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SWEDEN



USEFUL INFORMATION

Map of Sweden


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..Sweden is the land of the mighty Vikings, a winter-wonderland where the stars light up the plains and mountains of the north och the shimmering waters of the south....



Location:
Situated in Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, and Skagerrak, between Finland and Norway

Area:
449,964 sq km

Neighbouring countries:
Finland 586 km, Norway 1,619 km

Coastline:
3,218 km

Climate:
Temperate in south with cold, cloudy winters and cool, partly cloudy summers; subarctic in north. Average temperature:
January / July
Malmö: - 0,2°C / + 16,8°C
Stockholm: - 2,8°C / + 17,2°C
Kiruna: - 16,0°C / + 12,8°C

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Kebnekaise 2,111 m

Population:
8,875,053 (July 2001 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Indigenous population: Swedes and Finnish and Sami minorities; foreign-born or first-generation immigrants: Finns, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, Turks

Religions:
Lutheran 87%, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist

Languages:
Swedish. However, English is widely spoken

Getting to Sweden:
By air - SAS operates connecting flights to major cities in Sweden via Stockholm. Through cooperation with United Airlines, SAS links all of USA directly to Sweden. SAS joins with all major European air carriers in linking major Swedish cities to the rest of the Continent on a daily basis. Finnair links Sweden to the rest of Europe via Helsinki.


By ferry - Holidaymakers taking their car to Sweden have a wide range of options in addition to the direct DFDS service from Newcastle to Gothenburg via Kristiansand in Norway. Popular routeings are also available via Germany and Denmark, with onward crossings to Sweden. The opening of the Øresund bridge on 2000 has made non-stop travel between mainland Europe and Sweden a reality. The 16 km bridge and tunnel links Denmark's capital, Copenhagen, with Sweden's third city, Malmö, and takes both car and rail traffic.

By road - Eurolines is the leading operator of scheduled coach services to Europe, including 27 destinations in Sweden. Eurolines offers competitive fares with reductions for children, young people and senior citizens. For information and reservations call Eurolines, tel +46 31 10 02 40.

Passports and visas:
For most foreign visitors a passport will be sufficient. But, for certain foreigners a visa is also necessary. To find out what rules apply for your home country we advise you to contact the nearest Swedish Embassy or Consulate for further information.

Customs regulations:
Visitors aged 20 and over from a non-European Union country can import the following tax-free goods into Sweden: 1 litre of liquor or 2 litres of fortified or sparkling wine (between 16-22% proof), 2 litres of wine (up to 15% proof) and 32 litres of strong beer. Visitors aged 18 or over may take 200 cigarettes or 250 grams of other manufactured tobacco products or 50 cigars or 100 cheroots.

Health and safety:
For any emergency dial 112. Emergency calls from pay-phones are free of charge.

Most hotels and other places of accommodation in Sweden maintain contact with a nearby doctor who can be summoned quickly in case of illness. Municipal authorities supply emergency medical care, and hotel staff can direct guests to local emergency centres or hospitals. In Sweden, citizens of EEA countries must have an E-111 form, otherwise the patient must pay in full. The fee for a clinic visit costs up to $ 25, plus a charge of about $ 8,50 per 24 hours if you need to stay in a hospital overnight. Information on healthcare is available from Stockholm Care, tel +46 8 672 24 00, fax +46 8 656 12 99

Prescriptions are dispensed at pharmacies ("Apotek"), which are generally open during normal shop hours. A 24-hour service is available in the major cities. If you are already on medication make sure you have an adequate supply before leaving for Sweden.

Currency:
The monetary unit in Sweden is the krona (plural "kronor") and equals 100 öre. Bank notes are printed in values of 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 kronor, coins 50 öre, 1, 5 and 10 kronor. There is no limit on the amount of Swedish and foreign currency taken into Sweden. The approximate exchangerate as per Februaury 2002 is $1 = SEK 10.66

Travellers' cheques are generally accepted as payment throughout Sweden. Change will be given in Swedish kronor. Please note that a nominal fee is charged when using the cheques as payment.

