Today, May 9th, is Europe Day. This is an annual celebration of peace and unity in Europe. Sweden has been a part of the European continent since continents were first described and a member of the EU since 1995. As a continent, Europe has 50 sovereign states and speaks around 225 languages – diverse to say the least.
High up here in the North, it’s easy to forget the benefits of being on the European continent and what the access to all the diversity has provided Sweden with.
Here is a list of ten reasons why Sweden has benefited from its geographical location as part of Europe.
- Pizza. One of Sweden’s most popular cheesy weekend foods would probably not have been on the menu if Sweden and Italy were not part of the same continent.
- The Bernadottes. The Swedish Royal family would not have existed if Napoleon and his French army were not available to lend a king to a dying Nordic monarchy.
- ABBA. One of the members of ABBA, Anni-Frid, was Norwegian. Without the country of Norway, the megagroup would have been known as ABB.
- The Canary Islands. Had Spain not settled the Canaries, Swedes would have had no sunny paradise to travel to in the long, cold winters. Brrrr.
- Visby. The medieval town of Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland would just have been a windy hell hole if it wasn’t for the German Hansa traders who built houses and churches and pretty walls.
- The Economy. Sweden exports goods and services of over 50 billion SEK to Europe on a yearly basis. Just that.
- The Eurovision Song Contest. Just think how long and boring February, March and May would be if Sweden wasn’t in the Eurovision region. What else would SVT televise if it wasn’t for endless Melodifestival heats and Eurovision semis, and finals and summaries and retrospectives.
- Speaking Swedish. If it wasn’t for Germany, France and the UK, people in Sweden wouldn’t have a language. Everybody would walk around in silence. Oh…hang on a minute…
- City breaks. Without Europe on the doorstep, people wouldn’t be able to go to Berlin or Barcelona for long weekends or bank holiday breaks. They would have to satisfy themselves with a long weekend in Börås or Flen instead.
- Europe. Not the place, the Swedish hard rock band, founded in a suburb outside of Stockholm with vocalist Joey Tempest and hits such as ‘The Final Countdown’. If they hadn’t been inspired by Sweden’s position in Europe, what would they have called themselves? ‘Upplands Väsby’?!