Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: Konungariket Sverige) is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. It has borders with Norway (west and north) and Finland (northeast). Sweden joined the European Union on January 1, 1995. Its capital is Stockholm.
Land area: 158,927 sq mi (411,621 sq km); total area: 173,731 sq mi (449,964 sq km)
Population (2007 est.): 9,031,088 (growth rate: 0.2%); birth rate: 10.2/1000; infant mortality rate: 2.8/1000; life expectancy: 80.6; density per sq mi: 57
Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Stockholm, 1,622,300 (metro. area), 1,251,900 (city proper)
Other large cities: Göteborg, 506,600; Malmö, 245,300; Uppsala, 127,300
Monetary unit: Krona
Language: Swedish, small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities
Ethnicity/race: indigenous population: Swedes with Finnish and Sami minorities; foreign-born or first-generation immigrants: Finns, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, Turks
Religions: Lutheran 87%, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist
Sweden, which occupies the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, is the fourth-largest country in Europe and is slightly larger than, for example, California. The country slopes eastward and southward from the Kjólen Mountains along the Norwegian border, where the peak elevation is Kebnekaise at 6,965 ft (2,123 m) in Lapland. In the north are mountains and many lakes. To the south and east are central lowlands and south of them are fertile areas of forest, valley, and plain. Along Sweden’s rocky coast, chopped up by bays and inlets, are many islands, the largest of which are Gotland and Öland.
Situated in 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.
Sweden is surrounded by Norway (west), Finland (northeast), the Skagerrak, Kattegat and Öresund straits (southwest) and the Baltic Sea (east). 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.
The 25 provinces of Sweden have total area of 449,964 km² (173,732 sq mi), Sweden is the 55th largest country in the world. It is the 5th largest in Europe, and the largest in Northern Europe. Sweden´s population was 9.1 million people in 2006.
The lowest elevation in Sweden is in the bay of Lake Hammarsjön, near Kristianstad at -2.41 m (-7.91 ft) below sea level. The highest point is Kebnekaise at 2,111 m (6,926 ft) above sea level.
Sweden has 25 provinces or landskap (landscapes): Bohuslän, Blekinge, Dalarna, Dalsland, Gotland, Gästrikland, Halland, Hälsingland, Härjedalen, Jämtland, Lapland, Medelpad, Norrbotten, Närke, Skåne, Småland, Södermanland, Uppland, Värmland, Västmanland, Västerbotten, Västergötland, Ångermanland, Öland and Östergötland. While these provinces serve no political or administrative purpose, they are common in everyday language. The provinces are usually grouped together in three large lands: Norrland, Svealand and Götaland.
About 15% of Sweden lies north of the Arctic Circle. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, with increasing forest coverage northward. The highest population density is in the Öresund region in southern Sweden, and in the valley of lake Mälaren in central Sweden. Gotland and Öland are Sweden’s largest islands; Vänern and Vättern are Sweden’s largest lakes.
Sweden is a highly industrialized country. Agriculture, once accounting for nearly all of Sweden’s economy, now employs less than 2% of the labour force. Extensive forests, rich iron ore deposits, and hydroelectric power are the natural resources which, through the application of technology and efficient organization, have enabled Sweden to become a leading producing and exporting nation.
The Swedish economic picture has brightened significantly since the severe recession in the early 1990s. Growth has been strong in recent years, with an annual average GDP growth rate of 2.5% for the period 2000-2004 and 2.7% in 2005. The inflation rate was low in 2006, with an annual average inflation rate of about 1.5%, but unemployment remains a stubborn problem. The inflation rate rose to 3.5% in December 2007. The unemployment rate held steady in recent years at about 5% and in 2005 reached 7.8%. Unemployment in 2007 reached 5.2%. Since the mid-1990s, Sweden’s export sector has grown significantly as the information technology (IT) industry, telecommunications, and services have overtaken traditional industries such as steel, paper, and pulp. The overall current-account surplus has traditionally been much smaller than the merchandise trade balance, as Sweden has generally run a deficit on trade in services, net income flows, and unrequited transfers. However, since 2003 this has not been the case, as the services balance swung into surplus in 2003 and improved further in 2004 and 2005. In addition, the income account also swung from deficit into surplus in 2003, before slipping back to register small deficits in 2004 and 2005. Although the transfers balance remained in deficit, mainly as a result of Sweden’s contributions to the EU budget, the overall current-account surplus was larger than the trade surplus in 2003-05. Most categories of services exports produced an improvement over this period, but the biggest contribution came from business services exports, followed by transportation and royalties and license fees.
|IKEA in Kungens Kurva, Stockholm - source|
During 2005 real GDP rose by 2.5%, 3.4% in 2006, and 2.9% (est.) in 2007. The government budget improved dramatically from a record deficit of more than 12% of GDP in 1993 to a surplus of 0.9% of GDP in 2006. The new, strict budget process with spending ceilings set by parliament, and a constitutional change to an independent Central Bank, have greatly improved policy credibility. This can be seen in the long-term interest rate margin versus the Euro, which is negligible. From the perspective of longer-term fiscal sustainability, the long-awaited reform of old-age pensions entered into force in 1999. This entails a far more robust system vis-à-vis adverse demographic and economic trends, which should keep the ratio of total pension disbursements to the aggregate wage bill close to 20% in the decades ahead. Taken together, both fiscal consolidation and pension reform have brought public finances back on a sustainable footing. Gross public debt, which jumped from 43% of GDP in 1990 to 78% in 1994, stabilized around the middle of the 1990s and has been decreasing in recent years. In 2007 public debt was about 35.6% of GDP. These figures show excellent improvement of the Swedish economy since the crisis of the early 1990s.
