About Sweden Country, University and Rules
Swedish is the official language of Sweden. The vast majority of Swedes also speak English, and generally to a very high level. Many Swedish multinational organisations have English as their corporate language, and a large number of university degree programmes and courses are taught in English. Sweden is home to five official national minority languages, and countless other languages are spoken by Sweden’s diverse population. The largest, after Swedish, are Finnish, Serbo-Croatian, Arabic, Kurdish, Spanish, German, Farsi and Indians (source, in Swedish).
The capital of Sweden, Stockholm, is also the country’s largest city, with more than 850,000 inhabitants. Other large cities are Gothenburg, in western Sweden (population 532,000), and Malmö (population 300,000) in the south. Uppsala and Lund are well-known university cities.
Less than three per cent of Sweden’s land area is built up and forests cover 69 per cent of the country. Sweden is long – some 1,574 kilometres from top to bottom – and can be divided into three major regions: Götaland in the south, Svealand in the middle and Norrland in the north.
Sweden is the 3rd largest EU country in land area, after France and Spain.
Sweden is one of the homelands of the Germanic ethnicity and culture. The Goths, the Suevirs and the Norses (Vikings) all trace their origin back to Sweden (as well as Norway and Denmark for the latter).
In the 9th and 10th centuries, Swedish Vikings invaded and settled in parts of Eastern Europe as far as Constantinople and the Caspian Sea. They founded the first kingdom of Russia. All the Tsars of Russia until the last one, Nicholas II, were of Swedish Viking descent.
As of 2006, Sweden had won 588 (winter and summer) Olympic medals, a feat only excelled by 6 much more populous countries (the USA, the USSR, Italy, France, Germany and the UK).
SOCIETY AND PEOPLE:
In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Sweden was ranked third in the world for the inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (HDI) defined by the United Nations Development Programme.
In 2006 Swedish people had the longest life expectancy in Europe (80.51 years). As of 2010 they were fifth (80.88 years), overtaken by Switzerland, Italy, Iceland and France.
Swedish people have the lowest income inequality in the world, with a Gini index of 23 in 2005.
Sweden has the smallest gender employment-rate gap in the developed world, with only 4% more men in employment than women.
Swedish women have their first child in average at 30 years old, the oldest in Europe along with Ireland and the Netherlands.
Sweden has the highest percentage of working mothers in the developed world, no less than 76% of them.
The Swedes spend the longest time in tertiary education with an average student age of 25.5 years old.
40% of Swedish women and 32% of Swedish men aged 25 to 64 participate in education or training. Compare it to the EU average is 10% for women and 9% for men.
Sweden has the highest proportion of personal computers per capita in Europe, with 500 P.C.'s per 1,000 people.
A 2007 UNICEF report on child well-being in rich countries ranked Sweden as the best country on 3 out of 6 dimensions (children's material well-being, health & safety, and behaviours & risks), and second best country overall after the Netherlands.
As of 2006, Sweden was the most generous country in the world regarding aid to poor countries. It is the only nation where donations exceed 1% of the GDP.
The Swedish maternity and paternity leave is one of the longest and most generous in the world, allowing the the father and mother to take a shared total of 480 days (16 months) off at 77.6% of their salary.
CULTURE AND SCIENCE:
Sweden has given the world some of the greatest pop bands and singers, including Abba, The Cardigans, Roxette, Ace of Base, Carola Häggkvist, Army of Lovers, Robyn, A*Teens, Europe and Alcazar.
The astronomical lense is a Swedish invention.
As of late 2012, Sweden had obtained 30 Nobel prizes, including 5 Peace prizes. This is the 5th highest number of laureates in the world, and the highest per capita ratio for any country with over 1 million inhabitants. Of course Nobel Prizes are awarded by Sweden (except the Peace Prize, awarded by Norway).
Sweden has the highest number of McDonald restaurants per capita in Europe (although that is only about half of the US ratio).