Liechtenstein And Sweden 2

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Each county further divides into a number of municipalities or kommuner, with a total of 290 municipalities in 2004. Municipal government in Sweden is similar to city commission government and cabinet-style council government. A legislative municipal assembly (kommunfullmäktige) of between 31 and 101 members (always an uneven number) is elected from party-list proportional representation at municipal electionsHP Pavilion dv6-1010tx battery, held every four years in conjunction with the national parliamentary elections.

The municipalities are divided into a total of 2,512 parishes, or församlingar. These have traditionally been a subdivision of the Church of Sweden but still have importance as districts for census and elections. There are older historical divisions, primarily the twenty-five provinces and three lands, which still retain cultural significanceHP Pavilion dv6-1010et battery.

Further information: Subdivisions of Sweden and National Areas of Sweden

Kingdoms of Svear (Sweonas) and Götar (Geats) in the 12th century, with modern borders in grey

The actual age of the kingdom of Sweden is unknown.[81] It depends mostly on whether Sweden should be considered a nation when the Svear (Sweonas) ruled Svealand or if the emergence of the nation started with the Svear and the Götar (Geats) of Götaland being united under one rulerHP Pavilion dv6-1010ed battery. In the first case, Sweden was first mentioned as having one single ruler in the year 98 by Tacitus, but it is almost impossible to know for how long it had been this way. However, historians usually start the line of Swedish monarchs from when Svealand and Götaland were ruled under the same king, namely Eric the Victorious (Geat) and his son Olof Skötkonung in the 10th century. These events are often described as the consolidation of Sweden, although substantial areas were conquered and incorporated laterHP Pavilion dv6-1010ea battery.

Earlier kings, for which no reliable historical sources exist, can be read about in mythical kings of Sweden and semi-legendary kings of Sweden. Many of these kings are only mentioned in various saga and blend with Norse mythology.

The title Sveriges och Götes Konung was last used for Gustaf I of Sweden, after which the title became "King of Sweden, of the Goths and of the Wends" (Sveriges, Götes och Vendes Konung) in official documentation. Up until the beginning of the 1920sHP Pavilion dv6-1009tx battery, all laws in Sweden were introduced with the words, "We, the king of Sweden, of the Goths and Wends". This title was used up until 1973.[82] The present King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, was the first monarch officially proclaimed "King of Sweden" (Sveriges Konung) with no additional peoples mentioned in his titleHP Pavilion dv6-1009el battery.

The term riksdag was used for the first time in the 1540s, although the first meeting where representatives of different social groups were called to discuss and determine affairs affecting the country as a whole took place as early as 1435, in the town of Arboga.[83] During the assemblies of 1527 and 1544, under King Gustav Vasa, representatives of all four estates of the realm (clergy, nobility, townsmen and peasants) were called on to participate for the first time.[83] The monarchy became hereditary in 1544HP Pavilion dv6-1008tx battery.

Executive power was historically shared between the King and a noble Privy Council until 1680, followed by the King's autocratic rule initiated by the common estates of the Riksdag. As a reaction to the failed Great Northern War, a parliamentary system was introduced in 1719, followed by three different flavours of constitutional monarchy in 1772, 1789 and 1809, the latter granting several civil liberties. The monarch remains as the formal, but merely symbolic, head of state with ceremonial dutiesHP Pavilion dv6-1007tx battery.

The Riksdag of the Estates consisted of two chambers. In 1866 Sweden became a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral parliament, with the First Chamber indirectly elected by local governments, and the Second Chamber directly elected in national elections every four years. In 1971 the parliament became unicameral. Legislative power was (symbolically) shared between king and parliament until 1975. Swedish taxation is controlled by the RiksdagHP Pavilion dv6-1006tx battery.

Sweden has a history of strong political involvement by ordinary people through its "popular movements" (Folkrörelser), the most notable being trade unions, the independent Christian movement, the temperance movement, the women's movement and more recently the sports[clarification needed] and intellectual property pirate movementsHP Pavilion dv6-1005tx battery.

Sweden is currently leading the EU in statistics measuring equality in the political system and equality in the education system.[84] The Global Gender Gap Report 2006 ranked Sweden as the number one country in terms of gender equality.[85]

Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden and ceremonial head of state

Constitutionally, the 349-member Riksdag (Parliament) holds supreme authority in modern Sweden. The Riksdag is responsible for choosing the prime minister, who then appoints the government department heads (cabinet ministers)HP Pavilion dv6-1005ez battery. Legislative power is only exercised by the Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the prime minister and the cabinet, while the judiciary is independent. Sweden lacks compulsory judicial review, although the non-compulsory review carried out by lagrådet (Law Council) is mostly respected in technical matters but less so in controversial political matters. Acts of the Riksdag and government decrees can be made inapplicable at every level if they are manifestly against constitutional lawsHP Pavilion dv6-1005ea battery. However, because of the restrictions in this form of judicial review and a weak judiciary, this has had little practical consequence.

Legislation may be initiated by the cabinet or by members of the Riksdag. Members are elected on the basis of proportional representation to a four-year term. The Constitution of Sweden can be altered by the Riksdag, which requires a simple but absolute majority with two separate votes, separated by general elections in betweenHP Pavilion dv6-1004tx battery. Sweden has four constitutional laws: the Instrument of Government, the Act of Royal Succession, the Freedom of the Press Act and the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression.

The Swedish Social Democratic Party has played a leading political role since 1917, after Reformists had confirmed their strength and the revolutionaries left the party. After 1932, cabinets have been dominated by the Social Democrats. Only five general elections (1976, 1979, 1991, 2006 and 2010) have given the centre-right bloc enough seats in the Riksdag to form a governmentHP Pavilion dv6-1003tx battery. However, due to poor economic performance since the beginning of the 1970s, and especially since the fiscal crisis of the early 1990s, Sweden's political system has become less one-sided, and more like other European countries.

In the 2006 general election the Moderate Party, allied with the Centre Party, Liberal People's Party, and the Christian Democrats formed the centre-right Alliance for Sweden and won a majority of the votesHP Pavilion dv6-1002tx battery. Together they formed a majority government under the leadership of the Moderate party's leader Fredrik Reinfeldt. In the September 2010 election the Alliance contended against a unified left block consisting of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party. It also saw the first election of the Sweden Democrats into the Riksdag.