Eighty percent of the Swedish labour force is unionized. For most unions there is a counterpart employers’ organization for businesses. The unions and employer organizations are independent of both the government and political parties, although the largest federation of unions, the National Swedish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), always has maintained close links to the largest political party, the Social Democrats. There is no fixed minimum wage by legislation. Instead, wages are set by collective bargaining.
In recent years, there were major foreign investments in computer software and hardware, IT/telecommunications, industrial goods, and health care.
The most important Swedish companies are: Ikea, Sony Ericsson, Electrolux, H&M and Volvo.
|Volvo - source|
Sweden’s prehistory begins in the Allerød 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 characterised by small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers using flint technology.
Between the eighth and eleventh centuries BC come the Swedish Viking Age.
During this period, it is believed that the Swedes expanded from eastern Sweden and incorporated the Geats to the south. While Vikings from what is today Norway, Denmark and the west coast and south of Sweden travelled south and west, Swedish vikings and Gutar travelled east and south, going to Finland, the Baltic countries, Russia, the Mediterranean and further as far as Baghdad.
|Gustav Vasa - source|
Modern Sweden emerged out of the Kalmar Union formed in 1397, and by the unification of the country by King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century. In the 17th century the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish empire. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula, were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries. The historically integrated eastern half of Sweden, Österland, was lost to Russia in 1809 to become the Grand duchy of Finland of Imperial Russia. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by military means forced Norway into a union with Sweden, a union which lasted until 1905. Since that, Sweden has been at peace.
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. The Economist Intelligence Unit, while admitting that democracy is difficult to measure, lists Sweden in first place in its index of democracy assessing 167 countries. The nation’s modern legislative body is the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament), with 349 members, which chooses the Prime Minister. Parliamentary elections are held every four years, on the third Sunday of September.
Popular government in Sweden rests upon ancient tradition. The Swedish parliament (Riksdag) stems from tribal courts (Ting) and the election of kings in the Viking age. It became a permanent institution in the 15th century. Sweden’s government is a limited constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Executive authority is vested in the cabinet, which consists of a prime minister and 22 ministers who run the government departments. The present Alliance for Sweden government, led by Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, came to power in September 2006. King Carl XVI Gustaf (Bernadotte) ascended to the throne on September 15, 1973. His authority is formal, symbolic, and representational. The unicameral Riksdag has 349 members, popularly elected every 4 years, and is in session generally from September through mid-June. Governing parties: M,C,FP,KD
Last European Parliament election June 2009 See: • http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/archive/elections2009/en/sweden_en.html • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2009_(Sweden)
|The Riksdag building, Stockholm - source|
Sweden has three levels of government: national, regional, and local. In addition, there is the European level which has acquired increasing importance following Sweden’s entry into the EU. At parliamentary elections and municipal and county council elections held every four years, voters elect those who are to decide how Sweden is governed and administered.
Sweden is divided into 18 counties (lan), 18 county councils (landsting), 290 municipalities (kommuner), and 2 semi-independent regions. Each county (lan) is headed by a governor, who is appointed by the central government. The counties coordinate administration with national political goals for the county. The county council (landsting) is a regional government that is popularly elected with particular responsibility for health and medical care. The municipalities are local governments that deal with issues such as education, public transportation and social welfare. Elected municipal councils are headed by executive committees roughly analogous to the boards of commissioners found in some U.S. cities.
Swedish law, drawing on Germanic and Roman, is neither as codified as in France or other countries influenced by the Napoleonic Code, nor as dependent on judicial practice and precedents as in the United States. Legislative and judicial institutions include, in addition to the Riksdag, the Supreme Court, the Supreme Administrative Court, the Labor Court, the Law Council, District Courts and Courts of Appeal, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the parliamentary ombudsmen and the Chancellor of Justice who oversee the application of laws with particular attention to abuses of authority.
At the national level, the Swedish people are represented by the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) which has legislative powers. Proposals for new laws are presented by the government which also implements decisions taken by the Riksdag. The government is assisted in its work by the government offices, comprising a number of ministries, and some 300 central government agencies and public administrations.
Over 80% of Swedes belong to the Lutheran Church of Sweden, but seldom go to church. Attendance is a bit higher among members of free churches such as Pentecostalists and the Salvation Army. Christenings, weddings and funerals are usually made in church, although civil weddings are generally accepted - especially for subsequent marriages. Around half of Swedes are confirmed, usually at the age of fifteen.
