About Sweden

Facts about Sweden

  • Area: 174,000 sq mi (450,000 km²), the third largest country in Western Europe Forests: 53% Mountains: 11% Cultivated land: 8% Lakes and rivers: 9% Longest north-south distance: 978 mi (1,574 km) Longest east-west distance: 310 mi (499 km)
  • Capital: Stockholm
  • Population: 9.3 million inhabitants
  • Languages: Swedish; recognized minority languages: Sami (Lapp), Finnish, Meänkieli (Tornedalen Finnish), Yiddish, Romani Chib
  • Form of government: Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy
  • Parliament: The Riksdag, with 349 members in one chamber
  • Religion: 80% belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden
  • Life expectancy: men 79 years, women 83 years
  • Most important export goods: Electronic and telecom equipment, machinery, passenger cars, paper, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel
  • Most important imported goods: Electronic and telecom equipment, machinery, foodstuffs, crude oil, textile products, footwear and passenger cars

Average temperatures

  JANUARY JULY
Malm +31.6°F (-0.2°C) 62.2°F (+16.8°C)
Stockholm +27.0°F (-2.8°C) 63.0°F (+17.2°C)
Kiruna +3.2°F (-16.0°C) 55.0°F (+12.8°C)
 

Daylight

  JANUARY JULY
Malmö +31.6°F (-0.2°C) 62.2°F (+16.8°C)
Stockholm +27.0°F (-2.8°C) 63.0°F (+17.2°C)
Kiruna +3.2°F (-16.0°C) 55.0°F (+12.8°C)

Source:www.sweden.se

FACTS ABOUT SWEDEN

OFFICIAL GATEWAY TO SWEDEN

Ten Fun Facts About Sweden

[ Fact 1 ]

The strongest girl in the world is Swedish! Pippi Longstocking is the heroine in the most famous children's books in Sweden. These books were written by Astrid Lindgren and are loved by children (and adults) all over the world. They have been translated into 76 languages.

[ Fact 2 ]

All the world's flowers are Swedish! Carolus Linnaeus – better known in the U.S. as Carl von Linné – was the first individual to successfully classify all the plants (and animals) of the world into different species and families. He wrote the epoch-making book Systema Nature (The System of Nature) in 1735, which is still being used by botanists and zoologists today!

[ Fact 3 ]

Mysterious Moose Tracks. A popular souvenir is the road sign for moose-crossing. Every year a huge number of these signs are stolen from Swedish roads.

[ Fact 4 ]

Swedes are known for their Innovations. Swedish Inventions include:

  • The perfected the design of the zipper (Gideon Sundbäck).
  • The marine propeller (John Ericsson).
  • The refrigerator (Carl Munters and Baltzar von Platen).
  • The computer mouse (Håkan Lans).
  • The pace-maker (Rune Elmqvist).

Read more - go to the SWEDISH INNOVATION SECTION

[ Fact 5 ]

Swedish prize makes the biggest bang! The Nobel Prize Ceremonies are held in Sweden and Norway every year on December 10th. The Nobel Prizes were founded by the Swedish inventor and entrepreneur Alfred Nobel, who invented dynamite in 1866.

[ Fact 6 ]

MMmmm! Yummy! The favorite food in Sweden is usually meatballs with potatoes and lingonberry sauce. Swedish pancakes are also a favorite.

www.tasteline.com

[ Fact 7 ]

Mamma Mia! Sweden is full of music! Sweden has produced many famous musicians and musical groups over the years. ABBA, The Hives, Millencollin, The Cardigans, Kent, and Robyn to name a few.

[ Fact 8 ]

Love to Shop? IKEA and H&M are both modern Swedish retail shops.

[ Fact 9 ]

Would you like to live like royalty? You can visit Sweden's Ice Hotel, which often resembles a palace, and spend a night or two in this winter wonderland.

[ Fact 10 ]

Sweden is the land of the Midnight Sun! Every year, Swedes celebrate Midsummer (Midsommar) on the twenty-third of June. On this longest day, in many parts of Sweden the sun never sets.

Sources: Swedish Institute, Virtual Tourist

Amusing facts about Sweden, Swedish Culture, and Swedish Governance, compiled by an American.

 

NATURE, RECREATION AND SPORTS

NEWSLETTER FROM SWEDEN - WINTER 2008 FROM PER SVANGREN, CEO OF "LEARN SWEDEN"

Hej
It´s the beginning of February and you can feel spring in the air. It´s very early and maybe we´ll still have a chance to get some snow here in Stockholm and in the south of Sweden. Two weeks ago, there was some snow, but it was gone a couple of days later.

The newspapers discuss a lot about the climate change and what to do. Many people get more and more engaged in this work. I think that is one of the most important issues today. We also hear a lot about the primary elections in the USA and we can follow all that happens in each state.

These days you also get to read in the papers what bakery makes the best 'Semla'. Last week we had the 'Day of the Semla' - Fettisdagen - when most of the Swedes enjoyed one of these pastries. I really fancy it and must confess that I ate some before 'Fettisdagen' and will eat some after too.

We are planning for a collaboration of some kind with a John Ericsson group, designing a course about one of the most famous Swedish inventors. We hope everything will be ready the coming fall.

In this Newsletter we would like to invite you to try out pieces of our beginning Swedish conversation classes. Log in at Learn Swedish - Free Taste

We also would like to give you a chance to try out how to make the delicious Swedish dish 'Kroppkakor'. Hoppas det smakar bra!

Med vänliga hälsningar

Per Svangren CEO

 

LearnSweden will start new online classes late January/ early February.

The Swedish Start course for beginners (10 weeks), the Beginning Conversation course (10 weeks) and a conversation course for those who already know some Swedish - Free Conversation course - but lack practise and (perhaps the confidence to speak).

We invite you to join us. You may try our courses FOR FREE, for a about a week (we´re flexible), and see if you like them. If you do, you may continue and still get a substantial discount on the course fee. Should you want to quit after your trial period, you are of course free to do so with no obligations.

All courses include interactive learning material on our online learning platform and a course instructor that supports you all throughout the period. We do Skype conversations (talk in real time over the internet) in small groups (between 2-8 learners plus instructor), once a week.

Kom och lär dig svenska med oss på LearnSweden - we are friendly and personal and will give more live instruction (from a real instructor) than probably any other on the internet. We also do customized courses and gives private lessons upon request.

If interested, just send an email to Torbjörn Bergsdal, Course Designer and Instructor: torbjorn@learnsweden.com
or visit Learn Sweden

 

LEARN SWEDISH

Your free Byki bundle includes a full working copy of Byki Express, plus a collection of lists to learn Swedish or your chosen language.

It's free and you can use it forever, with no time or session limits. We think you'll like what you see and hear.

 

IS THE SWEDISH LANGUAGE IN DANGER?

That the future of the Swedish language is in danger from the influence of immigrant tongues such as Turkish or Arabic is a load of hurdy gurdy. So most experts say. But while academics laugh off any threat posed by immigrant patois, it seems Swedish has a far bigger vernacular nemesis to contend with. And it's not Finnish.

Discount the (for northerners) impenetrable Skåne dialect and small pockets of Sami and Finnish speakers, and Sweden has been a fairly monolingual society until recent times.

Yet, despite its long heritage, the shortage of expressive vocabulary - decent expletives especially - is a common frustration for Swedish learners.

English is everywhere in Sweden and with only around 9.3 million Swedish speakers in the world (including the Finns) it's a case of necessity. "It's big business," Allwood says. "It's all about money and guns; if you want to be rich and famous, you can't do it by just speaking Swedish."

But all this is having a detrimental effect on the Swedish language, according to some. "Lots of people are talking about the risk of losing Swedish and it's true," Allwood adds. "Especially in the academic and business worlds."

As Colin Moon writes in his 2005 book: 'Sweden More Secret Files:

Swedish, Swenglish and what they really mean, you can "'chatta' on the internet, send 'ett email', or 'ett mess', and 'printa ut'. You can get 'support from helpdesken', make 'en back-up', phone 'hands-free', 'logga in', 'briefa' somebody, be 'financial controller', suffer 'en backlash', watch 'public service television', eat 'fast food', be contacted by 'en headhunter"' laugh at 'en standup comedian', shop at 'en factory outlet', embark on 'en joint venture' be 'online', 'outsourca' your business, be 'outstanding', wear 'en t-shirt', be 'en skinhead,' watch 'en talkshow', suffer from 'whiplash', make 'en deal', have 'know-how', sing 'live', and then get 'feedback'.

Indeed, Swedish multinationals rarely use Swedish as the common company language. According to Allwood, 95 percent use English for enterprise. "And in academic circles, we're condemned to silence as far as written output goes – we have to write in English,"

The multi-cultural make-up of Sweden today naturally means it is also multi-lingual. "There are 150 languages spoken throughout the country today," says Olle Josephson, director of the Language Council of Sweden (Språkrådet).

Christine Demsteader is a freelance writer based in Stockholm.

Read her article: Swedish Language

 

New Stockholm Museum will dispel Viking myths

Who were the Vikings? For most people, thoughts of raping a pillaging probably spring to mind, as do images of busty women called Brunhilda with blonde plaits and horned helmets.

The Vikings sailed from the Nordic countries to the UK, Ireland, North America, Russia and even Turkey. Yet for visitors to Scandinavia and locals alike, there are currently precious few opportunities to find out the truth about the extraordinary people who spread their culture over most of the known world.

Source: www.sweden.se

Read more of this interesting subject: www.thelocal.se

The difference between being Scandinavian and Nordic

Which countries belong to Scandinavia and which countries belong to the Nordic countries? Is there a difference? If so, what is the difference? Scandinavian and Nordic countries are for most of the world used in similar manner and are interchangeable, but for the people in Northern Europe they are not.

Have you ever been corrected in Finland when you called a Finn "Scandinavian"? Or perhaps this has happened to you in Iceland? Is Denmark a Nordic country? Are the Danes actually Scandinavians?

Although in the rest of the world the words "Scandinavian" and "Nordic" are happily used in similar manner and are interchangeable, in northern Europe they are not. Europeans love to magnify even the smallest difference between neighbouring countries and you will probably be corrected if you don't use the words in their appropriate context. The problem comes when even northern Europeans can't agree themselves on the meaning of "Scandinavian" and "Nordic"...

Where is Scandinavia?

Greeks and Romans were the first to write about Scandinavia. They had a vague knowledge about what they called "an island on the edge of the civilized world", populated by the barbarian tribes from Germania.

Geographically speaking, the Scandinavian peninsula is a territory shared by Norway, Sweden and northern Finland. The Scandinavian countries would therefore only be Norway and Sweden.

Linguistically, Swedish, Norwegian and Danish have a common word called "Skandinavien" which refers to the ancient territories of the Norsemen, and for most people in these three countries "Scandinavia" consists only of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. This one is considered to be the most commonly accepted definition of "Scandinavia".

However, Iceland was also a Norse territory and Icelandic belongs to the same linguistic family as Swedish, Norwegian and Danish. And so does the Faroe islands. Therefore, you will find some people for which Scandinavia is Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.

And finally, Swedish language is also spoken in Finland and reciprocally, Finnish and Sami languages are spoken in Sweden and Norway. Again, we have a new definition of Scandinavia, which would include Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Finland.

Culturaly and historically, the north of Europe has been the political playground of the kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Finland was a part of the kingdom of Sweden and Iceland belonged to Norway and Denmark. Besides a common history, politically and economically these five countries have followed a similar model known as the Nordic welfare state since the 20th century. One more time, these five countries are perceived as an unity by some and therefore called by the same name: "Scandinavia".

What are the "Nordic countries"?

In such a state of linguistic and geographical confusion, the French came to help us all and invented the term "Pays Nordiques" or "Nordic Countries", which has become the most standard term to bring together Scandinavia, Iceland and Finland under the same umbrella.

The creation of the Nordic Council in 1956 gave us another new word to define the cultural affinity of our five countries: "Norden". Norden is commonly used in the Nordic countries, although this term is rather unknown in English.

The Baltic Countries and Greenland

The Baltic countries, the republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are not considered Scandinavian or Nordic countries There is, however, a close relation between the Nordic countries, the Baltics and Greenland. The Baltic countries are historically and culturally influenced by the Scandinavian countries. Greenland, belongs politically to Denmark and has a historical and cultural heritage in Scandinavia and is often considered part of the Nordic countries.

For more information about Sweden, visit: www.si.se, www.sweden.se

Visit http://www.scandinavica.com/culture/society/nordic.htm

for more information about the Scandinavian and Nordic countries.

This website gives you all the facts about Sweden.
http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ca.html

Do you want to learn the Swedish language? In this website you will find languages courses for beginners, grammars, travel language books and dictionaries at very affordable prices. (CD-ROM's, cassettes, books)
http://www.scandinavica.com/shop/speak/swedish.htm

If you want to listen to how differently the Swedish language is spoken and pronounced in the different counties of Sweden you will enjoy visiting:
http://swedia.ling.emu.se

Sami in Sweden

Archeological finds suggest that the Sami people have lived in the Arctic region for thousands of years. Modern Sami build on their rich culture and long-established traditions but are happy to use snow scooters rather than skis in their reindeer husbandry.

Sami country - Sapmi - stretches over the northern part of the Arctic area of the scandinavian

countries and the Kola Peninsula. the Sami have been recognized by the United Nations as

indigenous people. This means that they are given the opportunity to develop and preserve

their crafts, lanuage, education, reinderr keeping, traditions and identity.

There is no census for Sami, but it is estimated that there are around 70,000 people spread over four countries. There are approximately 20,000 in Sweden, 40,000 in Norway, 6,000 in Finland and 2,000 in Russia (Kola Peninsula).1, Worldwide, there are 370 million native people spread throughout 70 different countries.

Read more about SAMI People , Society and Culture.

 

Art exhibitions and galleries in Stockholm. (Swedish only) www.konstkalendern.se

Kulturkatalog (Swedish only) The National Council for Cultural Affairs' catalogue of government institutions, organizations and art associations. www.kur.se

Art Links Sunet. Links to Homepages of art.
www.katalogen.sunet.se

Art and Culture Magazine

Folket i Bild/Kulturfront (Swedish only) A swedish magazine and an association. A defender of freedom of speech and culture. Articles and reports.
www.fib.se

Tidskrift Verkstaden (Swedish only) An association of cultural magazines. Information about the magazines.
http://tvs.se/start/index.shtml

Magazines Links Sunet. Links to culture magazines.
www.katalogen.sunet.se

Ballet and Modern Dance

Cullbergsbaletten Birgit Cullberg has been a central figure of the Swedish ballet world. Both as a choreographer and ensemble director.

Dansens Hus The House of Dance in Stockholm. International and nordic dance.

Kulturkatalog The National Council for Cultural Affairs' catalogue of government institutions, organizations and dance associations.

Swedish Theatre and Film

Sweden has three national and 27 regional/municipal theatres as well as over a hundred independent theatre groups and production companies, half of which receive grants or project funding from the public purse. There are, furthermore, a number of commercial theatres, as well as a flourishing amateur theatre life.

Stockholm prides itself of being the world's most "theatre-packed" city. The royal Dramatic Theatre and the Royal Opera, two national stages of the highest international calibre, frequently have spectacular premieres and guest appearances on their repertoire. In recent years the famous Cullberg Ballet has faced though competition from a number of independent ballet and modern dance groups and choreographers.

In Sweden, with almost nine million inhabitants, some four million visits are made to the theatre every year, and Swedes have access to all forms of dramatic art throughout virtually the entire country: Classic works, new Swedish and foreign drama; children's and young people's theatre; opera, operetta and musicals; light entertainment and revues; ballet, dance and dance theatre; marionette and puppet theatre; outdoor theatre and rural plays; fictional/interpretative story-telling in the media.

The importance of Ingmar Bergman in Swedish and world cinematic history is of course impossible to overstate. During his 60-year career as a film and theatre director, Bergman has not only dominated Swedish stage and screen, but also perhaps more than any other individual he has influenced the international image of Sweden both visually and culturally.

Like many other branches of Swedish culture, over the past decade, Swedish film has become increasingly international in its expression and its practitioners have also begun to achieve considerable success abroad. A new element of Swedish filmmaking is a number of gifted young directors with immigrant backgrounds, making films about what is usually called "the new Sweden".

Theatres

Backa Teater The theatre is a part of Gothenburg City Theatre.The role of music play a significant part in the performances.

Folkteatern (Swedish only) The Peoples' Theatre in Gothenburg. Mostly Swedish drama and children plays.

Lorensbergsteatern (Swedish only) The theatre is located in Gothenburg. It has staged several well-known performances of comedies.

Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern Royal Dramatic Theatre of Sweden. Its main objectives is to play classical dramas and newly written swedish plays.

Riksteatern The Sweden's Nationwide Theatre is serving Sweden with touring performances and is at the same time an arrangers organisation. 223 local theatre associations. Riksteatern also includes Young Riksteatern, The Cullberg Ballet, Silent Theatre, Finska Riks and Shikasta.

Stads Teatern The Gothenburg City Theatre provides a mixture of performances.

Stora Teatern The performances is a mixture of popular entertainment and touring and guest productions of classical theatre and modern dance.

Kulturkatalog The National Council for Cultural Affairs' catalogue of government institutions, organizations and theatres associations.

Svenska Dramatikerförbundet (Swedish only) Swedish Playwright's Union. Information for people who are intrested in drama and scriptwriting and everyone connected to the stage, film, television and other media

Theatres Links Sunet. Listed links to theatre resources.

Film

GP Direkts Filmguide (Swedish only) A daily newspaper's, Göteborgs Posten's, reviews and articles about film since august 1995.

Film in Sweden The intention is to have everything about film and video in Sweden

Film Links Sunet. Listed links to film-homepages.

Kulturkatalog (Swedish only) The National Council for Cultural Affairs' catalogue of government institutions, organizations and film associations.

Internet Movie Database Movie information. A Search (in Swedish) able database.

Göteborg Film Festival The official filmfestival in Sweden. The largest filmfestival in Scandinavia.

Stockholm International Filmfestival (Swedish only) The aim is to broaden the forum for innovative quality films in Scandinavia.

"Dancer in the Dark" by Lars von Trier and "Fucking Åmål" aka "Show Me Love" by Lukas Moodysson were both shot in West Sweden. The West Sweden Film Commission offers advice and service to producers and assists with contacts with the film industry, locations and authorities of West Sweden.

Music

Sweden has a rich musical tradition. Already at school, the children will learn to play an instrument. One of the biggest success stories of Sweden is the pop group of four: ABBA, who with their music became world famous.

Sweden is the world's largest music-exporting nation, beaten only by the two musical superpowers, the United States and Great Britain. In Sweden, music has deep popular roots from folk music to jazz to opera. Sweden is said to have by far the largest per capita number of amateur choirs in the world.

Gothenburg established the country's first regular symphony orchestra in 1905 - Stockholm got its first permanent orchestra in 1914 and its own concert hall in 1926. The earliest composers were, among others, Emil Sjögren, comparable to Norway's Edward Grieg. Wilhelm Peterson Berger was an aggressive, Wagnerian and a melodist of the first rank, who composed in a light lyrical style. Huge Alfven has been called "Sweden's voice in the world". A master of form, a contrapuntalist, and primarily a symphonist, he was the Nordic countries exhilarated voice of dark coloration and the minor key.

Lars-Erik Larsson was popular, witty and capable of surprising. His greatest works were Pastoralsviten (Pastoral Suite) and Förkladd Gud (God in Disguise). Karl-Birger Blomdahl was a critical, restless developmental optimist, Sweden's first "modernist". He is most known for his space opera "Aniara".

KULTURRADET (THE NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR CULTURAL AFFAIRS)

The Swedish National Council for Cultural Affairs is responsible for implementing national cultural policy determined by the government and parliament. The National Council for Cultural Affairs was founded in 1974.

The areas of responsibility of the National Council for Cultural Affairs

Theatre, dance, music, literature, public libraries, arts' periodicals, museums, exhibitions and visual arts are the cultural areas that are the responsibility of the National Council for Cultural Affairs. One of its main tasks is to allocate government grants in these areas. Only institutions, organisations and groups may receive grants through the Council, not individuals. Matters concerning artistic education also lie outside the Council's area of responsibility.
www.kur.se

Choirs

The Choir Link page A very good meetingplace for choirs around the world. Lots of links.

Göteborgs Domkyrka Gosskör Gothenburgs Cathedral boy's choir. One of the most wellknown. boy's choir in Sweden.

Linköpings Studentsångarförening Linköping University Male Voice Choir Likhören.
Non Silentium A mixed choir with a varied repertoire.

Classic Music
Nordic Index of classical Music. Classical music in the Nordic countries.

Symphony Orchestras

Göteorgs Symfoniorkester Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.

Helsingborgs Symfoniorkester Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra.

Malmös Symfoniorkester (Swedish only) Malmö Symphony Orchestra.

Norrköpings Symfoniorkester Norrköping Symphony Orchestra.

Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Sveriges Radios Symfoniorkester (Swedish only)Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Symfoniorkestern vid Norrlandsoperan Symfoniorkestern vid Norrlandsoperan.

Chamber Music

Svenska Kammarorkestern (Swedish only) Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

Sundsvalls Kammarorkester (Swedish only) Sundsvall Chamber Orchestra.

Kroumata Ensemblen (Swedish only) Kroumata Ensemble.

Folk Music

Falu Spelmanslag The fiddler company of Falun.

Leksands Spelmanslag Leksand Fiddle Grooup.

Folkmusik i Linköping (Swedish only) Folkmusic in Linköping

Folkmusikhuset i Stockholm An open house for folk music, dance and songs.

Norrlåtar Folk music in Northern Sweden

Svärdsjö Spelmanslag Svärdsjö Fiddler's Association

Svenska Folkmusiklänkar Swedish Trade Music Links. Links to resources of mostly Swedish traditional music.

Jazz

Jazz Web A source of information about jazz in Sweden

Jazz Stage JazzPage. A magazine for jazz-lovers. Articles, reviews. news.

Jazz Links Sunet. Links to jazz resources.

Opera

Folkoperan The Swedish Folkopera is a freelance theatre in Stockholm. Opera links.

Göteborgsoperan Gothenburg's Opera House

Kungliga Operan The Royal Swedish Opera House. Stockholm.

Norrlands Operan The world's norternmost opera house.

Opera Schedule Server about where and what is being played.

Rock and Pop Music

Cable Cabal Search (in Swedish) Swedish bands on the Search (in Swedish) engine.

GBG Rocknet Rockbands from Gotheburg. Links to other rockbands.

Rock Links Sunet. Links to punk, metal and hard rock.

Nöjesguiden (Swedish only) A magazine and a Search (in Swedish)-engine. Search (in Swedish) for records and reviews.

