition fees for non-EU/EES citizens, starting in 2011.
  
Some 4.5 million residents are working, out of which around a third has tertiary education. [[List of countries by GDP (PPP) per hour worked|GDP per hour worked]] is the world's 9th highest at 31 USD in 2006, compared to 22 USD in Spain and 35 USD in United States.<ref name="oecd2007"/> GDP per hour worked is growing 2½ per cent per year for the economy as a whole and the trade-terms-balanced productivity growth is 2%.<ref name="oecd2007"/> According to OECD, deregulation, globalisation, and technology sector growth have been key productivity drivers.<ref name="oecd2007"/> Sweden is a world leader in privatised pensions and pension funding problems are relatively small compared to many other Western European countries.<ref>[http://www.heritage.org/Research/SocialSecurity/bg1381.cfm Pension Reform in Sweden: Lessons for American Policymakers] by Goran Normann, Ph.D. and Daniel J. Mitchell, Ph.D. June 29, 2000.</ref>
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'''Some important university cities''':
 +
* [[Uppsala]]
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* [[Lund]]
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* [[Gothenburg]]
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* [[Stockholm]]
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* [[Linköping]]
  
[[File:Euro accession.svg|thumb|Sweden is part of the Schengen Area and the EU single market.]]
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If you are a student there is something known as an "academic quarter" where classes and school-related events will start 15 minutes past the hour. At some schools after 18:00 this becomes a "double quarter" where events commence 30 minutes past the hour. Students are expected to be punctual and show up at the appropriate time.
  
The typical worker receives 40% of his or her income after the [[tax wedge]]. The slowly declining overall taxation, 51.1% of GDP in 2007, is still nearly double of that in the United States or Ireland. The share of employment financed via tax income amounts to a third of Swedish workforce, a substantially higher proportion than in most other countries. Overall, GDP growth has been fast since reforms in the early 1990s, especially in manufacturing.<ref name="oecd2005">OECD Economic Surveys: Sweden – Volume 2005 Issue 9 by OECD Publishing</ref>
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You can find more useful information about studying in Sweden on the ''Study in Sweden'' website. [http://www.studyinsweden.se]
  
The [[World Economic Forum]] 2009–2010 competitiveness index ranks Sweden the 4th most competitive economy in the world.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.weforum.org/en/initiatives/gcp/Global%20Competitiveness%20Report/index.htm |title=World Economic Forum – Global Competitiveness Report |publisher=Weforum.org |date=2009-11-25 |accessdate=2009-11-25}}</ref> In the [[World Economic Forum]] 2010–2011 Global Competitiveness Report, Sweden climbed two positions, and is now ranked 2nd in the world.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.weforum.org/en/initiatives/gcp/Global%20Competitiveness%20Report/index.htm |title=World Economic Forum – Global Competitiveness Report |publisher=Weforum.org |date=2010-09-11 |accessdate=2010-09-11}}</ref> Sweden is ranked 6th in the IMD Competitiveness Yearbook 2009, scoring high in private sector efficiency.<ref name="imd">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.imd.ch/research/publications/wcy/index.cfm |title=IMD Competitiveness Yearbook 2008 |publisher=Imd.ch |date=2007-01-23 |accessdate=2010-08-25}}</ref> According to the book, ''The Flight of the Creative Class'', by the U.S. economist, Professor [[Richard Florida]] of the [[University of Toronto]], Sweden is ranked as having the best [[creativity]] in Europe for business and is predicted to become a talent magnet for the world's most purposeful workers. The book compiled an index to measure the kind of creativity it claims is most useful to business—talent, technology and tolerance.<ref>"[http://www.isa.se/templates/News____59355.aspx ''Sweden most creative country in Europe & top talent hotspot'']{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}, [[Invest in Sweden Agency]], 25 June 2005.</ref>
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==Work==
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EU and EEA citizens are allowed to work in Sweden without a permit.  
  
Sweden maintains its own currency, the [[Swedish krona]] (SEK), a result of the Swedes having rejected the [[euro]] in a referendum. The Swedish [[Sveriges Riksbank|Riksbank]]—founded in 1668 and thus making it the oldest central bank in the world—is currently focusing on price stability with an [[inflation]] target of 2%. According to the ''Economic Survey of Sweden 2007'' by the OECD, the average inflation in Sweden has been one of the lowest among European countries since the mid-1990s, largely because of deregulation and quick utilisation of globalisation.<ref name="oecd2007">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.oecd.org/document/37/0,3343,en_2649_34569_38048997_1_1_1_1,00.html |title=Economic survey of Sweden 2007 |publisher=Oecd.org |date=1970-01-01 |accessdate=2010-08-25}}</ref>
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Citizens of some non-EU countries are permitted to work in Sweden without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay - see the 'Get in' section above for more information.  
  
The largest trade flows are with Germany, the United States, Norway, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Finland.
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Working Holiday visas are available for Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and South Korean citizens aged between 18-30, permitting the holder to work for one year.
  
===Energy===
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Citizens of other countries need a work permit, and getting one can be quite a hassle. Swedes, foreign citizens already living in Sweden, and EU/EEA citizens have preference over others in obtaining work in Sweden. Also, if the offer of work is for more than three months, you will also require a Swedish residency permit. More information about the paperwork required is found on the government website swedenabroad.com [http://www.swedenabroad.com/].
{{See also|Nordic energy market|Nuclear power phase-out in Sweden|Oil phase-out in Sweden}}
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Sweden's energy market is largely privatized. The [[Nordic energy market]] is one of the first liberalized energy markets in Europe and it is traded in [[NASDAQ OMX Commodities Europe]] and [[Nord Pool Spot]]. In 2006, out of a total electricity production of 139 [[TWh]], electricity from hydropower accounted for 61 TWh (44%), and [[nuclear power]] delivered 65 TWh (47%). At the same time, the use of [[biofuel]]s, [[peat]] etc. produced 13 TWh (9%) of electricity, while wind power produced 1 TWh (1%). Sweden was a net importer of electricity by a margin of 6 TWh.<ref>[http://www.svenskenergi.se/upload/Statistik/Tidigare%20statistik/Kraftl%C3%A4get%20i%20%C3%A5r/ve_07-01.pdf Kraftläget i Sverige, Vattensituationen]{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}</ref> [[Biomass]] is mainly used to produce heat for [[district heating]] and [[central heating]] and industry processes.
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As for finding a job, you could try the public "Arbetsförmedlingen" ('Public Employment Service') and give it a try. However, you can also buy a lottery ticket, you will have roughly the same chance to get an income that way. Usually jobs are better provided by certain knowledges and luck. Sweden has an official unemployment rate of about 7.1% (Nov 2010). Salaries range from 15,000 to 70,000 SEK ($2200-$10300/€1600-€7700) per month (2008), but the average salary is around 30 000 SEK, April 2011 ($4500/€3100), and are typically paid only once per month.
  
The [[1973 oil crisis]] strengthened Sweden's commitment to decrease dependence on imported fossil fuels. Since then, [[electricity]] has been generated mostly from [[hydropower]] and nuclear power. The use of nuclear power has been limited, however. Among other things, the accident of [[Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station]] (United States) prompted the [[Swedish parliament]] to ban new nuclear plants. In March 2005, an opinion poll showed that 83% supported maintaining or increasing nuclear power.<ref>{{Fcite web |url=http://world-nuclear.org/info/inf42.html |title=Nuclear Power in Sweden |publisher=[[World Nuclear Association]] |date=September 2009 |accessdate=2010-01-29}}</ref> Politicians have made announcements about [[oil phase-out in Sweden]], decrease of nuclear power, and multi-billion dollar investments in [[renewable energy]] and energy efficiency.<ref name="Agenda21"/><ref name="Vidal">Vidal, John. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/oil/story/0,,1704954,00.html Sweden plans to be world's first oil-free economy]. The Guardian, 2/8/06. Retrieved 2/13/07.</ref> The country has for many years pursued a strategy of indirect taxation as an instrument of [[environmental policy]], including [[energy tax]]es in general and [[carbon dioxide]] taxes in particular.<ref name="Agenda21">Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden. ''[http://www.un.org/esa/agenda21/natlinfo/countr/sweden/natur.htm Agenda 21 – Natural Resource Aspects – Sweden]''. 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997.</ref>
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==Stay safe==
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{{infobox|[[Risks]] in Sweden|
 +
Crime/violence: '''Low'''<br>
 +
<small>Alcohol-related violence, petty theft, mugging</small><br>
 +
Authorities/corruption: '''Low'''<br>
 +
<small>Nightclub bouncers might be rude</small><br>
 +
Transportation: '''Low''' to '''Moderate'''<br>
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<small>Wild animal crossings everywhere, and slippery roads in the winter</small><br>
 +
Health: '''Low'''<br>
 +
<small>Tick and mosquito bites (Sweden has been free of Malaria since the 1930s) </small><br>
 +
Nature: '''Low''' to '''Moderate'''<br>
 +
<small>Blizzards and avalanches in the northern mountains</small>
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}}
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Sweden enjoys a comparatively low crime rate and is generally a safe place to travel with violent crime being rare. Use common sense at night, particularly on weeknights when people hit the streets to drink, get drunk, and in some unfortunate cases look for trouble. Mind that it is likely that your home country is less safe than Sweden, so heed whatever warnings you would do in your own country and you will have no worries.
  
===Transport===
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Although there is a significant police presence in the city centers, especially on weekend nights, the rest of Sweden is quite weakly policed. This especially applies to Norrland, where the nearest patrol car might be a hundred kilometers away.  
{{Main|Transport in Sweden}}
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[[File:Öresundsbron i solnedgång 2.jpg|thumb|The [[Öresund Bridge]] between [[Malmö]] and [[Copenhagen]] in Denmark.]]
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[[File:Hall, Stockholm Central Station.jpg|thumb|left|[[Stockholm Central Station|The Stockholm Central Station]]]]
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Sweden has {{convert|162707|km|mi|abbr=on}} of paved road and {{convert|1428|km|mi|abbr=on}} of expressways. [[List of motorways in Sweden|Motorway]]s run through Sweden, Denmark and over the [[Öresund Bridge]] to [[Stockholm]], [[Gothenburg]], [[Uppsala]] and [[Uddevalla]]. The system of motorways is still under construction and a new motorway from Uppsala to [[Gävle]] was finished on 17 October 2007. Sweden had left-hand traffic (Vänstertrafik in Swedish) from approximately 1736 and continued to do so well into the 20th century. Voters rejected right-hand traffic in 1955, but after the riksdag passed legislation in 1963 changeover took place in 1967, known in Swedish as [[Dagen H]].
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The [[Stockholm metro]] is the only subway system in Sweden and serves the city of Stockholm via 100 stations. The [[rail transport]] market is privatized, but while there are many privately owned enterprises, many operators are still owned by state. The counties have financing, ticket and marketing responsibility for local trains. For other trains the operators handle tickets and marketing themselves. Operators include [[SJ AB|SJ]], [[Veolia Transport]], [[DSB (railway company)|DSB]], [[Green Cargo]], [[Tågkompaniet]] and [[Inlandsbanan]]. Most of the railways are owned and operated by [[Trafikverket]].
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If involved in an argument, try to leave before the person becomes aggressive. If you see a street fight and want to stop it, be sure to have a friend. There have been reports on people injured or even killed when they've tried to stop a street fight. Young people, drunk people, or people who have taken drugs can be dangerous so use common sense. Don't feel bad if you don't do anything: there is a reason why many tend to do that, unfortunately. Do not argue with security guards or bouncers; they might become upset, and they are legally allowed to use some force when needed.
  
The largest airports include [[Stockholm-Arlanda Airport]] (16.1 million passengers in 2009) {{convert|40|km|mi|abbr=on}} north of Stockholm, [[Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport]] (4.3 million passengers in 2008), and [[Stockholm-Skavsta Airport]] (2.0 million passengers). Sweden hosts the two largest port companies in Scandinavia, [[Port of Göteborg|Port of Göteborg AB]] ([[Gothenburg]]) and the transnational company [[Copenhagen Malmö Port|Copenhagen Malmö Port AB]].
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Swedes generally tend to avoid eye contact, especially so in dangerous situations. Looking directly at someone behaving aggressively might provoke him.
  
===Public policy===
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Pickpockets are rare but not unheard of. They usually work in tourist-frequented areas, such as airports, large rail stations, shopping areas and festivals. Most Swedes carry their wallets in their pockets or purses and feel quite safe while doing it. Still, almost all stores and restaurants accept most major credit cards so there is no need to carry a lot of cash around. If you have a bike, do lock it or you may lose it.
{{See also|Nordic model|Social welfare in Sweden}}
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Sweden has one of the most highly developed welfare states in the world. The country has a higher level of social spending to GDP than any other nation. Additionally it provides equal as well as comprehensive access to education and health care.
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Historically, Sweden provided solid support for [[free trade]] (except agriculture) and mostly relatively strong and stable property rights (both private and public), though some economists have pointed out that Sweden promoted industries with tariffs and used publicly subsidised R&D during the country's early critical years of industrialisation.<ref name="H-J.C-Sweden">Kicking Away The Ladder, pp. 39–42, Ha-Joon Chang.</ref> After World War II a succession of governments expanded the welfare state by raising the tax level. During this period Sweden's economic growth was also one of the highest in the industrial world. A series of successive social reforms transformed the country into one of the most equal and developed on earth. The consistent growth of the welfare state led to Swedes achieving unprecedented levels of social mobility and quality of life—to this day Sweden consistently ranks at the top of league tables for health, literacy and Human Development—far ahead of some wealthier countries (for example the United States).<ref name = "Equal Societies">[http://www.health.gov.au/internet/nhhrc/publishing.nsf/Content/135-interim/$FILE/135%20-%20Submission%20-%20Childrens%20Hospitals%20Australasia%20(Attachment%20C).pdf], Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett</ref>
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Be sure to watch for cars in the road junctions. There is a law in Sweden called "The Zebra law" which means that cars must stop at zebra crossings. Many Swedes believe that all the drivers do that. By watching for cars you may save not only your life but also a friend's, since reported injuries have increased because of the law. If you do drive then follow the law, police cars may not be seen everywhere but you never know when they appear.
  
However, from the 1970s and onwards Sweden's GDP growth fell behind other industrialised countries and the country's per capita ranking fell from the 4th to 14th place in a few decades.<ref name="eu-usa">[http://www.timbro.se/bokhandel/pdf/9175665646.pdf EU versus USA], Fredrik Bergström & Robert Gidehag</ref> From the mid 90s until today Sweden's economic growth has once again accelerated and has been higher than in most other industrialised countries (including the US) during the last 15 years.<ref name="growth-Swe">[http://www.ekonomifakta.se/en/Facts-and-figures/Economy/Economic-growth/GDP-per-capita-/ Sweden's GDP per capita] Ekonomifakta</ref>
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Counterfeit Swedish banknotes or other documents are very uncommon. Newer 50, 100, 500 and 1000 SEK notes have holograms. Older 100 and 500 SEK banknotes without a hologram are invalid, but older 50 and 1000 SEK banknotes without a hologram are still valid.
  
Sweden began slowing the expansion of the welfare state in the 1980s, or even trimming it back, and according to the OECD and [[McKinsey & Company|McKinsey]], Sweden has recently been relatively quick to adopt neo-liberal policies, such as deregulation, compared to countries such as France.<ref name="oecd2007"/><ref>[http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/mginews/businessweek/swedenbalance.asp Sweden's balancing lessons for Europe], [[McKinsey & Company|McKinsey]] IMG institute 2006</ref> The current Swedish government is continuing the trend of moderate rollbacks of previous social reforms.<ref name="oecd2007"/><ref>[http://www.economist.com/displayStory.cfm?story_id=9803876 Moderate revolution], ''[[The Economist]]'' September 13, 2007</ref> Growth has been higher than in many other [[EU-15]] countries.
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Driving in Sweden is among the safest in Europe. It doesn't mean that there are no dangers in the roads; wild animals like moose, deer and boar sometimes stray onto highways. The moose is a big and heavy animal (up to 700 kg and 2,1 m shoulder height) so a collision can be violent and endanger your life even if you wear a seatbelt.  
  
Sweden adopted neo-liberal agricultural policies in 1990. Since the 1930s, the agricultural sector had been subject to price controls. In June 1990, the Parliament voted for a new agricultural policy marking a significant shift away from price controls. As a result, food prices fell somewhat. However, the liberalizations soon became moot because EU agricultural controls supervened.<ref>Lindberg, Henrik. "The Role of Economists in Liberalising Swedish Agriculture" (May 2007). [http://econjwatch.org/issues/volume-4-number-1-may-2007]</ref>
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Wearing a '''seatbelt''' is mandatory for everyone who is in the car. Some motorways have traffic signs that warn about wild animals and it's mostly seen in the northern areas of Sweden, although they can be spotted in the south as well. Motorway driving is a lot less aggressive than in Denmark or mainland Europe, although this may not apply to drivers who are not Swedish. There are long distances. Take rests if you are tired; it is dangerous to fall asleep when driving.
  
Since the late 1960s, Sweden has had the highest tax quota (as percentage of GDP) in the industrialised world, although today the gap has narrowed and Denmark has surpassed Sweden as the most heavily taxed country among developed countries. Sweden has a two step [[progressive tax]] scale with a municipal income tax of about 30% and an additional high-income state tax of 20–25% when a salary exceeds roughly 320,000 SEK per year. [[Payroll tax]]es amount to 32%. In addition, a national [[Value added tax|VAT]] of 25% is added to many things bought by private citizens, with the exception of food (12% VAT), transportation, and books (6% VAT). Certain items are subject to additional taxes, e.g. electricity, petrol/diesel and alcoholic beverages.
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===In Case of Emergency===
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'''112''' is the phone number to dial in case of fire, medical or criminal emergency. It does not require an area code, regardless of what kind of phone you're using. The number works on any mobile phone, with or without a SIM card, even if it's keylocked.
  
