University of Minnesota Press , Only the safety valve of mass emigration to America prevented famine and rebellion.
Situated in Northern Europe, Sweden lies west of the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia , providing a long coastline, and forms the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula. To the west is the Scandinavian mountain chain Skanderna , a range that separates Sweden from Norway. Finland is located to its north-east. Its border with Norway 1, km long is the longest uninterrupted border within Europe.
Sweden has 25 provinces or landskap , based on culture, geography and history. While these provinces serve no political or administrative purpose, they play an important role in people's self-identity. The provinces are usually grouped together in three large lands , parts, the northern Norrland, the central Svealand and southern Götaland. Sweden also has the Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve , one of the largest protected areas in Europe, totaling , ha approx.
Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, with increasing forest coverage northward. The highest population density is in the Öresund Region in southern Sweden, along the western coast up to central Bohuslän, and in the valley of lake Mälaren and Stockholm. Gotland and Öland are Sweden's largest islands ; Vänern and Vättern are its largest lakes. Combined with the third and fourth largest lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren , these lakes take up a significant part of the southern Sweden's area. Sweden's extensive waterway availability throughout the south was exploited with the building of the Göta Canal in the 19th century, shortening the potential distance between the Baltic Sea south of Norrköping and Gothenburg by using the lake and river network to facilitate the canal.
Most of Sweden has a temperate climate , despite its northern latitude , with largely four distinct seasons and mild temperatures throughout the year. The winter in the far south is usually weak and is only manifested through some shorter periods with snow and sub-zero temperatures, autumn may well turn into spring there, without a distinct period of winter. The country can be divided into three types of climate: However, Sweden is much warmer and drier than other places at a similar latitude, and even somewhat farther south, mainly because of the combination of the Gulf Stream   and the general west wind drift, caused by the direction of planet Earth's rotation.
Continental west-coasts to which all of Scandinavia belongs, as the westernmost part of the Eurasian continent , are notably warmer than continental east-coasts; this can also be seen by comparing e.
North of the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets for part of each summer, and it never rises for part of each winter. In the capital, Stockholm , daylight lasts for more than 18 hours in late June but only around 6 hours in late December. Sweden receives between 1, and 1, hours of sunshine annually.
Temperatures expected in Sweden are heavily influenced by the large Fennoscandian landmass, as well as continental Europe and western Russia, which allows hot or cool inland air to be easily transported to Sweden.
That in turn renders most of Sweden's southern areas having warmer summers than almost everywhere in the nearby British Isles , even matching temperatures found along the continental Atlantic coast as far south as in northern Spain.
In winter however the same high-pressure systems sometimes puts the entire country far below freezing temperatures. There is some maritime moderation from the Atlantic which renders the Swedish continental climate less severe than that of nearby Russia. Even though temperature patterns differ between north and south, the summer climate is surprisingly similar all through the entire country in spite of the large latitudal differences.
This is due to the south being surrounded by a greater mass of water, with the wider Baltic Sea and the Atlantic air passing over lowland areas from the south-west. Apart from the ice-free Atlantic bringing marine air into Sweden tempering winters, the mildness is further explained by prevailing low-pressure systems postponing winter, with the long nights often staying above freezing in the south of the country due to the abundant cloud cover.
By the time winter finally breaks through, daylight hours rise quickly, ensuring that daytime temperatures soar quickly in spring. With the greater number of clear nights, frosts remain commonplace quite far south as late as April. The cold winters occur when low-pressure systems are weaker.
An example is that the coldest ever month January in Stockholm was also the sunniest January month on record. The relative strength of low and high-pressure systems of marine and continental air also define the highly variable summers.
Nights normally remain cool, especially in inland areas. Transitional seasons are normally quite extensive and the four-season climate applies to most of Sweden's territory, except in Scania where some years do not record a meteorological winter see table below or in the high Lapland mountains where polar microclimates exist.
Despite northerly locations, southern and central Sweden may have almost no snow in some winters. Most of Sweden is located in the rain shadow of the Scandinavian Mountains through Norway and north-west Sweden. The blocking of cool and wet air in summer as well as the greater landmass leads to warm and dry summers far north in the country, with quite warm summers at the Bothnia Bay coast at 65 degrees latitude, which is unheard of elsewhere in the world at such northerly coastlines.
Swedish Meteorological Institute, SMHI's monthly average temperatures of some of their weather stations — for the latest scientific full prefixed thirty-year period — Next will be presented in year The weather stations are sorted from south towards north by their numbers.
Sweden has a considerable south to north distance stretching between the latitudes N The related matter of the length and strength of the four seasons plays a role in which plants that naturally can grow at various places. Sweden is divided in five major vegetation zones. Also known as the nemoral region, the southern deciduous forest zone is a part of a larger vegetation zone which also includes Denmark and large parts of Central Europe.
It has to a rather large degree become agricultural areas, but larger and smaller forests still exist. The region is characterised by a large wealth of trees and shrubs. The beech are the most dominant tree, but oak can also form smaller forests. Other important trees and shrubs in this zone include hornbeam , elder , hazel , fly honeysuckle , linden lime , spindle , yew , alder buckthorn , blackthorn , aspen , European rowan , Swedish whitebeam , juniper , European holly , ivy , dogwood , goat willow , larch , bird cherry , wild cherry , maple , ash , alder along creeks, and in sandy soil birch compete with pine.
