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Facts about Sweden

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1 Facts about Sweden

2 CONTENTS General Information 3 Arts & Culture 15 Economy & Trade 22
Education & Research 34 Government & Politics 43 Society & Welfare 57 Sports & Leisure 72 Technology & Infrastructure 73 Travel & Tourism 77

Area: 450,000 km2 (174,000 sq miles) 9 million inhabitants Capital: Stockholm Other major cities: Göteborg, Malmö Language: Swedish

Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy Head of state: King Carl XVI Gustaf Prime minister: Göran Persson (leader of the Social Democratic Party) Currency: 1 Swedish krona (SEK) = 100 öre, equal to approximately EUR 0.11or USD 0.14 Average life expectancy: men 77 years, women 82 years

Forests (mostly coniferous): 54% Mountains: 17% Cultivated land: 8% Lakes and rivers: 9% Highest mountain: Kebnekaise, 2,111 m (6,926 ft) Distance north–south: 1,574 km (977 miles) Distance east–west: 499 km (310 miles)

Average temperature IN JANUARY IN JULY Malmö °C (31.6°F) +16.8°C (62.2°F) Stockholm °C (30.0°F) +17.2°C (63.0°F) Kiruna °C (3.2°F) +12.8°C (55.0°F) Daylight (approx. values) JANUARY 1 JULY 1 Malmö 7 hours 17 hours Stockholm 6 hours 18 hours Kiruna 0 hours 24 hours

Approx. 10,000 BC: Inland ice started to recede. First settlements in Sweden date from this period. 8,000–6,000 BC: Population of the whole country begins 800–1050: Viking era. Christianization begins 13th century: Colonialization of Finland begins

1350: Magnus Eriksson’s National Law Code 1397–1521: Sweden, Denmark and Norway united in the Kalmar Union. Sweden gradually acquires Baltic territories. 1523: Gustav Vasa elected King of Sweden 1527: Reformation of the Church 1611–1718: Great Power Era

1630–48: The Thirty Years’ War 1700–21: Great Northern War. Loss of Baltic possessions. 1719–72: The Era of Liberty. Parliamentary government. Gustav III (1771–1792) reintroduces absolutism 1809: Finland lost to Russia 1814–1905: Union with Norway

1818: Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte became king under the name of Karl XIV Johan 1850: Industrialization begins 1911:Universal suffrage for men. Women’s suffrage follows in 1921. Sweden remains neutral in world wars I and II 1986: Assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme 1995: Membership of the European Union

11 GENERAL INFORMATION The Swedish Language
Swedish—national language of Sweden, native tongue of some 90 per cent of its inhabitants Nordic language, belonging to the Germanic branch of the Indo-European family of languages Also spoken by about 300,000 Finno-Swedes in Finland One common language in Scandinavia until the 9th century. Many runic inscriptions from this period German has influenced Swedish more than any other foreign language Swedish taught at some 200 universities outside Sweden

Early Middle Ages: Elected kings.The Code of Kings 1350 15th century: Establishment of a parliament, the Riksdag, with four estates: nobility, clergy, burghers, and landowning farmers Gustav Vasa. Monarchy becomes hereditary The Era of Liberty: reaction against royal absolutism 1771 Gustav III ascends the throne 1914 Conflict between Gustav V and Parliament over the defence issue Carl XVI Gustaf, king of Sweden since 1973

World’s oldest system of population records (since 1686) 71% live in nuclear families (1990 census) 80% live in urban areas and along the coast Fertility rate: 1.65 children per woman Sámi (Lapp) minority of some 15,000 15% of Sweden’s population were either born outside Sweden or have two foreign-born parents

Christianity gained ground during the 10th and 11th centuries 80% belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church The Church of Sweden ceased to be the state church in 2000 Sweden has a large number of free churches, immigrant religious denominations and other faiths

15 ARTS & CULTURE Artists and authors
Endeavors to expand cultural institutions, support for independent groups and cultural centres as well as purchasing works of art for public buildings to create job opportunities for artists The state remunerates artists and sculptors for their works on display in public settings and authors, translators and book illustrators whose works are available at libraries Authors, translators and book illustrators can be awarded a guaranteed author’s allowance

16 ARTS & CULTURE Cultural Policy
The State finances central cultural institutions including the Royal Opera, the Royal Dramatic Theatre and the national museums The State supports local and regional cultural activities through financial contributions The municipalities bear responsibility for cultural policy at local level. They support libraries, run music schools and give grants to theatres, music, dance, exhibitions, museums etc.

