Facts about Sweden

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Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden.
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Sweden is often called the heart of Scandinavia, supported by interesting facts.

An interesting country in the heart of Scandinavia, facts about Sweden are often less known than the European countries that are more popular tourist destinations.

The homeland of marauding Vikings, Sweden is often visualized with breathtaking northern panoramas. Many people would cite Sweden's famous filmmaker, Ingmar Bergman, and actors Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman. There are many other facts about Sweden that give the country its standing as a cultural, historical, economic and political powerhouse in the contemporary world economy.

Here are some important facts about Sweden:

1) Sweden is in Scandinavia

Sweden is located in the center of Scandinavia, a region of northern Europe consisting of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and (by some definitions) Finland. Sweden is bordered to the west by Norway, to the east by Finland, and to the south by Denmark. Sweden is a member of the European Union.

2) Sweden is the largest country in northern Europe

At about 174,000 square miles, Sweden is the largest country in northern Europe. Despite its large landmass, Sweden has a population of only 9 million, with much of the population centered in and around the capital city of Stockholm (Greater Stockholm has a population of 1.7 million).  With such a small population on a large land mass, Sweden is renowned for its beautiful landscapes and geography. About 65% of Sweden is forested.

3) Despite its northern latitude, Swedens climate is fairly temperate

This is one of the most surprising facts about Sweden. Because of the Gulf Stream, Swedens climate is more temperate than many other countries located at the same latitude. The most populous parts of the country see warm summers with average temperatures in the mid-70s F, and cold winters with average temperatures in the mid-20s F. Because of its northern latitude Sweden experiences very long days during summer months and very long nights during winter months. Even in the southern city of Stockholm June nights have only a few hours of semi-darkness.

4) The national language of Sweden is Swedish

Swedish is a Germanic language that shares similarities with Norwegian and Danish. Swedes place a high priority on language education and international culture-- most speak excellent English, and many are also fluent in Norwegian or Finnish.

5) Sweden has both a democratically elected Parliament and a Monarch

Sweden is in name a Monarchy ruled by King Carl Gustav XVI, the 74th King of Sweden. In practice, Sweden is ruled by a democratically elected Parliament, called the Riksdagshuset, which has 349 members who are chosen in elections that take place every four years. The Swedish government has a history of pacifism, and has not been involved in an armed conflict for over 200 years.

6) Sweden is a predominantly Lutheran country

As of 2008, about 80% of Swedes belong to the Church of Sweden, which follows a Lutheran orthodoxy. However, many members of the church do not actively practice, and Sweden has a reputation as one of the most secular countries in the world. Church membership is dropping by about 1% a year, and some estimates indicate that about 50% of Swedes could be classified as atheists or agnostics.

7) Swedes take pride in their progressive thinking

It is a fact that Sweden is well-known for its laid-back and liberal culture. It is considered one of the highest-ranking European countries in studies of sexual, political, and educational equality. Swedes take pride in their international culture, and they place a high priority on environmental issues in preserving their natural beauty. The country is also well-known for its contributions to world pop culture, having produced such musical acts as ABBA and the Cardigans, and a number of world-famous celebrities, including Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman.

SWEDEN.SE: The official gateway to Sweden
CIA - The World Factbook: Sweden

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