Following is the current party lineup in the Riksdag, as of October 2011, organized by the political spectrum into the categories of centre-right and centre-leftHP Pavilion dv6-1001xx battery:

The Alliance won a plurality of 173 seats, but remained two seats short of a 175-seat majority. Nevertheless, neither the Alliance, nor the left block chose to form a coalition with the Sweden Democrats, and the Alliance is currently governing as a minority government.[89]

Election turnout in Sweden has always been high by international comparison, although it has declined in recent decades, and is currently around 80% (80.11 in 2002, and 81.99% in 2006). Swedish politicians enjoyed a high degree of confidence from the citizens in the 1960s, However, that confidence level has since declined steadily, and is now at a markedly lower level than in its Scandinavian neighbours. HP Pavilion dv6-1001tx battery

Some Swedish political figures have become known worldwide, among these are: Raoul Wallenberg, Folke Bernadotte, former Secretary General of the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld, former Prime Minister Olof Palme, former Prime Minister and Foreign minister Carl Bildt, former President of the General Assembly of the United Nations Jan Eliasson, and former International Atomic Energy Agency Iraq inspector Hans BlixHP Pavilion dv6-1001et battery.

Law, law enforcement, and judicial system

Main article: Judicial system of Sweden

The Supreme Court of Sweden is the third and final instance in all civil and criminal cases in Sweden. Before a case can be decided by the Supreme Court, leave to appeal must be obtained, and with few exceptions, leave to appeal can be granted only when the case is of interest as a precedent. The Supreme Court consists of 16 Councillors of Justice or justitieråd which are appointed by the government, but the court as an institution is independent of the Riksdag, and the government is not able to interfere with the decisions of the courtHP Pavilion dv6-1018el battery.

Law enforcement in Sweden is carried out by several government entities. The Swedish Police Service is a Government agency concerned with police matters. The National Task Force is a national SWAT unit within the National Criminal Investigation Department. Swedish Security Service's responsibilities are counter-espionage, anti-terrorist activities, protection of the constitution and protection of sensitive objects and peopleHP Pavilion dv6-1020ec battery.

According to a victimization survey of 1,201 residents in 2005, Sweden has above average crime rates compared to other EU countries. Sweden has high or above average levels of assaults, sexual assaults, hate crimes, and consumer fraud. Sweden has low levels of burglary, car theft and drug problems. Bribe seeking is rare. HP Pavilion dv6-1020ed battery

Throughout the 20th century, Swedish foreign policy was based on the principle of non-alignment in peacetime and neutrality in wartime. Sweden's government pursued an independent course of nonalignment in times of peace so that neutrality would be possible in the event of war.[56]

Sweden's doctrine of neutrality is often traced back to the 19th century as the country has not been in a state of war since the end of the Swedish campaign against Norway in 1814HP Pavilion dv6-1020ei battery. During World War II Sweden joined neither the allied nor axis powers. This has sometimes been disputed since in effect Sweden allowed in select cases the Nazi regime to use its railroad system to transport troops and goods, especially iron ore from mines in northern Sweden, which was vital to the German war machine. However, Sweden also indirectly contributed to the defence of Finland in the Winter War, and permitted the training of Norwegian and Danish troops in Sweden after 1943HP Pavilion dv6-1020ek battery.

Development aid measured in GNI in 2009. Source: OECD. As a percentage Sweden is the largest donor.

During the early Cold War era, Sweden combined its policy of non-alignment and a low profile in international affairs with a security policy based on strong national defence.[93] The function of the Swedish military was to deter attack.HP Pavilion dv6-1020eg batteryAt the same time, the country maintained relatively close informal connections with the Western bloc, especially in the realm of intelligence exchange. In 1952, a Swedish DC-3 was shot down over the Baltic Sea by a Soviet MiG-15 jet fighter. Later investigations revealed that the plane was actually gathering information for NATO.[95] Another plane, a Catalina search and rescue plane, was sent out a few days later and shot down by the Soviets as well. Olof Palme, the former prime minister of Sweden, visited Cuba during the 1970s and showed his support for Cuba in his speechHP Pavilion dv6-1020et battery.

Beginning in the late 1960s, Sweden attempted to play a more significant and independent role in international relations. It involved itself significantly in international peace efforts, especially through the United Nations, and in support to the Third World. Since the assassination of Olof Palme in 1986 and the end of the Cold War, Sweden has adopted a more traditional foreign policy approachHP Pavilion dv6-1022el battery. Nevertheless, the country remains active in peace keeping missions and maintains a considerable foreign aid budget.

In 1981 a Soviet Whiskey class submarine ran aground close to the Swedish naval base at Karlskrona in the southern part of the country. Research has never clearly established whether the submarine ended up on the shoals through a navigational mistake or if an enemy committed espionage against Swedish military potential. The incident triggered a diplomatic crisis between Sweden and the Soviet UnionHP Pavilion dv6-1023ef battery.

Since 1995 Sweden has been a member of the European Union, and as a consequence of a new world security situation the country's foreign policy doctrine has been partly modified, with Sweden playing a more active role in European security co-operation.

The JAS 39 Gripen is an advanced Swedish multi-role fighter aircraft of the Swedish Air Force.

Försvarsmakten (Swedish Armed Forces) is a government agency reporting to the Swedish Ministry of Defence and responsible for the peacetime operation of the armed forces of SwedenHP Pavilion dv6-1023em battery. The primary task of the agency is to train and deploy peace support forces abroad, while maintaining the long-term ability to refocus on the defence of Sweden in the event of war. The armed forces are divided into Army, Air Force and Navy. The head of the armed forces is the Supreme Commander (Överbefälhavaren, ÖB), the most senior officer in the country. Up to 1974 the head of state (the King) was pro forma Commander-in-Chief, but in reality it was clearly understood all through the 20th century that the Monarch would have no active role as a military leaderHP Pavilion dv6-1025ef battery.

When King Gustav V asserted his right to decide and bypass the government in military matters just before the First World War ("borggårdskrisen", the Castle Court Crisis) it was seen as a deliberate provocation against established terms of how the country would be ruled. The office of an appointed Supreme Commander was set up in 1939; before that date, from the late 19th century onwards, the leading men of the army and navy would report directly to the cabinet (and the king), and no fully unified command existed in the professional military sphere itselfHP Pavilion dv6-1025ez battery.

The Infantry fighting vehicle Strf 90 produced and used by Sweden.

Until the end of the Cold War, nearly all males reaching the age of military service were conscripted. In recent years, the number of conscripted males has shrunk dramatically, while the number of female volunteers has increased slightly. Recruitment has generally shifted towards finding the most motivated recruits, rather than solely those otherwise most fit for service. All soldiers serving abroad must by law be volunteers. In 1975 the total number of conscripts was 45,000. By 2003 it was down to 15,000HP Pavilion dv6-1027ef battery.

