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The main exports from Sweden were iron and copper. However, the Swedes began to resent the monopoly trading position of the Hansa mostly consisting of German citizens , and to resent the income they felt they lost to the Hansa.
Consequently, when Gustav Vasa or Gustav I broke the monopoly power of the Hanseatic League he was regarded as a hero by the Swedish people.
The foundations laid by Gustav would take time to develop. Furthermore, when Sweden did develop, freed itself from the Hanseatic League, and entered its golden era, the fact that the peasantry had traditionally been free meant that more of the economic benefits flowed back to them rather than going to a feudal landowning class.
During the 17th century Sweden emerged as a European great power. Before the emergence of the Swedish Empire, Sweden was a poor and scarcely populated country on the fringe of European civilisation, with no significant power or reputation.
These German provinces excluded themselves from Swedish power one by one, leaving Sweden with only a few northern German territories: Swedish Pomerania , Bremen-Verden and Wismar.
In the middle of the 17th century Sweden was the third-largest country in Europe by land area, only surpassed by Russia and Spain.
Sweden reached its largest territorial extent under the rule of Charles X after the treaty of Roskilde in The Swedes conducted a series of invasions into the Polish—Lithuanian Commonwealth, known as the Deluge.
After more than half a century of almost constant warfare, the Swedish economy had deteriorated. His legacy to his son, the coming ruler of Sweden, Charles XII , was one of the finest arsenals in the world, a large standing army and a great fleet.
After the Battle of Narva in , one of the first battles of the Great Northern War , the Russian army was so severely devastated that Sweden had an open chance to invade Russia.
This gave Russia time to rebuild and modernise its army. After the success of invading Poland, Charles decided to make an attempt at invading Russia, but this ended in a decisive Russian victory at the Battle of Poltava in The defeat meant the beginning of the end for the Swedish Empire.
In addition, the plague raging in East Central Europe devastated the Swedish dominions and reached Central Sweden in Charles XII attempted to invade Norway in , but he was shot dead at Fredriksten fortress in Forced to cede large areas of land in the Treaty of Nystad in , Sweden also lost its place as an empire and as the dominant state on the Baltic Sea.
As the war finally ended in , Sweden had lost an estimated , men, , of those from the area of present-day Sweden and 50, from the Finnish part of Sweden.
In the 18th century, Sweden did not have enough resources to maintain its territories outside Scandinavia, and most of them were lost, culminating with the loss in of eastern Sweden to Russia, which became the highly autonomous Grand Principality of Finland in Imperial Russia.
In interest of re-establishing Swedish dominance in the Baltic Sea, Sweden allied itself against its traditional ally and benefactor, France, in the Napoleonic Wars.
He launched a military campaign against Norway on 27 July , ending in the Convention of Moss , which forced Norway into a personal union with Sweden under the Swedish crown, which lasted until The campaign was the last time Sweden was at war.
Many looked towards America for a better life during this time. It is thought that between and more than one million Swedes moved to the United States.
Despite the slow rate of industrialisation into the 19th century, many important changes were taking place in the agrarian economy due to constant innovations and a rapid population growth.
Strong grassroots movements sprung up in Sweden during the latter half of the 19th century trade unions, temperance groups, and independent religious groups , creating a strong foundation of democratic principles.
As the Industrial Revolution progressed during the 20th century, people gradually moved into cities to work in factories and became involved in socialist unions.
A communist revolution was avoided in , following the re-introduction of parliamentarism , and the country was democratised. The Swedish government unofficially supported Finland in the Winter War and the Continuation War by allowing volunteers and materiel to be shipped to Finland.
However, Sweden supported Norwegian resistance against Germany, and in helped rescue Danish Jews from deportation to Nazi concentration camps.
During the last year of the war, Sweden began to play a role in humanitarian efforts, and many refugees, among them several thousand Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe, were rescued thanks to the Swedish rescue missions to internment camps and partly because Sweden served as a haven for refugees, primarily from the Nordic countries and the Baltic states.
Following the war, Sweden took advantage of an intact industrial base, social stability and its natural resources to expand its industry to supply the rebuilding of Europe.
During most of the post-war era, the country was governed by the Swedish Social Democratic Party largely in co-operation with trade unions and industry.
The government actively pursued an internationally competitive manufacturing sector of primarily large corporations. Sweden, like many industrialised countries, entered a period of economic decline and upheaval following the oil embargoes of —74 and — Shipbuilding was discontinued, wood pulp was integrated into modernised paper production, the steel industry was concentrated and specialised, and mechanical engineering was robotised.
