1. Sweden

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  5. About Sweden

    Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: Sv-Konungariket_Sverige.ogg|Konungariket Sverige [ˈko:.nɵ.ŋa.ˌri:.kət ˈsvær:.jə]), is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. It has borders with Norway (west and north) and Finland (northeast). It has been a member of the European Union since January 1, 1995. Its capital city is Stockholm.

    At 449,964 km² (173,720 square miles), Sweden is the third largest country by area in Western Europe and fifth in all of Europe. Sweden has a low population density of 20 people per square kilometre, except in its metropolitan areas; 84% of the population lives in urban areas, which comprise only 1.3% of the country's total land area so that's about 1,300 people per square kilometre (3,400 per square mile) in urban areas. The inhabitants of Sweden enjoy a high standard of living, and the country is generally perceived as modern and liberal, with an organisational and corporate culture that is non-hierarchical and collectivist compared to its Anglo-Saxon counterparts. Nature conservation, environmental protection and energy efficiency are generally prioritized in policy making and embraced by the general public in Sweden.

    Sweden has long been a major exporter of iron, copper and timber. Improved transportation and communication has allowed for the large scale utilization of remote natural assets, most notably timber and iron ore. In the 1890s, universal schooling and industrialization enabled the country to develop a successful manufacturing industry and by the twentieth century, Sweden emerged as a welfare state, consistently achieving high positions among the top-ranking countries in the UN Human Development Index (HDI). Sweden has a rich supply of water power, but lacks significant oil and coal deposits.

    Modern Sweden emerged out of the Kalmar Union formed in 1397, and by the unification of the country by King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century. In the 17th century the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish empire. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula, were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries. The historically integrated eastern half of Sweden, Finland, was lost to Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by military means forced Norway into a personal union with Sweden, a union which lasted until 1905. Since 1814, Sweden has been at peace, adopting a non-aligned foreign policy in peacetime and neutrality in wartime.

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