On 1 July 2010 Sweden stopped routine conscription, switching to an all volunteer force unless otherwise required for defence readiness. The need to recruit only the soldiers later prepared to volunteer for international service will be emphasized. The total forces gathered would consist of about 60,000 men. This could be compared with the 80s before the fall of the Soviet Union, when Sweden could gather up to 1,000,000 menHP Pavilion dv6-1030ca battery.

Swedish units have taken part in peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Liberia, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Chad.

Currently, one of the most important tasks for the Swedish Armed Forces has been to form a Swedish-led EU Battle Group to which Norway, Finland, Ireland and Estonia will also contribute.[99] The Nordic Battle Group (NBG) had a 10-day deployment readiness during the first half of 2008 and, although Swedish-led, had its Operational Headquarters (OHQ) in Northwood, outside LondonHP Pavilion dv6-1030ed battery.

Nordstan is one of the largest shopping malls in northern Europe

Sweden is an export-oriented mixed economy. Timber, hydropower and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Sweden's engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Telecommunications, the automotive industry and the pharmaceutical industries are also of great importance. Agriculture accounts for 2% of GDP and employment. The country ranks among the highest in telephone and Internet access penetration. HP Pavilion dv6-1030ef battery In 2010, Sweden had the third lowest income Gini coefficient amongst developed countries, at 0.25, slightly higher than Japan and Denmark, suggesting Sweden had low income inequality. However, Sweden's wealth Gini coefficient at 0.853 was the second highest in developed countries, and above European and North American averages, suggesting high wealth inequality. HP Pavilion dv6-1030em batteryEven on disposable income basis, the geographical distribution of Gini coefficient of income inequality varies within different regions and municipalities of Sweden. Danderyd, outside Stockholm, has Sweden's highest Gini coefficient of income inequality at 0.55, while Hofors near Gävle has the lowest at 0.25. In and around Stockholm and Scania, two of the more densely populated regions of Sweden, the income Gini coefficient is between 0.35 to 0.55. HP Pavilion dv6-1030eo battery

In terms of structure, the Swedish economy is characterised by a large, knowledge-intensive and export-oriented manufacturing sector, an increasing, but comparatively small, business service sector, and by international standards, a large public service sector. Large organisations both in manufacturing and services dominate the Swedish economy.[102] High and medium-high technology manufacturing accounts for 9.9% of GDP. HP Pavilion dv6-1030eq battery

The 20 largest (by turnover in 2007) companies registered in Sweden are Volvo, Ericsson, Vattenfall, Skanska, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget, Electrolux, Volvo Personvagnar, TeliaSonera, Sandvik, Scania, ICA, Hennes & Mauritz, IKEA, Nordea, Preem, Atlas Copco, Securitas, Nordstjernan and SKF.[104] Sweden's industry is overwhelmingly in private control, unlike many other industrialised Western countries and publicly owned enterprises have always been of minor importanceHP Pavilion dv6-1030us battery.

Some 4.5 million residents are working, out of which around a third has tertiary education. GDP per hour worked is the world's 9th highest at 31 USD in 2006, compared to 22 USD in Spain and 35 USD in United States.[105] GDP per hour worked is growing 2½ per cent per year for the economy as a whole and the trade-terms-balanced productivity growth is 2%.[105] According to OECD, deregulation, globalisation, and technology sector growth have been key productivity drivers. HP Pavilion dv6-1038ca battery Sweden is a world leader in privatised pensions and pension funding problems are relatively small compared to many other Western European countries.[106]

Sweden is part of the Schengen Area and the EU single market.

The typical worker receives 40% of his or her labour costs after the tax wedge. Total tax collected by Sweden as a percentage of its GDP peaked at 52.3% in 1990.[107] The country faced a real estate and banking crisis in 1990-1991, and consequently passed tax reforms of 1991 to implement tax rate cuts and tax base broadening over time. HP Pavilion dv6-1040eb battery Since 1990, taxes as a percentage of GDP collected by Sweden has been dropping, with total tax rates for the highest income earners dropping the most.[110] In 2010, it collected 45.8% of the country's GDP as taxes, the second highest among OECD countries and still nearly double of that in the United States or South Korea.[107] The share of employment financed via tax income amounts to a third of Swedish workforce, a substantially higher proportion than in most other countries. Overall, GDP growth has been fast since reforms in the early 1990s, especially in manufacturing. HP Pavilion dv6-1040ed battery

The World Economic Forum 2009–2010 competitiveness index ranks Sweden the 4th most competitive economy in the world.[112] In the World Economic Forum 2010–2011 Global Competitiveness Report, Sweden climbed two positions, and is now ranked 2nd in the world.[113] Sweden is ranked 6th in the IMD Competitiveness Yearbook 2009, scoring high in private sector efficiency.[114] According to the book, The Flight of the Creative Class, by the U.S. economistHP Pavilion dv6-1040ei battery, Professor Richard Florida of the University of Toronto, Sweden is ranked as having the best creativity in Europe for business and is predicted to become a talent magnet for the world's most purposeful workers. The book compiled an index to measure the kind of creativity it claims is most useful to business—talent, technology and tolerance.[115]

Sweden maintains its own currency, the Swedish krona (SEK), a result of the Swedes having rejected the euro in a referendumHP Pavilion dv6-1040ek battery. The Swedish Riksbank—founded in 1668 and thus making it the oldest central bank in the world—is currently focusing on price stability with an inflation target of 2%. According to the Economic Survey of Sweden 2007 by the OECD, the average inflation in Sweden has been one of the lowest among European countries since the mid-1990s, largely because of deregulation and quick utilisation of globalisation. HP Pavilion dv6-1040el battery

The largest trade flows are with Germany, the United States, Norway, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Finland.

Sweden's energy market is largely privatized. The Nordic energy market is one of the first liberalized energy markets in Europe and it is traded in NASDAQ OMX Commodities Europe and Nord Pool Spot. In 2006, out of a total electricity production of 139 TWh, electricity from hydropower accounted for 61 TWh (44%), and nuclear power delivered 65 TWh (47%)HP Pavilion dv6-1040ev battery. At the same time, the use of biofuels, peat etc. produced 13 TWh (9%) of electricity, while wind power produced 1 TWh (1%). Sweden was a net importer of electricity by a margin of 6 TWh.[116] Biomass is mainly used to produce heat for district heating and central heating and industry processes.

