19 Most Interesting Facts About Sweden

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Living in Sweden for a while, I find myself intrigued by the Swedish culture, lifestyle, and people. In general, Swedes love their privacy and aren’t so loud. But once you get along, they are the craziest people with whom you can hang out. Sweden is a country known for its serene beauty, innovation, and quality of life is one of the beautiful places to visit. There is a lot of nature around to catch up across all seasons. If you’re someone like me who has been living in Sweden for a while now, you might notice that the majority of the people in Sweden are kind yet reserve in nature. Unlike other European countries like Italy or France, one of the interesting facts about Sweden is most of the people are fluent in English. And can quickly help out if you are not familiar with the local language Swedish. Home to 15 World Heritage Sites, this country has a unique charm that you can experience when you visit. Here are more Sweden facts that can help you understand Swedish culture better and perhaps even wanting to visit the country. Read on to know more!

Quick Facts About Sweden

Before diving into the details, here are some quick facts about Sweden that you must not miss to know!

  1. 52% of the energy in Sweden is renewable. This makes Sweden one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world.
  2. Swedes have 480 paid parental leave.
  3. 99% of Sweden’s waste is recycled. In fact, they even went out of garbage and bought it from the UK to recycle it. LoL!
  4. More than 20,00 Sami people live in the country.
  5. Swedes work an average of 1611 hours per year, i.e 4.5 hours per day.
  6. Sweden is one of the gay-friendly countries in the world. Gay relationships have been legalized since 1944.
  7. Sweden is the first country to ban smacking children.
  8. The renowned Nobel Prize is distributed at Stockholm City Hall by the Swedish Royal family.
  9. Sweden still reminds North Korea of its 43-year-old debt worth billions. After purchasing 1000 Volvo cars from Sweden, North Korea has left it unpaid to date.

So without further ado, let’s jump on to learn the most interesting facts about Sweden – The Scandinavian beauty!

Top 19 Interesting Facts About Sweden

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1. Lifestyle in Sweden Is Incredible

Sweden is known for its great quality of life. In Sweden, people love to be as close as possible to nature. They walk in the forests, swim in the lakes and camp in the hills. Swedes live in modern society yet tend to embrace their ancient Swedish culture in their daily life as much as possible. They do what they love.

Swedes enjoy working 8 hours a day as well as spend quality time with their friends and family. People in Sweden take pride in their rich heritage while embracing innovations.

2. Pay High Taxes and Relax

With 25% as standard VAT, Sweden is one of the top countries with high VAT as well as personal tax rates.

facts about sweden
PC – bloomberg.com

Taxes are used for the social benefits of the citizens, nonetheless being high. Such interests include free schools and universities, universal health care, and humongous amounts of social programs to help people get skills, jobs, and better opportunities.

Vacation in Sweden

The more you earn, the more money you pay in taxes. This tax culture in Sweden has cultivated the mindset to relax and take it easy peasy.

Hence it is common that Swedes take at least five weeks of vacation every year. They enjoy the summer season to the core and save more vitamin D for the winters.

Salary in Sweden

salary in sweden-alignthoughts
PC – statista.com

The take-home salary might be low relative to the cost of living in the country, especially the housing cost that is very expensive.

But in many Swedish families, both the parents work. So, overall most families in Sweden have a luxurious life.

3. Work-Life Balance in Sweden Is Amazing

sweden facts-swedish facts-Work-Life Balance in Sweden

Unlike countries like Japan which has an intense work lifestyle, Sweden enjoys 5 weeks of paid vacation from work.

Therefore, parents very well manage their time for kids and make smart choices to take off from work.

In Sweden, it is mandatory also for fathers to have paternity leave to spend time with the child, while the mother goes to work. Swedish culture emphasizes equality even in parenting.

The Swedish government provides 480 days of parental leave with 80% compensation plus bonus days for twins.

Many families have a country house to get out of the city and enjoy nature. Taking a vacation doesn’t necessarily mean they get out of the country. Some Swedes just head to their summer houses to enjoy vacations.