Scandinavian Indie Your internet guide to scandivian indepenent music. Links, artist and festivals.

Magazines

Magazine Groove (Swedish only) Music magazine. News about alternative pop and rock.

Slitz (Swedish only) The magazine Slitz with the music magazine Stereo. News, music, film and other related subjects.

Music Organizations

Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbyrå STIM. Swedish Composers' International Music Bureau

Föreningen Svenska Tonsättare FST. Society of Swedish Composers

Kulturkatalog The National Council for Cultural Affairs' catalogue of government institutions, organizations and music associations.

Svenska Kompositörer av Populärmusik SKAP. Swedish Composers of Popular Music

Svenska Rikskonserter Swedish Concert Institute

Swedish Literature

Swedish Nobel Laureates in Literature: Selma Lagerlof, Verner von Heidenstam, Erik Axel Karlfeldt, Par Lagerkvist, Eyvind Johnson, Harry Martinsson.

It is customary to say that Sweden's modern literary history began in the 18th century with the mystic philosopher Emanuel Swedenborg. During the late 18th century our national poet, Carl Michael Bellman, composed his peerless life-affirming drinking songs and idyllic pastorals still sung by students all over Sweden.

As is only natural, a whole century of Swedish literature encompasses numerous literary encompasses numerous literary currents: folk romanticism, flaneur literature, expressionism, bourgeois novels, surrealistic poetry, urbane portraits, social criticism, social realism, and accounts of the disintegration of the welfare state and the fragility of the individual. Some writers belonging to this literary scene have only one role, but a major one, to play. Other re-appear in several guises.

Two giants dominated Swedish literature at the turn of the 20th century: Selma Lagerlof and August Strindberg, whose influence on narrative and drama has been felt ever since. Strindberg's Roda Rummet (The Red Room) and Lagerlof's Gosta Berglings saga (Gosta Bergling's Saga) are considered the first modern Swedish novels.

Nils Holgersson's underbara resa genom Sverige (The wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersason) by Lagerlof, a book which several generations of schoolchildren knew by heart, is a playful introduction to Sweden's geography. Svenskarna och deras hövdingar (The Swedes and Their Chieftains) a children's History reader by Verner von Heidenstam, who earned the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Hjalmar Bergman was one of the truly great storytellers of Swedish literature, was both a novelist and a dramatist. Per Lagerkvist was one of the first modernist poets in Sweden.

The widely popular Wilhelm Moberg wrote about Swedish rural society and its history. Several of his novels were turned into motion pictures. Jan Troell's two-part adaptation of Moberg's four novels about 19th century Swedish emigration to America - Utvandrarna (the Emigrants, Invandrarna (Unto a Good Land, Nybyggarna (The Settlers) and Sista Brevet hem (The Last Letter Home) made cinematic history.

Astrid Lindgren 1907-2002 was the greatest children book author in Sweden. Astrid was born on a farm in Småland the very area in which her characters come alive in her books. Her first big success was the story of "Pippi Långstrump" Pippi Longstocking. Pippie Longstocking became the renowned girl who could carry her horse on her head and wrestle with the strongest man in the world at a circus. The book has been translated into 76 languages and the movie about Pippi Longstocking can be seen all over the world.

She also wrote fantastic books like Emil i Lönneberga, Madicken, Alla vi barn i Bullerbyn, Vi på Saltkråkan, Ronja Rövardotter, Mio min Mio, Bröderna Lejonhjärta and many more.

Astrid won many awards, not only for her fantastic books but also for her fight for animal rights and rights for children.

Source: Swedish Institute
www.si.se

Karin Berner, Rivieralink
www.rivieralink.com

Literature

Nordic Authors Projekt Runeberg. A database containing more than 4 000 Nordic authors. Titles and links.

Svenska Dramatikerförbundet Swedish Playwright's Union. Information for people who are intrested in drama and scriptwriting and everyone connected to the stage, film, television and other media

Skönlitteratur. Authors and titles on line.

Literature Sunet. Links to literature, authors, organizations, homepages.

Publisher Sunet. Links to commercial publisher.

Libraries

Kulturkatalog (Swedish only) The National Council for Cultural Affairs' catalogue of government institutions and literature associations.The council provides an presentation of Swedish country libraries. Libraries In Sweden Lund University Electronic Library. National Libraries, university and college libraries, and public libraries.

Swedish Libraries The Swedish Page. Links to the libraries in Sweden.

Museums

Museums in Göteborg

Museums in Malmö

Museums in Stockholm

The Swedish National Council of Cultural Affairs The council provides an extensive presentation of Swedish museums.

Museums in Sweden Sunet. Listed museums in Sweden with links to their homepages

Museums in Sweden Virtual Library. Listed museums in Sweden with links to their homepage

Famous Swedes

Nobel Family
Amazing inventors, industrialists, engineers
and
social reformers.

Immanuel Nobel (1801-1872) the father of the 4 Nobel brothers, Ludvik, Robert, Alfred and Emil was a Swedish engineer, architect, inventor and industrialist. He invented the rotary lathe a machine tool used in plywood manufacturing.

He often experimented with nitroglycerin with his sons, which led to his son's Emil death at an explosion at his factory Heleneborg in Stockholm.

The Nobel family moved from Sweden to Russia in 1838 to sell Immanuel's inventions. They lived in Russia for two decades supported by grants from Czar Nicholas. Among his successful creations was an improved version of an underwater exploding mine. Immanuel and his wife, Andrietta and two of their sons, Alfred and Emil, moved back to Sweden when the Czar died.

Robert and Ludvig Nobel
and the Oil Industry in Russia

Ludvig and Robert remained in St. Petersburg. During a trip to Baku, located on the Caspian Sea, Robert Nobelrealized the commercial possibilities of the oil wells in the area. He persuaded his brother Ludvig to join in exploiting the oil wells and in 1876, they started an oil company called Branobel which at one point produced 50% of the world's oil.

Robert lived in Baku for some time but had to return to Sweden for health reasons.

Ludvig Nobel (1831-1888) was an engineering genius, a noted businessman and a humanitarian well acquainted with modern industrial production. He is credited with creating the Russian oil industry.

He, got down enthusiastically to reorganizing the Russian oil business, particularly in Tsaritsyn. The activity of Branobel had a beneficial effect on the industrial development of the town. Its geographical location and the transportation advantages enabled the Nobel Partnership to set up on the Volga bank a major transshipment base with numerous storehouses for petroleum products, railroad spur tracks, quay berths, machine shops and an adequate engineering and social infrastructure.

Ludvig continued to develop the oil industry and made a number of technical and commercial innovations. Among these were pipelines for the transport of oil and oil tankers built in sections in Sweden and assembled on the Caspian Sea. Ludvig Nobel became a very well-known figure in pre-revolutionary Russia, not only for his technical inventions and business enterprise, but because he had good relations with his employees. He introduced profit sharing and worked actively to improve working conditions in his factories.

The world's first successful oil tanker was Nobel's Zoroaster.

Ludvig designed this in Lindholmen-Motala in Sweden with Sven Almqvist. The contract to build it was signed January 1878, and it made its first run later that year from Baku to Astrakhan. The design was widely studied and copied, with Nobel refusing to patent any part of it. In October 1878, he ordered two more tankers of the same design: the Buddha and the Nordenskjöld. The first tank steamer of the United States was built after drawings and calculations of Nobel after his death.

Nobel was a strong humanitarian as well as a businessman, full of ideas and visions. He introduced profit sharing and worked actively to improve working conditions in his factories. His humanity and social approach was unique for the time. In 1885 he started a cooperative bank, sparkasse, for the workers. In Baku, social areas were built for the workers like dining rooms, billiard rooms, libraries and conference rooms where speeches and discussions were held. Near his home, Villa Petrolea, several houses for the workers were built and a shuttle boat was offered between the city and the harbour. The company donated funds to schools and ran a hospital.

Ludvig and Robert created a large park, still existent, in the "Black City" section of Baku near Villa Petrolea.

 

CARL LINNAEUS

Linnaeus 300 − a reason to celebrate!

2007 sees the 300th anniversary of the birth of Sweden's visionary natural scientist Carl Linnaeus. The occasion will be marked by countless activities, not only in his homeland but also all around the world. For Linnaeus, even in his own lifetime, was a figure of truly global significance.

Carl Linnaeus is surely the most famous Swede of all times internationally, and something of a forefather of contemporary Swedish science. Swedes know him as Carl von Linné, the name he took when raised to the nobility in 1757. In the Anglo-Saxon world he is normally referred to as Carl Linnaeus.

Linnaeus was also the foremost explorer of the vast country of Sweden. He travelled extensively, meticulously studying and classifying the nature, people and culture of region after region, starting with his famous voyage to remote subpolar Lapland. As Linnaeus was also a brilliant and powerful author, his records of these travels, as well as other writings, are living classics, still widely read today.

Linnaeus' immense legacy is alive and well in Sweden. We can see it not only in the country's rich tradition of scientific discovery but also in our attitudes and values. These include the distinctive Swedish way of relating to the natural world.

Linnaeus charisma was especially bestowed upon an inner circle, the apostles, who were sent forth on vayages of exploration around the world. Many of the apostles actually suffered martyrdom in the field, sacrificing their lives for science and its master. They travelled in all directions to Far East, Russia, North and South America, the Orctic Ocean and within Europe.

The 300th anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate Swedish science and cutting-edge research. It is also an occasion to encourage a dialogue about life on our planet today and the shape of things to come − in true Linnaean spirit.

Linnaeus 300

Read more about the "Father of Taxonomy" naming, ranking and classifying organisms:

Some famous Swedes

Carl von Linné (1707 -1778)

Famous natural scientist and botanist who created a classification system of plants based on their sexual characters. Often referred as a forerunner to Darwin.

Alfred Nobel (1883 - 1896)

Inventor of the dynamite and founder of the Nobel prize

August Strindberg (1849 - 1912)

Famous Swedish writer known for his dramatic theatre world wide.

Selma Lagerlof

Nobel laureate in literature. "Gosta Berglings Saga" and August Strindberg's "Roda Rummet" (the Red Room) are considered the first modern Swedish Novels.

Gunnar Asplund (1885 - 1940)

One of the most famous Swedish architects of the XX century.

Gunnar Asplund (1885-1940)

One of the greatest Swedish architects during the first half of the 20th century.

Dag Hammarskjöld (1905 - 1961)

Secretary-General of the UN between 1958 - 1961.

Greta Garbo (1905 - 1990)

One of the biggest stars of the cinema in Hollywood, called «the Divine».

Astrid Lindgren (1907 - 200?)

Wellknown author of children's book, translateed into many languages. Her Pippi Långstrump is a legendary figure amongst children in the whole world.

Raoul Wallenberg (1912 -?)

Diplomat who by his heroic actions saved dozens of thousands of Jews in Budapest during the last years of the 2nd World War. Taken prisoner by the Russians in 1945 and still is missing.

Ingrid Bergman (1915 - 1982)

Actor who was made a symbol by Hollywood of the Nordic woman.

Ingmar Bergman (born 1918)

One of the most well known film- and theatre-makers in European whose psychological drama has had a heavy influence on the art of cinematography.

Olof Palme (1927 - 1986)

Politician known for his lobbying to give the developing countries a place on the political scene. Killed on a street in Stockholm, February 1986.

Björn Borg (born 1956)

The first «rockstar of tennis» He is the only one so far, who have been able to win five times in a row at Wimbledon, 1976 to 1980.

