I was curious about the statement yesterday in the radio about the low interest in German in Swedish schools. In 2006 2484 students took French in 7th grade i "Grundskolan" in so called free schools, according to scb.se. 4980 students took Spanish and 1651 took German. In commune schools the number of students with French, Spanish, and German was 18,386, 41,023, and 25,360, respectively. I guess I should say that it sounds improbable that Germany educates more than 27,000 Swedish students on the university level per year even if Germany has almost ten times as many citizens. And these students spoke clearly understandable Swedish after one year of study.
Adding up these numbers 93,884 should give the total number of students in 7th grade since all students must take a so called B-language. This number is in all probability correct since approximately 100,000 people are born and dies respectively in Sweden per year. Percent wise this gives for French, Spanish, and German 22%, 49%, 29%, respectively.
Maybe Spanish is so popular because there are a lot of Spanish speaking immigrants? The description in the Grundskolan manual states that there is an extensive literature in Spanish. They tried to motivate people to study German because they are not so fond of learning English in German-speaking countries. When I went to school, around 1970, there was no Spanish, only French and German. It is good that Jan Björklund is going to start the English education already in first grade. This will lead to a genuine knowledge of English in the absolute majority of people.