The 1973 oil crisis strengthened Sweden's commitment to decrease dependence on imported fossil fuelsHP Pavilion dv6-1040ez battery. Since then, electricity has been generated mostly from hydropower and nuclear power. The use of nuclear power has been limited, however. Among other things, the accident of Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station (United States) prompted the Riksdag to ban new nuclear plants. In March 2005, an opinion poll showed that 83% supported maintaining or increasing nuclear power.[117] Politicians have made announcements about oil phase-out in Sweden, decrease of nuclear power, and multi-billion dollar investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. HP Pavilion dv6-1042el battery The country has for many years pursued a strategy of indirect taxation as an instrument of environmental policy, including energy taxes in general and carbon dioxide taxes in particular.[118]

Sweden has 162,707 km (101,101 mi) of paved road and 1,428 km (887 mi) of expressways. Motorways run through Sweden, Denmark and over the Öresund Bridge to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Uppsala and Uddevalla. The system of motorways is still under construction and a new motorway from Uppsala to Gävle was finished on 17 October 2007HP Pavilion dv6-1044el battery. Sweden had left-hand traffic (Vänstertrafik in Swedish) from approximately 1736 and continued to do so well into the 20th century. Voters rejected right-hand traffic in 1955, but after the Riksdag passed legislation in 1963 changeover took place in 1967, known in Swedish as Dagen H.

The Stockholm metro is the only subway system in Sweden and serves the city of Stockholm via 100 stations. The rail transport market is privatized, but while there are many privately owned enterprisesHP Pavilion dv6-1045ee battery, many operators are still owned by state. The counties have financing, ticket and marketing responsibility for local trains. For other trains the operators handle tickets and marketing themselves. Operators include SJ, Veolia Transport, DSB, Green Cargo, Tågkompaniet and Inlandsbanan. Most of the railways are owned and operated by TrafikverketHP Pavilion dv6-1045eo battery.

The largest airports include Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (16.1 million passengers in 2009) 40 km (25 mi) north of Stockholm, Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport (4.3 million passengers in 2008), and Stockholm-Skavsta Airport (2.0 million passengers). Sweden hosts the two largest port companies in Scandinavia, Port of Göteborg AB (Gothenburg) and the transnational company Copenhagen Malmö Port ABHP Pavilion dv6-1045ez battery.

See also: Nordic model and Social welfare in Sweden

Sweden has one of the most highly developed welfare states in the world. According to 2012 OECD report, the country had the second highest public social spending as a percentage of its GDP after France, and third highest total (public and private) social spending at 30.2% of its GDP.[120] Sweden spent 6.3% of its GDP,[121] the 9th highest among 34 OECD countries, to provide equal access to education. On health care, the country spent 10.1% of its total GDP, the 12th highest. HP Pavilion dv6-1046el battery

Historically, Sweden provided solid support for free trade (except agriculture) and mostly relatively strong and stable property rights (both private and public), though some economists have pointed out that Sweden promoted industries with tariffs and used publicly subsidised R&D during the country's early critical years of industrialisation.[123] After World War II a succession of governments expanded the welfare state by raising the tax levelHP Pavilion dv6-1050ef battery. During this period Sweden's economic growth was also one of the highest in the industrial world. A series of successive social reforms transformed the country into one of the most equal and developed on earth. The consistent growth of the welfare state led to Swedes achieving unprecedented levels of social mobility and quality of life—to this day Sweden consistently ranks at the top of league tables for health, literacy and Human Development—far ahead of some wealthier countries (for example the United States) HP Pavilion dv6-1050ei battery.

However, from the 1970s and onwards Sweden's GDP growth fell behind other industrialised countries and the country's per capita ranking fell from the 4th to 14th place in a few decades. From the mid 90s until today Sweden's economic growth has once again accelerated and has been higher than in most other industrialised countries (including the US) during the last 15 yearsHP Pavilion dv6-1080eq battery.

Sweden began slowing the expansion of the welfare state in the 1980s, or even trimming it back, and according to the OECD and McKinsey, Sweden has recently been relatively quick to adopt neo-liberal policies, such as deregulation, compared to countries such as France.[105][127] The current Swedish government is continuing the trend of moderate rollbacks of previous social reforms. Growth has been higher than in many other EU-15 countriesHP Pavilion dv6-1080es battery.

Sweden adopted neo-liberal agricultural policies in 1990. Since the 1930s, the agricultural sector had been subject to price controls. In June 1990, the Riksdag voted for a new agricultural policy marking a significant shift away from price controls. As a result, food prices fell somewhat. However, the liberalizations soon became moot because EU agricultural controls supervenedHP Pavilion dv6-1090eo battery.

Since the late 1960s, Sweden has had the highest tax quota (as percentage of GDP) in the industrialised world, although today the gap has narrowed and Denmark has surpassed Sweden as the most heavily taxed country among developed countries. Sweden has a two step progressive tax scale with a municipal income tax of about 30% and an additional high-income state tax of 20–25% when a salary exceeds roughly 320,000 SEK per yearHP Pavilion dv6-1090es battery. Payroll taxes amount to 32%. In addition, a national VAT of 25% is added to many things bought by private citizens, with the exception of food (12% VAT), transportation, and books (6% VAT). Certain items are subject to additional taxes, e.g. electricity, petrol/diesel and alcoholic beverages.

As of 2007, total tax revenue was 47.8% of GDP, the second highest tax burden among developed countries, down from 49.1% 2006.[130] Sweden's inverted tax wedge – the amount going to the service worker's wallet – is approximately 15% compared to 10% in Belgium, 30% in IrelandHP Pavilion dv6-1099ef battery, and 50% in United States.[125] Public sector spending amounts to 53% of the GDP. State and municipal employees total around a third of the workforce, much more than in most Western countries. Only Denmark has a larger public sector (38% of Danish workforce). Spending on transfers is also high.

Eighty percent of the workforce is organised in trade-unions which also have the right to elect two representatives to the board in all Swedish companies with more than 25 employeesHP Pavilion dv6-1100eo battery. Sweden has a relatively high amount of sick leave per worker in OECD: the average worker loses 24 days due to sickness.[111] In December 2008, the number employed in age group 16–64 was 75.0%. The employment tendency was very strong in 2007. The positive trend continued during the first half of 2008, but the rate of increase slackened. According to Statistics Sweden, the unemployment rate in June 2012 was at 8.8%.[131] Unemployment among youth (aged 24 or less) is 24.2%, making Sweden the OECD country with the highest ratio of youth unemployment versus unemployment in general. HP Pavilion dv6-1100es battery

Combined, the public and the private sector in Sweden allocate over 3.5% of GDP to research & development (R&D) per year, making Sweden's investment in R&D as a percentage of GDP the second-highest in the world.[133] For several decades the Swedish government has prioritized scientific and R&D activities. As a percentage of GDP, the Swedish government spends the most of any nation on research and development.[134] Sweden tops other European countries in the number of published scientific works per capita. HP Pavilion dv6-1100so battery

Carl Linnaeus laid the foundations for the modern scheme of binomial nomenclature. He is known as the father of modern taxonomy, and is also considered one of the fathers of modern ecology.

