It wasn't until the 1500s that Sweden began to stand on its own feet. Despite
never having been truly independent, Sweden rose up and became a political power
in the 1600s. This movement opened the country to many outside influences, making
the people more similar to other parts of Europe, while also changing the lifestyle
to one based on internal survival to external expansion, growth, and communication.
The changes that occurred in Sweden in the 1500s and 1600s were more than political,
they were also cultural. As changes were made, the Swedish identity and lifestyle
was also more and more solidified. The people began to understand their differences
from their neighbors and others as the Swedish identity became more and more clearly
defined; an identity based on the ethnicity and language, but also includes the
food, lifestyle, and culture.
Despite the rise to power, Sweden also experienced its struggles. Throughout this
time the focus remained somewhat external though as people moved to cities and modern
technology from the Industrial Revolution encouraged this shift to cities. However,
it wasn't until the 1900s when Sweden began to more closely identify with the
other Scandinavian countries. For most of history these countries fought with each
other for power, but with World War II, their similarities were magnified and after
the war the path forward became one of cooperation rather than competition.
Today Sweden remains competitive and cooperative as the people tend to have a very
strong sense of social rights, freedoms, and morals. Sweden leads the world in many
social and political movements, but their culture and lifestyle remain tied to their
past. The culture of the people is still associated with their language, ethnicity,
foods, and history, while their lifestyle is ever-changing, but shifting towards
a modern, urban lifestyle focused on economic growth and trade.