Sweden GDP per capita ranking declined during this time. A bursting real estate bubble caused by inadequate controls on lending combined with an international recession and a policy switch from anti-unemployment policies to anti-inflationary policies resulted in a fiscal crisis in the early s.
Much of the political establishment promoted EU membership, and a referendum passed with Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January In a referendum the Swedish electorate voted against the country joining the Euro currency.
In Sweden got its first majority government for decades as the centre-right Alliance defeated the incumbent Social Democrat government.
Following the rapid growth of support for the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats , and their entrance to the Riksdag in , the Alliance became a minority cabinet.
Sweden remains non-aligned militarily, although it participates in some joint military exercises with NATO and some other countries, in addition to extensive co-operation with other European countries in the area of defence technology and defence industry.
Among others, Swedish companies export weapons that were used by the American military in Iraq. Sweden held the chair of the European Union from 1 July to 31 December In recent decades Sweden has become a more culturally diverse nation due to significant immigration; in it was estimated that 15 per cent of the population was foreign-born, and an additional 5 per cent of the population were born to two immigrant parents.
The influx of immigrants has brought new social challenges. Violent incidents have periodically occurred   including the Stockholm riots which broke out following the police shooting of an elderly Portuguese immigrant.
Situated in Northern Europe, Sweden lies west of the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Bothnia , providing a long coastline, and forms the eastern part of the Scandinavian Peninsula.
To the west is the Scandinavian mountain chain Skanderna , a range that separates Sweden from Norway. Finland is located to its north-east.
Its border with Norway 1, km long is the longest uninterrupted border within Europe. Sweden has 25 provinces or landskap , based on culture, geography and history.
Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, with increasing forest coverage northward. Most of Sweden has a temperate climate , despite its northern latitude , with largely four distinct seasons and mild temperatures throughout the year.
The winter in the far south is usually weak and is only manifested through some shorter periods with snow and sub-zero temperatures, autumn may well turn into spring there, without a distinct period of winter.
The country can be divided into three types of climate: Continental west-coasts to which all of Scandinavia belongs, as the westernmost part of the Eurasian continent , are notably warmer than continental east-coasts; this can also be seen by comparing e.
North of the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets for part of each summer, and it never rises for part of each winter. In the capital, Stockholm , daylight lasts for more than 18 hours in late June but only around 6 hours in late December.
Sweden receives between 1, and 1, hours of sunshine annually. Temperatures expected in Sweden are heavily influenced by the large Fennoscandian landmass, as well as continental Europe and western Russia, which allows hot or cool inland air to be easily transported to Sweden.
In winter however the same high-pressure systems sometimes puts the entire country far below freezing temperatures. There is some maritime moderation from the Atlantic which renders the Swedish continental climate less severe than that of nearby Russia.
Even though temperature patterns differ between north and south, the summer climate is surprisingly similar all through the entire country in spite of the large latitudal differences.
This is due to the south being surrounded by a greater mass of water, with the wider Baltic Sea and the Atlantic air passing over lowland areas from the south-west.
Apart from the ice-free Atlantic bringing marine air into Sweden tempering winters, the mildness is further explained by prevailing low-pressure systems postponing winter, with the long nights often staying above freezing in the south of the country due to the abundant cloud cover.
By the time winter finally breaks through, daylight hours rise quickly, ensuring that daytime temperatures soar quickly in spring. With the greater number of clear nights, frosts remain commonplace quite far south as late as April.
The cold winters occur when low-pressure systems are weaker. An example is that the coldest ever month January in Stockholm was also the sunniest January month on record.
The relative strength of low and high-pressure systems of marine and continental air also define the highly variable summers.
Nights normally remain cool, especially in inland areas. Despite northerly locations, southern and central Sweden may have almost no snow in some winters.
Most of Sweden is located in the rain shadow of the Scandinavian Mountains through Norway and north-west Sweden.
The blocking of cool and wet air in summer as well as the greater landmass leads to warm and dry summers far north in the country, with quite warm summers at the Bothnia Bay coast at 65 degrees latitude, which is unheard of elsewhere in the world at such northerly coastlines.
The weather stations are sorted from south towards north by their numbers. Sweden has a considerable south to north distance stretching between the latitudes N The related matter of the length and strength of the four seasons plays a role in which plants that naturally can grow at various places.
Sweden is divided in five major vegetation zones. Also known as the nemoral region, the southern deciduous forest zone is a part of a larger vegetation zone which also includes Denmark and large parts of Central Europe.
