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Sweden

Sweden is situated in Northern European. It has a wild landscape, made up of large streams and rivers and nearly ten percent of its land mass is covered by glacial lakes. The quality of water means that fish sources are rich, they grow to large sizes, and are widely eaten. Around 4000 sites are protected across the country, and Sweden has many national parks and nearly three thousand nature reserves.

Stockholm travel offers beautiful palaces, striking theatres and plenty of museums, with one specifically dedicated to ABBA.

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Culture

Sweden is well known for the efficiency and strength of its designing, its greatest influence being on the Functionalist Movement of the nineteen thirties, and the architect Erik Gunnar Asplund was responsible for some of its most famous contributions. It has also been a massive part of world cinema. Ingmar Bergman and Greta Garbo are among the acting legends it has produced. Bergman captivated and enchanted the world during the fifties and sixties, Scenes from a Marriage and Wild Strawberries are only two of the many cinematic classics she starred in. Arguably it's most famous son though, is the legendary chemist Alfred Bernhand Noble after who the Nobel Prize, was named.

Food and Drink

Swedish cuisine is wholesome, healthy and simple. Typical homemade dishes include pea soup with pork, stuffed cabbage rolls, meatballs, pies, and meat and onion hash served with fried eggs. A popular dessert is sweet pancakes sometimes served with fruity, alcoholic punch. Alcohol served in bars and restaurants is notoriously expensive. At Midsummer, Sweden revels in one of its best-loved festivals, where fresh potatoes, herring and meatballs are in abundance. The month of August means Crayfish parties, where they are boiled with salt, dill and sugar. Traditionally, diners use their fingers to lever the rich, fleshy meat from the tail and claws. Coffee is enjoyed all over the country, especially at breakfast time and at coffee parties, at which homemade cake and buns are also served. Swedish Schnapps or Aquavit; is delicious but strong. It is best served straight, ice-cold in a shot glass. Swedish beer is also excellent, both in light and dark varieties, and is a mellower accompaniment to a meal or ideal for a relaxing drink with friends.

History

The end of the last ice-age, more than twelve thousand years ago, triggered the first people to inhabit Scandinavia. By 8,000 BC, settlements in coastal regions were widespread due to dropping temperatures. This changed a couple of thousand years later, and inland soil became much better in quality. Two hundred years of wealth and prosperity preceded the turn of the millennium, when the Viking trade routes and networks became less successful is the shadow of Continental Europe's rise to prominence. In the early part of the sixteen century, Gustav Vasa, sowed the seeds of Sweden's national state. Two decades later, Gustavus Adolphus spurred the Kingdom to a status of great power after many successful campaigns. His death in 1632 sparked a century of war and upheaval. The following four decades later were dominated by periods of democratic and socialist rule. In 2005, under the rule of the Social Democratic Party, Sweden Joined the European Union, but still keeps the Kronar at its national currency.

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