{{As of|2007}}, total tax revenue was 47.8% of GDP, the second highest tax burden among developed countries, down from 49.1% 2006.<ref>{{Fcite news |first=Kenneth |last=Westerlund |title=Danmark har högsta skattetrycket |url=http://www.dn.se/DNet/jsp/polopoly.jsp?d=3130&a=750879 |publisher=DN |date=2008-03-11 |accessdate=2008-03-11}}{{dead link|date=April 2012}}</ref> Sweden's inverted [[tax wedge]] – the amount going to the service worker's wallet – is approximately 15% compared to 10% in Belgium, 30% in Ireland, and 50% in United States.<ref name="eu-usa"/> Public sector spending amounts to 53% of the GDP. State and municipal employees total around a third of the workforce, much more than in most Western countries. Only Denmark has a larger public sector (38% of Danish workforce). Spending on transfers is also high.
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Police officers are rarely on patrol, and might be too busy to head out for minor crimes. To report a theft or getting in contact with the police in general there is a national phone number 114 14 that will bring you in contact with an operator at a police station (usually nearby, but not always)
  
Eighty percent of the workforce is organised in trade-unions which also have the right to elect two representatives to the board in all Swedish companies with more than 25 employees. Sweden has a relatively high amount of sick leave per worker in [[OECD]]: the average worker loses 24 days due to sickness.<ref name="oecd2005"/> In December 2008, the number employed in age group 16–64 was 75.0%. The employment tendency was very strong in 2007. The positive trend continued during the first half of 2008, but the rate of increase slackened. According to [[Statistics Sweden]], the unemployment rate in December 2008 was at 6.4%.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.scb.se/Pages/PressArchive____259760.aspx?PressReleaseID=258940 |title=Unemployment rate in December 2008 (SCB, Statistics Sweden, central government authority for official statistics) |publisher=Scb.se |accessdate=2010-08-25}}</ref>
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Nightclubs and shopping centers usually have security officers with a chest badge saying ''ordningsvakt'', authorized to use force, and infamous to do so. These should be respected. Officers with other labels ("Security" or "Entrévärd") have no special privileges, but are still notoriously violent (as they are usually recruited from the street, without background check). Don't argue with them.
  
===Science===
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==Stay healthy==
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Since November 2009, the '''pharmacy''' business has been deregulated. Certified pharmacies carry a green cross sign and the text ''Apotek''. For small medical problems the pharmacy is sufficient. Major cities carry one pharmacy open at night.  Many supermarkets carry non-prescription supplies such as band aid, antiseptics and painkillers.
  
Combined, the public and the private sector in Sweden allocate over 3.5% of [[GDP]] to [[research & development]] (R&D) per year, making Sweden's investment in R&D as a percentage of GDP the second-highest in the world.<ref>http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/eco_res_and_dev_exp_of_gdp-economy-research-development-expenditure-gdp</ref> For several decades the [[Swedish government]] has prioritized scientific and R&D activities. As a percentage of GDP, the Swedish government spends the most of any nation on research and development.<ref>http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/eco_gov_spe_in_res_and_dev-economy-government-spending-research-development</ref> Sweden tops other European countries in the number of published scientific works per capita.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.swedenabroad.se/Page____50008.aspx |title=Embassy of Sweden New Delhi – Science & Technology |publisher=Swedenabroad.se |accessdate=2009-05-06}}</ref>
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Swedish '''health care''' is usually of a very high quality, but can be quite challenging for foreigners to receive. Most, but not all, medical clinics are state-owned, and their accessibility varies. Therefore, getting a time within a week at some medical centers could prove difficult. In case of a medical emergency, most provinces (and of course, the major cities) have a regional hospital with an around-the-clock emergency ward. However, if you are unlucky you can expect a long wait before getting medical attention.
  
===Technology===
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'''Tap water''' in Sweden is of great quality, and contains close to zero bacteria. Water in mountain resorts might contain rust, and water on islands off the coast might be brackish, but it is still safe to drink. There is no real reason for buying bottled water in Sweden. Also, there is bottled water that doesn't meet the requirements to be used as tap water in Sweden.
{{Main|Swedish inventions}}
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[[File:AlfredNobel adjusted.jpg|thumb|upright|[[Alfred Nobel]], inventor of dynamite and institutor of the [[Nobel Prize]].]]
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[[File:Carl von Linné.jpg|thumb|left|upright|[[Carl Linnaeus]] laid the foundations for the modern scheme of [[binomial nomenclature]]. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology.]]
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In the 18th century Sweden's [[scientific revolution]] took off. Previously, technical progress had mainly come from mainland Europe.
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There are few serious health risks in Sweden. Your primary concern especially in wintertime will be the '''cold''', particularly if trekking or skiing in the northern parts. Northern Sweden is sparsely populated and, if heading out into the wilderness, it is imperative that you register your travel plans with a friend or the authorities so they can come looking for you if you fail to show up. Dress warmly in layers and bring along a good pair of sunglasses to prevent '''snow blindness''', especially in the spring. In snowy mountains, '''avalanches''' might be a problem.
In 1739, the [[Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences]] was founded, with people such as [[Carolus Linnaeus]] and [[Anders Celsius]] as early members. Many of the companies founded by early pioneers are still remain major international brands. [[Gustaf Dalén]] founded [[AGA AB|AGA]], and received the Nobel Prize for his [[sun valve]]. [[Alfred Nobel]] invented [[dynamite]] and instituted the [[Nobel Prize]]s.
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[[Lars Magnus Ericsson]] started the company bearing his name, [[Ericsson]], still one of the largest telecom companies in the world. [[Jonas Wenström]] was an early pioneer in [[alternating current]] and is along with [[Serbia]]n inventor [[Nikola Tesla]] credited as one of the inventors of the three-phase electrical system.<ref name="si91e"/>
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The traditional engineering industry is still a major source of Swedish inventions, but pharmaceuticals, electronics and other high-tech industries are gaining ground. [[Tetra Pak]] was an invention for storing liquid foods, invented by [[Erik Wallenberg]]. [[Losec]], an ulcer medicine, was the world's best-selling drug in the 1990s and was developed by [[AstraZeneca]]. More recently [[Håkan Lans]] invented the [[Automatic Identification System]], a worldwide standard for shipping and civil aviation navigation. A large portion of the Swedish economy is to this day based on the export of technical inventions, and many large multinational corporations from Sweden have their origins in the ingenuity of Swedish inventors.<ref name="si91e">{{Fcite web|url = http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Education/Research/Facts/Innovation/|title=Innovation, Science/Research: Inventing tomorrow's world |publisher=Sweden.se |accessdate=2011-01-27|year=2010|month=February|work=Fact Sheet FS 4}}</ref>
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===Dangerous animals===
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A serious nuisance in summer are '''mosquitoes''' (''myggor''), hordes of which inhabit Sweden (particularly the north) in summer, especially after rain.  While they do not carry malaria or other diseases, Swedish mosquitoes make a distinctive (and highly irritating) whining sound, and their bites are very itchy. As usual, mosquitoes are most active around dawn and sunset &mdash; which, in the land of the Midnight Sun, may mean most of the night in summer. There are many types of mosquito repellents available which can be bought from almost any shop. Other summer nuisances are '''gadflies''' (''bromsar''), whose painful but non-poisonous bites can leave a mark lasting for days, and '''wasps''' (''getingar'') whose stings can be deadly if you're allergic. To minimize trouble from insects, use mosquito repellent, ensure your tent has good mosquito netting and bring proper medication if you know that you're allergic to wasp stings.
  
Swedish inventors hold a total of 33,523 [[patent]]s in the United States as of 2007, according to the [[United States Patent and Trademark Office]]. As a nation, only ten other countries hold more patents than Sweden.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/cst_all.htm |title=Patents By Country, State, and Year – All Patent Types (December 2007) |publisher=Uspto.gov |date= |accessdate=2012-04-21}}</ref>
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In southern Sweden and in northern coastal regions there are '''ticks''' (''fästingar'') which appear in summertime.  They can transmit Lyme's disease (borreliosis) and more serious TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) through a bite. The risk areas for TBE are mainly the eastern parts of lake Mälaren and the Stockholm archipelago. A vaccination against TBE is available but the first two doses should be completed before a reliable protection can be expected. Borreliosis can be treated with antibiotics. Although incidents are relatively rare and not all ticks carry diseases, it's advisable to wear long trousers rather than shorts if you plan to walk through dense and/or tall grass areas (the usual habitat for ticks). You can buy special tick tweezers (''fästingplockare'') from the pharmacy that can be used to remove a tick safely if you happen to get bitten. You should remove the tick from your skin as quickly as possible and preferably with the tick tweezers to reduce the risks of getting an infection. If the tick bite starts to form red rings on the skin around it or if you experience other symptoms relating to the bite, you should go visit a doctor as soon as possible. Since ticks are black, they are more easily found if you wear bright clothes.
  
==Demographics==
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There's only one type of venomous '''snake''' in Sweden: the European adder (''huggorm''), which has a distinct zig-zag pattern on its back. The snake is not very common, but lives all over Sweden except for the mountains in the north and farmlands in the south. Although its bite hardly ever is life-threatening (except to small children and allergic people), one should be careful in the summertime especially when walking in the forests or on open fields. If you are bitten by a snake, seek medical assistance. All reptiles in Sweden, including adders, are protected by law and must not be harmed.
{{Main|Demographics of Sweden|Swedish people}}
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{{As of|2009}}, the total population of Sweden was estimated to be 9,325,429.<ref>
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Statistics Sweden.
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[http://www.scb.se/Pages/TableAndChart____25897.aspx 2004–2006]
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Preliminary Population, by month. ''Population statistics'',
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1 January 2007. Retrieved 14 February 2007.
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</ref> The population exceeded 9 million for the first time on approximately 12 August 2004 according to [[Statistics Sweden]]. The [[population density]] is 20.6 people per km² (53.3 per square mile) and it is substantially higher in the south than in the north. About 85% of the population live in urban areas.<ref name="publikationer2007"/> The capital city [[Stockholm]] has a population of about 800,000 (with 1.3 million in the urban area and 2 million in the metropolitan area). The second and third largest cities are [[Gothenburg]] and [[Malmö]].
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Between 1820 and 1930, approximately 1.3 million Swedes, a third of the country's population, [[Swedish emigration to North America|emigrated to North America]], and most of them to the United States. There are more than 4.4 million [[Swedish American]]s according to a 2006 U.S. Census Bureau estimate.<ref>{{Fcite web
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There aren't any really dangerous marine animals in Sweden, although when bathing in the sea one should watch out for Greater weevers (''Fjärsing''); this is a small fish that hides in the sand near beaches, its back has several spikes that are poisonous and will hurt a lot if stepped on. The poison of the Greater Weever is to be considered about as dangerous as that of the European adder and will likely cause more pain (this can be quite severe) than damage. There are also types of poisonous jellyfish that can be quite common near beaches. These are distinguished from normal non-poisonous types by their bright blue or red color. These types of jellyfish aren't really dangerous but their venom will hurt. There are no large predatory fish that pose a lethal threat to humans in Sweden, but in extreme cases the Pike (''gädda''), a common fish in Sweden's many lakes has been known to bite people when threatened. You probably run a higher risk of being struck by lightning than a Pike bite though!
| url=http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ADPTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-ds_name=ACS_2006_EST_G00_
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| title=United States – Selected Social Characteristics: 2006
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| publisher = U.S. Census Bureau |accessdate=2011-01-15
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}}</ref> In Canada, the community of [[Swedish Canadian|Swedish ancestry]] is 330,000 strong.<ref>{{Fcite web |url= http://www12.statcan.ca/english/census06/data/highlights/ethnic/pages/Page.cfm?Lang=E&Geo=PR&Code=01&Data=Count&Table=2&StartRec=1&Sort=3&Display=All&CSDFilter=5000
+
| title=Ethnocultural Portrait of Canada Highlight Tables, 2006 Census
+
| accessdate= 2008-06-30
+
}}</ref>
+
  
{| class="infobox" style="text-align:center; width:97%; margin-right:10px; font-size:90%"
+
As for other dangerous wildlife, there's not much more than a few extremely rare encounters with '''brown bear''' (''brunbjörn'') and '''wolf''' (''varg'') in the wilderness. Both of these animals are listed as protected species. Contrary to popular belief abroad, there are no polar bears in Sweden, let alone polar bears walking city streets. If you encounter a brown bear in the woods, walk slowly away from it while talking loudly - the bear is most likely to feel threatened if you surprise it. In the unlikely event of a brown bear attacking you should play dead, protect your head and make yourself as small as possible. Or the opposite, there have been people surviving a brown bear encounter by screaming as loud as possible, jumping, and making oneself as big as possible. Bears are most likely to attack if they are injured, provoked by a dog, going to hibernate or protecting their cubs.
! colspan="7" style="background:#e9e9e9; padding:0.3em;" 0; line-height:1.2em;|Largest cities<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.scb.se/Pages/ProductTables____13001.aspx |title=2010A01B – Statistiska centralbyrån |publisher=Scb.se |date= |accessdate=2012-02-11}}</ref>
+
|-
+
!rowspan=21|
+
[[File:GamlaStan from Katarinahissen Stockholm Swe.jpg|150px|]]<br><small>[[Stockholm]]</small><br>
+
[[File:Göteborg 03.jpg|border|150px|]]<br><small>[[Gothenburg]]</small><br>
+
! style="text-align:center; background:#f5f5f5;"| <small>#</small>
+
! style="text-align:left; background:#f5f5f5;"| [[List of cities in Sweden|City]]
+
! style="text-align:center; background:#f5f5f5;"| [[Urban areas in Sweden|Urban area]] population
+
! style="text-align:center; background:#f5f5f5;"| [[Metropolitan Areas of Sweden|Metro]] population
+
!rowspan=21|
+
[[File:Turning torso by night1.jpg|border|150px|]]<br><small>[[Malmö]]</small><br>
+
[[File:Uppsala kulturnatten 2006.jpg|border|150px|]]<br><small>[[Uppsala]]</small><br>
+
|-
+
| style="background:#f0f0f0"| 1 ||align=left | '''[[Stockholm]]''' || 1,372,565 || 2,019,182 ||
+
|-
+
| style="background:#f0f0f0"| 2 ||align=left | '''[[Gothenburg]]''' || 549,839 || 926,654 ||
+
|-
+
| style="background:#f0f0f0"| 3 ||align=left | '''[[Malmö]]''' || 280,415 || 635,224 ||
+
|-
+
| style="background:#f0f0f0"| 4 ||align=left | '''[[Uppsala]]''' || 140,454
+
|-
+
| style="background:#f0f0f0"| 5 ||align=left | '''[[Västerås]]''' || 110,877
+
|-
+
| style="background:#f0f0f0"| 6 ||align=left | '''[[Örebro]]''' || 107,038
+
|-
+
| style="background:#f0f0f0"| 7 ||align=left | '''[[Linköping]]''' || 104,232
+
|-
+
| style="background:#f0f0f0"| 8 ||align=left | '''[[Helsingborg]]''' || 97,122 ||
+
|-
+
| style="background:#f0f0f0"| 9 ||align=left | '''[[Jönköping]]''' || 89,396
+
|-
+
| style="background:#f0f0f0"| 10 ||align=left | '''[[Norrköping]]''' || 87,247
+
|}
+
{{-}}
+
  
===Language===
+
Bears in Sweden have killed no more than a handful of people since 1900. Swedish wolves have not killed a human being since 1821. In general, one shouldn't worry about dangerous encounters with wild beasts in Sweden.
{{Main|Swedish language|Languages of Sweden}}
+
{{See also|Swedish dialects}}
+
[[File:Distribution-sv.png|thumb|left|Distribution of speakers of the Swedish language]]
+
The official language of Sweden is [[Swedish language|Swedish]],<ref name="Swedish">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.sprakforsvaret.se/sf/fileadmin/PDF/spraklagen_200509.pdf|title=Språklagen|date=2009-07-01|work=Språkförsvaret|language=Swedish|accessdate=2009-07-15}}</ref><ref name="Swedish2">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.thelocal.se/20404/20090701/|title=Swedish becomes official 'main language'|last=Landes|first=David|date=2009-07-01|work=The Local|publisher=thelocal.se|accessdate=2009-07-15}}</ref> a [[north Germanic languages|North Germanic language]], related and very similar to [[Danish language|Danish]] and [[Norwegian language|Norwegian]], but differing in pronunciation and [[orthography]]. Norwegians have little difficulty understanding Swedish, and Danes can also understand it, with slightly more difficulty than the Norwegians. The [[Scanian dialects|dialects spoken in Scania]], the southernmost part of the country, are influenced by Danish because [[Skåneland|the region traditionally was a part of Denmark]] and is nowadays situated closely to it. [[Sweden Finns]] are Sweden's largest linguistic minority, comprising about 5% of Sweden's population,<ref name="Finns">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.scb.se/Pages/PressRelease____255905.aspx|title=På lördag kan 440 000 flagga blått och vitt|publisher=www.scb.se|language=Swedish|date=2008-12-05|accessdate=2009-06-16}}</ref> and [[Finnish language|Finnish]] is recognized as a minority language.<ref name="Swedish2" />
+
  
Along with Finnish, [[Minority languages of Sweden|four other minority languages]] are also recognized: [[Meänkieli]], [[Sami languages|Sami]], [[Romany language|Romani]] and [[Yiddish language|Yiddish]]. Swedish became Sweden's official language on 1 July 2009, when a new language law was implemented.<ref name="Swedish2" /> The issue of whether Swedish should be declared the official language has been raised in the past, and the parliament voted on the matter in 2005, but the proposal narrowly failed.<ref>
+
==Respect==
[http://svt.se/svt/jsp/Crosslink.jsp?d=22620&a=500469 Svenskan blir inte officiellt språk]
+
Most Swedes have '''liberal, cosmopolitan, secular, egalitarian and environmentalist values''' by Anglo-Saxon standards. This spares Western tourists from cultural clashes which might be imminent in other countries. However, some strict rules of etiquette are almost unique to Swedish people.
(Swedish official languages), ''[[Sveriges Television]]'',
+
2005-12-07. Retrieved on July 23, 2006 (in Swedish).
+
</ref>
+
  
In varying degrees, depending largely on frequency of interaction with English, a majority of Swedes, especially those born after World War II, understand and speak English owing to trade links, the popularity of overseas travel, a strong Anglo-American influence and the tradition of [[subtitle (captioning)|subtitling]] rather than dubbing foreign television shows and films, and the [[Germanic languages|relative similarity]] of the two languages which makes learning English easier. In a 2005 survey by [[Eurobarometer]], 89% of Swedes reported the ability to speak English.<ref>
+
{{infobox|Sweden - a country of numbers|Swedish people are reputed to be rigid and organized. Almost everything has a number. Swedish people have a ten-digit '''personal identity number''' (starting by date of birth in the form YYMMDD) used in contact with all kinds of government authorities, usually mentioned before the name. Customers in Swedish shops or bank need to take a '''queue number''' note from a machine to be served in order. Each product at ''Systembolaget'' is known for its product number (which is often easier to keep track of than foreign-sounding names), and the most important feature in selection is the '''alcohol content''' (often divided by price to find the most cost-efficient product). If you order a drink in the bar, be prepared to tell how many centiliters of liquor you want. Most grocers provide '''milk''' in four or more fat content levels (plus an organic version of each, barista milk and low lactose milk, not to mention ''filmjölk'', yoghurt and all other milk products). Before going outdoors, Swedes check '''air temperature''', and before bathing in open water, they check '''water temperature'''. Many Swedes also own barometers, hygrometers and rain gauges to support the eternal conversation about weather with statistics. In conversation about housing, Swedes define their '''flats''' by number of rooms (''En trea'' - "a three" - is simply a three-room-and-kitchen flat) and usually ask each other about the area by square meter. They have '''week numbers''' running from 1 to 52. The world famous furniture retailer IKEA diverts from this pattern, with Nordic product names.}}
"Languages" (PDF), Europa.eu, webpage:
+
[http://ec.europa.eu/education/languages/pdf/doc631_en.pdf Doc631-PDF].</ref>
+
  
English became a compulsory subject for [[secondary education|secondary school]] students studying [[natural science]]s as early as 1849, and has been a compulsory subject for all Swedish students since the late 1940s.<ref>{{Fcite web |url=http://www3.lu.se/info/lum/LUM_07_99/01_engelska.html |title=English spoken – fast ibland hellre än bra |publisher=Lund University newsletter 7/1999 |language=Swedish}}</ref> Depending on the local school authorities, English is currently a compulsory subject between [[first grade]] and [[ninth grade]], with all students continuing in secondary school studying English for at least another year. Most students also study one and sometimes two additional languages. These include (but are not limited to) [[German language|German]], [[French language|French]] and Spanish. Some Danish and Norwegian is at times also taught as part of Swedish courses for native speakers.
+
* Though '''narcotics''' are not unheard of, most Swedes, old and young, are strongly '''opposed''' to them, and the criminal penalties are harsh by Swedish standards. This also applies to cannabis and other "soft drugs".
  