Probably someone can spend time cutting down trees at the garden back at home or clean that attic where one has a lot of memorable things stored.

4. Swedish Passport

One of the important facts about Sweden is that the country’s passport is very strong. As per PassportIndex.org, the Swedish passport ranks 4th among the most powerful passports in the world.

Other countries sharing the 4th rank include France, Singapore, Norway, and Canada.

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PC – passportindex.org

5. First Country With Its Own Phone Number

One of the most bizarre yet interesting facts about Sweden is that the country has its own phone number. You can call this number just to talk to a random Swede. 

quick facts - alignthoughts
PC – theswedishnumber.com

Sweden received calls from 190 countries across the world with the USA topping the rank with 32% incoming calls to this service.

Unfortunately, the Swedish number is now closed.

6. People in Sweden Love High-end Cars

The salary structure is formed in such a way, that even the guy working in McDonald’s has a decent living. As a percentage of society, there is a very minimal lower class. The middle class here is virtually everyone.

And you cannot easily differentiate between the rich and the poor. Almost everyone in Sweden rides a Mercedes, BMW or Audi. Even the garbage cleaning vehicle is a high-end luxury car.

7. Religion In Sweden

sweden facts
PC – sweden.se

One of the interesting facts about Sweden is that close to 80% of the country is atheist or even embrace agnosticism.

While there are several robust faith followers amongst the immigrant groups and a minority group of Swedish Christians, 80% of the country is almost atheist.

It is due to this fact; Swedes are practical and self-aware in general. They are not bound to social pressure and hence do things that they feel are ethically correct.

Due to this fact, the day-to-day lifestyle in Sweden doesn’t show so much of the religious side of the country.

There is a strong sense of style, simplicity, innovation, and ease in a lot of products and services across Sweden. For example, Ikea.

How Ikea Has Changed The Way Of Shopping?

8. Friday Night’s Are for Party

When is Sweden, you wouldn’t fall short of the things to do on a Friday night!

Swedes do drink quite often. Like water is to plants, beer is the same for Swedes. The bars are expensive as the taxes on alcohol are pretty high.

But the smart choice would be to visit SystemBolaget – the Swedish monopoly liquor shop, where you can quickly get reasonable rates for liquor.

You can find several places in the city and trams crowded on a Friday night, which is not the case on weekdays when pretty much everything shuts after 8 pm in the night.

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9. Fall in Love If You Are Single

Not to mention the fact that almost all Swedes are physically fit, good looking, healthy, pretty liberal and tolerant, and more self-aware than people from other cultures.

Worth saying about the fact that Swedish girls have the prettiest eyes in the world. So if you are still single, its time to mingle.

The Swedish culture doesn’t mandate marriage and hence many couples have kids even before marriage.

10. Stockholm Archipelago

activities in archipelago
PC – stockholmarchipelago.se

Archipelago in Stockholm consists of 30,000 islands, islets and skerries, among which approximately 200 are inhabited.

Activities at the Archipelago

There are a lot of activities that you can do in these islands like:

  • Kayaking
  • Bathing/Swimming
  • Sauna is famous in Sweden
  • Hiking
  • Golf
  • Boat Excursions
  • Horse Riding
  • Paddling
  • Speed Boat Rides

There are about 50,000 summer houses in these archipelagos were most of the people from Stockholm spend their time during summer.

These archipelagos are one of the must-visit places if you visit Stockholm. Some of the renowned Stockholm archipelago’s include Sandhamn which is actually the main island on Sandön. Grinda said to be one of the most unique islands in the archipelago.

How to reach the archipelago in Stockholm?

Several boats run from the capital Stockholm to these islands. You can take a boat from Slussen, Stockholm.

Busses and trains also run to some of the islands which can be reached by road.

11. Honesty is the Best Policy In Sweden

One of the interesting facts about Sweden is that the conversations are to the point. There’s no beating around the bush. Swedes take care of each other, they’re honest.

