International Friendship Day - Sweden

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INTERNATIONAL FRIENDSHIP DAY 2010 FEATURED COUNTRY: SWEDEN

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LOCATION Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden has land borders with Norway to the west and Finland to the northeast, and has also water borders with Denmark, Germany and Poland to the south and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia to the east. At 450,295 km², Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union in terms of area, with a total population of about 9.2 million. Time Zone: UTC+1 Location of  Sweden  (dark green)– on the European continent  (light green & dark grey)– in the European Union  (light green)

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CURRENCY Swedish Krona is the official currency used in Sweden! Krona (singular); Kronor (plural) Equivalent of cents are öre Equivalent of dollars are kronor Kronor are represented simply by “kr” 1 Singapore dollar = 5.13942551 Swedish kronor 1SGD=5.13942551SEK Denominations: Coins: 50 öre, 1, 5, 10 kronor Banknotes: 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000 kronor

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FLAG OF SWEDEN The flag of Sweden is a Scandinavian cross that extends to the edges of the flag. The design and colours of the Swedish flag are believed to have been inspired by the present Coat of arms of Sweden of 1442, which is blue divided quarterly by a cross pattée of gold, and modelled on the Danish flag. Blue and yellow have been used as Swedish colours at least since king Magnus Birgersson's royal coat of arms of 1275. According to the mythology, the Swedish 12th century king Eric the Holy saw a yellow cross in the sky as he landed in Finland during the First Swedish Crusade in 1157. Seeing this as a sign from God he adopted the yellow cross against a blue background as his banner.

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LANGUAGES The official language of Sweden is Swedish (svenska), a North Germanic language, related and very similar to Danish and Norwegian, but differing in pronunciation and orthography. Sweden’s Finns are Sweden's largest linguistic minority, comprising about 3% of Sweden's population and Finnish is recognised as a minority language. Four other minority languages are also recognised (Meänkieli, Sami, Romani, and Yiddish). A majority of Swedes, understand and speak English.

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CULTURE The Culture of Sweden is typically perceived as egalitarian, simple, and open to international influences. Protestant work ethic and trade unionism are factors often said to have shaped Swedish mentality Sweden has many authors of worldwide recognition including Nobel Prize winners Selma Lagerlöf and Harry Martinson. In total seven Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to Swedes. The nation's most well-known artists are painters such as Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn, and the sculptors Tobias Sergel and Carl Milles. Swedish twentieth-century culture is noted by pioneering works in the early days of cinema, with Mauritz Stiller and Victor Sjöström.

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ENTERTAINMENT Music Sweden has a rich musical tradition, ranging from medieval folk ballads to hip hop music. The music of the pre-Christian Norse has been lost to history, although historical re-creations have been attempted based on instruments found in Viking sites. The instruments used were the lur (a sort of trumpet), simple string instruments, wooden flutes and drums. Sweden is the third largest music exporter in the world, with over 800 million dollars in 2007 years revenue. ABBA was one of the first internationally well-known popular music bands from Sweden, and still ranks among the most prominent bands in the world, with about 370 million records sold.

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ENTERTAINMENT Media Swedes are among the greatest consumers of newspapers in the world, and nearly every town is served by a local paper. Around half the population are connected to cable television. Digital terrestrial television in Sweden started in 1999 and the last analogue terrestrial broadcasts were terminated in 2007.

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TERRAIN Sweden lies west of the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia, providing a long coastline, and forms the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. To the west is the Scandinavian mountain chain (Skanderna), a range that separates Sweden from Norway. About 15% of Sweden lies north of the Arctic Circle. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, with increasing forest coverage northward. Around 65% of Sweden's total land area is covered with forests.

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POPULATION Of the 2007 population, 13.4% (1.23 million) were born abroad. Sweden has been transformed from a nation of emigration ending after World War I to a nation of immigration from World War II onwards. In 2008, immigration reached its highest level since records began with 101,171 people moving to Sweden. As of 2008, the largest immigrant groups living in Sweden consists of people born in Finland (175,113), Iraq (109,446), the former Yugoslavia (72,285), Poland (63,822), Iran (57,663), Bosnia and Herzegovina (55,960), Denmark (44,310), Norway (44,310), Chile (28,118), Thailand (25,858), Somalia (25,159) and Lebanon (23,291). In the last decade most immigrants have come from Iraq, Poland, Thailand, Somalia and China.

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CAPITAL CITY Sweden's capital is Stockholm, which is also the largest city in the country (population of 1.3 million in the urban area and with 2 million in the metropolitan area). In the capital, Stockholm, daylight lasts for more than 18 hours in late June but only around 6 hours in late December. It is the official residence of the Swedish monarch as well as the prime minister. Stockholm is one of Sweden's cultural, media, political, and economic centres due to its strategic location on 14 islands on the south-central east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren.

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MAIN EXPORT Sweden is an export-oriented mixed economy featuring a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labour force. Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base Famous companies include Volvo, Electrolux, Sony Ericsson and furniture chain IKEA Founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad is 2009’s World’s Richest Man

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NOTABLE HISTORICAL EVENTS 800-1050 Anno Domino The Viking Age. The Vikings worshipped the Asa gods such as Oden and Thor. The origin of the word Thursday comes from the Swedish word Torsdag (Tors Day!) Actually, most of the days of the week come from Nordic mythology. 900Sweden becomes unified. Olof Skötkonung is the first king. 1050Sweden becomes Christianised. 1610-1718The Great Power period; Wars led to the expansion of Swedish territory. 1812Sweden acquires its present borders. This is also the last time Sweden was engaged in war 1850Industrialization of Sweden 1939-45Sweden is neutral during the World War II. 1950With its industry intact after WWII, and with high quality engineering, Sweden becomes one of the wealthiest countries in the world. 1995Sweden joins the European Union.

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UNUSUAL FACTS Sweden is a monarchy ruled by King Carl Gustav XVI. In reality his function is purely ceremonial. The country is governed by a democratically chosen parliament. Sweden has a tradition of pacifism. It is the only European state that was not involved in any armed conflict for almost 200 years. Environmental issues are important and Swedes love to keep their country clean. Sweden has the highest number of McDonald restaurants, per capita, in Europe. Sweden has the highest number of nuclear plants, per capita. Sweden has the highest percentage of working mothers in the developed world and its people spend the longest time in tertiary education. Sweden is second most technologically advanced country in Europe. Sweden ranked as the second best country, in UNICEF’s 2007 report on child well-being in rich countries, after Netherlands. Sweden ranked second in the European Union and fifth in the world, in terms of Human Development Index, in 2006. Sweden’s is the world’s most inter-connected country, followed by Singapore.

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SPORTS Sport activities are a national movement with half of the population actively participating, much thanks to the heavy government subsidies of sport associations (föreningsstöd). The two main spectator sports are football and ice hockey. The Swedish ice hockey team Tre Kronor is regarded as one of the very best in the world and has won the World Championships eight times, Sweden is also the eighth most successful country in the Olympic games in history. In schools, on meadows and in parks, the game brännboll, a sport similar to baseball, is commonly played for fun. Other leisure sports are the historical game of kubb, and boules among the older generation. Sweden hosted the 1912 Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in 1958. Other big sports events held here include 1992 UEFA European Football Championship, FIFA Women's World Cup 1995, and several championships of ice hockey, curling, athletics, skiing, bandy, figure skating and swimming. Sweden is also highly active in motorsports, serving as a rally stage in the World Rally Championships.

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THANK YOU!TACK!BROUGHT TO YOU BY:TOG TILL DIG AV:OSCAR LEE, SHAWN LAW, JONATHAN SEAH OF 4F

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