It has to a rather large degree become agricultural areas, but larger and smaller forests still exist. The region is characterised by a large wealth of trees and shrubs.
The beech are the most dominant tree, but oak can also form smaller forests. Other important trees and shrubs in this zone include hornbeam , elder , hazel , fly honeysuckle , linden lime , spindle , yew , alder buckthorn , blackthorn , aspen , European rowan , Swedish whitebeam , juniper , European holly , ivy , dogwood , goat willow , larch , bird cherry , wild cherry , maple , ash , alder along creeks, and in sandy soil birch compete with pine.
In the southern parts of this zone the coniferous species are found, mainly spruce and pine , mixed with various deciduous trees.
Birch grows largely everywhere. This is however not the case with oak and ash. The northern coniferous forest zone begins north of the natural boundary of the oak.
Of deciduous species the birch is the only one of significance. Pine and spruce are dominant, but the forests are slowly but surely more sparsely grown the farther towards the north it gets.
In the extreme north is it difficult to state the trees forms true forests at all, due to the large distances between the trees.
The alpine-birch zone, in the Scandinavian mountains, depending on both latitude and altitude, is an area where only a smaller kind of birch Betula pubescens or B.
Where this vegetation zone ends no trees grow at all: Sweden has four fundamental laws Swedish: Regeringsformen , the Act of Succession Swedish: Successionsordningen , the Freedom of the Press Act Swedish: The public sector in Sweden is divided into two parts: Kommunallagen passed by the Riksdag.
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and King Carl XVI Gustaf is the head of state , but the role of the monarch is limited to ceremonial and representative functions.
Legislative power is vested in the unicameral Riksdag with members. General elections are held every four years, on the second Sunday of September.
Legislation may be initiated by the Government or by members of the Riksdag. Members are elected on the basis of proportional representation to a four-year term.
The internal workings of the Riksdag is, in addition to the Instrument of Government, regulated by the Riksdag Act Swedish: Regeringen operates as a collegial body with collective responsibility and consists of the Prime Minister — appointed and dismissed by the Speaker of the Riksdag following an actual vote in the Riksdag before an appointment can be made — and other cabinet ministers Swedish: Most of the State administrative authorities Swedish: A unique feature of Swedish State administration is that individual cabinet ministers do not bear any individual ministerial responsibility for the performance of the agencies within their portfolio; as the director-generals and other heads of government agencies reports directly to the Government as a whole; and individual ministers are prohibited to interfere; thus the origin of the pejorative in Swedish political parlance term ministerstyre English: The Judiciary is independent from the Riksdag, Government and other State administrative authorities.
The Swedish Social Democratic Party has played a leading role in Swedish politics since , after the Reformists had confirmed their strength and the left-wing revolutionaries formed their own party.
After , most governments have been dominated by the Social Democrats. Only five general elections since World War II— , , , and —have given the assembled bloc of centre-right parties enough seats in the Riksdag to form a government.
In the election, while the Greens lost their seats, two new parties gained seats for the first time: The election saw the return of the Greens and the demise of New Democracy.
It was not until elections in that an eighth party, the Sweden Democrats , gained Riksdag seats. In the elections to the European Parliament , parties who have failed to pass the Riksdag threshold have managed to gain representation at that venue: In the general election the Moderate Party formed the centre-right Alliance for Sweden bloc and won a majority of the Riksdag seats.
In the general election the Alliance contended against a unified left block consisting of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party.
Nevertheless, neither the Alliance, nor the left block, chose to form a coalition with the Sweden Democrats. The outcome of the general election resulted in the attainment of more seats by the three centre-left parties in comparison to the centre-right Alliance for Sweden, with the two blocs receiving and seats respectively.
Election turnout in Sweden has always been high by international comparison. Although it declined in recent decades, the latest elections saw an increase in voter turnout Sweden is a unitary state divided into 21 county councils landsting and municipalities kommuner.
County councils and municipalities have different roles and separate responsibilities relating to local government.
Health care, public transport and certain cultural institutions are administered by county councils. Preschools, primary and secondary schooling, public water utilities, garbage disposal, elderly care and rescue services are administered by the municipalities.
Gotland is a special case of being a county council with only one municipality and the functions of county council and municipality are performed by the same organisation.
Municipal and county council government in Sweden is similar to city commission and cabinet-style council government. Both levels have legislative assemblies municipal councils and county council assemblies of between 31 and members always an uneven number that are elected from party-list proportional representation at the general election which are held every four years in conjunction with the national parliamentary elections.
