- Location: Northern Europe
- Capital: Stockholm
- Language: Swedish
- Population: 9.4 million
- Total Area: 450,295 km2
- Currency: Swedish Króne
- Annual average liquor consumption per capita: 7 liters per year
- Annual Beer Consumption Per Capita: 56 liters per year
- The most popular drink: Vodka (Absolut, Explorer), Beer, Swedish specialty Brannvin (akvavit)
Sweden has enjoyed years of peace without involvement in any wars since 1814. This image of neutral country has been forcefully maintained by traditions such as “right to roam”. It allows everybody and anybody to move freely using any kind of transport on public or private property. The capital city of Stockholm was founded in 1250 and has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in the north. It has been called “Venice of the North”, a testament to abundance of clean and open waters.
One of the most famous Swedes was Alfred Nobel who invented dynamite and with his will created Nobel Prize in six areas. Exclusion of Mathematics has been subject of much debate. Allegedly, it was a punishment to his lover who also had an affair with a famous Mathematician. Although there is no direct evidence of the fact, Swedes do appear to have an affinity to rebels. Characters of Astrid Lindgren such as Pippi Long stocking and Karlson appeal to the children and adults alike with its lovable anti-heroes. Interestingly, neither Pippi nor Karlson had any formal education while actual level of education in Sweden is one of the highest in the world. Sweden also boasts the highest percentage of working mothers, perhaps leading to some of these mischievous characters.
Sweden is part of the vodka belt and has a long standing tradition of taking shots of hard liquor at meals. The shots are pointedly called “snaps”. The most famous Swedish alcoholic beverage is Absolut Vodka. As with numerous other Nordic countries, alcohol selling is extremely restricted through a state monopoly. That results in very high prices, especially at bars and clubs, and selection of liquor is limited to the names that monopoly makes available. Citizens especially in the countryside continue producing “moonshine”, an illegal distilled beverage. Drinking with locals is the best way to make new friends, and of course, no trip to Stockholm would be complete without having iced vodka in an ice shot glass on an ice table in Stockholm ice bar.
A network of national roads is of high quality in Sweden and driving is a great way to see country side. While driving, one needs to be aware of moose and deer. While I was used to deer driving through portions of Pennsylvania, nothing prepared me for magnificent size of moose. Not surprisingly, a popular souvenir from Sweden is the road sign for moose-crossing. Every year a huge number of these signs are stolen from Swedish roads.
Swedes have a vibrant folk culture and produce high quality wood crafts. Dala horses are as popular as the other two brands that Swedes cursed us with – Ikea and H&M.
(Story By: Marina Balzac contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ©2011 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved)