A map of Sweden with ten key cities marked out.
Map of Sweden with ten selected cities. Illustration: Kidler

Key facts about Sweden

Here are your key facts about Sweden, as an introduction.

Sweden key facts

Sweden is part of the Nordic region in northern Europe, together with the countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway. Sweden is large in size, small in population.

Capital:

Stockholm

Population: 

10,551,707 people , 0.13 per cent of the world’s population

Life expectancy:

Men 81.58 years , women 84.9 years

Language:

Swedish (main language); and five official minority languages: Sami, Finnish, Meänkieli (Tornedalen Finnish), Yiddish and Romani Chib

Religion:

The Church of Sweden is Evangelical Lutheran, but there are also many other religions and faiths in the country.

National Day:

6 June

The offices of the Prime Minister, Rosenbad, to the left and the Swedish Parliament to the right.
The Swedish parliament building to the right. Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

Sweden's government

Sweden is a democracy and a monarchy. The Swedish Constitution and its four fundamental laws define how the country is governed. Sweden is a member of the European Union, EU.

Form of government:

Constitutional monarchy, with parliamentary democracy – political power lies with the parliament and government; the monarch has ceremonial functions

Parliament:

Called ‘riksdag’ – 349 members of parliament in a single chamber

Head of state:

His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf; heir to the throne is Crown Princess Victoria

A woman in a wheelchair is pointing at a whiteboard in an office environment.
At work. Photo: Scandinav/imagebank.sweden.se

Education and work in Sweden

Education is fully tax-financed in Sweden, apart from higher education for people from outside the EU/EEA area and Switzerland, who will have to pay a tuition fee. Conditions on the labour market are largely regulated through negotiations between employers and labour unions.

Education:

Ten years of compulsory schooling, but most students continue to the three-year upper secondary school/sixth form/high school. Around one-third go on to higher education at universities and colleges throughout Sweden.

Working hours and holidays:

Standard work week is 40 hours, minimum paid holiday allowance is 5 weeks (25 working days)

Employment rate (20–64 years):

Men: 71.8% ; women: 67.0% ; total: 69.4%

A view of Sweden's west coast archipelago during winter.
Winter on Sweden's west coast. Photo: Per Pixel Peterson/imagebank.sweden.se

Sweden's geography and nature

Sweden is so long that its northern parts may still be covered in snow when the southern end is in bloom. More than two-thirds of the land area is covered in forest and there are nearly 100,000 lakes.

Longest north–south distance:

1,572 km

Longest east–west distance:

499 km

Land area:

410,000 sq km

Total area:

528,447 sq km, the fifth largest country in Europe and roughly the same size as California
– Forests: 63% (69 % of the land area)
– Lakes and rivers: 9%
– Marshland: 6.5%
– Agricultural land: 7%
– Grasslands: 7%
– Urban and industrial land: 3%
– Exposed rock and mountains: 4.5%

Highest mountain:

Kebnekaise (2,099 m)

Biggest lake:

Vänern (5,650 sq km)

Number of lakes larger than 100m x 100m:

95,700

Sweden's biggest cities and their population:

  • Stockholm: 988,943
  • Göteborg: 604,616
  • Malmö: 362,133

Number of national parks:

30

Time zone:

GMT +1

Money and trade

The Swedish currency is the Swedish krona, SEK. In a referendum in 2003, Swedes voted no to implementing the euro, EUR.

Currency:

1 krona (SEK) = 100 öre ≈ EUR 0.095

GDP:

SEK 6,295 billion (2023)

Sweden's most important export goods: 

Vehicles and machines, pharmaceuticals/chemicals, electronics, minerals, wood products, energy, foods, shoes and clothes

Source: Statistics Sweden

A girl sits in a sofa chair in room with wooden floors. She's holding a tablet, apparently talking with an elderly man.
Just saying 'Hej!'. Photo: Melker Dahlstrand/imagebank.sweden.se

Contacting Sweden

Most of Sweden is well connected with access to decent broadband and phone reception.

Calling code:

+46

Internet code:

.se

Useful links

scb.se – Statistics Sweden, official statistics about Sweden

ekonomifakta.se – facts related to Swedish economy

ec.europa.eu/eurostat – Eurostats, official statistics about the EU

data.worldbank.org – World Bank Open Data, official statistics about the world