Anna Sörenstam (born 1970)

Golf champion and first at the world classification.

Nordic Authors: Database containing more than 4,000 Nordic authors. Titles and links.
www.lysator.liu.se/runeberg/authors.

Culture - Music

Sweden has a rich musical tradition. Already at school, the children will learn to play an instrument. One of the biggest success stories of Sweden is the pop group of four: ABBA, who with their music became world famous.

Other groups and singers have followed like Roxette, Ace of base, Dr Alban, Cardigans, Robyn, Eagle-Eye-Cherry and many more. Sweden is also the third exporter of music in the world after USA and UK.

Literature

Swedish Nobel Laureates in Literature: Selma Lagerlof, Verner von Heidenstam, Erik Axel Karlfeldt, Per Lagerkvist, Eyvind Johanson, Harry Martinsson.

It is customary to say that Sweden's modern literary history began in the 18th century with the mystic philospher Emanuel Swedenborg. During the late 18th century the national poet, Carl Michael Bellman, composed his peerless life-affirming drinking sogns and idyllic pastorals still sung by students all over Sweden.

Two persons dominated Swedish literature at the turn of the 20th century: Selma Lagerlof and August Strindberg. Strindberg's "Roda Rummet (The Red Room) and Lagerlof's "Gosta Berglings Saga" are considered the first modern Swedish novels.

If you want to know about Sweden's geography, read "The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgerson" the little boy who flew on a wild goose over Sweden, written by Slema Lagerlof, the first women to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1909.

Verner von Heidenstam earned the Nobel Prize in Literature. Among his works he wrote a children's history book "Svenskarna och deras hodingar (The Swedes and Their Chieftains)

The widely popular Wilhelm Moberg wrote about Swedish rural society and its history. Several of his novels were turned into motion pictures. Jan Troell's two-part adaptation of Moberg's four novels about 19th century Swedish emigration to America made cinematic history.

Elsa Beskow b. 1874-1943 Elsa Beskow was an author and an illustrator of children's books she created absolutely beautiful illustrations. Everyone in Sweden can recognize her art and have been brought up with the stories from her books. Some of her books include Mors Lilla Olle, Tant Grön, Tant Brun och Tant Gredelin, Tomtebobarnen, Blommornas bok, Pelles nya kläder, Solägget and many more. Elsa Beskow has won awards for her fantastic stories.

Elsa Beskow is presented for all the stories that has come alive and become a part of our lives through her fantastic illustrations. She can be described as Sweden's first true children book creator.

Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002): wrote about Pippi Longstocking, the strongest girl in the world who could carry her horse on her head, loved by children and grown-ups all over the world. The book has been translated into 76 languages.

She also wrote fantastic books like Emil i Lönneberga, Madicken, Alla vi barn i Bullerbyn, Vi på Saltkråkan, Ronja Rövardotter, Mio min Mio, Bröderna Lejonhjärta and many more.

Astrid won many awards, not only for her fantastic books but also for her fight for animal rights and rights for children

Lena Andersson b 1939 is one of Sweden's "new" children's book illustrators. Her most famous illustrations are about Maja and Linnéa. Both these girls bring children close to nature where they learn about plants and how to grow them from seeds. Lovely Alphabet songs have been produced as well.

Lena Andersson is presented here because of the lovely stories and the fantastic children's music her characters have brought to us. As children all over Sweden sing the songs every year when school finish we believe Lena Andersson will mean more and more to the Swedish people in the years to come.

Jenny Nyström b. 1939, has painted a lot of beautiful landscape motifs and portraits. But what made her become one of Sweden's most loved artists and a big part of the Swedish culture figures is her creations of the Swedish Santa. It all started when she illustrated Viktor Rydbergs "Lille Viggs på Julafton" from 1874.

Alice Tegnér (1864-1943) is the mother of loved children songs. Many songs are still a big part of all children's days at daycare; they are also red when children go to bed and as a part of Christmas. She is known to both write the text and compose the music but in some cases she has "just" made the music.. Alice Tegnér plays a very important role in creating the best of children's music in Sweden.

Some Swedish Painters

John Bauer (181882-1918) is one of Sweden's most beloved illustrator. John Bauer's wife Ester became the model for hismany fairytale princesses (see photo above). John Bauer became best knwon for his isllutraitons in the fairytale collection "Among Elves and Trolls" Bauer's trolls, with their big noses, pointed ears and long hairy arms look as they sprung from nature. His paintings are featured in the book "Great Swedish Fairy Tales".

http://www.bpib.com/illustrat/bauer.htm
http://www.johnbauersmuseum.nu/

Anders Zorn (1860-1920) has earned a world-wide reputatin as a portraitist. His models include three of Us' presidents Anders Zorn is one of Sweden's most beloved painters and famous for his paintings of the people in the province of Dalarna as well as his nudes, painted in nature.

http://www.zorn.se/engazorn.html

Carl Larsson (1853-1919) is one of Swedens most famous artists.Motly known for his water color paintings and pictures of his happy family life in the small Swedish village.Carl Larsson created a genuinely Swedish style with beautiful landscapes, colours and a Swedish "feeling he managed to perfectly illustrate in his fantastic artwork.

Carl Milles (1875-1955) is Sweden's most famous sculptor. he was one of Rodin's assistants in Paris and he became an American citizen in 1945. His works can be found all over the world. Many can be seen in Millesgarden, a wonderful outdoor museum in Lidingo, Stockholm.

SWEDISH CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS

SWEDISH CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS

Traditional Semla
(Fastlagsbulle)

A Fastlagsbulle/Semla is a traditional pastry in Sweden associated with Lent and especially Shrove Tuesday. The name derives from the Latin, semilia, which was the name used for the finest quality wheat flour or semolina.

The oldest version of the Semla was a plain bread bun, eaten in a bowl of warm milk.

The Semla was originally eaten only on Shrove Tuesday as the last festive food before Lent. However, with the arrival of the Protestant Reformation the Swedes stopped observing a strict fasting for Lent. The Semla in its bowl of warm milk became a traditional dessert every Tuesday between Shrove Tuesday and Easter.

Today, Semlas are available in shops and bakeries every day from shortly after Christmas until Easter. Each Swede consumes on average five bakery-produced Semlas each year, in addition to all those that are homemade.

King Adolf Frederick of Sweden (1710-1771) died of digestion problems on February 12, 1771 after consuming a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut,, smoked herring and champagne, which was topped off by 14 servings of Semla, with bowls of hot milk. Semla was the king's favorite dessert.

King Adolf Frederick of Sweden is remembered by Swedish school children as "the king who ate himself to death".

Click here for a recipe how to make Semla

Walpurgis Night

On the Evening before the May Day (April 30th) "Valborgsmässoafton" Swedes are gathering around bonfires and sing songs about end of winter and beginning of spring. The customs of choral singing derives from students in Uppsala and Lund who have celebrated the arrival of spring in this manner for over two hundred years.

The bonfires goes back further than two centuries. In Sweden and in many other countries, the lighting of bonfires is said among some scholars to have been to scare off predators before the cattle and sheep were put out to graze in spring. Other scholars think the people lit the bonfires to protect themselves against the withes gathering on this very night, Walpurgis Night, to worship the devil.

Source: Maypoles, Crayfish and Lucia: Swedish Holidays and Traditions by Jan-Övind Swahn and the Swedish Institute
www.si.se

Jan-Öjvind Swahn is an ethnologist with a special interest in popular beliefs, customs and poetry. He has taught at the Universities of Lund, Göteborg and Uppsala, and (since 1974), a Professor of Folklore) at Åbo Academy, Turku, Finland. He has published and studied folk tales and myths of the Kammu "mountain people" of Southeast Asia, and he has been senior editor of an encyclopedia. In the course of over 1,000 radio and 300 televisions programes, he has spread knowledge of folklore to listeners and viewers in all the Nordic countries, and his published works include a number of cook books and children's encyclopedia.
www.sweden.se

Swedish Flag and 6th of June

The Swedish flag takes its colours from the coat of arms of King Manus Ladulås from 1275 and from the national coat of arms with three golden crowns on a blue background introduced by King Albrekt of Mecklenburg in 1364. In 1448, King Karl Knutsson combined these two to form a new national coat of arms consisting of four fields divided by a golden cross. This is usually seen as the origin of the Swedish national flag, which was first flown by warships in the mid-16th century.

For a long time Sweden was perhaps the only country in the world with no official national day. In old times the 6yh of November was celebrated with patriotic speeches in schools and military barracks, in honour of King Gustav Adolf, a great general and statesman who died in the Battle of Lützen in 1632.

In the years round about 1900, there was an upsurge of romantic national sentiment and many enthusiasts wanted Sweden, like other countries, to have a national day. As a result of private initiatives, "Swedish Flag Day' began to be celebrated on 6th of June. This day was chosen because Gustav Vasa, who delivered the country from the union with Denmark forced upon it in the late Middle ages, was elected King of Sweden on that day in 1523. Also, one of Sweden's constitutions was signed on the 6th of June 1809.

It was not until 1983 that the 6th of June officially became Sweden's National Day.

Swedish Midsummer

Dancing around the Maypole and singing about frogs Frogdance

The Friday between the 19th and the 25th of June is set aside for the big summer festival "Midsummer Feast", vaguely descended from a pagan summer solstice festival. This feast is celebrated in the heart of the great outdoors, and in the days before Midsummer, Swedes leave towns and cities for country cottages, camping sites and marinas.

The oldest custom at Midsummer is, as in other parts of Europe, the lighting of a great bonfire, but in these latitudes the lightest night of the year was not the right time for dancing around a fire. So the bonfires were replaced by another early summer tradition; the maypole, part of the May Day celebrations on the Continent. Because of the cold northern climate, there were not enough leaves and flowers to be found on May 1st, hence the transformation of the continental maypole into a Swedish "Midsummer pole" which is dressed with leaves and flowers and is the centrepiece of all the gatherings.

On the afternoon of Midsummer Eve, people gather for traditional games and ring-dancing around the maypole (see picture above).

Afterwards, they enjoy a traditional dinner of fresh potatoes and pickled herring of different sorts. Almost always, there is beer and schnapps to drink and strawberries with whipped cream for dessert.

The Midsummer night is believed t o have magic power which influences everything growing in the nature.

Homes and houses are decorated in anticipation of the Midsummer celebration. Young birch trees are positioned on each side of the front door.

In the evening , unmarried girls are picking 7 different kind of flowers and putting them under their pillow on Midsummer night. It is said that in the night the girls will dream of their future husbands.

Read more about Swedish Midsummer Celebration Midsummer in Sweden
More about Sweden

Crayfish party in August.

No one visiting Sweden in August can fail to notice how shop window displays from variations on the theme of crayfish. Nowhere is the crayfish so ardently worshipped as in Sweden. Eating of crayfish has expanded into a ritual meal surrounded by all manner of accessories, preferably with an authentic full moon thrown in. The decorations consist mostly of colored paper lanterns in the form of smiling moon-faces suspended over the table.

A hundred years ago, the catching of crayfish was forbidden except for a couple of months every autumn. At one time the lakes of central Sweden teemed with this black gold, which was exported to the high-class restaurants of Paris, London and Berlin, but over-fishing was threatening to annihilate them. In 1907 the crayfish enthusiasts were struck by a disaster: the "crayfish plague" which was a lethal parasitic mould, which eliminated rare crayfish from most of Sweden's fishing waters. The Swedes imported crayfish, first from Turkey and then from Spain and today from the US. making Sweden the world's biggest crayfish importer.

