Sweden is a Scandinavian nation with thousands of coastal islands and inland lakes, along with vast boreal forests and glaciated mountains. Its principal cities, eastern capital Stockholm and southwestern Gothenburg and Malmö, are all coastal. Stockholm is built on 14 islands. It has more than 50 bridges, as well as the medieval old town, Gamla Stan, royal palaces, and museums such as open-air Skansen. Sweden is part of the geographical area of Fennoscandia. The climate is in general mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence. In spite of the high latitude, Sweden often has warm continental summers, being located in between the North Atlantic, the Baltic Sea, and vast Russia. The general climate and environment vary significantly from the south and north due to the vast latitudal difference, and much of Sweden has reliably cold and snowy winters. Southern Sweden is predominantly agricultural, while the north is heavily forested and includes a portion of the Scandinavian Mountains.
Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats (Swedish Götar) and Swedes (Svear) and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen. An independent Swedish state emerged during the early 12th century. After the Black Death in the middle of the 14th century killed about a third of the Scandinavian population, the Hanseatic League threatened Scandinavia's culture, finances and languages. This led to the forming of the Scandinavian Kalmar Union in 1397, which Sweden left in 1523. When Sweden became involved in the Thirty Years War on the Reformist side, an expansion of its territories began and eventually the Swedish Empire was formed. This became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814 when Norway was militarily forced into a personal union, which peacefully dissolved in 1905. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs. In 2014, Sweden celebrated 200 years of peace, breaking even Switzerland's record for peace. Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars and the Cold War, albeit Sweden has since 2009 openly moved towards cooperation with NATO.
Education in Sweden
Education in Sweden is mandatory for children between ages 7 and 15. The school year in Sweden runs from mid/late August to early/mid-June. The Christmas holiday from mid-December to early January divides the Swedish school year into two terms.
Preschool is free for low-income families and subsidized with a price ceiling for all families. The year children turn six they start the compulsory preschool class (förskoleklass), which acts as a transition phase between preschool and comprehensive schools. Children between ages 7 and 15 attend a comprehensive school where a wide range of subjects are studied. All students study the same subjects, with exception for different language choices. The majority of schools are run municipally, but there are also privately owned schools, known as independent schools.
Almost all students continue studying in 3 year long upper secondary schools where most students choose one out of 18 national programmes some of which are vocational and some preparatory. For students not fulfilling the requirements for the national programmes, introductory programmes are available where students work to satisfy the requirements for the national programmes. In 2018, 16% of students finishing year 9 of comprehensive school were not eligible for national programmes.
The higher education system is compatible with the rest of Europe through the Bologna Process where degrees are divided into 3 cycles, basic level, advanced level and doctoral level. There are two degrees available in each cycle of different lengths. Universities have no tuition fees for Swedish citizens (as well for citizens of European Economic Area сountries), and student aid is available from the government.
Universities in Sweden
|University of Gothenburg|
|Chalmers University of Technology|
|KTH Royal Institute of Technology|
|Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences|