19 Fun Facts About Sweden For An Epic Holiday

fun facts about sweden featured image

Sweden is a blast! From the charming Swedish culture to the natural beauty and incredible food, this Scandinavian country is one of my favorite places to visit.

Along with Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland, Sweden is one of the 5 Nordic countries. It is the largest country by land area amongst its arctic neighbors, and has the largest population (over 10 million inhabitants)!

Why do so many people want to hang out in Sweden? These fun Sweden facts are sure to answer your question!

1. You Can Visit a Hotel Made of Ice in Sweden

The Swedish Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi is famous. It is carved from scratch each year from ice blocks that weigh a few thousand pounds using water from the Torne River.

The hotel construction begins when the weather is cold enough and the artisans and builders never make it exactly the same way, though it is required to be built to code and must even have fire alarms installed!

2. A Holiday Soda is More Popular than Coca-Cola in Sweden

During the Christmas season, a carbonated soda similar to root beer called Julmust is consumed en masse by Swedes, outperforming Coca-Cola. The same soda is repackaged and sold around Easter under the name Påskmust.

If you’re dying to try this soda and aren’t in Sweden during these times of year you probably won’t be able to find it on the shelves. The simple solution is to visit during Christmas and do some skiing while you’re there!

3. Metro Stations Become Art Exhibits

Sweden is a country that is known for blending artistic design and functionality.

an art installation at a metro station in Sweden

In Stockholm metro stations, gorgeous works of art and mosaics by over 150 Swedish artists adorn the walls and ceilings. They make up the world’s longest art exhibit.

Sweden does a great job of making public commuting less depressing!

4. Fika Is Important to Observe in Sweden

Fika is a type of break that is taken twice during the workday. Everyone is expected to partake in these breaks which are typically a social affair complete with cake, coffee or tea, and the latest water cooler gossip.

SEE ALSO:  12 Fun Facts About Lithuania To Have You In Awe and Wonder

It is considered rude to not join in although why would you want to stay away from cake and coffee?

5. Move Over Mickey Mouse – Donald Duck is in the House

Swedish people much prefer Donald Duck to Mickey. Since the 50s, it is a Swedish tradition on Christmas Eve to watch a Donald Duck special on TV called Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar god jul.

Donald Duck is so popular that Swedes were writing in Donald Duck on voting ballots so often the government had to make a law against it in 2006.

6. The World’s Largest Solar System Model

Sweden is home to the largest scale model of our solar system. It stretches over 950 kilometers or 590 miles, with the Avicii Arena (formerly the Ericsson Dome) at its center.

The Avicii Arena just happens to be the biggest hemispherical building in the world, so it is fitting that it represents the sun in this model.

7. Beware Of Surströmming (Seriously!)

Do not be caught unaware! Surströmming is a relatively popular Swedish food that is one of the worst-smelling substances on the planet.

A man opening Surströmming and who doesn't like the smell

Seriously! It is so pungent that even Swedish people open these cans outside. Inside the can, one will find Baltic herring that has been fermented. This product is more often eaten in the northern parts of Sweden.

Many people find it fun to bring a can to parties and see who doesn’t throw up when it is opened. If you happen to be in the proximity of this can, you should leave. Now.

8. Sweden is Home to Ikea

Ikea is a popular brand worldwide and one of the most iconic things you can find at Ikea stores is Swedish meatballs! They are often served in the cafeteria at Ikea with lingonberry sauce, gravy, and boiled potatoes.

SEE ALSO:  21 Fun Facts About Poland For True Travel Buffs

Their furniture is pretty great too – my entire apartment is furnished with Ikea.

9. See the Spectacular View of Northern Lights in Sweden

Sweden is far enough north that you can witness a dazzling display known as the Northern Lights. The best place to see them is in Kiruna, which is part of the Arctic circle.

10. Swedes Built a Ski Thru McDonald’s

It may be surprising but Swedish people really love McDonald’s – so much so that Sweden is home to a McDonald’s where you can ski through and pick up your food.

A Mcdonalds in Sweden with ski-through access

It operates similarly to a drive-thru, offering patrons burgers and fries to go since the mid-90s.

11. Sweden Has a Lot of Moose

Sweden is one of the most forested countries in Europe so it stands to reason they have a lot of wildlife. Sweden has between 300,000 and 400,000 moose living in its forests.

12. Sweden Produces Popular Music

Who hasn’t heard of ABBA? One of the largest exports of Sweden is music.

Ace of Base, Swedish House Mafia, The Cardigans, and Robyn are just a few of the artists and bands that have become famous worldwide.

13. Swedish People are Generous

Only in Sweden do donations make up more than 1 percent of the GDP.

Swedish people are known for generosity and giving money to charitable causes worldwide.

14. Sweden Genuinely Imports Trash

Sweden imports the trash of nearby nations and repurposes it to use as an energy source because they don’t make enough waste on their own. This trash is burned to create heat and to heat homes.

A trash truck in Sweden

Sweden is likewise one of the leaders in the world of recycling and sustainability. 52 percent of the energy used in Sweden comes from renewable sources!

SEE ALSO:  16 Fun Facts About Malta That'll Make You Book A Trip

15. Sweden Is Home To A Ton of Patents

Sweden is home to more patents per capita than any other nation in the European Union.

Some of the most popular patents are the Pacemaker, Dynamite, Spherical ball bearings, and Tetra Pak!

16. You Can Book A Stay in Reportedly Haunted Locations

There are several places in Sweden that claim to be haunted (due to documented historical events). Whether you want a chance to meet a ghostly visitor or simply want to take in some beautiful architecture, there are many places to choose from!

For those brave or curious enough to stay in one, here are a few popular locations:

17. Swedish People are Multilingual

Many Swedish people speak more than one language – in fact more than 80% of Swedish people can also speak English.

The official language however is Swedish (Svenska) but you may also hear Sami, Yiddish, Finnish, and Meänkieli!

18. Sweden is Known for Progressive LGBTIQ + Rights

In 1944, same-sex relationships were legalized in Sweden. This was followed by Sweden being the first country worldwide to allow transgender people to change their sex legally in the 1970s and they provided hormone therapy for free.

Sweden was also the 7th country to legalize gay marriage in 2009.

A LGBTIQ + rally in Sweden with people riding motorcycles

19. The Swiss Army Knife is Standard Issue

Despite the national attitude toward neutrality, Swedish men over 19 years old are required to complete 15 months of service in the military.

The handy tool known as the Swiss Army knife is standard issue for Swiss military personnel. I can say with certainty that the Swiss Army knife is the MacGuyver of knives. It should be standard issue for all humans!


Christina loves to travel and recently moved from America to Austria to experience everything Europe has to offer. Her passion for travel is rivaled only by her love of writing. Armed with her English degree, she funds her travels writing for several websites including MyCountryFacts!

Recent Posts