Eating crayfish the Swedish way is not easy, but the experience of a crayfish party can very well modify the myth of Swedish uprightness.

St Martin's Day - or "Martin Goose"

St Martin's Day is a French, medieval autumn feast, celebrating the saint St. Martin of Tours. Autumn is the time for tasting the new vintage wine in France, and to honor the saint

St Martin's Day is a French, medieval autumn feast, celebrating the saint St. Martin of Tours. Autumn is the time for tasting the new vintage wine in France, and to honor the saint a good meal had to be served with the wine. This celebration spread from France to Germany and found its way to Sweden in the 16th century.

The celebration day, November 11, was primarily observed by the craftsmen and noblemen of the towns. In the peasant community, not everone could afford to eat goose, so many ate duck or hen instead.

Today, "Martin Goose" is mostly celebrated in the southernmost province of Skane and in university towns. The day was also a day of "forecasting" how the coming winter would be and if it would snow on Christmas or not. If it snowed on November 11 , there would be no snow on Chistmas, if the holiday coincided with a Friday or Saturday, the coming winer would be harsh.

A goose dinner, eaten on the eve of November 10, is something of a banquet. All parts of the goose are used. The dinner begins with a bowl of sweet and sour "black soup" (svartsoppa) , made from goose blood and goose broth, richly seasoned with fruit purees, spirits and spices such as clove and ginger. Black soup is served with entrails of various kinds, as wll as goose-liver, sausage, stewed prunes and potatoes.

The dessert will be apple pie or spettkaka, a remarkable three-foot high ziggurat made from innumerable egg yolks and sugar and baked, on a skewer, over an open fire. This "pyramid cake" used to be widespread, but today it is only eaten in Skane and the Pyrenees.

Sources: SI www.si.se
More about St. Martin
St Martin's Eve

ADVENT

Advent means arrival, or coming, and since the 5th century AD has heralded the Christmas season and the birth of Christ. Since the 1890's , the custom in Sweden has been to light a candle every Sunday during Advent. The candles used to be placed in tiny Christmas trees, but form the 1930's onwards, these were superseded by candlesticks of iron or wood. The Moravian custom of handing a star made from paper, straw or chip wood in the windows also found its way to Sweden in the 1930's, recalling the star that guided the Three Wise Men. The Advent calendar dates from around this time. Children open a window in the calendar for each passing day until Christmas Eve.

In people's homes the approach of Christmas is signified by getting out the Advent Candlestick (Adventstake see photo), which is often a little box with four candle holders embedded in moss and lingonberry sprigs. The first candle is lit on the First Sunday in Advent and allowed to burn down by one quarter, Next Sunday it is time for the second candle, and so on, until , by the forth Sunday, the first candle has burnt right down and the last one has been started.

LUCIA CELEBRATION

All Swedes are looking forward to December 13th, grown-ups and children alike. That morning, LUCIA is celebrated in practically every Swedish home, every community, office, school or club. In those places we meet Lucia, dressed in white with crowns of candles in her hair, accompanied by a train of white-clad girls wearing glitter in their hair and boys wearing tall paper cones with stars on them singing Lucia carols and Christmas songs.

Lucia is not an old tradition but genuinely Swedish and was originally a celebration for men only, gorging with food and drinks.

The first Lucias appeared in manors and parsonages in western Sweden towards the end of the 18th century. According to folk tradition, this night was the longest of the year, a rest from the medieval calendar, where the winter-solstice occurred on December 13th. Because of this, it was necessary to have between 3 and 7 meals before dawn, composed of food from the Christmas slaughter: pork, brawn, jellied pig's feet and many drinks to go with it. When, in the 1920s, a Stockholm newspaper arranged a contest to choose a Lucia-girl to represent the city, the custom spread like wildfire. The gorging of food ceased with the introduction of the modern Lucia. Instead, she serves coffee with saffron rolls, ginger biscuits and other kinds of traditional Christmas bread. Sometimes Lucia also serves GLOGG, a mulled wine.

SANTA LUCIA - THE QUEEN OF LIGHTS

Various Myths
Throughout Sweden the feast day of Lucia, or Lucy, is celebrated as a festival of lights. In the early hours of the morning of December 13 a young woman, dressed in a white gown, and wearing a red sash and a crown of lingonberry twigs and blazing candles, would go from one farm to the next carrying a torch to light her way, bringing baked goods, stopping to visit at each house and returning home by break of day. Every village had its own Lucia. The custom is thought to have begun in some of the richer farming districts of Sweden and still persists although the crowns are now electric lights.

In Sweden it is a custom on December 13 for a girl in a white dress (representing the Saint), to bring a tray of saffron buns and steaming coffee to wake the family. She is called the "Lussibrud" (Lucy bride) and her pastry (saffron buns) is Lussekattor. Today many families have a Lucia-Queen in their own home, often the youngest daughter, who wakes the rest of the family with song.

Lucia symbolizes light and growth for human and beast as she emerges out of the darkness. She is said to have been beheaded by the sword during the persecutions of Diocletian at Catania in Sicily. Her body was later brought to Constantinople and finally to Venice, where she is now resting in the church of Santa Lucia. Because her name means "light" she very early became the great patron saint for the "light of the body"--the eyes. Many of the ancient light and fire customs of the Yuletide became associated with her day. Thus we find "Lucy candles" lighted in the homes and "Lucy fires" burned in the outdoors. Before the Reformation Saint Lucy's Day was one of unusual celebration and festivity because, for the people of Sweden and Norway, she was the great "light saint" who turned the tides of their long winter and brought the light of the day to renewed victory.

Before the calendar reform, her original feast day (the day of her martyrdom) happened to fall on the shortest day of the year. The winter solstice was December 13 by the Julian calendar rather than December 21, which it became with the change to the Gregorian calendar in the 1300s, linking it with the far older Yule and Winter festivals of pre-Christian times. Lucy's lore survived the Reformation and calendar reform, which brought the solstice to December 23.

Another Scandianavian custom was for children, on the eve of December 13, to write the word "Lussi" on doors, fences, and walls. In ancient times the purpose of this practice was to announce to the demons of winter that their reign was broken on Saint Lucy's Day, that the sun would return again and the days become longer. "Lucy fires" used to be burned in many parts of northern Europe on December 13. Into the bonfires people would throw incense, and while the flames rose, trumpets and flutes were playing to celebrate the changing of the suns's course.

Santa Lucia of Sicily and the winter solstice festival

The original Lucia was a young Christian girl from the town of Syracuse, on the Italian island of Sicily. The woman called St. Lucy refused to make a sacrifice to the emperor Diocletian She was beheaded by sword on the 13th of December in 304 A.D. during the persecutions of Christians that occurred in the late Roman empire. At the end she said: "I know of no other God than my Creator in Heaven and I am prepared to die for him." Legend asserts that Lucia, during her life, was willing to sacrifice even her eyes for her true belief and so Lucia became a symbol of light in darkness. Her body rests in a church in Venice.

Saint Lucia was one of the earliest Christian martyr saints to achieve popularity: She is the patron saint of the Sicilian town of Syracuse and the patron saint of the blind. Her body is now resting in the church of Santa Lucia in Venice, north Italy.

In the middle of the 19th century the Lucia song was brought to Sweden from Naples and now the name Lucia is celebrated in practically every Swedish home and church, community and club, school and office.

Lucia appears, dressed in a white gown, with a crown of candles, accompanied by a group of girls also dressed in white and sometimes by young boys wearing tall paper cones with stars on them. They all sing the Lucia song and Christmas carols.

There are Lucia processions everywhere and every village elects its own Lucia. The 'Lucia Queen' leads the processions mostly consisting of a group of young girls and boys singing traditional carols. Lucia's day symbolically opens the Christmas celebrations in Scandinavia, bringing hope and light during the darkest months of the year.

In those early ages, the Norse used to celebrated the winter solstice on the same 13th of December, the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The solstice was a magic fest when people particularly feared goblins and ghosts, and bonfires would be burned to celebrate the changing of the course of the sun.

The Norse converted to Christianity around 1000 A.D. starting to adopt Christian traditions and to abandon their pagan beliefs. As the winter solstice festival fell originally on the same day than Saint Lucia's Day, both pagan and Christian traditions mixed to become the modern Lucia celebration: the festival of lights.

Julbock, the Yule Goat

The Yule Goat is a typical Scandinavian Christmas ornament made of straw which is used as decoration throughout the home


Norse Mythology and the origins of the Yule Goat

Before Christianity arrived in Scandinavia, the ancient Scandinavians used to celebrate the winter solstice around the same time that we celebrate Christmas today. The winter solstice is the longest night and shortest day of the year, and from here the days gradually increase in length and bring us spring and summer. For the ancient Scandinavians, the beginning of the end of winter was a very important reason for celebration.

One of those traditional winter solstice celebrations was the Yule Goat. The Yule Goat was a person disguised as a goat who went from house to house entertaining families with songs and dances, and receiving drink and food in exchange for the entertainment.

Why would a goat be going from house to house to entertain people? In Norse mythology, the good-natured, protective god Thor traveled around in a charriot that was drew by two magical goats. It is believed that the ancient tradition of the Yule Goat represented the magical goats who came with Thor as he visited the Scandinavian homes bringing happiness and protection at this very special time of the year.

The Gävlebocken is today a world-famous typical Swedish icon. In 1993 the Gävlebocken got into the Guinness Book of Records as the tallest straw goat ever build (14.9 metres-high).

Julbock

Source: www.scandinavica.com

Christmas Music: Nordic Christmas music http://www.scandinavica.com/shop/music/christmas.htm

Scandinavian Christmas Cooking: Scandinavian recipes, baking and accessories. Norwegian Krumkake and Danish Ebleskiver irons, Swedish Rosette... http://www.scandinavica.com/shop/kitchen/baking.htm

 

The Swedish Smörgåsbord

The buffet, which, under the name of smörgåsbord, has come to be internationally associated with Swedish Eating habits, also began life as a culinary import. It was modelled on the Russian way of starting a meal with a few savoury hor's d'oeuvre as finger food and a couple of glasses of vodka, before sitting down a the table. This custom was adopted by the Swedish upper classes in the 18th century; they called it the "schnapps table" (brännvinsbord). During the 18th century the "schnapps table" became increasingly opulent and elaborate, developing into the present-day smorgasbord with its immense variety of cold and hot dishes. The smorgasbord nowadays is mostly served at inns and restaurants along the main tourist routes, especially at weekends, but in December it invades practically every restaurant in the country, under he title of "Christmas Dinner"

Gravlax, a regular feature of the festive menu at home and further afield, also has humble origins. The name is connected with "grave" in the burying sense. Immense quantities of salmon were caught in the rivers during early summer, and storage was a problem. Salt was expensive, and so people would dig a deep pit, put the fish in it and sprinkle it with sufficient salt to ensure that, instead of rotting, it would just acidify and ferment. It could be kept for a long time in this state. Gravlax was a vital factor of the household economy in the farming communities of northern Sweden. Four hundred years ago, cooks in statelier homes discovered that, after it had been treated with salt, sugar and spices, salmon could undergo a process which eliminated the taste of "raw" fish without the flesh rotting. Gravlax today represents one of Sweden's few contributions to the international cuisine.

