Sweden NOT Switzerland







First things first, lets make it clear once and for all. Sweden and Switzerland are not, never have been, and hopefully never will be, the same country. Both countries' names do start with the same letters, and both countries are considered neutral (Yes, Jessica Alba was right), but then there are some differences too;

Sweden is situated in Northern Europe and Switzerland in Central Europe. Sweden with the capital Stockholm, is also a part of the Nordic countries and Scandinavia. People in Sweden are called Swedes and speak Swedish. People in Switzerland are called Swiss and speak one or more of German, French and Italian. Sweden is famous for its music (ABBA, Roxette, Cardigans etc.) and some major corporations (H&M, IKEA, Ericsson etc.) while Switzerland is famous for its watches, cheese and delicious chocolate.

Sweden Switzerland
Plenty of stuff in between huh.

Sweden is consistently ranked in the top 10 of different life quality indexes and Swedish citizens have free education all the way from first class to a master's degree, and the state pays for approximately 98% of medical costs. Although, due to these facts we also enjoy one of the world's heaviest tax pressures.


Quick facts

  • The currency of Sweden is called krona (crown). The currency code is: SEK. There are 100 öre in one krona. (1 krona but 2 kronor.)
  • Sweden is the biggest country of Northern Europe and the fifth of whole Europe, but the population is just 9 million.
  • Sweden is sometimes called The land of the midnight sun or The land of the Vikings.
  • As of 2004 you can pay your Swedish taxes by sending an SMS message from your cell phone.
  • You can take sick leave during your vacation if you are ill in Sweden.


Swedes

We tend to be quite tall and often need a beer or two to shake of our nordic withdrawness. Swedes like to live alone for at least a part of their life, thus Sweden has the highest percentage of single-person households in the world. We normally move away from home in our early twenties and a huge share of us enjoy traveling. As an example almost 5% of the Swedish population invade the beaches of Thailand every year.

Meatballs
We also enjoy meatballs.

Music

My personal pride for my home country comes from the great variety of good music. We have something extraordinary in almost every genre. Sweden is the world’s third largest producer of pop music with ABBA, Roxette, Ace of Base and The Cardigans as our best-selling artists.

My picks of great Swedish music linked to Youtube videos.


Sports

We are surprisingly good at sports for being such a small country, although we seem to be a bit past our prime at the moment, but here are some past accomplishments;

  • 1958 Silver in World Cup of football (defeated by Brazil).
  • 1994 Bronze in World Cup of football (defeated by Brazil).
  • 2006 First ice hockey team ever to earn a gold medal at both the Winter Olympics and the World Championships in the same year.
  • Sweden is the most successful nation in the history of the World Men's Handball Championship with 4 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze.
  • Sweden has won 6 out of 7 World Floorball Championships.
  • Sweden has won a medal in 30 out of 30 Bandy World Championships (10 gold).
Swedes
Not all of us are blond, but some are.

We are also pretty decent at tennis, golf, table tennis, swimming, track & field and skiing.


Climate

Although at its northern latitude, Sweden has a mild climate. It has moderate rainfall in spring, summer and fall and in winter there is always snowfall. The summers are sunny with an average temperature of 22°C (71°F). Daylight hours increase in summer and decrease during winter.

Swedish winter
The weather is actually just like this for 3-4 months.
Swedish summer
Summers are more like this

Last but not least, there are no polarbears walking the streets and Swedes normally do not have names such as Helga, Olga and Björn. In reality only 3355 are named Olga and 3051 Helga, The most common names are instead; Maria, Anna, Margareta and Elisabeth for women and Erik, Lars, Karl and Anders for men. If you want to know more about Sweden, we recommend: VisitSweden.se, a fantastic guide to Sweden which has won the Sweden's best website award.

About the author

This magnificient quickguide to Sweden was written by Anders Palm, a Swede living in Saigon, Vietnam.


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