Sweden

Introduction A military power during the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war in almost two centuries. An armed neutrality was preserved in both World Wars. Sweden's long-successful economic formula of a capitalist system interlarded with substantial welfare elements was challenged in the 1990s by high unemployment and in 2000-02 by the global economic downturn, but fiscal discipline over the past several years has allowed the country to weather economic vagaries. Sweden joined the EU in 1995, but the public rejected the introduction of the euro in a 2003 referendum.
History

Prehistory

Sweden's prehistory begins in the Allerød warm period c. 12,000 BC with Late Palaeolithic reindeer-hunting camps of the Bromme culture at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province. This period was characterized by small bands of hunter-gatherer-fishers using flint technology.

Farming and animal husbandry, along with monumental burial, polished flint axes and decorated pottery, arrived from the Continent with the Funnel-beaker Culture in c. 4,000 BC. Sweden's southern third was part of the stock-keeping and agricultural Nordic Bronze Age Culture's area, most of it being peripheral to the culture's Danish centre. The period began in c. 1,700 BC with the start of bronze imports from Europe. Copper mining was never tried locally during this period, and Scandinavia has no tin deposits, so all metal had to be imported. It was largely cast into local designs on arrival.

The Nordic Bronze Age was entirely pre-urban, with people living in hamlets and on farmsteads with single-story wooden long-houses.

In the absence of any Roman occupation, Sweden's Iron Age is reckoned up to the introduction of stone architecture and monastic orders about 1100. Much of the period is proto-historical, that is, there are written sources but most are of low credibility. The scraps of written matter are either much later than the period in question, written in distant areas, or, while local and coeval, extremely brief.

The climate took a turn for the worse, forcing farmers to keep cattle indoors over the winters, leading to an annual build-up of manure that could now for the first time be used systematically for soil improvement.

A Roman attempt to move the Imperial border forward from the Rhine to the Elbe was aborted in AD 9 when Germans under Roman-trained leadership defeated the legions of Varus by ambush in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. About this time, there was a major shift in the material culture of Scandinavia, reflecting increased contact with the Romans.

Starting in the 2nd century, much of southern Sweden's agricultural land was parcelled up with low stone walls. They divided the land into permanent infields and meadows for winter fodder on one side of the wall, and wooded outland where the cattle was grazed on the other side. This principle of landscape organization survived into the 19th century. The Roman Period also saw the first large-scale expansion of agricultural settlement up the Baltic coast of the country's northern two thirds.

Sweden enters proto-history with the Germania of Tacitus in AD 98. Whether any of the brief information he reports about this distant barbaric area was well-founded is uncertain, but he does mention tribal names that correspond to the Swedes (Suiones) and the Sami (Fenni) of later centuries. As for literacy in Sweden itself, the runic script was invented among the south Scandinavian elite in the 2nd century, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts, mainly of male names, demonstrating that the people of south Scandinavia spoke Proto-Norse at the time, a language ancestral to Swedish and other North Germanic languages.

Viking and Middle ages

The Swedish Viking Age lasted roughly between the eighth and eleventh centuries. During this period, it is believed that the Swedes expanded from eastern Sweden and incorporated the Geats to the south.[10] It's believed that Swedish vikings and Gutar mainly travelled east and south, going to Finland, the Baltic countries, Russia, the Mediterranean and further as far as Baghdad. Their routes passed the rivers of Russia down south to Constantinople (Byzantine Empire) (present-day Istanbul, Turkey) on which they did numerous raids. The Byzantine Emperor Theophilos noticed their great skills in war, and invited them to serve as his personal bodyguard, known as the varangian guard. The Swedish vikings, called "Rus" are also believed to be the founding fathers of Russia. The adventures of these Swedish Vikings are commemorated on many runestones in Sweden, such as the Greece Runestones and the Varangian Runestones. There was also considerable participation in expeditions westwards, which are commorated on stones such as the England Runestones. The last major Swedish Viking expedition appears to have been the ill-fated expedition of Ingvar the Far-Travelled to Serkland, the region south-east of the Caspian Sea. Its members are commemorated on the Ingvar Runestones, none of which mentions any survivor. What happened to the crew is unknown, but it is believed that they died of sickness.

