Sweden is one of the largest countries in Europe, 447 435 km², with great diversity in its nature and climate. Sweden is characterized by its long coastline, extensive forests and numerous lakes. It is one of the world’s northernmost countries.

Sweden is a sparsely populated country with 10 million inhabitants. The population density is  22 inhabitants per sq. km, with the highest concentration in the southern half of the country. The population density in the northern half is below 5 people per sq. km. The mountains and most of the coast remotely areas are next to unpopulated. Approximately 85% of the population lives in urban areas.

About 15% of Sweden lies north of the Arctic Circle. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, with increasing forest coverage northward. Around 65% of Sweden’s total land area is covered with forests.

The capital city Stockholm and it´s urban area has a population of about 1.3 million. The second- and third-largest cities are Gothenburg/ Göteborg and Malmö.

Sweden experiences extreme contrasts between its long summer days and equally long winter nights. In the summer, the sun stays in the sky around the clock in the parts of

Sweden north of the Arctic Circle, but even as far south as Stockholm (59°N) the June and July nights have only a few hours of semi-darkness.

Sweden has 25 provinces, ”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 Sami people are an indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. There are about 25.000 Sami living in Sweden.

Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with parliamentary democracy and King Carl XVI Gustaf is the head of state, but the role of the monarch is limited to ceremonial and representative functions.

Sweden’s borders have been unchanged since 1905 and the country has not been at war since 1814.

Swedish, a North Germanic language, is officially the main language in Sweden. Swedish is also one of two official languages of Finland. Swedish is related to Danish and Norwegian. Norwegians have little difficulty understanding Swedish, and Danes can also understand it, with slightly more difficulty than the Norwegians. The same goes for standard Swedish speakers, who find it far easier to understand Norwegian than Danish.

Welcome to discover Sweden and the north of Europe! Learning Swedish is the best way to know it´s people och to explore it´s nature och culture!

Välkommen att upptäcka Sverige och norra Europa! Att lära sig svenska är bästa sättet att lära känna människorna och att utforska naturen och kulturen!

Text: Lennart Grape

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