Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Want to live in Sweden?

Found this list on the 'net:

Amusing facts about Sweden, Swedish Culture, and Swedish Governance, compiled by an American.

* As of 2004 you can pay your Swedish taxes by sending an SMS message from your cell phone.
* The government sends you a completely filled out tax form and if it looks good you just go online and click okay to pay your taxes.
* Taxes are generally between 50 and 70% of your income. (Of course your employer already pays the full amount of your salary to the government in taxes before you even get anything.)
* Companies must lay off employees in first-in-last-out order when they are downsizing.
* You can take sick leave during your vacation if you are ill.
* Parents get a total of 13 months of paid maternity leave and the father is required to take at least 1 month of it.(There has been a discussion about changing this to 15 months and requiring the father and mother to each take 5 and then split the last 5 as they feel appropriate.)
* Parents can save up their maternity leave for more than 5 years (i.e., use it for doctor's appointments, school visit days, etc.).
* Daycare cost is based on your family income with a government imposed maximum.
* All employees (including graduate students) get 5 weeks of paid vacation a year.
* All employers (as of 2004) are required to provide free massage.
* Yearly car inspections include comprehensive safety checks as well as pollution controls.
* Car insurance is flat-rate depending on the deductibles (i.e., no "comprehensive" vs. "collision" vs. "uninsured" vs. "medical"), and liability insurance is not required.
* The transportation department of the Swedish government works actively to reduce the number of traffic deaths each year to zero. (Mainly by reducing the speed limits.)
* The government installs elk fences along the sides of large roads to prevent elk from wandering into traffic.
* There is no right turn on red.
* Multi-lane highways often merge in large roundabouts. (Although not as obnoxiously frequently as in England.)
* Any product you purchase is guaranteed for 1 year, and the retailer must exchange it if it fails in that time. (This includes things like clothes and shoes.)
* All non-military property that is not fenced in, or is not a farm or someone's personal garden is open to anyone for hiking through or camping for one night.
* Ice cream comes in blueberry and rhubarb flavors, and is never florescent. (Although the licorice ice cream can be coal black.)
* Roughly 20% of the country's police stations close during the summer since everyone is off on vacation.
* The sun rises at 3.30am in the summer.
* The sun sets at 3.30pm in the winter.
* Christmas is celebrated on the evening of the 24th. The father always goes out to buy a newspaper and while he is gone Santa arrives (in person) to deliver presents.
* Swedish university students are required to pay a membership fee in the student union, but no tuition.
* American textbooks are cheaper in Sweden than in the U.S..
* The government has made a political choice to shut down all nuclear power plants in the country for environmental reasons. This means Sweden is forced to import dirty coal-generated power from Poland to meet its needs.
* In Sweden IKEA is a cheap store, not a trendy store.(And they are only open until 8pm on special days.)
* Recycling is taken so seriously that one company (FTI) is trying to put up video cameras to make sure people sort their recyclables correctly. (June 2006)
* Privacy is taken so seriously that putting up video cameras in laundry rooms to catch vandals is illegal.
* Learning to speak Swedish is frustrating becaues everyone in Sweden already speaks better English than you will ever speak Swedish.
* On Easter children dress up as witches and go trick-or-treating.
* St. Lucia is a nationally celebrated saint (complete with baked goods and TV shows), and despite the fact that she is a saint because she tore out her own eyes to avoid being seduced by a man, little children dress up like her every winter.

Copyright © 2007 David Black-Schaffer. All rights reserved.

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