It is not known when and how the kingdom of Sweden was born, but the list of Swedish monarchs is drawn from the first kings who ruled Svealand (Sweden) and Götaland (Gothia) as one with Erik the Victorious. Sweden and Gothia were two separate nations long before that. It is not known how long they existed, Beowulf described semi-legendary Swedish-Geatish wars in the 6th century.

During the early stages of the Scandinavian Viking Age, Ystad in Scania and Paviken on Gotland, in present-day Sweden, were flourishing trade centers. Remains of what is believed to have been a large market have been found in Ystad dating from 600–700 AD. In Paviken, an important center of trade in the Baltic region during the ninth and tenth century, remains have been found of a large Viking Age harbour with shipbuilding yards and handicraft industries. Between 800 and 1000, trade brought an abundance of silver to Gotland and according to some scholars, the Gotlanders of this era hoarded more silver than the rest of the population of Scandinavia combined.

St. Ansgar introduced Christianity in 829, but the new religion did not begin to fully replace paganism until the twelfth century. During the 11th century, Christianity became the most prevalent religion, and from the year 1050 Sweden is counted as a Christian nation. The period between 1100 and 1400 was characterized by internal power struggles and competition among the Nordic kingdoms. Swedish kings also began to expand the Swedish-controlled territory in Finland, creating conflicts with the Rus which now no longer had any connection with Sweden.

In the 14th century, Sweden was struck by the Black Death (bubonic plague). During this period the Swedish cities also began to acquire greater rights and were strongly influenced by German merchants of the Hanseatic League, active especially at Visby. In 1319, Sweden and Norway were united under King Magnus Eriksson and in 1397 Queen Margaret I of Denmark effected the personal union of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark through the Kalmar Union. However, Margaret’s successors, whose rule was also centred in Denmark, were unable to control the Swedish nobility. Real power was held for long periods by regents (notably those of the Sture family) chosen by the Swedish parliament. King Christian II of Denmark, who asserted his claim to Sweden by force of arms, ordered a massacre in 1520 of Swedish nobles at Stockholm. This came to be known as the “Stockholm blood bath” and stirred the Swedish nobility to new resistance and, on 6 June (now Sweden's national holiday) in 1523, they made Gustav Vasa their king. This is sometimes considered as the foundation of modern Sweden. Shortly afterwards he rejected Catholicism and led Sweden into the Protestant Reformation. Gustav Vasa is considered to be Sweden's "Father of the Nation".

Swedish Empire

During the 17th century Sweden emerged as a European Great Power. Before the emergence of the Swedish Empire, Sweden was a very poor, scarcely populated, barely known of country in northern Europe with no significant power or reputation what so ever. It was suddenly brought up to be one of Europes leading nations by the genius Axel Oxenstierna and the present king Gustavus Adolphus, thanks to territories seized from Russia and Poland-Lithuania but also greatly thanks to his involvement in the Thirty Years' War, which also made Sweden the continental leader of protestantism until the Empire's collapse in 1721.

Gustav Adolphus warfare against The Holy Roman Empire had a high cost of the lives of a third of all the Holy Roman population, and it took the position of The Holy Roman Empire as the mightiest country in Europe with Spain taking it's place. Sweden managed to conquer approximately 50 percent of the Holy Roman states. The plan of Gustav Adolphus was to become the new Holy Roman Emperor over a united Scandinavia and the Holy Roman states, however after his death in 1632 at the Battle of Lützen the adversities were increasingly frequent. After the Battle of Nördlingen the faith for Sweden amongst the Swedish controlled German states was severely injured, and these provinces excluded themselves from Swedish power one by one, leaving Sweden with only a couple of northern German provinces namely 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 superseded by Russia and Spain. Sweden reached its largest territorial extent during this time under the rule of Charles X (1622–1660) after the treaty of Roskilde in 1658. The foundation of Sweden's success during this period is credited to Gustav I's major changes on the Swedish economy in the mid-1500s, and his introduction of Protestantism. The 17th century saw Sweden engaged in many wars, for example with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with both sides competing for territories of today's Baltic states, with the disastrous Battle of Kircholm being one of the highlights.