There’s no judging around happening so much in Sweden, and it works perfectly fine.

12. Innovation for Mankind

Swedish culture embraces innovation in the best way possible.

Sweden is the birthplace of Nobel Prize, Machine gun, Volvo, Skype, Spotify, and the famous Candy crush game.

Thanks to the well-supported Swedish lifestyle. Sweden is a country that has solved most of the fundamental lifestyle problems like transportation, home heating, ventilation, and garbage management, etc. a long time ago.

The only thing the concerns people are “first world problems.”

It is indeed worth looking at the Swedes as an example of a society, which is the birthplace of social security and dynamite that has a lot of things figured out.

13. Swedes Are Stylish

H&M (Hennes & Mauritz), one of the world’s largest fashion retailers is born in Sweden. Be it on a regular office day or a celebration in the neighborhood; you can find Swedes to be stylish and well dressed.

Usually, cities like Milan or Paris comes into picture when talking about style and fashion, but Swedes do have their own ultra-modern, sleek style.

Adding to that, being stylish in Sweden is costly as well. Be prepared if you are one of that style freaks.

Other Renowned Fashion Brands From Sweden

14. Swedes Are Disciplined And Punctual

Right from the traffic and government rules to the office meetings, Swedes follow discipline in every aspect. They are punctual and appreciate you being the same.

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15. In Sweden, Silence Is Golden

It’s okay not to speak every second of the moment if you are sitting with a Swedish friend. They enjoy a bit of silence and converse slowly when they are not comfortable.

Swedish culture also prioritizes privacy to other individuals and take it seriously. This is especially seen among the neighbors who don’t want to interfere much with other neighbors.

16. Julmust – The Christmas Drink

Julmust is an alcohol-free Swedish drink that is available only during Christmas. The stores are filled with drink and just as soon as Christmas is over, the drink just disappears.

Although, it comes back during Easter but with a different name – Påskmust!

If you’re in Sweden during these times of the year, you must try this drink and enjoy more of the Swedish lifestyle.

17. Ericsson Globe, The World’s Largest Spherical Building

Sweden has the world's largest spherical building, Ericsson Globe-lifestyle in Sweden

Sweden has the world’s largest spherical building, Ericsson Globe. It took two and a half years to build this indoor arena in Stockholm, Sweden. Since 1989, when it was opened for the public, the arena has hosted events of many celebrities like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé.

18. Swedish Fika

Have you heard of the word – Swedish Fika?

Fika is a core part of Swedish culture and is a tradition to drink coffee and have a meaningful conversation. Swedes love coffee, and they rejoice it with a Fika (a coffee break) every now and then.

They take a break from work to sit down and talk about profound experiences and call it Fika.

“Let’s Fika”, is the Swedish way of saying let’s take a break and have some coffee.

19. Tourist Facts About Sweden

According to reports, close to 20 million tourists visit Sweden every year. In total tourism brought in 264 billion Swedish kronor to the country.

Here are some more tourism facts about Sweden which include the most visited cities in the country.

Most Visited Cities in Sweden

  1. Stockholm, the capital city
  2. Kiruna, the city where you can watch Northern lights
  3. Gothenborg, the coastal city with the second-highest population
  4. Dalarna, famous for its ski resort
  5. Malmö from Skåne

More Sweden Facts – World Heritage Sites In The Country

There are a number of World Heritage Sites in Sweden, which are popular as tourist destinations. Some of these sites are:

  • The island of Öland
  • Birka and Hovgården on the islands Björkö and Adelsö
  • The church village of Gammelstad, in Luleå, the northern city in Sweden
  • Drottningholm Palace, the private residence of the royal kingdom
  • The Hanseatic town of Visby

Bonus: Sweden Facts

Here are some bonus facts about Sweden, just for you!

Best time to visit Sweden

  • Anytime between September to March is best if you like to visit the Northern lights. Cities like Kiruna, Abisko are good candidates for watching the Aurora Borealis.
  • June to July is the best time to enjoy most of the summer. The Midsummer festival is celebrated on 23rd June every year.
  • May to September generally has warm weather, but preferably carry a coat to be on the safe side.

