Archive for the ‘Sweden’ Category

Sweden for dummies

March 17, 2011


From what I’ve heard, people around the globe don’t exactly have a clear picture of what Sweden is like. Myths and stereotypes like that polar bears roam the streets, that all men look like vikings and that all women are blond, beautiful and naked are unfortunately not true.

To make a brief general description:
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy, we have a royal family but they have no political power at all. The country is run by a parliament (the riksdag) consisting of elected representatives from all parties reaching more than 4% of the votes in the national elections (currently that is 8 parties). The sitting government, led by prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, is an alliance of 4 right wing parties, the biggest being the moderate party. (Please note that I mean right wing in Swedish terms, in some other countries they would be considered to be liberal or even partly socialistic).

Sweden is known to be a rich and prosperous country, with free education, paid maternity leave and public health care. Privatizations and tax cuts has however become more frequent lately, and Sweden’s status as a socialistic democracy is shifting towards a more liberal and capitalistic view of things (unfortunately!). Rural Sweden is also a very multicultural society, since the country has accepted large numbers of immigrants and refugees for some decades now. Immigration is a hot debate at the moment, with the racist party the Sweden Democrats attracting bigger and bigger support enabling them to enter the parliament for the first time last year.

I should say that I have great issues with our current government and their views, but I will not go into more detail here.

If you would ask people around the world what they know about Sweden, a lot of people would mention celebrities and companies from Sweden, such as IKEA, Volvo, H&M, ABBA, Roxette, Björn Borg etcetera, but I would love to show people a broader view of what it is like to live here.

Oh, and another thing about Sweden (which I am very proud of) is that it is one of the least religious counties in the world. Even if a large part of the Swedish people are member of some kind of religious society (before 1996, you automatically became a member in the christian church at birth, but now Sweden is a truly secular country), only 2% visit services regularly and a majority of the people claim not to believe in god. Me being one of them!

Feel free to ask me anything you want to know.