The quick travel guide to Sweden and Stockholm
Sweden is a large country in northern Europe and the largest of the Scandinavian nations. Sweden has a long coastline on the Baltic sea in the south and the Gulf of Bothnia to the north. It has land borders with Norway to the east and Finland to the north and east. There is a road and rail bridge linking Sweden to Denmark across a narrow strait.
Sweden covers 449,960 sq km of area and a population of 9.4 million resulting in a low population density of 21 people per sq km. However around 85% of the population live in the southern area where the density is much higher. The capital and largest city is Stockholm with a population of around 1.3 million. The official language is Swedish and the currency is the Swedish krona (1 krona = 100 ore)
Much of northern Sweden is mountainous and the highest point, Kebnekaise (2,117m) lies near the northern border with Norway. Around 20% of Sweden lies above the Arctic Circle. The southern part of the country consists of lowlands interspersed with numerous lakes; there are over 95,000 lakes in the whole country. Two of the largest lakes in Europe lie in the southern area, these are called Vanern and Vattern.
Much of Sweden is heavily forested, with 78% of the country being forest and woodland, while farmland constitutes only 1% of land use. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, with increasing forest coverage northward. Mountains and hills are dominant in the west towards the border with Norway. All of the larger cities are in the south of the country. After the capital Stockholm, the second largest city is Gothenburg, with 510,500, in the west. The third largest is Malmö in the south, with 258,000. The largest city in the north is Umeå with 76,000 inhabitants.
Most of Sweden has a temperate climate, despite its northern latitude, with four distinct seasons and mild temperatures throughout the year. The country can be divided into three types of climate; the southernmost part has an oceanic climate, the central part has a humid continental climate and the northernmost part has a subarctic climate. The average low temperature in Stockholm in January is -1C while the average high temperature in July is 23C.
Sweden has 25 provinces or landskap (landscapes), based on culture, geography and history; Bohuslän, Blekinge, Dalarna, Dalsland, Gotland, Gästrikland, Halland, Hälsingland, Härjedalen, Jämtland, Lapland, Medelpad, Norrbotten, Närke, Skåne, Småland, Södermanland, Uppland, Värmland, Västmanland, Västerbotten, Västergötland, Ångermanland, Öland and Östergötland. While these provinces serve no political or administrative purpose, they play an important role for people's self-identification.
The provinces are usually grouped together in three large lands, parts, the northern Norrland, the central Svealand and southern Götaland. The sparsely populated Norrland encompasses almost 60% of the country. About 15% of Sweden lies north of the Arctic Circle. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, with increasing forest coverage northward. Around 65% of Sweden's total land area is covered with forests. The highest population density is in the Öresund region in southern Sweden and in the valley of lake Mälaren near to Stockholm. Gotland and Öland are Sweden's largest islands; Vänern and Vättern are its largest lakes. Vänern is the third largest in Europe, after Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega in Russia.
Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire. The empire grew to be one of the great powers of Europe in the 17th and early 18th century. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries. The eastern half of Sweden, present-day Finland, was lost to Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by military means forced Norway into a personal union which lasted until 1905. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, adopting a non-aligned foreign policy in peacetime and neutrality in wartime. Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government and a highly developed economy. Sweden has been a member of the European Union since 1 January 1995 and is a member of the OECD.
Location Map of Sweden
Interactive Map of Sweden
Guide to Europe
|Travel Guide to the European Union 2013|