Sweden is located in Northern Europe on the Scandinavian Peninsula. Due to the north-south extension of more than 1500 km, the country has a great landscape and climatic diversity. There are numerous archipelagos off the long coast, especially in the east.
The north of Sweden in particular is very sparsely populated. The capital Stockholm is located in the more densely populated south of the country. The two most important branches of industry, the metal and wood industries, benefit from the abundant ore deposits and the wealth of forests. Education and social services are considered exemplary, but they are associated with high costs that taxpayers bear. With the completion of the transport link over the Öresund, Central Europe and Scandinavia have come closer.
Abbreviated as SE by ABBREVIATIONFINDER, the Kingdom of Sweden is located in Northern Europe on the Scandinavian Peninsula (Fig. 1). Sweden borders in the north-east on Finland, in the east and south on the Baltic Sea, in the south-west on the Sound and the Kattegat, which is part of the Baltic Sea, and on the Skagerrak (North Sea). In the west, Sweden has a long land border with Norway.
Sweden extends from north to south over 1500 km, from west to east only over 200 km. Compared to neighboring Norway, the coast is not very indented; it is a total of about 6,700 km. The Kebnekajse, the highest point at 2117 m, is located in the north-west of Sweden. It is part of the Scandinavian Central Mountains. The ridge of the mountain range also called Skanden forms the border with Norway in the north and west. Northern Sweden gradually descends as a flat, undulating plateau towards the Baltic Sea (Fig. 2).
The largest lakes, Lake Mälaren, Lake Vänern and Lake Vättersee, are located in the Central Swedish Depression, which is bordered in the north by Lake Siljan and in the south by the hilly landscapes of Götaland and Småland. This hill country belonging to southern Sweden and the subsequent flat moraine landscape of the Scania peninsula have Central European characteristics.
During the Pleistocene, all of Sweden was covered in ice. After the large inland glaciers melted, the sea penetrated large parts of the country. Inlets developed, which are called Fjärd in Sweden. An important element of the relief design is the postglacial land elevation that continues to this day . It makes up about 9 mm a year on the coast of Norrbotten.
There are numerous archipelagos off the west coast north of Gothenburg and the entire east coast. These are groups of small, hump-like rock islands. They were created by the penetration of sea or lake water into the rounded hump landscape formed during the Ice Age. In the Baltic Sea are also the large islands of Öland and Gotland.
Climate and vegetation
As a result of the large north-south extension from the central European west wind zone to the polar climatic region, the climate shows strong differences. Overall, it is warmer than would be expected from the latitude. Due to the high mountain wall of the Skanden, northern Sweden lies in the lee of the north Atlantic west wind drift. Instead, it is under the influence of the high pressure zones over inner Russia and has a decidedly continental climate (Fig. 5). The warm, dry summers even allow temperatures of 30 ºC in the Arctic Circle. The long, snowy winters, on the other hand, have absolute minimums of –40 ºC in the north and between –20 ºC and
-30 ºC in the south. The Gulf of Bothnia is frozen for up to five months. So there are only ice-free ports in the south and west. The annual rainfall amounts to around 400 mm on the Baltic Sea coast and increases from east to west. In the scandi, they can reach over 2000 mm.
Around 15% of Sweden’s land area is north of the Arctic Circle. Here there are two months of darkness in winter, while the phenomenon of the midnight sun occurs in the summer months. The midsummer festival at the time of the summer solstice is celebrated extensively in Sweden.
Extensive forests cover large parts of Sweden. The west coast and south of Skåne belong to the Central European deciduous forest region. A mixed forest belt and finally the boreal coniferous forest with spruce, birch and pine join to the north. Large areas are covered by moors, especially in the north. In northern Lapland, low shrubs and lichens dominate the vegetation.