===Religion===
+
* When it comes to alcohol, Swedes are as double-natured as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Before work or driving, one beer is one too many, and '''drunk driving is a crime''' genuinely despised in Sweden. However, drunkenness can be a regular part of many Swedish traditions (e.g. Midsommar, Valborg, etc.)--keep this in mind if you abstain from alcohol. Some Swedes frown on people being sober at a party and reject excuses other than driving or pregnancy--though no formal policy exists that would force one to drink against their will.
{{Main|Religion in Sweden}}
+
Before the 11th century, Swedes adhered to [[Norse paganism]], worshiping [[Æsir]] gods, with its centre at the [[temple at Uppsala|Temple in Uppsala]]. With [[Christianization]] in the 11th century, the laws of the country were changed, forbidding worship of other deities into the late 19th century.
+
  
After the [[Protestant Reformation]] in the 1530s, a change led by [[Martin Luther]]'s Swedish associate [[Olaus Petri]], the authority of the Roman Catholic Church was abolished. The church and state were separated, allowing [[Lutheranism]] to prevail. This process was completed by the [[Uppsala Synod]] of 1593. Lutheranism became Sweden's official religion. During the era following the [[Protestant Reformation|Reformation]], usually known as the period of [[Lutheran Orthodoxy]], small groups of non-Lutherans, especially [[Calvinism|Calvinist]] [[Dutch people|Dutchmen]], the [[Moravian Church]] and [[Walloons]] or [[French Huguenots]] from Belgium, played a significant role in trade and industry, and were quietly tolerated as long as they kept a low religious profile. The [[Sami people|Sami]] originally had their own shamanistic religion, but they converted to Lutheranism by the work of Swedish missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuries.
+
* Salespeople, waiters and other service employees are usually less attentive than their colleagues in other countries, to respect customers' privacy, except a short "hej" to entering customers. Customers are supposed to call for attention.
[[File:Uppsala Cathedral.JPG|thumb|right|[[Uppsala Cathedral]]]]
+
  
With religious liberalizations in the late 18th century believers of other faiths, including [[Judaism]] and [[Roman Catholicism]], were allowed to openly live and work in the country. However, until 1860 it remained illegal for Lutheran Swedes to convert to another religion. The 19th century saw the arrival of various [[Low church|evangelical]] [[free church]]es, and, towards the end of the century, [[secularism]], leading many to distance themselves from Church rituals. Leaving the [[Church of Sweden]] became legal with the so-called dissenter law of 1860, but only under the provision of entering another Christian denomination. The right to stand outside any religious denomination was formally established in the Law on [[Freedom of Religion]] in 1951. In 2000 the Church of Sweden was separated from the state and Sweden ceased to have any official church.
+
* When entering a bus or another form of public transportation it is often considered unpolite to sit next to another person if there is another twin seat available.
{| cellpadding="3" cellspacing="0" rules="all" style="width:250px; float:left; margin:1em; background:#fff; border:2px solid #aaa; text-align:center"
+
|- style="background:#ddd;"
+
|+ '''Church of Sweden<ref>{{sv}} [http://www.svenskakyrkan.se/default.aspx?di=23758&refdi=23673 Svenska Kyrkan Statistiek pagina Medlemmar 1972–2008 excel file]</ref><ref>{{sv}} [http://www.svenskakyrkan.se/default.aspx?id=100243&did=340397 Svenska kyrkans medlemsutveckling år 1972–2009]</ref>'''
+
|- style="background:#f0f0f0"
+
! scope="col" | Year
+
! scope="col" | Population
+
! scope="col" | Church members
+
! scope="col" | Percentage
+
|-
+
| 1972 || 8,146,000 || 7,754,784 || 95.2%
+
|-
+
| 1980 || 8,278,000 || 7,690,636 || 92.9%
+
|-
+
| 1990 || 8,573,000 || 7,630,350 || 89.0%
+
|-
+
| 2000 || 8,880,000 || 7,360,825|| 82.9%
+
|-
+
| 2005 || 9,048,000 || 6,967,498 || 77.0%
+
|-
+
| 2006 || 9,119,000 || 6,893,901 || 75.6%
+
|-
+
| 2007 || 9,179,000 || 6,820,161 || 74.3%
+
|-
+
| 2008|| 9,262,000 || 6,751,952 || 72.9%
+
|-
+
| 2009|| – || 6,664,064 || 71.3% <ref name="Swedes%2520depart%2520church%2520in%2520droves">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.thelocal.se/26878/20100527/ |title=Swedes depart church in droves |publisher=Thelocal.se |accessdate=2010-08-25}}</ref>
+
|}
+
At the end of 2009, 71.3% of Swedes belonged to the Church of Sweden (Lutheran); this number has been decreasing by about one percentage point a year for the last two decades.<ref name="Swedes%2520depart%2520church%2520in%2520droves"/><ref>[http://www.svenskakyrkan.se/ Church of Sweden], [http://www.svenskakyrkan.se/statistik/xls/medlem_diagram.xls Members 1972–2006, Excel document in Swedish]</ref> However, only approximately 2% of the church's members regularly attend Sunday services.<ref>[http://www.svenskakyrkan.se/SVK/eng/liturgy.htm "Liturgy and Worship"], Church of Sweden</ref>
+
The reason for the large number of inactive members is partly that until 1996, children automatically became members at birth if at least one of the parents was a member. Since 1996, only children that are christened become members. Some 275,000 Swedes are today members of various free churches (where congregation attendance is much higher), and, in addition, [[immigration]] has meant that there are now some 92,000 [[Roman Catholics]] and 100,000 [[Eastern Orthodox Church|Eastern Orthodox Christians]] living in Sweden.<ref>[[:sv:Frikyrka|Statistics about free churches and immigration churches from Swedish Wikipedia – in Swedish]]</ref>
+
  
The first Muslim congregation was established in 1949 when a small contingent of [[Tatars]] migrated from Finland, but Islam's presence in Sweden remained marginal until the 1960's when Sweden started to receive migrants from the Balkans and Turkey. Further [[immigration]] from North Africa and the Middle East have brought the estimated [[Islam in Sweden|Muslim population]] to 500,000. However, only about 110,000 are members of a congregation and of these approximately 25,000 actively practice Islam in the sense that they pray five times a day and attend Friday prayer.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://sydsvenskan.se/sverige/article140868.ece |first=Erik |last=Magnusson |coauthors=Olle Lönnaeus, Niklas Orrenius |title=Djup splittring bland Malmös muslimer |publisher=Sydsvenska Dagbladet |language=Swedish |date=2006-02-08 |accessdate=2010-08-25}}</ref><ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.sst.a.se/statistik.4.7501238311cc6f12fa580005236.html |title=Statestik |publisher=Swedish Commission for Government Support to Faith Communities |language=Swedish |year=2010 |accessdate=2012-07-04}}</ref><ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.arvsfonden.se/upload/utvarderingar/Islam%20och%20muslimer%20i%20Sverige%20Mattias%20Gardell.pdf |first=Mattias |last=Gardell |title=Islam och muslimer i Sverige |publisher=Arvsfonden |year=2010 |month=May |language=Swedish |accessdate=2012-07-04}}</ref>
+
* Always ask if you should '''remove your shoes''' or not when entering a Swedish home. In most homes it is customary to remove your shoes. Only on very rare occasions is the wearing of shoes indoors considered acceptable. Generally, you will see a place by the front door of most homes where shoes are to be stored and can surmise from the presence of other guests' shoes what is expected. If you just assume that you are to take your shoes off upon entry, in most cases you will have done the right thing. Bringing ''indoor shoes'' to other people's homes is customary among some. Most Swedish homes have wood flooring; wall-to-wall carpets are uncommon. Should you be dressed up and the host asks you to take your shoes off, then you should do that. As in every other culture one's home is one's castle, and you would not like someone to be disrespectful in your own home.
  
Despite a high formal membership rate in the [[Church of Sweden]], some studies have found Sweden to be one of the least religious countries in the world, with one of the highest levels of [[atheism]]. According to different studies, between 46% and 85% of Swedes do not believe in God.<ref>Zuckerman [http://web.archive.org/web/20070610084208/http://www.pitzer.edu/academics/faculty/zuckerman/atheism.html pitzer.edu]</ref> In the Eurostat survey, 23% of Swedish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", whereas 53% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 23% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force". Nevertheless, despite a lack of belief in God, these individuals resented the term atheist, and still called themselves Christians, being content with remaining in the Church of Sweden.<ref name = "Peter Steinfels">{{Fcite book| url = http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/28/us/28beliefs.html?pagewanted=1|author=Peter Steinfels|title=Scandinavian Nonbelievers, Which Is Not to Say Atheists|publisher=New York Times|quote=Mr. Zuckerman, a sociologist who teaches at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif., has reported his findings on religion in Denmark and Sweden in “Society Without God” (New York University Press, 2008). Much that he found will surprise many people, as it did him. The many nonbelievers he interviewed, both informally and in structured, taped and transcribed sessions, were anything but antireligious, for example. They typically balked at the label “atheist.” An overwhelming majority had in fact been baptized, and many had been confirmed or married in church. Though they denied most of the traditional teachings of Christianity, they called themselves Christians, and most were content to remain in the Danish National Church or the Church of Sweden, the traditional national branches of Lutheranism.|accessdate =2007-12-31| year = 2009}}</ref> Other research has shown that religion in Sweden continues to play a role in cultural identity.<ref name = "David Herbert">{{Fcite book| url = http://books.google.com/books?id=9IuL2MEr_EoC&pg=PA13|author=David Herbert|title=Religion and civil society: rethinking public religion in the contemporary world|publisher=[[Ashgate Publishing]]|quote=More than 80 percent of adults continue to choose to belong to the Lutheran Church in spite of its recent disestablishment and the cost of having to pay the church tax. Rates of baptism remain high and church weddings are increasing. In Sweden, religion appreats to play a continuing role in cultural identity, in locating the individual to tradition.|accessdate =2007-12-31}}</ref> This is evidenced by the fact that around 80 percent of adults continue to remain members of the Lutheran Church despite having to pay a [[church tax]]; moreover, rates of [[baptism]] remain high and [[Christian views on marriage|church weddings]] are increasing in Sweden.<ref name="David Herbert"/>
+
* Despite rumors of the "Swedish sin", Swedish people are generally not accepting of public nudity except at approved nudist beaches. Don't go skinny-dipping in public beaches if you are more than about four years old. Female toplessness is accepted but not very common (though prohibited at many public baths), breastfeeding in public is also accepted. Male toplessness is accepted in the countryside and at the beach, but might be frowned upon in urban areas.
  
===Health===
+
* Greetings between men and women who know each other (e.g., are good friends, relatives, etc.) are often in the form of a '''hug'''. Swedes don't cheek-kiss to greet but are aware that other cultures do. If you are a visitor from France and do cheek-kiss a Swede, they will return the favor but probably feel a bit awkward doing so.
{{See also|Healthcare in Sweden|Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare}}
+
Healthcare in Sweden is similar in quality to other developed nations. Sweden ranks in the top five countries with respect to low [[infant mortality]]. It also ranks high in [[life expectancy]] and in safe [[drinking water]]. A person seeking care first contacts a clinic for a doctor's appointment, and may then be referred to a specialist by the clinic physician, who may in turn recommend either in-patient or out-patient treatment, or an elective care option. The health care is governed by the 21 [[County Councils of Sweden|landsting]] of Sweden and is mainly funded by taxes, with nominal fees for patients.
+
  
===Education===
+
* '''Show up on the minute''' for meetings and meals, preferably five minutes before the set time. There is no "fashionably late" in Sweden.  However, showing up early at a private invitation is considered rude. If it's acceptable to arrive, late it's usually mentioned specifically (e.g.,"...arrive after 1700") or there exist formal rules (some universities apply an "akademisk kvart", an academic quarter hour, within which it is acceptable to arrive to lectures).
{{Main|Education in Sweden}}
+
[[File:Entrance hall of Uppsala University main building.jpg|thumb|upright|[[Uppsala University]] (established 1477)]]
+
Children aged 1–5 years old are guaranteed a place in a public [[kindergarten]] ({{lang-sv|förskola}} or, colloquially, ''dagis''). Between the ages of 6 and 16, children attend compulsory comprehensive school. In the [[Programme for International Student Assessment]] (PISA), Swedish 15-year-old pupils score close to the OECD average.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/42/8/39700724.pdf |title=PISA results for Sweden |format=PDF |accessdate=2010-08-25}}</ref> After completing the 9th grade, about 90% of the students continue with a three-year upper secondary school (''gymnasium''), which can lead to both a job qualification or entrance eligibility to university. The school system is largely financed by taxes.
+
  
The Swedish government treats public and independent schools equally<ref name="swedishmodeleconomist">[http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11535645 The Swedish model], [[The Economist]]</ref> by introducing [[education voucher]]s in 1992 as one of the first countries in the world after [[The Netherlands]]. Anyone can establish a for-profit school and the municipality must pay new schools the same amount as municipal schools get. School lunch is free for all students in Sweden, and providing breakfast is also encouraged.<ref>www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/download/documents/pdf/school_food_in18countries.pdf</ref>
+
*In regards to '''homosexuality''', Sweden is quite tolerant to gays. In fact, as of May 2009, same-sex marriages have legal standing in Sweden. The chance of facing extreme criticism or homophobia is low in Sweden, as the country has anti-discrimination and hate crime laws.  Violence against gays and lesbians is relatively rare.
  
There are a number of different [[List of universities in Sweden|universities and colleges in Sweden]], the oldest and largest of which are situated in [[Uppsala University|Uppsala]], [[Lund University|Lund]], [[University of Gothenburg|Gothenburg]] and [[Stockholm University|Stockholm]]. As of 2000, 32% of Swedish people hold a [[tertiary education|tertiary degree]], making the country 5th in the [[Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development|OECD]] in that category.<ref>http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_edu_att_ter-education-educational-attainment-tertiary</ref> Along with several other European countries, the government also subsidises tuition of international students pursuing a degree at Swedish institutions, although a recent bill passed in the Swedish parliament will limit this subsidy to students from EEA countries and Switzerland.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.studyinsweden.se/Home/News-archive/2010/Tuition-fees-from-2011/ |title=Sweden introduces tuition fees and offers scholarships for students from outside EU |date=2010-04-21 |publisher=Studyinsweden.se |accessdate=2010-08-03}}</ref>
+
*As emphasized in many places Sweden is a '''multicultural country''' - as such the paramount point of respect to embrace this attitude as much as possible. Outward displays of racism, sexism, or homophobia will be met with hostility. Even slight preferences may be noticed and noted.
  
===Immigration===
+
*Of equal importance is to '''avoid assuming positions or cultures based on identifiable signs'''. For example the Chinese girl you might meet may speak no word of Chinese and have never been anywhere near China. This point is especially true for individuals from areas with ethnic strife - don't assume that anyone you meet is either personally connected to, or shares the viewpoints of their ethnic-origin Nation.
{{Main|Immigration to Sweden}}
+
[[File:Invandrare utvandrare Sverige 1850-2007.svg|400px|right|thumb|Immigrants(red) and emigrants(blue), Sweden 1850–2007]]
+
  
Immigration has been a major source of [[population growth]] and cultural change throughout much of the [[history of Sweden]], and in recent centuries the country has been transformed from a nation of net [[emigration]] ending after World War I to a nation of net [[immigration]] from World War II onwards. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward [[social mobility]], crime, and voting behaviour.
+
==Cope==
 +
* Around payday, on the 25th of each month, stores and bars can get very crowded.
  
