Sweden Country Facts

Capital city Stockholm
Surface 449,964 km²
Population 10,196,000
Road network length 210,760 km
Length of highway network 2,247 km
First highway 1953
Motorway name Motorväg
Traffic drives Right
License plate code s

Sweden is a country in Northern Europe and belongs to the Scandinavian country group. The country has 10 million inhabitants and is 11 times the size of the Netherlands. The capital is Stockholm.


Sweden is located in Northern Europe and belongs to Scandinavia. It forms the eastern and southern parts of the Scandinavian peninsula. Sweden is located on the Baltic Sea (Baltic Sea) and the Gulf of Bothnia to the east and the Kattegat to the west. Sweden has quite a long coastline of 3,218 kilometers. Sweden has a long border with Norway, and borders Finland to the north. It borders Denmark via the Öresund. Sweden measures a maximum of 1,550 kilometers from north to south and 460 kilometers from west to east as the crow flies.

In addition to numerous small islands and archipelagos off the coast, Sweden also includes the larger islands of Gotland and Öland in the Baltic Sea. The Danish island of Bornholm is located 35 kilometers off the south coast of Sweden. About 15% of Sweden lies above the Arctic Circle. Sweden covers an area of ​​450,295 km² and is the fifth largest country in Europe. The area is comparable to the US state of California.


The E22 near Norrkoping.

Sweden is dominated by forests, about 70% of the land area is forested. The south and southwest of Sweden have the largest open areas, in the regions of Skåne and Halland. There is a lot of agriculture here. There is also an east-west area with little forest in Västra Götaland and Östergötland, also called the Central Swedish Lowland and has traditionally been the heart of Swedish society. The region around the Mälaren is also less intensively forested. However, the south of Sweden is for the most part quite densely forested. Because there are few significant differences in height here, the afforestation here is somewhat monotonous. To the north there are more differences in height, especially in the wide border region with Norway.

The highest mountain in Sweden is the 2,106 meter high Kebnekaise in northern Sweden. However, there is a wide swath of Scandinavian Highlands in central and northern Sweden that lies above the tree line. In central Sweden, the treeline is about 700 meters high, in northern Sweden about 500 meters, so these regions are less densely forested. However, the highlands are quite inaccessible, especially compared to Norway or the Alps.

Sweden is characterized by thousands of lakes. In the south of Sweden there are three large lakes, of which the Vänern is the largest. To the east of this is the elongated Vättern and to the west of Stockholm is the Mälaren Lake District. There are many large and elongated reservoirs in central and northern Sweden. The longest river in Sweden is interrupted by the Vänern, and is called Klarälven to the north and the Göta älv to the south. In central and northern Sweden the rivers flow from west to east and are often wild.


Sweden is influenced by the warm Gulf Stream, but inland and northern Sweden in particular has more of a continental climate, with cold winters and fairly warm summers. The average minimum temperature is -22°C in Kiruna in winter, but only -3°C in Malmö. Summers are still relatively warm, comparable to the Netherlands, with average maximum temperatures of 22 °C in Central and South Sweden, 18 °C in Kiruna. In Lapland, sometimes high temperatures of around 30°C occur. The precipitation in Sweden is relatively low, ranging from about 775 mm per year in Gothenburg to 540 mm in Stockholm and 520 mm in Kiruna.


Sweden has a number of large cities. The capital Stockholm is by far the largest, but Sweden has several cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants. Gothenburg is the second city, followed by Malmö, Uppsala, Västerås and Örebro. Other cities have fewer than 100,000 inhabitants. The larger cities are mainly in southern Sweden, but there are also a few larger cities on the east coast along the Gulf of Bothnia. In northern Sweden, the mining town of Kiruna is important, especially as it is the only larger town in Swedish Lapland.


The Swedish economy is the most industry-based of all Scandinavian countries. However, the economy is diverse. Agriculture plays a role along the edges of southern Sweden, elsewhere forestry is dominant. Important raw materials such as ore are mined in the north of Sweden, especially around Kiruna. These are mostly exported via the Norwegian port of Narvik. The industry mainly consists of the automotive industry, with well-known brands such as Volvo, SAAB and Scania. Telecommunications and the pharmaceutical industry are also important. One of Sweden’s best-known brands is IKEA. Sweden has a high standard of living, with a high level of taxation. The average annual income in Sweden is approximately SEK 270,000 (€ 30,000).


Sweden is divided into 21 provinces (län). The largest province is Norrbotten (98,245 km²), the smallest is Blekinge (2,946 km²). Three provinces have more than 1 million inhabitants (Stockholm, Västra Götaland and Skåne). However, the län do not quite correspond to the historical provinces that still play an important role culturally. Some provincial names have disappeared as län, but are still common in the spoken language. The län are mainly administrative and have only limited provincial government, especially in the areas of health care and public transport.

Country in Sweden
Blekinge • Dalarna • Gotland • Gävleborg • Halland • Jämtland • Jönköping • Kalmar • Kronoberg • Norrbotten • Örebro • Östergötland • Skåne • Stockholm • Södermanland • Uppsala • Värmland • Västerbotten • Västernorrland • Västra Götland •


At the beginning of the 17th century, the country reached 1 million inhabitants, in 1900 the limit of 5 million inhabitants was exceeded. In 2018, the limit of 10 million inhabitants was reached. This makes Sweden the largest country in Scandinavia, both in terms of area and population. The population of Sweden mostly lives in the southern half of the country, the center is already considerably less populated and the north is generally very sparsely populated outside a few coastal towns.

Sweden’s three largest metropolitan areas are Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. The population is highly urbanized, there are a total of 17 cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, which is considerably more than in the other Scandinavian countries. The major cities are mainly located in the south of Sweden, the northernmost major city is Umeå.

Sweden does not keep official statistics on ethnicity, but almost a third of its inhabitants are of foreign descent, distinguishing between residents of Western/European descent and those from countries outside Europe, such as Syria, Iraq, Iran and Somalia.

Swedish is spoken in Sweden, a Germanic language related to Norwegian and Danish, and both languages ​​have some degree of interchangeability. Finnish is a minority language spoken by about 5% of the population. Many migrant languages ​​are also spoken in the major cities. Sweden is known as one of the European countries where the knowledge of English is greatest.


Sweden emerged as an independent state in the Middle Ages. The Kalmar Union was founded in 1397 as a counterpart to the Hanseatic League. Sweden left this union in 1523. Between 1630 and 1635 Sweden was involved in the Thirty Years’ War between Reformed and Catholics in Europe. From the late Middle Ages to the early 18th century, Sweden was a powerful empire in Northern Europe and conquered present-day Finland and parts of the Baltic States and for a while also areas in Northern Germany. Sweden gradually lost territory during the 19th century, culminating with the annexation of Finland by Russia in 1809. However, the Swedish influence in Finland is still a fact today, as part of the Finns are Swedish-speaking. Between 1814 and 1905, the Union existed between Sweden and Norway, but the two countries remained de facto separated. Sweden was neutral in World War I and World War II, as well as during the Cold War. In 1995 Sweden joined the European Union.


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