Interesting and Fun Facts About Sweden

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Looking for some interesting and fun facts about Sweden? Let me help you! Move beyond Abba and the Northern Lights and uncover the bizarre, the unique and the fascinating features of this Nordic nation.

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Interesting and Fun Facts About Sweden

Sweden. Somehow it’s somewhere I’ve only managed to visit in winter months. A little cold, in Malmo. And a lot cold in the Arctic Circle, slipping beneath reindeer skins, sipping hot lingonberry juice and indulging in Swedish meatballs in the dazzling Ice Hotel. Winter in Sweden involves hotel rooms at a minus 15 when it’s minus 40 outside.

Yet, switch around a few months and Sweden has sunshine galore. Dazzling, plentiful swashbuckling sunshine that lasts for days without nights come summer. Summer travellers can enjoy a dip in the Baltic sea, plus a host of other outdoor activities in one of the country’s many national parks. 

So, between midwinter and midsummer, here are some fascinating and fun facts about Sweden. Let’s go and explore this fascinating Scandinavian country.

Fika coffee hazelnut cake - part of the tradition of fika
Fika is a Swedish tradition

1. The Meaning of Fika: a Beautiful Tradition from Sweden

The Swedish word fika (pronounced fee-ka) is both a noun and a verb. And, more excitingly, it often comes with cake. Often likened to the Danish concept of hygge, fika is slightly different in that it tends to involve a coffee break with friends rather than interior design at home. It’s one of my favourite fun facts about Sweden and I fell in love with it so much, I wrote an article all about fika over here. If you’re a fan of Swedish food, this is one for you. 

2. The Birthplace of Advent

The whole world may have advent calendars now, but according to Sweden, they came up with the idea. Swedes light an advent candle every Sunday in December following a great big feast on the first one. Shops throw sales and grandmothers will even toast you with schnapps to celebrate the happy event.

3. Celsius is Swedish

Anders Celsius, astronomer extraordinaire and one of many famous Swedes, invented the centigrade system and the thermometer that made it work. This made it the first country in the world to take temperatures in the way we do today! 

Flower ice bed in the Ice Hotel Jukkasjarvi Kiruna Sweden
The Ice Hotel: Might be an idea to pack some gloves and a hat. At the very least.

4. Sweden has the Best Ice Creations in the World

Many countries in northern Europe have ice hotels these days, but Sweden is home to the original. A night in the aptly named Ice Hotel in the Arctic Circle is one of the best things to do in Kiruna.

5. The Very First Pacemaker Operation Took Place in Stockholm

In 1958, Senning and Elmqvist opened up a patient’s chest and implanted the first pacemaker in the world. Also, for a bonus fun fact, Stockholm also has its very own spirit museum. Hic! And tick!

6. Alfred Nobel was Swedish

Yes! Alfred Nobel is that Nobel, the one with the most prestigious awards in the world. He built his wealth through a number of different ventures, most notably dynamite. There are five different Nobel prizes: Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace.

I’d quite like one of each.

7. Stockholm is the Largest City in Sweden

A little under one million people live in the city of Stockholm, making it the biggest city in the country, as well as the Swedish capital. After that, the next one up is Gothernburg with a population of around 500 000.

8. Sweden Has a Constitutional Monarchy

King Carl XVI ascended the throne on 15th September 1973 and is Sweden’s longest serving monarch. The country functions as a parliamentary democracy.

9. Sweden Celebrates Midsummer with Boiled Potatoes

Ready for some more interesting facts? Boiled potatoes with dill are a Swedish delicacy. And one of the best fun facts about Sweden is that they don’t taste anywhere near as dull as they sound!

Northern Lights Green Vision
The Aurora Borealis putting on a show

10. Sweden is One of the Best Places in the World to see the Northern Lights

One of the best things to do in Kiruna is venture into the wilderness to see the Northern Lights. You can either voyage on foot by snow shoe, on a reindeer-led sleigh or snowmobile out to the Aurora Sky Station and take your chances indoors. Sweden is also a great place to experience midnight sun, a natural phenomenon that occurs in the summer months. 