According to [[Eurostat]], in 2010, there were 1.33 million foreign-born residents in Sweden, corresponding to 14.3% of the total population. Of these, 859 000 (9.2%) were born outside the [[European Union|EU]] and 477 000 (5.1%) were born in another EU Member State.<ref>[http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_OFFPUB/KS-SF-11-034/EN/KS-SF-11-034-EN.PDF 6.5% of the EU population are foreigners and 9.4% are born abroad], Eurostat, Katya VASILEVA, 34/2011.</ref>
+
* Smoking is not allowed in restaurants, bars or any other indoor establishments (except outdoor terraces and designated smoking rooms). Smoking in someone's home is usually out of the question; if you ask kindly you might be allowed to light up on the balcony or the porch. Relatively few Swedes smoke daily, but some men and women use "'''snus'''" (snuff), a tobacco pouch inserted into the upper lip. It comes in a wide variety of different styles and flavors and in both loose and portion form. Portions are more popular and generally recommended for public events, as loose snus can be very messy when removed. Unlike American oral tobaccos, it is not usually necessary to spit if the snus is properly placed. Most bars and clubs will have snus receptacles instead of ashtrays on the tables. Be warned, however, that snus can seem very harsh to first time users, with a nicotine level several times that of cigarettes.
<ref name="scb%252Ese">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.scb.se/Pages/PublishingCalendarViewInfo____259923.aspx?PublObjId=11400 |title=Tabeller över Sveriges befolkning 2009 – Statistiska centralbyrån |publisher=Scb.se |date=2009-01-24 |accessdate=2011-09-01}}</ref>
+
  
In 2009, immigration reached its highest level since records began with 102,280 people emigrating to Sweden.<ref>Statistics Sweden. [http://www.scb.se/Pages/TableAndChart____26046.aspx] Befolkningsutveckling; födda, döda, in- och utvandring, gifta, skilda 1749–2007</ref> Immigrants in Sweden are mostly concentrated in the [[urban area]]s of [[Svealand]] and [[Götaland]].<ref name="scb%252Ese"/> Since the early 1970s, immigration to Sweden has been mostly due to refugee migration and family reunification from countries in the [[Middle East]], [[Africa]] and [[Latin America]].<ref name="MPI">[http://www.migrationinformation.org/usfocus/display.cfm?ID=406 Sweden: Restrictive Immigration Policy and Multiculturalism], Migration Policy Institute, 2006.</ref>
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===Bring===
 +
* '''Credit card'''. Nearly all stores and all ATMs accept VISA and MasterCard, as well as Maestro (Switch). PIN-pads are widely used instead of signatures (even for credit cards), so if your card has a PIN, memorize it before you leave home. Don't expect stores to accept foreign currency, apart from close to the borders, where usually only the neighbour currency is accepted (i.e. danish krone, Norwegian krone or euro). Larger stores in Stockholm and at larger airports and railway stations often accept payment in Euro, however.
 +
* '''Passport''' or '''EU national identity card''' as identification. A driver's license might work but that is not guaranteed. You will frequently be asked to prove age or identity - for instance when using your credit card, when buying alcohol, when renting accommodation or when entering bars and clubs. Banks accept only Swedish identity documents. Swedish bureaucracy is efficient but rigid.
 +
* Warm '''clothes''' and extra shoes. Weather in Sweden is unpredictable. It can get cold and/or wet, but almost never too hot.
 +
* If you plan on staying in Sweden for an extended period of time pack some rain clothes. If you don't own any, they can be bought in many stores across Sweden - but can be somewhat expensive.
 +
* '''Mobile phone'''. Swedish GSM and 3G coverages are great, at least in populated areas but don't expect it to work everywhere. In rural areas the state-owned operator Telia might be the only one available. If you have another operator you may only place SOS calls. Official figures say that 60-70% (by total area - most of the populated parts are covered fully) of the country has GSM coverage and about 40% for 3G. The number of public phones are going down a lot because most Swedes have a mobile phone. There's even very close to complete coverage in the subway.
 +
* Powerplug adapters, if you come from the UK or North America. Sweden follow European standard 230 volt 50Hz and uses Schuko plugs.
 +
* European Health Service card, if you are an EU/EES citizen.
 +
* In forests and mountains, use '''mosquito repellent''', ''myggmedel'', which is available in most food stores.
  
The largest groups of foreign born persons in the Swedish [[civil registry]] in 2010 were:<ref name="scb%252Ese"/>
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===Do not bring===
# {{flag|Finland}} (172,218)
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* Cash money from your home country - see above.
# {{flagdeco|Yugoslavia}} Former [[Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia|Yugoslavia]] (152,268)
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* Tear gas or pepper spray for self-defence. These require authorization to be carried in Sweden, and you will probably not have use for them either way.
# {{flag|Iraq}} (117,919)
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# {{flag|Poland}} (67,518)
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# {{flag|Iran}} (59,922)
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# {{flag|Germany}} (47,803)
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# {{flag|Denmark}} (46,002)
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# {{flag|Norway}} (43,819)
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# {{flag|Turkey}} (40,766)
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# {{flag|Somalia}} (31,734)
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==Culture==
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==Contact==
{{Main|Culture of Sweden}}
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Sweden's international calling code number is +46. Payphones are available, with older models only accepting cards (special smartchip phone cards as well as credit cards), and newer models that accept coins (Swedish as well as Euros). Collect calls are possible by dialing 2# on a pay phone.
[[File:Nationalmuseum Stockholm.jpg|thumb|left|upright|[[Nationalmuseum]] in Stockholm]]
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Sweden has many authors of worldwide recognition including [[August Strindberg]], [[Astrid Lindgren]], and [[Nobel Prize]] winners [[Selma Lagerlöf]] and [[Harry Martinson]]. In total seven [[Nobel Prize in Literature|Nobel Prizes in Literature]] have been awarded to Swedes. The nation's most well-known artists are painters such as [[Carl Larsson]] and [[Anders Zorn]], and the sculptors [[Tobias Sergel]] and [[Carl Milles]].
+
  
Swedish 20th-century culture is noted by pioneering works in the early days of [[Film|cinema]], with [[Mauritz Stiller]] and [[Victor Sjöström]]. In the 1920s–1980s, the filmmaker [[Ingmar Bergman]] and actors [[Greta Garbo]] and [[Ingrid Bergman]] became internationally noted people within cinema. More recently, the films of [[Lukas Moodysson]] and [[Lasse Hallström]] have received international recognition.
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Sweden has excellent wireless GSM and 3G/UMTS coverage, even in rural areas except in the central and northern interior parts of the country. The major networks are Telia, Tele2/Comviq, Telenor and 3 (Tre). Swedish GSM operates on the European 900/1800 MHz frequencies (Americans will need a triband phone), with 3G/UMTS on 2100 MHz (currently with 7.2-14.4 Mbit HSDPA speeds). Only the Telia network supports EDGE. Some operators may ask for a Swedish personnummer (or samordningsnummer) to get a number, although with most operators you can get prepaid without any, "personnummer" or ID and these are sold and refillable at most supermarkets and tobacco stores
  
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Sweden was seen as an international leader in what is now referred to as the "[[sexual revolution]]", with [[gender equality]] having particularly been promoted.<ref>{{Fcite news |url=http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Lifestyle/Reading/The-Swedish-myths-True-false-or-somewhere-in-between/ |title=The Swedish Myths: True, False, or Somewhere In Between? |publisher=Sweden.se |accessdate=2011-01-27}}</ref> At the present time, the number of single people is one of the highest in the world. The early Swedish film ''[[I Am Curious (Yellow)]]'' (1967) reflected a liberal view of sexuality, including scenes of love making that caught international attention, and introduced the concept of the "Swedish sin". The image of "hot love and cold people“ emerged. Sexual liberalism was seen as part of modernization process that by breaking down traditional borders would lead to the emancipation of natural forces and desires.<ref>{{Fcite journal |first=Carl |last= Marklund |title=Hot Love and Cold People. Sexual Liberalism as Political Escapism in Radical Sweden |year=2009 |journal=NORDEUROPAforum |volume=19 |issue=1  |pages =83–101 |url=http://edoc.hu-berlin.de/nordeuropaforum/2009-1/marklund-carl-83/XML/}}</ref>
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Prepaid USB 3G modems can be bought cheaply (around 150 SEK) in many shops. They are a good alternative to WiFi in Sweden. They cost around 100 SEK/week and 300 SEK/month to use. Data limits are high (typically 20 GB/month).
  
Sweden has also become very liberal towards [[homosexuality]], as is reflected in the popular acceptance of films such as ''[[Fucking Åmål|Show Me Love]]'', which is about two young [[lesbians]] in the small Swedish town of Åmål. Since 1 May 2009, Sweden repealed its "registered partnership" laws and fully replaced them with [[gender-neutral marriage]],
+
Sweden is the world's second most Internet connected country (second to [[Iceland]]). The Swedish postal system ("Posten AB") is often considered efficient and reliable, with locations placed inside of supermarkets and convenience stores (look for the yellow horn logo). Stamps for ordinary letters (to anywhere in the world) are 12 SEK and the letter usually needs 2 days within EU. Stamps can be purchased in most supermarkets, ask the cashier.
<ref>{{Fcite news
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|title = Sweden passes new gay marriage law | work=The Local |date = 2009-04-02
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|url = http://www.thelocal.se/18608/20090402/
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|accessdate = 2009-05-05}}</ref>
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Sweden also offers [[domestic partnerships]] for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Cohabitation (''sammanboende'') by couples of all ages, including teenagers as well as elderly couples, is widespread. Recently, Sweden is experiencing a baby boom.<ref>
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{{Fcite web
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|title = Babyboom i Sverige?
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|url=http://www.scb.se/Pages/TableAndChart____231102.aspx
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|accessdate = 2009-05-05}}</ref>
+
  
===Music===
 
<!-- NOTE: Please do not insert your own favorite band into a list here. The examples
 
given are meant to be examples, not an exhaustive list of all Swedish bands which
 
has had some international success. The place for that is [[Music of Sweden]] or
 
some other more detailed article.-->
 
{{Main|Music of Sweden}}
 
[[File:Abba 28011977 15 200.jpg|thumb|upright|left|[[Agnetha Fältskog]] of Swedish band [[ABBA]] performing in 1977.]]
 
Sweden has a rich musical tradition, ranging from mediaeval folk ballads to [[Swedish hip hop|hip hop music]]. The music of the pre-Christian Norse has been lost to history, although historical re-creations have been attempted based on instruments found in Viking sites. The instruments used were the ''[[lur]]'' (a sort of trumpet), simple string instruments, wooden flutes and drums. It is possible that the Viking musical legacy lives on in some of the old Swedish folk music.
 
Sweden has a significant [[Music of Sweden|folk-music]] scene, both in the traditional style as well as more modern interpretations which often mix in elements of rock and jazz. [[Väsen]] is more of a traditionalist group, using a unique, traditional Swedish instrument called the ''[[nyckelharpa]]'' while [[Garmarna]], [[Nordman]] and [[Hedningarna]] have more modern elements.
 
There is also [[Sami people|Sami]] music, called the ''[[joik]]'', which is actually a type of chant which is part of the traditional Saami animistic spirituality but has gained recognition in the international world of folk music. Sweden's most classic and notable composers includes [[Carl Michael Bellman]] and [[Franz Berwald]].
 
  
Sweden also has a prominent choral music tradition, deriving in part from the cultural importance of Swedish folk songs. In fact, out of a population of 9.5 million, it is estimated that five to six hundred thousand people sing in choirs.<ref>Durant, Colin (2003). ''Choral Conducting: philosophy and practice'', Routledge, pp. 46–47. ISBN 0-415-94356-6: "Sweden has a strong and enviable choral singing tradition. [..] All those interviewed placed great emphasis on the social identification through singing and also referred to the importance of Swedish folk song in the maintenance of the choral singing tradition and national identity."</ref>
 
  
In 2007, with over 800 million dollars in revenue, Sweden was the third largest music exporter in the world and surpassed only by the US and the UK.<ref name="export music">{{Fcite web|url=http://www.swedenabroad.com/Page____59218.aspx |archiveurl=http://web.archive.org/web/20080615001724/http://www.swedenabroad.com/Page____59218.aspx|archivedate=2010-05-05|title=Consulate General of Sweden Los Angeles – Export Music Sweden at MuseExpo |publisher=Swedenabroad.com |accessdate=2009-05-06}}</ref><ref name=autogenerated1>[http://casgroup.fiu.edu/pages/docs/551/1264626358_Interesting_Facts_about_EU_Countries.pdf Interesting facts about EU countries]. casgroup.fiu.edu</ref> [[ABBA]] was one of the first internationally well-known popular music bands from Sweden, and still ranks among the [[List of best-selling music artists|most prominent bands in the world]], with about 370 million records sold. With ABBA, Sweden entered into a new era, in which Swedish pop music gained international prominence.
 
[[File:GoteborgsOperan.jpg|thumb|left|The [[GöteborgsOperan|Gothenburg Opera]]]]
 
There have been many other internationally successful bands since, such as [[Roxette]], [[Ace of Base]], [[Europe (band)|Europe]], [[A-teens]], [[The Cardigans]], [[Robyn]] and [[The Hives]], to name some of the biggest, and recently there has been a surge of Swedish [[Indie pop]] bands such as [[Loney, Dear]], [[Shout Out Louds]], [[The Radio Dept.]] and [[Dungen]], a group which incorporates many elements of Swedish traditional folk music in their sound. One of the biggest bands in Sweden is the rock band [[Kent (band)|Kent]].
 
  
Sweden has also become known for a large number of [[heavy metal music|heavy metal]] (mostly [[death metal]] and [[melodic death metal]]) as well as [[progressive metal|progressive]]- and [[power metal]] bands. Some of the most popular being [[In Flames]], [[Amon Amarth]], [[HammerFall]], [[Pain of Salvation]], [[Dark Tranquillity]], [[Opeth]], [[Arch Enemy]] and [[Meshuggah]]. The renowned [[Neo-classical metal|neoclassical power metal]] guitarist [[Yngwie Malmsteen]] is also from Sweden.
 
  
The most recent development in the Swedish music industry has been the rising of the house/techno genre. Where artists such as [[Swedish House Mafia]], [[Avicii]], [[Eric Prydz]] a.k.a Pryda, and [[Basshunter]] have gained worldknown reputation. It is also  glorious time for Swedish producers, amongst them the famous producer [[RedOne]] who are the man behind [[Lady Gaga]]. In Eurovision Song Contest 2012 Swedish songwriters, and producers made 10 out of the 42 European songs that qualified for the Contest. In The Eurovision Song Contest 2012 the Swedish artist [[Loreen (singer)|Loreen]] took a landsliding victory with her song Euphoria.
 
 
Sweden has a rather lively jazz scene. During the last sixty years or so it has attained a remarkably high artistic standard, stimulated by domestic as well as external influences and experiences. The Centre for Swedish Folk Music and Jazz Research has published an overview of jazz in Sweden by Lars Westin.<ref>{{Fcite web|url=http://www.visarkiv.se/en/jazz/index.htm |title=Lars Westin: Jazz in Sweden – an overview |publisher=Visarkiv.se |accessdate=2010-08-25}}</ref>
 
 
===Architecture===
 
{{Main|Architecture of Sweden}}
 
[[File:Djurgardsbron 2008.jpg|left|thumb|[[Djurgårdsbron]]]]
 
Before the 13th century most buildings were made of brick, but a shift began towards stone. Early Swedish stone buildings are the [[Romanesque architecture|Romanesque]] churches on the country side. As so happens, many of them were built in [[Scania]] and are in effect Danish churches. This would include the magnificent [[Lund Cathedral]] from the 11th century and the somewhat younger church in [[Dalby]], but also many early [[Gothic (architecture)|Gothic]] churches built through influences of the [[Hanseatic League]], such as in [[Ystad]], [[Malmö]] and [[Helsingborg]].
 
 
[[Cathedral]]s in other parts of Sweden were also built as seats of Sweden's bishops. The [[Skara Cathedral]] is of [[brick]]s from the 14th century, and the [[Uppsala Cathedral]] in the 15th. In 1230 the foundations of the [[Linköping]] Cathedral were made, the material was there [[limestone]], but the building took some 250 years to finish.
 
 
Among older structures are also some significant fortresses and other historical buildings such as at [[Borgholm Castle]], [[Halltorps Manor]] and [[Eketorp]] fortress on the island [[Öland]], the [[Nyköping]] fortress and the [[Visby]] ring wall.
 
 
[[File:Kalmar.jpg|thumb|The Kalmar Cathedral]]
 
Around 1520 Sweden was out of the [[Middle Age]]s and united under King [[Gustav Vasa]], who immediately initiated grand mansions, castles and fortresses to be built. Some of the more magnificent include the [[Kalmar]] fortress, the [[Gripsholm Castle]] and the one at [[Vadstena]].
 
 
In the next two centuries, Sweden was designated by [[Baroque architecture]] and later the [[rococo]]. Notable projects from that time include the city [[Karlskrona]], which has now also been declared a World Heritage Site and the [[Drottningholm Palace]].
 
 
1930 was the year of the great Stockholm exhibition, which marked the breakthrough of [[Functionalism (architecture)|Functionalism]], or "funkis" as it became known. The style came to dominate in the following decades. Some notable projects of this kind were the [[Million Programme (Sweden)|Million Programme]], offering affordable but anti-human living in large apartment complexes.
 
 
===Media===
 
{{Main|Media in Sweden}}
 
 
Swedes are among the greatest consumers of newspapers in the world, and nearly every town is served by a local paper. The country's main quality morning papers are [[Dagens Nyheter]] (liberal), [[Göteborgs-Posten]] (liberal), [[Svenska Dagbladet]] (liberal conservative) and [[Sydsvenska Dagbladet]] (liberal). The two largest evening [[tabloid (newspaper format)|tabloid]]s are [[Aftonbladet]] (social democratic) and [[Expressen]] (liberal). The ad-financed, free international morning paper, [[Metro International]], was originally founded in Stockholm, Sweden. The country's news is reported in English by, among others, ''[[The Local]]'' (liberal).
 