Tycho Brahe, born in 1546 in an area of present-day Sweden which was then Denmark, made the careful astronomic observations upon which Kepler proved and quantified the heliocentric Copernican solar system.

In the 18th century Sweden's scientific revolution took off. Previously, technical progress had mainly come from mainland EuropeHP Pavilion dv6-1100ss battery.

In 1739, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences was founded, with people such as Carolus Linnaeus and Anders Celsius as early members. Many of the companies founded by early pioneers still remain major international brands. Gustaf Dalén founded AGA, and received the Nobel Prize for his sun valve. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and instituted the Nobel Prizes. Lars Magnus Ericsson started the company bearing his name, Ericsson, still one of the largest telecom companies in the worldHP Pavilion dv6-1100sv battery. Jonas Wenström was an early pioneer in alternating current and is along with Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla credited as one of the inventors of the three-phase electrical system.[136]

The traditional engineering industry is still a major source of Swedish inventions, but pharmaceuticals, electronics and other high-tech industries are gaining ground. Tetra Pak was an invention for storing liquid foods, invented by Erik Wallenberg. Losec, an ulcer medicine, was the world's best-selling drug in the 1990s and was developed by AstraZenecaHP Pavilion dv6-1101tx battery. More recently Håkan Lans invented the Automatic Identification System, a worldwide standard for shipping and civil aviation navigation. A large portion of the Swedish economy is to this day based on the export of technical inventions, and many large multinational corporations from Sweden have their origins in the ingenuity of Swedish inventors.

Swedish inventors hold a total of 33,523 patents in the United States as of 2007, according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. As a nation, only ten other countries hold more patents than Sweden. HP Pavilion dv6-1102tx battery

Main articles: Demographics of Sweden and Swedish people

As of 30 June 2012, the total population of Sweden was estimated to be 9,514,406.[3][138] The population exceeded 9 million for the first time on approximately 12 August 2004 according to Statistics Sweden. The population density is 20.6 people per km² (53.3 per square mile) and it is substantially higher in the south than in the north. About 85% of the population live in urban areas.[9] The capital city Stockholm has a population of about 800,000 HP Pavilion dv6-1103tx battery (with 1.3 million in the urban area and 2 million in the metropolitan area). The second and third largest cities are Gothenburg and Malmö.

Between 1820 and 1930, approximately 1.3 million Swedes, a third of the country's population, emigrated to North America, and most of them to the United States. There are more than 4.4 million Swedish Americans according to a 2006 U.S. Census Bureau estimate.[139] In Canada, the community of Swedish ancestry is 330,000 strong. HP Pavilion dv6-1104tx battery

There are no official statistics on ethnicity, but as of 2011, a Statistics Sweden report showed that around 1.858.000 (19.6%) inhabitants of Sweden had foreign background, defined as born abroad or born in Sweden by two parents born abroad.The official language of Sweden is Swedish,[6][7] a North Germanic language, related and very similar to Danish and Norwegian, but differing in pronunciation and orthographyHP Pavilion dv6-1105es battery. Norwegians have little difficulty understanding Swedish, and Danes can also understand it, with slightly more difficulty than the Norwegians. The same goes for standard Swedish speakers, who find it far easier to understand Norwegian than Danish. The dialects spoken in Scania, the southernmost part of the country, are influenced by Danish because the region traditionally was a part of Denmark and is nowadays situated closely to it. Sweden Finns are Sweden's largest linguistic minority, comprising about 5% of Sweden's population, HP Pavilion dv6-1105tx batteryand Finnish is recognized as a minority language.[7]

Along with Finnish, four other minority languages are also recognized: Meänkieli, Sami, Romani and Yiddish. Swedish became Sweden's official language on 1 July 2009, when a new language law was implemented.[7] The issue of whether Swedish should be declared the official language has been raised in the past, and the Riksdag voted on the matter in 2005, but the proposal narrowly failed. HP Pavilion dv6-1106tx battery

In varying degrees, depending largely on frequency of interaction with English, a majority of Swedes, especially those born after World War II, understand and speak English owing to trade links, the popularity of overseas travel, a strong Anglo-American influence and the tradition of subtitling rather than dubbing foreign television shows and films, and the relative similarity of the two languages which makes learning English easier. In a 2005 survey by Eurobarometer, 89% of Swedes reported the ability to speak English. HP Pavilion dv6-1107tx battery

English became a compulsory subject for secondary school students studying natural sciences as early as 1849, and has been a compulsory subject for all Swedish students since the late 1940s.[145] Depending on the local school authorities, English is currently a compulsory subject between first grade and ninth grade, with all students continuing in secondary school studying English for at least another year. Most students also study one and sometimes two additional languages. These include (but are not limited to) German, French and SpanishHP Pavilion dv6-1108tx battery. Some Danish and Norwegian is at times also taught as part of Swedish courses for native speakers.

Before the 11th century, Swedes adhered to Norse paganism, worshiping Æsir gods, with its centre at the Temple in Uppsala. With Christianization in the 11th century, the laws of the country were changed, forbidding worship of other deities into the late 19th century. After the Protestant Reformation in the 1530s, a change led by Martin Luther's Swedish associate Olaus Petri, the authority of the Roman Catholic Church was abolishedHP Pavilion dv6-1109tx battery. The church and state were separated, allowing Lutheranism to prevail. This process was completed by the Uppsala Synod of 1593. Lutheranism became Sweden's official religion. During the era following the Reformation, usually known as the period of Lutheran Orthodoxy, small groups of non-Lutherans, especially Calvinist Dutchmen, the Moravian Church and Walloons or French Huguenots from Belgium, played a significant role in trade and industry, and were quietly tolerated as long as they kept a low religious profile. The Sami originally had their own shamanistic religion, but they converted to Lutheranism by the work of Swedish missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuriesHP Pavilion dv6-1110tx battery.

With religious liberalizations in the late 18th century believers of other faiths, including Judaism and Roman Catholicism, were allowed to openly live and work in the country. However, until 1860 it remained illegal for Lutheran Swedes to convert to another religion. The 19th century saw the arrival of various evangelical free churches, and, towards the end of the century, secularism, leading many to distance themselves from Church ritualsHP Pavilion dv6-1112tx battery. Leaving the Church of Sweden became legal with the so-called dissenter law of 1860, but only under the provision of entering another Christian denomination. The right to stand outside any religious denomination was formally established in the Law on Freedom of Religion in 1951. In 2000 the Church of Sweden was separated from the state and Sweden ceased to have any official churchHP Pavilion dv6-1113tx battery.