Swedish Punsch

Sweet arrack punsch is Sweden's most unique contribution to drinking culture in the West and a momento of the 18th century, when most of Sweden's oceanic trade was with China and Indonesia. Java, for example, provided large quantities of arrack, which became popular in Sweden. Our won spirituous beverage, schnapps (brannvin), suffered, right down to the 1870's from an unpleasant taint of fusel oil, which arrack (and rum) ware free from. Swedish punsch is the combined result of a supply of cheap arrack and the Anglo Saxon idea of mixing punch (base on rum).

Swedish Schnapps (Brännvin)

Sweden is best known for brännvin, the distilling of which from grain was an art transmitted by the Russians fro the Orient in the 16th century. As a relic of the days when this spirit could not be cleansed from fusel oil (which became still more obtrusive when potatoes were adopted as the raw material), there are any number of highly spiced brännvin varieties, some of them heavily sweetened, deriving their individuality above all from native herbs and spices like caraway, aniseed, coriander, fennel and wormwood.

The first glass of schnapps was filled to the brim, the second only halfway, and so the first two drams of a traditional banquet are still known today as "the whole" and "the half". Before downing them the revelers sing a unison snapsvisa in their honour.
Source: Kay L. Nilsson

Surströmming is fermented Baltic herring which is an ancient method of preserving fish. Salt was expensive, so instead of salting down the herring the North Sea way, people used just enough salt to start the fish fermenting instead of rotting. That way it will keep for a long time. Nowadays it is put in tins and the fermentation continues, with the result that a year later, the times are nearly spherical. The new "vintage" is broken out one day in August, and when the tins are opened a strange and, to the uninitiated nostril, rather foul smell is released. The fermented herring are accompanied by the delicious northern Swedish variety of potato and the north Swedish, unleavened barley bread known as tunnbröd ("thin bread) and of course schnapps.

When the moon is on the wane and the nights have grown darker in autumn, people in the south of Sweden speak of "eel darkness", the reason being that the eels are now unable to see the nets and can be trapped on their way to the Sargasso Sea. This is the season for eel parties, at which eel and nothing but eel is served, through there may be as many as ten of twelve varieties. fried, boiled, smoked and grilled with various kinds of stuffing.

Semlor: cream buns and cultural icons

.Much of today's Swedish tradition can be mapped by the food associated with it. Eggs and lamb are inextricably linked with Easter; herring and snaps herald Midsommar; crayfish and fermented herring are the catalysts of parties devoted just to eating these tiny creatures in August and early September.

But as we approach the carnival season which precedes the Christian fast known as Lent, it's all about "semlor".

And "semlor" have a culture all to themselves. They are so much more than just a bun. In fact there are fiercely-contested "Best in Test" competitions pitting city cafés against each other in a kind of annual regional semla Oscars. Mattias Sundberg, a semla enthusiast, explains what it takes to be a winning semla:

Read more about the "Swedish Semla"

http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=3072&date=20060216

Longing for Swedish food? The food products offered on this website can be shipped to you.Visit:
www.butik-hemlangtan.se

Swedish Food on Internet:
www.foodfromsweden.com

www.tasteline.com

Swedish recipes - only in Swedish

A Swedish Kitchen, this website is devoted to Swedish food both in Sweden and abroad. Recipes and information about ingredients, holidays and dining customs.
www.swedishkitchen.com

Swedish Innovations

SOME OF THE MANY SWEDISH INVENTIONS:

Invention Inventor Year
ABBA   1972-1982
Adjustable Spanner Johan Petter Johansson 1892
Bearing Carl Winqvist 1907
Blowtorch Carl Richard Nyberg 1882
Bluetooth Ericsson 1997
Celcius Scale Anders Celcius 1741
Cellphonesystem Ericsson 1958
Coca-Cola design Alexander Samuelsson 1915
Computer mouse, color comp.
color Graphics
Håkan Lans  
Dynamite Alfred Nobel 1865
Gamma Knife Prof.Leskell and Prof.Larsson  
Hydraulic Rock Drill Viggo Romell/Atlas Copco  
Hasselblad Camara Victor Hasselblad 1941
HMS Visby/High Tech Stealth
Technology Cruiser
SAAB Aerosystem 2000
IKEA Ingvar Kamprad  
Jas 39 Gripen SAAB Aerosystem 1988
Kazaa Niclas Zennström  
Lighthouses/Automatic Gustav Dalen 1912
Mechanical Alpahbet Christopher Polhem 1661-1751
Milking Maching Gustav De Laval  
Pacemaker Rune Elmqvist 1958
Pipe Wrench Johan Petter Johansson 1888
Pippi Longstocking Astrid Lindgren 1940
Position Indicating System Hakan Lans  
Propeller John Ericsson 1836
Refrigerator Carl George Munters 1920
SAAB   1937
Safety Matches Gustav Eric Pasch  
Gustav von Platen
1844
Scania   1891
Seatbealts/Rolling Hans Karlsson 1962
Seatbealts/3-point Nils Bohlin 1957
Skype Niclas Zennström 2000
Steam Turbine Gustav De Laval 1883
Table Hockey Stiga Games/Tranås 1957
Telephone Ericsson 1848
Tetra Pak Eric Wallenberg 1944
Turbo Engine Bengt Gadefelt/SAAB SCANIA 1975
Turning Torso 190 mtrs high, 54 stories  
Volvo   1927
Volvo Penta   1907
Zipper Gideon Sundbäck 1927
     
 

See below for more detailed info about the innovations:

Anders Celsius (1701-1744)

Anders Celsius devoted himself entirely to mathematics and astronomy and was appointed professor of astronomy at Uppsala University at the age of 29. Celsius was instrumental in the building of Sweden's first observatory in Uppsala in 1741. Celsius contributed through his countless observations to world knowledge of solar and lunar eclipses, the orbits of the planets, comets, the aberrations of the stars and the breakdown of light in the atmosphere. Celsius is most famous for his invention of new type of thermometer with one hundred degrees between the freezing point (0oC or 32o F) of water and the boiling point (100o C or 212o F) of water. Today his thermometer is used throughout the world.

Note: To calculate Celsius to Fahrenheit: Double the Celsius degrees, deduct 10%, add 32.

To calculate Fahrenheit to Celsius: Decuct 32, add 10%, divide by 2

Carolus Linnaeus ( 1707-1778) and The System of Nature (Systema Naturae)

Linnaeus (also known as Carl von Linné) classified all the plants, animal and minerals of the world into different species and families, giving them uniquely individual names, written in Latin. He sent his students to the far corners of the world to collect specimens and report on their findings. His book was published in 1735 and laid the foundation for the classification of plants and animals that is still used by botanists and zoologists throughout the world. As an indication of his importance, it is worth mentioning that Linnaeus' scientific works are some of the most often cited in the Science Citation Index.

Read more in this section about Carl Linnaeus - click on Famous Swedes

Eva Ekeblad (1724-1786)

Eva Ekeblad experimented with potatoes for both the and the production of powder and distillation of vodka. Her attempts to produce potato vodka succeeded in 1748 and the Swedes began to grow more potatoes for alcohol production. With time, the Swedes found the courage to try eating potatoes too.

The Pre-Industrial Sweden in the 1870's experienced an unprecedented period of expansion. Compulsory elementary education, introduced in 1842, increased greatly the population's reading and writing skills and transformed Sweden from an agricultural nation to an industrial one.

Some of the corporations established during this period include Atlas Copco, Ericsson, ASEA (ABB), Alfa Laval, Stal Laval, AGA, SKF, ESAB, Electrolux and Sandvik.

Alfred Nobel

By mixing nitroglycerine with black powder and using fuse cord Alfred Nobel got his first patent in 1863. The black powder consisted of porous, absorbent sand, which could be kneaded and easily formed. He named it dynamite, from the Greek word dynamis, meaning power. One year later, he obtained a patent for his invention, the Nobel Igniter which is the greatest discovery made both in principle and practice of explosives. Alfred Nobel became the first person to bring his innovations from science into industry. At the time of his death, he held 355 patents. He built a multinational corporate empire with manufacturing and sales offices in more than 20 countries.

The final will of Alfred Nobel was signed in 1895. The first Nobel Prizes were distributed in 1901. The Nobel Prize is an award given yearly for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace.

Read about the amazing Nobel family in this section: click on "Famous Swedes "
www.nobelprize.org

Gustaf Erik Pash (1788-1862), Johan Edvard Lundstrom (1815-1888) and Alexander Lagerman (1836-1904).

In 1844 Pash received a patent for the Safety Match, where the deadly yellow phosphorus used in earlier matches was replaced with red phosphorus, which he placed on the matchbox rather than in the head of the match. Lagerman constructed the first automatic match-making machine in 1892, making possible the mass production of matches. The manufacture of matches became the basis for a huge corporate empire led by the infamous industrialist Ivar Kreuger (1880-1932). At one point the Swedish corporation had a monopoly on world match production, accounting for 75% of all matches manufactured worldwide.

John Ericsson 1803-1889

Ericsson developed hot-air and steam engines and solar heater, and became famous for his practical construction of rotary marine propellers. (Propellers have barely changed in appearance since Ericsson presented his design). Ericsson gained his greatest fame for building the Monitor, an armored Union Navy warship which conquered the Confederate Navy's Merrimac during the American Civil War in 1862.
www.ericsson.ca

Gustaf de Laval (1845-1913)

The first model of Laval's cream separator, a device used for separating cream from milk and making the manufacturing of butter muche easier, was patented in 1878 and 1883. His original company AB Separator is presently known as Alfa-Laval AB. De Laval also invented the modern farming and dairy industry with the invention of the Milking Machine in 1896. De Laval's most remarkable invention was a steam turbine equipped with specially shaped steam jets. , which gave the steam a speed greater than the speed of sound when it hit the turbine blades. During he 19000's , it was the most-widely used steam power source in the world.
www.alfalaval.ca

Lars Magnus Ericsson (1846-1926)

Ericsson began manufacturing telephones in 1881 in his company L.M. Ericsson & Co. In 1885 he invented the telephone handset.
www.ericsson.ca

Mobile Telephones

The basis for mobile telephones was established in the 1950's. The equipment was clumsy and the range was short. In 1976, Osten Makitalo, head of a research group at Ericsson, created a wireless telephone system for everyone. (NMT Network Management Technologies) . In the beginning of the 1980"s NMT made its breakthrough in modern mobile telephones. Ericsson took advantage of their head start and during the 1990's became the world's leading seller of mobile telephone systems
www.ericsson.ca

Johan Petter Johansson (1853-1943)

Over one hundred years ago, Johan Peter Johansson invented the adjustable wrench. Sandvik Bahco has manufactured over 100 million adjustable wrenches and production continues. Each year, about 40 million adjustable wrenches are manufactured around the world using the design developed by John Petter Johansson.
www.sandvik.com

Gideon Sundbäck (1880-1954) and Peter Aronsson

Although the first zipper was patented by Elias Howe in 1851, the zipper was developed in 1900 by Gideon Sundbäck, an electrical engineer, and Peter Aronsson. Patent was granted in 1914 in the USA to where Sundbäck and Aronsson emigrated and opened a factory for the production of the zipper. The appearance of the zipper has not changed since Sundbäck's and Aronsson's days.

Gustaf Dalén (1869-1937)

During 1905-1909 Dalén developed four famous inventions which became the cornerstones of the AGA system:

  • Aga, a gas storage medium which reduced the risk of acetylene explosions during transport.
  • Intermittent lamp for lighthouses which gave rapid flashes of light from acetylene gas.
  • Solar valve, which automatically lit the gas lamp of a lighthouse when darkness fell and extinguished it at daybreak.
  • Mixer, an apparatus which blended acetylene gas with air.