 
The public broadcasting companies held a monopoly on radio and television for a long time in Sweden. Licence funded radio broadcasts started in 1925. A second radio network was started in 1954 and a third opened 1962 in response to pirate radio stations. Non-profit [[Community radio#Sweden|community radio]] was allowed in 1979 and in 1993 commercial local radio started.
 
 
The licence funded television service was officially launched in 1956. A second channel, [[SVT2|TV2]], was launched in 1969. These two channels (operated by [[Sveriges Television]] since the late '70s) held a monopoly until the 1980s when cable and satellite television became available. The first Swedish language satellite service was [[TV3 (Sweden)|TV3]] which started broadcasting from London in 1987. It was followed by [[Kanal 5 (Sweden)|Kanal 5]] in 1989 (then known as Nordic Channel) and [[TV4 (Sweden)|TV4]] in 1990.
 
 
In 1991 the government announced it would begin taking applications from private television companies wishing to broadcast on the [[terrestrial television|terrestrial network]]. TV4, which had previously been broadcasting via satellite, was granted a permit and began its terrestrial broadcasts in 1992, becoming the first private channel to broadcast television content from within the country.
 
 
Around half the population are connected to cable television. [[Digital terrestrial television in Sweden]] started in 1999 and the last analogue terrestrial broadcasts were terminated in 2007.
 
 
===Literature===
 
{{Main|Swedish literature}}
 
[[File:Portrait of August Strindberg by Richard Bergh 1905.jpg|upright|thumb|Writer and playwright [[August Strindberg]].]]
 
 
The first literary text from Sweden is the [[Rök Runestone]], carved during the [[Viking Age]] c. 800 AD. With the conversion of the land to Christianity around 1100 AD, Sweden entered the [[Middle Ages]], during which monastic writers preferred to use Latin. Therefore there are only a few texts in the [[Swedish language#Old Swedish|Old Swedish]] from that period. Swedish literature only flourished when the Swedish language was standardized in the 16th century, a standardization largely due to the full translation of the Bible into Swedish in 1541. This translation is the so-called [[Gustav Vasa Bible]].
 
 
With improved education and the freedom brought by [[secularization]], the 17th century saw several notable authors develop the Swedish language further. Some key figures include [[Georg Stiernhielm]] (17th century), who was the first to write classical poetry in Swedish; [[Johan Henric Kellgren]] (18th century), the first to write fluent Swedish prose; [[Carl Michael Bellman]] (late 18th century), the first writer of [[burlesque]] ballads; and [[August Strindberg]] (late 19th century), a socio-realistic writer and playwright who won worldwide fame. The early 20th century continued to produce notable authors, such as [[Selma Lagerlöf]], ([[Nobel Prize in Literature|Nobel laureate]] 1909), [[Verner von Heidenstam]] (Nobel laureate 1916) and [[Pär Lagerkvist]] (Nobel laureate 1951).
 
 
In recent decades, a handful of Swedish writers have established themselves internationally, including the detective novelist [[Henning Mankell]] and the writer of spy fiction [[Jan Guillou]]. The Swedish writer to have made the most lasting impression on world literature is the children's book writer [[Astrid Lindgren]], and her books about [[Pippi Longstocking]], [[Emil i Lönneberga|Emil]], and others. In 2008, the second best-selling fiction author in the world was [[Stieg Larsson]], whose ''Millennium'' series of crime novels is being published posthumously to critical acclaim.<ref>[http://www.abebooks.com/blog/index.php/2009/01/15/bestselling-fiction-authors-in-the-world-for-2008/ Bestselling fiction authors in the world for 2008], 15 January 2009, www.abebooks.com. Retrieved on 5 August 2009.</ref> Larsson drew heavily on the work of Lindgren by basing his central character, Lisbeth Salander, on Longstocking.<ref>[http://www.buzzle.com/articles/289825.html Poisoned Legacy Left By The King Of Thrillers], www.buzzle.com. Retrieved on 5 September 2009.</ref>
 
 
===Holidays===
 
{{Main|Public holidays in Sweden}}
 
[[File:Valborgsbrasa-1.jpg|thumb|left|[[Walpurgis Night]] bonfire in Sweden.]]
 
Apart from traditional Protestant [[Liturgical year|Christian holidays]], Sweden also celebrates some unique holidays, some of a pre-Christian tradition. They include [[Midsummer]] celebrating the summer [[solstice]]; [[Walpurgis Night]] (''Valborgsmässoafton'') on 30 April lighting bonfires; and [[Labour Day]] or Mayday on 1 May is dedicated to socialist demonstrations. The day of giver-of-light [[Saint Lucy|Saint Lucia]], 13 December, is widely acknowledged in elaborate celebrations which betoken its Italian origin and commence the month-long Christmas season.
 
 
6 June is the [[National holiday of Sweden|National Day of Sweden]] and, as of 2005, a public holiday. Furthermore, there are [[Flag days in Sweden|official flag day]] observances and a [[Namesdays in Sweden]] calendar. In August many Swedes have ''kräftskivor'' (crayfish dinner parties). [[Martin of Tours]] Eve is celebrated in [[Scania]] in November with ''Mårten Gås'' parties, where roast goose and ''[[svartsoppa]]'' ('black soup', made of goose stock, fruit, spices, spirits and goose blood) are served. The [[Sami people|Sami]], one of Sweden's indigenous minorities, have their holiday on 6 February and Scania celebrate their Scanian Flag day on the third Sunday in July.
 
 
===Cuisine===
 
{{Main|Swedish cuisine}}
 
[[File:Knaeckebroed.jpg|thumb|Swedish knäckebröd ([[crisp bread]])]]
 
Swedish cuisine, like that of the other [[Scandinavia]]n countries ([[Cuisine of Denmark|Denmark]], [[Cuisine of Norway|Norway]] and [[Cuisine of Finland|Finland]]), was traditionally simple. [[Fish]] (particularly [[herring]]), [[meat]], [[potato]]es and [[dairy products]] played prominent roles. [[File:2005 baking of saffron buns 04.jpg|thumb|left|Swedish saffron buns]] Spices were sparse. Famous dishes include Swedish meatballs, traditionally served with gravy, boiled potatoes and [[lingonberry jam]]; pancakes, ''[[lutefisk|lutfisk]]'', and [[Smörgåsbord]], or lavish buffet. ''[[Akvavit]]'' is a popular alcoholic [[distilled beverage]], and the drinking of ''[[snaps]]'' is of cultural importance. The traditional flat and dry [[crisp bread]] has developed into several contemporary variants. Regionally important foods are the ''[[surströmming]]'' (a fermented fish) in Northern Sweden and [[eel]] in [[Scania]] in Southern Sweden.
 
 
Swedish traditional dishes, some of which are many hundreds of years old, others perhaps a century or less, are still a very important part of Swedish everyday meals, in spite of the fact that modern day Swedish cuisine adopts many [[international]] dishes.
 
 
In August, at the traditional feast known as crayfish party, ''[[kräftskiva]]'', Swedes eat large amounts of boiled [[crayfish]] with boiled potato and dill.
 
 
===Cinema===
 
{{Main|Cinema of Sweden}}
 
Swedes have been fairly prominent in the film area through the years. A number of Swedish people have found success in Hollywood, including [[Ingrid Bergman]], [[Greta Garbo]] and [[Max von Sydow]].  Amongst several directors who have made internationally successful films can be mentioned [[Ingmar Bergman]], [[Lukas Moodysson]] and [[Lasse Hallström]].
 
 
===Fashion===
 
Interest in fashion is big in Sweden and the country is headquartering famous brands like [[H&M|Hennes & Mauritz]] (operating as H&M), [[J. Lindeberg]] (operating as JL), [[Acne Jeans|Acne]], [[Lindex]], [[Odd Molly]], [[Cheap Monday]], [[Gant U.S.A.|Gant]], [[WESC]], [[Filippa K]], and [[Nakkna]] within its borders. These companies, however, are composed largely of buyers who import fashionable goods from throughout Europe and America, continuing the trend of Swedish business toward multinational economic dependency like many of its neighbours.
 
 
===Sports===
 
{{Main|Sport in Sweden}}
 
[[File:Robin Söderling at US Open 2010.jpg|thumb|upright|[[Robin Söderling]]]]
 
Sport activities are a national movement with half of the population actively participating in organized sporting activities. The two main spectator sports are [[Association football|football]] and [[ice hockey]]. Second to football, [[Horse#Horses in sport today|horse sports]] have the highest number of practitioners, mostly women. Thereafter follow [[golf]], [[track and field athletics|athletics]], and the [[team sport]]s of [[Team handball|handball]], [[floorball]], [[basketball]] and [[bandy]].
 
 
The Swedish ice hockey team [[Swedish national men's ice hockey team|Tre Kronor]] is regarded as one of the best in the world. The team has won the [[Ice Hockey World Championships|World Championships]] eight times, placing them third in the all-time medal count. Tre Kronor also won Olympic gold medals in 1994 and 2006. In 2006, Tre Kronor became the first national hockey team to win both the Olympic and world championships in the same year. The [[Sweden national football team|Swedish national football team]] has seen some success at the World Cup in the past, finishing second when they hosted the tournament in 1958, and third twice, in 1950 and 1994. [[Track and field athletics|Athletics]] has enjoyed a surge in popularity due to several successful athletes in recent years, such as [[Carolina Klüft]] and [[Stefan Holm]].
 
 
Sweden hosted the [[1912 Summer Olympics]] and the [[FIFA World Cup]] in [[1958 FIFA World Cup|1958]]. Other big sports events held here include [[1992 UEFA European Football Championship]], [[FIFA Women's World Cup 1995]], and several championships of [[ice hockey]], [[curling]], [[track and field athletics|athletics]], [[skiing]], [[bandy]], [[figure skating]] and [[swimming (sport)|swimming]].
 
 
Successful [[tennis]] players include former world No. 1's [[Björn Borg]], [[Mats Wilander]] and [[Stefan Edberg]].
 
 
Other famous Swedish athletes include the [[heavyweight]] [[boxing]] champion and [[International Boxing Hall of Fame]]r – [[Ingemar Johansson]]; [[World Golf Hall of Fame]]r – [[Annika Sörenstam]] and multiple World Championships and Olympics medalist in [[table tennis]] – [[Jan-Ove Waldner]].
 
 
==See also==
 
{{portal|Sweden}}
 
*[[Outline of Sweden]]
 
{{Book bar|Sweden}}
 
 
==References==
 
;Footnotes
 
{{reflist|25em}}
 
 
;Bibliography
 
{{refbegin|25em}}
 
*Bagge, Sverre (2005). "The Scandinavian Kingdoms". In ''The New Cambridge Medieval History''. Eds. Rosamond McKitterick et al. Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-36289-X.
 
*{{Fcite web |url=http://lawfam.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/4/2/154 |title=Radical principles and the legal institution of marriage: domestic relations law and social democracy in Sweden—BRADLEY 4 (2): 154—International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family |accessdate=2007-06-13 |work=}}
 
*{{CIA World Factbook link|sw|Sweden}}
 
*[http://www.scb.se/Pages/Product____25799.aspx Council for Official Statistics. "Preliminär befolkningsstatistik 2006"] [http://www.scb.se/templates/Listning1____44032.asp Statistics Sweden]{{Dead link|date=August 2010}}
 
*Durant, Colin (2003). ''Choral Conducting: philosophy and practice'', Routledge, pp.&nbsp;46–47. ISBN 0-415-94356-6.
 
*Einhorn, Eric and John Logue (1989). ''Modern Welfare States: Politics and Policies in Social Democratic Scandinavia''. Praeger Publishers, 1989. ISBN 0-275-93188-9.
 
*Koblik, Steven (1975). ''Sweden's Development from Poverty to Affluence 1750–1970''. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 0-8166-0757-5.
 
*Magocsi, Paul Robert (1998). ''Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples''. University of Minnesota Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8020-2938-8.
 
*[http://www.un.org/esa/agenda21/natlinfo/countr/sweden/natur.htm Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sweden] Agenda 21 – Natural Resource Aspects – Sweden. 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997.
 
*Nordstrom, Byron J. (2000). ''Scandinavia since 1500''. [[University of Minnesota Press]], 2000. ISBN 0-8166-2098-9.
 
*{{Fcite book |last=Sawyer |first=Birgit |last2=Sawyer |first2=Peter H. |author2-link=Peter Hayes Sawyer |title=Medieval Scandinavia: from Conversion to Reformation, Circa 800–1500 |publisher=University of Minnesota Press |year=1993 |url=http://books.google.com/?id=jGJrXOjYvQgC&printsec=frontcover|isbn=0-8166-1739-2}}
 
*Ståhl, Solveig. (1999). [http://www3.lu.se/info/lum/LUM_07_99/01_engelska.html "English spoken – fast ibland hellre än bra"]. ''LUM, Lunds universitet med''delar, 7:1999, 3 September 1999. In Swedish.
 
*Statistics Sweden. [http://www.scb.se/Pages/TableAndChart____193256.aspx 2006 census].
 
*Statistics Sweden. [http://www.scb.se/Pages/TableAndChart____25897.aspx Preliminary Population Statistics, by month, 2004–2006]. ''Population statistics'', 1 January 2007.
 
*Statistics Sweden. ''Yearbook of Housing and Building Statistics 2007''. Statistics Sweden, Energy, Rents and Real Estate Statistics Unit, 2007. ISBN 978-91-618-1361-2. Available online in [http://www.scb.se/statistik/_publikationer/BO0801_2007A01_BR_BO01SA0701.pdf pdf format].
 
*[http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Sweden ''Sweden'']. In ''Encyclopædia Britannica'', 1911.
 
*[http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-29865/Sweden#403810.hook Sweden: Social and economic conditions] (2007). In ''Encyclopædia Britannica''. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
 
*[https://www.riksgalden.se/ Swedish National Debt Office]
 
*[http://www.samhallsguiden.riksdagen.se/templates/R_Page____8382.aspx The Swedish Parliament: Laws]
 
*Uddhammar, Emil (1993). ''Partierna och den stora staten: en analys av statsteorier och svensk politik under 1900-talet''. Stockholm, City University Press.
 
*[[United States Department of State]] – [http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2880.htm Sweden]
 
*Zuckerman, Phil (2007), Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns PDF i Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-60367-6
 
{{refend}}
 
 
==External links==
 
{{Sister project links|Sweden}}
 
*{{CIA World Factbook link|sw|Sweden}}
 
*[http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/576478/Sweden Sweden] entry at ''[[Encyclopædia Britannica]]''
 
*[http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu/govpubs/for/sweden.htm Sweden] from ''UCB Libraries GovPubs''
 
*{{dmoz|Regional/Europe/Sweden}}
 
*{{wikiatlas|Sweden}}
 
*{{osmrelation-inline|52822}}
 
* [http://www.ifs.du.edu/ifs/frm_CountryProfile.aspx?Country=SE Key Development Forecasts for Sweden] from [[International Futures]]
 
*[http://www.studyinsweden.se/ Study in Sweden] – Official guide to studying in Sweden
 
*[http://www.swedishtrade.se/english/ Swedish Trade Council]
 
*[http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/schon.sweden Sweden – Economic Growth and Structural Change, 1800–2000] — EH.Net Encyclopedia
 
*[http://www.vifanord.de/index.php?id=1&L=1&rd=243343734 vifanord] – A digital library that provides scientific information on the Nordic and Baltic countries as well as the Baltic region as a whole
 
;Government
 
*[http://www.sweden.se/ Sweden.se] — Sweden's official website
 
*[http://www.sweden.gov.se/ The Swedish Government] – Official site
 
*[http://www.royalcourt.se/ The Swedish Royal Court] – Official website of the Swedish Royal House
 
*[https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/world-leaders-1/world-leaders-s/sweden.html Chief of State and Cabinet Members]
 
;News media
 
*[http://www.radiosweden.org/ Radio Sweden] {{en icon}} – Public service
 
*[http://www.svt.se/ Sveriges Television] {{sv icon}} – Public service
 
*[http://www.dn.se/ Dagens Nyheter] {{sv icon}}
 
*[http://www.svd.se/ Svenska Dagbladet] {{sv icon}}
 
*[http://www.thelocal.se/ The Local – Sweden's news in English] – Independent English language news site
 
;Travel
 
*[http://www.visitsweden.com/ VisitSweden.com] – Official travel and tourism website for Sweden
 
*{{Wikitravel}}
 
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Revision as of 13:53, 6 July 2012

[[File:noframe|250px|frameless|Sweden]]
Location
[[File:noframe|250px|frameless]]
Flag
[[File:Sw-flag.png|108px|frameless]]
Quick Facts
Capital Stockholm
Government Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy
Currency Swedish Krona (SEK)
Area 450,295 km2
Population 9 500 000 (Dec 2011)
Language Swedish, large Finnish speaking minority (470 000, RUAB 2005), most people speak English
Religion 23% theist (mainly Lutheran with Muslim and Catholic minorities), 76% non theist (including 23% atheist)
Electricity 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Country code +46
Internet TLD .se
Time Zone UTC +1
For other places with the same name, see Sweden (disambiguation).

Sweden (Sverige) [1] is the largest of the Nordic countries in Northern Europe, with a population of about 9.3 million. It borders Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark via the bridge of Öresund (Öresundsbron). The Baltic Sea lies to the east of Sweden, as well as the Gulf of Bothnia, which separates Sweden from most of Finland.

Understand

Although having been a military power and spanning about three times its current size during the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war in almost two hundred years.That is a very good thing for most people in Sweden. Having long remained outside military alliances (including both World Wars), the country has a high peace profile, with internationally renowned names such as Raoul Wallenberg, Dag Hammarskjöld, Olof Palme and Hans Blix. Sweden is a monarchy by constitution, but king Carl XVI Gustaf has no executive power. The country has a long tradition of Lutheran-Protestant Christianity, but today's Sweden is a secular state with very few church-goers.

Sweden has a hybrid socialist/capitalist system (sometimes known as "Scandanavian" or "Third Way" socialism) and is a developed post-industrial society with an advanced welfare state. The standard of living and life expectancy rank among the highest in the world. Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, but decided by a referendum in 2003 not to commit to the European Monetary Union and the euro currency. Leadership of Sweden has for the larger part of the 20th century been dominated by the Social Democratic Party, which started out at the end of the 19th century as a labor movement, but today pursues a mix of socialism and social-liberalism. Since the 2006 election, a coalition of center-right liberal/conservative parties has come into power.