These have no official political responsibilities but are traditional subdivisions of the Church of Sweden and still have some importance as census districts for census-taking and elections.
Each county administrative boards is led by a County Governor Swedish: The list of previous officeholders for the counties stretches back, in most cases, to when the counties were created by Lord High Chancellor Count Axel Oxenstierna.
The main responsibility of the County Administrative Board is to co-ordinate the development of the county in line with goals set by the Riksdag and Government.
There are older historical divisions, primarily the twenty-five provinces and three lands, which still retain cultural significance.
The actual age of the kingdom of Sweden is unknown. In the first case, Svealand was first mentioned as having one single ruler in the year 98 by Tacitus, but it is almost impossible to know for how long it had been this way.
These events are often described as the consolidation of Sweden , although substantial areas were conquered and incorporated later. Earlier kings, for which no reliable historical sources exist, can be read about in mythical kings of Sweden and semi-legendary kings of Sweden.
Many of these kings are only mentioned in various saga and blend with Norse mythology. Up until the beginning of the s, all laws in Sweden were introduced with the words, "We, the king of Sweden, of the Goths and Wends".
This title was used up until The term riksdag was used for the first time in the s, although the first meeting where representatives of different social groups were called to discuss and determine affairs affecting the country as a whole took place as early as , in the town of Arboga.
As a reaction to the failed Great Northern War, a parliamentary system was introduced in , followed by three different flavours of constitutional monarchy in , and , the latter granting several civil liberties.
In Sweden became a constitutional monarchy with a bicameral parliament, with the First Chamber indirectly elected by local governments, and the Second Chamber directly elected in national elections every four years.
In the parliament became unicameral. Legislative power was symbolically shared between the King and the Riksdag until Swedish taxation is controlled by the Riksdag.
Sweden is currently leading the EU in statistics measuring equality in the political system and equality in the education system.
Some Swedish political figures have become known worldwide, among these are: The courts are divided into two parallel and separate systems: There are also a number of special courts, which will hear a narrower set of cases, as set down by legislation.
While independent in their rulings, some of these courts are operated as divisions within courts of the general or general administrative courts.
The Supreme Court of Sweden Swedish: Before a case can be decided by the Supreme Court, leave to appeal must be obtained, and with few exceptions, leave to appeal can be granted only when the case is of interest as a precedent.
The Supreme Court consists of 16 Justices Swedish: According to a victimisation survey of 1, residents in , Sweden has above-average crime rates compared to other EU countries.
Sweden has high or above-average levels of assaults, sexual assaults, hate crimes, and consumer fraud.
Sweden has low levels of burglary, car theft and drug problems. Bribe seeking is rare. A mid-November news report announced that four prisons in Sweden were closed during the year due to a significant drop in the number of inmates.
Throughout the 20th century, Swedish foreign policy was based on the principle of non-alignment in peacetime and neutrality in wartime.
This has sometimes been disputed since in effect Sweden allowed in select cases the Nazi regime to use its railroad system to transport troops and goods,   especially iron ore from mines in northern Sweden, which was vital to the German war machine.
During the early Cold War era, Sweden combined its policy of non-alignment and a low profile in international affairs with a security policy based on strong national defence.
Later investigations revealed that the plane was actually gathering information for NATO. Beginning in the late s, Sweden attempted to play a more significant and independent role in international relations.
It involved itself significantly in international peace efforts, especially through the United Nations, and in support to the Third World.
On 27 October , a Whiskey-class submarine U from the Soviet Union ran aground close to the naval base at Karlskrona in the southern part of the country.
Research has never clearly established whether the submarine ended up on the shoals through a navigational mistake or if an enemy committed espionage against Swedish military potential.
The incident triggered a diplomatic crisis between Sweden and the Soviet Union. Following the assassination of Olof Palme and with the end of the Cold War, Sweden has adopted a more traditional foreign policy approach.
Nevertheless, the country remains active in peace keeping missions and maintains a considerable foreign aid budget. The law is enforced in Sweden by several government entities.
The Swedish police is a Government agency concerned with police matters. The primary task of the agency is to train and deploy peace support forces abroad, while maintaining the long-term ability to refocus on the defence of Sweden in the event of war.
The armed forces are divided into Army , Air Force and Navy. Up to the King was pro forma Commander-in-Chief , but in reality it was clearly understood all through the 20th century that the Monarch would have no active role as a military leader.
Until the end of the Cold War, nearly all males reaching the age of military service were conscripted. In recent years, the number of conscripted males has shrunk dramatically, while the number of female volunteers has increased slightly.