17 ARTS & CULTURE Literature and Libraries
1,500 public libraries which loan books free of charge Authors receive payments from state funds when their books are borrowed from public libraries Activities to promote reading among children and young people

18 ARTS & CULTURE Museums A group of national museums coordinates activities throughout the entire museum system within their particular field Every county has a museum which acts as the centre for museum-related activities in the region Rural heritage associations with collections or preserved environments An increasing number of new museums depict more recent times

19 ARTS & CULTURE Music The Swedish National Concert Institute, Svenska Rikskonserter, supplements regional and local music production in cooperation with the county music organization, Länsmusiken Eleven professional symphony and chamber orchestras playing at regional level Independent groups, representing all musical genres

20 ARTS & CULTURE Popular Education
Cultural activities mostly under the auspices of popular movements and amateur theatre organizations 11 educational associations, each with its own ideological profile, have local branches in most municipalities 1,700 art clubs 400,000 sing regularly in choirs

21 ARTS & CULTURE Theatre, Film and Dance
Operan and Dramaten are the national stages for opera and drama Svenska Riksteatern performs throughout the country 28 municipal/city and county theatre companies Around 200 independent theatre groups (also children’s theatre) Five permanent dance ensembles Around 20 films which are partly or wholly Swedish-financed are premiered each year

22 ECONOMY & TRADE Agriculture and Food Processing
Fewer than 3% of labor force in agriculture and forestry Crop-growing season averages around 240 days/year in the south, days/year in the north 74% of agricultural enterprises combine farming with forestry Structural changes have resulted in fewer and larger farms with fewer employees Food exports more than doubled between 1994–2000 High standars in the field of animal welfare

23 ECONOMY & TRADE Economy
GDP: SEK 2,440 billion; per capita: SEK 272,000 (2003) Unemployment: 4.9 % (2003) Enrolled in government-financed labor market programs: 2 % Sweden is in 17th place in the GDP per capita ranking (OECD) Expansion of the public sector came to a halt during the 1990s Most forecasts for 2004 and 2005 indicate a GDP growth of 2–3 % per year

24 ECONOMY & TRADE Economy
Diversified economy. Large public sector. Growing private sector Strong dependence on international trade High R&D expenditure Floating exchange rate New, stricter Competition Act 1993 Dependence on a number of very large international companies

25 ECONOMY & TRADE Engineering industry
Accounts for just over 50% of Sweden’s industrial production and 10% of total GDP 2/3 of Swedish-produced engineering products exported 50% of the sector are engine and vehicle manufacturers Most companies small or medium-sized High degree of specialisation Focus on knowledge-intensive engineering, services and R&D

26 ECONOMY & TRADE Foreign Trade
Exports by important commodity groups (percent of total value) January–November 2003: – Forestry products 13.5% – Mineral products 8.5% – Chemical products 12.8% – Energy products 3.2% – Engineering products 50.5% – Other 11.4%

27 ECONOMY & TRADE Foreign Trade
Imports by important commodity groups (percent of total value) January–November 2003: – Forestry products 3.5% – Mineral products 8.1% – Chemical products 12.5% – Energy products 9.5% – Engineering products 45.5% – Other 20.8%

28 ECONOMY & TRADE Forestry and the Forest Products Industry
National forest policy: a reliable yield of timber while preserving biological diversity Private individuals the largest category of owners Nearly 12 million hectares of forest certified as sustainably managed Original genetic material of Sweden’s tree species preserved in a forest gene bank Sweden is among the world’s leading exporters of forest products

29 ECONOMY & TRADE Industry
Some important Swedish industries: – industries based on iron ore and wood – telecommunications industry – pharmaceutical industry – aviation industry – automotive industry – defence material industry – nuclear power industry

