SWEDENIntroduction:Sweden officially the Kingdom of Sweden is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. Swedenborders Norway and Finland, and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel• At 450,295 square kilometers (173,860 sq mi), Sweden is the third largest country in the EuropeanUnion by area, with a total population of about 9.5 million.• Sweden has a low population density of 21 inhabitants per square kilometer with the populationmostly concentrated to the southern half of the country. About 85% of the population live in urban areas.• Swedens capital city is Stockholm, which is also the largest city. Since the early 19th century Swedenhas been at peace and has avoided war.LOCATION
• Situated in Northern Europe, Sweden lies west of the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia, providing a longcoastline, and forms the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Situated in Northern Europe, Swedenlies west of the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia, providing a long coastline, and forms the eastern part of theScandinavian Peninsula.• Sweden lies between latitudes 55° and 70° N, and mostly between longitudes 11° and 25° E• At 449,964 km2 (173,732 sq mi), Sweden is the 55th largest country in the world, the 4th largestcountry entirely in Europe, and the largest in Northern Europe.• The lowest elevation in Sweden is in the bay of Lake Hammarsjön, near Kristianstad at −2.41 m(−7.91 ft) below sea level. The highest point is Kebnekaise at 2,111 m (6,926 ft) above sea level.NEIGHBOURS• Finland is located to its northeast. It has maritime borderswith Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.• Sweden is also linked to Denmark (southwest) by the Öresund Bridge.History• 1.Social• 2.Economy• 3.Political• 4.Cultural1. Social:• Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century,the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire. The empire grew to be one of the greatpowers of Europe in the 17th and early 18th century• Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18 th and19th centuries. The eastern half of Sweden, present-day Finland, was lost to Russia in 1809.• The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by militarymeans forced Norway into a personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, practicing "non-participation in military alliances during peacetime and neutrality during wartime".• Sweden has been a member of the European Union since 1 January 1995 and is a member ofthe OECD.2. Economy:• Sweden is an export-oriented mixed economy. Timber, hydropower and iron ore constitute theresource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Swedens engineering sector accountsfor 50% of output and exports. Telecommunications, the automotive industry and the pharmaceuticalindustries are also of great importance. Agriculture accounts for 2% of GDP and employment. The countryranks among the highest in telephone and Internet access penetration• The 20 largest (by turnover in 2007) companies registered in Swedenare 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. Swedens industry isoverwhelmingly in private control, unlike many other industrialised Western countries and publicly ownedenterprises have always been of minor importance.3. Political:• 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 departmentheads (cabinet ministers). Legislative power is only exercised by the riksdag. Executive power is exercised bythe prime minister and the cabinet, while the judiciary is independent. Sweden lacks compulsory judicialreview, although the non-compulsory review carried out by lagrådet (Law Council) is mostly respected intechnical matters but less so in controversial political matters.• In the 2006 general election the Moderate Party, allied with the Centre Party, Liberal Peoples Party,and the Christian Democrats formed the centre-right Alliance for Sweden and won a majority of the votes.Together they formed a majority government under the leadership of the Moderate partys leader FredrikReinfeldt. In the September 2010 election the Alliance contended against a unified left block consisting of theSocial Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party. It also saw the first election of the Sweden Democrats intothe riksdag.• Political parties Seats In Govt• Centre-right parties 193• Moderate Party 107 Yes• Liberal Peoples Party 24 Yes• Centre Party 23 Yes• Christian Democrats 19 Yes• Sweden Democrats 20 No• left-of-centre parties 156• Social Democrats 112 No• The Greens 25 No• Left Party 19 NoSwedish Culture and Society:Lutheran:The Church of Sweden professes the Lutheran branch of Christianity and it has a membership of almost 7million people; making it the largest Lutheran Church globally. Although over 75% of Swedish citizens aremembers of the church, only 2% regularly attend church services.The Ethnic Make-up of Sweden:
The indigenous population of Sweden is comprised of Swedes with Finnish and Sami minorities. Foreign-bornor first-generation immigrants are typically of Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, Greek and Turkishethnicity.The Culture of Sweden:One of the key characteristics of Swedish culture is that Swedes are egalitarian in nature, humble and findboasting absolutely unacceptable. In many ways, Swedes prefer to listen to others as opposed to ensuringthat their own voice is heard.When speaking, Swedes speak softly and calmly. It is rare that you were witness a Swede demonstratinganger or strong emotion in public.In terms, Swedes rarely take hospitality or kindness for granted and as such, they will give often give thanks.Failing to say thank you for something is perceived negatively in Sweden.Behaviours in Sweden are strongly balanced towards ‘lagom’ or, ‘everything in moderation’. Excess,flashiness and boasting are abhorred in Sweden and individuals strive towards the middle way. As anexample, work hard and play hard are not common concepts in Sweden. People work hard but not too hard,they go out and enjoy themselves, but without participating in anything extreme.Due to the strong leaning towards egalitarianism in Sweden, competition is not encouraged and children arenot raised to believe that they are any more special than any other child.The Family:The family in Sweden is extremely important and as such, the rights of children are well protected.The rights afforded to Swedish families to ensure that they are able to adquately care for their children aresome of the best rights in the world. An overview of these rights is as follows:. Either the mother or father is entitled to be absent from work until their child reaches 18 months old.. Either parent has the right to reduce their workload by 25% until their child reaches 8 years old (and isformally ready for school).. A parental allowance is paid for 480 days, which is intended for both parents. Sixty of these days must beused by the ‘minority’ parents. For this reason, this element of the allowance is often known as ‘Daddy’smonths’.. You have the right to up to 60 days off per year to care for a sick child.. A number of people in Sweden however, challenge the degree to which these rights are truly positive asstatistics suggest that women often fall way behind their male colleague in respect to position in pay.. Anyone travelling to Sweden will notice the family friendly environment of most resturants and other suchestablishments. Even trains have a toy and play area!The Role of Hospitality:Although Sweden is a largely egalitarian and relaxed environment, hospitality and eating arrangements areoften a formal affair.