Also known as the boreo-nemoral region, the southern coniferous forest zone, is delimited by the oak 's northern natural limit limes norrlandicus and the Spruce 's southern natural limit,  between the southern deciduous zone and the Taiga farther north.
In the southern parts of this zone the coniferous species are found, mainly spruce and pine , mixed with various deciduous trees. Birch grows largely everywhere. The beech 's northern boundary crosses this zone. This is however not the case with oak and ash. Although in its natural area, also planted Spruce are common, and such woods are very dense, as the spruces can grow very tight, especially in this vegetation zone's southern areas. The northern coniferous forest zone begins north of the natural boundary of the oak.
Of deciduous species the birch is the only one of significance. Pine and spruce are dominant, but the forests are slowly but surely more sparsely grown the farther towards the north it gets. In the extreme north is it difficult to state the trees forms true forests at all, due to the large distances between the trees. The alpine-birch zone, in the Scandinavian mountains, depending on both latitude and altitude, is an area where only a smaller kind of birch Betula pubescens or B.
Where this vegetation zone ends no trees grow at all: Sweden has four fundamental laws Swedish: Regeringsformen , the Act of Succession Swedish: Successionsordningen , the Freedom of the Press Act Swedish: The public sector in Sweden is divided into two parts: Kommunallagen passed by the Riksdag. Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and King Carl XVI Gustaf is the head of state , but the role of the monarch is limited to ceremonial and representative functions.
Utrikesnämnden , and receives Letters of Credence of foreign ambassadors to Sweden and signs those of Swedish ambassadors sent abroad. Legislative power is vested in the unicameral Riksdag with members. General elections are held every four years, on the second Sunday of September. Legislation may be initiated by the Government or by members of the Riksdag. Members are elected on the basis of proportional representation to a four-year term. The internal workings of the Riksdag is, in addition to the Instrument of Government, regulated by the Riksdag Act Swedish: Regeringen operates as a collegial body with collective responsibility and consists of the Prime Minister — appointed and dismissed by the Speaker of the Riksdag following an actual vote in the Riksdag before an appointment can be made — and other cabinet ministers Swedish: Most of the State administrative authorities Swedish: A unique feature of Swedish State administration is that individual cabinet ministers do not bear any individual ministerial responsibility for the performance of the agencies within their portfolio; as the director-generals and other heads of government agencies reports directly to the Government as a whole; and individual ministers are prohibited to interfere; thus the origin of the pejorative in Swedish political parlance term ministerstyre English: The Judiciary is independent from the Riksdag, Government and other State administrative authorities.
The Swedish Social Democratic Party has played a leading role in Swedish politics since , after the Reformists had confirmed their strength and the left-wing revolutionaries formed their own party. After , most governments have been dominated by the Social Democrats. Only five general elections since World War II— , , , and —have given the assembled bloc of centre-right parties enough seats in the Riksdag to form a government.
For over 50 years, Sweden had had five parties who continually received enough votes to gain seats in the Riksdag—the Social Democrats, the Moderate Party , the Centre Party , the Liberal People's Party and the Left Party—before the Green Party became the sixth party in the election.
In the election, while the Greens lost their seats, two new parties gained seats for the first time: The election saw the return of the Greens and the demise of New Democracy. It was not until elections in that an eighth party, the Sweden Democrats , gained Riksdag seats. In the elections to the European Parliament , parties who have failed to pass the Riksdag threshold have managed to gain representation at that venue: In the general election the Moderate Party formed the centre-right Alliance for Sweden bloc and won a majority of the Riksdag seats.
In the general election the Alliance contended against a unified left block consisting of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party. Nevertheless, neither the Alliance, nor the left block, chose to form a coalition with the Sweden Democrats.
The outcome of the general election resulted in the attainment of more seats by the three centre-left parties in comparison to the centre-right Alliance for Sweden, with the two blocs receiving and seats respectively.
Election turnout in Sweden has always been high by international comparison. Although it declined in recent decades, the latest elections saw an increase in voter turnout Sweden is a unitary state divided into 21 county councils landsting and municipalities kommuner.
Every county council corresponds to a county län with a number of municipalities per county. County councils and municipalities have different roles and separate responsibilities relating to local government. Health care, public transport and certain cultural institutions are administered by county councils.
Preschools, primary and secondary schooling, public water utilities, garbage disposal, elderly care and rescue services are administered by the municipalities. Gotland is a special case of being a county council with only one municipality and the functions of county council and municipality are performed by the same organisation.
Municipal and county council government in Sweden is similar to city commission and cabinet-style council government. Both levels have legislative assemblies municipal councils and county council assemblies of between 31 and members always an uneven number that are elected from party-list proportional representation at the general election which are held every four years in conjunction with the national parliamentary elections.
Municipalities are also divided into a total of 2, parishes församlingar. These have no official political responsibilities but are traditional subdivisions of the Church of Sweden and still have some importance as census districts for census-taking and elections.
