If you’re Swedish, you have plenty to be proud of for your country: Sweden is one of the wealthiest countries in Europe, it offers free university education, and introduced The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Pippi Longstocking, fashion retail giant H&M, and – how can we forget? – karaoke favourite “Dancing Queen” to the world.
In the next instalment of our Top 5 Most Influential People series, we’ll take a look at the five (technically speaking, six in this article) most prominent Swedes to come out of Sverige.
1. Ingvar Kamprad
You may not know his name, but he’s probably already been in your home. The father of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad was quite a successful entrepreneur at even a young age: he would buy matches in bulk and sell them individually to make a profit. After succeeding in his studies, his father gave him a cash reward with which he founded IKEA – at the age of 17. Kamprad founded the Stichting INGKA Foundation, which aims to “make life better for children living in extreme poverty”.
2. Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus
They shot to fame as the founding members of pop group ABBA when, in 1974, they participated in and won the 19 annual Eurovision Song Contest with the song “Waterloo”. Although the group enjoyed international stardom, they disbanded by 1983. However, Andersson and Ulvaeus would continue working together, starting with the stage musical Chess. Their most famous project, the stage musical Mamma Mia! premiered in 1999, and was adapted for the big screen in 2008.
3. Max Martin
Image source: Music Times
Music producer and songwriter Max Martin is one of Sweden’s most sought-after songwriters, having written songs for an impressive list of international superstars, including Britney Spears, Céline Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, P!nk, Shakira, and Taylor Swift. Martin is the third songwriter with the most number one singles (19) on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, behind Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
Image source: imgkd
YouTube celebrity Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie, is the most subscribed user on the video-sharing website with almost 7.5 billion views. Specialising in video game commentary, PewDiePie has used his celebrity for various causes and fundraising drives. The 25-year-old gamer’s Let’s Play commentaries on YouTube “have an effect on game sales”, according to The Conversation. In fact, Kjellberg is credited for being “the largest force driving attention to McPixel”.
5. Princess Victoria
Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Now, who didn’t want to be a princess (or prince, if you’re a man) when you grew up? Despite being voted the seventh Hottest Young Royal by Forbes, Princess Victoria has other – far more significant – characteristics than her physical beauty to be proud of: namely the fact that she is next in line to the Swedish throne. If she ascends to the throne as expected, she will be Sweden’s fourth queen regnant. Meanwhile, Sweden made an amendment to its constitution in 1980 to adopt royal succession regardless of gender - the first European country to introduce absolute primogeniture. The future queen of Sweden set up the Kronprinsessan Victorias Fond in 1997, a foundation whose mission is to help disabled Swedish children.