All official holidays in Sweden are established by acts of Parliament. The official holidays can be divided into Christian and non-Christian holidays. The main Christian holidays are Jul (Christmas), Trettondedag jul (Epiphany), Påsk (Easter), Kristi himmelsfärds dag (Ascension Day), Pingstdagen (Pentecost) and Alla helgons dag (All Saints). The non-Christian holidays are: Nyårsdagen (New Year’s Day), Första maj (International Workers’ Day), Sveriges nationaldag (National Day) and Midsommar (Midsummer).
|ABBA - source|
www.volvocars.com - about Volvo, the worlds best producer of cars that are very well known for its safety
www.ikea.com - about Swedish furniture and house decoration based company
www.absolut.com - all the information about Absolute Vodka, Swedish typical alcoholic drink
www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Nobel - speaks about the person who gave the origin to Nobel price awarding
|Alfred Nobel - source|
www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pippi_Longstocking - all the information about Swedish fairy tale series about Pipi
www.icehotel.com - are you interested in experiencing a night or two in ice hotel, you will find all the info on this website
Swedish society is a great example of tolerance and openness.
This nation is one of the more reserved within the EU. When you want to develop a conversation with a Swede, he or she will always first listen to you and then give you his or her opinion. Swedes do not interrupt each other while speaking which makes the business conversation very clear and well-organised.
Swedes are egalitarian in nature. They speak softly and calmly without emotions, especially in public. Swedes rarely take hospitality or kindness for granted and will often give thanks. Failing to say thank you for something is perceived negatively in Sweden.
Behaviours in Sweden are strongly balanced towards ’lagom’ or, ’everything in moderation’. Excess, flashiness and boasting are abhorred in Sweden and individuals strive towards the middle way. People work hard but not too hard, they go out and enjoy themselves, but without participating in anything extreme. Due to the strong leaning towards egalitarianism in Sweden, competition is not encouraged and children are not raised to believe that they are any more special than any other child.
- Ensure that you give at least two weeks notice if you are arranging a meeting in Sweden.
- Punctuality is absolutely essential. If you are late, then this will reflect very badly on you and will be viewed as discourteous.
- Swedes rarely engage in small talk at the start of a meeting. Instead, people will move directly to the topics at hand.
- Meetings are typically governed by an agenda which is distributed to individuals prior to the meeting. There is very little talk outside of the agenda topics.
- Although most meetings are managed by a particular person, all individuals are expected to contribute.
- Swedish business personnel are focused on detail and as such, any presentations should be well prepared with supporting, accurate and relevant data. Be assured that your hosts will pay a great deal of attention to the detail.
- Swedes rarely make decisions during initial meetings. The first meeting that you have with your hosts is likely to be fairly general and low key.
- Swedes are direct communicators and as such, "Saying what you mean and meaning what you say" is both practiced and expected.
- ’Awkward silences’ are rarely seen as awkward in Sweden. Swedes do not rush to fill conversation silences.
- If you are trying to sell something then try to tone down the use of emphasis or superlatives as it is very rare that a Swede will over elaborate during a conversation – even if they are trying to sell something. Failure to adhere to this could result in your delivery being viewed as insincere.
- It is essential that you are cool and controlled during negotiations and that you do not demonstrate any emotion as this will be perceived negatively.
- Additionally, always bear in mind that the egalitarian nature of Sweden means that decisions and consensus are made across teams. As such endearing yourself to the most senior executives and directors will be of no avail.
- www.folk.uio.no - Swedish stereotypes
- www.eoiaviles.org – essay speaking about a typical Swede (PDF)
- www.fika.de - funny way of describing what it is typical Swede
- www.international.monster.com - etiquette guide to Sweden
- www.ediplomat.com - etiquette guide to Sweden, working and behaving in public places
Many people imagine Stockholm when speaking about Sweden but it is not the only place to go. All the nature, ice hotels, cities, boats and typical Swedish colour make Sweden the most thrilling experience out of all the northern countries of EU.
For further information look at www.visitsweden.com
|Ice hotel - source|
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by more than nine million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along the coast and on the Åland islands. It is to a considerable extent mutually intelligible with Norwegian and to a lesser extent with Danish. Along with the other North Germanic languages, Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era.
The Swedish alphabet is a 29-letter alphabet, using the basic 26-letter Latin alphabet plus the three additional letters Å / å, Ä / ä, and Ö / ö constructed in modern time from the habit of writing the later letter of ao, ae and oe on top of the former. Though these combinations are historically modified versions of A and O according to the English range of usage for the word diacritic, these 3 characters are not considered as diacritics within the narrower Swedish application since they are sorted in that order following z as independent letters. Before the release of the 13th edition of Svenska Akademiens Ordlista in April 2006, w was treated as merely a variant of v used only in names (such as "Wallenberg") and foreign words ("bowling"), and so was both sorted and pronounced as a v. Other diacritics (to use the broader English word usage referenced here) are unusual in Swedish; é is sometimes used to indicate that the stress falls on a terminal syllable containing e, especially when the stress changes the meaning (ide vs. idé); occasionally other acute accents and, less often, grave accents can be seen in names and some foreign words. The letter à is used to refer to unit cost, equivalent to the at sign (@) in English.
More phrases and useful information about dialect selecting in Sweden you find at www.wikipedia.org - Vocabulary