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The Kingdom of Sweden occupies the eastern and
southern part of the Scandinavian peninsula and is the
fourth largest country in Europe with an area of
449,964 km². The maximum north-south extent of the
country is 1,600 km, in the east-west direction it is
400 km. Sweden borders Norway to the west and north,
Finland to the northeast, the Gulf of Bothnia to the
east and the Baltic Sea to the south.
The Skanden Mountains extend from north to south
through the Scandinavian peninsula, the main ridge of
the mountains forms the border with neighboring Norway
in the north and in the middle of Sweden. In the
northwest is the country's highest peak, the Kebnekaise
at 2,117 m. To the east, the Skanden Mountains drop down
to a hilly country, which is on average at an altitude
of around 200 m. Individual mountains reach up to 800 m.
The coast on the Gulf of Bothnia is preceded by numerous
islands (skerries), inlets (fjords) sometimes extend far
To the south of the hilly region is the Central
Swedish depression, a landscape characterized by
countless lakes. At this height the capital Stockholm is
on the east coast of Sweden. In the south, the hilly
Götaland and Småland connect to the lake landscape. Off
the east coast are the two islands Gotland (3 001 km²)
and Öland (1 344 km²). In the extreme south of Sweden is
the Schonen peninsula, in the southwest the Danish
Zealand (with the capital Copenhagen ) is only four
kilometers away (Øresund).
There are a total of around 100,000 lakes in Sweden,
the largest of which, Lake Vänern (5,584 km²) and Lake
Vättersee (1,899 km²), are located in the central
Swedish depression. The country's numerous rivers
increase in size in spring due to the melting snow in
Due to the large north-south extension of Sweden, the
north and south of the country have large temperature
differences. In general there is a continental climate
in Sweden, in the far south there are also maritime
influences. In January, the average temperature in the
capital Stockholm is - 3 กใ C, in Jokkmokk in the north
of the country it is - 14 กใ C.
North of the Arctic Circle, temperatures can drop to
- 40 กใ C. The average July values in Stockholm are 18
กใ C, in the north (Jokkmokk) around 15 กใ C. In summer,
temperatures above 30 กใ C are often measured in both the
north and south.
Most precipitation (up to 2,000 mm) falls in the
Skanden Mountains, to the east the amount of rain drops
to up to 400 mm. In southern Sweden the average rainfall
is up to 1,000 mm in the west and 500 mm in the east.
Flora and fauna
Around 60% of Sweden's land area is forested. In the
south there are deciduous deciduous forests with beeches
and oaks, which to the north initially merge into a
mixed forest zone and from about the 60th parallel into
boreal coniferous forests. In the far north there is
tundra vegetation with shrubs and lichens.
The large forests in Sweden and the sparsely
populated areas in the north of the country offer a
suitable habitat for a large number of animal species.
Elk, reindeer, chipmunks, mountain hares and lemmings
are common. Larger predators such as bears, lynxes,
wolves and arctic foxes also exist in large numbers.
Around 9.01 million people live in Sweden, 80% of
them in cities. Only a tenth of the population lives in
the northern half of the country, while the largest
metropolitan areas are in the south. The capital
Stockholm is the largest city with around 765,000
residents, followed by Gothenburg (481,000), Malmö
(270,000) and Uppsala (182,000). The average population
density is just under 20 residents per square kilometer.
According to COUNTRYAAH,
over 90% of the population are Swedes and the
proportion of foreigners is around 7%. The largest group
in terms of numbers are Finns, followed by Danish and
Norwegian guest workers. Almost 160,000 mostly political
refugees are in Sweden. The approximately 17,000 Sami
(rags), who live mainly in the north of the country,
represent a small minority.
The official language is Swedish. About 88% of the
population are followers of the Evangelical Lutheran
Church (state church until January 2000). Catholics,
Pentecostal members, Jews and Muslims represent
Population growth is low at 0.7% and is mainly a
result of immigration. The standard of living in Sweden
is extremely high, measured by per capita income the
country is one of the ten richest countries in the
world. Social and health services are very well
developed. The average life expectancy is 83 for women
and 78 for men. The level of education is also very
high: the nine-year elementary school period is free of
charge, over 97% attend a secondary school after primary
school. There are a total of 15 universities and 17
universities in Sweden.
According to the 1975 constitution, Sweden is an
inheritance monarchy with a parliamentary system of
government. The monarch (since September 1973 King Carl
XVI Gustav) is head of state, but has only a
representative function. The prime minister (since
October 2006 Fredrik Reinfeldt) is elected by the
parliament and appoints the members of the cabinet.
The parliament (Riksdag) consists of a chamber with
349 seats, whose deputies are elected by the people
according to the proportional representation law for a
term of four years. Swedes can vote from the age of 18.
Sweden is divided into 21 districts (Lan).
The industrialized nation of Sweden is one of the
richest countries in the world in terms of per capita
income. After a severe economic crisis in the early
1990s, the government implemented a number of austerity
and consolidation measures, which among other things
reduced the high unemployment rate (currently 7.5%). The
economic growth rate for 2013 is given as 1.5%.
High-tech agriculture contributes around 2% of GDP,
and just under 7% of the country's area is agricultural
land. Nonetheless, 80% of the population's food needs
can be covered itself. Grain, sugar beet and potatoes
are mainly cultivated in the central Swedish depression
and in the south of the country, cattle breeding is more
practiced in northern areas. Forestry is important,
Sweden has extensive forests, and annual afforestation
is 6%. The felled wood is mainly processed into
Over 76% of the workforce is employed in the service
sector, which generates around 71% of GDP. Tourism only
plays a subordinate role.
The traditional pillar of the Swedish economy is the
manufacturing industry, the main branches are metal
production and processing, wood processing,
pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The electronics
industry is also becoming increasingly important.
Industry generates around 26% of gross domestic product
(GDP). Most of the factories are located in central and
southern Sweden, while the centers of the oil processing
and chemical industries are the large port cities of
Stockholm, Malmö, Göteborg and Helsingborg.
Characteristic of the Swedish economy is the small
number of globally active large companies (such as
Volvo, Saab) and a very large number of small companies,
while medium-sized companies hardly play a role.
The country's high energy requirements are covered by
nuclear power (a gradual phase-out of nuclear energy was
decided in 1980), hydropower and to a small extent by
fossil fuels. Sweden is rich in mineral resources, the
raw materials include high-quality iron ores, uranium,
copper, zinc and lead.
Sweden's most important export goods are machinery
and means of transport, industrial primary products (eg
paper) and chemicals. The most important trading
partners here are Germany, Norway and Great Britain.
Above all, machines and means of transport, industrial
primary products and finished goods are introduced, the
main supplier countries are Germany, Denmark, Norway and
The rail network (around 11,500 km in total) and the
road network (around 212,000 km in total) are very well
developed. The largest airports are Stockholm-Arlanda,
Göteborg-Landvetter, Stockholm-Skavsta and Malmö
Airport. Helsingborg, Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmo
are the main ports in Sweden.
The currency is the Swedish krona (= 100 Öre).