Observing Sweden – 5th Best Country

Sweden SummerExcerpt from: The Local. SE Published: 20 Jan 2016 12:31 GMT+01:00

What makes Sweden ‘the world’s fifth best country’?

Sweden is viewed as the fifth best country in the world according to a new global survey. But if you’re on the hunt for adventure, sexiness or great food – look elsewhere.
Sweden was rated the world’s fifth best country overall, according to rankings released by US News & World Report at the prestigious World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday.

The rankings of the 60 countries were based on a survey of 16,000 people worldwide who were asked to associate each country with certain attributes. The responses were then broken down into various categories, including adventure, power, entrepreneurship and quality of life.

Germany was ranked the best country overall, followed by Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States in the survey, which was based on countries’ worldwide reputation – i.e. how they are seen by others rather than what they are actually like (although the two often overlap).

“How a nation is perceived outside its borders is critical to its success,” Sir Martin Sorrell, one of the names behind the survey, explained the rankings.
The Local takes a closer look at the categories in which Sweden outperformed its competitors, and some areas in which the Scandinavian nation did less well.

On the plus side.

1. Sweden’s awesome for families

With childcare capped by the state at around 1,300 kronor ($150) a month for the first child and generous parental leave of 16 months for mums and dads to split between themselves, Sweden is often painted as a family paradise.
Best countries to raise kids: 1. Sweden 2. Denmark 3. Canada

2. Sweden is great for green living

It’s not just Sweden’s rolling hills, green forests and blue waters that earns it the top spot as best country for green living, but also its focus on environmental issues. Perhaps the world read about Stockholm’s one-day ban on cars in the centre of the capital, Sweden’s attempt to become the world’s first fossil-fuel nation by 2030 or The Local’s visit to Gothenburg to learn more about the city’s super-techy ‘silent buses’. In fact, Sweden is even so green that the King himself recently called for a global ban on bathtubs.
Best countries for green living: 1. Sweden 2. Japan 3. Germany

Sweden likes to see itself as the world’s conscience, and as it turns out, that is exactly how the world views it – at least according to the Best Countries rankings. “Sweden has a global reputation for promoting social justice and progressive causes both within and outside its borders,” read the survey, listing its feminist foreign policy and work for gay rights. It also highlighted its gender equal parental leave and generous humanitarian aid.
Best countries for citizens 1. Sweden 2. Canada 3. Denmark

On the minus side.

1. Swedish food? No thanks

This is where Sweden scored the poorest, ending up in 36th place and not even making the top half. Perhaps not surprising considering that it was competing with super-extremely-heritage-rich countries such as Italy, which claimed the top spot, Spain, Greece and France. It only received a score of 1.9 out of 10 and an abysmal 0.1 in the sub-category ‘has great food’. Perhaps news of Sweden’s rise on the culinary scene hasn’t yet reached the outside world? Or maybe they’ve just never tried ‘kanelbullar’ or ‘semlor’.

2. Who’s the most powerful?

Claiming 18th spot, Sweden did not do very well in this category, which is headed by countries that “project their influence on the world stage” such as the US, Russia and China. It scored particularly badly in the sub-category ‘strong military’, which would probably be backed by those Swedes keen on the nation joining Nato or those wanting to bring back military conscription.
However, it performed marginally better when it came to soft power, getting 3.2 out of 10 in the ‘economically influential’ category, possibly following the international media attention its Central Bank (the Riksbank) has received after keeping its interest rate at record negative levels for almost a year.

3. Adventure

Sweden came miles behind winners Brazil, Italy and Spain in this category – perhaps slightly unfairly. While being praised for its scenic landscape, respondents did not enjoy its cold Nordic climate, thought it was not a very fun country and gave it a rather poor 1.7 in the ‘sexy’ sub-category. However, it got a surprising score of 7 for ‘friendly’ which seems to run contrary to previous surveys ranking Sweden as the worst country for making friends.
Best countries for adventures: 1. Brazil 2. Italy 3. Spain

Advertisements

About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Observing Sweden – 5th Best Country

  1. This makes for interesting reading, Bruce.
    Thank you for sharing

    Best Always

    john

  2. ShimonZ says:

    These surveys are always very interesting, though they don’t always correspond to the expectations of someone living in the country.

    • I agree, Shimon. I have had outstanding meals at homes, great cooking, though I have never been that fond of herring, or caviar, both big here.
      Not a lot of luck eating out, but this is a small town, 9,500. Easy to find great meal in Stockholm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s