30 ECONOMY & TRADE Industry
Supply of indigenous raw material an important for Swedish industry The main increase in output has been in knowledge-intensive manufacturing and service sectors. Fast expansion in the telecommunications industry and the pharmaceutical industry Mergers and acquisitions have been among the most important elements of Swedish business restructuring in recent decades

31 ECONOMY & TRADE Mining and steel industries
Iron played a dominant role for many centuries Manufacture of iron and non-ferrous metal goods started the modern engineering industry Iron ore and sulfide extracted in northern Sweden Smelting of non-ferrous metals including copper, lead, silver and gold Focus on making high-value specialty steels Around 20,000 people employed in the steel industry

32 ECONOMY & TRADE Motor vehicle industry
Central role in Swedish economy Exports of automobiles and automobile parts 15% of total Swedish exports 2003 One fifth of the global heavy truck production 2003 either Volvo or Scania. Catalytic exhaust emission checks mandatory in Sweden. Around 85% of cars fitted with catalytic converters

33 ECONOMY & TRADE Service sector
3.7 million people (85% of total workforce) employed in service sector Extensive public service sector funded by central or local government, mainly health care, education and social services Expansion of private sector in late 1990s. Most job growth in knowledge- intensive fields Company and household-oriented services dominate private service sector Services have become more important in international trade

34 EDUCATION & RESEARCH Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prizes
Alfred Nobel (1833–1896), inventor, global industrial magnate, linguist, philosopher and humanist The Nobel prizes are awarded for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace (Norway). Since 1969 there is also a prize in Economics in honor of Alfred Nobel In 2003 the prizes were each worth SEK 10 million

35 EDUCATION & RESEARCH Compulsory Schooling
9 years’ compulsory education More than 97% of all pupils attend municipal compulsory schools Few private schools. They generally receive government grants Parents and pupils shall have a free choice of municipal schools and can also opt for publicly-funded independent schools The municipalities bear overall responsibility for the implementation and development of education within the school system

36 EDUCATION & RESEARCH Compulsory Schooling
Instruction, teaching material, school lunches and school transport are free of charge Parents and pupils shall have a free choice of municipal schools and can also opt for publicly-funded independent schools School health care for all pupils Schooling for pupils with learning difficulties is compulsory for nine years plus one optional year English is the compulsory first foreign language Home language instruction available for pupils speaking a language other than Swedish

37 EDUCATION & RESEARCH Education and research
All children and young people in Sweden have equal access to education, regardless of ethnic and social background or residential locality Education is free on all levels Very few private schools and colleges Strong ambition to increase the number of women in leading academic posts

38 EDUCATION & RESEARCH Higher Education
No tuition fees Undergraduate education: – Diploma or certificate (2 years) – Bachelor’s degree (3 years) – Master’s degree (4 years) Courses of varying length for professional degrees

39 EDUCATION & RESEARCH Higher Education
To be admitted to post-graduate education, an undergraduate program of at least 3 years’ duration must be completed Four years of doctoral studies and an approved dissertation are required for a doctorate Study assistance available to all students who need help to finance their studies Students are represented on decision-making bodies

40 EDUCATION & RESEARCH Research System
Sweden is one of the countries that invests the largest percentage of its Gross Domestic Product in R&D Most research carried out in universities,university colleges, institutes of technology, professional schools etc Companies account for some 75% of R&D expenditure Long tradition of state funding for research Ministry of Education and Science has overall responsibility for research policy

41 EDUCATION & RESEARCH Upper Secondary and Adult Education
Municipalities are obliged to provide upper secondary schooling (16+) for all residents who start studying before the age of 20 Instruction is free of charge 17 national programs, 14 mainly vocational and three which prepare for university studies About 98% of school leavers go on to the three-year upper secondary school with vocational and academic programs Pupils aged 16–20 receive study assistance

42 EDUCATION & RESEARCH Upper Secondary and Adult Education
The public school system for adults comprises: - municipal adult education adult education for people with learning difficulties basic Swedish for immigrants Other forms of adult education (usually affiliated with political parties or special-interest organizations): - Folk high schools - Voluntary educational associations