At the end of 2009, 71.3% of Swedes belonged to the Church of Sweden (Lutheran); this number has been decreasing by about one percentage point a year for the last two decades.[148][149] Approximately 2% of the church's members regularly attend Sunday services.[150] The reason for the large number of inactive members is partly that until 1996, children automatically became members at birth if at least one of the parents was a memberHP Pavilion dv6-1114tx battery. Since 1996, only children that are christened become members. Some 275,000 Swedes are today members of various free churches (where congregation attendance is much higher), and immigration has meant that there are now some 92,000 Roman Catholics and 100,000 Eastern Orthodox Christians living in Sweden. HP Pavilion dv6-1115tx battery

The first Muslim congregation was established in 1949 when a small contingent of Tatars migrated from Finland, but Islam's presence in Sweden remained marginal until the 1960s when Sweden started to receive migrants from the Balkans and Turkey. Further immigration from North Africa and the Middle East have brought the estimated Muslim population to 500,000. However, only about 110,000 are members of a congregation and of these approximately 25,000 actively practice Islam in the sense that they pray five times a day and attend Friday prayerHP Pavilion dv6-1116tx battery.

Despite a high formal membership rate in the Church of Sweden, some studies have found Sweden to be one of the least religious countries in the world, with one of the highest levels of atheism. According to different studies, between 46% and 85% of Swedes do not believe in God. In the Eurostat survey, 23% of Swedish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", whereas 53% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force"HP Pavilion dv6-1117tx battery and 23% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force". Sociology professor Phil Zuckerman claims that Swedes, despite a lack of belief in God, commonly resent the term atheist, preferring to call themselves Christians while being content with remaining in the Church of Sweden. Other research has shown that religion in Sweden continues to play a role in cultural identity. This is evidenced by the fact that around 80 percent of adults continue to remain members of the Lutheran Church despite having to pay a church tax; moreover, rates of baptism remain high and church weddings are increasing in Sweden. HP Pavilion dv6-1118tx battery

Health

See also: Healthcare in Sweden and Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare

Healthcare in Sweden is similar in quality to other developed nations. Sweden ranks in the top five countries with respect to low infant mortality. It also ranks high in life expectancy and in safe drinking water. A person seeking care first contacts a clinic for a doctor's appointment, and may then be referred to a specialist by the clinic physicianHP Pavilion dv6-1119tx battery, who may in turn recommend either in-patient or out-patient treatment, or an elective care option. The health care is governed by the 21 landsting of Sweden and is mainly funded by taxes, with nominal fees for patients.

Children aged 1–5 years old are guaranteed a place in a public kindergarten (Swedish: förskola or, colloquially, dagis). Between the ages of 6 and 16, children attend compulsory comprehensive school. In the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), Swedish 15-year-old pupils score close to the OECD average. HP Pavilion dv6-1120eg battery After completing the 9th grade, about 90% of the students continue with a three-year upper secondary school (gymnasium), which can lead to both a job qualification or entrance eligibility to university. The school system is largely financed by taxes.

The Swedish government treats public and independent schools equally[159] by introducing education vouchers in 1992 as one of the first countries in the world after The Netherlands. Anyone can establish a for-profit school and the municipality must pay new schools the same amount as municipal schools get. School lunch is free for all students in Sweden, and providing breakfast is also encouraged. HP Pavilion dv6-1120es battery

There are a number of different universities and colleges in Sweden, the oldest and largest of which are situated in Uppsala, Lund, Gothenburg and Stockholm. As of 2000, 32% of Swedish people hold a tertiary degree, making the country 5th in the OECD in that category.[161] Along with several other European countries, the government also subsidises tuition of international students pursuing a degree at Swedish institutions, although a recent bill passed in the Riksdag will limit this subsidy to students from EEA countries and Switzerland. HP Pavilion dv6-1120sa battery

Immigration has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of Sweden, and in recent centuries the country has been transformed from a nation of net emigration ending after World War I to a nation of net immigration from World War II onwards. The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobility, crime, and voting behaviourHP Pavilion dv6-1120sf battery.

According to Eurostat, in 2010, there were 1.33 million foreign-born residents in Sweden, corresponding to 14.3% of the total population. Of these, 859 000 (9.2%) were born outside the EU and 477 000 (5.1%) were born in another EU Member State.

In 2009, immigration reached its highest level since records began with 102,280 people emigrating to Sweden.[165] Immigrants in Sweden are mostly concentrated in the urban areas of Svealand and Götaland.[164] Since the early 1970s, immigration to Sweden has been mostly due to refugee migration and family reunification from countries in the Middle East andHP Pavilion dv6-1120tx battery

Sweden has many authors of worldwide recognition including August Strindberg, Astrid Lindgren, and Nobel Prize winners Selma Lagerlöf and Harry Martinson. In total seven Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to Swedes. The nation's most well-known artists are painters such as Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn, and the sculptors Tobias Sergel and Carl MillesHP Pavilion dv6-1121tx battery.

Swedish 20th-century culture is noted by pioneering works in the early days of cinema, with Mauritz Stiller and Victor Sjöström. In the 1920s–1980s, the filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and actors Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman became internationally noted people within cinema. More recently, the films of Lukas Moodysson and Lasse Hallström have received international recognitionHP Pavilion dv6-1122tx battery.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Sweden was seen as an international leader in what is now referred to as the "sexual revolution", with gender equality having particularly been promoted.[167] At the present time, the number of single people is one of the highest in the world. The early Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967) reflected a liberal view of sexuality, including scenes of love making that caught international attentionHP Pavilion dv6-1123tx battery, and introduced the concept of the "Swedish sin". The image of "hot love and cold people“ emerged. Sexual liberalism was seen as part of modernization process that by breaking down traditional borders would lead to the emancipation of natural forces and desires.[168]

Sweden has also become very liberal towards homosexuality, as is reflected in the popular acceptance of films such as Show Me Love, which is about two young lesbians in the small Swedish town of Åmål. Since 1 May 2009HP Pavilion dv6-1124tx battery, Sweden repealed its "registered partnership" laws and fully replaced them with gender-neutral marriage,[169] Sweden also offers domestic partnerships for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Cohabitation (sammanboende) by couples of all ages, including teenagers as well as elderly couples, is widespread. Recently, Sweden is experiencing a baby boom. HP Pavilion dv6-1125ef battery

Sweden has a rich musical tradition, ranging from mediaeval folk ballads to hip hop music. The music of the pre-Christian Norse has been lost to history, although historical re-creations have been attempted based on instruments found in Viking sites. The instruments used were the lur (a sort of trumpet), simple string instruments, wooden flutes and drums. It is possible that the Viking musical legacy lives on in some of the old Swedish folk musicHP Pavilion dv6-1125tx battery. Sweden has a significant folk-music scene, both in the traditional style as well as more modern interpretations which often mix in elements of rock and jazz. Väsen is more of a traditionalist group, using a unique, traditional Swedish instrument called the nyckelharpa while Garmarna, Nordman and Hedningarna have more modern elements. There is also Sami music, called the joik, which is actually a type of chant which is part of the traditional Saami animistic spirituality but has gained recognition in the international world of folk musicHP Pavilion dv6-1126tx battery. Sweden's most classic and notable composers includes Carl Michael Bellman and Franz Berwald.