This period also saw the Deluge—the Swedish invasion of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. After more than half a century of almost constant warfare, the Swedish economy had deteriorated. It would become the lifetime task of Charles' son, Charles XI (1655-1697), to rebuild the economy and refit the army. 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. Sweden's largest threat at this time, Russia, had a larger army but was far behind in both equipment and training.

After the Battle of Narva in 1700, one of the first battles of the Great Northern War, the Russian army was so severely decimated that Sweden had an open chance to invade Russia. However, Charles did not pursue the Russian army—instead turning against Poland-Lithuania and defeating the Polish king Augustus II and his Saxon allies at the Battle of Kliszow in 1702. This gave the Russian Tsar time to rebuild and modernize his army. After the success of invading Poland Charles decided to make an invasion attempt of Russia which ended in a decisive Russian victory at the Battle of Poltava in 1709. After a long march exposed to cossack raids, the Russian Tsar Peter the Great's scorched-earth techniques and the cold Russian climate, the Swedes stood weakened with a shattered morale, and enormously outnumbered against the Russian army at Poltava. The defeat meant the beginning of the end for the Swedish empire.

Charles XII attempted to invade Norway 1716; however, he was shot dead at Fredriksten fortress in 1718. The Swedes weren't militarily defeated at Fredriksten, but the whole structure and organization of the Norwegian campaign fell apart with the King's death and the army withdrew. Forced to cede large areas of land in the Treaty of Nystad in 1721, Sweden also lost its place as an empire and as the dominant state on the Baltic Sea. With Sweden's lost influence, Russia emerged as an empire and became one of Europe's dominant nations.

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 1809 loss of eastern Sweden to Russia which became the semi-autonomous Duchy of Finland in Imperial Russia.

After Denmark-Norway was defeated in the Napoleonic Wars, Norway was ceded to the king of Sweden on 14 January 1814 in exchange for northern German provinces, at the Treaty of Kiel. The Norwegian attempts to keep their status as a sovereign state were rejected by the Swedish king, Charles XIII. He launched a military campaign against Norway on July 27, 1814, ending in the Convention of Moss, which forced Norway into a personal union with Sweden under the Swedish crown, which was not dissolved until 1905. The 1814 campaign was the last war in which Sweden participated as a combatant.

Modern history

The 18th and 19th centuries saw a significant population increase, which the writer Esaias Tegnér in 1833 famously attributed to "the peace, the (smallpox) vaccine, and the potatoes". Between 1750 and 1850, the population in Sweden doubled. According to some scholars, mass emigration to America became the only way to prevent famine and rebellion; over 1 percent of the population emigrated annually during the 1880s. Nevertheless, Sweden remained poor, retaining a nearly entirely agricultural economy even as Denmark and Western European countries began to industrialize. Many looked towards America for a better life during this time. It is believed that between 1850 and 1910 more than one million Swedes moved to the United States. In the early 20th century, more Swedes lived in Chicago than in Gothenburg (Sweden's second largest city). Most Swedish immigrants moved to the Midwestern United States, with a large population in Minnesota. Some Swedes moved to Delaware. Some also moved to Canada and others in smaller numbers to Argentina.

