The Swedish capital is Stockholm, and it has the largest population of the cities of the Nordic countries. The Stockholm region contributes almost 30% of Sweden’s GDP and has about 22% of the country’s total population. 2.3 million inhabitants live in the Stockholm metropolitan area.
History of Stockholm, the capital of Sweden
The area where Stockholm is located was inhabited as early as 8,000 years after the ice age. However, falling temperatures forced the inhabitants to move south. It was not until thousands of years later that a population settled in the area as the soil thawed.
The Vikings established Stockholm’s Old Town in 1000 CE, where the Baltic Sea meets Lake Mälaren. The earliest written record of Stockholm is from 1252, when the city was associated with the Iron trade because of the mines in Bergslagen. The founding of Stockholm is credited to Birger Jarl, a statesman who tried to protect Sweden from possible invasions from the sea by Karelians.
The current Old Town of Stockholm was built on the central island from the 13th century. The city benefited from Baltic trade and had strong cultural and economic ties with cities such as Hamburg, Visby and Riga. Stockholm has taken a central place in the political scene in Sweden.
Location and geography of Stockholm
Stockholm is located on the south-central east coast of Sweden in the region where Lake Mälaren drains its waters into the Baltic Sea. It is spread over 17 islands and 14 of them form the central parts of the city. The islands are continuous with the Stockholm archipelago.
Part of the town is located on the water, in the Bay of Riddarfjärden. More than 30% of the Stockholm area is provided with waterways, while another 30% is designated as parks and green spaces. The city’s location makes it one of the world’s most spectacular cities.
Administration of the Swedish capital
The Stockholm region consists of 11 municipalities. An estimated 932,917 residents live in Stockholm municipality. The municipality is divided into district councils charged with overseeing primary schools and with providing recreational, social and cultural services. Stockholm municipality features Stockholm city centre (Innerstaden), Western Stockholm (Västerort) and southern Stockholm (Söderort). The municipality is headed by a mayor and an elected municipal council.
The role of the city
The city is the financial capital of Sweden and is home to the headquarters of the country’s largest banks and the largest insurance companies. The Stockholm Stock Exchange, located in the city, is Sweden’s main stock exchange. It is estimated that 45% of the total Swedish companies are headquartered in Stockholm. The city supports a thriving service sector that accounts for about 85% of Stockholm’s jobs. Stockholm, in addition to its agencies, is the official seat of the government of Sweden.
The official residence of the prime minister and that of the Swedish monarch are located in Stockholm. The monarch fulfills his official duties in the Stockholm Palace, and the royal family lives in the Drottningholm Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Stockholm is home to numerous higher education institutions, some of which are ranked at the top of Europe. These institutions include Stockholm University, The Royal Institute of Technology and the Stockholm School of Economics. Stockholm plays a crucial role in the Swedish tourism industry, as it is the 10 most visited European destination.