Recruitment has generally shifted towards finding the most motivated recruits, rather than solely those otherwise most fit for service.
All soldiers serving abroad must by law be volunteers. In the total number of conscripts was 45, By it was down to 15, On 1 July Sweden stopped routine conscription, switching to an all volunteer force unless otherwise required for defence readiness.
The total forces gathered would consist of about 60, men. This could be compared with the s before the fall of the Soviet Union, when Sweden could gather up to 1,, men.
However, on 11 December , due to tensions in the Baltic area, the Swedish Government reintroduced one part of the Swedish conscription system, refresher training.
The first recruits will begin their training in As the law now is gender neutral, both men and women may have to service.
Sweden is the sixteenth-richest country in the world in terms of GDP gross domestic product per capita and a high standard of living is experienced by its citizens.
Sweden is an export-oriented mixed economy. Timber, hydropower and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy with a heavy emphasis on foreign trade.
Sweden is the ninth-largest arms exporter in the world. The country ranks among the highest for telephone and Internet access penetration.
Both the prominent role of collective bargaining and the way in which the high rate of coverage is achieved reflect the dominance of self-regulation regulation by the labour market parties themselves over state regulation in Swedish industrial relations.
In and around Stockholm and Scania, two of the more densely populated regions of Sweden, the income Gini coefficient is between 0.
In terms of structure, the Swedish economy is characterised by a large, knowledge-intensive and export-oriented manufacturing sector; an increasing, but comparatively small, business service sector ; and by international standards, a large public service sector.
Large organisations, both in manufacturing and services, dominate the Swedish economy. The Swedish government is seeking to reduce its costs through decreased sick leave hours and increased efficiency.
Total tax collected by Sweden as a percentage of its GDP peaked at Overall, GDP growth has been fast since reforms—especially those in manufacturing—were enacted in the early s.
Sweden is the fourth-most competitive economy in the world, according to the World Economic Forum in its Global Competitiveness Report — The book compiled an index to measure the kind of creativity it claims is most useful to business—talent, technology and tolerance.
Sweden maintains its own currency, the Swedish krona SEK , a result of the Swedes having rejected the euro in a referendum. According to the Economic Survey of Sweden by the OECD, the average inflation in Sweden has been one of the lowest among European countries since the mids, largely because of deregulation and quick utilisation of globalisation.
Financial deregulation in the s impacted adversely on the property market, leading to a bubble and eventually a crash in the early s.
Commercial property prices fell by up to two thirds, resulting in two Swedish banks having to be taken over by the government. In the following two decades the property sector strengthened.
By , legislators, economists and the IMF were again warning of a bubble with residential property prices soaring and the level of personal mortgage debt expanding.
At the same time, the use of biofuels , peat etc. Sweden was a net importer of electricity by a margin of 6 TWh. Since then, electricity has been generated mostly from hydropower and nuclear power.
The use of nuclear power has been limited, however. Voters rejected right-hand traffic in , but after the Riksdag passed legislation in changeover took place on 3 September , known in Swedish as Dagen H.
The Stockholm metro is the only underground system in Sweden and serves the city of Stockholm via stations. The rail transport market is privatised, but while there are many privately owned enterprises, the largest operators are still owned by state.
The counties have financing, ticket and marketing responsibility for local trains. For other trains the operators handle tickets and marketing themselves.
Most of the railways are owned and operated by Trafikverket. A new tram line is set to open in Lund in The largest airports include Stockholm—Arlanda Airport The most used airport for a large part of Southern Sweden is Kastrup or Copenhagen Airport which is located only 12 minutes by train from the closest Swedish railway station, Hyllie.
Copenhagen Airport also is the largest international airport in Scandinavia and Finland. Sweden also has a number of car ferry connections to several neighbouring countries.
Trelleborg is the busiest ferry port in Sweden in terms of weight transported by lorry. There are over seventy departures a day each way; during peak times, a ferry departs every fifteen minutes.
Sweden has two domestic ferry lines with large vessels, both connecting Gotland with the mainland. Sweden has one of the most highly developed welfare states in the world.
A series of successive social reforms transformed the country into one of the most equal and developed on earth. The consistent growth of the welfare state led to Swedes achieving unprecedented levels of social mobility and quality of life—to this day Sweden consistently ranks at the top of league tables for health, literacy and Human Development—far ahead of some wealthier countries for example the United States.
Sweden began slowing the expansion of the welfare state in the s, and even trimming it back. Sweden has recently been relatively quick to adopt neoliberal policies, such as privatization , financialization and deregulation ,   compared to countries such as France.