Sweden also has a prominent choral music tradition, deriving in part from the cultural importance of Swedish folk songs. In fact, out of a population of 9.5 million, it is estimated that five to six hundred thousand people sing in choirs.[171]

In 2007, with over 800 million dollars in revenue, Sweden was the third largest music exporter in the world and surpassed only by the US and the UK. ABBA was one of the first internationally well-known popular music bands from SwedenHP Pavilion dv6-1127tx battery, and still ranks among the most prominent bands in the world, with about 370 million records sold. With ABBA, Sweden entered into a new era, in which Swedish pop music gained international prominence.

There have been many other internationally successful bands since, such as Roxette, Ace of Base, Europe, A-teens, The Cardigans, Robyn and The Hives, to name some of the biggest, and recently there has been a surge of Swedish Indie pop bands such as Loney, Dear, Shout Out Louds, The Radio Dept. and Dungen, a group which incorporates many elements of Swedish traditional folk music in their sound. One of the most popular rock bands domestically is KentHP Pavilion dv6-1128tx battery.

Sweden has also become known for a large number of heavy metal bands. Swedish musicians are often credited for creating melodic death metal (aka MDM, melodeath). Some of the most popular metal bands (not necessarily melodeath) are In Flames, Amon Amarth, HammerFall, Pain of Salvation, Dark Tranquillity, Opeth, Arch Enemy and Meshuggah. The renowned neoclassical power metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen is also from SwedenHP Pavilion dv6-1129tx battery.

Starting in the 90's, Denniz Pop's Cheiron Studios became an international hit fact

ory, with his disciple Max Martin responsible for Britney Spears breakthrough songs and for shaping the whole boy-band boom at the turn of the millennium with global hits for groups like the Backstreet Boys and N Sync. In the mid-00s, Martin came back with a more rock-tinged sound and cut major hits on artists like Kelly Clarkson, Pink and Katy Perry. Another producer worth mentioning is Moroccan-Swede RedOne, who is the creator of a slew of hits for Lady GagaHP Pavilion dv6-1130es battery.

In the Eurovision Song Contest 2012, Swedish songwriters and producers featured in 10 out of the 42 songs that qualified for the Contest. In The Eurovision Song Contest 2012 the Swedish artist Loreen took a landslide victory with the song Euphoria.

Sweden has a rather lively jazz scene. During the last sixty years or so it has attained a remarkably high artistic standard, stimulated by domestic as well as external influences and experiences. The Centre for Swedish Folk Music and Jazz Research has published an overview of jazz in Sweden by Lars Westin. HP Pavilion dv6-1130sa battery

The most recent development in the Swedish music industry has been the rising of the house/techno genre. Where artists such as Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Eric Prydz a.k.a Pryda, and Basshunter have gained worldknown reputation.

Before the 13th century almost all buildings were made of timber, but a shift began towards stone. Early Swedish stone buildings are the Romanesque churches on the country side. As so happens, many of them were built in Scania and are in effect Danish churchesHP Pavilion dv6-1130tx battery. This would include the magnificent Lund Cathedral from the 11th century and the somewhat younger church in Dalby, but also many early Gothic churches built through influences of the Hanseatic League, such as in Ystad, Malmö and Helsingborg.

Cathedrals in other parts of Sweden were also built as seats of Sweden's bishops. The Skara Cathedral is of bricks from the 14th century, and the Uppsala Cathedral in the 15th. In 1230 the foundations of the Linköping Cathedral were made, the material was there limestone, but the building took some 250 years to finishHP Pavilion dv6-1131sa battery.

Among older structures are also some significant fortresses and other historical buildings such as at Borgholm Castle, Halltorps Manor and Eketorp fortress on the island Öland, the Nyköping

Around 1520 Sweden was out of the Middle Ages and united under King Gustav Vasa, who immediately initiated grand mansions, castles and fortresses to be built. Some of the more magnificent include the Kalmar fortress, the Gripsholm Castle and the one at VadstenaHP Pavilion dv6-1131tx battery.

In the next two centuries, Sweden was designated by Baroque architecture and later the rococo. Notable projects from that time include the city Karlskrona, which has now also been declared a World Heritage Site and the Drottningholm Palace.

1930 was the year of the great Stockholm exhibition, which marked the breakthrough of Functionalism, or "funkis" as it became known. The style came to dominate in the following decadesHP Pavilion dv6-1132sa battery. Some notable projects of this kind were the Million Programme, offering affordable but anti-human living in large apartment complexes.

Swedes are among the greatest consumers of newspapers in the world, and nearly every town is served by a local paper. The country's main quality morning papers are Dagens Nyheter (liberal), Göteborgs-Posten (liberal), Svenska Dagbladet (liberal conservative) and Sydsvenska Dagbladet (liberal) HP Pavilion dv6-1132tx battery. The two largest evening tabloids are Aftonbladet (social democratic) and Expressen (liberal). The ad-financed, free international morning paper, Metro International, was originally founded in Stockholm, Sweden. The country's news is reported in English by, among others, The Local (liberal).

The public broadcasting companies held a monopoly on radio and television for a long time in Sweden. Licence funded radio broadcasts started in 1925HP Pavilion dv6-1133eg battery. A second radio network was started in 1954 and a third opened 1962 in response to pirate radio stations. Non-profit community radio was allowed in 1979 and in 1993 commercial local radio started.

The licence funded television service was officially launched in 1956. A second channel, TV2, was launched in 1969. These two channels (operated by Sveriges Television since the late '70s) held a monopoly until the 1980s when cable and satellite television became availableHP Pavilion dv6-1133sa battery. The first Swedish language satellite service was TV3 which started broadcasting from London in 1987. It was followed by Kanal 5 in 1989 (then known as Nordic Channel) and TV4 in 1990.

In 1991 the government announced it would begin taking applications from private television companies wishing to broadcast on the terrestrial network. TV4, which had previously been broadcasting via satellite, was granted a permit and began its terrestrial broadcasts in 1992, becoming the first private channel to broadcast television content from within the countryHP Pavilion dv6-1133tx battery.