It is more common for guests to be invited to a Swede’s home for coffee and cake as opposed to a meal, but,if you are invited for a meal then ensure that you:. Are punctual as it is considered extremely impolite if you are rude. In the same essence, do not arrive tooearly. It is not an uncommon event in Sweden for guests to sit in the car until the last minute or walk aroundthe block until the expected time of arrival has arrived!. Dress smartly as to otherwise would be considered disrespectful to the hosts.. Do not ask to see the rest of the house as Swedes are general very private and it is likely that the only room(other than the dining / sitting room) that they would expect you to go to would be the bathroom.. When eating, keep your hands in full view, with your wrists on top of the table.. The European eating etiquette should be adhered to in respect to knife in the right hand and fork in the left.. Do not start eating until the hostess has started.. Do not take the last helping from a plate.. Finish everything on your plate as it is considered rude to leave any food uneaten.. Do not offer a toast to anyone more senior to you in age. When offering a toast then lift your glass and nodat everyone present looking from those seated on your right to those seated on your left before taking a sip.You should then nod again before replacing your glass on the table.. It is important that you do not discuss business at the table as Swedes try to distinguish between home andwork.. During formal events, the guest seated on the left of the hostess typically stands to make a speech duringthe sweet, to thank her on behalf of the whole group.. Always write or call to thank the host / hostess within a few days of attending the dinner.Meeting and Greeting:Business Personnel in Sweden are typically fairly reserved and as such it is important that all dealings areformal and serious until it is deemed acceptable by the respective Swedish personnel to allow events tobecome more relaxed.Key suggestions are as follows:. Ensure that, maintaining eye contact coupled with a firm handshake, you shake hands with all attendees onboth arrival and departure.. Ensure that you address your hosts with either their professional title or their honorific title and theirsurname - Mr. - Herr or Mrs. – Fru.. Younger people are likely to move more quickly to a first name basis than older people.. Personal space is important in Sweden and as such it is recommended that you maintain an awareness ofsomeone’s personal space and that you do not invade it. Avoid any unnecessary touching.Gift Giving Etiquette. If you are invited to a Swede’s home then it is suggested that you take the same type of gift as you wouldgive in the UK e.g. a bouquet of flowers or, a box of chocolates.. If you choose to give flowers, then ensure that the bouquet does not include white lilies or chrysanthemums.
The reason for this being that both types of flowers are typically given at funerals.. Since Sweden is such a child centred country, it is always recommended that you take gives for any childrenwho may be part of the family who you are visiting.. If you are personally given a gift, then it is custom to open it upon receipt.Business Meetings:. Ensure that you give at least two weeks notice if you are arranging a meeting in Sweden.. Months to avoid if possible, include June, July, August and then late February through to early March as mostSwedes will be on holiday during these periods. As with the UK, most Swedes are also absent during theChristmas period.. Punctuality is absolutely essential. If you are late, then this will reflect very badly on you and will be viewedas discourteous.. Swedes rarely engage in small talk at the start of a meeting. Instead, people will move directly to the topicsat hand.. Meetings are typically governed by an agenda which is distributed to individuals prior to the meeting. Thereis very little talk outside of the agenda topics.. Although most meetings are managed by a particular person, all individuals are expected to contribute.. Swedish business personnel are extremely detail focused and as such any presentations should be wellprepared with supporting, accurate and relevant data. Be assured that your hosts will pay a great deal ofattention to the detail.. Swedes rarely make decisions during initial meetings and as such, the first meeting that you have with yourhosts is likely to be fairly general and low key.. Swedes are direct communicators and as such, "Saying what you mean and meaning what you say" is bothpracticed and expected.. ‘Awkward silences’ are rarely seen as awkward in Sweden and as such, Swedes do not rush to fillconversation silences.. If you are trying to sell something then try to tone down the use of emphasis or superlatives as it is very rarethat a Swede will over elaborate during a conversation – even if they are trying to sell something. Failure toadhere to this could result in your delivery being viewed as insincere.Unique features:Sweden has low levels of burglary, car theft and drug problems. Bribe seeking is rare.The Supreme Court consists of 16 Councilors of Justice which are appointed by the government, but thecourt as an institution is independent of the Parliament of Sweden, and the government is not able tointerfere with the decisions of the court.The Swedish capital, Stockholm, is substantially less expensive to live in than such cities as Oslo, HongKong, Tokyo, New York and Zürich.One of the key characteristics is that Swedes are egalitarian in nature, humble and find boastingabsolutely unacceptableThe family in Sweden is extremely important and as such, the rights of children are well protected..