Also since the mids, Sweden has had the fastest growth in inequality of any developed nation, according to the OECD. This has largely been attributed to the reduction in state benefits and a shift toward the privatisation of public services.
According to Barbro Sorman, an activist of the opposition Left Party, "The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.
Sweden is starting to look like the USA. Sweden adopted free market agricultural policies in Since the s, the agricultural sector had been subject to price controls.
In June , the Riksdag voted for a new agricultural policy marking a significant shift away from price controls. As a result, food prices fell somewhat.
However, the liberalisations soon became moot because EU agricultural controls supervened. Since the late s, Sweden has had the highest tax quota as percentage of GDP in the industrialised world, although today the gap has narrowed and Denmark has surpassed Sweden as the most heavily taxed country among developed countries.
Certain items are subject to additional taxes, e. In [update] , total tax revenue was State and municipal employees total around a third of the workforce, much more than in most Western countries.
Spending on transfers is also high. In and , 69 per cent of the employed workers is organised in trade unions. Sweden has a relatively high amount of sick leave per worker in OECD: The unemployment rate was 7.
Previously, technical progress had mainly come from mainland Europe. Many of the companies founded by early pioneers still remain major international brands.
Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and instituted the Nobel Prizes. Lars Magnus Ericsson started the company bearing his name, Ericsson, still one of the largest telecom companies in the world.
The traditional engineering industry is still a major source of Swedish inventions, but pharmaceuticals, electronics and other high-tech industries are gaining ground.
Tetra Pak was an invention for storing liquid foods, invented by Erik Wallenberg. A large portion of the Swedish economy is to this day based on the export of technical inventions, and many large multinational corporations from Sweden have their origins in the ingenuity of Swedish inventors.
Swedish inventors held 47, patents in the United States in [update] , according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. As a nation, only ten other countries hold more patents than Sweden.
Combined, the public and the private sector in Sweden allocate over 3. As a percentage of GDP, the Swedish government spends the most of any nation on research and development.
Both facilities have strong implications on material research. Every Swedish resident receives a state pension. Swedish Pensions Agency is responsible for pensions.
People who have worked in Sweden, but relocated to another country, can also receive the Swedish pension. There are several types of pensions in Sweden: A person can receive a combination of the various types of pensions.
The total resident population of Sweden was 10,, on 30 November The mountains and most of the remote coastal areas are almost unpopulated.
Between and , approximately 1. There are more than 4. There are no official statistics on ethnicity, but according to Statistics Sweden, around 3,, The official language of Sweden is Swedish,   a North Germanic language, related and very similar to Danish and Norwegian , but differing in pronunciation and orthography.
Norwegians have little difficulty understanding Swedish, and Danes can also understand it, with slightly more difficulty than Norwegians.
The same goes for standard Swedish speakers, who find it far easier to understand Norwegian than Danish. The dialects spoken in Scania , the southernmost part of the country, are influenced by Danish because the region traditionally was a part of Denmark and is nowadays situated closely to it.
However, no official statistics are kept on language use. Along with Finnish, four other minority languages are also recognised: In varying degrees, depending largely on frequency of interaction with English, a majority of Swedes, especially those born after World War II, understand and speak English, owing to trade links, the popularity of overseas travel, a strong Anglo-American influence and the tradition of subtitling rather than dubbing foreign television shows and films, and the relative similarity of the two languages which makes learning English easier.
English became a compulsory subject for secondary school students studying natural sciences as early as , and has been a compulsory subject for all Swedish students since the late s.
Most students also study one and sometimes two additional languages. These include but are not limited to German, French and Spanish.
Some Danish and Norwegian is at times also taught as part of Swedish courses for native speakers. Because of the extensive mutual intelligibility between the three continental Scandinavian languages Swedish speakers often use their native language when visiting or living in Norway or Denmark.
With Christianisation in the 11th century, the laws of the country changed, forbidding worship of other deities until the late 19th century. Adoption of Lutheranism was completed by the Uppsala Synod of , and it became the official religion.
During the era following the Reformation, usually known as the period of Lutheran orthodoxy , small groups of non-Lutherans, especially Calvinist Dutchmen , the Moravian Church and French Huguenots played a significant role in trade and industry, and were quietly tolerated as long as they kept a low religious profile.
With religious liberalisations in the late 18th century believers of other faiths, including Judaism and Roman Catholicism , were allowed to live and work freely in the country.
However, until it remained illegal for Lutherans to convert to another religion. The 19th century saw the arrival of various evangelical free churches , and, towards the end of the century, secularism , leading many to distance themselves from church rituals.
