Sweden is officially called the Kingdom of Sweden.
Around 2,000 years ago, the Svear people gave Sweden its name. In their language, svear meant “us” and rike meant “kingdom.” So, Sverige, the modern Swedish name of the country, means “Our Kingdom.”
The land area of Sweden is the 4th largest in Europe.
The main official language of Sweden is Swedish (svenska), but the country also has 5 other official languages – Finnish, Yiddish, Sami, Meänkieli and Romani.
Swedish wasn’t made the official language of Sweden until 2009.
89% of people in Sweden speak English.
There are 9.7 million people in Sweden. 85% of them live in cities.
The capital of Sweden, Stockholm, is also the country’s largest city, with more than 850,000 inhabitants.
Other large cities are Gothenburg, in western Sweden , and Malmö in the south. Uppsala and Lund are well-known university cities.
Low unemployment, a low birth rate, a highly developed welfare system and one of the world’s longest life expectancies all contributes to modern Sweden having one of the highest standards of living in the world.
Forests cover over 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.
Sweden is long – some 1,574 kilometers 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.
Between 300,000 and 400,000 moose (Alces alces) 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.
There are 260,000 reindeer in Sweden. They eat mushrooms, lichen, grass, and herbs. Suovas is a word in the language of the indigenous Sámi people that refers to smoked reindeer meat fillets. Reindeer milk tastes sweet and looks like melted ice cream.
A traditional and famous dish of Sweden is Swedish meatballs, served with gravy, boiled potatoes and lingonberry jam.
Sweden has about 20,000 Sámi living in the country today. Since 1993, this indigenous people have had their own parliament. In 2000, the Swedish government officially recognized Sámi as an official language.
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 Swedish Vikings of the 8th-10th centuries were a fearsome group, highly skilled at warfare they invaded and settled throughout Northern and Eastern Europe.
During the 17th century Sweden again emerged as a great power in Europe with the Swedish Empire gaining territories in Eastern Europe.
While it was once a great military power. Sweden has remain neutral in all wars since 1814, including World Wars I and II. Despite the country’s peaceful nature Swedes over 19 years still have to complete up to 15 months of military service.
The northern lights, or aurora borealis, appear above the Arctic Circle (latitude 66°) and are visible around the equinoxes in late September and March and during the dark of winter in Sweden.
Sweden and Norway formed a United Kingdom from 1814 to 1905.
Sweden pays students US$187 per month to attend high school.
There’s a Golf Club on the border of Sweden and Finland: half the holes are in one country and half in the other.
Sweden has run out of trash so it’s importing garbage from Norway.
Every year since 1966, the town of Gavle, Sweden, erects a giant straw goat for Christmas, and almost every year, vandals burn it.
There’s a cruise ship that runs between Stockholm, Sweden, and Helsinki, Finland, just to purchase cheap alcohol.
Absolut Vodka used to belong to Sweden’s government, until they sold it in 2008 for US$8.3 Billion to Pernod Ricard.
The official Twitter account of @Sweden is given to a random citizen every week to manage.
You can’t name your child “Ikea” or “Elvis” in Sweden.