Sweden 101

Ah, Sweden, that little big country at the northern edge of Europe with less than 10 Million people but is big enough that if you were to cut it out of a map, put a pin in the southernmost City of Malmö, then turn it around 180 degrees to the south – the northern tip of Sweden would be touching northern Africa!

You’ve probably come accross a Swedish product, service or media creation at some point, famous Swedish “things” include:

  • Ericsson – Started as a telegraph equipment repair shop in 1876 by Lars Magnus Ericsson, the company was a leader in telephony, pioneered much of mobile phone technology and remains a leader in mobile phone infrastructure. They merged their handsets business with Sony, forming SonyEricsson in 2001.
  • Spotify – The sometimes controversial music streaming service started by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in 2006
  • Electrolux – you may not recognize the name Electrolux on your kitchen appliances as being a Swedish company. They started in 1919 and have been making vacuum cleaners,  refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers and a variety of other appliances ever since.
  • Skype – Founded  by Swede Niklas Zennström and Dane Janus Friis before being acquired by First eBay in 2005 and then Microsoft in 2011
  • H&M –  Hennes & Mauritz (H&M). Founded in 1947 by Erling Persson as a women’s clothing store called “Hennes” in the city of Västerås, Erling later bought a hunting and fishing equipment store called “Mauritz Widforss”, merged the two and called it Hennes & Mauritz. After adding Mens and Children’s wear in 1968, H&M has expanded to over 2,500 stores all over the world and now specializes in selling trendy clothes at affordable prices
  • IKEA – founded in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA has become a byword for “Swedish” and has more than 330 stores in over 38 countries. They introduced the ‘flat pack’ concept in the 1950s and revolutionized the home furnishing industry. Today, they even sell Swedish food.