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  • The greatest sources of influence on Swedish culture have been Denmark, Norway and England in the early Middle Ages; Germany during the high and late Middle Ages; an influx of a foreign aristocracy during the 17th century; France during the 18th century; Germany again between the mid 19th and 20th century; and then the English-speaking world after World War II.
  • The oldest remains of Swedish art are found in the churches: frescos, altar pieces, and baptismal founts. The motifs represent religious beliefs, focused on purgatory, the devil, Jesus Christ, and the Virgin Mary. In the 19th century, the painter Carl Larsson shaped the image of the idyllic countryside home with his naïve picturesque illustrations.
  • And, of course, Sweden is home to the world's most revered award, the Nobel Prize. Established by Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), the Swedish inventor of dynamite, the prize is awarded each year in five different categories: Chemistry, Physics, Medicine or Physiology, Literature, and Peace. In 1968, the Swedish National Treasury established a prize for economic science, dedicated to the memory of Alfred Nobel and awarded each year with the other prizes.
  • Swedish literature is vibrant and active. Sweden jointly ranks fifth in the list of countries with most Nobel Prize laureates in literature. Famous Swedish writers and poets are Astrid Lindgren, Selma Lagerlöf, August Strindberg, Hjalmar Söderberg, Tomas Tranströmer, Karin Boye, Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, etc.
  • Sweden has given the world some of the greatest pop bands and singers, including Abba, The Cardigans, Roxette, Ace of Base, Carola Häggkvist, Army of Lovers, Robyn, A*Teens, Europe and Alcazar.
  • The sports with most participants are handball, football, golf, gymnastics and athletics, while the sports with the largest number of television spectators are football, ice hockey, handball, golf, motor sport (especially speedway) and athletics. Football is the main sport. Winter sports are also popular. As of 2006, Sweden had won 588 (winter and summer) Olympic medals.
  • Swedish food is usually simple and satisfying, and nowadays also healthy. A typical old-fashioned meal consists of boiled potatoes, some kind of meat or fish, a sauce, and some vegetables.