Despite the slow rate of industrialization into the 19th century, many important changes were taking place in the agrarian economy due to innovations and the large population growth. These innovations included government-sponsored programs of enclosure, aggressive exploitation of agricultural lands, and the introduction of new crops such as the potato. Due also to the fact that the Swedish peasantry had never been enserfed as elsewhere in Europe, the Swedish farming culture began to take on a critical role in the Swedish political process, which has continued through modern times with modern Agrarian party (now called the Centre Party). Between 1870 and 1914, Sweden began developing the industrialized economy that exists today.

Strong grassroots movements sprung up in Sweden during the latter half of the nineteenth century (trade unions, temperance groups, and independent religious groups), creating a strong foundation of democratic principles. In 1889 The Swedish Social Democratic Party was founded. These movements precipitated Sweden's migration into a modern parliamentary democracy, achieved by the time of World War I. As the Industrial Revolution progressed during the twentieth century, people gradually began moving into cities to work in factories, and became involved in socialist unions. A socialist revolution was avoided in 1917, following the re-introduction of parliamentarism, and the country was democratized.

World Wars

Sweden remained officially neutral during World War I and World War II, although its neutrality during World War II has been vigorously debated. Sweden was under German influence for most of the war, as ties to the rest of the world were cut off through blockades. The Swedish government felt that it was in no position to openly contest Germany, and therefore collaborated with Hitler. Swedish volunteers in Nazi SS units were among the first to invade the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. Sweden also supplied steel and machined parts to Germany throughout the war. Toward the end of the war however, when the defeat of Germany seemed imminent, Sweden began to play a role in humanitarian efforts and many refugees, among them many Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe, were saved partly because of the Swedish involvement in rescue missions at the internment camps and partly because Sweden served as a haven for refugees, primarily from the Nordic countries and the Baltic states. Nevertheless, internal and external critics have argued that Sweden could have done more to resist the Nazi war effort, even if risking occupation.

Cold War

Sweden publicly claimed to be a neutral country and the image was forcefully maintained, but unofficially Sweden's leadership had strong ties with the United States. In the early 1960s Sweden and the United States agreed to deploy nuclear submarines off the Swedish west coast. In the same year Sweden made a defense pact with the United States. Knowledge of this alliance was kept secret from the Swedish public until 1994.

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. Sweden was part of the Marshall Plan and participated in the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). During most of the post-war era, the country was governed by the Swedish Social Democratic Party (in Swedish: Socialdemokraterna). Social democrats imposed corporatist policies: favoring big capitalist corporations and big unions, especially Swedish Trade Union Confederation, affiliated with Social Democrats. The amount of bureaucrats rose from normal levels in the 1960s to very high levels by 1980s. Sweden was open to trade and pursued internationally competitive manufacturing sector. Growth was good until 1970s.

Sweden, like countries around the globe, entered a period of economic decline and upheaval, following the oil embargoes of 1973-74 and 1978-79. In the 1980s pillars of Swedish industry were massively restructured. Shipbuilding was discontinued, wood pulp was integrated into modernized paper production, the steel industry was concentrated and specialized, and mechanical engineering was robotized.

Between 1970 and 1990 the overall tax burden rose by over ten percentage points and the growth was very low compared to most other countries in Western Europe. The marginal income tax for workers reached over 80%. Eventually government spent over half of the country's gross domestic product. Sweden steadily declined from its perennial top five GDP per capita ranking. Since the late 1970s, Sweden's economic policies were increasingly questioned by economists and Ministry of Finance officials.

Carl XVI Gustaf has been Sweden's king and head of state since 1973.

Recent history

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 1990s. Sweden's GDP declined by around 5%. In 1992, there was a run on the currency, the central bank briefly jacking up interest to 500% in an unsuccessful effort to defend the currency's fixed exchange rate. Total employment fell by almost 10% during the crisis. The response of the government was to cut spending and institute a multitude of reforms to improve Sweden's competitiveness, among them reducing the welfare state and privatizing public services and goods. Much of the political establishment promoted EU membership, and the Swedish referendum passed by 52-48% in favour of joining the EU on 13 November 1994. Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995.

