Sweden is a long country with many different cultures and traditions. The Swedes welcome the summers, which are short in Sweden, by mid-summers celebrations. The traditional way is that the people decorate their houses and other places with foliage; clad in ferns, they dance around a Maypole (symbol of fertility). It is a family festival. For vacations, they retreat to Stugas, small cottages, to get close to nature and savor the landscape.
The wide diversity found in Sweden is reflected by the fact that atleast one in every five is an immigrant or has a foreign-born parent. The language official language is Swedesh, which is German-related, but English is also widely spoken there.
Sweden is widely known for its arts and theatre and is rich in heritage.
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden with beautiful locations. It is a clean and compact city and it is easy to find your way around it. The friendly nature of the people there makes it all the more of a pleasure to explore the place. The fact that Stockholm is built on fourteen island, adds to its beauty, and Gamla Stan (OldTown) is the smallest of those islands. Gamla Stan is also the historical centre of the city and dates back to the 13th century.
Being an island city, ferries are widely used as a mode of travel in Stockholm.
Shopping centres, restaurants, bars and night clubs come to life at night when the people go out. Other attractions there are Drottningholm Palace, and the remains of the Viking settlement, Birka on Björkö island in Lake Mälaren.
Sweden has the largest lake in Western Europe, Vanern. It is located in the Southwest of the country and was formed after the last ice age.
Food includes high quality fish and shellfish at the coastlines. Baltic herring, or Stromming, is a small silver fish which is popular on the eastcoast. Swedish Semla, is a mouth-watering cream and almond paste bun which is traditionally eaten on Fat Tuesday, which comes somewhere in February-March. It is the day before Lent, their 40-day fasting period, when the Semla and some other items are traditionally consumed. Traditional Swedish dishes are called Husmanskost. They are cooked with traditional ingredients. In the north, Västerbotten and Norrbotten are known for their dumplings, palt which are served alongside butter. Sour milk, långmjölk, and the thin white crispbread, tunnbröd are also popular in that area. The long winters make warm food a part of Swedish cuisine.
Sweden has a stable political scenario and strong competitive economy with low unemployment rates. It had a 5.5% increase in GDP in 2010. The people are well-educated as education is compulsory till the age of sixteen and after 9th grade, around ninety percent proceed with higher education.
Football, Ice hockey and Bandy are popular sports in Sweden. Some tennis players Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg are internationally well-known.
Sweden is a country which offers virtually everything. It is not just a wonderful place to live but also a great tourist attraction.