Important data about the country
|Population density:||20 residents / km²|
|Growth of population:||0.1% / year|
(men / women)
|Form of government:||Parliamentary monarchy|
|Languages:||Swedish is the official language|
|Religions:||89% are supporters of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden|
|Climate:||cool to cold temperate climate with continental features|
|Land use:||Arable land 7%, pasture land 1%, forest 59%|
(share of GDP, 2003)
|Agriculture 1.8%, industry 27.9%, services 70.3%|
|Export goods:||Machines and systems, electrotechnical and electronic equipment, motor vehicles, ships, iron and steel, chemicals, paper and cardboard, wood products and cellulose|
|Gross domestic product:||$ 301 606 million (2003)|
|Gross National Product:||US $ 28,910 / residents (2003)|
Economy and Transport
Sweden is one of the countries with very high material prosperity. The service sector, which now employs over 70% of all employees, is the most important economic sector (Fig. 7).
The basis for Sweden’s rise to an industrialized country were the rich natural resources that were already being mined in the early Middle Ages. Copper ore mining in Falun was widely famous. However, its heyday was ended in 1687 by a landslide catastrophe. There are significant iron ore deposits in Kiruna, Bergslagen and Gällivare, while copper and lead ores are mined in Skelleftefeld. Sweden also has zinc, silica, gold and silver deposits and large uranium ore reserves. That in KirunaThe iron ore mined has a very high iron content, which makes mining profitable even under difficult climatic and technical conditions and poor transport links. Iron ore mining changed the entire region. The original habitat of the reindeer and the seeds that depend on them have been destroyed. Kiruna is today one of the largest communities in the world in terms of area, almost all of whose residents live from the mining, processing and transport of iron ore. Most of the iron ore in northern Sweden is exported, mainly via the Norwegian port of Narvik. The Swedish port of Luleå, which freezes over in winter, is only conditionally suitable for export.
The favorable relief and abundance of water in the north offer good conditions for generating hydropower. Even today, more than 50% of electrical energy comes from hydropower plants. This branch of energy generation is to be expanded even further after the intended exit from nuclear energy.
Ore deposits and water power gave rise to an important metal-producing and processing industry with iron and steel works, shipbuilding, machine and vehicle construction. The great abundance of forests promoted the wood industry with paper, pulp and furniture factories. The chemical, electronic, textile, food and traditional glass industries are also important. Swedish handicrafts enjoy an excellent reputation.
Although only 9% of the country’s land is used for agriculture, Swedish agriculture is extremely productive. It has its focus in the south of the country, where wheat and sugar beet are grown in favorable climatic conditions and on good soil. In the rest of the country, the fields are also tilled with barley, oats, rye and potatoes. Further to the north, livestock farming, which focuses on the meat and processing industries, is gaining in importance. Forest use predominates in the north. The forestry is one of the most important economic sectors. Half of the logging of almost 60 million m³ annually is intended for the paper industry, around 15% of the wood is exported. A specialty is the reindeer herding carried out by the Sami.
Because of the limited domestic market, the industry is heavily dependent on exports. The main trading partners are Germany, Great Britain, the USA, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
Sweden has a well-developed transport network. High-speed trains run between Stockholm and Gothenburg. In 2000 the tunnel and bridge connection over the Öresund was put into operation. The most important ports are Gothenburg, Luleå, Helsingborg, Stockholm and Malmö as well as the Nynäshamn oil port. International airports are located in Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö.
9th / 10th century: The Ynglinge family established the Swedish Empire.
1389: Margaret of Denmark defeats the Swedish king. The three northern kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden are united.
1397 to 1521: existence of the Kalmar Union
1630: Sweden intervenes under GUSTAV II. ADOLF in the Thirty Years’ War to save Protestantism and secure Swedish interests.
1645 to 1648: Sweden becomes a world power through significant territorial gains.
1808/09: Sweden loses Finland to Russia.
1814 to 1905: There is a personal union with Norway.
1914 to 1918: Sweden remains neutral in World War I.
1939 to 1945: Sweden remains neutral in World War II
1995: Sweden joins the EU.