Go-Go Sweden!

Oct 20

History - The Viking Age!

Sweden (aswell as the rest of scandinavia) is well-known for it’s vikings and norse mythology. The vikings are infamous for sailing across the sea in their longboats to raid, plunder and kidnap people, to use as slaves. The vikings of the north was very infamous across europe, no one wanted to sail too far north, only to become a victim of the savage scandinavians. The vikings cared very much about war and fighting, they believed that only if you died in battle would you come to the great halls of Valhalla and celebrate with other fallen warriors and the gods of war, Thor, Thyr and Odin. 

             

A longboat, viking-style

The viking age have made a big impact on the scandinavian countries, for example, the mother-tongue of the vikings was Old Norse, which is why danish, swedish and norwegian sounds so similar. I’m not too sure about Norway and Denmark but we in Sweden have the names of the week-days named after the norse gods. (I’ll take them in order from mon- to sunday, so you can figure out which day I’m talking about.) Måndag is the moon’s day (Moon = Måne), Tisdag is Tyr’s day, Onsdag is Odin’s day, Torsdag is Thor’s day, Fredag is Freya’s day, Lördag is ”Lögardagen”, the day we took a bath. And of course Söndag, which is the sun’s day (Sun = Sol).

Since everyone thought of the vikings as savage beast (or as they said in England, wolves among sheep), it took a very long time until the people of scandinavia came in contact with christianity. Not that priests and monks didn’t try to convert them, but it usually ended in the death of said priests and monks. The christinaization took place during the 12th century. The viking age took place after the iron age and before the dark ages. From the 8th to the 11th century to be more specific.

Oct 19

The climate and geography of Sweden

Sweden is part located in the north of europe, and is a part of Scandinavia. Scandinavia is the collective name for the countries Norway, Denmark and Sweden. Some people include Finland in Scandinavia but the correct term for when including Finland is Fennoscandinavia. When it comes to the climate and weather we are actaully quite lucky, because the gulf stream and it’s warm water, which affects our climate. 

Our climate is mostly the same all over the country, with a few exceptions. In Götalands coast it’s rather warm, but inland it’s a bit colder. And it’s the same with Svealand and Norrland, except for the most northly points where it’s polarclimate. 

            

Vänern

Sweden doesn’t have a lot of lakes, like Finland, nor a lot of mountains, like Norway. We have two big lakes called Vänern and Vättern, Vänern is the biggest. Vänern is actually the third biggest inlake in europe, and the 29th in the world. Vänern is surrounded by the pronvinces Dalsland, Värmland and Västergötland, aswell as the cities Åmål, Säffle, Karlstad, Kristinehamn, Mariestad, Lidköping and Vänersborg. Our highest mountain is called Kebnekaise, it has two peaks, the highest peak is called Sydtoppen and is located 2102 meters over the sea. When you’re at Sydtoppen you can see 1/11 of the entire landscape of Sweden. Kebnekaise is located at the city Kiruna, in Lappland. (I’ve been to Kiruna once, but I didn’t visit Kebnekaise.)

            

Kebnekaise

Oct 18

Sports

Ice Hockey

One of the biggest sports in Sweden is ice hockey, soccer might draw more fans but we’re actually much better at hockey. We haven’t won a single world cup (not that it’s easy) in soccer, although we’ve gotten in second and third place. But in hockey we’ve won the world cup 8 times, we got the silver medal 16 times aswell as the bronze medal 15 times. We’ve won the gold and silver medal twice in the olympic games, and got in third place for a bronze medal four times. And our highest ranking from IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) is number 1 (in 2006), and the lowest ranking is number 3 (in 2008). In other words, the swedish national team Three Crowns are one of the top teams in the world, and have been for quite some time. 

               

Soccer

Soccer is probably the most popular sport in Sweden, it’s the most popular sport in the world so it’s not that shocking really. Our history when it comes to soccer is a really bumpy ride, and our current world-rank is rank 32. Our national team played their first match the 12th of July in 1908 and have since then acquired 1 silver medal and 2 bronze medals in the world cup, one gold and two bronze medals in the olympic games and a bronze medal from the european championship. We aren’t very well-known for having a lot of star players, except for Zlatan Ibrahimovic who I wrote about in an earlier post (see: The famous people of Sweden!).

            
credits to ricardoalvarez at http://flickr.com/photos/89167356@N00/174364228


All facts are from the male national teams, since they are the ones I know most about and are the ones that interest me the most, sorry ladies.

Oct 07

Music

The music of Sweden is much like any other country, the genres pop, R&B and hip-hop are the most popular and is played the most on the biggest radio stations. But the underground music in Sweden is really big aswell. We have a festival called Metaltown where only the biggest metal-bands plays (atleast on the big stages, some small bands get to play in the tent). For example: Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, Disturbed, Rammstein and In Flames. Of all those bands, In Flames is the only swedish one, and it is a really famous band aswell. The guys in the band, together with a few other bands (namely At The Gates and Dark Tranquality) ”created” the subgenre called Melodic Death Metal, also known as Gothenburg Metal or Melodeath. 

 

Metaltown 2009 (The only year I’ve been there), headline bands: Slipknot & Marilyn Manson.

In Flames

The band was founded by Jesper Strömblad in 1990, at the time the band only consisted of 3 members. They recorded a demo in 1993 and got their first record deal, ”Lunar Strain” became a classic in the quickly growing death metal scene in Scandinavia.

Since the start in 1990, they have had quite a few line-up changes, and the band now consists of Jesper Strömblad and Björn Gelotte on guitars, Anders Fridén on vocals, Peter Iwers on bass guitar and Daniel Svensson on Drums. They completed their current line-up in 1999, and since the band started they have released 9 albums and have sold over 2 million records and are well on their way to become one of the biggest metal-bands of all time!

Webb-page:http://www.inflames.com

Anders Fridén, vocals

 Sabaton

 The band Sabaton also plays metal, but not the same subgenre as In Flames. They play Power metal, and was founded in the town of Falun, Sweden, in 1999. And as I said, they play power-metal, which is mostly known for it’s clean vocals and fast playing drums. The lyrics are mostly about fantasy, war and fairy tales. Sabaton’s lyrics are mostly about world war 2.

The band consists of 6 members; Joakim Brodén on vocals, Oskar Montelius and Rikard Sundén on guitars, Pär Sundström on bass guitar, Daniel Mÿhr on keyboard and Daniel Mullback on drums. Sabaton isn’t as big as In Flames (who are well-known internationally), but they are very big in Europe and especially Poland. 

Webb-page:http://www.sabaton.net/index.php

         

Sabaton Live at Sauna Open Air 2007

Sep 30

The famous people of Sweden!

The famous people of Sweden are mostly actors or athletes. We have some of the most known hockey players, like Peter Forsberg or Mats Sundin, aswell as actors like Alexander and Stellan Skarsgård, known from series/movies like True Blood and Pirates of the Caribbean respectively. We don’t have that many musicians who are well known outside of europe, the most well-known band would be Abba, and if you’re into Death Metal you must’ve heard of the guys from In Flames. Here’s a few of my favourite famous people from my country.

Actors

If you’re an action-movie person, you must’ve heard of Dolph Lundgren, he’s one of the biggest actors in the action-genre. He recently starred in The Expendables with Sylvester Stallone, Jet Li, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis. During the film Stallone asked Dolph to punch him in the stomach and the face, which he did. Later that night Stallone had to be taken to the hospital with an emergency helicopter because Dolph hit him too hard, the man almost died.


                  

(credits to Carl Lindström)

Athletes 

 One of the most well-known people from Sweden is without a doubt Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the soccer player. He’s been really occupied with playing in clubs for a few years and decided to not play in the national team. But with the new team manager, Zlatan came back, and what a starter; he scored after 3-4 minutes in the first half.

He went from a small club like Malmö FF, to a little bigger - but still relatively small - club like Ajax. After playing in Ajax for a while, he got signed for Juventus, which was one of the top clubs before the money scandal. He recently left Barcelona to play with the best forwards in the world in AC Milan.