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Sweden

Watch the film clip 'This is Sweden' on YouTube

Quick facts about Sweden

World-class education

Sweden is ranked as the fifth best country in the world when it comes to providing higher education and the Swedes have the highest proficiency in English as a second language in the world.

Read more on the Universitas 21 website about the ranking of higher education systems

Read more on the Education First website about the English proficiency levels

Environmentally friendly

Sweden is a modern, eco-conscious and very safe country with a great global reputation, and has one of the world's highest living standards.

Creative and innovative

Home of the Nobel Prize, the world's most prestigious academic distinction, Sweden enjoys great international respect for innovative and creative thinking and for encouraging close cooperation between academia and industry. Sweden is ranked as 'the most creative country in the world'.

Read more about the Nobel Prize on the official Nobel Prize website

Visit Business Insider's website for information about the world's most creative countries

Globally known trademarks

Several of the biggest and best know trademarks worldwide are Swedish: IKEA, Ericsson, Volvo, Tetra Pak, ABB, H&M, Atlas Copco, Astra Zeneca, SKF, Absolut Vodka and Saab to name a few. In 2011, three of the 'Top 100 Global Innovators' named were Swedish companies based in Lund, reflecting Lund University's geographic location as a unique, world-class environment for technology, knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurship. Popular Swedish cultural brands include Stieg Larsson, ABBA, Pippi Longstocking, Björn Borg, Ingmar Bergman and Greta Garbo.   

Read more about the Thomas Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators

Equal and multicultural

Equality and transparency are key factors in Swedish society along with a strong social safety net. Sweden spends more of its gross domestic product (GDP) on social services than any other country in the world, according to recent OECD statistics. Democratic principles shape not only the way Sweden is governed, but all levels of society — from preschool to the workplace.

As the highest ranked nation for integration in a recent EU study, Sweden is an open multicultural society with roughly 200 nationalities represented in the country. Almost 20 per cent of the population has roots in other countries.

The Swedes have worked hard to build a society that promotes equality between the sexes, tolerance and inclusiveness and it is no surprise that Sweden tops international ranking lists for equality.

Full religious freedom is legally guaranteed in Sweden, which gives every individual the right to belong to the church or the religion of his or her choice. In international terms, Sweden stands out as one of the most secularised countries in the world.

More quick facts on the official site of Sweden

Geography

Sweden is located in the Scandinavia region of Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the north-west, Finland to the north-east and Denmark to the south, via the connecting Öresund bridge.

By size, Sweden is one of Europe’s largest countries, comparable to Spain or France. But in terms of population it is small and has only 9 million inhabitants. Nearly 90% of the population lives in the southern part of the country.

Key facts

  • Area: 450 000 km² (174 000 sq miles), the third largest country in Western Europe
  • Capital: Stockholm
  • Population: 9.4 million
  • Language: Swedish (English is widely spoken)
  • Form of government: Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy  
  • Life expectancy: Men 79 years, women 83 years
  • Time zone: GMT+1
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