Following last week’s posts on Europe, I’ve decided to follow that up with a series on my adopted country Sweden. Before we get to more weighty issues, today is an overview of Sweden for those that don’t know very much about this country.
Sweden is surprisingly big. It is the 55th largest in the world but the 4th biggest in Europe. It’s near 450,000 sq km makes it bigger than Germany. It’s a long country, sharing the longest uninterrupted border in Europe with Norway. As a northern nation it stretches into the Arctic, giving it long summer days and long winter nights! The capital and largest city is Stockholm, with other notable cities being Gothenburg, Malmö and Uppsala.
Sweden’s is surprisingly small. With around 9.5 million people there are around 20 cities in the world that have more people. It’s an increasingly diverse population with between 15-20% having a non-Swedish heritage. This map shows some of the main countries of origin for immigrants to Sweden.
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy, so it has a King who has a palace but no power. It is a strong democracy where consensus rules and pretty much everything needs voting and everyone has a right to say something although no one says anything particularly interesting, because to stand out would be, well, un-Swedish.
It’s a member of the EU but not the Euro, it’s a part of Europe but not Nato. For further explanation of Europe watch this
Economy & standard of living
Sweden has a competitive economy with a large welfare state. It enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world.
Swedish things you may have heard of
Ikea, Volvo (now owned by the Chinese), Electrolux, Ericsson, H&M, Björn Borg, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, ABBA, Spotify, Skype, the Swedish Chef.
We’ll get to that!