Each county administrative boards is led by a County Governor Swedish: The list of previous officeholders for the counties stretches back, in most cases, to when the counties were created by Lord High Chancellor Count Axel Oxenstierna. The main responsibility of the County Administrative Board is to co-ordinate the development of the county in line with goals set by the Riksdag and Government. There are older historical divisions, primarily the twenty-five provinces and three lands, which still retain cultural significance.
The actual age of the kingdom of Sweden is unknown. In the first case, Svealand was first mentioned as having one single ruler in the year 98 by Tacitus, but it is almost impossible to know for how long it had been this way. However, historians usually start the line of Swedish monarchs from when Svealand and Götaland were ruled under the same king, namely Eric the Victorious Geat and his son Olof Skötkonung in the 10th century.
These events are often described as the consolidation of Sweden , although substantial areas were conquered and incorporated later. Earlier kings, for which no reliable historical sources exist, can be read about in mythical kings of Sweden and semi-legendary kings of Sweden.
Many of these kings are only mentioned in various saga and blend with Norse mythology. Up until the beginning of the s, all laws in Sweden were introduced with the words, "We, the king of Sweden, of the Goths and Wends".
This title was used up until The term riksdag was used for the first time in the s, although the first meeting where representatives of different social groups were called to discuss and determine affairs affecting the country as a whole took place as early as , in the town of Arboga.
Executive power was historically shared between the King and an aristocratic Privy council until , followed by the King's autocratic rule initiated by the commoner estates of the Riksdag. As a reaction to the failed Great Northern War, a parliamentary system was introduced in , followed by three different flavours of constitutional monarchy in , and , the latter granting several civil liberties. Already during the first of those three periods, the 'Era of Liberty' —72 the Swedish Rikstag had developed into a very active Parliament, and this tradition continued into the nineteenth century, laying the basis for the transition towards modern democracy at the end of that century.
In Sweden became a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral parliament, with the First Chamber indirectly elected by local governments, and the Second Chamber directly elected in national elections every four years. In the parliament became unicameral.
Legislative power was symbolically shared between the King and the Riksdag until Swedish taxation is controlled by the Riksdag. Sweden has a history of strong political involvement by ordinary people through its "popular movements" Folkrörelser , the most notable being trade unions, the independent Christian movement, the temperance movement, the women's movement and more recently the intellectual property pirate movements.
Sweden was the first country in the world to outlaw corporal punishment of children by their parents parents' right to spank their own children was first removed in , and it was explicitly prohibited by law from July Sweden is currently leading the EU in statistics measuring equality in the political system and equality in the education system.
Some Swedish political figures have become known worldwide, among these are: The courts are divided into two parallel and separate systems: The general courts allmänna domstolar for criminal and civil cases, and general administrative courts allmänna förvaltningsdomstolar for cases relating to disputes between private persons and the authorities.
There are also a number of special courts, which will hear a narrower set of cases, as set down by legislation. While independent in their rulings, some of these courts are operated as divisions within courts of the general or general administrative courts.
The Supreme Court of Sweden Swedish: Högsta domstolen is the third and final instance in all civil and criminal cases in Sweden. Before a case can be decided by the Supreme Court, leave to appeal must be obtained, and with few exceptions, leave to appeal can be granted only when the case is of interest as a precedent. The Supreme Court consists of 16 Justices Swedish: According to a victimisation survey of 1, residents in , Sweden has above-average crime rates compared to other EU countries.
Sweden has high or above-average levels of assaults, sexual assaults, hate crimes, and consumer fraud. Sweden has low levels of burglary, car theft and drug problems. Bribe seeking is rare. A mid-November news report announced that four prisons in Sweden were closed during the year due to a significant drop in the number of inmates.
Throughout the 20th century, Swedish foreign policy was based on the principle of non-alignment in peacetime and neutrality in wartime. Sweden's government pursued an independent course of nonalignment in times of peace so that neutrality would be possible in the event of war. Sweden's doctrine of neutrality is often traced back to the 19th century as the country has not been in a state of war since the end of the Swedish campaign against Norway in This has sometimes been disputed since in effect Sweden allowed in select cases the Nazi regime to use its railroad system to transport troops and goods,   especially iron ore from mines in northern Sweden, which was vital to the German war machine.
During the early Cold War era, Sweden combined its policy of non-alignment and a low profile in international affairs with a security policy based on strong national defence. Later investigations revealed that the plane was actually gathering information for NATO. Prime Minister Olof Palme made an official visit to Cuba during the s, during which he denounced Fulgencio Batista 's government and praised contemporary Cuban and Cambodian revolutionaries in a speech.
Beginning in the late s, Sweden attempted to play a more significant and independent role in international relations. It involved itself significantly in international peace efforts, especially through the United Nations, and in support to the Third World. On 27 October , a Whiskey-class submarine U from the Soviet Union ran aground close to the naval base at Karlskrona in the southern part of the country.
Research has never clearly established whether the submarine ended up on the shoals through a navigational mistake or if an enemy committed espionage against Swedish military potential. The incident triggered a diplomatic crisis between Sweden and the Soviet Union. Following the assassination of Olof Palme and with the end of the Cold War, Sweden has adopted a more traditional foreign policy approach.
