Countries Facts

15 Interesting facts about Sweden

facts about sweden
Written by Alizay Khan

We’re looking at fifteen facts about Sweden. We’re talking about a very fascinating country that embodies the Scandinavian dream. That, of course, is the kingdom of Sweden with a population of fewer than 10 million people. Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union, based on its territory.

It is still officially a kingdom. Although the royal family has mostly symbolic power in the state, although most people know it for being the land of Vikings in the past, we have to thank Sweden for many innovative inventions and frankly, a very sustainable lifestyle. 15 things you didn’t know about Sweden. 

facts about sweden

Swedes pay a lot of taxes 

Sweden is notorious for having one of the highest tax rates in the world which would normally be considered bad, especially in the US. The current tax rate is fifty-one point four per cent of the GDP and the country uses a progressive income tax rating system. For example, if you earn more than seventy-two thousand five hundred and forty-three dollars per year, 31 per cent goes to income tax and your employer also has to pay 25 per cent for social fees.

However, Swedes love this about their country so much so that a tax is called a scat, which means treasure in Swedish. That is because they receive free education, including zero university taxes and health care. Since 27 per cent of taxes are invested in these areas, police and the military get only five per cent. While 42 per cent goes to Social Security. 

Swedish fathers get a lot of days off for parental leave 

Having a child is stressful enough and a lot of that stress is finding time off work to care for a newborn. Facts about Sweden is that normally government policies favour maternity leave, meaning that new fathers usually get to spend less time with the children.

Well, certainly the Swedish government thinks that this is not okay. Sweden is also a big promoter of gender equality and currently gives 480 days off work to new parents that can split it. However, they like to care for their child. The country was the first to allow families to divide believe and 390 days of that are subsidized with taxpayer money. 

facts about sweden

Stockholm is one of the greenest cities in the world 

Sweden is big on ecology. So big that its capital, Stockholm was the first to receive the European Green Capital Award which is given by the European Union. It also means that the capital is one of the cleanest cities worldwide, giving us an example of what real sustainable living looks like. For example, these buses are fueled with methane from sewage systems instead of oil, and the recycling rate of the whole city is around 90 per cent.

There are also a lot of parks and they’ve even managed to redevelop an area that was once a toxic industrial site called Hammer Be Shoe Stad. Facts about Sweden is that it now has more than 25,000 people living there who use car-sharing, live in green buildings and benefit from high tech waste management systems. It’s also said that Stockholm will cease using fossil fuel by 2050. 

Sweden is a world leader in terms of innovation 

Facts about Sweden used to be one of the poorest countries in Europe. Just one hundred years ago, it all changed when the country started investing heavily in its infrastructure and, of course, in its people, Sweden has less than 10 million people but ranks among the highest in terms of global innovation.

The stable political climate, high-quality education and promotion of creative ideas has given the world quite a few successful companies. AstraZeneca, Electrolux, Skype, Spotify, IKEA, just to name a few of the world-famous businesses that are Swedish. The country is driving world innovation and we want to know what the hell come up with next. 

The H&M is the richest person in Sweden with a net worth of 16.4 billion dollars 

Everyone knows H&M. But few people know the company is Swedish. The first store was opened in 1947 by Airlink Pearson and since became a global fashion empire. Airlink son Stephan is now Sweden’s richest person with a net worth of sixteen point four billion U.S. dollars.

As of 2018, he’s now the chairman of HM lives in Stockholm and has founded the Mentor Foundation, a nonprofit that helps young people who are struggling with substance abuse issues. The Harrisons like to keep business in the family. Since his son, Karl Johan has taken over as the CEO of HnM in 2009, 

facts about sweden

Sweden lost out on an 85 billion dollar deal with Norway 

Facts about Sweden is that it has a great economy and is one of the happiest countries in the world. However, its neighbour Norway is way better off, and it’s all thanks to the oil. Norway is insanely rich because of its oil and gas resources, which make up 22 per cent of the country’s GDP. It is, of course, one of the highest in the world but in the 1970s, they had mostly no idea how much oil they had and proposed an agreement that went like this.

They would give oil concessions to Sweden in exchange for lumber and 40 per cent of Volvo. The biggest Swedish company at the time Volvo shareholders, however, rejected the proposal in 1979 and the deal fell through big time. That same deal would have been worth 85 billion dollars today. Ironically, Volvo sold in 2014 for just 1.5 billion. 

The Nobel Prize for literature is in jeopardy

Each year, the prestigious Swedish Academy Awards, the highly coveted Nobel Prize to the most valuable scientists, writers, economists and great thinkers of the world. It has had its series of controversial events in the past but this year they will not award a Nobel Prize for literature. Since a shocking scandal has taken over the academy. It turns out that several women have accused Zhang Cortado, a photographer and husband of a Swedish Academy member of sexual assault.

What’s more, he abused his status several times in the past to reveal the names of Nobel Prize winners before the official announcement. The Permanent Secretary, Sara Daniels, has even resigned from her position following the scandal. It seems that our NO is no stranger to controversy. In 2006, he reportedly groped Swedish Crown Princess Victoria at a formal event, according to some news publications. 

facts about sweden

Drinking alcohol is highly regulated by the Swedish government

This is something that most people find shocking facts about Sweden. It’s a free country in all respects but has rules in place that promote certain behaviours for its citizens. In the 19th century, it was legal to make your alcohol at home and Swedes drank a lot, so much so that moderate societies started to appear and nowadays you can buy alcohol in supermarkets.

