Sweden

Eighty-five percent of the Swedish population (that amounts almost to nine and a half million inhabitants) lives in the southern part of the country. The country is home to two indigenous linguistic minorities, a group of Finnish language in the northeastern part of the country and the people of the Sami.

Sweden has an area of ??450,000 square kilometers (the fourth european country for extension), half of that is covered with forests, while only one-tenth of the land is agricultural. There are about one hundred thousand lakes in the country, where the plains are dominant. A mountain range northwest of up to 2111 meters high and there are thousands of islands off the coast.

The Nordic country is characterized by a climate somewhat milder than that of the other nations that are at the same latitude. In Stockholm, the average temperature in July is around eighteen degrees and the average winter temperatures are just below freezing. In the north the winter is longer and more rigid, while the summer is characterized by the sun that never sets.

Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary, where King Carl XVI Gustaf has representative functions, while there is an unicameral parliament whose members are elected proportionally by the people for four years. The turnout is very high, as well as democratic participation. Fredrik Reinfeldt is currently the Prime Minister.

The municipalities are involved in education, children, the elderly, public services, housing, culture and leisure. Citizens have an health insurance, which provides them with support in case of illness. Families have the right to sixteen months of exemption from work (for parents with children) this period may be used by both parents until the age of eight years from the child. Other contributions are guaranteed to the families until the child reaches the age of sixteen. Insurance very efficient also solve the problem of unemployment.

Sweden has a long history and many traditions, some of which date back to medieval Catholicism (among these customs are the Easter eggs, the lutfisk Christmas and the feast of Saint Lucia). There are also very rooted traditions prior to Christianity, such as the Midsummer Night’s.

The Nordic country is world famous for the significant contributions given to science and culture: the scientist Carl von Linné, the inventor Alfred Nobel, the playwright August Strindberg, the architect Gunnar Asplund, the UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold (1953-1961), the actress Greta Garbo, the author Astrid Lindgren, who imagined Pippi Longstocking.

The traditional Swedish Design has gained considerable success in recent years, with its clean lines and high functionality. At the beginning of the twentieth century this style was influenced by the Liberty, which was spreading in Europe in its various trends. The floral motifs are used much today.

Sven Hermelin was one of the architects that made the country famous worldwide, but the design (in its various applications) has received international acclaim throughout the twentieth century. The wood has been of great importance in this development of aesthetic.