Scandinavia is a bit complicated. What you know about Norway and Finland cannot be applied to Sweden. We usually introduce Norway as a younger brother who still plays with toy cars in his 30s and Finland as that clumsy uncle who stands quietly in the corner at a birthday party. Trust us, we love them both but we wouldn’t introduce either of them on a first date.
Joking aside, there are quite big differences between the Scandinavian countries. Sweden has always been more open to international influences and immigration which nowadays is reflected in how much we export in the form of music, technology and innovation. If you read The European Commission’s European Innovation Scoreboard* (2020) they put Sweden as number one as an ‘Innovation Leader’ with innovation performance well above that of the EU average.
A vital part of the wonder of Sweden is the Örebro region. Located in the middle of the country, we have always been a hub for trade and knowledge transfer. Our history of heavy industry mixed with processing, development and trade has led to a region that today is at the forefront of technology and innovation. We are one of Sweden’s AI hubs, we have one of the country’s most modern universities and we are always in need of people with skills.
But we were smart even before artificial intelligence was invented. In 1974, Sweden was the first country in the world to replace gender-specific maternity leave with parental leave. As parents, we now have 480 days paid parental leave to share. This, combined with tax-financed healthcare, paid holidays and social security is smart for real.
Regarding Norway and Finland, you don’t have to worry. Norway has oil and Finland is the land of a thousand lakes.