AGA lighthouses became maintenance-free when Dalén added a device which automatically changed burned-out gas mantles. These lighthouses has been used around the world increasing the safety of ocean transport and bringing huge savings in personel and material costs. His system is also used in lighted buoys, aircraft landing lights, windindicators and railroad signals. Gustaf Dalén was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1912.

Viktor Hasselblad (1906-1978)

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin as the first men to set foot on the moon, took photos of the moon's surface, they used a Swedish camera, made by Hasselblad company in Gothenburg. The Hasselblad company was formed in 1941 and manufactured aerial cameras for the Swedish air force. Victor Hasselblad built a precision camera for civilian use and presented his invention: a camera based on a single-lens reflex system.

Hasselblad Prize is one of the most prestigious photographic prizes in the world.
www.hasselblad.se

Baltzar von Platen (1898-1984) and Carl Munters (1897-1989)

The invention of a refrigerator without moving parts was a revolution. Production and sales began in 1925, paving the way for the corporation that would become Electrolux
www.electrolux.com

Sven Wingquist (1876-1953)

The Swedish engineer, Sven Wingquist, furthered the ball-bearing technology and invented the self-aligning spherical roller bearing. Sweden's famous ball-bearing specialist, SKF (Svenska Kullager Fabriken) was founded in 1907 to exploit the invention.
www.skf.com

Ruben Rausing(1895-1983) and Erik Wallenberg (1915-1999)

In 1951, Tetra Pak presented the revolutionizing idea for the storage of non-carbonated drinks such as milk and juice in plastic-coated paper containers. The combination of a tetrahedron shape of plastic-coated paper. By the end of the 1960's, Tetra Pak products were in use throughout the world. The company made new advances in packaging technology and introduced "Tetra Brik" carton in 1963.
www.tetrapak.com

Alexander Samuelson

Alexander Samuelson left Sweden at the end of the 19th century by boat to America. In 1915 he created the original Coca-Cola bottle.

Nils Svensson

Nils Svensson revolutionized shipbuilding. Starting with a model built in his cellar, he created an entirely new way to build large ocean craft. His method laid the groundwork for the revolutionary Arendal Shipyard in Gothenburg which was founded in 1850 by Christian Backman. Now Götaverken Arendal.

Hydraulic Rock Drill

The first hydraulic rock drill was sold in 1973. These drills offer greater power and depth capacity than pneumatic rock drills. The most important components of these drills is a recoil damping system, invented in 1975 by Viggo Romell, chef engineer and project manager for Atlas Copco. Atlas Copco has also developed handheld pneumatic and gasoline-driven rock drills (the "Cobra") which operate at low vibration levels. Atlas Copco has been awarded prizes for the design of its handheld rock drills.
www.atlascopco.com

SAAB Turbo Engine

Turbo engines had been used for many years in motor racing, but were not available to everyday drivers as they were difficult to maintain, were unreliable and had poor fuel economy. In 1976, Bengt Gadefelt, project manager at Saab-Scania, developed a turbo engine for passenger cars. In 1984 SAAB became one of the first car manufacturers in the world to market a mass-produced car, equipped with a four-cylinder engine with 16 valves and turbo charging.
www.saabcanada.com
www.gmcanada.com

Håkan Lans.

Håkan Lans, civil engineer, is one of Sweden's most famous living inventors. He is known for three major inventions: the computer mouse, color computer graphics (today his color graphics are used by almost all computer manufacturers) and GP&P (Global Positioning & Communication). With the GP&P, pilots navigators and automobile drives can se exactly where they are and also see where other aircrafts, ships and cars are. Håkan Lans

Hakan Lans and his team worked on further development and applications of satellite navigation systems. In 980 and eventually came up with an ingenious system known as STDMA (Self-organizing Time Division Multiple Access) It uses highly accurate global timing, offered by Navstar satellites. For positioning down to a few meters accuracy and can provide collision avoidance information and warning for aircraft or ships. STDMA was accepted as a world standard for sea traffic by the International Maritime Organization in 1999 and for air traffic control by the International Civil Aviation Organization in 2001. Hakan Lans is today holding over 50 patents and a range of non-patent innovations and has received several invention and innovation awards.
www.gpa.se/founder GAMMA KNIFE

Professor Lars Leskell and Professor Borge Larsson and the Gamma Knife

In 1968, Professor Lars Leskell of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden and Professor Borge Larsson of the Gustaf Werner Institute at the University of Uppsala, Sweden developed the Gamma Knife. As far back as the 1940's, Leskell recognized the need for an instrument to target deep-seated intracranial structures without the risks of invasive open skull surgery. The Gamma Knife is a revolutionary instrument used to treat arteriovenous malfunctions (AVM) and certain brain tumors without a single incision. The risk of surgical complications is greatly reduced because the procedure is performed without an incision. Therefore, Gamma Knife radio surgery is virtually painless. Patients routinely use only a local anesthesia with a mild sedative, thereby eliminating the side effects and dangers of general anesthesia.

Conventional neurosurgery means a lengthy hospital stay, expensive medication and sometimes months of rehabilitation. The Gamma Knife reduces these costs greatly. Patients are usually` able to leave the hospital the same day and resume their normal activities immediately. Post-surgical disability and convalescent costs are nonexistent.

Today, based on more than two decades of in-depth research and clinical study, the Gamma Knife emerges as the most technologically advanced stereotactic radio surgery of our time.
www.irse.org/gamma_knife

Pacemakers

Swedish physician Rune Elmqvist (1906-1996) developed the first pacemaker to be inserted by operation and surgeon Åke Senning carried out the first surgery in 1958 at Karolinksa sjukhuset in Solna. Later in 1975, Finn Seppo Säynäjäkangas and his company Polar Electro started producing small and low-cost heart rate monitors, a major international success in the sports markets.Rune Elmqvist was a medical doctor but worked later as an engineer and inventor.

1931 Rune Elmqvist developed the first EKG
Sources:. Karolinska Institutet and Wikipedia
Sources: Swedish Institute. (SI), www.si.se

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Kungliga Vetenskapsakademien) was founded in 1739 and regarded as the birth date for natural sciences in Sweden.

Travel in Sweden

Sweden's official website for tourism
and travel information,
Click here: Visit Sweden

Emergency Number in Sweden: Dial 112

 

THE KINGDOM OF SWEDEN

The Royal Family includes the following:

  • The King and Queen:
    HM King Carl XVI (since September 15, 1973). Born in 1946.
    HM Queen Silvia (since June 1976) born in 1943.
  • Their children:
    HRH Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Vastergotland , born in 1977
    HRH Price Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland. Born in 1979.
    HRH Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland. Born in 1982

Read more about the Swedish Royal Family

More info about the Royal Family

The Drottningholm Palace is the private residence of the Swedish Royal Family, located in Drottningholm, which is built on the island Lovön in the Stockholm Municipality), and is one of Sweden's Royal Places.. Apart from being the private residency of the Swedish royal family, the castle is a popular tourist attraction.

The Drottningholm Palace is on UNESCO´s World Heritage list. It is the most well-preserved royal castle built in the 1600s in Sweden and at the same time is representative of all European architecture for the period.

The combination of the exotic Chinese Pavilion pleasure palace, the palace theatre and the magnificent palace gardens make a visit to Drottningholm a unique experience.

Influenced by French prototype, the palace was built by architect Nicodemus Tessin the Elder by commission of Queen Hedvig Eleonora. A number of royal personages have since then left their mark on the palace.

The Palace has been the present Royal Family's permanent residence. The rooms in the southern wing of the palace are reserved for this purpose. The rest of the palace and grounds are open to the public year round.

Crown Palaces in Sweden:

 

ORESUNDS BRIDGE

The ten-mile railway and motorway linkup, opened in Juyly of 2000, between Copenhagen and Malmö, called the Öresund Bridge, is actually a combined bridge and tunnel link. The bridge is the world's strongest cable stay bridge, built to carry the combined weight of a motorway and a dual-track railway. The tunnel is the world's largest immersed tunnel in terms of volume, with four parallel tunnel tubes.

The Öresund Bridge is set to become the backbone of the Öresund Region, a major European cross-border combination of 3.5 million inhabitants. With the synergy effect created by the improved infrastructure the Öresund Region is poised to become a prospering center for trade, science, industry and culture. The region from Roskilde to Tomelilla is being profiled as a "Medicon Valley". With its 500 companies with 30 000 employees of whom 4 000 are researchers, 26 hospitals, 11 universities and five science centers, the region should be attractive for foreign companies to invest in.

The bridge is the longest border crossing bridge in the world, but due to the Schengen Agreement, there are no passport or customs controls.

History

Construction began in 1995. The last section was constructed on 14 August 1999. Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden met midway to celebrate its completion. The official inauguration took place on 1 July 2000, with Queen Margrethe II and King Carl XVI Gustaf presiding. The bridge was opened for traffic later that day. Before the inauguration 79,871 runners competed in a half marathon (Broloppet, the Bridge Run) from Amager (in Denmark) to Skåne (in Sweden) on 12 June, 2000. The bridge was finished three months ahead of schedule.

The bridge has one of the longest cable-stayed cable-stayed main spans in the world at 490 metres (1,608 ft). Width 23.5 metres (77.1 ft) Clearance below 57 metres (187 ft)

The height of the highest pillar is 204 metres (669 ft). The total length of the bridge is 7,845 metres (25,738 ft), which is approximately half the distance between the Swedish and Danish landmasses, and its weight is 82,000 tonnes. On the bridge, the two rail-tracks are beneath the four road lanes. The bridge has a vertical clearance of 57 metres (187 ft), although most boat traffic across Oresund still passes over the Drogden strait (where the tunnel lies).

Peberholm, artificial island

The bridge ends in the middle of Øresund, on an artificially built island, called Peberholm. The island is more than 4 km long and a few hundred metres wide, belongs to Denmark and is now an unpopulated natural reserve.

The Drogden Tunnel

The connection between Peberholm and the nearest populated part of Denmark is through a tunnel, called the Drogden Tunnel (Drogdentunnelen). The tunnel is 4,050 metres (13,287 ft) long, a 3,510-metre (11,500 ft) long buried undersea tunnel plus two 270-metre (890 ft) entry-tunnels. The reason for building a tunnel instead of another section of bridge is that the Copenhagen Airport is nearby

 

A hotel built of ice and snow

ICEHOTEL

ICEHOTEL is situated in the village Jukkasjärvi, 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. The heart and backbone is the River Torne flowing freely through the unspoilt wilderness. Covered with a meter thick ice layer winter time the river is the source of all our art, architecture and design. The pure water and the steady movement of the river creates the clearest ice possible.

Experience the ICEHOTEL: Fly to the city of Kiruna - then travel by dogsled whrough a landscape so crisp and white, so pure and quiet that every now and then it feels as you are moving in a state of weightlessness toward the small village of Jukkasjärvi. What you hear is barely audible - an abstract, minimalist concert. Dry and frosty little creaking noises. A sudden snapping counterpoint. This is the sound of the ice.

Check-in at the absolutely incredible ICEHOTEL. Every bit as amazing as you had hoped it would be. Double rooms and suites constructed entirely of ice, an ice lobby, a chamber of ice pillars and the famous Icebar, where you ordered a whisky on the rocks of course.

Everything has a bluish sheen, as though you were staying in a glacier that had just calved.

