Useful Notes: Sweden
Descreebed Svedée Here-a! Børk børk børk! The country of hot blondes, rabid feminists and moose. OK, that's not totally true. Only half the population is actually blond, though most have the usually associated blue eyes. Moose, on the other hand... Swedish-made cars in other countries often have their lights on all the time. This is mandated by Swedish law, due to the country's latitude. Sweden (Swedish: Sverige), officially known as the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: Konungariket Sverige), is a democratic monarchy, with King Carl XVI Gustaf holding the ceremonial crown and about eight different political parties in parliament, depending on popular vote. The monarch is required to be a Protestant (Lutheran). The country also has equal rights for both sexes when it comes to inheriting the throne, having a woman, Crown Princess Victoria as heir apparent. For much of the 20th century, Swedish politics has been dominated by the centre-left Social Democrats, though their influence has waned in recent years. Tage Erlander, the Prime Minister from 1946 to 1969, holds the record for being the longest-serving leader of a democracy. Was one of the first countries in the world to have a telegraphy line, with a line entering use in 1796. This, however, led to Sweden being reluctant to adopt electrical telegraphy, which explains why Sweden's (and the world's) last commercial semaphore line ceased operation in 1880, some forty years after the electrical telegraph had entered commercial use. A few decades later, Sweden became an early adopter of telephones, much thanks to an industrialist named Lars Magnus Ericsson. A 1973 bank robbery in Stockholm, later cinematized as Norrmalmstorg, was the Trope Namer for the Stockholm Syndrome.
0 to 60 in under a second, missiles to deal with air rage—the Swedish militarySweden, having had to deal with a possible threat from Nazi Germany and later the Warsaw Pact, used to have a pretty advanced military, because it remains militarily neutral (the idea being that military neutrality is only credible if your military does not rely on one side or the other for vital equipment). Sweden had a form of conscription, but as fewer people were conscripted the last decade, and only volunteers could go abroad, it was scrapped in 2010. Sweden tends to get involved in peacekeeping a lot. Sweden's main rifle is the AK-5, a more rugged version of the FNC. Sweden's best known military company was also a car company- Saab- although the car arm went to GM years ago and has since disappeared. Saab is best known for its fighter aircraft, but does other stuff too. The most recent of these is the JAS 39 Gripen ("Gryphon"/"Griffin"), first known for crashing twice at public exhibition flights, later as one of the world's best new fighters that is not the F-22, it's in service with three countries and others have it on order or are looking at it. It can land on public roads. See Swedes with Cool Planes for more information.
True or falsePolar bears: False. Though there are Brown Bears occasionally attacking people. Eskimoes: False. The closest one can find is the Sami people, who have been described as the European counterpart to the Native Americans (though they don't look all that different from other Europeans; they're related to the Finns). Nymphomania: Mostly false (see below)
AccentThroughout history, educated Swedes have tended to be very good at the language of the dominant Western power (such as Latin during the Middle Ages, French from the 16th century, German from the 19th century, English from the middle of the 20th century on). There are some weak spots however, like voiced versus voiceless consonants, the distinctions being all but absent in Swedish. Swedish speakers tend to use voiceless consonants, but usually spell the words correctly* .
Famous SwedesSweden has produced a lot of famous actors, several of whom have done Fake Russian at some point in the career (i.e. Lena Olin in Alias- the Derevko sisters are played by a Swede, an Italian (whose mother was Swedish, too) and a Brazilian). Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman are the most famous. Sweden was also home to the celebrated stage and film director Ingmar Bergman (no relation to Ingrid). As a rule, the most famous Swedes tend to become Monegasque (citizens of Monaco) for purposes of tax evasion.
- Peter Stormare is famous for having played characters from many European countries in American productions, including Germany, Iceland, Russia and Norway, but never from Sweden. He does speak a bit of Swedish in Minority Report and The Lost World: Jurassic Park though.
