Ten Things in which Sweden Lead’s the World

From best health care in the world to world’s largest flammable goat, Sweden is a leader.

Gamla Stan - Stockholm's Old Town

Gamla Stan – Stockholm’s Old Town

Sweden was recently ranked fourth best travel destination, third best country to be a mother, and second best to be young. Newsweek ranked Sweden the third best country in the world, based on

Best Healthcare.

Best health care.

health, economic dynamism, education, political environment and quality of life. Finland and Switzerland were one-two. Sweden is the most competitive economy in the European Union, two years running, according to the Geneva-based World Economic Forum, based upon indicators such as economic and productivity growth, research and development spending, and unemployment.

But “The Local”*, on the eve of  Sweden’s National Day, June 6th, set about determining ten things in which Sweden is a world leader. Here is what they came up with.

Most English proficient.

Most proficient in English.

Best health care in the world: A few months ago, the OECD revealed that Sweden offers the best of the best when it comes to health care.

Swedes speak the best English (as a second language) in the world. Two years running Sweden topped the English Proficiency Index from language education company Education First.

Sweden is the best place to grow old. The Global Age Watch Index of 2013 put Sweden in first place ahead of Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and Canada.

Best place to be old, or to be young.

Best place to be old, or to be young.

Sweden has the most generous paternity leave in the world. Parents are given 16 months paternity leave for each child. Birth parents can share the parental leave. And double it for twins. And it’s 80 percent paid. Don’t even mention the US.

Best place to be gay. Stockholm's gay pride parade 2011.

Best place to be gay. Stockholm’s gay pride parade 2011.

Sweden was the first country to ban whacking children, in 1979.

Sweden is the best country to be gay, according to the Spartacus index, which considers factors such as gay marriage and adoption, whether there are entry restrictions for HIV-positive people, the extent of religious influence on governments, and whether or not Pride parades are allowed. Sweden was the only country to get full points for its anti-discrimination legislation.

Per capita, Sweden exports the most chart music in the world. Even without mentioning ABBA, The Local presented an impressive array of examples — Europe, Roxette, Ace of Base, Robyn, The Hives, First Aid Kit, Avicii, and songwriter Max Martin who’s written for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, etc.

Roxette, Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo.

Roxette, Ingrid Bergman, Greta Garbo.

Stelland and Alexander Skarsgård.

Stellan and Alexander Skarsgård.

The Local did overlook Sweden’s contribution of hunky actors, such as Stellan Skarsgård and his “True Blood” vampire son; not to mention iconic actresses, Wordpress-BondGirl2a few wives for Rod Stewart, and its share of Bond Girls.

Biggest hotel made of ice: Swedes make the most of the Arctic’s bitterly cold climate in the north and remake the world’s biggest ice hotel each year. And always a stickler for rules, they even install fire alarms.

Fastest production car in the world: For motorheads, Swedish car maker Koenigsegg unveiled the One:1 in March, which they said can hit a top speed of 273 mph. That’s 439km/hr, just a tad faster than the Hennessy Venom GT. Each kilo of the One:1 sees its engine produce one horsepower (hence the name). This is a world first, too.

Gävle erects an enormous Christmas straw goat each year and someone burns it down.

Gävle erects an enormous Christmas straw goat each year and someone burns it down.

The Local had some fun with their last item. Biggest flammable Christmas goat: The town of Gävle erects an enormous straw goat each year. And almost every year, unidentified bandits torch it. This year’s 13-metre monstrosity was the 24th to perish since the first one was put on display back in 1966.

*Oliver Gee, The Local, 4 June 2014 — http://www.thelocal.se