Sweden has a strong tradition of being an open, yet discreet country. Citizens sometimes appear to be quite reserved at first, but once they get to know who they are dealing with, they'll be as warm and friendly as you'd wish. Privacy is regarded as a key item and many visitors, for example mega-stars in various lines of trade, have many times realized that they mostly can walk the streets of the cities virtually undisturbed.

Sweden houses the Nobel Prize [2] committee for all the prizes except the peace prize which is hosted in Oslo, a memento of the Swedish-Norwegian union that was dissolved just over 100 years ago.

Regions

Regions of Sweden
Norrland
the sparsely populated, northern part of the country (It spans more than half of the country's total area), with nine provinces. Lots of wilderness, with forests, lakes, big rivers, enormous marshes and high mountains along the border to Norway. Great for hiking. Largest cities are Gävle, Sundsvall, Umeå and Luleå.
Svealand
the central part of the country, includes Stockholm, Uppsala and the provinces of Dalarna, Närke, Värmland, Södermanland, Uppland and Västmanland.
Götaland
comprised of the ten provinces in the southern part of the country, including the islands (and provinces) of Öland and Gotland. The largest cities in Götaland are Gothenburg in Västergötland and Malmö in Skåne.

Cities

Major cities
  • Stockholm - The capital, spread out over a number of islands.
  • Gothenburg (Göteborg in Swedish) - On the west coast.
  • Västerås - The center of the Swedish industrialization. Only an hour away from Stockholm.
  • Linköping - The 5th most populous city of Sweden. University city.
  • Kiruna - A mining town in Lappland, and the northernmost city in Sweden.
  • Luleå - Industrial city in northern Norrland, with a technical university.
  • Malmö - Down south, 30 minutes by train from the Danish capital Copenhagen.
  • Umeå - University city in Norrland.
  • Uppsala - Lively pretty old university city. Fourth largest city in Sweden.
  • Örebro - Old shoe manufacturing center, halfway between Stockholm and Oslo.

Other destinations

  • Bolmsö
  • Gotland - Sweden's largest island, as well as the largest island of the Baltic Sea, situated in the Baltic Sea. Its capital Visby is on UNESCO's World's heritage list. It's a common vacation spot for Swedes from the mainland.
  • Kullaberg Nature Reserve
  • Kungsleden - a marked well-known hiking trail that runs through Norrland.
  • Österlen — picturescue southeastern district of Scania
  • Åre - One of Sweden's largest ski resorts, with 44 lifts.
  • Lund - University city in Scania.

Get in

Entry requirements

Sweden is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented this treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. This means that there may be spot customs checks but no immigration checks (travelling within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country) or you may have to clear immigration but not customs (travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen country).

Please see the article Travel in the Schengen Zone for more information about how the scheme works and what entry requirements are.

Citizens of the above countries are permitted to work in Sweden without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay. However, this ability to work visa-free does not necessarily extend to other Schengen countries.

By plane

For arrival and departure times, as well as lots of other information about flights and airports in Sweden, visit Luftfartsverket - Swedish Airports and Air Navigation Services[3]

Major airports:

  • Stockholm Arlanda (IATA: ARN) (ICAO: ESSA)[4] - serves most major airlines. Check the Stockholm page for information on transfer between the airport and Stockholm City.
  • Göteborg Landvetter (IATA: GOT) (ICAO: ESGG) [5] - serves several international airlines and provides convenient bus transfer (~20 min) to central Gothenburg.
  • Copenhagen Kastrup (Denmark) (IATA: CPH) (ICAO: EKCH) [6] - serves most major airlines. Located on an island between Copenhagen and Malmö and is ideal for travelling in southern Sweden. Train connections leave from the airport to both cities.

Smaller airports:

  • Stockholm Skavsta (IATA: NYO) (ICAO: ESKN) [7] - airport for low fares airlines like Ryanair [8] and Wizzair [9]. Located quite a distance (about 100 km) from Stockholm, near the town of Nyköping.
  • Stockholm Västerås (IATA: VST) (ICAO: ESOW) [10] - international flights to/from Copenhagen and London. Also about 100 km from Stockholm.
  • Göteborg City Airport (IATA: GSE) (ICAO: ESGP) [11] - situated just 14 kilometers from central Gothenburg, this airport is used by Ryanair, Wizzair and Germanwings [12].
  • Malmö-Sturup (IATA: MMX) (ICAO: ESMS) [13] - serves domestic flights and low fares flights. Located about 30 km from Malmö.

Most airports can be reached by Flygbussarna - Airport coaches [14] for tickets around 70 to 100 SEK. Copenhagen airport is best reached by train. See Skånetrafiken [15] for schedules.

By train

You can reach Sweden by train from three countries at present:

  • Denmark: Trains depart Copenhagen and Copenhagen's airport for Malmö every 20 minutes, and cost only about SEK 100 ("Öresundståg / Øresundstog" regional trains). The train goes over the magnificent Öresund Bridge to get to Sweden in less than 30 minutes. Furthermore direct trains (X2000) leave from Copenhagen to Stockholm. The Elsinore-Helsingborg connection, known as one of the busiest ferry routes in Europe, might also be used (change to ship).
  • Germany: Berlin to Malmö with "Berlin Night Express". There are also several trains per day from Hamburg to Copenhagen, and night trains from München, Basel, Köln and Amsterdam to Copenhagen. See Denmark section about how to get from Copenhagen to Sweden.
  • Finland: Travel via Kemi-Tornio-Haparanda-Luleå / Boden by bus. Interrail tickets are valid on that bus. There's no train connection as Finland and Sweden use a different gauge.

By bus

Get into Sweden by "Eurolines" [16] or "gobybus" [17]. All connections here go via Copenhagen.

Buses from and to the Western Balkans are also operated by Toptourist, [18]. Call + 46 (0 ) 42 18 29 84 for more info

By boat

Baltic Sea cruises
"Our level of drunkenness was normal for a cruise of this kind." The managing director of shipping company Tallink gave an interesting quote after his and the entire board's drunken rampage on one of Tallink's cruise ships in 2006. (The accusations against the VIP's included sexual harassment against female staff, beating up a bartender and causing a fire by putting a fish in a toaster.) The director's explanation clearly shows the main PR problem about the cruise ships on the Baltic Sea: they have a reputation as trashy booze boats, far from the glamor of other international cruises. This is largely due to the fact that the tickets can be dirt cheap - sometimes less than 50 SEK - and that tax-free alcohol shopping is among the main attractions. Still, some of the new ships are really pretty, and it is an easy and cheap way to get a glimpse of a country on the other side of the Baltic Sea. Also, not all cruises include obnoxious drunks trying to toast fish. Stockholm is the main port in Sweden for the cruises, and the main destinations are Helsinki, Åland and Turku in Finland, Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia. Ships are operated by Silja Line [19], Viking Line [20], Birka Cruises [21] and, of course, Tallink [22], MSC cruises [23]. To get the cheapest tickets, try to go on a weekday in low season, share a four-bed cabin with some friends and make sure to keep your eyes peeled for last minute offers.


Belgium

Denmark

Estonia

Finland

Latvia

Lithuania

Germany

Norway

Poland

Russia


UK

Get around

Taxi rip-off alert: NEVER step into a Swedish taxi without checking the yellow price sign on the rear window first! Taxi drivers are legally allowed to charge rip-off prices as long as they are stated clearly on the sign. The taxi to the left is twice as expensive as the one to the right, and there are cases where tourists have been charged around 30.000 SEK for a trip to the airport! The price tag should say around 300 SEK for a Stockholm cab.

Travelling around Stockholm and visiting various places can easily turn quite expensive. Therefore, Stockholm offers a card called The Stockholm Card. With it you can ride with trains, busses, ferries and the tram for free. It also offers free admission to over 75 museums and attractions and also comes complete with a multilingual guide to the city.. [43][44]

The ancient right to roam (allemansrätten) grants everybody a right to move freely in nature on foot, horse, ski, bicycle or by boat, even on others' private property. With this right comes an obligation to respect the integrity of nature and the privacy of others. It is therefore important to understand the limitations.

By plane

Although Sweden is a fairly large country, most of the action takes place in the southern parts where the distances are not huge. Domestic flights are mainly for travellers with little time or much money, however if you are heading for the far north you may want to consider it. There are also low-price tickets, but they must be bought well in advance.

The most important domestic airlines:

  • SAS [45] - the international airline has many domestic routes as well.
  • Skyways [46] - the largest number of domestic routes, several from Copenhagen.
  • Blekinge Flyg [47] - the most south east airport in Sweden and the only one in Blekinge.
  • Nextjet [48] - has many domestic routes to smaller places, has taken over some of Skyways routes.
  • Direktflyg [49] - several domestic routes and also flights to Norway.
  • Norwegian [50] - several domestic and a few international destinations.
  • Malmö Aviation [51] - serves domestic destinations, Brussels and Nice.
  • Gotlandsflyg [52] - connects Stockholm and the island of Gotland.

By train

Sweden has an extensive railway network. Most major lines are controlled by the government-owned company SJ. To buy a railway ticket, or to obtain information, phone +46 771 75 75 75 or check their website [53]. As of summer 2009, the cheapest SJ tickets are released exactly 90 days before departure, so time your online ticket purchases carefully if your itinerary is set and don't buy tickets earlier than 90 days before your trip. SJ recently started auctioning last minute tickets on the Swedish eBay site Tradera [54] (site only in Swedish), available from 48 until 6 hours before departure. Because point-to-point tickets are quite expensive, for more train journeys in Sweden InterRail [55] (for European citiziens) or Eurail [56] (for non-European citiziens) pass might be useful.

Unlike most European countries, however, bicycles are generally not allowed on trains. The list of trains transporting bicycles is on SJ website [57]. The bicycle surcharge is 149 SEK and you should buy it at least one day in advance.

The national public transport authority is called Rikstrafiken [58], and it has online timetables in English, which include schedules for trains, buses and ferries. The service is called Resplus [59].

Regional public transport is usually operated by companies contracted by the counties. For instance, when travelling regionally in the province of Scania (Skåne in Swedish), one should refer to Skånetrafiken [60]. For travelling in the region of [Mälardalen] (the "Lake Mälaren Valley"), you can check all train and bus operators on a mutual website, Trafik i Mälardalen [61]. This regional traffic cooperation includes many of Sweden's major cities, such as Stockholm, Uppsala, Västerås, Linköping, Norrköping, Örebro and Eskilstuna, and reaches more than three million people. Connex [62] provides affordable railroad transportation up north. If you're on a tight schedule, be aware that trains, especially those bound for far destinations (i.e. the Connex and SJ Norrland trains), sometimes have quite significant delays (up to 1-2 hours).

By bus

Swebus [63] and gobybus [64] runs a number of bus lines in the southern third of the country, Götaland and Svealand. They tend to be a little cheaper than going by train if you can't take advantage of SJ's youth discounts. Y-buss [65] and Härjedalingen [66] operate between Stockholm and Norrland. Swebus also operates from Stockholm and Göteborg to Oslo. At the county or län level, buses are a good method for traveling short distances from town to town (as they are more frequent and cheaper than trains). It is best to check with the local transportation authority for routes and schedules. A newcomer on the bus market is Bus4You [67]

By car

In Svealand and Götaland driving takes you quickly from one place to the other. In Norrland the distances tend to be bigger between the different sites so the time spent driving may be long. Unless you really like driving, it is often more convenient to take the train or fly to the sites, particularly in Northern Norrland. Traveling by night can be dangerous due to unexpected animals on the roads and the cold nights during the winter. Collisions with moose, roe deer, or other animals are a not uncommon cause of car accidents. See also Driving in Sweden and Winter driving.

By thumb

Sweden has a reputation for being a pretty difficult country to hitch in, though it's still quite possible to hitchhike (but not assured to be risk-free). Ordinary people are often reluctant to pick up strangers. Truck drivers are probably most likely to pick up hitchhikers, so target them. Asking at gas stations works pretty well. Bus stops are common places to attract attention, position yourself before the actual bus stop so the vehicle can stop at the stop. This works best if the road is widened at the bus stop, allowing cars to pull off easily.

By bike

Most Swedish cities have excellent bike paths, and renting a bike can be a quick and healthy method of getting around locally.

By foot

Cars are by law required to stop at any unattended crosswalks (zebra stripes in the road without red-lights) to let pedestrians cross the road. But keep in mind that you are required to make eye contact with the driver so that they know that you are about to cross the street.

Talk

Swedish is the national language of Sweden, but you will find that people, especially those born since 1945, also speak English very well - an estimated 89% of Swedes can speak English. Finnish is the biggest minority language. Regardless of what your native tongue is, Swedes greatly appreciate any attempt to speak Swedish and beginning conversations in Swedish, no matter how quickly your understanding peters out, will do much to ingratiate yourself to the locals.

Hej (hay) is the massively dominant greeting in Sweden, useful on kings and bums alike. You can even say it when you leave. The Swedes most often do not say "please" (snälla say snell-LA), instead they are generous with the word tack (tack), meaning "thanks". If you need to get someone's attention, whether it's a waiter or you need to pass someone one in a crowded situation, a simple "ursäkta" (say "or-shek-ta") ("excuse me") will do the trick. You will find yourself pressed to overuse it, and you sometimes see people almost chanting it as a mantra when trying to exit a crowded place like a bus or train.

Many Swedish people are over-confident with their English skills. One problem can be excessive swearing (accepted in colloquial Swedish, and augmented by Hollywood movies), but also some false cognates can be shocking for a native English-speaker; some examples are fack ("trade union" or "compartment"), fart ("speed"), prick ("spot") kock ("chef") and slut ("end" or "sold out"). Be sure to forgive such misunderstandings.

Some things get English names that do not correspond to the original English word. Some examples are light which is used for diet products, and freestyle which means "walkman". Sweden uses the metric system and in the context of distance, the common expression mil, "mile", is 10 kilometers, not an English statute mile. Because of the distances involved, mil is used in spoken language even though roadsigns all use kilometers.

Swedish people learn British English at school, but also watch films and TV programs in American English. Whether they use British or American standards in speech varies from person to person; as a rule of thumb, young people are more likely to speak American English while British English is more prevalent among the older generations.

Foreign television programmes and films are almost always shown in their original language with subtitles. Only children's programmes are dubbed into Swedish.

See

There's plenty of nature in Sweden, during the summer Kungsleden in northern Sweden attracts lots of visitors who enjoy a solitary hike between cabins or camp sites in the beautiful mountains. A Swedish right (though not guarded by any law, only by tradition) gives anyone the right to walk over others property, as long as you do not disturb the house they are living in. This means that you can go sailing or canoeing and make camp on island in the Stockholm Archipelago, you can go hiking and make camp almost whereever you want. Sceneries of nature, less populated than most of Europe. Ice and snow during winter.

Do

Where are the Vikings?

Viking ship in Stockholms strom.jpg
Many tourists from English-speaking countries wonder where they can see real Vikings. Unfortunately, they have not been around for a thousand years. "Viking" is not the name of a separate tribe or nation - it is simply the old Norse word for "sailor", "navigator of the fjords" or "pirate" depending on etymology. While most Swedish, Norwegian and Danish people of these days were not Vikings, but sedentary farmers or fishermen, some men (and in a few cases women) joined expeditions of trade, exploration and piracy, reaching as far as present-day Canada, Morocco and the Caspian Sea. As the pagan Scandinavians were christened around AD 1000, the Viking raids declined. There are still traces from the Viking age, such as runestones and burial mounds, everywhere in Sweden. Some good places to see Viking age artifacts are The Museum of National Antiquities ("Historiska museet") [68] in Stockholm, Gamla Uppsala in Uppsala and Birka and Adelsö just west of Stockholm.

The Viking Age heritage has been contorted through history - romanticized during the 19th century, abused by neo-Nazis, but more truthfully re-enacted by neo-pagans and live-action roleplayers. Most Swedes are proud of their Viking roots, though they don't take it very seriously.


Sweden is great for outdoor life - skiing, skating, hiking, canoeing, cycling and berry-picking depending of season. Stockholm and Gothenburg have great nightlife and shopping opportunities. Most cities have well-preserved preindustrial architecture.

The year in Sweden

Swedish weather is best during summer (late May to early September). If you like snow, go to Norrland or Dalarna in December to April.

Be aware that daylight varies greatly during the year. In Stockholm, the sun sets at 3 PM in December. North of the Arctic Circle one can experience the midnight sun and Arctic night. However, even at Stockholm's latitude, summer nights exist only in the form of prolonged twilight during June and July.

The major holidays are Easter, Midsummer (celebrated from the eve of the Friday between June 19 - 25), Christmas (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are all considered holidays), and the "industrial vacation" throughout July. Expect closed establishments, heavy traffic (for the holidays) and crowded tourist resorts (for July).

Note that most Swedish holidays are celebrated on the day before (Midsummer's Eve, Christmas Eve etc), while Swedish people do hardly anything on the holiday proper.

Buy

Currency conversion table (April 2011)
Foreign currencyEither oneSwedish Kronor
€0.11 Euro18.55
£0.10 Pound Sterling19.63
$0.16 US Dollar15.68
$0.18 Australian Dollar16.35

The national currency is the Swedish krona (SEK, plural kronor). Automatic teller machines take major credit cards. Most stores, restaurants and bars accept all major credit cards. You usually need an ID card or a passport when shopping with a credit card, regardless of the amount involved, though usually not in supermarkets and such where PIN code is king.

It is not common to bargain in shops but it might work in some instances, especially when buying more expensive products. Bargaining is also okay at flea markets and in antique shops. When dining out, a service charge is often not included in the bill and a tip of 5-10% is standard unless you are really unhappy with the food and/or service.

Most shops, at least major chains in downtown areas, are open all week, even on Sundays. Closing times are rigid, most often on the minute.

Many Swedes translate the word krona, which means crown. For example, instead of saying 50 kronor they might say 50 crowns when speaking english.