Sweden has not been at war since 1814 Non-participation in military alliances with the aim of remaining neutral in the event of conflict in Sweden’s vicinity High priority to working with the United Nations EU membership in 1995 Participation in the multilateral disarmament negotiations in Geneva since they started in 1962 Active participant in efforts to address environmental threats

Sweden supports EU efforts to establish civilian and military capacity for crisis management. Close cooperation with NATO Membership in Partnership for Peace (PFP) Endeavors to develop and reinforce UN peacekeeping operations Pursues a policy of non-participation in military alliances Supports the strengthening of open, multilateral trading

45 GOVERNMENT & POLITICS Law and Justice
Power to enact laws is vested in the Riksdag (Parliament) The Government has the power to issue decrees concerning less important matters Spadework in preparation of bills is done by commissions of inquiry, legal experts in the ministries and Parliament standing committees

46 GOVERNMENT & POLITICS Law and Justice
Hierarchy of general courts: – district courts (tingsrätt) – courts of appeal (hovrätt) – Supreme Court (Högsta domstolen) Only cases which may set legal precedent are tried before the Supreme Court Appeals against administrative authorities are heard in a three-tier administrative court system

47 GOVERNMENT & POLITICS Law and Justice
Prosecution system divided into seven districts. Prosecutors conduct preliminary investigations in criminal cases Defence counsel in criminal proceedings for serious crimes is appointed by the court. Legal aid available under certain conditions Supervision of courts and administrative organs by the Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern, JK)

48 GOVERNMENT & POLITICS Local Government
290 municipalities (kommun) with responsibility for: – schools – social services – elder care, care of people with physical or intellectual disabilities – physical planning and building – certain environmental tasks – rescue services 21 county councils (landsting) with responsibility for: – health care services at hospitals and local health centres – public dental services – psychiatric care

49 GOVERNMENT & POLITICS National Government
The Swedish Constitution consists of – the Instrument of Government (1974) – the Act of Succession (1810) – the Freedom of the Press Act (1949) – the Freedom of Expression Act (1991) – the Parliament Act (1974)

50 GOVERNMENT & POLITICS National Government
Unicameral Parliament, Riksdag, with 349 seats Direct parliamentary elections every 4 years. Right to vote from the age of 18. The Government governs the country but is answerable to Parliament The monarch is head of state, with primarily ceremonial functions Government decisions are prepared by the ministries

The government-appointed ombudsmen: – The Consumer Ombudsman – The Equal Opportunities Ombudsman – The Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination – The Ombudsman against Discrimination because of Sexual Orientation – The Children’s Ombudsman – The Disability Ombudsman

The Press Ombudsman: This self-disciplinary system of the Swedish press is not based on legislation. It is entirely voluntary and wholly financed by Sweden’s three press organizations

53 GOVERNMENT & POLITICS Political Parties
Two blocs: socialist and non-socialist Percentage of votes in last parliamentary election, September 2002: – Social Democrats 39.8% – Moderates (Conservative) 15.5% – Liberals 13.3% – Christian Democrats 9.1% – Left Party 8.3% – Centre Party 6.1% – Green Party 4.6%

54 GOVERNMENT & POLITICS Sweden in the European Union
EU membership in 1995 No to participation in the euro currency union in a referendum in 2003 Sweden participates in the common foreign and security policy of the EU although it retains its military non-alignment 10 votes in the Council of Ministers, 19 members of the European Parliament, 1 member of the European Commission, 1 judge at the Court of Justice

55 GOVERNMENT & POLITICS Sweden and the United Nations
Since joining the UN in 1946, Sweden has been a member of the Security Council three times ‘Small countries need the UN’ – UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld (1905–61) About 15% of Swedish development assistance goes to UN social and economic programs Emphasis on importance of conflict-prevention measures and operations

Income tax (local and national) on employment, capital and business VAT on goods and services Payroll fees (social security contributions) around 33% to finance the national social insurance system, old age pensions and certain other social services Capital is taxed at a standard rate of 30 % The tax system includes many direct and indirect taxes and contributions Local authorities are free to set income tax rates in their respective municipalities and county council districts

