There are 10.04 million people in Sweden – 85 % of them live in cities. Sweden is a very multicultural country: 15 % of Swedes were born in another country while about 1 in 5 children in Sweden has a family with roots in another country.
The capital of Sweden, Stockholm, is also the country’s largest city, with more than 950.000 inhabitants. Other large cities are Gothenburg, in western Sweden, and Malmö in the south. Uppsala and Lund are well-known university cities.
Less than 3 % of Sweden’s land area is built up and forests cover 69 % of the country. Sweden is long – some 1.574 kilometres from top to bottom – and can be divided into three major regions: Götaland in the south, Svealand in the middle and Norrland in the north.
Swedish is the official language of Sweden. The majority of Swedes also speak English, and generally to a very high level. Many Swedish multinational organizations have English as their corporate language, and a large number of university degree programmes and courses are taught in English.
The politics takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic constitutional monarchy. The Swedish head of state since 1973 is King Carl XVI Gustav. He has no political power but represents the country and performs ceremonial duties. executive power is exercised by the government, led by the Prime Minister of Sweden.
Swedes study and work hard but they also take their rest and relaxation seriously. So the fika – a coffee break that normally consists of coffee or tea, cookies or sweet buns, but can also include soft drinks, fruits and sandwiches – is a social institute and an important part of the national culture. You can fika (it’s a verb as well as a noun) with your family or on your first date.
Sweden is a very secular country, but most of the world’s religions are represented here – and all are welcome. The national church, the Church of Sweden, is Lutheran, but Catholicism and other Christian denominations are also widespread. Islam is one of the largest religions in Sweden, and Judaism and Buddhism are also well-established.
From Abba to Ingmar Bergman to Avicii, Sweden is a major exporter of culture, and the world’s biggest exports of pop music in relation to GDP. Another global Swedish hit in recent years has been the so—called Nordic noir literary genre, led by Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson.
Swedes hold nature in high esteem, which is one reason why environmental issues are so important here. Only one per cent of solid waste goes to landfill in Sweden – with the rest recycled or used to produce heat, electricity or vehicle fuel in the form of biogas. Renewable energy sources account for more than half (52 %) of Swedish energy production. Swedish environmental technology companies export their green knowhow to the rest of the world in technology areas such as biofuels, bioenergy, wind power, solar power and wastewater treatment.
Facts about Sweden
- Forests cover 50 % of Sweden, there are also around 100.000 lakes and over 24.000 islands throughout the country. Sweden’s right to public access laws allows these areas to be fully accessible by the public.
- There are about 260.000 reindeer in Sweden. They eat mushrooms, lichen, grass and herbs.
- Between 300.000 and 400.000 moose roam the Swedish woods. Over 100.000 are shot during the annual hunt, and about 250.000 people participate in the hunt. The moose is also considered the most dangerous animal in Sweden. Every year, they cause approximately 6.000 road accidents.
- Sweden is so good at recycling that they import waste from other countries.
- The Swedish monarchy is one of the oldest in the world. It dates back a thousand years and has included 11 dynasties, with the current one, the House of Bernadotte, ruling the longest.
- The official Twitter account of @Sweden is giving to a random citizen every week to manage.