Leaving the Church of Sweden became legal with the so-called dissenter law of , but only under the provision of entering another Christian denomination.
The right to stand outside any religious denomination was formally established in the Law on Freedom of religion in In , the Church of Sweden was disestablished.
Sweden was the second Nordic country to disestablish its state church after Finland did so in the Church Act of At the end of , Since , only children that are christened become members.
Some , Swedes are today members of various Evangelical Protestant free churches where congregation attendance is much higher , and due to recent immigration, there are now some , Eastern Orthodox Christians and 92, Roman Catholics living in Sweden.
The first Muslim congregation was established in , when a small contingent of Tatars migrated from Finland. Further immigration from North Africa and the Middle East have brought the estimated Muslim population to , According to the Eurobarometer Poll , .
Sociology professor Phil Zuckerman claims that Swedes, despite a lack of belief in God, commonly question the term atheist , preferring to call themselves Christians while being content with remaining in the Church of Sweden.
Healthcare in Sweden is similar in quality to other developed nations. Sweden ranks in the top five countries with respect to low infant mortality.
It also ranks high in life expectancy and in safe drinking water. The health care is governed by the 21 landsting of Sweden and is mainly funded by taxes, with nominal fees for patients.
Children aged 1—5 years old are guaranteed a place in a public kindergarten Swedish: Between the ages of 6 and 16, children attend compulsory comprehensive school.
The school system is largely financed by taxes. The Swedish government treats public and independent schools equally  by introducing education vouchers in as one of the first countries in the world after the Netherlands.
Anyone can establish a for-profit school and the municipality must pay new schools the same amount as municipal schools get.
School lunch is free for all students in Sweden, and providing breakfast is also encouraged. There are a number of different universities and colleges in Sweden , the oldest and largest of which are situated in Uppsala , Lund , Gothenburg and Stockholm.
The large influx of immigrants to Swedish schools has been cited as a significant part of the reason why Sweden has dropped more than any other European country in the international PISA rankings.
Immigration has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout much of the history of Sweden , and in recent centuries the country has been transformed from a nation of net emigration, ending after World War I, to a nation of net immigration, from World War II onwards.
The economic, social, and political aspects of immigration have caused controversy regarding ethnicity, economic benefits, jobs for non-immigrants, settlement patterns, impact on upward social mobility , crime, and voting behaviour.
There are no exact numbers on the ethnic background of migrants and their descendants in Sweden because the Swedish government does not base any statistics on ethnicity.
In addition, , persons were born in Sweden to two parents born abroad and another , persons had one parent born abroad with the other parent born in Sweden.
According to Eurostat , in , there were 1. Of these, , 9. In , immigration reached its highest level since records began, with , people emigrating to Sweden.
The ten largest groups of foreign-born persons in the Swedish civil registry in were from: The total immigration to Sweden for will be roughly people, and after that individuals every year.
In total seven Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to Swedes. In the s—s, the filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and actors Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman became internationally noted people within cinema.
Throughout the s and s Sweden was seen as an international leader in what is now referred to as the " sexual revolution ", with gender equality having particularly been promoted.
The image of "hot love and cold people" emerged. Sexual liberalism was seen as part of modernisation process that by breaking down traditional borders would lead to the emancipation of natural forces and desires.
Since 1 May , Sweden repealed its "registered partnership" laws and fully replaced them with gender-neutral marriage ,  Sweden also offers domestic partnerships for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
Cohabitation sammanboende by couples of all ages, including teenagers as well as elderly couples, is widespread. Recently, Sweden is experiencing a baby boom.
Historical re-creations of Norse music have been attempted based on instruments found in Viking sites. The instruments used were the lur a sort of trumpet , simple string instruments, wooden flutes and drums.
Sweden has a significant folk-music scene. There is Sami music, called the joik , which is a type of chant which is part of the traditional Sami animistic spirituality.
Sweden also has a prominent choral music tradition. Out of a population of 9. In , with over million dollars in revenue, Sweden was the third-largest music exporter in the world and surpassed only by the US and the UK.
Sweden has also become known for a large number of heavy metal bands, including Bathory , Opeth , Amon Amarth and Ghost.
The renowned neo-classical power metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen is also from Sweden. In the mids, Martin came back with a more rock-tinged sound and produced major hits with artists such as Kelly Clarkson , Pink and Katy Perry.
Sweden is one of the most successful competing nations at the Eurovision Song Contest , with a total of six victories in the contest , , , , and , right behind Ireland who have seven wins.