Nevertheless, the country remains active in peace keeping missions and maintains a considerable foreign aid budget. Since Sweden has been a member of the European Union, and as a consequence of a new world security situation the country's foreign policy doctrine has been partly modified, with Sweden playing a more active role in European security co-operation. The law is enforced in Sweden by several government entities.
The Swedish police is a Government agency concerned with police matters. The Swedish Security Service 's responsibilities are counter-espionage , anti-terrorist activities, protection of the constitution and protection of sensitive objects and people.
Försvarsmakten Swedish Armed Forces is a government agency reporting to the Swedish Ministry of Defence and responsible for the peacetime operation of the armed forces of Sweden. The primary task of the agency is to train and deploy peace support forces abroad, while maintaining the long-term ability to refocus on the defence of Sweden in the event of war. The armed forces are divided into Army , Air Force and Navy.
The head of the armed forces is the Supreme Commander Överbefälhavaren , ÖB , the most senior commissioned officer in the country. Up to the King was pro forma Commander-in-Chief , but in reality it was clearly understood all through the 20th century that the Monarch would have no active role as a military leader. Until the end of the Cold War, nearly all males reaching the age of military service were conscripted. In recent years, the number of conscripted males has shrunk dramatically, while the number of female volunteers has increased slightly.
Recruitment has generally shifted towards finding the most motivated recruits, rather than solely those otherwise most fit for service. All soldiers serving abroad must by law be volunteers. In the total number of conscripts was 45, By it was down to 15, On 1 July Sweden stopped routine conscription, switching to an all volunteer force unless otherwise required for defence readiness. The total forces gathered would consist of about 60, men.
This could be compared with the s before the fall of the Soviet Union, when Sweden could gather up to 1,, men. However, on 11 December , due to tensions in the Baltic area, the Swedish Government reintroduced one part of the Swedish conscription system, refresher training. The first recruits will begin their training in As the law now is gender neutral, both men and women may have to service. Sweden is the seventh-richest country in the world in terms of GDP gross domestic product per capita and a high standard of living is experienced by its citizens.
Sweden is an export-oriented mixed economy. Timber, hydropower and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy with a heavy emphasis on foreign trade. Sweden is the ninth-largest arms exporter in the world. The country ranks among the highest for telephone and Internet access penetration. Trade unions, employers' associations and collective agreements cover a large share of the employees in Sweden.
Both the prominent role of collective bargaining and the way in which the high rate of coverage is achieved reflect the dominance of self-regulation regulation by the labour market parties themselves over state regulation in Swedish industrial relations.
In Sweden's income Gini coefficient was the third lowest among developed countries, at 0. However, Sweden's wealth Gini coefficient at 0. Danderyd , outside Stockholm, has Sweden's highest Gini coefficient of income inequality, at 0. In and around Stockholm and Scania, two of the more densely populated regions of Sweden, the income Gini coefficient is between 0. In terms of structure, the Swedish economy is characterised by a large, knowledge-intensive and export-oriented manufacturing sector; an increasing, but comparatively small, business service sector ; and by international standards, a large public service sector.
Large organisations, both in manufacturing and services, dominate the Swedish economy. The Swedish government is seeking to reduce its costs through decreased sick leave hours and increased efficiency. Total tax collected by Sweden as a percentage of its GDP peaked at Overall, GDP growth has been fast since reforms—especially those in manufacturing—were enacted in the early s.
Sweden is the fourth-most competitive economy in the world, according to the World Economic Forum in its Global Competitiveness Report — The book compiled an index to measure the kind of creativity it claims is most useful to business—talent, technology and tolerance. Sweden maintains its own currency, the Swedish krona SEK , a result of the Swedes having rejected the euro in a referendum. According to the Economic Survey of Sweden by the OECD, the average inflation in Sweden has been one of the lowest among European countries since the mids, largely because of deregulation and quick utilisation of globalisation.
Financial deregulation in the s impacted adversely on the property market, leading to a bubble and eventually a crash in the early s. Commercial property prices fell by up to two thirds, resulting in two Swedish banks having to be taken over by the government.
In the following two decades the property sector strengthened. By , legislators, economists and the IMF were again warning of a bubble with residential property prices soaring and the level of personal mortgage debt expanding. Sweden's energy market is largely privatised. At the same time, the use of biofuels , peat etc. Sweden was a net importer of electricity by a margin of 6 TWh. The oil crisis strengthened Sweden's commitment to decrease dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Since then, electricity has been generated mostly from hydropower and nuclear power. The use of nuclear power has been limited, however. New motorways are still under construction and a new motorway from Uppsala to Gävle was finished on 17 October Sweden had left-hand traffic Vänstertrafik in Swedish from approximately and continued to do so well into the 20th century. Voters rejected right-hand traffic in , but after the Riksdag passed legislation in changeover took place on 3 September , known in Swedish as Dagen H.
The Stockholm metro is the only underground system in Sweden and serves the city of Stockholm via stations. The rail transport market is privatised, but while there are many privately owned enterprises, the largest operators are still owned by state.
