Anyone who loves to travel with nature, want to witness the northern lights and midnight sun ought to go to Sweden! Where IKEA, Spotify, Fika takers, ice hotel are from, to the Pop Music Capital, Artistic Stockholm metro station and hip district of Sodermalm, there’s a ton Sweden has to offer! The country is a lot more than what it contributed and this blog lists their not-so-known but interesting and weird facts. Learn more as you scroll down below!

Sweden is the world’s 3rd biggest music exporter

As one of the world’s biggest next to America and the UK, Sweden contributed a lot to the music industry. In 2019 alone, music companies have generated for more than 1.5 billion Swedish kronor in their recorded music sales. Some of the notable Swedish artists are ABBA, Roxette, Ace of Base, Avicii, Zara Larsson, and so much more!

Photo from Pexels via Pixabay

Has the highest number of Mcdonald’s in Europe

Sweden has the highest Mcdonald’s capita in Europe although it does not have the most number of Mcdonald’s restaurant. There are only around 200 of Mcdonald’s in the country, employing at least 12,000 workers. Unlike the American standard, their Mcdonald’s has a less meat-eating customer base as at least 10% of their population are vegan or vegetarian.

Photo by Kevin Stuttard

Photo by Kin Li

Swedes love Donald Duck more than Mickey!

Every Christmas eve since 1959 at 3pm, they all would watch a Disney show featuring Donald Duck. His flawed character might be preferable than to Mickey’s perfect character. What’s more, in 2006, a law was imposed to ban protesters from voting to a non-existent persona, putting ‘Donald Duck’s name in as their choice.

Has both the northern lights and midnight sun

Due to the magnetic north pole and geographic proximity to the Arctic circle, Sweden gets to have the beautiful Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights and the midnight sun. The midnight sun is the 24-hour sunlight in summer across Swedish Lapland. Sweden is one of the countries dubbed as ‘Land of the midnight sun’.

They import waste from Norway and the UK!

When they are great at handling waste that only 1% of it would end up in landfills, 50% are recycled and 49% are burned for renewable energy. Having not enough waste to keep their incinerators going is the only drawback of their recycling practice. This is where Norway and the UK come in hand, where they pay Sweden to take their wastes away!

Photo by Alex Fu

Photo by MasterTux

They once had a king who became a Pirate King

Usually in stories, it’s the way around that pirate kings become governors or local lords but in Sweden, it’s the opposite. Eric of Pomerania or Eric XIII succeeded his grandaunt when she died. He spectacularly lost the winning war his grandaunt left him. Aside from Sweden, he also had a fair share of troubles with Norway and Denmark’s nobles. He took over Visborg castle as a Royal strike since Danish nobles refused to ratify his successor. He took revenge on Hanseatic merchants who made troubles during his reign for 10 years. Eventually, he came back as Duke Pomerania after leaving piracy and entering high society.

Fika – the coffee and sweets break, is real!

Fika is a culture in Sweden. It is more than just taking a break with coffee, pastries and cakes. They make sure to take time for fika every day where even workers would set aside work and gather together for fika. Swedes would enjoy the experience with their family, friends, and coworkers and if they don’t have company, they visit a cozy café or a Swedish bakery.

Photo by Philip Myrtorp

Swedes are generous – they contribute more than 1% of their GDP!

No doubt Sweden is one of Europe’s richest countries. In the year 2021, Sweden has a GDP of 550 Billion USD! Converting that amount to 1%, the amount is still huge which will be contributed to donations alone! Statistics tell that in proportion to the size of the country’s economy, Sweden is the largest donor for official development assistance in 2020.

Photo by Annie Spratt

Photo by Alexas_Fotos

First in the world to ban hitting children

Sweden was the first country to explicitly ban corporal punishment of children in 1979. It sparked fierce debates of the state’s responsibilities and parental rights, making headlines all over the world.

North Korea has an unpaid 45 yrs old debt to Sweden

For more than 4 decades, North Korea owes Sweden $328 million dollars including interest. It was originally a $131 million trade package made by Pyongyang during the period of openness but he never paid anything on the deal. The Volvo Car Corporation sold their 1,000 of their 144 sedan in 1974. The Swedish Export Credit Agency or EKN stepped in when North Korea failed to pay for the cars. For the most part in their government, it was a closed deal but not with EKN. They remain firm that the claims must be recovered even though they get no response from North Korea.

Photo by gfs_mizuta

Their passport is one of the world’s most powerful passports

Sweden is also known for their strong passport. Anyone who has a Swedish passport can travel visa-free for up to 188 countries! Japan and Singapore are the top holders for this year, giving visa-free travel for up to 192 countries, followed by Germany and South Korea (189).

They have the Saturday-only sweets tradition!

Lördagsgodis translates to ‘Saturday sweets’. The idea of Lördagsgodis dates back to the 1950’s human experimentation where mental health patients were to definitely eat 24 caramels a day for 3 years. The results proved that sugar causes tooth decay and Swedish medical authorities recommended to eat sweets only once-a-week. It became a popular tradition and Swedes still practice it today.

Photo by Pexels

Which of the following facts above took you by surprise? What more interesting facts of Sweden have we missed ? Share it with us in the comments below!

Read our previous Spain post which is

15 Stunning Places You Need To Visit in Spain!

 in case you missed it!

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