During the Cold War, Europe's non-aligned Western countries, except the Republic of Ireland, had considered membership unwise, as the EU predecessor, the European Community, had been strongly associated with NATO countries. Following the end of the Cold War, however, Sweden, Austria and Finland joined, though in Sweden's case without adopting the Euro. Sweden remains non-aligned militarily, although it participates in some joint military exercises with NATO and some other countries, in addition to extensive cooperation with other European countries in the area of defence technology and defence industry. Among others, Swedish companies export weapons that are used by the American military in Iraq.[35] Sweden also has a long history of participating in international military operations, including most recently, Afghanistan, where Swedish troops are under NATO command, and in EU sponsored peacekeeping operations in UN protectorate Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Cyprus.

Geography Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, and Skagerrak, between Finland and Norway
Geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 15 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 449,964 sq km
land: 410,934 sq km
water: 39,030 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly larger than California
Land boundaries: total: 2,233 km
border countries: Finland 614 km, Norway 1,619 km
Coastline: 3,218 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm (adjustments made to return a portion of straits to high seas)
exclusive economic zone: agreed boundaries or midlines
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate: temperate in south with cold, cloudy winters and cool, partly cloudy summers; subarctic in north
Terrain: mostly flat or gently rolling lowlands; mountains in west
Elevation extremes: lowest point: reclaimed bay of Lake Hammarsjon, near Kristianstad -2.41 m
highest point: Kebnekaise 2,111 m
Natural resources: iron ore, copper, lead, zinc, gold, silver, tungsten, uranium, arsenic, feldspar, timber, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 5.93%
permanent crops: 0.01%
other: 94.06% (2005)
Irrigated land: 1,150 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 179 cu km (2005)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 2.68 cu km/yr (37%/54%/9%)
per capita: 296 cu m/yr (2002)
Natural hazards: ice floes in the surrounding waters, especially in the Gulf of Bothnia, can interfere with maritime traffic
Environment - current issues: acid rain damage to soils and lakes; pollution of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea
Environment - international agreements: party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Sulfur 94, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: strategic location along Danish Straits linking Baltic and North Seas
Politics

Sweden is a constitutional monarchy, in which King Carl XVI Gustaf is head of state, but royal power has long been limited to official and ceremonial functions. The Economist Intelligence Unit, while acknowledging that democracy is difficult to measure, listed Sweden in first place in its index of democracy assessing 167 countries. The nation's legislative body is the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament), with 349 members, which chooses the Prime Minister. Parliamentary elections are held every four years, on the third Sunday of September.

Counties and municipalities

Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into twenty-one counties (län). Each county has a County Administrative Board or länsstyrelse, which is appointed by the government (the first Swedish County Administrative Board was made up by the Swedish Prime Minister Axel Oxenstierna in 1634). In each county there is also a separate County Council or landsting, which is elected directly by the people.

Each county further divides into a number of municipalities or kommuner, with a total of 290 municipalities in 2004. Municipal government in Sweden is similar to city commission government and cabinet-style council government. A legislative municipal assembly (kommunfullmäktige) of between 31 and 101 members (always an uneven number) is elected from party-list proportional representation at municipal elections, held every four years in conjunction with the national parliamentary elections.

The municipalities are also divided into a total of 2,512 parishes, or församlingar (2000). These have traditionally been a subdivision of the Church of Sweden, but still have importance as districts for census and elections.

There are also older historical divisions, primarily the twenty-five provinces and three lands, which still retain cultural significance. The Swedish government is investigating the possibilities of merging the current 21 counties into circa 9 larger regions along the lines of the current riksområden used for statistical purposes. If approved, these would come into effect around 2015.

