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
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.
Royal motto: For Sverige i tiden (For Sweden
- With the times)
Official language; None (Swedish de facto national language)
King; Carl XVI Gustav
Prime Minister; Goran Persson
Area; 449,964 kmē
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
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
Easter Sunday; Paskdagen
Easter Monday; Annandag pask The day after Easter
May 1; May Day Forsta maj See also Walpurgis
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.
All text is available under the terms of the
GNU Free Documentation License.
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