Banking hours:
Banking hours Monday-Friday 10am-3pm Thursday 10am-4/5:30pm In some cities banks may stay open till 6pm. All banks are closed at weekends and on public holidays. Banks at airports, ports and main railway stations generally have longer opening hours.

Working hours:
Monday-Friday 9am-6pm; Saturday 9am-1/4pm; In larger towns, department stores remain open until 7pm or longer. Some are also open on Sundays between 12 noon and 4pm. Shops generally close early the day before a public holiday

Post offices:
Post Offices are generally open during normal shopping hours (9am to 6pm weekdays, 10am to 1pm Saturdays), but local variations may apply.

Food and Restaurants :
Sweden has attained an international reputation for culinary excellence in recent years and standards are high at all levels. Emphasis is placed on high-quality natural ingredients - notably fresh, pickled and smoked seafood (particularly herring, crayfish, salmon, eel) and game meats such as elk and reindeer. The famous Swedish smörgåsbord is rather less common these days, but most hotels offer a smörgåsbord-style breakfast and if you're there before Christmas you may wish to sample the traditional "julbord" (Christmas buffet). Today's multicultural society has also resulted in a wide variety of ethnic restaurants and an exciting "crossover" style in which traditional Swedish dishes are reinvented with new foreign influences.

You will also find all the usual fast-food outlets and pizzerias, and if you're after a good value, tasty snack, you're never far from a hot-dog stand selling popular "varmkorv" (from just $ 1). A three-course meal with wine would cost approximately $ 25-50 in a medium-priced restaurant. A "Dagens rätt" (dish of the day) is available in most restaurants at lunchtime, which is served from about 11am to 2pm. It costs from about $5-8 for a main course (often with a choice), bread and butter, salad, soft drink and coffee. There are plenty of cafés and cafeterias for lighter snacks.

Electricity:
The normal electric current in Sweden is 220 volts AC in 50 cycles, and plugs and sockets may differ from those in other parts of the world, so travelers should bring adapters or transformers for electrical appliances such as hairdryers and shavers. Some hotels and shops in larger cities can supply adapters.

Fixed public holidays:
New Year's Day Jan. 1
Epiphany Jan. 6
Good Friday
Easter Sunday
Easter Monday
Labour Day May 1
Ascension Day May 9
Whit Sunday May 19
Whit Monday May 20
Midsummer's Eve Jun. 21
Midsummer's Day Jun. 22
All Saints' Day Nov 2
Christmas Eve Dec 24
Christmas Day Dec 25
Boxing Day Dec 26
New Year's Eve Dec 31

The majority of establishments in Sweden are closed on Midsummer's Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. This applies to shops, banks, museums and restaurants. For the rest of the year Sunday hours apply to public holidays. A few restaurants are closed on Sundays and public holidays. Museums have their busiest days on public holidays - with the above exceptions.

Transportation in the country:
Travelling within Sweden will come as a pleasant surprise for those of you for whom unreliable train services and heavy traffic are a fact of life. Although the distances you need to cover are often relatively long (particularly in Northern Sweden), Sweden's railwork is highly efficient and comprehensive. And the comfortable modern trains can deal with all kinds of leaves and snow!

Motorways and roads too are clear and well-maintained and sometimes the only other traffic you'll have to watch out for is the occasional deer or elk on the road!

Flying is a quick option, with many regional airports around the country and Sweden's many lakes, islands and canals are served by a network of canalboats and ferries.

Travel for the disabled:
Public transportation staff are usually available to help disabled travelers in boarding and disembarking if notified in advance. Swedish Railways' trains have special lifts and seats for passengers using wheelchairs. Special seating areas are provided for passengers suffering from allergies. All stations and most trains are non-smoking. On night trains, all bedding is made from synthetic materials. Furred animals are not allowed in couchettes or sleeping compartments, apart from guide dogs. Most street crossings have audible indications to advise visually impaired pedestrians when it is safe to cross.

General information on travel for the physically challenged is provided by: DHR De Handikappades Riksförbund
Box 47305,
SE-100 74 Stockholm
Tel +46-8-685 80 00. Fax +46-8-645 65 41




 




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Festivals & Events


Hultsfred Rock Festival, June

Sweden's largest rock festival for young and old. Sideshows incl. acrobats, comedians, tightrope walkers, jugglers, mimics, musicians and dancers.



Photo: Swedish Travel & Tourism Council

Midsummer celebrations all over the country, June

Perhaps the most characteristically Swedish tradition of all is the Midsummer celebration. The Midsummer holiday is celebrated on the weekend closest to 24 June, with Midsummer Eve on Friday followed by Midsummer Day on Saturday. Midsummer marks the longest day of the year, and the skies never really grow dark.



Photo: Swedish Travel & Tourism Council

Music on Lake Siljan, June

The Peer Gynt Festival is a ten day long cultural festival with an open air performance of Henrik Ibsens Peer Gynt, with music by Edvard Grieg, open air consert "Ved Rondane", art exhibition, and much more.

Around Gotland Sailing race, June - July

The worlds largest offshore sailing race. ksss@ksss.se



Photo: Swedish Travel & Tourism Council

The Hälsinge Hambo, July

A huge festive and colorful, long line dance. Dance groups from Sweden and abroad dance and play while the World Champion of Hambo is selected from the thousands of dancing couples. info@halsingehambon.x.se



Photo: Swedish Travel & Tourism Council

Victoria Day, July

The island of Öland's National Day, celebrating Crown Princess Victoria's birthday with the Royal family. The ”Victoria Mini Marathon” is held during the day, and an extended marathon in the evening. The prestigious ”Victoria scholarship” is presented to a sports achiever. Information: Öland Tourist Office, tel: +46-485-390 20; Fax: 46-485-390 10



Photo: Swedish Travel & Tourism Council

Stockholm Jazz Festival, July

International jazz festival with international and Swedish world-acclaimed artists from the genres of jazz, blues, soul, funk and latin. In the center of Stockholm people gather to eat and enjoy the view as they listen to artists from all over the world. Sit and enjoy or dance to swing bands on the smaller stages. info@stockholmjazz.com



Photo: Swedish Travel & Tourism Council

Medieval Festival Week, August

For one week the old town of Visby on the island of Gotland goes back in time to the Middle Ages. Locals dress up in historic costumes, knights demonstrate their strength in jousting tournaments and a maiden is locked in a tower. Carnival atmosphere and festivities; a mixture of sobriety and merriment, education and carnival extravagance in a genuine medieval town. info@medeltidsveckan.se



Photo: Swedish Travel & Tourism Council

The Gothenburg party, August

Swedens second largest and, some say, friendlest city throws a week long festival with an abundance of activities in the city center



Photo: Swedish Travel & Tourism Council

Lidingö Cross-Country Race, October

The worlds largest cross-country race for runners in beautiful Lindingö outside of Stockholm info@lidingoloppet.se

Stockholm Open, October

The world famous tennis tournament.




Photo: Swedish Travel & Tourism Council


Stockholm International Film Festival, November

International film festival premiering over 100 films from all over the world.
info@filmfestivalen.se



Photo: Swedish Travel & Tourism Council

Nobel Prize Day, December

The Nobel Prize Awards are presented by H.M. the King at a formal ceremony in the Stockholm Concert Hall. By special invitation only. Banquet follows at the Stockholm City Hall.
info@nobel.se



Photo: Swedish Travel & Tourism Council

ST. Lucia Day, December

The coronation of Saint Lucia, the bearer of light. Celebrated all over Sweden on the darkest night of the year, December 13, when a young woman is chosen to lead the annual procession of light at Skansen open air museum.



Images from Sweden
Courtesy of the
Swedish Tourist Board




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