The Kingdom of Sweden is the fifth largest country by area in Europe, located on the Scandinavian Peninsula of northern Europe. It shares 2,205 km’s of borders with Finland and Norway and has a coastline that runs for 3,218 km’s. Most of the country is made up of hills and mountains, forests, large river valleys, and it is dotted with thousands of lakes. Sweden has many islands, most of which are concentrated in the archipelago of Stockholm, the outermost of which are separated from their Finnish counterparts by the Åland Sea.
Sweden is a Schengen country, a member of the EU and has a population of 10 million. The Swedish economy is very reliant on a remarkably successful and longstanding industrial sector, through such companies as Ericsson, Electrolux and Volvo. Since becoming a member of the EU, national telecommunications, energy and air traffic sectors have been deregulated.
Sweden’s social protection system is expensive and largely funded by taxes. The entire population has equal access to the public health care services which is publicly funded. Education is mandatory for all children between age 6 and age 16. Every child has equal access to free education in Sweden from the age of 6 and colleges, and universities are free.
Sweden is large enough and diverse enough to satisfy the historian, the culture-vulture, thrill-seekers, naturalists, nature-lovers, food and music-lovers and anyone in between. The King’s Trail (Kungsleden) is Sweden’s longest and most well-known hiking trail and a great ski location in winter. Sigtuna is over a century old with a well-preserved and picturesque medieval town centre; it is the oldest town in Sweden. Glorious Gotland enjoys the most sunlight in Sweden and is the largest of Sweden’s many islands and the fifth most popular tourist destination.
View the Northern Lights from the northernmost province of Lapland, which is also an outdoor lovers’ paradise for hiking, fishing, skiing and canoeing. Dive and snorkel in Kosterhavet marine national park. Ski in Åre and be the Dancing Queen in Stockholm, where visitors enjoy almost a hundred museums including the ABBA museum, a vibing nightlife, and plenty of great shopping and eating options.
Sweden has 15 UNESCO World Heritage sites, from the south to the north they are: the Naval Port of Karlskrona, Blekinge, Agricultural Landscape of Southern Öland, Grimeton Radio Station, Hanseatic Town of Visby, Rock Carvings in Tanum, Skogskyrkogården’s Woodland Cemetery, Royal Domain of Drottningholm, Birka and Hovgården, Engelsberg Ironworks, Mining Area of the Great Copper Mountain in Falun, Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland, High Coast/Kvarken Archipelago, Church Town of Gammelstad, Struve Geodetic Arc, and Lapland’s World Heritage site, the Laponian Area.
As a member of the EU and a Schengen country, the Schengen borderless policy changed the way Sweden participated with European and non-EU visitors. Sweden is open to short-stay visitors from the 62 countries who benefit from the visa liberation policy which also allows Swedish nationals to travel and work within the Schengen zone.
The EU Commission implemented the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) as a means to alleviate elevated terrorism activity and uncontrolled immigration within Europe. ETIAS will identify potential threats to the security and safety of European citizens before they arrive at the European border posts.
The system requires nationals from the 62 countries currently benefitting from the visa liberation policy to complete an application online and pay the fee before leaving for travels to Europe. Applications take only minutes to complete. The authorisation is electronically attached to the passport within minutes and is valid either until the passport expires or for three years.
Swedish botanist Daniel Solander was of the first to document Australia’s flora and fauna during Captain James Cook’s 1770 expedition to Australia. As such, a Swede may have been the first European in certain parts of Australia’s coast. In 1786, the king of Sweden authorised a Swedish settlement in Western Australia which was prevented by the war with Russia. The last three decades of the 18th century saw many immigrants arrive in Australia and Tasmania to take up farming leases.
Australia and Sweden enjoy strong bilateral agreements in trade and education services particularly, as seen in the Double Taxation Agreement and a Working Holiday Maker Arrangement.
Australia has a recorded 40,216 residents of Swedish ancestry. Approximately 1,500 Swedish students study in Australia each year, with 45,000 Swedish visitors to Australia per annum and 17,700 Australians having visited Sweden.
Australians currently benefit from the visa liberation policy and will have to apply for a valid ETIAS authorisation prior to travelling to Sweden after ETIAS is rolled out in 2021. The ETIAS system is very similar to Australia’s Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), and likewise, the process will be inexpensive and fast. Swedes wanting to travel to Australia for up to 90 days have been subject to the ETA since its implementation.