Well, only drinks that contain 3.5 per cent alcohol at most. So if you want to throw a party, you would normally go to a system blog at the state-owned liquor store. Oh, and you can’t purchase it if you’re not 20 years old. Has a consequence system blog. It is one of the world’s biggest buyers of spirits and other alcoholic beverages. 

Sweden and Finland fight over where Santa Claus lives

On a lighter note. Did you know that Santa Claus lives in Sweden or? No. Was it Finland? Believe it or not, this is a debate that the two countries have and the results are inconclusive. That is because of Lapland, the magical Northern Territory of the Northern Lights. Amazing sights and reindeer is divided between the northern parts of both countries.

Finland also has the Santa Claus Village, which you can find Centre’s main post office and other attractions. According to Swedish researchers, it makes more sense for Santa to be in Sweden. The geography department at the Swedish University has used satellite images to calculate what would be the main centre of the global population based on that. Facts about Sweden a Swedish town called Joke Molk would be the best location for gift distribution purposes. 

IKEA is the world’s most profitable furniture company

You have a piece of furniture in your home that you’ve assembled yourself and most likely it’s an IKEA product. The company was founded by then 17-year-old Ingvar Kamprad in 1947 and has won over the world with its Scandinavian chic designs. In 2016 alone, the company had a revenue of 35 billion euro or forty-one billion dollars.

Kamprad was also the richest Swedish person and probably the richest in the country’s history as well with an estimated net worth of 58 billion dollars, before his death in January of 2018. 

facts about sweden

Swedes invented a green fitness craze

Facts about Sweden is that Swedish people enjoy working out in nature and saving the environment. It was only a matter of time before this happened. What you have to do is jog, but also pick up litter on your way. And it’s called plugging. The trend has even started to spread to other countries as well.

Pluggers use hashtag blogging on Instagram. To promote this new type of workout they have succeeded in gathering communities of people all over the world that are committed to having a cleaner environment. Maybe next time you put on your running shoes, you might want to pick up that annoying plastic bottle on the sidewalk as well. 

Sweden’s national food obsessions are not so Swedish 

Another facts about Sweden is that it is known for its relative openness to receive and integrate immigrants. Swedes enjoy Fika, a tradition that says you should take at least one break period per day to enjoy coffee and eating Swedish meatballs for lunch. However, the meatball recipe has come under scrutiny lately, since they are not so Swedish.

The recipe was brought from Turkey, which was then known as the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century by King Charles the 12th. It was subsequently integrated into with the local cuisine, along with a taste for really strong coffee. The president of the Turkish Corporation for Coordination Agency went on to say that IKEA should not sell the famous meatballs as if they were a Swedish dish. 

facts about sweden

it’s illegal to spank children in Sweden

A pretty worrying statistic says that 80 per cent of Americans have admitted to hitting their young children, according to CNN. It’s not quite illegal to punish children in that manner at all in the U.S. There are two camps, the one that’s against corporal punishment and the one that says it’s OK to spank children from time to time. Sweden, however, was the first country to ban this type of punishment, considering its abuse.

Nowadays, Swedish parents rarely hit children in any way and their example has been followed by around 30 countries. Schools are also places where corporal punishment is prohibited and it seems to be working out great for them. The whole philosophy is that children should be disciplined gently.

Hitting will only break the trust between child and carer and that will lead to long term negative effects such as behavioural problems. 

ABBA is Sweden’s most beloved export 

At the height of their fame, ABBA was second only to carmaker Volvo as the biggest Swedish export. The band was so famous that it sold around 500 million records and were the biggest best selling artists for the non-English speaking world as Swedes. This is a huge deal since they topped the charts in the 70s in the UK, Ireland, Canada and of course the US.

Apparently what makes this band still insanely popular is the fact they’re relatable, sweet lyrics and music that was inspired by Swedish folk songs and bands like The Beatles and The Beach Boys. What’s more, the four members have decided to reunite after a 35-year hiatus and will release new music in December 2018, facts about Sweden. 

The three-point seat belt is a Swedish invention

We have a lot to thank Sweden for ABBA, Skype, Spotify, the pacemaker, HIV tracker and of course, the seat belt. We take it for granted but back in the day, it wasn’t a requirement for cars, or at least it was less efficient during collisions. Safety engineer Niaz Spolin was working in 1959 for carmaker Volvo when he invented the three-point V-shaped seatbelt that especially created to protect people during an accident.

Thankfully, Volvo had made an open patent, which means that every car manufacturer had the right to use the design free of charge. Make no mistake, every car in the world uses it nowadays and it probably has saved around one million lives so far, according to Britain’s Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. 

Facts about Sweden, they have to import trash 

Sweden has a garbage problem. And it’s not what you think. Sweden has run out of the trash for recycling and so has to ask for help from other countries to power its recycling plants. So how did they end up with this situation? Well, it turns out they are so environmentally conscious, they have a pretty heavy taxation system for fossil fuels and powers half of its electricity from renewable materials.

Since other countries like the UK have bans on landfills, they prefer to send it to Sweden instead of paying the fine for garbage. At the end of the day, the recycling system is so good they will surely be the first country to stop using oil products and welcome the new era of cleaner energy sources. Hopefully, we’ll learn from them sooner rather than later. 

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Alizay Khan

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