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Sweden

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Sweden

Sweden
Sweden

A COUNTRY WHERE SOPHISTICATED TECHNOLOGY AND EFFICIENT INDUSTRY EXIST SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE WILD BEAUTY OF GREAT FORESTS AND MYRIAD LAKES

Now deep into its second century without war, with a living standard higher than that of the United States, and with one of the most extensive social welfare programs on earth, Sweden is in many respects the envy of Europe. But earthly paradises do not come cheaply; the Swedes carry the world's heaviest tax burden, and their welfare services cost more than 70 per cent of the national budget. Some Swedes feel that social featherbedding has led to over-government, and are uneasily aware of a blandness and uniformity in the world about them. But no one could deny that there is a great deal of comfort too.







Sweden is a large, handsome, northerly country whose southernmost tip is on roughly the same latitude as the border between England and Scotland. Its northernmost tip, some 1500 km (1000 miles) away, lies well within the Arctic Circle. Much of the south is flat, much of the north mountainous, and the coastline is a bewildering scatter of 20 000 and more islands and islets. But to summon up a general picture, most of Sweden is an undulating plain, whose chief elements are coniferous forest and water, dark lakes scoured out of granite during the Ice Age. On the margins of the picture, however, there are some startling variations, such as beech and oak forests in the south while the northernmost latitudes are treeless. Moving north, the coniferous forests gradually give way to tundra-like landscape, which in summer at least is a colorful wilderness of bog, lichens and mosses illuminated by cotton grass, wild flowers and banks of cloud berries, bilberries and wild strawberries.

On the whole, the climate is extreme. Summers can bring heat waves. but they are brief winters in the north are seven months long and in the south, three; to all areas they bring deep snow and ice.

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