Locally known as: Sverige
Area: 449,964 sq km (173,732 sq miles).
Population: 8,975,670 (official estimate 2003).
Population Density: 19.9 per sq km.
Population: 761,721 (2003).
Official / National Languages: Swedish, Skåne
Geography: Sweden is bordered by Norway to the west and Finland to the northeast, with a long Baltic coast to the east and south. Approximately half the country is forested and most of the many thousands of lakes are situated in the southern central area.
Government: Constitutional monarchy.
Head of State: King Carl XVI since 1973.
Head of Government: Prime Minister Göran Persson since 1996.
Language: Swedish. Lapp is spoken by the Sámi population in the north; there are also Finnish-speaking minorities. English is taught as the first foreign language from the age of nine.
Religion: Around 86 per cent of the population belong to the Church of Sweden (Evangelical Lutheran), separated from the state in January 2000; other Protestant minorities constitute the majority of the remainder.
Time: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).
Electricity: 230 volts, three-phase AC, 50Hz. Two-pin continental plugs are used.