World Travelling Guide
World Travelling Guide

Accommodation in Southern Africa and South Africa including accommodation in Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Gauteng, Limpopo Province, North West Province, Free State, Kwazulu-Natal, Mpumalanga

List of Countries
Map of Europe

Sweden Travelling Guide
Sweden Travelling Guide

General background: 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, rising maintenance costs, and a declining position in world markets. Indecision over the country's role in the political and economic integration of Europe delayed Sweden's entry into the EU until 1995, and waived the introduction of the euro in 1999.

Area comparative: Slightly larger than California.

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.

Population: 8,876,744 (July 2002 est.)

Ethnic groups: Indigenous population: Swedes and Finnish and Sami minorities; foreign-born or first-generation immigrants: Finns, Yugoslavs, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, Turks

Religions: Lutheran 87%, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist

Language: Swedish
note: small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities

Government type: Constitutional monarchy

Capital: Stockholm

Legal system: Civil law system influenced by customary law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations.

Economic overview: Aided by peace and neutrality for the whole 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 2% of GDP and 2% of the jobs. The government's commitment to fiscal discipline resulted in a substantive budgetary surplus in 2001, but is expected to shrink somewhat in 2002, due to the global economic slowdown, tax cuts, and spending increases. The Swedish central bank (the Riksbank) is focusing on price stability with an inflation target of 2% for 2002.

Communication/Telephone system: Excellent domestic and international facilities.

Places of interest: Once you get out of town, Sweden's starkly beautiful forests and giant lakes lend themselves perfectly to outdoor activities from ice-skating to moose-spotting.

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