Rob and I have a trip to Stockholm, Sweden coming up and I’ve been doing a lot of reading and preparation for our travels. I like to learn about the history, landmarks, culture, and people before traveling someplace new so that when I get there, I can understand things in context better. I thought I’d share some fun info I’m learning about Sweden:
1. The zipper, the three-point seat belt, the pacemaker, the ultrasound, the safety match, the astronomical lense, the marine propeller, the adjustable wrench, the fridge, the computer mouse… all invented by Swedes.
2. Recycling is taken so seriously that one company has tried to put up video cameras to make sure people sort their recyclables correctly.
3. Sweden is the home of Spotify, ABBA, Pippi Longstocking, IKEA, H&M, and Absolut Vodka.
4. The bestseller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was written by Stieg Larsson and takes place mostly in Sweden.
5. ‘Viking’ originally meant ‘to go on an expedition’ or ‘to go raiding.’ The word immediately conjures up pigtails, horned-hats, and longships with dragons carved in the prow. However these familiar images are more myth than truth.
6. Few people drink more coffee than the Swedes. In Sweden, coffee drinking is fostered through a tradition called fika – friends, family or colleagues meet for coffee or tea, often with something sweet on the side. Most Swedes will enjoy at least one fika a day as an opportunity to bond.
7. When it comes to gender equality, Sweden is one of the leaders. Fathers definitely pull their weight in staying home and raising infant children. In Sweden, couples are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave, and this time can be shared between parents.
8. You can camp, hunt, and pick berries on private property, thanks to the Right of Public Access, which is written into the Swedish constitution. But it is not a law as such, rather a custom or part of the cultural heritage that has evolved and become accepted over the years.
9. Bridget of Sweden, was a mystic and saint in the 14th century, and founder of the Bridgettines nuns and monks after the death of her husband of twenty years. She is also a patron saint of Europe.
10. Pickled herring will likely be at the center of the Smörgåsbord (which originated in Sweden). With an abundance of herring in both the North and Baltic Seas, Swedes have been pickling since the Middle Ages, mainly as a way of preserving the fish for storage and transportation.
And just for laughs, The 33 Most Swedeny Things That Ever Happened in Sweden.