Municipalities obliged to provide preschool care and school-age care. Grants provided to non-municipal childcare Preschool care for children aged 1–5 is provided at preschools, family daycare homes and open preschools After-school childcare for children aged 6–12 is provided at leisure-time centres, in family daycare homes and at open leisure-time centres 75% of all children aged 1–5 are registered with preschools and 74% of children aged 6–9 with leisure time centres

58 SOCIETY & WELFARE Disability Policies
Disability policies aim for full participation and equality Organizations for disabled people are run and dominated by people with physical disabilities Institutional living replaced by group accommodation, service housing and adapted homes Local authorities have ultimate responsibility for personal assistance, preschool places, housing, home-help services etc. for the disabled

59 SOCIETY & WELFARE Equality between Women and Men
480 days’ leave of absence on parental benefit to look after a child aged 0–8 years can be shared by parents. 60 of the days are reserved for the mother, 60 for the father. These days cannot be transferred to the other parent. More than 50% of fathers utilize their right to paid parental leave during the child’s first year. Parents entitled to reduce their weekly working hours (against a reduction in pay).

60 SOCIETY & WELFARE Equality between Women and Men
Political consensus on principles of gender equality. Gender main-streaming of day-to-day political and administrative work at the national level After the elections in 2002, 45.3% of Parliament members are women Men dominate senior positions in employer/employee organizations and senior management in the private sector Efforts to encourage women to enter traditionally male-dominated areas of labor market Efforts to promote gender equality in choice of study programs and professions in upper secondary school

61 SOCIETY & WELFARE Financial Circumstances of Swedish Households
Transfer payments to households: pensions, child allowance, housing allowance, sickness benefit, parental leave etc Social security benefit for those who cannot support themselves High income taxes VAT 25% on most goods and services, 12% VAT on food

62 SOCIETY & WELFARE Financial Circumstances of Swedish Households
High food prices compared to the rest of EU Biggest expense: housing, takes 30% of income Modern houses. Average living area 47 m2/p. p. Some 22% of households own a weekend cottage Price differences countryside – cities Well-developed, subsidized public transport. Cars essential outside urban centres

63 SOCIETY & WELFARE Health Care System
Responsibility for health care rests primarily with the county councils A primary care sector treats diseases and injuries that do not require hospitalisation Hospitals, nursing homes and service apartments with 24 hours service a day 1 physician per 320 inhabitants Sweden’s costs for health care services are 8.5% of GNP

64 SOCIETY & WELFARE Health Care System
Freedom to choose health centre, doctor or hospital 29% of all visits to a doctor take place at private, publicly-funded, medical establishments High-cost ceiling to limit personal expense for health care 900 pharmacies have the sole and exclusive right to retail medicines To become a registered doctor takes 5.5 years and a pre-registration period of 18 months as a house officer. It takes 3 years to become a nurse

65 SOCIETY & WELFARE Immigrants
About 15% of Sweden’s population were born outside Sweden or have foreign-born parents Foreign citizens who have been resident for three years may vote and run for office in local elections Tuition in Swedish for newly arrived immigrants Mother tongue tuition for school pupils Citizens of non-Nordic countries eligible for citizenship after five years’ residence. A citizen of a Nordic country can become a Swedish citizen after two years in Sweden

66 SOCIETY & WELFARE Labor Market Policy
The main aims of labor market policy: – To match demand and supply in the job market – To prevent bottle-necks – To help those who find it difficult to get employment in the ordinary labor market Programs to encourage demand for labor and generate employment Programs for the occupationally handicapped Start-your-own grants

67 SOCIETY & WELFARE Labor Relations
Basic agreement “The Swedish Model”, a compromise between labor and capital Centralized collective bargaining replaced by negotiations at sector level in the 1980s Biggest union confederations: – LO, for blue–collar workers – TCO, for white–collar employees – SACO, mainly for graduates