- Stellan Skarsgård is another Swede who has played Fake Russian roles (he plays one in The Hunt for Red October and Ronin), but he's taken a variety of roles. His son Alexander has had some recent US success with Generation Kill and True Blood* .
- Dolph Lundgren is (in-)famous for appearing in second- and third-rate action movies, like Universal Soldier and Masters of the Universe, though he's probably still most famous as Drago from Rocky IV. He also has a master's degree in chemical engineering and a second degree black belt in karate.
- Max von Sydow has appeared in some 140 movies since his debut in 1949. Among his more famous parts are Antonius Block, the knight who plays chess with Death in The Seventh Seal; Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told; Father Merrin in The Exorcist; Joubert in Three Days of the Condor; Emperor Ming in Flash Gordon; Blofeld in Never Say Never Again; Judge Fargo in Judge Dredd, Director Burgess in Minority Report, and Esbern is The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
- Ann-Margret was born Ann-Margret Olsson in Stockholm, the daughter of Anna (née Aronsson) and Gustav Olsson, a native of Örnsköldsvik. She and her parents moved to the United States when she was five. She grew up to become a popular singer, dancer and actress, starring in films like Bye Bye Birdie, Viva Las Vegas, Kitten With a Whip, The Cincinnati Kid, Carnal Knowledge and Magic.
- ABBA is still the most famous Swedish band, but there are many others. Sweden is the world's third largest exporter of music after the US and the UK, possibly because of the combination of assimilation of those countries' modern musical traditions and the easy access to free music instruction. Other Swedish bands/musicians include rock bands like Europe, The Hives and The Cardigans, as well as pop groups like Ace of Base and The Sounds and singers like Neneh Cherry. Sweden is also home to many Metal bands (see below).
- The three most famous Swedes in the field of the sciences are probably Carl von Linné (Carolus Linnaeus), the creator of the sexual system of plant classification, Anders Celsius, father of the Celsius temperature system, and Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel Prizes and inventor of dynamite.
- Swedes dominated the first influx of European talent into the North American hockey leagues in The Seventies, with many becoming stars in the WHA, while Börje Salming became the first Swedish star in the NHL (which was more reluctant to bring in European players). Swedish stars in the NHL have included Håkan Loob, Tomas Sandström, Peter Forsberg, Nicklas Lidström, and Henrik Zetterberg, among many others. The "Tre Kronor" (Three Crowns) - the Swedish national team - has emerged as a hockey power in international competition.
- Sweden is also famous for Volvo and IKEA, the former a car which always has its headlights on (per Swedish law) and the latter a flat-pack furniture store that is a day out in itself. Sweden is also home to another famous car company, SAAB. However, two international car manufacturers in such a small country as Sweden makes the sales a bit shaky, and the company has changed hands approximately every 20 years since being funded in the late 1940s. Another Swedish company that is well known is H&M, a clothing retailer known as "the IKEA of fashion". It originally was only women's clothing but has expanded to men and children and even home goods.
- For some reason, perhaps the majority of indie game developers in the western world come from Sweden. Daniel Remar, Cactus, Notch, Nifflas and Frictional Games, among others, are all Swedes. They even hold an annual indie game development convention there. Larger Swedish developers include the likes of Massive Entertainment (Ground Control, World in Conflict), Starbreeze Studios (The Darkness, Escape from Butcher Bay, Assault on Dark Athena) and DICE (the Battlefield series, Mirrors Edge, etc.).
Sweden in fiction and mediaNorse by Norsewest covers a lot of the Sweden stuff, with hot Swedish blond people being fairly common in fiction. See also Swedish Series.
- British and American media in general seem prone to confuse a general Swedish lack of embarrassment about nudity with permanent horniness on the part of the Swedish people. When these media use Europeans Are Kinky as a trope, Sweden is the most likely country to attach it to. The Swedish Nymphomaniac Student/Hiker/Au Pair girl became a stereotypical character in British sex comedies of the 1970s and persists.
