10 Interesting Facts About Sweden

Houses in Lund, Sweden.
Houses in Lund, Sweden.

Sweden is a Scandinavian country located in Northern Europe. In addition to its high quality of life and per capita income, Sweden has a robust social welfare system and provides a strong protection of civil liberties. Additionally, corruption levels in the country are among the lowest in the world. A series of interesting facts about Sweden are highlighted below.

10. Sweden Was the First Country to Ban Spanking by Parents

Corporal or physical punishment in all forms is banned in Sweden, including parents' right to spank their children. Sweden implemented a law prohibiting the use of corporal punishment on July 1, 1979, becoming the first country to implement such legislation. Soon, Sweden’s neighbors, Finland and Norway, followed and enacted similar laws in 1983 and 1987, respectively. Today, approximately 54 countries around the world have introduced laws that discourage corporal punishment.

9. Sweden Is the World’s Third Largest Exporter of Music

Sweden has a rich and thriving music scene. In fact, the country is the world’s third-biggest exporter of music, after the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK). In 2012, nearly 50% of songs on the Billboard Hot 100 were produced or written by Swedes.

8. Europe’s Oldest National Parks Are in Sweden

In 1909, Sweden became first country in Europe to establish national parks. That year, the Riksdag, which is Sweden's legislature, passed a law to establish such protected areas, resulting in the creation of nine national parks. Seven additional parks were founded between 1918 and 1962, as well as numerous others in subsequent years. Sweden currently has 29 national parks that cover a combined total area of 731,589 hectares.

7. You Can Enjoy The Right of Public Access in Sweden

The Right of Public Access in Sweden allows nature lovers to enjoy outdoor activities like walking, cycling, skiing, and camping with minimal restrictions. With the exception of private homes, gardens, and cultivated land, anyone can explore any part of the country or camp anywhere they wish. Driving on private roads is also permitted as long as no signs state otherwise. Fishing is permitted along Sweden's entire coastline, and fishing and swimming are allowed within the country's five big lakes.

6. The Swedish Capital Stretches Across 14 Islands

Stockholm is Sweden’s capital city, and its urban area has an estimated population of 1.6 million. The city extends across 14 islands that are located where Lake Mälaren drains into the Baltic Sea.

5. Sweden Was the World’s First Country to Permit Sex Change

In 1972, Sweden implemented legislation that allowed transgender people to legally change their gender. This legislation was expanded in 2013, allowing legal gender changes without the requirement of hormone replacement therapy or sex reassignment surgery. In 1979, Sweden was among the first European countries to declassify homosexuality as an illness.

4. Sweden Imports Garbage

Sweden has one of the world’s best waste-handling and recycling systems. In fact, its system is so sophisticated that less than 1% of household waste generated in the country is sent to landfills. Additionally, almost half of the country’s electricity comes from renewable sources. Sweden often resorts to importing garbage from foreign nations to keep its state-of-the-art recycling plants in operation.

3. Sweden Leads the World in Generosity

Foreign aid is an important tool for promoting the welfare and economic development of nations dependent on such aid. Sweden ranks first in the world in terms of providing development assistance. The country’s net overseas development assistance was 1.41% of its gross national income in 2015, which was the highest in the world. Additionally, Sweden is committed to keeping this figure above 1%.

2. Sweden Is Experiencing a Baby Boom

Births rates across the European Union have been falling in recent years, and it is estimated that births across the region are lower than the number needed for natural population growth. France and Sweden have the highest fertility rates in the European Union (EU), with 1.92 and 1.85 births per woman, respectively.

1. Swedes Love Chocolates and Candies

Sweden is known for its sweet tooth, as the country ranks as the fifth largest consumer of chocolates in the world. The average Swede enjoys 14.6 pounds of chocolate each year. Confectionary consumption is also a significant part of Swedish culture. In 2016, the average Swede ate 23.1 pounds of candy.


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