People Population: 9,045,389 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 16% (male 745,110/female 703,857)
15-64 years: 65.6% (male 3,008,148/female 2,928,930)
65 years and over: 18.3% (male 729,500/female 929,844) (2008 est.)
Median age: total: 41.3 years
male: 40.2 years
female: 42.4 years (2008 est.)
Population growth rate: 0.157% (2008 est.)
Birth rate: 10.15 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Death rate: 10.24 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Net migration rate: 1.66 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2008 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 2.75 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 2.91 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 2.58 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 80.74 years
male: 78.49 years
female: 83.13 years (2008 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.67 children born/woman (2008 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 3,600 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 100 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Swede(s)
adjective: Swedish
Ethnic groups: indigenous population: Swedes with Finnish and Sami minorities; foreign-born or first-generation immigrants: Finns, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, Turks
Religions: Lutheran 87%, other (includes Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist) 13%
Languages: Swedish, small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99%
male: 99%
female: 99% (2003 est.)
School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education): total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 17 years (2006)
Education expenditures: 7.1% of GDP (2005)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Kingdom of Sweden
conventional short form: Sweden
local long form: Konungariket Sverige
local short form: Sverige
Government type: constitutional monarchy
Capital: name: Stockholm
geographic coordinates: 59 20 N, 18 03 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
Administrative divisions: 21 counties (lan, singular and plural); Blekinge, Dalarnas, Gavleborgs, Gotlands, Hallands, Jamtlands, Jonkopings, Kalmar, Kronobergs, Norrbottens, Orebro, Ostergotlands, Skane, Sodermanlands, Stockholm, Uppsala, Varmlands, Vasterbottens, Vasternorrlands, Vastmanlands, Vastra Gotalands
Independence: 6 June 1523 (Gustav VASA elected king)
National holiday: Swedish Flag Day, 6 June (1916); National Day, 6 June (1983)
Constitution: 1 January 1975
Legal system: civil law system influenced by customary law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal
Executive branch: chief of state: King CARL XVI GUSTAF (since 19 September 1973); Heir Apparent Princess VICTORIA Ingrid Alice Desiree, daughter of the monarch (born 14 July 1977)
head of government: Prime Minister Fredrik REINFELDT (since 5 October 2006)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; following legislative elections, the prime minister is elected by the parliament; election last held on 17 September 2006 (next to be held in September 2010)
election results: Fredrik REINFELDT elected prime minister with 175 out of 349 votes
Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Riksdag (349 seats; members are elected by popular vote on a proportional representation basis to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held on 17 September 2006 (next to be held in September 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - Social Democrats 37.2%, Moderates 27.8%, Center Party 8.3%, Liberal People's Party 8.0%, Christian Democrats 6.9%, Left Party 6.3%, Greens 5.4%; seats by party - Social Democrats 130, Moderates 97, Center Party 29, Liberal People's Party 28, Christian Democrats 24, Left Party 22, Greens 19
Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Hogsta Domstolen (judges are appointed by the prime minister and the cabinet)
Political parties and leaders: Center Party [Maud OLOFSSON]; Christian Democratic Party [Goran HAGGLUND]; Environment Party the Greens [no formal leader but party spokespersons are Maria WETTERSTRAND and Peter ERIKSSON]; Left Party or V (formerly Communist) [Lars OHLY]; Liberal People's Party [Jan BJORKLUND]; Moderate Party (conservative) [Fredrik REINFELDT]; Social Democratic Party [Mona SAHLIN]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Children's Rights in Society; Central Association of Salarited Emplyees or TCO; Swedish Federation of Trade Unions or LO
other: media
International organization participation: ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Arctic Council, Australia Group, BIS, CBSS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, ESA, EU, FAO, G-9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MINURCAT, MONUC, NAM (guest), NC, NEA, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, PFP, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIL, UNMIS, UNMOGIP, UNOMIG, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (observer), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Jonas HAFSTROM
chancery: 2900 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20007
telephone: [1] (202) 467-2600
FAX: [1] (202) 467-2699
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Michael M. WOOD
embassy: Dag Hammarskjolds Vag 31, SE-11589 Stockholm
mailing address: American Embassy Stockholm, US Department of State, 5750 Stockholm Place, Washington, DC 20521-5750
telephone: [46] (08) 783 53 00
FAX: [46] (08) 661 19 64
Flag description: blue with a golden yellow cross extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag)
Culture

Sweden has many authors of worldwide recognition including August Strindberg, Astrid Lindgren, and Nobel Prize winners Selma Lagerlöf and Harry Martinson. In total seven Nobel Prizes in Literature have been awarded to Swedes. The nation's most well-known artists are painters such as Carl Larsson and Anders Zorn, and the sculptors Tobias Sergel and Carl Milles.

