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Country Reports

Sweden Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

Travelers (around five millions per year) to the Scandinavian kingdom of Sweden (population 9.8 million), a country that stretches north of the Arctic Circle, can generally expect to encounter no particular problems in terms of security or comfort while in this nation, known for its tranquility, calm, and efficiency.

However, it is advised to consider a few notes to make the most of your stay.

POLITICS

Legislative elections were held on September 14, 2014. A minority government was formed through a coalition of the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party. To the surprise of many Swedes, the far-right anti-immigration "Sweden Democrat" party gained the third highest number of votes. The next elections will be held on September 9, 2018.

CRIME

Crime rates in Sweden are low; nonetheless, visitors should take basic precautionary measures to protect themselves: always keep an eye on belongings. An upsurge of identity papers' theft is worth mentioning. Remain especially vigilant when in unfamiliar neighborhoods, and do not let yourself get distracted. The vast majority of crimes perpetrated in the country are non-violent; however, to be on the safe side, do not offer resistance if mugged. Be particularly vigilant in the capital Stockholm's neighborhoods around Sergel's Square (Sergels torg) and T-Centralen station, where misdemeanors occasionally take place. The city of Malmö saw a significant increase in violence (shootings, explosions) over the summer of 2015. On September 2016, a shooting in Fosie neighborhood killed four people. One recently in the same neighborhood, January 4 2017, a person lost his lives in a shooting; same goes for the surrounding neighborhood, Rosengärd, January 12 2017.

Gang activity remains a problem in Sweden (violent inter-gang fights). Most of these relatively small gangs are rooted in a local dynamic. The cities of Göteborg, Stockholm and Malmö saw their criminality rates minks to gang rivalries increase sensibly (in March 2015, at least two people were killed and roughly a dozen wounded during an attack in Göteborg, Sweden's second-largest city).

TERRORIST RISK

As is the case with a number of Western countries, Sweden is subject to the threat of international Islamic terrorism. On December 12, 2010, Stockholm was shaken by two suicide attacks; a car bomb exploded in the center of the capital, followed several minutes later by a second explosion nearby (one person killed, two injured). In September 2014, two terror plots were thwarted in Sweden, a country which, like many of its European counterparts, is concerned with efforts to recruit its citizens to fight with the terrorist group Islamic State (IS). It is estimated that at least 300 Swedes have left to fight for IS in Iraq and Syria. 115 are thought to be back in Sweden.

Sweden's most recent terrorist attack occurred on April 7 when a beer delivery truck drove into the Ahlens department store in central Stockholm. Four people were killed and 15 people injured. On April 8, police announced the arrest of the suspected attacker, a 39-year-old man from Uzbekistan. The man later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Since November, 18 2015, the Swedish Security Service increased for the first time the terrorist risk up to four on a scale of five.

SOCIAL UNREST

Social movements (strikes, protests), most of them peaceful, occasionally occurs in this traditionally calm country and could potentially inconvenience travelers. It is advised to avoid any social movement.

MIGRANT CRISIS

In 2015, Sweden was affected by the migrant crisis that saw over one million migrants and refugees enter Europe to seek asylum. Many of these new arrivals headed for Sweden due to the country's relatively liberal asylum policy. While the country was originally open to the new refugees, the government believed it had met its capacity by late 2015. In early 2016, Sweden introduced systematic identity checks at its Danish border in the south. As the crisis is ongoing, additional border restrictions or even closures are possible in the future.

Relations between immigrant communities and Swedes have been strained in recent years. Three arson attacks occurred at mosques within one week in early 2015, prompting demonstrations in Sweden's three largest cities.

TRANSPORTATION

Potential visitors should take note of a few useful points prior to departure: vehicles are required to be fitted with snow tires from November 1 until April 30. The Swedish motorway is in excellent state.

The driving is on the right side of the road. Due to the important number of accidents linked to wild animals, it is advised to be very careful when driving outside of cities. There is no tolerance towards driving under the influence of alcohol. Drivers are charged a toll when entering or leaving Stockholm between 06:30 and 18:30 from Monday to Friday. An efficient ferry services operate between Sweden and neighboring countries on the Baltic Sea.

It should be noted that public transit systems are reliable and punctual. Modern trains offer travel throughout the country. In this calm country, social movement (e.g. a trade union strike that took place in June 2014 disrupting rail travel within Sweden and between Sweden and Denmark) or inevitable weather conditions during winter could impact on the travelers' comfort. Air and rail traffic often suffer from disruptions during the winter.

Taking a taxi, especially independent taxis or small companies, can be very expensive. It is advised to check the posted prices before leaving, as they can be exorbitant for numerous foreign travelers.

NATURAL RISKS

Following the weather conditions in case of travelling is essential.

HEALTH            

Regarding health and medical issues, travelers will be pleased to note that medical services available throughout the country are of the highest quality. Tick-borne encephalitis is present in coastal regions, including in the Stockholm archipelago, as well as forest area. Vaccination against tick-borne encephalitis can thus be advised by your doctor in case of stay in the countryside or forest.

It is essential so subscribe before departure to a health insurance covering healthcare abroad as well as sanitary repatriation.

OTHER

Sweden is a constitutional monarchy. The State is a member of the European Union (EU) and of the visa- and border checkpoint-free Schengen Area. However, following a refusal via referendum in 2003, it does not, use the euro, but instead has the Swedish krona as its national currency.

Climate

Despite its very northerly geographic position, Sweden enjoys a relatively temperate climate which varies by region. Summers can be very hot but become shorter and shorter as you head north. Winters can be very cold, particularly in the north. North of the Arctic Circle daylight is almost constant between mid-May and mid-June.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +46 Police: 112 Fire Dept.: 112 Ambulance: 112

Electricity

Voltage: 230 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

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