Source: Visit Sweden

Read more about Icehotel

When you already are in Jukkasjärvi why not go "dog-sledding"!

Why sweat it out when you can let a shaggy friend do the work? Travelling in the company of animals provides the unique experience of being close to nature. Choose from unforgettable journeys through the mountains on horseback or behind a team of dogs or reindeer. You can hardly get closer to nature than when you travel in the company of animals. The camaraderie, trust, admiration and respect you quickly feel for your draught animals is a rare experience that further enhances the pleasure and adventure in exploring the great, wild mountain expanses.

– Sweden's largest sled dog company is based in a resort, Jukkasjärvi, where the four-legged population is greater than the two-legged and where many excursions start out from the famous Icehotel. In most of the Swedish winter destinations, both long and short sled dog trips are available through forest terrain or up in the bare mountain regions.

The Swedish mountains are made for travelling on horseback or behind teams of dogs or reindeer – wide open and not too steep. Additionally, there is a well built system of trails with mountain cabins and stations and many well-reputed organisers offering tours of differing length and character.

You do not need any previous experience to operate your own dog or reindeer team, as experienced guides quickly teach you the basic tricks. Then it is simply a case of following the animals and allowing yourself to be transported as the Sami and other mountain dwellers have since time immemorial. Horseback tours are also organised in the Swedish mountains – as well as in other areas in the country – for both beginners and experienced riders.

Source: Visit Sweden

Abisko, Bergslagen, Gotland island, the High Coast, Laponia World Heritage site and Sarek are legends among hikers and trekkers around the world. And deservedly so. Their impossibly natural beauty is matched only by their pristine state. Sarek National Park for example, is true wilderness as only nature could intend it and there are no trails here and few amenities. Otherwise, the vast majority of hiking and trekking trails in Sweden are clearly marked and some 350 hostels, mountain stations and huts are well-equipped and a welcome site for tired-legged visitors.

Source: Visit Sweden

Travel guides, city guides, maps

www.visitsweden.com

Sweden has abundant sights to satisfy all taste and interests. Whether you are interested in history, art, architecture, music, cuisine, fashion or design, Sweden has much to offer – from the old and traditional to the avant-garde and wildly extreme. Stockholm is unrivalled in Northern Europe for its wide choice of high-class museums theaters, galleries, boutiques, restaurants and all types of cultural and historical attractions the city's chic cosmopolitan culture has become world famous at the forefront of design, fashion music, cuisine and other contemporary urban culture.

Sweden's second city, Gothenburg, is a maritime city, with large array of museums, events and entertainment. Sweden's third city, Malmö, to the South, is part of the new dynamic Öresund cultural region and is experiencing exciting growth in both traditional and trend-setting cosmopolitan culture.

Across the entire Swedish countryside, from Lappland in the North, to Skåne in the south, there is a wealth of interesting museums, castles, manor houses, churches, historical sites, events and experiences to satisfy all the senses.

Northern Sweden, Europe's last wilderness, has open spaces, wild mountain landscapes, Samis (Lapplanders), reindeers and, of course, the world famous Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi.
www.visit-sweden.se

Southern Sweden offers open landscapes, sandy beaches and genuine Swedish handicrafts in glass and ceramics. All year around you can visit the smeltries and watch the fascinating spectacle of skilled glassblowers turning glowing molten glass into beautiful crystal glasses and colorful works of art.
www.glasriket.se
www.visit-sweden.com Kingdom of Crystal

Western Sweden has charming cities, idyllic fishing villages and many historic cultural sites.

In the Baltic, in the Eastern Sweden you will find two famous islands: Öland with its World Heritage landscape and Gotland with its well-preserved Hanseatic city, Visby.

Central Sweden offers breathtaking waterways, genuine folklore and beautiful landscape. There are magnificent manor houses converted into hotels.

If you are in North America, Swedish Tourism has an office in New York: Tel: 212-885-9700

On skis in Sweden's glittering winter wonderland

Extreme downhill skiing in Northern Sweden. Photo: Peter Grant. Imagebank Sweden

There's so much to enjoy in the abundant snow and ice of Sweden's glittering winter wonderland. From the World Cup skiing of Åre's mighty downhill pistes to the exotic Arctic of Riksgränsen in the far north. From the snowboarder's wild paradise in Lapland to the family resorts in the southern mountains. Sweden has the resorts to suit all tastes and levels of experience. Self-contained accommodation is easy to find, as well as the warm hospitality of hotels, many of which feature excellent leisure facilities.
Read more about it on www.visitsweden.com

For tourism and travel information visit www.visit-sweden.com

The official gateway to Sweden
www.sweden.se

The Swedish Tourist Authority is an independent governmental office developing strategies, keeping statistics and coordinating efforts relating to Swedish tourism.
www.tourist.se

Listing of all tourist offices in Sweden
www.turism.se

Weather forecast in Sweden
www.aftonbladet.se/vader

Maps
www.mapquest.com

Duty Free Shopping in Sweden www.taxfree.se www.globalrefund.com

Hotel information

Sweden offers a large variety of hotels and other forms of accommodations to satisfy all tastes and needs. From the business and conference hotels of the cities to the humble cabins in the wildeerness. Throughout Sweden, there are hotels, guest-houses, inns, spas, conference centers and holiday villages of every conceivable size and character. Many of Sweden's most beautiful castles, country estates and framsteads have been lovingly transformed into firs-class places to stay in.

The world famous ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjarvi is a most spectacular hotel and experience.

Check out and book hotels throughout Sweden. Click on "Sweden Info" and you will be linked to several excellent travel sites to make your travel plans in Sweden easier and more enjoyable.

www.hotellsverige.se/engelska/index

Some basic Swedish for traveling in Sweden www.travlang.com/languages

Assistance from the Canadian Government for Canadians traveling abroad.
http://voyage.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/menu-e.asp

Electronic Equipment

The normal electric current in Sweden is 220 volt, AC in 50 cycles, The prongs for outlets differ from those in North America. Outlet prongs can be found in Canadian travel stores. Bring along transformer for electrical appliances. Laptop computer that are made to work on both 110 and 220 volts can be used in Sweden with an adapter.

Foreign exchange

FOREX, foreign currency bureau can be found in most of the larger cities in Sweden. FOREX branches are also located at major airports, ferry terminals and major railway stations.
www.forex.se

Transportation

Stockholm (Arlanda ) Airport The new Arlanda Express rail service operates from Arlanda Airport to Stockholm Central Station every 15 min. The journey time is only 18 min. The airport station is also served by long-distance mainline rail services, including night trains to the north of the country. www.arlandaexpress.com

Gothenburg (Landvetter) Airport Buses operate from the airport to the Central Station every 15 min at peak times and twice hourly for the rest of the day. Journey time 30 min.

Malmö (Sturup) Airport Buses operate between the airport and Malmö and Lund Central Stations once or twice hourly. Journey time: 45 min to Malmö and 35 min. to Lund.

Copenhagen (Kastrup) Airport (32 km from Malmö) Direct trains operate every 20 min. from the airport to Malmö Central Station via the new Öresund Bridge and Tunnel. The trip takes 24 min.

The opening of the Öresund Bridge in 2000 has made non-stop travel between mainland Europe and Sweden a reality. The 16 km (10 miles) bridge and tunnel links Denmark's capital, Copenhagen, with Sweden's third largest city, Malmö, and takes both cars and rail traffic. Direct rail services to other cities in Sweden, including Stockholm, also operate across the bridge.
www.oeresundsbron.com

Car Rental

All the major car-rental companies have offices at major airports and in cities throughout Sweden.

Rail Travel

Sweden has a highly efficient rail network covering the whole country. You travel smoothly and comfortably on some of Europe's most modern trains the high-speed train, X2000: The Swedish high-speed train travels at up to 125 mph on all major routes and offers the highest standards of comfort. X2000 services now operate between Sweden and Copenhagen via the new Öresund Bridge and Tunnel.

Night trains.
Modern and comfortable overnight trains operate on the longer routes. All have first-class and second-class sleeping compartments and couchettes. For detailed train schedules and reservations visit:
www.swcandinaviasecrets.com
www.tagplus.se
www.sj.se

"Inlandsbanan" is an 809-mile route from Mora in Sweden to Gällivare in the north, passing through the Swedish inland. "Inlandsbanan" is run by a private company offering tours in the summer turist@inlandsbanan.se
www.inlandsbanan.se

Train Travel in Sweden. Timetables and on-line booking.
www.sj.se

Eurail
The Eurail products, available to North American travelers through European railway company representatives in North America, are issued only to non-European residents. For detailed information please visit: www.raileurope.com, www.eurail.com

Eurailpass
An Eurail Pass is good for unlimited first class travel in 17 European countries. There are different passes for 1 or more persons, limited time, different classes, for youth, limited amount of countries offered etc. Check the website for one that will suit your travel plans.
www.eurail.com

City Cards
Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö offer city cards for different rates. Included are admissions to museums, public Transport and many other benefits. www.destinationstockholm.se
www.gbg-co.se
www.malmo.se

Popular Attractions:

Kulturhuset. Contemporary cultural center in Stockholm www.kulturhuset.stockholm.se

Vasa Museum. One of Sweden's major tourist attractions located in Stockholm. The museum houses Vasa, a wooden warship that sank in Stockholm harbor during her maiden voyage in 1628.
www.vasamuseet.se

Skansen. The world's first outdoor museum and microcosm of the history of Sweden. The famous open-air museum has replica buildings from old Sweden, a Zoo with wild and domestic animals, beautiful gardens, festivals and dancing. Open all year around. www.skansen.se
info@skansen.se

Uppsala Cathedral. Located in the city of Uppsala. Scandinavia's highest and largest church, founded in 1260 and consecrated in 1435.The Cathedral is the burial place for archbishops, kings and leaders, including the Kings Gustav Vasa and Johan III with his queens and Carl von Lineé. The Cathedral is also home to a unique textile museum, Skattkammeren (The treasure chest).
www.uppsalacathedral.com

Ales Stenar in the city of Ystad. Sweden's largest stone ship from the Viking period. www.ystad.se

Gröna Lund. Famous amusement park in Stockholm www.gronalund.com

Liseberg, Scandianvia's largest and most spectacular amusement park situated in Gothenburg. www.liseberg.se

Adventures for different tastes

Björkliden: Play golf in the mountains at the world's northernmost golf course.

Stockholm archipelago: Sail in a unique world with 24,000 islands and islets with beauty and variation unrivalled anywhere in the world.

Kebnekaise: Experience the challenge of climbing on green glacier ice under the reassuring supervision of experienced guides.

West coast: Boulder climb on the spectacular pink-glimmering archipelago cliffs that rise out of the se.

Places to visit for the entire family

Astrid Lindgren's world in Vimmerby in the province of Småland. Meet Pippi Longstocking and all the other characters in the great author's own children's paradise.

Junibacken. A whole house full of fairytales, laughter and mischief. Take the fairytale train through the fantastic world of Astrid Lindgren (author of Pippi Longstocking books) and have some fun in Villa Villekulla, Pippi's house.
www.junibacken.se

Kolmården: Scandinavia's largest wild animal park offers safaris and a world renowned dophinarium.

Gustavsvik Adventure Pool: Situated in the city of Örebro. Europe's largest water park with tropical lagoons, waterfalls and fish.

Glasriket: All year around you can visit the smeltries and watch the fascinating spectacle of skilled glassblowere turning glowing glass into beatutiful, colourful crystal works of art.
www.glasriket.se

More links of interest: