Welcome to my pages.

Sweden facts & history in brief

Northern Europe

Map of Sweden


Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free Encyclopaedia.

The Kingdom of Sweden (Konungariket Sverige in Swedish) is a Nordic country in Scandinavia, in Northern Europe.
It is bordered by Norway on the west and Finland in the northeast; the rest of it borders waters, as the Baltic Sea and Kattegat.
Due to the relatively small number of inhabitants, Sweden's landscape is known for its peace and the large forests and mountainous wilderness.

Konungariket Sverige

Royal motto: For Sverige i tiden (For Sweden - With the times)
Official language; None (Swedish de facto national language)
Capital; Stockholm
King; Carl XVI Gustav
Prime Minister; Goran Persson
Area; 449,964 kmē
Population; 8,875,053
Unification: 900-1200
Currency; Swedish krona
Time zone; UTC +1
National anthem; Du gamla, Du fria
Internet TLD; .SE
Phone Calling Code; 46

Conclusive archaeological evidence exists that the area now comprising Sweden was settled during the Stone Age, as the inland ice of the last ice age receded.
The earliest inhabitants are thought to have been hunters and gatherers, living primarily off what the sea (later called the Baltic Sea) could offer.
Some evidence supports the theory that southern Sweden was densely populated during the Bronze Age, as remains of large trading communities from this period have been found.
During the 9th and 10th century, the Viking culture flourished in Sweden, with trade, raiding and colonisation primarily going eastward, to the Baltic states, Russia and the Black Sea.
In the 1389, the three countries of Norway, Denmark and Sweden were united under a single monarch.
The Kalmar Union was entered into as a personal, not a political union, and during the 15th century, Sweden resisted attempts to centralise rule under the Danish king, even to the point of armed rebellion.
Sweden subsequently broke away in 1523, when Gustav Eriksson Vasa, later known as Gustav I of Sweden re-established separation of the Swedish Crown from the union.
The 17th century saw Sweden emerge as one of the great powers in Europe, due to successful participation, initiated by King Gustavus Adolphus, in the Thirty Years' War.
This position would crumble in the the 18th century when Russia took the reins of northern Europe in the Great Northern War, and eventually in 1809, splitting off the eastern half of Sweden, thereby creating Finland as a Russian Grand Duchy.
Recent Swedish history has been peaceful, the last war being the Campaign against Norway 1814 establishing a Sweden-dominated personal union with Norway.
The union was peacefully dissolved in 1905, despite some sabre-rattling.
Sweden remained a neutral country during World War I and World War II (with exception for the Winter War).

The first ceremony to award the Nobel Prize was held at the Old Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm in 1901; beginning in 1902, the prizes have been formally awarded by the King of Sweden.

Sweden has been a monarchy for almost a millennium with supply controlled by the parliament (the taxed peasantry constituting one of four chambers until 1866), and legislative power shared between the King and the Parliament (until 1975).
Executive power was shared between the King and a noble Privy Council until 1680, followed by the King's autocratic rule initiated by the common estates of the Parliament.
As a reaction to the failed Great Northern War Parliamentarism was introduced in 1719, followed by three different flavours of Constitutional Monarchy in 1772, 1789 and 1809, the latter granting several civil liberties.
Parliamentarism was reintroduced in 1917 as king Gustaf V, after decades of struggle, accepted appointing Cabinets supported by majorities in the Parliament, followed by common and equal suffrage enacted 1918-21.
Parliamentarism was upheld by his successor Gustav VI Adolf until a new constitution in 1975 abolished the monarch's political power.
The monarch remains as the formal, but merely a symbolic, head of state with mainly ceremonial duties.
Social Democracy has played a dominant political role since 1917, after Reformists had confirmed their strength and the Revolutionaries left the party.
Social Democratic influence over society and government is often described as Hegemony.
After 1932 the Cabinets have been led and dominated by the Social Democrats except for: a few summer months 1936; six years 1976-1982; and three years 1991-1994.
Constitutionally, the 349-member, unicameral Parliament or Riksdag holds supreme authority in Sweden.
It may alter the constitution and its acts are not subject to judicial review.
Legislation may be initiated by the Cabinet or by members of Parliament.
Members are elected on the basis of proportional representation for a four-year term.
The Constitution can be altered by the Riksdag, which requires qualified majority and confirmation after the following general elections.
The judicial system is divided between courts with regular civil and criminal jurisdiction and special courts with responsibility for litigation between the public and Government or Municipal authorities.
Swedish law is codified and its court system consists of local courts, regional appellate courts, and a Supreme Court.