Swedish twentieth-century culture is noted by pioneering works in the early days of cinema, with Mauritz Stiller and Victor Sjöström. In the 1920s–1980s, the filmmaker Ingmar Bergman and actors Greta Garbo and Ingrid Bergman became internationally noted people within cinema. More recently, the films of Lukas Moodysson and Lasse Hallström have received international recognition.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s Sweden was seen as an international leader in what is now referred to as the "sexual revolution", with gender equality having particularly been promoted. At the present time, the number of single people is one of the highest in the world. The early Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967) reflected a liberal view of sexuality, including scenes of love making that caught international attention, and introduced the concept of the "Swedish sin". Sweden has also become, in recent decades, fairly liberal regarding homosexuality, as is reflected in the popular acceptance of films such as Show Me Love, which is about two young lesbians in the small Swedish town of Åmål. In the absence of legislation on same-sex marriages, Sweden offers both registered partnerships and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples. Cohabitation (sammanboende) by couples of all ages, including teenagers as well as elderly couples, is widespread although in recent years it has become administratively problematic with regard to proof in claims of "spousal" social security. Recently, Sweden is experiencing a baby boom.

Economy Economy - overview: Aided by peace and neutrality for the whole of the 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 labor 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 1% of GDP and 2% of employment. Sweden is in the midst of a sustained economic upswing, boosted by increased domestic demand and strong exports. This and robust finances have offered the center-right government considerable scope to implement its reform program aimed at increasing employment, reducing welfare dependence, and streamlining the state's role in the economy. The government plans to sell $31 billion in state assets during the next three years to further stimulate growth and raise revenue to pay down the federal debt. In September 2003, Swedish voters turned down entry into the euro system concerned about the impact on the economy and sovereignty.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $338.5 billion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $455.3 billion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.7% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $37,500 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 1.5%
industry: 28.8%
services: 69.7% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 4.839 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 2%
industry: 24%
services: 74% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate: 6.1% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: NA%
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 3.6%
highest 10%: 22.2% (2000)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 23 (2005)
Investment (gross fixed): 19% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $249.1 billion
expenditures: $233.5 billion (2007 est.)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Public debt: 41.7% of GDP (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 2.2% (2007 est.)
Central bank discount rate: 3.5% (31 December 2007)
Commercial bank prime lending rate: 4% (31 December 2004)
Stock of money: $217.1 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of quasi money: $48.49 billion (31 December 2007)
Stock of domestic credit: $630.8 billion (31 December 2007)
Agriculture - products: barley, wheat, sugar beets; meat, milk
Industries: iron and steel, precision equipment (bearings, radio and telephone parts, armaments), wood pulp and paper products, processed foods, motor vehicles
Industrial production growth rate: 3% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 153.2 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - consumption: 134.1 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 21.97 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 14.58 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 4%
hydro: 50.8%
nuclear: 43%
other: 2.3% (2001)
Oil - production: 2,350 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - consumption: 363,200 bbl/day (2005 est.)