The counties have financing, ticket and marketing responsibility for local trains. For other trains the operators handle tickets and marketing themselves. Most of the railways are owned and operated by Trafikverket. Most tram nets were closed in , as Sweden changed from left-side to right-side driving, but they survived in Norrköping , Gothenburg and Stockholm.
A new tram line is set to open in Lund in The largest airports include Stockholm—Arlanda Airport The most used airport for a large part of Southern Sweden is Kastrup or Copenhagen Airport which is located only 12 minutes by train from the closest Swedish railway station, Hyllie. Copenhagen Airport also is the largest international airport in Scandinavia and Finland. Sweden also has a number of car ferry connections to several neighbouring countries. Trelleborg is the busiest ferry port in Sweden in terms of weight transported by lorry.
There are over seventy departures a day each way; during peak times, a ferry departs every fifteen minutes. Finally, there are ferries from Strömstad near the Norwegian border to destinations around the Oslofjord in Norway.
There used to be ferry services to the United Kingdom from Göteborg to destinations such as Immingham, Harwich and Newcastle, but these have been discontinued. Sweden has two domestic ferry lines with large vessels, both connecting Gotland with the mainland. The lines leave from Visby harbour on the island, and the ferries sail to either Oskarshamn or Nynäshamn. Sweden has one of the most highly developed welfare states in the world.
During this period Sweden's economic growth was also one of the highest in the industrial world. A series of successive social reforms transformed the country into one of the most equal and developed on earth. The consistent growth of the welfare state led to Swedes achieving unprecedented levels of social mobility and quality of life—to this day Sweden consistently ranks at the top of league tables for health, literacy and Human Development—far ahead of some wealthier countries for example the United States.
However, from the s and onwards Sweden's GDP growth fell behind other industrialised countries and the country's per capita ranking fell from 4th to 14th place in a few decades. Sweden began slowing the expansion of the welfare state in the s, and even trimming it back. Sweden has recently been relatively quick to adopt neoliberal policies, such as privatization , financialization and deregulation ,   compared to countries such as France. Also since the mids, Sweden has had the fastest growth in inequality of any developed nation, according to the OECD.
This has largely been attributed to the reduction in state benefits and a shift toward the privatisation of public services. According to Barbro Sorman, an activist of the opposition Left Party, "The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.
Sweden is starting to look like the USA. Sweden adopted free market agricultural policies in Since the s, the agricultural sector had been subject to price controls. In June , the Riksdag voted for a new agricultural policy marking a significant shift away from price controls. As a result, food prices fell somewhat. However, the liberalisations soon became moot because EU agricultural controls supervened.
Since the late s, Sweden has had the highest tax quota as percentage of GDP in the industrialised world, although today the gap has narrowed and Denmark has surpassed Sweden as the most heavily taxed country among developed countries. Certain items are subject to additional taxes, e. In [update] , total tax revenue was State and municipal employees total around a third of the workforce, much more than in most Western countries.
Spending on transfers is also high. In and , 69 per cent of the employed workers is organised in trade unions. Sweden has a relatively high amount of sick leave per worker in OECD: The unemployment rate was 7. In the 18th century Sweden's scientific revolution took off. Previously, technical progress had mainly come from mainland Europe.
Many of the companies founded by early pioneers still remain major international brands. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and instituted the Nobel Prizes.
Lars Magnus Ericsson started the company bearing his name, Ericsson, still one of the largest telecom companies in the world. Jonas Wenström was an early pioneer in alternating current and is along with Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla credited as one of the inventors of the three-phase electrical system.
The traditional engineering industry is still a major source of Swedish inventions, but pharmaceuticals, electronics and other high-tech industries are gaining ground. Tetra Pak was an invention for storing liquid foods, invented by Erik Wallenberg. Losec , an ulcer medicine, was the world's best-selling drug in the s and was developed by AstraZeneca. A large portion of the Swedish economy is to this day based on the export of technical inventions, and many large multinational corporations from Sweden have their origins in the ingenuity of Swedish inventors.
Swedish inventors held 47, patents in the United States in [update] , according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. As a nation, only ten other countries hold more patents than Sweden. Combined, the public and the private sector in Sweden allocate over 3. As a percentage of GDP, the Swedish government spends the most of any nation on research and development. In , the decisions to construct Sweden's two largest scientific installations, the synchrotron radiation facility MAX IV and the European Spallation Source, were taken.
The European Spallation Source , costing some SEK 14 billion to construct,  will be operational in and will give an approximately 30 times stronger neutron beam than any of today's existing neutron source installations. Both facilities have strong implications on material research. The total resident population of Sweden was 10,, on 31 March The second- and third-largest cities are Gothenburg and Malmö.
Greater Gothenburg counts just over a million inhabitants and the same goes for the western part of Scania, along the Öresund. Outside of major cities, areas with notably higher population density include the agricultural part of Östergötland, the western coast, the area around Lake Mälaren and the agricultural area around Uppsala. The mountains and most of the remote coastal areas are almost unpopulated. Between and , approximately 1.
There are more than 4. There are no official statistics on ethnicity, but according to Statistics Sweden, around 3,, The official language of Sweden is Swedish,   a North Germanic language, related and very similar to Danish and Norwegian , but differing in pronunciation and orthography. Norwegians have little difficulty understanding Swedish, and Danes can also understand it, with slightly more difficulty than Norwegians.
