NEED TO KNOW
Capital City: Stockholm
Population: 9 million
Area: 174,000 square miles
Telephone Calling Code(s): 46
Electricity: 230V, 50 Hz
Currency: As of Nov 22, 2011:
1 Sweden Kronor = $0.15 US Calculate Other Amounts
Sweden, a member of the EU, does not require visas for citizens of the United States. A valid passport is sufficient for a three-month stay.
GOOD TO KNOW
Books and Movies
Ingmar Bergman's films, such as The Seventh Seal and Persona are among the most enduring classics ever to grace the silver screen. But watching Death play chess may give prospective visitors an unrealistically morbid view of Sweden. For a less existentially maddening experience, try the work of Sweden's most famous leading ladies: Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman.
Sweden's hearty cuisine is best experienced through the traditional smorgasbord, a table overflowing with pickled and smoked fish, meatballs, potatoes and even reindeer. Even if you're not about to be chopping wood all day, crayfish, wild berries, and sweet bread are hard to resist. It may be easier to resist the appeal of surströmming—canned fermented herring that even locals find daunting—though the northern Laplanders do love it.
Even ignoring the twenty-five percent VAT tax (tourists can get this refunded), shopping in Sweden is expensive. Exquisitely designed crystal, ceramics, and silver are some of the best items to pick up. The Scandinavian gift for design also makes Sweden a mecca for Po-Mo home furnishings, severe clothing, and weird architect eyeglasses. A more traditional gift would be a heavy woolen sweater. Although itchy, these have kept out the Arctic chill for generations.
A hefty VAT tax of twenty-five percent is added to all goods in Sweden, but non-European Union residents can get a refund on this for most purchases.
January: 1, New Year's Day; 6, Epiphany
April: 30, Walpurgis Night/King's Birthday
May: 1, May Day
June: 6, National Day; Saturday between 20 and 26, Midsummer's Day
November: First Saturday, All Saints' Day
December: 24, Christmas Eve; 25, Christmas Day; 26, Boxing Day; 31, New Year's Eve
Spring: Friday before Easter, Good Friday; Easter; day after Easter, Easter Monday; sixth Thursday after Easter, Ascension Day; seventh Sunday after Easter, Pentecost