Sweden 

Christianity has a problem with science in Sweden

Sweden is a secular country. That’s not news. The more interesting question is why? There is of course no one single answer – there are lots of answers and each one is a part of the puzzle. But one big piece of the puzzle seems to be that secular Swedes seem to have concluded en masse that science has disproved religion. Which is charmingly naive but they seem to have swallowed that so thoroughly that it’s going to be really hard to shift. So why do I say that? Consider…

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Sweden 

Sweden is in the red

It’s fairly well known that Sweden is a pretty secular place. If you’ll click through here you’ll see that four years ago I wrote about a map that showed the countries where the evangelical church is growing. All over the world. There were also a handful of countries where the evangelical church was growing but not quite as fast as the host population (the UK being one of those) and then there were about 4 countries where the evangelical church is declining (and Sweden is one of those). So I…

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Sweden 

Was Sweden ever a Christian country?

It’s reasonably well-known that Sweden is one of the most agnostic or atheistic countries on the planet. Their lack of interest in all things related to the church is famous. Couple that with their generally ordered, well-run, democratic and prosperous society and Sweden has become the poster-country for secular people everywhere. But was Sweden ever really Christian? If we mean did Sweden have an official state religion then the answer is yes – Sweden had a state religion and a state church for centuries right up until 2000. If by…

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Sweden 

Where did Swedish schooling go wrong?

Tyler Cowen links to some new research about the Swedish education system.  Both of our children are in this system so it’s a pretty important issue for us and it doesn’t make for happy reading. The Swedish school system suffers from profound problems with teacher recruitment and retention, knowledge decline,and grade inflation. Absenteeism is high, and psychiatric disorders have risen sharply among Swedish pupils in the last ten years. In this pioneering analysis of the consequences of combining institutionalized social constructivism with extensive marketization of education, we suggest that these…

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Sweden 

Sweden (doesn’t) decide

Sweden voted in its four-yearly general election on Sunday. We were able to vote in the local and county elections but not yet the national as our citizenship application has not yet been processed. The big question was how big would the nationalists (Sweden Democrats) share of the vote be? And the answer was bigger than before. So despite the fact that 83% of the Swedish electorate did NOT vote for them the focus was still on the 17% that do. That would make them the second-biggest party. So what…

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Sweden 

Swedish elections

On September the 9th Swedes will vote in the general election. During July most of them will be on holiday, which means parties are campaigning now and will go full speed in the month leading up to the election. Some wonder is Sweden about to have its Trump moment? They wonder this because of the sustained success of the right-wing Sweden Democratic Party. In 2002 they received around 1% of the vote but by 2014 at the last election it was 12.9% and they’re currently polling around 20%. Welfare, education,…

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Sweden 

Skolavslutning

This is the Swedish way of saying ‘end of school’ for the academic year. Summer holidays start now. This morning I went to the skolavslutning at our children’s school. It was my son’s last one at this school before he moves on to a new school in August. Each year group sings a song, at least one of which has some connection to Astrid Lindgren and the others are in some way hymns to summer and sunny days and how beautiful Sweden is in the summer (which it is). i think they…

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Sweden 

How Sweden became a symbol

Over at the The New York Review of Books, there’s an interesting article on my adopted nation, Sweden. There are two main views of Sweden. The overwhelmingly positive: “We wanted to find out what it was about Sweden that gave you such an enviable reputation in the world: design, the creative industries, high-tech manufacturing, social justice, popular culture,” Prince William said, sending a palpable shiver of satisfaction through the two hundred assorted representatives of Sweden’s cultural scene. “The list could go on,” he added. Or the overwhelmingly negative:  If you follow…

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