- Not just the British. There was reported in the media an incident with a Swedish lady who lived in Australia. She sought psychological counseling due to permanent quarrels and scandals caused by accusations she was flirting with married Aussie guys. The reporter was savvy enough to add that Swedish women when talking to men stay on average 17 cm closer during the talk and are a few orders of magnitude more likely to touch compared to Anglophones.
- Sweden also hands out the various Nobel Prizes (except for the Peace Prize, which is handed out by Norway for reasons involving personal unions and symbolism), which are like the Academy Awards for people too ugly to be allowed into Hollywood.
- However, that's not all Sweden does. Pippi Långstrump (you may know her better as Pippi Longstocking) holds a Swedish passport and was created by Astrid Lindgren, a Swedish writer. Then of course you have the Swedish Chef on The Muppet Show. So it goes both ways.
- Nordic Noir is a recently successful genre. Of particular note in recent years is a detective named Kurt Wallander, the star of a series of novels, adapted for TV in English as well as Swedish. Also of considerable note is the late Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, a trio of novels adapted into films. A well-known Swedish novel is also Let the Right One In, which also has a film adaptation.
- An important thing to keep in mind if watching a Swedish film is that as soon as the target audience grow into their teens, everything takes a sharp turn towards the cynical side of the spectrum: Every child protagonist will, without fail, be bullied, neglected or raped. If it's drama, there will be a sense of unease and much yelling. If it's a police procedural, like Wallander above, expect the victim to be the butchered, rotting remains of Taiwanese victim of trafficking who leaves behind five childen, as well as even more unease and yelling. The comedies are almost always a bit tragic as well as comic, and offers even more unease and yelling.
- The 2012 mini-series Don't Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves, based on the three-book series of the same name, took home a couple of international awards and received glorious reviews when it aired on BBC. Author Jonas Gardell is in talks with undisclosed Hollywood producers about an English language feature film version. The series chronicles a group of gay men in Stockholm in the 80ies during the onset of AIDS, and the prejudice and injustice they were subjected to.
- Sweden is also known (along with its neighbours Norway and Finland) for its extensive contribution to the various forms of metal music... which of course is just more unease and yelling. They don't usually use Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut though, since å, ä and ö are used as proper letters. Examples of bands include Hammerfall, Sabaton, Amon Amarth, Therion, Candlemass, Bathory, Arch-Enemy, Evergrey, Ghost, Entombed, Marduk, The Gothenburg Three (Dark Tranquillity, In Flames, and At The Gates), and whatever ensemble Yngwie Malmsteen has playing second fiddle to him.
- They also have the world's angriest chefs. So yeah, unease and yelling galore.
- Stockholm is a terrifying place, if Cry of Fear is to be believed.
- A number of infamously bad Slasher Movies, such as Blood Tracks, Camp Slaughter, The Drowning Ghost, Death Academy, Madness and Blood Runs Cold. It's worth to note that the Swedish Film Insistute does not usually support horror films so therefore the majority are made by self taught filmmakers using their own money.
- After Let the Right One In and Frostbite, vampires having fun in the winters. Fridge Brilliance due to the longer nights. Especially since Northern Sweden has polar night.
- Vikings of course.
- Parodies of The Seventh Seal (especially the scene where Max von Sydow is playing Chess with Death) are not uncommon in American media, and they often include a fair attempt at talking actual Swedish.
- The Tabletop RPG KULT, one of the darkest out there.
- In a refreshing change, the film Show Me Love, while hardly all sugar and light, is still the single most adorable film about Schoolgirl Lesbians in Western media you will ever see and swept the Swedish equivalent of the Academy Awards in 1997, defeating, of all things, James Cameron's juggernaut Titanic.
The Swedish Flag
Like all other Nordic flags, this one takes after the design of the Danish flag, the Dannebrog (cross with one axis aligned to the hoist). Its blue field and gold cross alludes to the national coat-of-arms, which shows three golden crowns on a blue shield.