The same goes for standard Swedish speakers, who find it far easier to understand Norwegian than Danish. The dialects spoken in Scania , the southernmost part of the country, are influenced by Danish because the region traditionally was a part of Denmark and is nowadays situated closely to it. However, no official statistics are kept on language use.
Along with Finnish, four other minority languages are also recognised: Meänkieli , Sami , Romani , and Yiddish. Swedish became Sweden's official language on 1 July , when a new language law was implemented. In varying degrees, depending largely on frequency of interaction with English, a majority of Swedes, especially those born after World War II, understand and speak English, owing to trade links, the popularity of overseas travel, a strong Anglo-American influence and the tradition of subtitling rather than dubbing foreign television shows and films, and the relative similarity of the two languages which makes learning English easier.
English became a compulsory subject for secondary school students studying natural sciences as early as , and has been a compulsory subject for all Swedish students since the late s. Most students also study one and sometimes two additional languages. These include but are not limited to German, French and Spanish. Some Danish and Norwegian is at times also taught as part of Swedish courses for native speakers.
Because of the extensive mutual intelligibility between the three continental Scandinavian languages Swedish speakers often use their native language when visiting or living in Norway or Denmark.
With Christianisation in the 11th century, the laws of the country changed, forbidding worship of other deities into the late 19th century. After the Protestant Reformation in the s, a change led by Martin Luther 's Swedish associate Olaus Petri , the authority of the Roman Catholic Church was abolished and Lutheranism became widespread. Adoption of Lutheranism was completed by the Uppsala Synod of , and it became the official religion. During the era following the Reformation, usually known as the period of Lutheran orthodoxy , small groups of non-Lutherans, especially Calvinist Dutchmen , the Moravian Church and French Huguenots played a significant role in trade and industry, and were quietly tolerated as long as they kept a low religious profile.
With religious liberalisations in the late 18th century believers of other faiths, including Judaism and Roman Catholicism , were allowed to live and work freely in the country. However, until it remained illegal for Lutherans to convert to another religion. The 19th century saw the arrival of various evangelical free churches , and, towards the end of the century, secularism , leading many to distance themselves from church rituals.
Leaving the Church of Sweden became legal with the so-called dissenter law of , but only under the provision of entering another Christian denomination. The right to stand outside any religious denomination was formally established in the Law on Freedom of religion in In , the Church of Sweden was disestablished.
Sweden was the second Nordic country to disestablish its state church after Finland did so in the Church Act of At the end of , Since , only children that are christened become members. Some , Swedes are today members of various Evangelical Protestant free churches where congregation attendance is much higher , and due to recent immigration, there are now some , Eastern Orthodox Christians and 92, Roman Catholics living in Sweden.
The first Muslim congregation was established in , when a small contingent of Tatars migrated from Finland. Islam's presence in Sweden remained marginal until the s, when Sweden started to receive migrants from the Balkans and Turkey. Further immigration from North Africa and the Middle East have brought the estimated Muslim population to , According to the Eurobarometer Poll , .
Sociology professor Phil Zuckerman claims that Swedes, despite a lack of belief in God, commonly question the term atheist , preferring to call themselves Christians while being content with remaining in the Church of Sweden. Healthcare in Sweden is similar in quality to other developed nations. Sweden ranks in the top five countries with respect to low infant mortality. It also ranks high in life expectancy and in safe drinking water. A person seeking care first contacts a clinic for a doctor's appointment, and may then be referred to a specialist by the clinic physician, who may in turn recommend either in-patient or out-patient treatment, or an elective care option.
The health care is governed by the 21 landsting of Sweden and is mainly funded by taxes, with nominal fees for patients. Children aged 1—5 years old are guaranteed a place in a public kindergarten Swedish: Between the ages of 6 and 16, children attend compulsory comprehensive school. The school system is largely financed by taxes.
The Swedish government treats public and independent schools equally  by introducing education vouchers in as one of the first countries in the world after the Netherlands. Anyone can establish a for-profit school and the municipality must pay new schools the same amount as municipal schools get. School lunch is free for all students in Sweden, and providing breakfast is also encouraged.
There are a number of different universities and colleges in Sweden , the oldest and largest of which are situated in Uppsala , Lund , Gothenburg and Stockholm. The large influx of immigrants to Swedish schools has been cited as a significant part of the reason why Sweden has dropped more than any other European country in the international PISA rankings.
Immigration has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of Sweden , and in recent centuries the country has been transformed from a nation of net emigration, ending after World War I, to a nation of net immigration, from World War II onwards.
The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobility , crime, and voting behaviour. There are no exact numbers on the ethnic background of migrants and their descendants in Sweden because the Swedish government does not base any statistics on ethnicity.
This is, however, not to be confused with the migrants' national backgrounds , which are recorded. In addition, , persons were born in Sweden to two parents born abroad and another , persons had one parent born abroad with the other parent born in Sweden. According to Eurostat , in , there were 1. Of these, , 9. In , immigration reached its highest level since records began, with , people emigrating to Sweden. The ten largest groups of foreign-born persons in the Swedish civil registry in were from: According to an official investigation by The Swedish Pensions Agency on order from the government, the immigration to Sweden will double the state's expenses for pensions to the population.
