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Geography of Stockholm, Sweden

Learn Ten Facts about Sweden's Capital City


Sweden Flag

The Sweden flag is blue with a golden yellow cross extending to the edges of the flag; the vertical part of the cross is shifted to the hoist side in the style of the Dannebrog (Danish flag).

Source: CIA World Factbook, 2007
Updated December 16, 2010

Stockholm is the capital city of the Scandinavian country of Sweden. It is also the largest city in that country and it is the most populated urban area in the region. Stockholm is built on 14 islands on the central coast of eastern Sweden and it is considered the cultural, political and economic center of the country. As such, it has also been named a global city.

Sweden's capital city is known for its architecture, many waterways and parks. By some accounts, Stockholm is called "Venice of the North" after Venice, Italy.

The following is a list of ten geographic facts to know about Stockholm, Sweden:

1) The first written accounts of Stockholm date back to 1252 and at the time it was known for its iron trade and the historic mines of Bergslagen. By the 15th century, Stockholm became an important economic center which influenced Sweden's movement for independence from the Kalmar Union.

2) Sweden gained its independence on June 6, 1523 and by the 17th century, it was a major power in Europe. At the same time, Stockholm began to develop into a major European city and from 1610 to 1680, its population increased dramatically. In 1634, Stockholm was named as Sweden's capital.

3) In the early 18th century, Stockholm's growth slowed due to a plague in 1710 that killed around 36% of its population and the Great Northern War which took place from 1700 to 1721. Despite its slow economic and population growth during this time however, Stockholm remained as an important political center in Europe.

4) In the late 19th century, Stockholm was able to start growing economically again and the city became an important trading center. The city's population also grew considerably at this time due to immigration. In the 20th century, Stockholm grew into the city that it is today after undergoing many technological advances.

5) Today, the city of Stockholm covers an area of 73 square miles (188 sq km), while its metropolitan area consists of 2,517 square miles (6,519 sq km). The city is built on 14 islands in the Baltic Sea on Sweden's east coast. Over 60% of the city is undeveloped since over 30% consists of waterways and another 30% is parks and open space. Because of its focus on the environment, the European Commission of the European Union named Stockholm as the first European Green Capital in 2009.

6) In Sweden, Stockholm is officially known as the Stockholm Municipality. As such it is divided into district councils which are responsible for maintaining things like schools and social services. Stockholm is also generally geographically divided into three parts - Innerstaden (the Stockholm City Center), Söderort (the area of southern Stockholm) and Västerort (the area of western Stockholm).

7) Stockholm's climate is considered both humid continental and oceanic depending on location. Despite its high latitude however, the city's overall climate is relatively mild with warm summers and cold, snowy winters. The average July high temperature in Stockholm is 71.4˚F (22˚C) and the average January low is 23˚F (-5˚C).

8) The latitude of Stockholm is 59˚21'N which means that it is not far from the Arctic Circle. Because of this, the city gets only about six hours of daylight in the winters and more than 18 hours of sunlight during the summer.

9) The city of Stockholm has a population of 829,417 (as of 2009) but the metropolitan area has a population of over two million. This gives the city itself a population density of 11,362 people per square mile (4,412 per sq km), whereas the metropolitan area has a density of 802.2 people per square mile (310 per sq km). Thus the areas surrounding the city are not densely populated.

10) Today, most of Stockholm's population is employed in the service industry (about 85%). As a result, there is almost no heavy industry in the city which aids in its cleanliness. The largest employers in Stockholm are IBM, Ericsson and Electrolux. In addition, the city is the financial center of Sweden so there are several major Swedish banks headquartered there.

To learn more about Stockholm, read the Stockholm City Profile from Scandinavia Travel at About.com and the city's official website.


Central Intelligence Agency. (8 December 2010). CIA - The World Factbook - Sweden. Retrieved from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sw.html

Wikipedia.com. (13 December 2010). Stockholm - Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm

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