Sweden

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Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. It has borders with Norway (west and north) and Finland (northeast), and is connected to Denmark (south) by the Oresund Bridge. It has been a member of the European Union since January 1, 1995. Its capital city is Stockholm.

At 449,964 km² (173,720 square miles), Sweden is the third largest country by area in Western Europe and fifth in all of Europe. Sweden has a low population density of 20 people per square kilometre, except in its metropolitan areas; 84% of the population lives in urban areas, which comprise only 1.3% of the country's total land area and are much more dense than the countryside at about 1,300 people per square kilometre (3,400 per square mile). Most Swedes speak Swedish as their mother tongue.

Modern Sweden emerged out of the Kalmar Union formed in 1397, and by the unification of the country by King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century. In the 17th century the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish empire. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula, were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries. The historically integrated eastern half of Sweden, Österland, was lost to Russia in 1809 to become the Grand duchy of Finland of Imperial Russia. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by military means forced Norway into a personal union with Sweden, a union which lasted until 1905. Since that, Sweden has been at peace.

Sweden has a long history of economic freedom, such as support for property rights, free trade and free immigration. Sweden has long been a major exporter of iron, copper and timber. Improved transportation and communication has allowed for the large scale utilization of remote natural assets, most notably timber and iron ore. Sweden has a rich supply of water power, but lacks significant oil and coal deposits. In the 1890s, universal schooling and industrialization enabled the country to develop a successful manufacturing industry. Sweden had the world's 5th highest GDP per capita in 1970. After World War II Sweden emerged as a Nordic model welfare state, increasing taxes and regulation, until the economy crashed in the early 1990s. As a response to the economic decline it experienced in a few decades, the country has made some economic reforms. Sweden has high economic freedoms in many areas, but still suffers from a heavy tax burden and inflexible labor market, with overall ranking 27th on the Index of Economic Freedom 2008. Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, but so far has stayed outside defense cooperation and eurozone. Sweden achieves many excellent results in international comparisons such as the UN Human Development Index (HDI). The GDP per capita ranking is 15th.

The GDP per capita is high and the country is generally perceived as modern and liberal, with an organisational and corporate culture that is non-hierarchical and collectivist compared to its Anglo-Saxon counterparts. Nature conservation, environmental protection and energy efficiency are generally prioritized in policy making and embraced by the general public in Sweden

Wording courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org

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