Oil - exports: 231,100 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - imports: 580,600 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 893.9 million cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 893.9 million cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: $37.97 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $170.1 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: machinery 35%, motor vehicles, paper products, pulp and wood, iron and steel products, chemicals
Exports - partners: Germany 10.4%, Norway 9.4%, US 7.6%, Denmark 7.4%, UK 7.1%, Finland 6.4%, Netherlands 5.1%, France 5%, Belgium 4.6% (2007)
Imports: $151.4 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, motor vehicles, iron and steel; foodstuffs, clothing
Imports - partners: Germany 18.4%, Denmark 9.2%, Norway 8.3%, UK 6.8%, Finland 6.1%, Netherlands 5.8%, France 5%, China 4.3%, Belgium 4.1% (2007)
Economic aid - donor: ODA, $3.955 billion (2006)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $31.04 billion (2006 est.)
Debt - external: $598.2 billion (30 June 2006)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $216.6 billion (2007 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $261.5 billion (2007 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $403.9 billion (2005)
Currency (code): Swedish krona (SEK)
Currency code: SEK
Exchange rates: Swedish kronor (SEK) per US dollar - 6.7629 (2007), 7.3731 (2006), 7.4731 (2005), 7.3489 (2004), 8.0863 (2003)
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 5.506 million (2007)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 10.371 million (2007)
Telephone system: general assessment: highly developed telecommunications infrastructure; ranked among leading countries for fixed-line, mobile-cellular, Internet and broadband penetration
domestic: coaxial and multiconductor cables carry most of the voice traffic; parallel microwave radio relay systems carry some additional telephone channels
international: country code - 46; submarine cables provide links to other Nordic countries and Europe; satellite earth stations - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Eutelsat, and 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic and Indian Ocean regions); note - Sweden shares the Inmarsat earth station with the other Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1, FM 265, shortwave 1 (1998)
Radios: 8.25 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 169 (plus 1,299 repeaters) (1995)
Televisions: 4.6 million (1997)
Internet country code: .se
Internet hosts: 3.579 million (2008)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 29 (2000)
Internet users: 7 million (2007)
Transportation Airports: 250 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 152
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 12
1,524 to 2,437 m: 75
914 to 1,523 m: 24
under 914 m: 38 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 98
914 to 1,523 m: 6
under 914 m: 92 (2007)
Heliports: 2 (2007)
Pipelines: gas 798 km (2007)
Railways: total: 11,528 km
standard gauge: 11,528 km 1.435-m gauge (7,527 km electrified) (2006)
Roadways: total: 425,300 km
paved: 139,300 km (includes 1,740 km of expressways)
unpaved: 286,000 km (2008)
Waterways: 2,052 km (2005)
Merchant marine: total: 195
by type: bulk carrier 6, cargo 23, carrier 1, chemical tanker 45, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 36, petroleum tanker 15, roll on/roll off 37, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 25
foreign-owned: 41 (Denmark 4, Estonia 2, Finland 12, Germany 5, Italy 9, Norway 7, UK 2)
registered in other countries: 207 (Antigua and Barbuda 1, Bahamas 4, Barbados 7, Bermuda 20, Cook Islands 8, Cyprus 2, Denmark 6, Finland 2, France 9, Germany 1, Gibraltar 13, Isle of Man 1, Italy 1, Liberia 10, Malaysia 3, Malta 2, Marshall Islands 1, Netherlands 28, Netherlands Antilles 1, Norway 31, Norway 3, Panama 6, Portugal 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2, Singapore 20, UK 17, US 5) (2008)
Ports and terminals: Brofjorden, Goteborg, Helsingborg, Lulea, Malmo, Stenungsund, Stockholm, Trelleborg, Visby
Military Military branches: Swedish Armed Forces (Forsvarsmakten): Army (Armen), Royal Swedish Navy (Marinen), Swedish Air Force (Svenska Flygvapnet) (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 19 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation: 7-15 months (Navy), 8-12 months (Air Force); after completing initial service, soldiers have a reserve commitment until age 47 (2006)
Manpower available for military service: males age 16-49: 2,052,890
females age 16-49: 1,980,550 (2008 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 1,699,115
females age 16-49: 1,637,868 (2008 est.)
Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually: male: 64,605
female: 61,110 (2008 est.)
Military expenditures: 1.5% of GDP (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: none