Interesting Facts About Sweden

statue in stockholm swedenAs you know from my last post, I’m starting my last big round-the-world trip, and I’m beginning in Scandinavia, figuring I might as well get the most expensive countries out of the way with first. I’m currently in Stockholm, one of my favorite cities in the world, despite the fact it abuses my wallet. (I’ll be going to Norway next, and that country is even more expensive. Luckily, I have family there I can mooch off of…I mean visit.) If the winters weren’t so harsh, I’d seriously consider moving here.

Like I did with Canada and Australia, today’s post is an introduction to Sweden via some great trivia I found:

Sweden remained neutral throughout World War I and World War II.

Sweden has the most number of McDonald’s per person out of every country in Europe.

There are 10 nuclear reactors in Sweden.

ABBA is from Sweden.

So is Eagle Eye Cherry.

And Ace of Base.

And Alexander Skarsgard, that guy from True Blood.

Pippi Longstocking is also Swedish.

The Kingdom of Sweden used to include Norway and Denmark.

IKEA and H&M are both Swedish.

The population of Sweden is 9.2 million, which is only a bit more than the population of New York City.

22% of the population lives in the capital of Stockholm.

Swedes have the longest life expectancy in Europe.

Sweden has the largest shopping mall in Europe—Nordstan is located in Gothenburg.

statue in stockholm swedenBy land area, Sweden is the third-largest EU country after France and Spain.

In the ninth century, Rurik the Rus, a Scandinavian Viking, founded the first kingdom in Russia. All subsequent Tsars of Russia were thus of Swedish descent.

Sweden is a constitutional monarchy.

At the height of its empire, Sweden built a large warship (the Vasa) to symbolize its power. It was so big and heavy that on its maiden voyage in 1628, it sank less than a mile out of dock.

While prostitution is legal, it is illegal to use the services of a prostitute.

Contrary to popular belief, Swedish Vikings did not have horns on their helmets.

To celebrate the start of summer, Swedes celebrate midsummer by dancing around a pole and leaping over each other like frogs.

The sun rises at 3:30am in the summer.

The sun sets at 3:30pm in the winter.

On Easter, children dress up as witches and go trick-or-treating.

The first ice hotel of the world was built near the village of Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.

Sweden has a long and interesting history, and its beautiful architecture, friendly people, and stunning landscape make it one of my favorites countries in the world and one I never tire of returning to.

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  1. What about Finland? Much cheaper than other Scandi countries. Midnight sun in the summer, icegolf in the winter, sauna, friendly people and much less of them in the country’s 338 000 square km than Sweden… History is interesting, as placed between Russia and Sweden, they have fought over Finland’s supremacy since the Middle Ages. Wife carrying or Nokia tossing contests, music (Him, The Rasmus, Lordi) and rally; Finland offers all kinds of exotic stuff for travellers!

    • NomadicMatt

      I’m going to Finland around October. Since it’s on the Euro, it will definitely be cheaper. I’m really looking forward to going and seeing lapland!

  2. One day I will have to go to Sweden. I am of Norwegian and Swedish decent and I think it would be interesting to be the first person from my family to go back since the 1800’s when my family landed. While I find it hard to believe that Swedish people play a giant game of leap frog and ring around-the-rosie, it is interesting they dress up like witches on Easter. I wonder how that came about.

    • NomadicMatt

      Murissa, they do! Read the mid-summer article written by Swedes!!! The witches thing is a holdover from their days as pre-Christians.

  3. Jenna

    I’m considering going to Sweden for high school foreign exchange next year, it seems like such an interesting country.

  4. A lot of these ‘interesting facts’ are enticing. I like that Halloween occurs at Easter. Except I might have nightmares tonight thinking about that… it’s kind of scary!

    So do people get up and start their day around 4 am?

  5. Amelie Amaral

    Stockholm is amazing, beautiful City! Tha Vasa Museum is extraordinary…
    Besides that, last year I had the chance to stay in a farm By the Baltic sea, in the Sant’ Anna arquipelago, near Soderkoping, south of Stockholm … Good chance to experience the countryside…

  6. NomadicMatt

    Yes, you’ll need to save a bit more but at least you also have relatives you can stay with! That will help make it cheaper!

  7. Did anyone else notice that the Swedish have the longest life expectancy in Europe, and Sweden also has the greatest number of McDonalds per person?

    I’m sure those facts are totally not related 😀

  8. AmandaMagdalena

    Hi Matt! When you visit Norway you really should try to spend some time in the Lofoten Islands. It definetly is one of the most beutiful places in the whole world – we live here, we would know. If you take the trip we would love to show you around, and we could probably find you a place to stay for free to help you not abuse your wallet. Hope you enjoy your trip to Norway. Lykke til!

    Amanda and Magdalena

  9. The beginning of your “new” end sounds exciting despite the huge dents to your wallet. You’ll have a fantastic time and I am really looking forward to living vicariously through you over the next year despite my mixed feelings of happiness and sadness knowing that this may be your last journey.

    I wish you all the success in the world as you follow your heart and who knows what journeys lie ahead and what new doorways will be opened to welcome you to your “new” home!

    Good luck and safe travels.


  10. Heading to Sweden, Norway, and some other Scandinavian countries soon, and I can’t wait! Sounds like a very fun area in the world to be spending my vacation in. But, I gotta ask this: how’s the food in these countries? Any dishes you would recommend?

  11. Emma

    We do actually NOT dress up as witches on easter!
    We dress up as, Verbatim translated to easterbitches (the word is not so hard in sweden) we do NOT go trick and treat, we wish the people “happy easter and maybe give them a card with a chicken on that the children has painted. And they maby give us some candy, but we do not say trick or treat.
    / A swede :)

    • Lotta

      Yes, we do dress up as witches, Emma. Påskkärringar are witches. We do not, however, as you correctly pointed out, go trick or treating.

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