Around half the population are connected to cable television. Digital terrestrial television in Sweden started in 1999 and the last analogue terrestrial broadcasts were terminated in 2007.

The first literary text from Sweden is the Rök Runestone, carved during the Viking Age c. 800 AD. With the conversion of the land to Christianity around 1100 AD, Sweden entered the Middle Ages, during which monastic writers preferred to use LatinHP Pavilion dv6-1134tx battery. Therefore there are only a few texts in the Old Swedish from that period. Swedish literature only flourished when the Swedish language was standardized in the 16th century, a standardization largely due to the full translation of the Bible into Swedish in 1541. This translation is the so-called Gustav Vasa Bible.

With improved education and the freedom brought by secularization, the 17th century saw several notable authors develop the Swedish language furtherHP Pavilion dv6-1135tx battery. Some key figures include Georg Stiernhielm (17th century), who was the first to write classical poetry in Swedish; Johan Henric Kellgren (18th century), the first to write fluent Swedish prose; Carl Michael Bellman (late 18th century), the first writer of burlesque ballads; and August Strindberg (late 19th century), a socio-realistic writer and playwright who won worldwide fame. The early 20th century continued to produce notable authorsHP Pavilion dv6-1136tx battery, such as Selma Lagerlöf, (Nobel laureate 1909), Verner von Heidenstam (Nobel laureate 1916) and Pär Lagerkvist (Nobel laureate 1951).

In recent decades, a handful of Swedish writers have established themselves internationally, including the detective novelist Henning Mankell and the writer of spy fiction Jan Guillou. The Swedish writer to have made the most lasting impression on world literature is the children's book writer Astrid Lindgren, and her books about Pippi Longstocking, Emil, and othersHP Pavilion dv6-1140eg battery. In 2008, the second best-selling fiction author in the world was Stieg Larsson, whose Millennium series of crime novels is being published posthumously to critical acclaim.[175] Larsson drew heavily on the work of Lindgren by basing his central character, Lisbeth Salander, on Longstocking.[176]

Apart from traditional Protestant Christian holidays, Sweden also celebrates some unique holidays, some of a pre-Christian tradition. They include Midsummer celebrating the summer solstice; Walpurgis Night (Valborgsmässoafton) on 30 April lighting bonfires; and Labour Day or Mayday on 1 May is dedicated to socialist demonstrationsHP Pavilion dv6-1149eg battery. The day of giver-of-light Saint Lucia, 13 December, is widely acknowledged in elaborate celebrations which betoken its Italian origin and commence the month-long Christmas season.

6 June is the National Day of Sweden and, as of 2005, a public holiday. Furthermore, there are official flag day observances and a Namesdays in Sweden calendar. In August many Swedes have kräftskivor (crayfish dinner parties). Martin of Tours Eve is celebrated in Scania in November with Mårten Gås parties, where roast goose and svartsoppaHP Pavilion dv6-1160eg battery ('black soup', made of goose stock, fruit, spices, spirits and goose blood) are served. The Sami, one of Sweden's indigenous minorities, have their holiday on 6 February and Scania celebrate their Scanian Flag day on the third Sunday in July.

Swedish cuisine, like that of the other Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Norway and Finland), was traditionally simple. Fish (particularly herring), meat, potatoes and dairy products played prominent rolesHP Pavilion dv6-1170eg battery.

Spices were sparse. Famous dishes include Swedish meatballs, traditionally served with gravy, boiled potatoes and lingonberry jam; pancakes, lutfisk, and Smörgåsbord, or lavish buffet. Akvavit is a popular alcoholic distilled beverage, and the drinking of snaps is of cultural importance. The traditional flat and dry crisp bread has developed into several contemporary variants. Regionally important foods are the surströmming (a fermented fish) in Northern Sweden and eel in Scania in Southern SwedenHP Pavilion dv6-1170es battery.

Swedish traditional dishes, some of which are many hundreds of years old, others perhaps a century or less, are still a very important part of Swedish everyday meals, in spite of the fact that modern day Swedish cuisine adopts many international dishes.

In August, at the traditional feast known as crayfish party, kräftskiva, Swedes eat large amounts of boiled crayfish with boiled potato and dillHP Pavilion dv6-1180es battery.

Swedes have been fairly prominent in the film area through the years. A number of Swedish people have found success in Hollywood, including Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo and Max von Sydow. Amongst several directors who have made internationally successful films can be mentioned Ingmar Bergman, Lukas Moodysson and Lasse HallströmHP Pavilion dv6-1190eg battery.

Interest in fashion is big in Sweden and the country is headquartering famous brands like Hennes & Mauritz (operating as H&M), J. Lindeberg (operating as JL), Acne, Lindex, Odd Molly, Cheap Monday, Gant, WESC, Filippa K, and Nakkna within its borders. These companies, however, are composed largely of buyers who import fashionable goods from throughout Europe and America, continuing the trend of Swedish business toward multinational economic dependency like many of its neighboursHP Pavilion dv6-1201tx battery.

Sport activities are a national movement with half of the population actively participating in organized sporting activities. The two main spectator sports are football and ice hockey. Second to football, horse sports have the highest number of practitioners, mostly women. Thereafter follow golf, athletics, and the team sports of handball, floorball, basketball and bandyHP Pavilion dv6-1203tx battery.

The Swedish ice hockey team Tre Kronor is regarded as one of the best in the world. The team has won the World Championships eight times, placing them third in the all-time medal count. Tre Kronor also won Olympic gold medals in 1994 and 2006. In 2006, Tre Kronor became the first national hockey team to win both the Olympic and world championships in the same year. The Swedish national football team has seen some success at the World Cup in the pastHP Pavilion dv6-1204tx battery, finishing second when they hosted the tournament in 1958, and third twice, in 1950 and 1994. Athletics has enjoyed a surge in popularity due to several successful athletes in recent years, such as Carolina Klüft and Stefan Holm.

Sweden hosted the 1912 Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in 1958. Other big sports events held here include 1992 UEFA European Football Championship, FIFA Women's World Cup 1995, and several championships of ice hockey, curling, athletics, skiing, bandy, figure skating and swimmingHP Pavilion dv6-1205sf battery.

Successful tennis players include former world No. 1's Björn Borg, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg.

Other famous Swedish athletes include the heavyweight boxing champion and International Boxing Hall of Famer – Ingemar Johansson; World Golf Hall of Famer – Annika Sörenstam and multiple World Championships and Olympics medalist in table tennis – Jan-Ove WaldnerHP Pavilion dv6-1205sg battery.

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