The total immigration to Sweden for will be roughly people, and after that individuals every year. In total seven Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to Swedes. Swedish 20th-century culture is noted by pioneering works in the early days of cinema, with Mauritz Stiller and Victor Sjöström. In the s—s, the filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and actors Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman became internationally noted people within cinema.
More recently, the films of Lukas Moodysson , Lasse Hallström , and Ruben Östlund have received international recognition. Throughout the s and s Sweden was seen as an international leader in what is now referred to as the " sexual revolution ", with gender equality having particularly been promoted. The image of "hot love and cold people" emerged.
Sexual liberalism was seen as part of modernisation process that by breaking down traditional borders would lead to the emancipation of natural forces and desires. Since 1 May , Sweden repealed its "registered partnership" laws and fully replaced them with gender-neutral marriage ,  Sweden also offers domestic partnerships for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
Cohabitation sammanboende by couples of all ages, including teenagers as well as elderly couples, is widespread. Recently, Sweden is experiencing a baby boom. Historical re-creations of Norse music have been attempted based on instruments found in Viking sites. The instruments used were the lur a sort of trumpet , simple string instruments, wooden flutes and drums.
Sweden has a significant folk-music scene. There is Sami music, called the joik , which is a type of chant which is part of the traditional Sami animistic spirituality. Sweden also has a prominent choral music tradition. Out of a population of 9. In , with over million dollars in revenue, Sweden was the third-largest music exporter in the world and surpassed only by the US and the UK. Sweden has also become known for a large number of heavy metal bands, including Bathory , Opeth , Amon Amarth and Ghost.
The renowned neo-classical power metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen is also from Sweden. Starting in the s, Denniz Pop 's Cheiron Studios became an international hit factory, with his disciple Max Martin responsible for Britney Spears ' breakthrough songs and for shaping the whole boy-band boom at the turn of the millennium with global hits for groups like the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync.
In the mids, Martin came back with a more rock-tinged sound and produced major hits with artists such as Kelly Clarkson , Pink and Katy Perry. Sweden is one of the most successful competing nations at the Eurovision Song Contest , with a total of six victories in the contest , , , , and , right behind Ireland who have seven wins. In the Eurovision Song Contest each participating country submits an original song to be performed on live television and radio; however, no restriction on the nationality of the songwriter or the artist exists which has resulted in countries being represented by songwriters and artist who are not nationals of that country.
In recent years Swedish songwriters have been involved in the writing — entirely or partly — of entries from several countries in addition to Sweden. For instance, in the edition of Eurovision Song Contest, Swedish songwriters and producers featured in 10 out of the 42 songs that qualified for the contest; in , the numbers were 7 songs out of the 39 songs in the contest; in , 7 songs out of 37 songs in the contest; in , 8 songs out of 40 songs in the contest; in , 12 songs out of 42 songs in the contest.
Sweden has a rather lively jazz scene. During the last sixty years or so it has attained a remarkably high artistic standard, stimulated by domestic as well as external influences and experiences. Before the 13th century almost all buildings were made of timber, but a shift began towards stone. Early Swedish stone buildings are the Romanesque churches on the country side.
As so happens, many of them were built in Scania and are in effect Danish churches. This would include the Lund Cathedral from the 11th century and the somewhat younger church in Dalby , but also many early Gothic churches built through influences of the Hanseatic League, such as in Ystad, Malmö and Helsingborg.
Cathedrals in other parts of Sweden were also built as seats of Sweden's bishops. The Skara Cathedral is of bricks from the 14th century, and the Uppsala Cathedral in the 15th. In the foundations of the Linköping Cathedral were made, the material was there limestone , but the building took some years to finish.
Among older structures are also some significant fortresses and other historical buildings such as at Borgholm Castle , Halltorps Manor and Eketorp fortress on the island Öland, the Nyköping fortress and the Visby city wall. Around Sweden was out of the Middle Ages and united under King Gustav Vasa, who immediately initiated grand mansions, castles and fortresses to be built.
Some of the more magnificent include the Kalmar fortress, the Gripsholm Castle and the one at Vadstena. In the next two centuries, Sweden was designated by Baroque architecture and later the rococo. Notable projects from that time include the city Karlskrona, which has now also been declared a World Heritage Site and the Drottningholm Palace.
The style came to dominate in the following decades. Some notable projects of this kind were the Million Programme , offering affordable living in large apartment complexes. Swedes are among the greatest consumers of newspapers in the world, and nearly every town is served by a local paper. The country's main quality morning papers are Dagens Nyheter liberal , Göteborgs-Posten liberal , Svenska Dagbladet liberal conservative and Sydsvenska Dagbladet liberal.
The two largest evening tabloids are Aftonbladet social democratic and Expressen liberal. The ad-financed, free international morning paper, Metro International , was founded in Stockholm, Sweden. The country's news is reported in English by, among others, The Local liberal.