In the Eurovision Song Contest each participating country submits an original song to be performed on live television and radio; however, no restriction on the nationality of the songwriter or the artist exists which has resulted in countries being represented by songwriters and artist who are not nationals of that country.
In recent years Swedish songwriters have been involved in the writing — entirely or partly — of entries from several countries in addition to Sweden.
For instance, in the edition of Eurovision Song Contest, Swedish songwriters and producers featured in 10 out of the 42 songs that qualified for the contest; in , the numbers were 7 songs out of the 39 songs in the contest; in , 7 songs out of 37 songs in the contest; in , 8 songs out of 40 songs in the contest; in , 12 songs out of 42 songs in the contest.
Sweden has a rather lively jazz scene. During the last sixty years or so it has attained a remarkably high artistic standard, stimulated by domestic as well as external influences and experiences.
Before the 13th century almost all buildings were made of timber, but a shift began towards stone. Early Swedish stone buildings are the Romanesque churches on the country side.
As so happens, many of them were built in Scania and are in effect Danish churches. The Skara Cathedral is of bricks from the 14th century, and the Uppsala Cathedral in the 15th.
Around Sweden was out of the Middle Ages and united under King Gustav Vasa, who immediately initiated grand mansions, castles and fortresses to be built.
Some of the more magnificent include the Kalmar fortress, the Gripsholm Castle and the one at Vadstena. In the next two centuries, Sweden was designated by Baroque architecture and later the rococo.
Notable projects from that time include the city Karlskrona, which has now also been declared a World Heritage Site and the Drottningholm Palace.
The style came to dominate in the following decades. Some notable projects of this kind were the Million Programme , offering affordable living in large apartment complexes.
Swedes are among the greatest consumers of newspapers in the world, and nearly every town is served by a local paper. The two largest evening tabloids are Aftonbladet social democratic and Expressen liberal.
The ad-financed, free international morning paper, Metro International , was founded in Stockholm, Sweden.
The public broadcasting companies held a monopoly on radio and television for a long time in Sweden. Licence funded radio broadcasts started in A second radio network was started in and a third opened in response to pirate radio stations.
Non-profit community radio was allowed in and in commercial local radio started. The licence-funded television service was officially launched in A second channel, TV2 , was launched in These two channels operated by Sveriges Television since the late s held a monopoly until the s when cable and satellite television became available.
The first Swedish language satellite service was TV3 which started broadcasting from London in In the government announced it would begin taking applications from private television companies wishing to broadcast on the terrestrial network.
In , Sweden became the first monarchy to change its succession rites so that the first-born child of the monarch is heir to the throne, regardless of gender.
Ambitious and with charm to spare, Crown Princess Victoria seems more than ready for the task. The Swedish monarchy is certainly used to the eyes of media.
Recent years have offered up a series of weddings and births that have put them even more into the spotlight — nationally and internationally. Perhaps none was as widely followed as the marriage on 19 June between Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling.
Already before Victoria was born, there were discussions about changing the Succession Act and make it gender neutral. The celebrations around her marriage to Daniel, previously a gym owner and personal trainer, lasted for three days, and thousands of people assembled to offer their congratulations.
International press, meanwhile, spread the news around the globe. Daniel Westling was given the title H. Eighteen months later they had their first child, a baby princess.
He is third in line to the Swedish throne. The couple were married on 8 June at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, and celebrations were held afterwards at the family home at the Palace of Drottningholm.
To retain her H. He therefore has no royal titles and is not an official member of the Swedish Royal Family. Prince Carl Philip, the second oldest of the three siblings, is fourth in line of succession to the Swedish throne after Crown Princess Victoria, her daughter Princess Estelle and her son Prince Oscar.
The two have lived together since The couple expects their second child in September Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf died in an air crash in Denmark the following year.
After serving as monarch for 23 years, Gustaf Adolf passed away in They met in Munich during the Olympic Games, where Silvia was chief hostess.
A trained interpreter without either royal or noble origins, Silvia is the first Swedish queen to have had a professional career.
She married King Carl Gustaf in At the time royal weddings that included non-nobility were highly unusual, and Queen Silvia has since modernised the position of queen so that it is in step with the times.
The King and Queen have three children: According to the constitution, the monarch has no political affinity and no formal powers. Among other things, he has received the U.
Environmental Protection Agency Award. The Royal Family receives thousands of invitations each year. Once a week, the King holds a planning meeting with the Queen, the Crown Princess and their closest staff members to discuss the invitations and decide which are most important.