Sweden Info

Information on this page is collected from different sources, some own stuff is added. However, there is no guarantee for correctness or information being up-to-date. This collection is meant as a very brief overview to give a feeling for the country.

In a country, with an area of 450.000 km² bigger than Germany and the third-largest country in Western Europe, people don't move up too close - the population is with 8.850.000 people less than three times the one of Berlin. Sweden's beautiful, quite water-larded capital Stockholm can - with some 740.000 inhabitants-  still be called cosy.

The people are mainly Swedes (90%), followed by 3% Finns and a minority of just 0.15% Sami, Lutheran religion is dominating and Swedish is the official language, while you can use English in huge parts of the country without problems.

The North-South distance is really amazing with 1600 km (1,574 km), and therefore North and South seem to be from completely different worlds (compare: this is the distance from Malmö to Neapel!). Maximum distance east-west: 499 km.

The most Northern part is at Kilpisjärvi, where Finland, Sweden and Norway meet.

Until the last ice age ended, around 9000 years ago, Sweden's area was covered with 2000 meters of ice.

In the country you can find around 90.000 lakes being bigger than 1ha. The biggest is Vänern with 5585 km² (10 times bigger than the Bodensee). Total summed length of Sweden's rivers is around 60.000 km, where 3 rivers offer a length of more than 500 km.

Marking the Swedish landscape are the smoothened rock cliffs, which origin can be found in glacier grinding the stone in the last ice age. The country, shaped by glacial activities, has 7000 km coastline.

In the Northern parts the country shows alpine character, here also Sweden's highest mountain is located, the Kebnekaise with its 2117 meter height.
Norrland, the countries northern parts with around 60 % area, is just scantily staffed with people, therefore offering vast forests and rivers.

Impressive figures showing the size and dimensions we are talking about, especially giving an impression of the still existing nature and wilderness especially in the Northern parts of the country, where vast lands meet a minority of the total population (which is anyhow very small for the countries size).

Besides IKEA, well known in the world, Sweden industry contains forestry (needed to build IKEA furniture ...), telecommunications (Ericsson!), generally all types of engineering and high tech manufacturing, as well as agriculture (yes, things grow far up North!) and mining. Names like Volvo, Absolut Vodka and the rock band Roxette are well-known.

Some 6 million tourists come every year to this country to eat smorgasbord (the Swedish version of Sandwiches - excellent) and enjoy landscape, lakes, fresh air, the sea and culture.

Influences came from immigrants for centuries. German miners und administration experts were employed for mining and developing the Swedish administration. From immigrating blacksmiths they learnt the basics of metal works and from French court members news on fashion and manners. The Dutch developed the Swedish trade with foreign countries. British engineers added their knowledge on industrialisation. Without all this influence today Sweden would not exist. On the other side this shows the open mind Swedes have for new ideas and other cultures.
A fifth of the population has at least one parent born in foreign countries or was born self in another country.

The Name ... Sverige

(Sweden) derives from the Northern Germanic tribe called "Svear", who around 600 besieged the more southerly Gauten in Götaland.

The personal number

Every Swede has a unique 10-digit personal number given to him at his birth. The first six numbers show the birth date, the last 4 are for distinguishing all those born on the same day. The ninth digit is even for female and odd for male persons.
This identity code is used for every official interaction with e.g. the government.


are huts below 10 m² area, which are allowed to be built without planning permission, if they are additional less than 3 m height. The name derives from the lady making this decision in 1982: Birgit Friggebo.


Compulsory schooling is 9 years. Most pupils continue to the 3-year upper secondary school, where they choose among 17 nationwide study programs — academic or vocationally oriented. Around one third of young people go on to higher education at one of the universities and colleges located throughout Sweden. There are large gender differences concerning fields of study, but not when it comes to educational level.

Instruction is free of charge at all levels of the regular school and higher education system. Private schools and colleges are few in number and generally receive government grants.


or crisp bread is a major foodstuff in Sweden: 4 kg per head are consumed every year (compared to 450 g in Germany). Originally in round shape with a hole in the middle, through which poles were put to hang the bread mice-safe to the ceiling, when it was baked to be stored for winter. To be eaten it had to be broken from the pole: "knäcka" = break!


is the second high-volume food: Statistically 11kg per head and year (including children !) are consumed. This is nearly world record, only the Fins drink more.

Victor Hasselblad

invented 1948 the system camera, at which lenses, view-finder and film magazines can be exchanged modularly.

Current statistics about Sweden can be derived from: http://www.scb.se/eng/index.asp