Ease of Doing Business Rank: 10
Sweden is a Scandinavian nation in Northern Europe which includes a mainland peninsula and thousands of islands. It sits on the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia.
Norway is to the west, Finland lies to the east, and Denmark and Poland to the south and Iceland to the west.
Sweden’s official language is Swedish. The country also recognizes five national minority languages: Finnish, Yiddish, Meänkieli, Romani and Sami.
Swedish, Danish and Norwegian are similar and mutually intelligible. The vast majority of Swedes also speak English, and generally to a very high level (86%). Many Swedes also speak German or French.
The 2019 population for Sweden is approximately 10 million. More than 85 percent of the population lives in in towns and cities along the coastal region.
Stockholm is the largest city, followed by Gothenburg, and Malmö.
The top industries in Sweden are motor vehicles, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, industrial machines, precision equipment, chemical goods, home goods and appliances, forestry, iron, and steel.
NJ Med’s 2019 World Best Education Systems rankings list Sweden 9th globally in the first quarter of this year.
US News ranks Sweden 6th in global education in 2019.
The Times Higher Education World Rankings lists three Swedish universities in the top 100 in the world, with the Karolinska Institute ranking highest.
The most common business entities in Norway are Sole Trader, Trading Partnership, Limited Liability Company, and Economic Association.
The most commonly incorporated entity in Sweden is the Limited Liability Company.
Sweden offers a tax concession for foreign non-Swedish experts and key personnel employed by a non-Swedish company with a permanent establishment in Sweden. Employment and stay in Sweden and must not exceed 5 years.
Alternatively, an expert may qualify for a tax and social security charges concession upon approval if their recurring monthly income including salary, annual cash bonuses, equity compensation, and in-kind benefits exceeds SEK 91,000 (2018). Other benefits such as a moving allowance and travel are 100% exempt for three years.
Sweden also offers a tax credit for capital losses, but it can’t be carried forward.
The two largest business districts in Sweden are in Stockholm and Malmö.
Stockholm is the capital city and Sweden’s financial center.
Sweden includes 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Rock Carvings in Tanum. The Tanum petroglyphs feature 600 panels from the Nordic Bronze Age (1700 – 500 BC) and Iron Age (500 – 800 BC) of scenes, people, and objects.
The Gotland area includes a walled medieval Viking town nearly 700 years old. You’ll also find over 90 churches, many built before the 12th century. Sweden is also one of the best places on earth to view the Northern Lights.
It is also home to some of the most stunning topography on the planet. The capital city of Stockholm spans 14 islands in an archipelago of approximately 24,000 islands and islets, many uninhabited.
In Lapland, the northernmost area of Sweden above the Arctic Circle you can watch reindeer racing, visit one of four national parks in the Laponia World Heritage Area and learn about the indigenous culture of the Sámi.
Sweden also has some of the best skiing in Europe including the Åreskutan, with Northern Europe’s greatest vertical drop.
Sweden is also a modern nation. It is home to countless art galleries and museums, including the Vasa Museum with an ancient ship salvaged from Stockholm harbor and the ABBA Museum which pays homage to Sweden’s best-loved musical group.
Malmö’s Turning Torso, a 190 meter twisted skyscraper and tallest in the nation demonstrates the country sits comfortably in the modern age too. Sweden also houses Europe’s most precise electron microscope covered with titanium plates at Linköping University.
The country also has a rich history of engineering achievement. The 190 kilometer Göta Canal built in the early 19th century links Stockholm to Gothenburg. It includes 47 bridges and 58 locks. The Öresundsbron is the world’s longest cable-tied road and railway bridge connecting Sweden with Denmark. It includes a tunnel and artificial island.
Sweden also has many noteworthy historic buildings including the royal Drottningholm Palace, the medieval Kalmar Castle from the 12th century, and Riddarholm Church where most of Sweden’s royal family have been laid to rest.
The beginnings of the Swedish state emerged around 1000 A.D. when Olof Skötkonung became the country’s first Christian king. Christianity gained more prominence and the Swedes expanded their territory, eventually ending Viking rule and pagan worship by the late 1100’s.
During the 12th and 13th centuries, they launched a series of crusades into modern-day Finland. Sweden was fraught with political feuds until Sweden, Denmark and Norway united under the Union of Kalmar in 1397 AD. However, the Swedes and Danes continued to battle.
In 1520, Christian II of Denmark invaded Sweden and killed the regent and his followers, even though he’d promised to spare them. This set off a Swedish rebellion and they left the union in 1523.
That year, Sweden crowned a new king and a new Swedish nation-state began. Resource-rich Sweden supplied Europe with iron, copper, timber and fur and by the 19th century they were industrialized and urbanized.
Sweden remained neutral during both World Wars I and II, were spared devastation, and prospered until the 1970’s when the economy went into decline. Twenty years later, the country faced more economic challenges including the devaluation of the krona and high unemployment. Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, but they did not adopt the euro.
Today, Sweden’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is among the highest in the EU and it has low inflation and a healthy banking system. Sweden often tops the World Economic Forum’s Index of Exclusive Economies, because of the country’s strong infrastructure, business practices, ethics, and low corruption.
Sweden is primarily Christian (69.9%). Non-Christian faiths include Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Mandaeism, and Alevism.
The Swedes are primarily Scandinavians of Germanic origin. There is also a small Lapp (Sami) population. The remaining 12% of the population is comprised of foreign-born or first-generation immigrants, including Finns in the north, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, and Turks.
According to Forbes’ 2019 Best Countries for Business Sweden ranks 2nd overall globally for conducting business.
The 2019 Index of Economic Freedom rates Sweden 19th globally and states, “A transparent and efficient regulatory regime encourages robust entrepreneurial activity.”