11. Sweden is Bigger than you Think

By land area, Sweden is the 4th largest country in the European Union, with a total area of 450,295 km². Does that surprise you? It did me!

12. Thank you for the Music

It’s not just Abba. Ace of Base, the Cardigans and Swedish House Mafia also hail from Sweden. In fact, Sweden is the third largest exporter of music in the world (after the United States and UK.) Is it any wonder they’ve won the Eurovision Song Contest seven times? 

13. Sweden Speaks Many Languages

While the official language of Sweden is Swedish (that’s Svenska to you,) you’ll hear many different tongues on a trip. These include Sami, Finnish, Yiddish and Meänkieli.

14. The Swedish Government has a Great Name

Konungariket Sveriges regering. Or regering for short.

Forest landscape at dusk in Sweden

15. Sweden is 50% Forest

For some reason, I envision a country of hikers when I think about Sweden. And that makes sense when you think that half of the country involves woodland. But you’ll also find over 100,000 lakes and 24,000 islands, so it’s an outdoor lover’s paradise.

16. A Bridge as a Border

Sweden has land borders with the countries of Finland and Norway but it’s also connected to Denmark – by a bridge.

17. EU but no Euros

While Sweden is a member of the European Union, they are not part of the Euro currency system. Instead, they still use Swedish krona, which is written as kr. It is one of three Scandinavian countries to use their own currency. 

18. Crayfish Parties in the Summertime

The lovely word kräftskiva describes a summer festival or crayfish party where everyone gathers together for a drink. And some boiled potatoes and dill, of course.

Plate of swedish meatballs with swedish flags, fun facts about sweden

19. The Meatball Love is Real

Swedish giant, IKEA, serves meatballs and lingonberry jam and that’s not a kitsch idea. It’s a really popular dish in Sweden, served with boiled potatoes and gravy.

20. More McDonalds than Anyone Else

Apparently. Shudder. It’s true. Those tall, lean, healthy looking Swedish people live in a country with more McDonalds restaurants per capita than anywhere else in the world.

21. Life Expectancy is High in Sweden 

Despite their penchant for the Golden Arches, the people of Sweden enjoy the 4th longest life expectancy in Europe, and the 12th longest in the world. Clearly they’re doing something right.

22. One of the Smallest Gender Employment-Rate Gaps

At 72%, Sweden has one of the highest female employment rates in the OECD. Go Swedish women!

Moose in the forest in sweden, fun facts about sweden

23. Moose are Not Just for Canada

Sweden also has a love for moose (mooses? Mice? Moosai?) and you’ll find them roaming freely through the forests.

24. It’s a Good Place to Have a Baby 

Swedish maternity leave and paternity leave are the stuff of legends. Well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but it’s certainly among the better places in Europe to have a baby if you’re looking to enjoy your time with your newborn. In Sweden, both parents receive 480 days of parental benefit per child. 

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4 thoughts on “Interesting and Fun Facts About Sweden”

  1. Sweden is such a beautiful place – I visited in September but I’d definitely love to explore it in the height of summer.

  2. I have been to Sweden 3 times now, at 3 different times of the year. We go to Karlskrona for my husbands work. But we have traveled all over the county. Stockholm, Goteborg, Boras, Malmo, Jonkoping, Kalmar, Ronneby, The Skane Coast. The first time was September to November. It started out mild, 55-60 degrees during the day. And by the time we left is was 45-55 degrees. The second time was in February-March. It was much colder then, 25-40 degrees. The last time, is right now. We got here at the end of May and we leave August 1st. The weather has been gorgeous. Toady 72 degrees, last weekend was 76 degrees. Most locals tell us it is not normal, too warm and not enough rainy days. We love Sweden, the people especially, so friendly. And Fika is wonderful!


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