Hotels to Stay In Sweden

hotels in sweden

  • Icehotel Jukkasjärvi, Norrbotten County, Sweden
  • Sankt Jörgen Park Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Berns Hotel Stockholm, Sweden
  • Story Hotel Riddargatan Stockholm, Sweden
  • Hilton Stockholm Slussen Stockholm, Sweden

Your thoughts,

What are the other interesting facts about Sweden that you know? Are you planning to visit Sweden? What are your thoughts about lifestyle in Sweden? Share them in the comments below.

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Key Takeaways On Sweden Facts And Swedish Culture

  • Living in Sweden for a while, I find myself intrigued by the Swedish culture, people, and lifestyle.
  • In general, Swedes love their privacy and aren’t so loud. But once you get along, they are the craziest people with whom you can hang out.
  • 99% of Sweden’s waste is recycled. In fact, they even went out of garbage and bought it from the UK to recycle it!
  • Not to mention the fact that almost all Swedes are physically fit, good looking, healthy, pretty liberal and tolerant, and more self-aware than people from other cultures.
  • Yet another interesting fact about Sweden is their vacation days. Swedes enjoy 480 paid parental leave for every child they have.
  • In Sweden, people love to be as close as possible to nature. They walk in the forests, swim in the lakes, camp in the hills, or even pick mushrooms in Autumn. Yes, picking mushrooms is a tradition in Sweden. Overall people in Sweden enjoy a relaxed lifestyle by doing things that they enjoy.
  • The Swedish passport ranks 4th among the most powerful passports in the world.
  • The lifestyle in Sweden is quite liberal. Sweden is one of the gay-friendly countries in the world. Gay relationships have been legalized since 1944.
  • Taxes in Sweden are quite high compared to other countries in the world. The more you earn, the more money you pay in taxes. Due to this tax culture in Sweden, people have gradually cultivated the mindset to relax and take it easy.
  • 52% of the energy in Sweden is renewable. This makes Sweden one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world.
  • Archipelago in Stockholm consists of 30,000 islands, islets and skerries, among which approximately 200 are inhabited.
  • The country is also home to some of the world’s famous brands like H&M, Ikea, Volvo, Spotify, etc.

More interesting reads for you!

What are some interesting facts about Sweden?
  1. The renowned Nobel Prize is distributed at Stockholm City Hall by the Swedish Royal family.
  2. 52% of the energy in Sweden is renewable. This makes Sweden one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world.
  3. Swedes have 480 paid parental leave. The lifestyle in Sweden is inclined to be more balanced with work and personal life.
  4. 99% of Sweden’s waste is recycled. In fact, they even went out of garbage and bought it from the UK to recycle it. LoL!
  5. More than 20,00 Sami people live in the country.
  6. Swedes work an average of 1611 hours per year, i.e 4.5 hours per day.
  7. Sweden is one of the gay-friendly countries in the world. Gay relationships have been legalized since 1944.
  8. Sweden is the first country to ban smacking children.
What are 5 interesting facts about Sweden?
  1. The Swedish passport ranks 4th among the most powerful passports in the world.
  2. Sweden enjoys 5 weeks of paid vacation from work. Swedish culture is laid back in general.
  3. There is an underground bridge across the strait between Sweden and Denmark. The Øresund Bridge runs nearly 8 kilometers from the Swedish coast to an artificial island.
  4. Sweden is one of the top countries with high VAT as well as personal tax rates.
  5. Sweden has the world’s largest spherical building, Ericsson Globe.
What is Sweden famous for?

With 2/3 of its area covered with forests, Sweden is a country known for its serene beauty, innovation, and quality of life. It is also one of the beautiful places to visit across Europe. Sweden is the birthplace of Nobel Prize, Machine gun, Volvo, Skype, Spotify, and the famous Candy crush game.