Sweden, country in northern Europe, occupying the eastern portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula. Slightly larger than the state of California and roughly similar in shape, Sweden is the largest and most populous nation of Scandinavia. The Swedes’ name for their country, Sverige, means “the land of the Sveas,” an ancient tribe of the region. Stockholm is the country’s capital and largest city.
Sweden is one of the world’s northernmost nations. The country extends nearly 1,600 km (1,000 mi) from north to south, and one-seventh of its territory lies above the Arctic Circle. Thick glaciers that receded after the last ice age scoured the land, rounding mountaintops, scraping out deep valleys, and carving long fjords into the coastline. Nearly 100,000 lakes dot the landscape and cover about one-twelfth of Sweden’s total area. Sweden shares a hilly land boundary with Norway to the west, and it touches Finland to the northeast.
Elsewhere it faces water. The Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic Sea lie to the east. To the south and southwest lie the waterways separating Sweden from Denmark: the Skagerrak, Kattegat, and Öresund straits. Two sizable islands in the Baltic Sea, Gotland and Öland, are also a part of Sweden. Thousands of rocky islets fringe Sweden’s Baltic coastline, sheltering the mainland from the open sea. Thick forests, narrow lakes, and swift-flowing streams cover much of the sparsely inhabited northern two-thirds of Sweden. In the far north, above the Arctic Circle, the land is desolate and remains frozen for most of the year. The lowlands of the southern third of Sweden are home to most of the population, agricultural lands, and industries.
More than 1,000 years ago, Swedish Viking seafarers dominated the Baltic Sea and established far-reaching trade routes. Swedish armies later conquered an empire that included Finland, much of Norway, and parts of Russia and Germany. Today, Sweden is noted for its neutrality in foreign affairs. Sweden remained neutral in World War I and World War II, and it declined to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) after its founding in 1949. A member of the United Nations (UN), Sweden has helped mediate conflicts in many troubled areas of the world. Swedish voters narrowly elected to join the European Union (EU) in 1995. They have not embraced all aspects of European integration, however. Notably, Swedes have declined to adopt the euro, the EU’s common currency. © "Sweden" © Emmanuel Buchot and Encarta
Photos of European countries to visit
Photos of Asian countries to visit
Photos of America