SWEDEN - BASIC FACTS

Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: Konungariket Sverige) is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. It has borders with Norway (west and north) and Finland (northeast). Sweden joined the European Union on January 1, 1995. Its capital is Stockholm.

Sweden

Land area: 158,927 sq mi (411,621 sq km); total area: 173,731 sq mi (449,964 sq km)

Population (2007 est.): 9,031,088 (growth rate: 0.2%); birth rate: 10.2/1000; infant mortality rate: 2.8/1000; life expectancy: 80.6; density per sq mi: 57

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Stockholm, 1,622,300 (metro. area), 1,251,900 (city proper)

Other large cities: Göteborg, 506,600; Malmö, 245,300; Uppsala, 127,300

Monetary unit: Krona

Language: Swedish, small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities

Ethnicity/race: indigenous population: Swedes with Finnish and Sami minorities; foreign-born or first-generation immigrants: Finns, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, Turks

Religions: Lutheran 87%, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist

Sweden, which occupies the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, is the fourth-largest country in Europe and is slightly larger than, for example, California. The country slopes eastward and southward from the Kjólen Mountains along the Norwegian border, where the peak elevation is Kebnekaise at 6,965 ft (2,123 m) in Lapland. In the north are mountains and many lakes. To the south and east are central lowlands and south of them are fertile areas of forest, valley, and plain. Along Sweden’s rocky coast, chopped up by bays and inlets, are many islands, the largest of which are Gotland and Öland.

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.

Sweden is surrounded by Norway (west), Finland (northeast), the Skagerrak, Kattegat and Öresund straits (southwest) and the Baltic Sea (east). It has maritime borders with Denmark, Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, and it is also linked to Denmark (southwest) by the Öresund Bridge.

The 25 provinces of Sweden have total area of 449,964 km² (173,732 sq mi), Sweden is the 55th largest country in the world. It is the 5th largest in Europe, and the largest in Northern Europe. Sweden´s population was 9.1 million people in 2006.

The lowest elevation in Sweden is in the bay of Lake Hammarsjön, near Kristianstad at -2.41 m (-7.91 ft) below sea level. The highest point is Kebnekaise at 2,111 m (6,926 ft) above sea level.

Sweden has 25 provinces or landskap (landscapes): 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 are common in everyday language. The provinces are usually grouped together in three large lands: Norrland, Svealand and Götaland.

About 15% of Sweden lies north of the Arctic Circle. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, with increasing forest coverage northward. The highest population density is in the Öresund region in southern Sweden, and in the valley of lake Mälaren in central Sweden. Gotland and Öland are Sweden’s largest islands; Vänern and Vättern are Sweden’s largest lakes.