Sweden's high schoolers want college - abroad!
Lund University and the University of Gothenburg are the two most popular higher education institutions in Sweden among Swedish students who are completing their last year of upper secondary school. For a dozen years in succession, these two have topped the list, according to new statistics from Statistics Sweden. Lund University is the academic goal for 12% of the students who are about to graduate from 12th grade (high school), and 8% say they want to attend the University of Gothenburg. Next popular on the list of higher education institutions are Uppsala University, Stockholm University and Chalmers University of Technology (in Gothenburg). More women intend to pursue college degrees. In gender comparisons, 65% of the high school girls said they would continue, but only 51% of the boys wanted to attend college classes. Most students consider traveling abroad to complete their education. Six out of ten students who finished high school hope to continue their education at colleges and universities outside Sweden. This represents an increase of more than 20% from students interviewed 15 years ago in the middle of the nineties.

Swedish men want older women.
Wrinkles, character and experience wanted! 40 is the new 20! Don’t fall for Botox and facelifts, Swedish men like their women to be a little older and, hopefully, wiser. Hollywood calls them “cougars” and now it’s proven that every fourth Swedish man prefers women over 40. According to a study made in conjunction by Swedish Kanal 5 and YNS-SIFO, 25% of all Swedish men find women in the ages 36-55 most attractive. “I think there’s a whole new kind of curiosity among younger men today,” explains psychologist and sex therapist Linn Heed. “Women who are strong, independent and successful are seen as attractive. Men aren’t as afraid of that type of women as they were decades ago. It’s also more acceptable for women to help themselves to whatever it is they want, the traditional gender roles have changed.” One possibility is that this is just another link in our youth adoration. A younger partner may signal vitality and even help us live longer. “If you live with a younger partner, you keep yourself in better shape, you’re more active because you try to match your partner,” Heed continues. She also believes an older woman and a younger man is a good combination sexually – as women reach their sexual peak at around 40 while for men it’s around the age of 20. “In a love relationship it’s important to take advantage of each other’s experiences, that’s a gift. To share each other’s experiences in a wise way and use them to make the relationship grow.” Famous Swedish men who have chosen older women include: Zlatan Ibrahimovic who is 28 and whose partner Helena Seger is 39, Martin Boman who is 30 and whose partner Malin Berghagen is 43.

Big is best.
At least when it comes to Swedish universities, the bigger the better is the motto. In the latest ranking of Swedish collages and universities, big universities and special colleges get the highest marks. Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet (incidentally one of Europe’s largest medical universities) tops the list, followed by Handelshögskolan (Stockholm School of Economics) and Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), which has its head office in Ultuna. Sweden’s oldest university, Uppsala, is four on the list, right before Lund University. It’s the independent academic group Urank that’s behind the list. Urank has also compared three different areas of education but then the results differ somewhat. Lund University wins the area of best education when it comes to Medicine as well as technology and the natural sciences, while Handelshögskolan is best when it comes to social science. www.urank.se

Easter fika.
You know what it feels like when you want, nay need, coffee, and don’t have any at hand? Of course you do. Someone, or two, felt that way during the Easter weekend in Laholm, a town with almost 6,000 inhabitants in southern Sweden, and the need was so strong that they broke into the local bakery and stole the coffee machine. But what’s coffee without cake? So they took the opportunity to steal a cake too, while they were at it. However, it seemed the thieves already had coffee cups, sugar and milk – these items were left untouched in the bakery.

Autumn's looking good...
Particularly among larger industries that suffered heavily and are now recovering from the recession, business attitudes have improved notably since last autumn, according to a study by the Swedish census agency, SCB. Describing next autumn's business climate as optimistic, at least in today's imagination, the report says that engineering and business services in Sweden are satisfied with how things are going, while the worsening situation in the health care and education sectors nonetheless evoked relatively little pessimism. Expecting improvement in the fourth quarter, eight of ten operations in the engineering, hotel, restaurant and business services industries now have bright future visions, said Sweden's poll taking bureau.

Modest retail increases.
The retail trade sales volume increased by 2.3% this February compared to the same month in 2009. Retail sales for consumables increased by 1.1% while retail sales for durables increased by 3.2%. Turnover for retail trade measured in current prices increased by 3.5% in the year since February of 2009, and retail trade for consumable goods sold in department stores and specialized grocery stores showed a 3.3% increase.

R&D funding up - 2/3 basic research.
Swedish government appropriations of SEK 29.5 billion ($4,07 billion) budgeted this year for research and development - an increase of SEK 950 million ($131 million) above 2009, channels a majority of the SEK 18.1 billion increases ($2.5 billion) into universities, institutes and the Swedish Research Council. Basic research is earmarked for 2/3 of the R&D budget and medicine, math and natural sciences receive over half of this portion. Technology, agricultural sciences, social sciences, humanities and cross-disciplinary sciences are also major recipients of R&D funds, which constitute 3.6% of the Sweden's total budget for 2010.

Easter with the Prince.
Forget Emma Pernald - because Prince Carl Philip obviously has. It was with new girlfriend Sofia Hellqvist that the prince celebrated this year’s Easter. The two lovebirds celebrated alone in his discreet cottage outside Sunne in Värmland. While Crown Princess Victoria and fiancé Daniel Westling spent their Easter in luxury in Swiss Verbier, Carl Philip and Sofia – the former reality TV star – chose the simplicity and charm of Värmland. Carl Philip’s neighbors said only: “Yes, we’ve seen them.” More would be too much, as loyalty to royalty means a lot. Sofia and Carl Philip met two years ago, but nothing happened between them until last summer. The couple met regularly during the fall, whenever the prince was back in town from his studies in Alnarp in Skåne, and they spent New Year’s Eve together with friends in Sälen. The cottage by the lake Rottnen is located in an isolated area, perfect for when the prince wants privacy.