Sweden the Innovative Country

Back to overview

Sweden has long fostered innovation and entrepreneurship.

The vital Swedish startup scene has garnered much international attention, but the country has a long history of innovation. There are several factors that might explain why, for example Sweden’s global outlook – export is an important driving force for Sweden, seeing that the domestic market is relatively small. Other factors are social stability and the access to government support, as well as a high degree of equality.
Sweden’s long-term focus on education and research has also had a major impact on the capacity for innovation. In 1842 the country introduced compulsory schooling for 7- to 13-year-olds (today for 6- to 15-year-olds). This was a game-changing move, as it raised the overall level of education among the people and became a vital component in Sweden’s journey from poor agricultural nation to prosperous innovation leader. Today about one-third of the population has post-secondary education.

When it comes to research and development (R&D), Sweden proves its commitment by investing, as a rule, more than 3 per cent of the country’s growth domestic product (GDP) in R&D.
Green technology and life sciences are two fields in which Swedish researchers and companies excel. The government has created an office of life sciences dedicated to developing a national strategy for the life sciences to further promote the field.

Considering that Swedes represent just 0.13 per cent of the global population, the Nordic nation has a disproportionate amount of influence on global innovation. Sweden tops the European Innovation Scoreboard, an index published by the European Commission. The index assesses the strengths and weaknesses of national innovation systems and helps countries identify areas they should address.
Sweden also usually achieves high rankings in innovation surveys such as the Global Innovation Index and the Legatum Prosperity Index.


According to Global Innovation Index 2021 (GII 2021 Report), Sweden is in second place out of 132 economics and has remained in the top three regarding innovation ranking for over a decade.


Global Innovation Index (GII) measures global trends of innovation ecosystem performance of economies each year and enlightens innovation strengths and weaknesses. GII can be utilized to monitor innovation performance and benchmark developments in the diverse region and income groups. 

The Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the Netherlands is taking a summer break to prepare for an inspiring autumn program. Welcome back on September 8 when we are starting the autumn season with our Tech Table Series – Women in Tech. For more information about the fall program including topics close to our focus pillars Innovation/Tech, Sustainability and Gender Balance, we welcome you to visit our website: www.swedishchamber.nl


Welcome to watch the video 5 reasons why Swedes are world-leading innovators that might explain why Swedes are among the top of world-leading innovators.