ATM

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The most used Swedish word for ATM is Bankomat, although this is technically a trademark of the Trade Bank Consortium, much like the term cash point in the United Kingdom, and therefore not used by several banks. A more generic word would be Uttagsautomat; Uttag, Minuten and Kontanten may also occur. Nearly all machines regardless of operator will accept the MasterCard, Maestro, Visa, Visa Electron and American Express. You can withdraw up to 10 000 SEK ($1420/€1110) per use. During a seven-day period you can withdraw a maximum of 20 000 SEK ($2840/€2220).

You have three attempts to enter the correct PIN code. If you fail a third time, the machine retains the card and closing it. In order to facilitate the visually impaired have the keys on the machines equipped with Braille. You may have spoken guidance, press the TALK button. In some ATMs you can withdraw euros if you have a card issued by a Swedish bank. You may take up the maximum 1000 EUR per use. You can make multiple withdrawals after the other but a maximum 20 000 SEK per week.

Costs

Compared to other OCED-countries, Sweden is one of the more expensive countries to inhabit, though you can find cheaper alternatives if you look around. For example: Sundries like a 33cl bottle of Coca Cola costs 10 SEK ($1.70/€1,2), a beer in a bar will cost you around 45 SEK ($7/€5), the average price of hotel accommodation is around 1300 SEK ($215/€155), a room in a hostel varies between 150 and 350 SEK ($30-50/€25-35), a bus/subway ticket in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö will set you back around 25 SEK ($4.20/€3,1), one meal will cost you around 100 SEK ($16,5/€11,9), 1 litre Petrol costs about 15 SEK ($2.50/€1,8) and a pack of 25 cigarettes will cost you 70 SEK ($11.60/€8,3). If you are a bit careful about your expenses, a daily budget of around 1000 SEK ($156/€112) will be enough. While house prices are probably amongst the cheapest in Western Europe and recently opened discount stores such as "Lidl", "Netto" and "Willy's" offer a wide range of items (why not buy a sewing machine while doing the weekend grocery shopping?), accommodation and dining out are cheaper in Stockholm than in most other west European capitals.

Shopping

An example of a Dala Horse
  • An unofficial national symbol, the Dala Horse (Swedish: dalahäst) is the souvenir of souvenirs to bring from Sweden. Named after their origin, the province of Dalarna, these small wooden horses have been around since the 17th century. They are normally painted orange or blue with symmetrical decorations. They are fairly expensive: expect to pay around SEK 100 for a very small one or several hundred crowns for bigger versions. The horses can be bought in souvenir shops all over Sweden. If you want to know more about how the horses are made, visit Dalarna and the municipality of Mora where the horses are carved and painted in workshops open for tourists. And if driving towards Mora from Stockholm, keep your eyes open when you pass the town of Avesta where the world's largest (13 meters high) Dala Horse overlooks the highway.
  • Swedish glass is world famous for its beauty. Several skilled glass artists have contributed to this reputation through innovative, complex (and expensive) art creations, but mass-produced Swedish table glass has also been an international success. Part of the province of Småland, between the towns of Växjö and Kalmar, is known as the Kingdom of Crystal[69]. 15 glassworks are packed into this small area, the most famous being Orrefors, Kosta and Boda. Tourists are welcome to watch the glass blowers turn the glowing melt into glittering glass, and you can even give it a try yourself.
  • Exclusive wines from Systembolaget.
  • Sweden has good design, spanning from furniture to jewlery, but is also known for it's inventive nature. You are likely to find good presents to bring home. In the major cities, for example, there are chain of stores called Designtorget which offers multiple products. Svenskt Tenn is another store whitch offers beautiful items with designers like Josef Frank.
  • Music and literature is also a major export. In the major cities there are special bookstores or sections in other languages than swedish. Some magazines are offered in English.
  • There are some items for the home that are invented by swedes that might be fun to bring home such as the cheese slicer, adjustable spanners or adjustable wrenches, safety matches, paraffin cooking stove (Primuskök)or a good old Celsius thermometer. (Items like dynamite, the pacemaker and blowlamp (blowtorch) are also Swedish inventions but might not be good souvenirs...)

Eat

The world's stinkiest fish dish

Adventurous diners might want to try surströmming, which is (coastal) central and northern Sweden's entry in the revolting-foods-of-the-world contest. It's herring which is fermented in a tin can until the can starts to bulge and almost bursts. It all gets so foul-smelling that the fish is only eaten outdoors to keep it from stinking up the house, although it has been known for unsuspecting visitors from other countries to be "treated" to an indoor surströmming experience for more intensity.
noframe

It is considered bad manners not to notify (or invite) the neighbors before having a surströmmingsskiva, a party where the delicacy is consumed. It is claimed that the best way to get over the smell is to take a deep breath of it just when you open the can, to as quickly as possible knock out your smelling sense. Surströmming season peaks in August.

Swedish cuisine is mostly hearty meat or fish with potatoes, derived from the days when men needed to chop wood all day long. Besides the ubiquitous potatoes, modern Swedish cuisine is to a great extent based on bread. Traditional everyday dishes are called husmanskost (pronounced whos-mans-cost). They include:

  • Meatballs (köttbullar), the internationally most famous Swedish dish. Served with potatoes, brown sauce and lingonberry jam.
  • Hash (pytt i panna) consisting of meat, onions and potatoes, all diced and fried. Sliced beetroots and a fried or boiled whole eggs are mandatory accessories.
  • Pea soup (ärtsoppa) with diced pork, followed by thin pancakes afterwards. Traditionally eaten on Thursdays since medieval times when the servants had half the day off as it is an easy meal to prepare. All lunch restaurants in Sweden with any self-respect serves pea soup and pancakes every Thursday.
  • Pickled herring (sill), available in various types of sauces. Commonly eaten with bread or potatoes for summer lunch or as a starter. Virtually mandatory at midsummer and very common for Christmas.
  • Blodpudding, a black sausage made by pig's blood and flour. Slice it, fry it and eat it with lingonberry jam.
  • Gravlax, a widely known and appreciated cold appetizer made by thin slices of salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill.
  • Falukorv, a big baloney from Falun. Sliced, fried and eaten with ketchup and mashed potatoes.
  • Sweden has more varieties of bread than most other countries. Many of them are whole-grain or mixed grain, containing wheat, barley, oats, compact and rich in fiber. Some notable examples are tunnbröd (thin wrap bread), knäckebröd (hard bread - might not be an interesting experience, but is nearly always available), and different kinds of seasoned loaves. Bread is mostly eaten as simple sandwiches, with thin slices of cheese or cold cuts. Some more exotic spreads are messmör (whey butter) and leverpastej (liver paté).
  • Tunnbrödrulle, a fast food dish, consisting of a bread wrap with mashed potatoes, a hot dog and some vegetables.
  • Kroppkakor Potato dumpling stuffed with diced pork.
  • Ost Hard cheese. Swedes eat a lot of hard cheese. In an ordinary food market you can often find 10 to 20 different types of cheese. The most famous Swedish hard cheese would be Västerbotten, named after a region in Sweden.

Other Swedish favorites:

  • Soft whey butter (messmör), breadspread with a sweetish, hard-to-describe taste.
  • Caviar, not the expensive Russian or Iranian kind but a cheaper version made from cod roe, sold in tubes and used on sandwiches. The most famous brand is Kalles Kaviar.
  • Julmust, stout-like Christmas soft drink that every year annoys The Coca-Cola Company in Sweden by lowering Coke's sales figures by 50%.
  • Crayfish (kräftor), hugely popular around August, when Swedes feast on them at big crayfish parties (kräftskivor). Silly paper hats and lots of alcohol included.
  • Semla, a cream-filled pastry eaten around Fat Tuesday.
  • Rabarberkräm/Rabarberpaj rhubarbcream or rhubarbpie with vanilla sauce ( other cakes or pies on fresh blueberries, apples, or just strawberries with cream or ice cream are also very popular in the summer)
  • Spettekaka A local cake from Skåne in south Sweden, made of eggs, sugar, and potato starch.
  • Smörgåstårta A cold Sandwich layer cake, often with salmon, eggs, and shrimps. (Also often with tuna or roast beef) Swedish people often eat it at New Year's Eve, or birthdays and parties.
  • Lösgodis" candy from boxes that you mix on your own, sold by weight, is one the most popular candy among this candyloving nation. A choice of chocolate, sours, sweet and salt liqorice are always offered.
  • Swedish cookies and pastries like bondkakor, hallongrottor, bullar or cakes like prinsesstårta are widely popular. It used to be tradition to offer guest 7 different cookies when invited over for coffee. If you have a sweet tooth you should try chokladbollar, mazariner, biskvier, rulltårta, lussebullar, the list goes on...

As in most of Europe, inexpensive pizza and kebab restaurants are ubiquitous in Swedish cities, and are also to be found in almost every small village. Note that the Swedish pizza is significantly different from Italian or American pizzas, American pizzas are usually sold as "pan pizza". Sushi and Thai food are also quite popular. The local hamburger chain Max [70] is recommended before McDonald's [71] and Burger King [72], for tasteful Scandinavian furnishing, clean restrooms, no trans fats and free coffee with meals. In parts of Norrland it is customary to eat hamburgers with fork and knife - available at Max. Another type of fast food establishment is the gatukök ("street kitchen"), serving hamburgers, hot dogs, kebab and tunnbrödrulle (se above).

Highway diners, vägkrogar, have generous meals, but might be of poor quality, greasy and overpriced. If you have time, a downtown restaurant is preferable. Gas stations offer decent packed salads and sandwiches.

You can get a "cheap" lunch if you look for the signs with "Dagens rätt" (meal of the day). This normally costs about 50-120 SEK (€5,50-€13,30) and almost everywhere includes a bottle of water; soft drink; or light beer, bread & butter, some salad and coffee afterwards. Dagens rätt is served Monday to Friday.

The world famous furniture retailer IKEA has stores at the outskirts of 15 Swedish cities. These have great diners, which offer well-cooked Swedish meals for as little as 40 SEK, and the store exit usually has a café selling hot dogs for as little as 5 SEK. (They hope that you spend some money on shopping too.) Great if you happen to pass by. Expect crowds at rainy weather.

If you're on a tight budget, self-catering is the safest way to save your money.

Vegetarian and vegan lifestyles are accepted in cities, less common in the countryside but you should be able to find a falafel in every smaller town.

Drink

Coffee

Swedish consumption of coffee (kaffe) is among the highest in the world. Drinking coffee at home or in a café, an act called fika, is a common Swedish social ritual, used for planning activities, dating, exchanging gossip or simply spending time and money. Swedish coffee is much stronger than American one. Italian varieties (espresso, cappuccino, caffe latte) are available at most city cafés. One coffee will cost you around 25 SEK ($3,5/€2,8).

Alcoholic beverages

The most famous Swedish alcoholic beverage is Absolut Vodka, one of the world's most famous vodkas. There are several brands of distilled, and usually seasoned, liquor, called brännvin or akvavit. When served in a shot glass with a meal it is called snaps (not to confuse with the German "Schnapps"). It is part of custom to drink snaps at midsummers eve and at Christmas.

Sweden does produce some outstanding beers, and have in the recent years seen a rise in the numbers of microbreweries. If you are looking for great local beer keep an eye out for breweries like "Slottskällans", "Nils Oscar", "Närke kulturbryggeri", "Jämtlands ångbryggeri" and "Dugges Ale- & Porterbryggeri". You may have some trouble finding them, unless you go to a bar specialized in providing uncommon beer, or one of the well stocked "Systembolag", but you will find a few of them in every major city. Despite this the most common beer is the rather plain "international lager". The beer you get in normal food shops is called folköl and has 2.8 or 3.5% alcohol. You are able to find a variety of different brands of beers in food stores, Swedish, English and even Czech beer. Sweden has a seasonal beer for Christmas, julöl. It is sweeter than normal beer and usually seasoned with Christmas spices, mostly it is of the beer type ale. All Swedish breweries make at least one type of julöl. Wine is popular, but the Swedish production is very modest.

Systembolaget

Access to alcoholic beverages is, as in Norway, Finland and Iceland, quite restricted and expensive. The only place to buy strong alcohol including starköl (beer which contains more than 3.5% ABV) over the counter is in one of the state-owned shops called Systembolaget [73] (also sometimes referred to as simply "Systemet" or "Bolaget"). They have limited hours of operation, usually 10-6 Mon-Wed, 10-7 Thurs-Fri, and 10-3 on Saturdays, with long queues on Fridays and Saturdays. Closing time at Systembolaget is more than rigid no matter how long the queue outside the store is, something the Swedes themselves joke about. They are always closed on Sundays. Most shops are of supermarket style. The assortment is very good, and the staff usually has great knowledge. Systembolaget does not serve customers under the age of 20 and will most likely ask for identification from younger looking customers. This also applies to any companions, regardless of who is making the actual purchase.

Beverages are heavily taxed by content of alcohol, some liquor is very expensive (vodka is around 300 SEK a liter at Systembolaget), but the monopoly has brought some perks - Systembolaget is one of the world's largest bulk-buyers of wine, and as such gets some fantastic deals which it passes on to consumers. Mid-to-high-quality wines, and exclusive spirits, are quite often cheaper in Sweden than in the country of origin; sometimes even cheaper than if you were to buy the wine directly from the vineyard. This does NOT apply to low-quality wines, however, due to the volume-based tax on alcohol.

All brands are treated equally and there is no large-pack discount. Therefore, microbrews cost largely the same as major brands, and might be a more interesting choice. Beverages are not refrigerated.

Bars and nightclubs

The minimum age requirement is 18 to get into bars and to buy regular (3.5% ABV or less) beer in shops (to prevent teenage drunkenness, some shops have decided to enforce a minimum age of 20 for 3.5% beer as well), and 20 in Systembolaget. Many bars have an age limit of 20, but some (especially downtown on weekends) have age limits as high as 23 or 25, but this rule is arbitrarily enforced. Bring passport or ID.

Some clubs mandate dress code, vårdad klädsel is casual dress; this is also arbitrarily enforced. For male guests, proper shoes (not sneakers or sandals), long-legged trousers (not blue jeans) and a dress shirt is almost always good enough.

Age or dress rules are not rigid, and doormen have the right to accept or reject any patron for any reason other than gender, sexual orientation, creed, disability or race. Though illegal, nightclubs are infamous for rejecting "immigrants", which usually means anyone with hair and skin darker than the average Swede, on pretexts such as "members only," "too drunk," or "dress code"; men of Middle Eastern or African origin are most often subjected to this. You might avoid this problem by dressing properly and behaving well.

Sweden has enforced non-smoking in all bars, pubs and restaurants, save outdoor areas such as terraces, and designated smoking rooms (where drinks are not allowed).

The prices at clubs and bars are often expensive compared to other countries: a large beer (half a liter) usually costs 45-55 SEK (~US$7), but many low-profile bars advertise stor stark (0.4 L of draft lager) for as little as 25 SEK. A long drink costs around 60-110 SEK. For that reason many Swedes have a small pre-party ("förfest") before they go out to get buzzed before they hit the town and go to nightclubs.

Large clubs can require a cover charge, usually about 100 SEK (or more at special performances). They usually offer a rubber stamp on your hand so you can re-enter as you like without having to pay again.

Be aware that you often have to stand in line to get into a bar or a club. Many places deliberately make their customers wait in line for a while, since a long queue indicates a popular club. At the very fanciest places in the major cities, the queue is often replaced by a disorganized crowd, and the doorman simply points to indicate who gets in and who does not (to be sure to get in either be famous, very good-looking or a friend of the doorman. Or simply a regular).

Most bars that are open until 1AM will have a free entry policy. Most bars and clubs that remain open until 3AM will charge an entrance fee. There some clubs in the larger cities that remain open until 5AM. Their entrance fee will usually be around 200 SEK (~US$28.00) and their entry policy will generally weigh less favourably for the non-rich, non-well-moisturised, non-Swedes, non-friends and non-regulars.

The club's wardrobe (or coat-checking) fee is often mandatory, usually around 20 SEK.

Authorized security guards carry a badge saying Ordningsvakt, see #Stay safe. The club's own doormen carry a badge saying Entrévärd. Though not allowed to use force, these should be taken seriously.

Moonshine (hembränt) is popular in the countryside, though illegal. Though some shipments can be as good as legal vodka, most are disgusting, so you should stick to the real thing.

Learn

All education in Sweden is free for residents. Although the government has subsidized schools and classes, there also exist many private alternatives where a tuition fee is required. Students' Union membership is optional since 2010, but the union fee of around 500 SEK/year can give several perks, such as mediation of dorm rooms or entrance to union parties and events.

As a foreigner wishing to study at a Swedish university or other school of higher education, you do not have to pay tuition fees. However, the current center-right government have introduced tuition fees for non-EU/EES citizens, starting in 2011.

Some important university cities:

If you are a student there is something known as an "academic quarter" where classes and school-related events will start 15 minutes past the hour. At some schools after 18:00 this becomes a "double quarter" where events commence 30 minutes past the hour. Students are expected to be punctual and show up at the appropriate time.

You can find more useful information about studying in Sweden on the Study in Sweden website. [74]

Work

EU and EEA citizens are allowed to work in Sweden without a permit.

Citizens of some non-EU countries are permitted to work in Sweden without the need to obtain a visa or any further authorisation for the period of their 90 day visa-free stay - see the 'Get in' section above for more information.

Working Holiday visas are available for Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and South Korean citizens aged between 18-30, permitting the holder to work for one year.

Citizens of other countries need a work permit, and getting one can be quite a hassle. Swedes, foreign citizens already living in Sweden, and EU/EEA citizens have preference over others in obtaining work in Sweden. Also, if the offer of work is for more than three months, you will also require a Swedish residency permit. More information about the paperwork required is found on the government website swedenabroad.com [75].

As for finding a job, you could try the public "Arbetsförmedlingen" ('Public Employment Service') and give it a try. However, you can also buy a lottery ticket, you will have roughly the same chance to get an income that way. Usually jobs are better provided by certain knowledges and luck. Sweden has an official unemployment rate of about 7.1% (Nov 2010). Salaries range from 15,000 to 70,000 SEK ($2200-$10300/€1600-€7700) per month (2008), but the average salary is around 30 000 SEK, April 2011 ($4500/€3100), and are typically paid only once per month.

