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    Vatican City: Vatican Museums. Go Now!

    Vatican City
    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

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SwedenThe origins of the name Sweden (Sverige in Swedish) are likely from the words Svea and rike, which roughly translates to "Kingdom of the Swedes."



Sweden is rooted in a very rural history as the people lived off the lands and seas for survival. However, their history is also dotted with economic progress, growth, exploration, trade, and creativity. Even today Sweden is a leader in numerous realms as they are among the most modern societies in the world; yet many of their efforts are outwardly focused as the country boasts leadership in social and environmental issues.

For much of history, Swedish lifestyle remained tied to the seas while the culture slowly developed in rural settings. There was little political cohesion and the people were primarily left alone for long stretches of time, giving the people few unifying traits. This all changed in the 1000s with the introduction of Christianity and again in the 1300s when the country united with Norway and Denmark.

It wasn't until the 1500s that Sweden began to stand on its own feet. Despite never having been truly independent, Sweden rose up and became a political power in the 1600s. This movement opened the country to many outside influences, making the people more similar to other parts of Europe, while also changing the lifestyle to one based on internal survival to external expansion, growth, and communication.

The changes that occurred in Sweden in the 1500s and 1600s were more than political, they were also cultural. As changes were made, the Swedish identity and lifestyle was also more and more solidified. The people began to understand their differences from their neighbors and others as the Swedish identity became more and more clearly defined; an identity based on the ethnicity and language, but also includes the food, lifestyle, and culture.

Despite the rise to power, Sweden also experienced its struggles. Throughout this time the focus remained somewhat external though as people moved to cities and modern technology from the Industrial Revolution encouraged this shift to cities. However, it wasn't until the 1900s when Sweden began to more closely identify with the other Scandinavian countries. For most of history these countries fought with each other for power, but with World War II, their similarities were magnified and after the war the path forward became one of cooperation rather than competition.

Today Sweden remains competitive and cooperative as the people tend to have a very strong sense of social rights, freedoms, and morals. Sweden leads the world in many social and political movements, but their culture and lifestyle remain tied to their past. The culture of the people is still associated with their language, ethnicity, foods, and history, while their lifestyle is ever-changing, but shifting towards a modern, urban lifestyle focused on economic growth and trade.

Sweden's flag design is modeled after the Dannebrog, which is the flag of Denmark. The colors of Sweden's flag are taken from the country's coat of arms, which includes three golden crowns on a blue background.

Name: Kingdom of Sweden
Independence: June 6, 1523
Capital: Stockholm
Currency: Swedish Krona
Population: 9,119,423 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Swedish
Language: Swedish
Religion: Lutheran

Information for Sweden was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks