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Sweden - Karlskrona - v.g. photo

 “In terms of landscapes, Norway’s mountains and fjords are much more dramatic than anything Sweden has to offer, though Stockholm is a much more interesting city than Oslo. Copenhagen, on the other hand, struck me as friendlier than Stockholm. Malmö and Gothenburg are nothing special, but Uppsala is nice. Of the Scandinavian countries, Sweden feels the most prosperous, though because of its oil wealth, Norway is actually richer. In terms of cultural sights, a visitor quickly discovers how many beautiful castles and palaces have been constructed in Sweden over the centuries. My favorites are Sigtuna, Lund and Visby.” (J. K., 2015)

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Myths:
Every woman is tall and blonde: Well, there are actually a lot of tall, blonde women, but the population is far from homogenous enough for this to be the case. Especially if we take into account the non-negligible numbers of immigrants (from every corner of the world) and also those who are no longer immigrants, but have been Swedes for several generations.
This is a country of high alcohol consumption: In fact, Sweden is near the bottom of the list for alcohol consumption. There are several possible reasons for this, including the Swedish system of only selling alcohol in specially licensed shops (Systembolaget), and the fact that Swedes don’t generally drink during the week, saving their ‘energy’ for Friday and Saturday night instead.
It’s always dark, with very short days: This is only true in winter, and even then, extremely short days are only a feature of the far north. In the south, for instance in Malmö, the winter days are shorter than in Prague or Paris, but the difference isn’t extreme. What’s more, this is balanced out by extremely long summer days. For instance, where we live, it’s light fort almost 23 hours in the middle of summer, right into the middle of the night, and further north the sun doesn’t set at all for a few days. Since Sweden extends a long way along a north-south axis, the difference between the two ‘ends’ is quite extreme.


Practicals

Transport

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Public safety

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Sweden - friendly police - s.s. photo

Background

Sweden - national flag - Flaggan

Destination in brief

Sweden in brief

Sweden is a Scandinavian country located in Northern Europe. Neighbors: Norway (west), Finland (northeast)
The Swedish name for Sweden is “Sverige”.

Size: 450,295 km² (173,860 mi²) - Lush, large forests cover half of Sweden and over 100,000 lakes dot the landscape. The lakes, and over 24,000 islands, are all open to the public.

Capital city: Stockholm – 1.6 million (2020)

Population: 10 million (2020) – It is widely assumed that Swedish people are very reserved and difficult to communicate with. The Swedes are actually very friendly and polite - they enjoy meeting new people and learning about different cultures. They might seem reserved because they do not usually ask any personal questions, since they consider it rude, or even insulting.

Language: Swedish – Danish is the most similar language to Swedish.

Religion: 87% of those people who consider themselves religious are Lutheran – But almost eight out of ten Swedes are either "not religious" or "convinced atheists".

Political system: constitutional monarchy, the Prime minister exercises the executive power
Sweden is member of the European Union (unlike Norway), but it is not member of NATO (unlike Norway and Denmark).

Currency: Swedish krona (SEK)
Average net monthly salary: about 2,200 USD (2020)

Taxes are very high in Sweden, and the state uses this significant income to guarantee many social benefits to its citizens. All Swedish individuals' tax files are accessible to the public.
Swedish parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave  - and of those, 60 days are reserved for the father.

Most common surname: Andersson

Safety: Sweden used to be considered exceptionally safe, but its safety ratings have gone down in recent years as petty crime, biker gang related violence, and even a terrorist attack, have weakened this image.

When to go? June-August
Top tourist attractions: Stockholm (Gamla Stan, Royal Palace), Stockholm archipelago, Vasa Museum, Skansen, Drottningholm Palace
The Cathedral of Uppsala, Oresund Bridge, Kalmar Castle, Visby, Marstrand


Tourist etiquette

1. Locals may object if food or packaging is left on or near a bench.

Gastronomy

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husmankost - plain cooking

Attractions

Malmö

Population (in 2020): 322,000

Almost 50% of its inhabitants are immigrants and their children born in Sweden.

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 2700 USD  (Sweden's average: 2840 USD)

Malmö - Saint Peter's Church, a Gothic church built in the 14th century - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Malmö - the only synagogue in Malmö - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Kalmar (Southeast Sweden)

Sweden - Kalmar - Cathedral (built on Kvarnholmen island in the mid-17th century) - Viktor Ohotin's photo

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