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. The country has a population of 10 million people. 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. The inhabitants of Sweden enjoy a high standard of living, and the country is generally perceived as modern and liberal, with an organizational 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.
The earliest known achievements of arms in Sweden are those of two brothers, Sigtrygg and Lars Bengtsson, from 1219. The earliest example of Swedish civic heraldry is the city arms of Kalmar, which originated as a city seal in 1247. The seal (Swedish sigill), used extensively in the Middle Ages, was instrumental in spreading heraldry to churches, local governments, and other institutions, and was the forerunner of the coat of arms in medieval Sweden. Armorial seals of noblewomen appeared in the 12th century, burghers and artisans began adopting arms in the 13th century, and even some peasants took arms in the 14th century. Read more...
Old map showing Sweden during the period of Great Power 1648–1721. The Homann Map of Scandinavia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Livonia and northern Poland, from 1730, by Johann Baptist Homann (1664–1724)
Historical provinces of Sweden
This family crypt and the chapel above it in highly ornate coffins house the remains of all four of the Wittelsbach Dynasty monarchs of Sweden whose high-powered period (1654–1720) has been called the Caroline Era for Kings Carl X Gustav, Carl XI and Carl XII.
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Melodifestivalen (Swedish pronunciation: [mɛlʊˈdîːfɛstɪˌvɑːlɛn]; literally "the Melody Festival") is an annual song competition organised by Swedish public broadcasters Sveriges Television (SVT) and Sveriges Radio (SR). It determines the country's representative for the Eurovision Song Contest, and has been staged almost every year since 1959. Since 2000, the competition has been the most popular television programme in Sweden; it is also broadcast on radio and the Internet. In 2012, the semi-finals averaged 3.3 million viewers, and over an estimated four million people in Sweden watched the final, almost half of the Swedish population.
The festival has produced six Eurovision winners and twenty-four top-five placings for Sweden at the contest. The winner of Melodifestivalen has been chosen by panels of jurors since its inception. Since 1999, the juries have been joined by a public telephone vote which has an equal influence over the final outcome. The competition makes a considerable impact on the music charts in Sweden. Read more...