Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, at 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of 10.0 million. Sweden consequently has a low density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre. Approximately 85% of the lives in urban areas. Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats/Götar and Swedes/Svear, Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is heavily forested. Sweden is part of the area of Fennoscandia. The climate is in very mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence. Today, Sweden is a monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state. The capital city is Stockholm, which is the most populous city in the country, legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister, Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities.
Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages, in the 17th century, it expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire, which became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, the last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, maintaining a policy of neutrality in foreign affairs. The union with Norway was peacefully dissolved in 1905, leading to Swedens current borders, though Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars, Sweden engaged in humanitarian efforts, such as taking in refugees from German-occupied Europe. After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995 and it is a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides health care. The modern name Sweden is derived through back-formation from Old English Swēoþēod and this word is derived from Sweon/Sweonas. The Swedish name Sverige literally means Realm of the Swedes, excluding the Geats in Götaland, the etymology of Swedes, and thus Sweden, is generally not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning ones own, referring to ones own Germanic tribe
Provinces of Sweden
The provinces of Sweden are historical and cultural regions. Sweden has 25 provinces and they have no function, but remain historical legacies. Dialects and folklore rather follows the borders than the borders of the counties. Several of them were subdivisions of Sweden until 1634, when they were replaced by the counties of Sweden, some were conquered on from Denmark–Norway. Others, like the provinces of Finland, were lost, Lapland is the only province acquired through colonization. In some cases, the administrative counties correspond almost exactly to the provinces, as is Blekinge to Blekinge County and Gotland, which is a province, while not exactly corresponding with the province, Härjedalen Municipality is beside Gotland the only municipality named after a province. In other cases, they do not, which enhances the cultural importance of the provinces. Since 1884 all the provinces are ceremonial duchies, but as such have no administrative or political functions, the provinces of Sweden are still used in colloquial speech and cultural references, and can therefore not be regarded as an archaic concept.
The main exception is Lapland where the see themselves as a part of Västerbotten or Norrbotten. Two other exceptions are Stockholm and Gothenburg, where the see themselves as living in the city. English and other languages occasionally use Latin names as alternatives to the Swedish names, the name Scania for Skåne predominates in English. Some purely English exonyms, such as the Dales for Dalarna, East Gothland for Östergötland, Swedish Lapland for Lappland, swedes writing in English have long used Swedish-language name forms only. The origins of the provincial divisions lay in the petty kingdoms that became more and more subjected to the rule of the Kings of Sweden during the consolidation of Sweden. Until the country law of Magnus Ericson in 1350, each of these still had its own laws with its own assembly. The historical provinces were considered duchies, but newly conquered provinces added to the kingdom either received the status of a duchy or a county, after the separation from the Kalmar Union in 1523 the Kingdom incorporated only some of its new conquests as provinces.
Other foreign territories were ruled as Swedish Dominions under the Swedish monarch, Norway, in personal union with Sweden from 1814 to 1905, never became an integral part of Sweden. The division of Västerbotten that took place with the cession of Finland caused Norrbotten to emerge as a county and it was granted a coat of arms as late as in 1995. Some scholars suggest that Sweden revived the concept in the 19th century
Statistics Sweden is the Swedish government agency responsible for producing official statistics regarding Sweden. National statistics in Sweden date back to 1686 when the parishes of the Church of Sweden were ordered to start keeping records on the population, sCBs predecessor, the Tabellverket, was set up in 1749, and the current name was adopted in 1858. As of 2015, the agency had approximately 1,350 employees, the offices of the agency are located in Stockholm and Örebro. Statistics Sweden publishes the Journal of Official Statistics, demographics of Sweden Eurostat Government agencies in Sweden List of national and international statistical services Official website