What is Sweden Like? Someone said, “Sweden has the sophistication of the city and the charm of the village.”
The country is mostly flat, with mountains in the west. Sweden has over 90,000 lakes and large areas covered with beautiful forests. The wilderness areas of Norrland have the legendary midnight sun in the summer, Arctic Scandinavia’s highest mountain (Kebnekaise – 2,111 metres high) and marvellous hiking trails.
Area: 450,000 Km2 (174,000 sq. mi.), third largest country in Western Europe
Capital: Stockholm (1,000,000 inhabitants)
Population: 9 million inhabitants
Languages: Swedish; recognized minority languages: Sami (Lapp), Finnish, Meänkieli (Tornedalen Finnish), Yiddish, Romani Chib (a Gypsy language)
Form of Government: Constitutional monarchy, parliamentary democracy
Currency: Swedish Krona (SEK)
Religion: 80% belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden
Average temperatures: 25 degrees C in summer and -15 degrees C in winter
Who Are We? We are a group of young and enthusiastic people who want to know more about Sweden.
The Swedes Are Known For
Technology: Volvo and Saab cars, Ericsson mobile phones, IKEA, the furniture retailer.
Music: ABBA, Roxette, Ace of Base, The Cardigans.
Writers: Astrid Lindgren created the world famous “Pippi Longstocking” and Selma Lagerlöf wrote “The adventures of Nils Holgersson”.
Cinema: Ingmar Bergman, film director, Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Britt Ekland, actresses.
Science: Anders Celsius, astronomer (inventor of the Celsius temperature scale), Alfred Nobel (invented dynamite and established the Nobel Institute), Carl von Linne (father of Taxonomy, biologist), Theodor Svedverg (Nobel prize in Chemistry), Nils Nordenskiold (minerologist and arctic explorer), Lars Magnus Ericsson (founder of the world’s leading manufacturer of advanced telephone equipment).
Sports: Bjorn Borg, Stefan Edberg and Mats Wilander (tennis players), Ingemar Stenmark and Gunde Svan (skiers).
Most banks are open Monday to Friday from 10 AM to 3 PM. On Thursdays some banks are open from 10 to 6. On Saturdays and Sundays, the banks are closed.
All banks provide for exchange services. There is a variety of bank branches, so compare the buying and selling rates when exchanging money.
Sending and receiving money from abroad: The absolutely best way to get money from, or to, another country is to have a credit card, tied to a bank account in the home country. All other methods are both time consuming, as well as expensive.
There are two types of automatic cash dispensing machines; “Bankomat,” and “Minuten”. The differences are in the bank service; i.e., trade bank or savings. VISA, MasterCard, Eurocard and similar cards can be used in either one.
Sweden’s Major Banks
Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken
Currency, Credit Cards and Exchange Offices
The Swedish monetary unit is the Swedish Crown, abbreviated to SEK. One Swedish Crown is 100 ore.
The coins are from the lowest to the highest:
50 ore (half a crown)
1 krona (crown)
The paper money is:
20 kronor (crowns)
Automatic Cash Dispensing Machines (ATMs)
There are two types of automatic cash dispensing machines. The trade bank and the saving bank model. The trade bank model is blue with the white text; “Bankomat”, whereas the saving bank model is red and green with the text; “Minuten”. For foreign VISA card, either of the two types will do. Moreover, accepted cards will be marked on all of the automatic cash dispensing machines.
The automatic cash dispensing machines can be found at most banks and other places throughout large cities, as well as in the larger villages. The banks can provide a list of where the automatic cash dispensing machines are found.
American Express: Telephone +46(0)8-729 00 95, (24.00 hours a day).
Diners Club: Telephone +46(0)8-655 85 85, (24.00 hours a day.)
Euro Card: Telephone +46(0)8-80 23 90, (24.00 hours a day).
Master Card: Telephone +46(0)8-790 23 90, (24.00 hours a day).
VISA: Telephone +46(0)8-790 50 05, (24.00 hours a day).
Passports and Customs
A valid passport entitles EU and North American citizens to a three-month stay in Sweden. Citizens of other countries should check with a Swedish diplomatic representative in their home country.
Embassy Phone Numbers
Denmark: +46(0)8-406 75 00
France: +46(0)8-459 53 00
Germany: +46(0)8-670 15 00
Italy: +46(0)8-545 671 00
Japan: +46(0)8-663 04 40
Netherlands: +46(0)8-556 933 00
Norway: +46(0)8-665 63 40
Portugal: +46(0)8-662 60 28
Spain: +46(0)8-611 19 92
United Kingdom: +46(0)8-671 30 00
USA: +46(0)8-783 53 00
The major post offices are basically open Monday to Friday 9 AM 6 PM and Saturdays from 9 AM to 1 PM. Sundays are closed. There are local variations, especially in the countryside.
Foreign exchange; cash to cash and traveller’s cheques, can be administered in any post office, as well as banks.
Stamps can be bought in the post offices, as well as in a variety of shops.
Packages and larger letters, must be sent from a post office.
Green Postboxes: for domestic economy class mail.
Blue Postboxes: for letters within a region or a larger city.
Yellow Postboxes: for all other types of letters and post cards, domestic, as well as international.