Sweden (pronounced /ˈswiːdən/ (help·info) SWEE-dən, Swedish: Sverige), officially the Kingdom of Sweden (Swedish: Konungariket Sverige (help·info)), is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden has land borders withNorway to the west and Finland to the northeast, and it is connected to Denmark by the Öresund Bridge in the south.
At 450,295 km², Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union in terms of area, and it has a total population of about 9.2 million. Sweden has a low population density of 21 inhabitants per square kilometre (54 /sq mi), but with a considerably higher density in the southern half of the country. About 85% of the population live in urban areas, and it is expected that these numbers will gradually rise as a part of the ongoing urbanization. Sweden's capital is Stockholm, which is also the largest city in the country (population of 1.3 million in the urban area and with 2 million in the metropolitan area). The second largest city is Gothenburg with 500,000 inhabitants in the urban area and approximately 1 million in the metropolitan area. The third largest city is Malmö.
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government and a highly developed economy. It ranks first in the world in The Economist's Democracy Index and seventh in the United Nation's Human Development Index. Sweden has been a member of theEuropean Union since 1 January 1995 and is a member of the OECD.Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries. The eastern half of Sweden, present-day Finland, was lost to Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by military means forced Norway into a personal union with Sweden, a union which lasted until 1905. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, adopting a non-aligned foreign policy in peacetime and neutrality in wartime.