Stay safe

Risks in Sweden

Crime/violence: Low
Alcohol-related violence, petty theft, mugging
Authorities/corruption: Low
Nightclub bouncers might be rude
Transportation: Low to Moderate
Wild animal crossings everywhere, and slippery roads in the winter
Health: Low
Tick and mosquito bites (Sweden has been free of Malaria since the 1930s)
Nature: Low to Moderate
Blizzards and avalanches in the northern mountains

Sweden enjoys a comparatively low crime rate and is generally a safe place to travel with violent crime being rare. Use common sense at night, particularly on weeknights when people hit the streets to drink, get drunk, and in some unfortunate cases look for trouble. Mind that it is likely that your home country is less safe than Sweden, so heed whatever warnings you would do in your own country and you will have no worries.

Although there is a significant police presence in the city centers, especially on weekend nights, the rest of Sweden is quite weakly policed. This especially applies to Norrland, where the nearest patrol car might be a hundred kilometers away.

If involved in an argument, try to leave before the person becomes aggressive. If you see a street fight and want to stop it, be sure to have a friend. There have been reports on people injured or even killed when they've tried to stop a street fight. Young people, drunk people, or people who have taken drugs can be dangerous so use common sense. Don't feel bad if you don't do anything: there is a reason why many tend to do that, unfortunately. Do not argue with security guards or bouncers; they might become upset, and they are legally allowed to use some force when needed.

Swedes generally tend to avoid eye contact, especially so in dangerous situations. Looking directly at someone behaving aggressively might provoke him.

Pickpockets are rare but not unheard of. They usually work in tourist-frequented areas, such as airports, large rail stations, shopping areas and festivals. Most Swedes carry their wallets in their pockets or purses and feel quite safe while doing it. Still, almost all stores and restaurants accept most major credit cards so there is no need to carry a lot of cash around. If you have a bike, do lock it or you may lose it.

Be sure to watch for cars in the road junctions. There is a law in Sweden called "The Zebra law" which means that cars must stop at zebra crossings. Many Swedes believe that all the drivers do that. By watching for cars you may save not only your life but also a friend's, since reported injuries have increased because of the law. If you do drive then follow the law, police cars may not be seen everywhere but you never know when they appear.

Counterfeit Swedish banknotes or other documents are very uncommon. Newer 50, 100, 500 and 1000 SEK notes have holograms. Older 100 and 500 SEK banknotes without a hologram are invalid, but older 50 and 1000 SEK banknotes without a hologram are still valid.

Driving in Sweden is among the safest in Europe. It doesn't mean that there are no dangers in the roads; wild animals like moose, deer and boar sometimes stray onto highways. The moose is a big and heavy animal (up to 700 kg and 2,1 m shoulder height) so a collision can be violent and endanger your life even if you wear a seatbelt.

Wearing a seatbelt is mandatory for everyone who is in the car. Some motorways have traffic signs that warn about wild animals and it's mostly seen in the northern areas of Sweden, although they can be spotted in the south as well. Motorway driving is a lot less aggressive than in Denmark or mainland Europe, although this may not apply to drivers who are not Swedish. There are long distances. Take rests if you are tired; it is dangerous to fall asleep when driving.

In Case of Emergency

112 is the phone number to dial in case of fire, medical or criminal emergency. It does not require an area code, regardless of what kind of phone you're using. The number works on any mobile phone, with or without a SIM card, even if it's keylocked.

Police officers are rarely on patrol, and might be too busy to head out for minor crimes. To report a theft or getting in contact with the police in general there is a national phone number 114 14 that will bring you in contact with an operator at a police station (usually nearby, but not always)

Nightclubs and shopping centers usually have security officers with a chest badge saying ordningsvakt, authorized to use force, and infamous to do so. These should be respected. Officers with other labels ("Security" or "Entrévärd") have no special privileges, but are still notoriously violent (as they are usually recruited from the street, without background check). Don't argue with them.

Stay healthy

Since November 2009, the pharmacy business has been deregulated. Certified pharmacies carry a green cross sign and the text Apotek. For small medical problems the pharmacy is sufficient. Major cities carry one pharmacy open at night. Many supermarkets carry non-prescription supplies such as band aid, antiseptics and painkillers.

Swedish health care is usually of a very high quality, but can be quite challenging for foreigners to receive. Most, but not all, medical clinics are state-owned, and their accessibility varies. Therefore, getting a time within a week at some medical centers could prove difficult. In case of a medical emergency, most provinces (and of course, the major cities) have a regional hospital with an around-the-clock emergency ward. However, if you are unlucky you can expect a long wait before getting medical attention.

Tap water in Sweden is of great quality, and contains close to zero bacteria. Water in mountain resorts might contain rust, and water on islands off the coast might be brackish, but it is still safe to drink. There is no real reason for buying bottled water in Sweden. Also, there is bottled water that doesn't meet the requirements to be used as tap water in Sweden.

There are few serious health risks in Sweden. Your primary concern especially in wintertime will be the cold, particularly if trekking or skiing in the northern parts. Northern Sweden is sparsely populated and, if heading out into the wilderness, it is imperative that you register your travel plans with a friend or the authorities so they can come looking for you if you fail to show up. Dress warmly in layers and bring along a good pair of sunglasses to prevent snow blindness, especially in the spring. In snowy mountains, avalanches might be a problem.

Dangerous animals

A serious nuisance in summer are mosquitoes (myggor), hordes of which inhabit Sweden (particularly the north) in summer, especially after rain. While they do not carry malaria or other diseases, Swedish mosquitoes make a distinctive (and highly irritating) whining sound, and their bites are very itchy. As usual, mosquitoes are most active around dawn and sunset — which, in the land of the Midnight Sun, may mean most of the night in summer. There are many types of mosquito repellents available which can be bought from almost any shop. Other summer nuisances are gadflies (bromsar), whose painful but non-poisonous bites can leave a mark lasting for days, and wasps (getingar) whose stings can be deadly if you're allergic. To minimize trouble from insects, use mosquito repellent, ensure your tent has good mosquito netting and bring proper medication if you know that you're allergic to wasp stings.

In southern Sweden and in northern coastal regions there are ticks (fästingar) which appear in summertime. They can transmit Lyme's disease (borreliosis) and more serious TBE (tick-borne encephalitis) through a bite. The risk areas for TBE are mainly the eastern parts of lake Mälaren and the Stockholm archipelago. A vaccination against TBE is available but the first two doses should be completed before a reliable protection can be expected. Borreliosis can be treated with antibiotics. Although incidents are relatively rare and not all ticks carry diseases, it's advisable to wear long trousers rather than shorts if you plan to walk through dense and/or tall grass areas (the usual habitat for ticks). You can buy special tick tweezers (fästingplockare) from the pharmacy that can be used to remove a tick safely if you happen to get bitten. You should remove the tick from your skin as quickly as possible and preferably with the tick tweezers to reduce the risks of getting an infection. If the tick bite starts to form red rings on the skin around it or if you experience other symptoms relating to the bite, you should go visit a doctor as soon as possible. Since ticks are black, they are more easily found if you wear bright clothes.

There's only one type of venomous snake in Sweden: the European adder (huggorm), which has a distinct zig-zag pattern on its back. The snake is not very common, but lives all over Sweden except for the mountains in the north and farmlands in the south. Although its bite hardly ever is life-threatening (except to small children and allergic people), one should be careful in the summertime especially when walking in the forests or on open fields. If you are bitten by a snake, seek medical assistance. All reptiles in Sweden, including adders, are protected by law and must not be harmed.

There aren't any really dangerous marine animals in Sweden, although when bathing in the sea one should watch out for Greater weevers (Fjärsing); this is a small fish that hides in the sand near beaches, its back has several spikes that are poisonous and will hurt a lot if stepped on. The poison of the Greater Weever is to be considered about as dangerous as that of the European adder and will likely cause more pain (this can be quite severe) than damage. There are also types of poisonous jellyfish that can be quite common near beaches. These are distinguished from normal non-poisonous types by their bright blue or red color. These types of jellyfish aren't really dangerous but their venom will hurt. There are no large predatory fish that pose a lethal threat to humans in Sweden, but in extreme cases the Pike (gädda), a common fish in Sweden's many lakes has been known to bite people when threatened. You probably run a higher risk of being struck by lightning than a Pike bite though!

As for other dangerous wildlife, there's not much more than a few extremely rare encounters with brown bear (brunbjörn) and wolf (varg) in the wilderness. Both of these animals are listed as protected species. Contrary to popular belief abroad, there are no polar bears in Sweden, let alone polar bears walking city streets. If you encounter a brown bear in the woods, walk slowly away from it while talking loudly - the bear is most likely to feel threatened if you surprise it. In the unlikely event of a brown bear attacking you should play dead, protect your head and make yourself as small as possible. Or the opposite, there have been people surviving a brown bear encounter by screaming as loud as possible, jumping, and making oneself as big as possible. Bears are most likely to attack if they are injured, provoked by a dog, going to hibernate or protecting their cubs.

Bears in Sweden have killed no more than a handful of people since 1900. Swedish wolves have not killed a human being since 1821. In general, one shouldn't worry about dangerous encounters with wild beasts in Sweden.

Respect

Most Swedes have liberal, cosmopolitan, secular, egalitarian and environmentalist values by Anglo-Saxon standards. This spares Western tourists from cultural clashes which might be imminent in other countries. However, some strict rules of etiquette are almost unique to Swedish people.

Sweden - a country of numbers
Swedish people are reputed to be rigid and organized. Almost everything has a number. Swedish people have a ten-digit personal identity number (starting by date of birth in the form YYMMDD) used in contact with all kinds of government authorities, usually mentioned before the name. Customers in Swedish shops or bank need to take a queue number note from a machine to be served in order. Each product at Systembolaget is known for its product number (which is often easier to keep track of than foreign-sounding names), and the most important feature in selection is the alcohol content (often divided by price to find the most cost-efficient product). If you order a drink in the bar, be prepared to tell how many centiliters of liquor you want. Most grocers provide milk in four or more fat content levels (plus an organic version of each, barista milk and low lactose milk, not to mention filmjölk, yoghurt and all other milk products). Before going outdoors, Swedes check air temperature, and before bathing in open water, they check water temperature. Many Swedes also own barometers, hygrometers and rain gauges to support the eternal conversation about weather with statistics. In conversation about housing, Swedes define their flats by number of rooms (En trea - "a three" - is simply a three-room-and-kitchen flat) and usually ask each other about the area by square meter. They have week numbers running from 1 to 52. The world famous furniture retailer IKEA diverts from this pattern, with Nordic product names.


  • Though narcotics are not unheard of, most Swedes, old and young, are strongly opposed to them, and the criminal penalties are harsh by Swedish standards. This also applies to cannabis and other "soft drugs".
  • When it comes to alcohol, Swedes are as double-natured as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Before work or driving, one beer is one too many, and drunk driving is a crime genuinely despised in Sweden. However, drunkenness can be a regular part of many Swedish traditions (e.g. Midsommar, Valborg, etc.)--keep this in mind if you abstain from alcohol. Some Swedes frown on people being sober at a party and reject excuses other than driving or pregnancy--though no formal policy exists that would force one to drink against their will.
  • Salespeople, waiters and other service employees are usually less attentive than their colleagues in other countries, to respect customers' privacy, except a short "hej" to entering customers. Customers are supposed to call for attention.
  • When entering a bus or another form of public transportation it is often considered unpolite to sit next to another person if there is another twin seat available.
  • Always ask if you should remove your shoes or not when entering a Swedish home. In most homes it is customary to remove your shoes. Only on very rare occasions is the wearing of shoes indoors considered acceptable. Generally, you will see a place by the front door of most homes where shoes are to be stored and can surmise from the presence of other guests' shoes what is expected. If you just assume that you are to take your shoes off upon entry, in most cases you will have done the right thing. Bringing indoor shoes to other people's homes is customary among some. Most Swedish homes have wood flooring; wall-to-wall carpets are uncommon. Should you be dressed up and the host asks you to take your shoes off, then you should do that. As in every other culture one's home is one's castle, and you would not like someone to be disrespectful in your own home.
  • Despite rumors of the "Swedish sin", Swedish people are generally not accepting of public nudity except at approved nudist beaches. Don't go skinny-dipping in public beaches if you are more than about four years old. Female toplessness is accepted but not very common (though prohibited at many public baths), breastfeeding in public is also accepted. Male toplessness is accepted in the countryside and at the beach, but might be frowned upon in urban areas.
  • Greetings between men and women who know each other (e.g., are good friends, relatives, etc.) are often in the form of a hug. Swedes don't cheek-kiss to greet but are aware that other cultures do. If you are a visitor from France and do cheek-kiss a Swede, they will return the favor but probably feel a bit awkward doing so.
  • Show up on the minute for meetings and meals, preferably five minutes before the set time. There is no "fashionably late" in Sweden. However, showing up early at a private invitation is considered rude. If it's acceptable to arrive, late it's usually mentioned specifically (e.g.,"...arrive after 1700") or there exist formal rules (some universities apply an "akademisk kvart", an academic quarter hour, within which it is acceptable to arrive to lectures).
  • In regards to homosexuality, Sweden is quite tolerant to gays. In fact, as of May 2009, same-sex marriages have legal standing in Sweden. The chance of facing extreme criticism or homophobia is low in Sweden, as the country has anti-discrimination and hate crime laws. Violence against gays and lesbians is relatively rare.
  • As emphasized in many places Sweden is a multicultural country - as such the paramount point of respect to embrace this attitude as much as possible. Outward displays of racism, sexism, or homophobia will be met with hostility. Even slight preferences may be noticed and noted.
  • Of equal importance is to avoid assuming positions or cultures based on identifiable signs. For example the Chinese girl you might meet may speak no word of Chinese and have never been anywhere near China. This point is especially true for individuals from areas with ethnic strife - don't assume that anyone you meet is either personally connected to, or shares the viewpoints of their ethnic-origin Nation.

Cope

  • Around payday, on the 25th of each month, stores and bars can get very crowded.
  • Smoking is not allowed in restaurants, bars or any other indoor establishments (except outdoor terraces and designated smoking rooms). Smoking in someone's home is usually out of the question; if you ask kindly you might be allowed to light up on the balcony or the porch. Relatively few Swedes smoke daily, but some men and women use "snus" (snuff), a tobacco pouch inserted into the upper lip. It comes in a wide variety of different styles and flavors and in both loose and portion form. Portions are more popular and generally recommended for public events, as loose snus can be very messy when removed. Unlike American oral tobaccos, it is not usually necessary to spit if the snus is properly placed. Most bars and clubs will have snus receptacles instead of ashtrays on the tables. Be warned, however, that snus can seem very harsh to first time users, with a nicotine level several times that of cigarettes.

Bring

  • Credit card. Nearly all stores and all ATMs accept VISA and MasterCard, as well as Maestro (Switch). PIN-pads are widely used instead of signatures (even for credit cards), so if your card has a PIN, memorize it before you leave home. Don't expect stores to accept foreign currency, apart from close to the borders, where usually only the neighbour currency is accepted (i.e. danish krone, Norwegian krone or euro). Larger stores in Stockholm and at larger airports and railway stations often accept payment in Euro, however.
  • Passport or EU national identity card as identification. A driver's license might work but that is not guaranteed. You will frequently be asked to prove age or identity - for instance when using your credit card, when buying alcohol, when renting accommodation or when entering bars and clubs. Banks accept only Swedish identity documents. Swedish bureaucracy is efficient but rigid.
  • Warm clothes and extra shoes. Weather in Sweden is unpredictable. It can get cold and/or wet, but almost never too hot.
  • If you plan on staying in Sweden for an extended period of time pack some rain clothes. If you don't own any, they can be bought in many stores across Sweden - but can be somewhat expensive.
  • Mobile phone. Swedish GSM and 3G coverages are great, at least in populated areas but don't expect it to work everywhere. In rural areas the state-owned operator Telia might be the only one available. If you have another operator you may only place SOS calls. Official figures say that 60-70% (by total area - most of the populated parts are covered fully) of the country has GSM coverage and about 40% for 3G. The number of public phones are going down a lot because most Swedes have a mobile phone. There's even very close to complete coverage in the subway.
  • Powerplug adapters, if you come from the UK or North America. Sweden follow European standard 230 volt 50Hz and uses Schuko plugs.
  • European Health Service card, if you are an EU/EES citizen.
  • In forests and mountains, use mosquito repellent, myggmedel, which is available in most food stores.

Do not bring

  • Cash money from your home country - see above.
  • Tear gas or pepper spray for self-defence. These require authorization to be carried in Sweden, and you will probably not have use for them either way.

Contact

Sweden's international calling code number is +46. Payphones are available, with older models only accepting cards (special smartchip phone cards as well as credit cards), and newer models that accept coins (Swedish as well as Euros). Collect calls are possible by dialing 2# on a pay phone.

Sweden has excellent wireless GSM and 3G/UMTS coverage, even in rural areas except in the central and northern interior parts of the country. The major networks are Telia, Tele2/Comviq, Telenor and 3 (Tre). Swedish GSM operates on the European 900/1800 MHz frequencies (Americans will need a triband phone), with 3G/UMTS on 2100 MHz (currently with 7.2-14.4 Mbit HSDPA speeds). Only the Telia network supports EDGE. Some operators may ask for a Swedish personnummer (or samordningsnummer) to get a number, although with most operators you can get prepaid without any, "personnummer" or ID and these are sold and refillable at most supermarkets and tobacco stores

Prepaid USB 3G modems can be bought cheaply (around 150 SEK) in many shops. They are a good alternative to WiFi in Sweden. They cost around 100 SEK/week and 300 SEK/month to use. Data limits are high (typically 20 GB/month).

Sweden is the world's second most Internet connected country (second to Iceland). The Swedish postal system ("Posten AB") is often considered efficient and reliable, with locations placed inside of supermarkets and convenience stores (look for the yellow horn logo). Stamps for ordinary letters (to anywhere in the world) are 12 SEK and the letter usually needs 2 days within EU. Stamps can be purchased in most supermarkets, ask the cashier.

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