Map of Sweden
Map of Sweden

Introduction to Sweden

The Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: Konungariket Sverige) is a Nordic country in Scandinavia, in Northern Europe. It is bordered by Norway on the west, Finland on the northeast, the Skagerrak Strait and the Kattegat Strait on the southwest, and the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia on the east. Sweden has a low population density except in its metropolitan areas, with most of the inland consisting of forests and mountainous wilderness.

Following the decline of the Viking Age, Sweden became part of the Kalmar Union together with Denmark and Norway (Finland at this time was a part of Sweden). Sweden left the union in the beginning of the 16th century, and more or less constantly battled it's neighbours for many years to come, especially the still united Denmark-Norway, who never really accepted Sweden leaving the union. In the 17th and 18th centuries Sweden extended its territory through warfare and became a Great Power, twice its current size. The extended territory was subsequently lost within a century. Since 1814, Sweden has been at peace, adopting a policy of keeping free of alliances.

As part of its social welfare system, Sweden provides an extensive childcare system that guarantees a place for all young children from 1-5 years old in a public day-care facility. Between ages 6-16, children attend compulsory comprehensive school. After completing the ninth grade, 90% continue with a three year upper secondary school leading sometimes to a vocational diploma and always to the qualifications for further studies at a university or university college (högskola).

Sweden enjoys a mostly temperate climate despite its northern latitude, mainly due to the Gulf Stream. In the south of Sweden leaf-bearing trees are prolific, in the north pines, spruces and hardy birches dominate the landscape. In the mountains of northern Sweden a sub-Arctic climate predominates. North of the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets for part of each summer, and in the winter, night is unending for a corresponding period.
Flag of Sweden
Flag of Sweden

Cultural notes about Sweden

Dark forests, red cottages, ABBA, Volvo and Ikea? The Culture of Sweden is arguably what has made Sweden known in the world. In the outskirts of Europe the country developed its style isolated from the main cultures in the world.

When Sweden's culture began spreading in the world, it was through the traditions of the century old flavours, which had been fostered and nourished and now sprung into a crescendo. The distinguished and honoured 20th century artists in Sweden have all been marked by this essence they were enabled to feed on since childhood.

As exemplified by the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies, Sweden is a leading nation in the field of education and has 33 institutions of higher learning.

Official Canadian government advisories for travelling to, in and around Sweden

There are no serious security or safety problems. The crime rate is low. Thefts from vehicles, residences, or public areas, such as public transportation, museums, and restaurants, occur. Hotel lobbies and breakfast rooms attract professional, well-dressed thieves. Pickpockets and purse-snatchers may work in teams: one to distract the victim, and another to commit the robbery. Remain vigilant and ensure valuables are secure. For emergency assistance, call 112.
Country Data
Population 8,986,400
Capital City Stockholm (Stockholm)
Major Cities(s) Stockholm, Goteborg, Malmo, Uppsala, Linkoping, Norrkoping, Vasteras, Orebro, Jonkoping, Helsingborg
Major Religion(s) Lutheran 87%, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist
Language Swedish (100%)
Physical Size 449,964 km²
Land Area 410,934 km²
Water Area 39,030 km²