The public broadcasting companies held a monopoly on radio and television for a long time in Sweden. Licence funded radio broadcasts started in A second radio network was started in and a third opened in response to pirate radio stations.
Non-profit community radio was allowed in and in commercial local radio started. The licence-funded television service was officially launched in A second channel, TV2 , was launched in These two channels operated by Sveriges Television since the late s held a monopoly until the s when cable and satellite television became available.
The first Swedish language satellite service was TV3 which started broadcasting from London in In the government announced it would begin taking applications from private television companies wishing to broadcast on the terrestrial network.
TV4, which had previously been broadcasting via satellite, was granted a permit and began its terrestrial broadcasts in , becoming the first private channel to broadcast television content from within the country. Around half the population are connected to cable television. Digital terrestrial television in Sweden started in and the last analogue terrestrial broadcasts were terminated in With the conversion of the land to Christianity around AD, Sweden entered the Middle Ages , during which monastic writers preferred to use Latin.
Therefore, there are only a few texts in the Old Swedish from that period. Swedish literature only flourished when the Swedish language was standardised in the 16th century, a standardisation largely due to the full translation of the Bible into Swedish in This translation is the so-called Gustav Vasa Bible.
With improved education and the freedom brought by secularisation , the 17th century saw several notable authors develop the Swedish language further.
Some key figures include Georg Stiernhielm 17th century , who was the first to write classical poetry in Swedish; Johan Henric Kellgren 18th century , the first to write fluent Swedish prose; Carl Michael Bellman late 18th century , the first writer of burlesque ballads; and August Strindberg late 19th century , a socio-realistic writer and playwright who won worldwide fame.
The early 20th century continued to produce notable authors, such as Selma Lagerlöf, Nobel laureate , Verner von Heidenstam Nobel laureate and Pär Lagerkvist Nobel laureate In recent decades, a handful of Swedish writers have established themselves internationally, including the detective novelist Henning Mankell and the writer of spy fiction Jan Guillou.
The Swedish writer to have made the most lasting impression on world literature is the children's book writer Astrid Lindgren, and her books about Pippi Longstocking , Emil , and others. In , the second best-selling fiction author in the world was Stieg Larsson , whose Millennium series of crime novels is being published posthumously to critical acclaim.
Apart from traditional Protestant Christian holidays , Sweden also celebrates some unique holidays, some of a pre-Christian tradition. They include Midsummer celebrating the summer solstice ; Walpurgis Night Valborgsmässoafton on 30 April lighting bonfires; and Labour Day or Mayday on 1 May is dedicated to socialist demonstrations. The day of giver-of-light Saint Lucia , 13 December, is widely acknowledged in elaborate celebrations which betoken its Italian origin and commence the month-long Christmas season.
Furthermore, there are official flag day observances and a Namesdays in Sweden calendar. In August many Swedes have kräftskivor crayfish dinner parties. The Sami , one of Sweden's indigenous minorities, have their holiday on 6 February and Scania celebrate their Scanian Flag day on the third Sunday in July. Swedish cuisine, like that of the other Scandinavian countries Denmark , Norway and Finland , was traditionally simple. Fish particularly herring , meat, potatoes and dairy products played prominent roles.
Akvavit is a popular alcoholic distilled beverage , and the drinking of snaps is of cultural importance. The traditional flat and dry crisp bread has developed into several contemporary variants. Regionally important foods are the surströmming a fermented fish in northern Sweden and eel in Scania in southern Sweden. Swedish traditional dishes, some of which are many hundreds of years old, others perhaps a century or less, are still a very important part of Swedish everyday meals, in spite of the fact that modern-day Swedish cuisine adopts many international dishes.
In August, at the traditional feast known as crayfish party, kräftskiva , Swedes eat large amounts of crayfish boiled with dill.
Swedes have been fairly prominent in the film area through the years. Amongst several directors who have made internationally successful films can be mentioned Ingmar Bergman, Lukas Moodysson and Lasse Hallström. These companies, however, are composed largely of buyers who import fashionable goods from throughout Europe and America, continuing the trend of Swedish business toward multinational economic dependency like many of its neighbours.
Sport activities are a national movement with half of the population actively participating in organised sporting activities. The two main spectator sports are football and ice hockey.
Second to football, horse sports have the highest number of practitioners who are mostly women. The Swedish national men's ice hockey team, affectionately known as Tre Kronor English: Three Crowns ; the national symbol of Sweden , is regarded as one of the best in the world.
The team has won the World Championships nine times, placing them third in the all-time medal count. Tre Kronor also won Olympic gold medals in and In , Tre Kronor became the first national hockey team to win both the Olympic and world championships in the same year.
The Swedish national football team has seen some success at the World Cup in the past, finishing second when they hosted the tournament in , and third twice, in and Athletics has enjoyed a surge in popularity due to several successful athletes in recent years, such as Carolina Klüft and Stefan Holm.
Due to its northerly latitude numerous world class winter sports athletes have come from Sweden. The following are links to international rankings of Sweden from selected research institutes and foundations including economic output and various composite indices. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the country.
For other uses, see Sweden disambiguation. For other uses of "Swedish" or the Swedish word "svensk a ", see Swedish disambiguation. Greater coat of arms.
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