Sweden is divided into 21 counties or lan.
In each county there is a County Administrative Board or lansstyrelse which is appointed by the Government.
In each county there is also a separate County Council or landsting, which is the municipal representation appointed by the county electorate.
Each county further divides into a number of municipalities or kommuner, making a total of 289 municipalities, in 2002.
There are also older historical divisions of the Swedish Realm, primarily into provinces and lands.

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 ferns and hardy birches dominate the landscape.
In the mountains of northern Sweden a subarctic climate predominates.
In the part of the country north of the Arctic Circle the sun never sets during the summer, and in the winter night is unending.
East of Sweden is the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia, providing a long coastline, and yet further mellowing the climate.
To the west are the Scandinavian mountain chain, a range that separates Sweden from Norway.
The southern part of the country is chiefly agricultural, with forests covering an increasing percentage of the land the further north one goes.
Population density is also higher in southern Sweden, with centres being in the valley of lake Malaren and the Oresund region.
Gotland and Oland are the two largest Islands of Sweden.

Aided by peace and neutrality for the whole 20th century, Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living under a mixed system of high-tech capitalism and extensive welfare benefits.
It has a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labour force.
Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade.
Privately-owned firms account for about 90% of industrial output, of which the engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports.
Agriculture accounts for only 2% of GDP and 2% of the jobs.
The government's commitment to fiscal discipline resulted in a substantial budgetary surplus in 2001, which was cut by more than half in 2002, due to the global economic slowdown, revenue declines, and spending increases.
The Swedish Riksbank is focusing on price stability with its inflation target of 2%.
Growth should pick up to 2.3% in 2003, assuming a moderate global recovery.

The Communications and Transportation systems of Sweden are important components of the infrastructure.

Swedish 20th century culture is noted by pioneering works in the early days of cinema, with Mauritz Stiller and Victor Sjostrom.
Later on, moguls like Ingmar Bergman and actresses such as Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman and Anita Ekberg made careers abroad.

Swedish music is in many minds connected with ABBA, although more recently indie bands like Soundtrack of our lives and The Hives have started achieving international fame.

Swedish literature is also vibrant and active, Sweden ranking third in the list of countries with most Nobel Prize laureates in literature.

The Swedish holiday calendar consists mainly of Christian holidays.
Many of these are however a continuation of pre-Christian customs, such as Midsummer and Walpurgis Night.
Apart from official holidays and a few de facto holidays there are also official flag day observances and minor observances in the namesday calendar.

January 1; New Year's Day Nyarsdagen
January 6; Epiphany Trettondagen
Good Friday; Langfredag The Friday before Easter Sunday
Easter Sunday; Paskdagen
Easter Monday; Annandag pask The day after Easter Sunday
May 1; May Day Forsta maj See also Walpurgis Night
Ascension Day; (Thursday) Kristi himmelsfardsdag 40 days after Easter
Pentecost; (Sunday) Pingstdagen 50 days after Easter
Whitmonday; (Monday) Annandag Pingst 51 days after Easter
Third Friday of June Midsummer Eve Midsommarafton Non official - however a de facto full holiday
Third Saturday of June Midsummer Day Midsommardagen
First Saturday of November All Saints Day Alla helgons dag Moved from November 1
December 24; Christmas Eve Julafton Non official - however a de facto full holiday
December 25; Christmas Day Juldagen
December 26; Boxing Day Annandag jul
December 31; New Year's Eve Nyarsafton Non official - however a de facto full holiday
All Sundays Official holidays - names follow the Liturgical year.

This information correct in December 2003. E. & O.E.

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

Site Index            Back to Top            Photos Index

Thanks for coming, I hope you have enjoyed it, will recommend it to your friends, and will come back later to see my site developing and expanding.

I'm trying to make my pages enjoyable and trouble free for everyone, please let me know of any mistakes or trouble with links, so I can fix any problem as soon as possible.

These pages are best viewed with monitor resolution set at 640x480 and kept simple on purpose so everyone can enjoy them across all media and platforms.

Thank you.

You can e-mail me at Webmaster

free webpage hit counter