Swedes are good at giving birth
Sweden comes in third place when it comes to giving birth in the EU countries. The average Swedish woman gives birth to 1.94 children; only Irish and French women do better than that. Although most feel Swedes don’t have enough children—and they are born to older parents—reality is different. However, until the beginning of the 20th century, the average Swedish woman gave birth to 4 children. And for the population to reproduce itself without the help of immigration, every woman needs to give birth to 2.1 children during their lifetime—this has happened in Sweden only twice since the 1970s: during the baby boom in 1990 and 1991. In 1999 the average Swede gave birth to 1.5 children per woman; the childbirth rate has increased since then, though. To calculate fertility in men is somewhat trickier, since many children have unknown fathers. But one attempt was made in 2011, and the average Swedish man then had 1.74 children compared to the average Swedish woman with 1.90 children. Fertility, according to fresh numbers from the EU, is highest in Ireland, with France coming in second and Sweden third. In total, fertility in the EU is near a critical level at 1.59 children per woman on average. This may eventually lead to a higher burden on society's elderly.

Driverless Volvo in 2014
You can expect a driverless Volvo already in two years. Unfortunately, it's a car not just anybody can buy. The first driverless cars will only be able to go 50 km/h (31 mph), which makes it a difficult car to turn on regular roads. Volvo has worked on its driverless cars for a while and uses a technique similar to that of Google, with cameras and sensors reading the surroundings. If Volvo gets their way, there will be no more car accidents occurring with company cars after 2020, thanks to new technology. Volvo has a test track for their cars in western Sweden and also tries them on roads in Spain. These driverless cars are partly the result of a EU-financed project called SARTRE.

Sweden backing in education
Sweden will sink in the international comparisons of education during the years to come. Today, Sweden is among the leading countries, but the decreasing number of available spots at colleges and universities goes against the expansion in other countries, according to Högskoleverket (Swedish National Agency for Higher Education). “This is a first warning bell that other countries' educational levels can pull away from Sweden’s,” says university chancellor Lars Haikola in a press release. It is estimated that 39 percent of today’s youth in the 27 OECD countries will receive a bachelor’s or master’s degree. When Sweden had its highest share, in 2006, that number was 41 percent. In 2010, it decreased to 37 percent. Compare this to Iceland, where 60 percent are estimated to receive their degrees, or Finland and Denmark where the number is 50 percent. The number of graduates in the other Nordic countries will be significantly higher than in Sweden in the coming years, the report says. “It’s indicative that things aren’t pointing up,” says Marie Kahlroth, investigator at Högskoleverket. Already Sweden is above its own goal of 40-45 percent of all 30- to 34-year-olds having at least a two year post-secondary education in the year 2020, though. So Sweden falling behind in reports like these may not necessarily be a bad thing. “It depends on what ambitions you have,” says Kahlroth.

Kanye West's Stockholm burger
American superstar Kanye West visited Grand Escalier, a French restaurant/bar/lounge in Stockholm’s Sturegallerian. West wasn’t pleased with what was offered on the menu, though, and demanded his very own specialty burger. And what a superstar wants, a superstar gets. What was brought to him was a burger made of diced prime rib and duck liver. According to reports, Kanye West was more than satisfied. And if you want to make the burger yourself, here’s the recipe: Begin with the bottom half of a piece of brioche bread. Add Dijonnaise, salad and oven-baked tomatoes as well as fresh tomatoes. The burger itself then consists of diced prime rib, duck liver and pancetta, fried with shallots. Let a slice of Gruyère cheese melt over the burger and top it with onion and more Dijonnaise. Voilà—a burger for a superstar as well as for you and me.

Björn Ulvaeus to Orionteatern
Björn Ulvaeus adds his talents to those of Benny Andersson and poet Kristina Lugn in creating the musical “Hjälp sökes” (Help wanted) at Stockholm’s Orionteatern. Ulvaeus will write the lyrics to the musical, which is about two middle-aged farmers and brothers. Included in the cast are Johan Ulveson, Sofia Pekkari, Magnus Roosmann and Suzanne Berdino. Lars Rudolfsson will be directing the show, which is set to premiere February 8, 2013. “With Björn and Benny’s patented lyrics and music, Kristina Lugn’s poetic drama and Lars Rudolfsson’s magic, ‘Hjälp sökes’ is a unique venture," says producer Agnes Rosenberg in a press release. For more information: www.orionteatern.se