The land of innovation
Tech-savvy Sweden ranks high with the European Patent Office (EPO) for the number of patent applications submitted for new inventions. Per capita, it submits the third most in Europe, behind Switzerland and the Netherlands. The EPO approved 2,661 patent applications from Swedish companies in 2016, approximately 37 percent more than 2015. Not surprisingly, one in four Swedish applications was in the area of digital communications, with Telecom giant Ericsson behind one-third of the requests; other popular areas were transportation and health technology. Last year was a record year in general, with the EPO granting 96,000 patents for many countries — that’s a 40 percent increase over 2015 and a new high for the organization.

Princess Victoria's royal duties
Following Swedish protocol which allows parents as many as 476 days of leave after the birth of a child, Crown Princess Victoria isn’t expected to return to her royal duties until the end of this month. She has made appearances at a few events in the last year, and after celebrating Prince Oscar’s 1st birthday on March 2, the Crown Princess opened the 2017 Baltic Sea Future congress earlier this week in Stockholm. As an ambassador for the UN Global Goals, she discussed the Baltic region’s potential for researchers, entrepreneurs and investors to find a new way in sustainable development.

Sweden's onshore oil reserves
Though it depends on others countries for oil, Sweden actually has its own onshore oil reserves. Drilling companies have as many as 50 exploration permits, but the Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU) has been commissioned by the government to consider banning the drilling at its sites, in Dalarna, Gotland, Öland and Östergötland. The SGU is now analyzing the volumes available and if it is profitable to launch production. The main reason for the proposed ban is not fear of pollution or environmental harm caused by drilling in bedrock but because of Sweden’s long term goals to phase out a dependency on fossil fuel. The Nordic country currently imports its oil, mainly from Russia. The investigation will be completed on April 10 this year.

International Women's Day
On this International Women’s Day, a report ranks Sweden as the best country for women, according to the more than 9,000 women who filled out surveys. Gender equality is reflected in all aspects of Swedish culture, the Swedish government calling it one of the "cornerstones" of the country —from its education system, parental leave policies and the workplace, in which the Discrimination Act requires all employers to "actively pursue specific goals to promote equality between men and women." The rankings are formed by global brand strategy firms and the University of Pennsylvania, this year identifying Sweden at the top, followed by Denmark, then Norway, the Netherlands and Canada.