A Scandinavian country populated entirely by tall blondes – well not exactly. Sweden is certainly Scandinavian, the epitome of cool Scandinavian design and culture, but the Swedes themselves come in a variety of heights and colouring!
Nearly 1,000 miles long by a little over 300 miles wide, Sweden has a population of around 9.9 million, making it one of the more sparsely populated European countries However it’s not all small villages surrounded by forest. The southern third of the country has most of the population living in cities and towns as well as smaller communities. It’s here that you will find the largest cities, such as Malmö and Göteborg (Gothenburg), and of course the capital Stockholm with a population of nearly 2 million in and around the city.
Naturally with so much open space Swedes tend to like outdoor activities, kayaking, hiking, hunting and skiing are all popular pastimes, and access to the countryside is guaranteed by Swedish tradition of allmansrätt. Urban life is modern, stylish and safe.
Sweden is one of the most equal countries in the world in terms of income distribution, and has one of the world’s lowest levels of poverty. It appears consistently near the top of the Human Development Index, which ranks countries according to life expectancy, education and standard of living. It is known for its sense of social justice and fairness, publicly funded healthcare is available for all, homosexual couples enjoy the same rights as heterosexual ones, and it enjoys one of the world’s lowest gender pay gaps. Sweden is a constitutional monarchy, although the role of the Monarch is limited to ceremonial duties.
At a glance facts
- Languages spoken include Swedish (the official language) plus Sami (Lapp), Finnish, Meänkieli (Tornedalen Finnish), Yiddish, Romani Chib, English is also widely spoken
- International dialling code 46
- Sweden uses CET (Central European Time – UK plus 1 hour)
- Population – 9,982,709 (2018)
Swedish Krona (SEK)
Europe, Member of the EU