Culture of Sweden
The Culture of Sweden has long been known for the accomplishments of a wide variety of artists.
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Prehistoric Sweden was the source of Norse culture, dominant in all of Scandinavia for hundreds of years, and the Temple at Uppsala in Sweden was a site of pilgrimage for Scandinavian peoples takla the Aesir. Western culture mostly recalls Vikings of Norway and Denmark for invading France, England, Scotland and Ireland, but Swedish Vikings influenced Byzantine culture, where they were known as Varangians, and are also known for founding the Kievan state.
In modern times many Swedes have been internationally celebrated for their cultural work, among them Jenny Lind, Anders Zorn, August Strindberg, Ingrid Bergman, Ingmar Bergman and ABBA. Automotive designs such as those of Volvo and Saab have also been widely known.
Foreign influences on Sweden
The 25 historical provinces (landskap) of Sweden, which early in their histories had poor intercommunication, each have a distinct culture, though today they have lost their importance as administrative and political regions while the population of Sweden still identifies with them. Each province has its own history and individual nature. In early times, some of them were so separate from Sweden (as known) that they had their own laws. Historically, some of the regions were independent or longtime parts of Denmark and Norway. They have more-or-less different indigenous dialects within the frameworks of North Germanic languages or Sami languages, and all have ethnic minorities.
Food and drink
The consumption of alcohol in the home was noted in 2006 as less than in many other European countries, owing to the government's monopoly on alcoholic beverages, but not at restaurants and bars. Swedish punsch is a spirit of particular historical significance in Sweden.
Ingmar Bergman, Victor Sjöström and Gunnar Hellström are three of many Swedish movie and TV directors who have had noted international careers, and British director Colin Nutley, living in Sweden, has been highly productive there.
Swedish-born actresses and actors known internationally include Maud Adams, Malin Åkerman, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Bergman, Britt Ekland, Greta Garbo, Signe Hasso, Felix Kjellberg, Dolph Lundgren, Helena Mattsson, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Olin, Ann-Margret Olsson, Mikael Persbrandt, Noomi Rapace, Stellan Skarsgård and sons Alexander, Gustaf, and Bill, Peter Stormare, Ingrid Thulin, Alicia Vikander and Max von Sydow.
With singing popular in Sweden, of its 9 million inhabitants 600,000 belong to various choirs.
In popular music, the ABBA group was world-famous during the 1970s and early 1980s. Roxette emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was also successful in the USA. Europe, Ace of Base and The Cardigans are additional Swedish pop groups that have been popular internationally.
Indie pop/rock has done well in Sweden. Gothenburg has spawned prominent bands and artists, thanks to labels such as Sincerely Yours and Service. Notable Swedish indie bands and artists include Jens Lekman, The Knife, Love Is All, The Concretes, Broder Daniel, The Tough Alliance, Peter, Bjorn and John, Little Dragon, El Perro del Mar, Maia Hirasawa, Fever Ray, Popsicle (band), Studio, The Embassy, The Honeydrips, Brainpool, Air France, jj, Joel Alme and Pacific!.
In contrast to its large pop music output, Sweden has a most prolific death metal scene. Gothenburg is known for a "melodic death metal" sound. Many bands from there, such as In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, At the Gates, The Haunted, as well as Stockholm's Amon Amarth and Opeth have seen increased commercial success in Europe and the United States. Melodic death metal is a broad genre with many variations, but has roots in traditional death metal, black metal and classic metal such as that of Iron Maiden. Still, many bands are influenced by genres as broad as Swedish folk music, alternative music, electronica, gothic music, progressive music and even neo-classical music. Sweden is known in the extreme metal community for its late-80s to early-90s death metal scene, spawning bands like Entombed, as well as more obscure, brutal bands like Repugnant and Treblinka (later called Tiamat).
Other Swedish music acts on the international scene are Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, Ghost, Dungen, José González, Måns Zelmerlöw, Lykke Li, Mando Diao, The Sounds, The Hives, Neverstore, Sahara Hotnights, Robyn, Movits! and The Shanes. Some are only famous on the domestic Swedish music scene, such as Kent, Håkan Hellström and Lars Winnerbäck.
Colorful traditional Swedish folk costumes are sometimes worn on such special occasions as Midsummer. Sverigedräkten, a version mainly in blue and yellow, has been the established National Costume since 2004 (the first since the 18th-century Nationella dräkten) and is thus worn by royal women on some official occasions. There are many different variations of the folk costumes of Sweden, many provinces and even parishes having their own designs. Some of them have long histories and traditions while others have been recreated or created in modern times.
Modern clothing is internationally influenced. In recent years, Sweden has gotten more involved in the fashion industry, headquartering famous brands like Hennes & Mauritz (operating as H&M), J. Lindeberg (operating as JL), Tiger of Sweden, Acne Jeans and Filippa K within its borders.
Furniture design has been influenced worldwide by the considerable international success of IKEA, and the design of automobiles by Volvo and Saab. Artisan-made glass products from the so-called Kingdom of Crystal have also achieved international recognition.
Anders Zorn was an internationally known image artist. Also in the 19th century, painter Carl Larsson shaped an idyllic image of domestic Swedish country life not unlike that of American artist Norman Rockwell in the USA. Among Swedish sculptors, Carl Milles and Claes Oldenburg are notable.
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