68 SOCIETY & WELFARE Labor Relations
Around 80% of employees belong to trade unions Social welfare contributions (payroll fees) are paid by employers New labor laws introduced in the 1970s to increase employee involvement. Labor Court settles legal disputes on labor issues Leading employer organization is the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Föreningen Svenskt Näringsliv)

1766 – the first Freedom of the Press Act Current Freedom of the Press Act from 1949 The Freedom of Expression Act covers radio, television, film and other media Free access to public documents The responsible publisher–the individual held officially responsible for contraventions of the Press Act The Press Council, the Code of Ethics and the Press Ombudsman (non-governmental systems)

70 SOCIETY & WELFARE Social Insurance
The Swedish social insurance system is markedly universal in nature The social insurance system is financed mainly via taxes and employer payroll fees Voluntary, state-subsidised unemployment insurance

71 SOCIETY & WELFARE Social Insurance
Uniform social insurance system providing: – health care – parental insurance – cash benefits during illness – occupational injury insurance – unemployment benefits – pensions – child allowance

72 SPORTS AND LEISURE General facts
Around 22,000 clubs and associations that belong to one of 67 specialized sports federations Almost half of Sweden’s residents aged between 7 and 70 belong to a sports club Around 650,000 participate in competitive sport 40% of women and 60% men in the specialized sports federations Central government and local authorities help to subsidize youth sports Voluntary sports leaders are the backbone of Swedish sporting life

73 TECHNOLOGY & INFRASTRUCTURE Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals
Rapidly growing biotech industry. Drug discovery & development dominant sub-sector Pharmaceutical industry annually invests around 25% of its turnover on R&D Close collaboration with universities and an advanced health care system open to testing new techniques have contributed to the innovative nature of the Swedish pharmaceutical industry Extensive restructuring of pharmaceutical industry. Many international mergers and acquisitions

74 TECHNOLOGY & INFRASTRUCTURE Environment Protection
Ecologically sustainable development an overall objective Active environmental work within the EU framework New Environmental Code January 1999 takes an integrated view of the environment The right of common access, a rarely abused privilege About one third of Sweden’s energy supply is based on renewable energy

75 TECHNOLOGY & INFRASTRUCTURE Telecommunications and Information Technology
Telecom and IT products account for about 15% of Sweden’s total annual merchandise exports Sweden is second in the EU, after Finland, with regard to number of researchers in companies with high-tech focus Products to enhance IT security are an expanding market (more than 15% per year) Integration of mobile phone service with computer technology E-democracy is part of the day-to-day work of parliamentarians Most municipalities have advanced plans for broadband networks

76 TECHNOLOGY & INFRASTRUCTURE Telecommunications and Information Technology
98% of all companies with more than 10 employees have computers 74% of the population aged 16–74 use computers. 73% use the Internet, one third with high speed connections Popular e-services are Internet banking, e-commerce, contact with e-agencies and information searching

77 TRAVEL & TOURISM General facts
Tourism accounts for 19% of Swedens total export of services Tourism accounts for 2.6% of Sweden’s GDP 3% of all Swedish employees work in tourism sector 14 million foreign visitors 2002 Most popular destinations Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmö Stockholm as a congress location similarly priced to rest of western Europe

78 The Swedish Institute (SI) is a public agency established to disseminate knowledge abroad about Sweden's social and cultural life, to promote cultural and informational exchange with other countries and to contribute to increased international cooperation in the fields of education and research. The Swedish Institute produces a wide range of publications on many aspects of Swedish society. These can be obtained directly from the Swedish Institute or from Swedish diplomatic missions abroad, and many are available on SWEDEN.SE – the official gateway to Sweden – is Sweden's official Internet portal on It includes almost everything you need to know about Sweden, ranging from basic facts about Swedish society to business issues, politics, news, cultural life and current affairs. In the Sweden Bookshop on Slottsbacken 10 in Stockholm's Old Town, as well as on you can buy nonfiction, brochures and richly illustrated gift books on Sweden as well as a broad selection of Swedish fiction and children's books – in English and many other languages – and Swedish language courses. The Swedish Institute Box 7434 SE– Stockholm Sweden Phone: +46–8– Fax: +46–8– Internet: Photo page 1: Oscar Falk / Clooning /

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