Saturday, April 21, 2012

S is for Sweden

Theme ~ Swedish Rhapsody

 City Hall, Stockholm

Kalmar Castle in the province of Smaland 

 A street in Granna, Smaland

 View from Brahe Hus Castle ~ Farms and Lake Vattern

 Views from the island of Oland. The bridge goes to the island from the city of Kalmar

Lacko, a renaissance castle, in the province of Vastergotland

 Glimminge Hus in the southernmost province of Skane

Stortorget ~ The Great Square in Malmo in the province of Skane. Malmo is the third largest city in Sweden and from there a bridge connects Sweden to Denmark across the waters of Oresund. Much like all towns in England have a High Street, it seems like there's a Great Square in all Swedish towns.

 A harbor in Gothenberg, the second largest city in Sweden.

Views of Gothenberg. The statue, Poseidon, is by the Swedish sculptor Carl Milles.

Bohuslan province on the rocky West Coast of Sweden.

Winter in the province of Varmland. My maternal grandmother came from here as did Selma Lagerlof, the author of The Wonderful Adventures of Nils (Holgerson)
 Rottneros Manor, featured in books by Selma Lagerlof, this estate is situated in Varmland.

For Midsummer's Eve celebrations, local people dress up in folk costumes and are taken by rowboat across Lake Siljan in Dalarna. Dalarna is the home of the wooden Dala Horse and the Falu Red paint that colors so many farms, barns and homes in Sweden. The province was also the home of Carl Larsson, the most Swedish of painters and artists. If you ever visit Sweden, don't miss his home; it is now a museum.

 A winter view in the province of Jamtland in the north of Sweden

A frozen waterfall near Are in Jamtland

A scene from the province of Lappland in northern Sweden

 Kiruna ~ A view of a part of this, the northern most, large city in Sweden

 A reindeer in the province of Lappland

 Reindeer graze on Kebnekaise, the tallest mountain in Sweden. Both domesticated and wild reindeer can be found in the north of Sweden.

Sweden is about the size of California, USA.
65% of Sweden's land area is covered by forest.
There are 97,500 lakes over 2 acres in size.
15% of Sweden lies above the Arctic Circle.
Climate is temperate due to the Gulf Stream.
Population: About 9.4 million (California has 37 million)
Swedish born ~ 85% 
Finnish ~              5%
Roma ~                 0.5%
Sami ~                  0.24%
Those were the major ethnic groups in Sweden when I left in 1962. Immigration began in the 1970s and continues today.
Now immigrants come from countries in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and South America and make up the remaining 10% or so of the population.
Population density in Sweden is low, 54 people per square mile. Foreign-born residents totaled 1.33 million in 2010.
99% literacy rate (All persons born in Sweden, age 15 and over, are literate)
Swedish is the dominating language and is used for official purposes.
Sami, Standard-Finnish and Meankieli may be used as the official language in courts, government agencies, etc., in municipalities where there is a large population of these minorities.
There are five recognized minority languages: The three mentioned above, plus Romani chib, and Yiddish.
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy of government and a highly developed economy.
King Carl XVI is the head of state, but royal power is limited to official and ceremonial functions.
Sweden has one of the most highly developed welfare states in the world and has a higher level of social spending to GDP than any other nation.
Sweden provides equal, as well as comprehensive, access to education and health care.
However, industry is overwhelmingly under private control.
Among the largest companies you may know: Volvo, Ericsson, Sony Ericsson Mobile, Electrolux, H&M, and IKEA. 
The majority of Swedes belong to the Church of Sweden a Lutheran church that was the state church until 2000. However, many of those seem to be included by default since in one study, only one-fifth of Swedes said they believed in God.
So with that piece of news, I end this trip to my native Sweden, hoping that I have inspired some of you to want to visit some day. If you do, I recommend going in June. If you like to take a cruise, I recommend one through the archipelago of Stockholm. 

Source for demographic information:


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