15 Facts You Should Know About Sweden

Here is a list of ten interesting facts that you should know about Sweden.

15. Sweden is a Scandinavian country located in Northern Europe. It has a total area of 450,295 square kilometres (or 173,860 square miles), making it the 55th largest state in the world and the 3rd largest in the European Union. Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a total population of 9,858,794 inhabitants (according to an estimation from January, 2016), being thus the 89th most populous state worldwide and the 14th most populous within the European Union.

Flag of the Kingdom of Sweden. Image source: www.deviantart.com

The flag of the Kingdom of Sweden. Image source: www.deviantart.com

14. 99% of all household waste is being recycled in Sweden.

13. Fika is not only the word for a coffee break with sweets in Swedish, but also the name of a cultural and social Swedish institution.

12. The city of Helsingborg, located in southern Sweden, is so close to Denmark you can easily see it.

11. In Sweden education is compulsory and free of charge.

10. Sweden is the first country in the world with its own phone number. By dialing the Swedish number you can randomly get connected to a Swede and talk about anything you want.

9. Sweden has officially been a neutral country since 1814, when it was last directly involved into a war.

8. During the early Middle Ages, Sweden was one of the homelands of the Norsemen (Vikings). The Swedish Vikings are reputed for having travelled as far as Eastern Europe and even to the Caspian Sea. In Eastern Europe, the Swedish Vikings were known by the names Rus and Varangians (this being the denomination given for the Swedish Vikings who were the elite warriors in Byzantium, serving in the Byzantine Emperor’s bodyguard), being thus credited for founding the Kievan Rus’.

7. There are many Swedish inventions that considerably contributed to the development of modern science and

Swedish chemist and innovator Alfred Bernhard Nobel. Image source: www.wikipedia.org

Swedish chemist and innovator Alfred Bernhard Nobel. Image source: www.commons.wikimedia.org

technology, such as the astronomical lens, the Scheutzian calculation engine, the safety matches, dynamite, the adjustable spanner, as well as plenty noteworthy others.

6. The Swedish writer Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf, who is best remembered for ‘The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson’, was the first woman to win a Nobel prize in Literature, and the third woman in history to have won a Nobel prize after Marie Curie (Physics – 1903) and Bertha von Suttner (1905 – Peace). She won the Nobel prize in Literature in 1909.

5. The Nobel prize is part of Alfred Nobel’s legacy, the Swedish inventor who is credited for the discovery of dynamite. Nobel created the prizes that bear his name in 1895. The Nobel prize is awarded in 6 main fields as follows: Chemistry, Physics, Peace, Literature, Medicine/Physiology, as well as Economic Sciences (since 1969). The Nobel prizes are awarded annually since 1901.

4. Sweden became the first country in the world to ban the smacking of children in 1979.

3. The Swedish word ‘gift’ has a double meaning. It can be translated both as ‘married’ and as ‘poison’.

2. Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, has been sometimes historically referred to as the ‘Venice of the North’ because of the fact that the city was built between Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea, stretching as such over 14 islands connected by 57 bridges.

Södermalm, central Stockholm, Sweden. Image source: www.unsplash.com

1. Swedish, the official language of Sweden, is a North Germanic language spoken by 9.2 million native

speakers around the world (as of 2012). It shares common features with the rest of the North Germanic (Scandinavian) languages, namely Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese.

Just as a side note, there’s something interesting about the Swedish language when it comes to comic book characters.

For instance, very much unlike other languages, the names of some comic book heroes such as Batman or Superman are different in Swedish.

Batman is known as ‘Läderlappen’ (where ‘läder’ and ‘lapp’ mean ‘leather’ respectively ‘patch’) whereas Superman is ‘Stålmannen’.

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