Sweden, the third largest country in the European Union by area, has a low population of about 9 million. Its capital is Stockholm, which is also the largest city in the country. In 17th century, Sweden largely expanded its territories and formed the Swedish Empire – one of the great powers of Europe. Known best for being a Viking nation, the Kingdom of Sweden is divided into nine provinces, all of which have a rich historical heritage. This is one nation where most of the little population is concentrated in the cities. The other good thing about Sweden is the fact that it has avoided getting involved in wars for around two whole centuries.
The country has a quite homogeneous population in ethnic stock, religion, and language. Finnish and Lapp minorities and foreign-born immigrants like the Norwegians, Danes, Yugoslavs, and Greeks are also present. Sweden is an advanced industrialized country with its inhabitants enjoying one of Scandinavia 's highest standards of living. It remained neutral during the two world wars, a move which played an important part on the country's relatively easy climb to economic success once the war was over, coupled with an efficient mix of high tech capitalism and welfare benefits. Today Sweden is becoming increasingly known for its big city tourism, with most of its cities like Stockholm and Gothenburg becoming hubs for culture and arts, heritage, fashion, and trade. Gothenburg is a major hub for maritime traffic on the North Sea and also has a thriving entertainment and culture scene for locals and tourists alike.
The Swedish economy emerged from the financial crisis as one of the strongest in Europe. A high-tech local economy and a comprehensive system of welfare benefits allow Sweden to enjoy one of the highest standards of living in the world. Sweden has one of the most globalized and competitive economies today.
Sweden has a continental climate, and is generally temperate due to offshore Gulf Stream waters, though there can be a medium to large variations in temperature between summer and winter. Winters are very cold, and most of the Norrland experiences cold temperatures for about seven months, with a summer of less than three months, while the southern region of Skane has a short, cold winter of only two months with a four-month long summer. Days tend to be shorter and heavy frosts and snowfalls are to be expected. Travel to Sweden can be enjoyed year round, but the warm and pleasant summers are perhaps more bearable for some visitors.
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