- Despite being a military power in the 17th century and one of the world’s largest producers of weapons, Sweden has not participated in any war for almost two centuries, including both world wars.
- Around 2,000 years ago, the Svear people gave Sweden its name. In their language, svear meant “us” and rikemeant “kingdom.” So, Sverige, the modern Swedish name of the country, means “Our Kingdom.”
- With a tax rate of 51.4% of GDP, Swedes are one of the most highly taxed populations in the world. Ironically, they are generally happy to pay a high tax rate, and the Swedish word for tax is skatt, or “treasure.”
- Swedish parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave—and of those, 60 days are reserved for the father. In 2012, dads used 24% of the total parental leave.
- Sweden has had seven Nobel Prize winners in Literature, including Selma Lagerlöf, who was the first woman to win the prize in 1909. Her birthplace at Mårbacka is a national shrine.
- An average of 1,836,000 meatballs are eaten daily in all of Ikea’s 313 stores worldwide. Ikea was founded in Sweden in 1943 by Ingvar Kamprad.
- The Swedish three-point seatbelt is claimed to have saved 1 million lives. It was launched by Volvo in 1959 and is found in 1 billion vehicles worldwide.
Bartholomew, J. (2017, February 6) 73 Interesting Facts about Sweden. Retrieved from
- The name “Germany” comes from the Latin Germania, the Roman name for the lands north of the Alps, where the Barbarian tribes lived. The French, Spanish, and Turkish call it Allemagne, Alemania, and Almanya, respectively, after the Alemanni tribe. Italians call the country Germania, but the German language in Italian is called Tedesco.
- In Bavaria, beer is officially defined as staple food, like bread, and not as alcohol.
- Berlin’s Zoologischer Garten is the largest zoo in the world both in terms of number of species (1,500) and animal population (14,000). Germany boasts more than 400 registered zoos.
- Over 1,500 kinds of sausages are made in Germany.
- Over 300 kinds of bread are made in Germany.
Bartholomew, J. (2017, January 30) 65 Interesting Facts about Germany. Retrieved from https://www.factretriever.com/germany-facts
- The word “Britain” is derived from the name of a Celtic tribe, the Brythons.
- The word “England” comes from “Angle-land,” or land of the Angli, or Angles, a Viking tribe that came across the North Sea and settled in the east and north. The French name for England, Angleterre, also literally means “Land of the Angles.”
- At its zenith in the 18th century, the British Empire stretched 20% of the world’s surface and contained a quarter of the world’s population.
- For the British, the position of monarch probably ranks as one of history’s least safe occupations. English kings have been killed in battle (Harold), beheaded (Charles I), assassinated (William II), murdered by a wicked uncle (Edward V), and knocked off by the queen and her lover (Edward II).
- Nowhere in England is more than 75 miles (121 km) from the sea.
Lehnardt, K. (2017, February 7) 78 Interesting Facts about the United Kingdom. Retrieved from https://www.factretriever.com/united-kingdom-facts
- Kanatais the St. Lawrence-Iroquoian word for “village” or “settlement.”
- “O Canada,” originally named “Chant national,” was written by Adolphe-Basile Routhier (French lyrics) and Calixa Lavallée (music) and first performed in Quebec City in 1880. The song was approved by the Parliament of Canada in 1967 as the unofficial national anthem and adopted officially on July 1, 1980.
- The border between Canada and the United States is officially known as the International Boundary. At 5,525 miles, including 1,538 miles between Canada and Alaska, it is the world's longest border between two nations.
- The Canadian motto, A Mari Usque ad Mare, means “From sea to sea.”
- Although Nova Scotia was granted the British Empire's first flag by King Charles I in 1625, Canada did not have a national flag until February 15, 1965, when its maple leaf flag was adopted by its parliament. Before that, the red ensign, a British maritime flag, was in general use.
- At 3,855,103 square miles, Canada is the second largest country in the world, behind Russia.
Kuligowski, T. (2016, December 5) 43 Interesting Facts about Canada. Retrieved from https://www.factretriever.com/canada-facts
- When it was determined by Dutch explorers that New Zealand was not attached to the South American continent, they changed its name from Staten Landt (South America) to Nova Zeelandia (New Zealand), after the Dutch province of Zeeland.
- Wellington, New Zealand, is the southernmost national capital in the world at latitude 41.2° South. It also shares the honor of being the most remote capital with Canberra, Australia, over 1,243 miles (2000 km) away.
- Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is the official queen of New Zealand. She is represented in the country by a governor general.
- New Zealand/Māori ex-prostitute Georgina Beyer became the world’s first transsexual Member of Parliament in 1999.
- New Zealand’s Ninety-Mile Beach is only 56 miles (90 km) long.
- New Zealanders enjoy one of the world’s highest life expectancy rates—82.3 years for females and 78.3 years for males.
Kuligowski, T. (2016, November 6) 70 Interesting Facts about New Zealand. Retrieved from https://www.factretriever.com/new-zealand-facts