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Swed. Sverige, officially Kingdom of Sweden, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 9,002,000), 173,648 sq mi (449,750 sq km), N Europe, occupying the eastern part of the Scandinavian peninsula. It borders on Norway in the west, on Finland in the northeast, on the Gulf of Bothnia in the east, on the Baltic Sea in the south, and on the Øresund (The Sound), the Kattegat, and the Skagerrak in the southwest. The country includes several islands, notably GotlandGotland
, Swed. Gotlands län, county (1995 pop. 58,240), 1,225 sq mi (3,173 sq km), SE Sweden, in the Baltic Sea. The county comprises the large island of Gotland and several smaller islands, including Fårön, Gotska Sandön, and Karlsö.
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 and ÖlandÖland
, narrow island (1995 pop. 25,690), 520 sq mi (1,347 sq km), Kalmar co., SE Sweden, in the Baltic Sea, separated from mainland Sweden by the Kalmarsund. Borgholm is the chief town; there are many summer resorts on the island.
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, in the Baltic. StockholmStockholm
, city (1995 pop. 692,954), capital of Sweden and of Stockholm co., E Sweden, situated where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. It is Sweden's largest city and its economic, transportation, administrative, and cultural center.
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 is Sweden's capital and largest city.

Land and People

Sweden falls into two main geographical regions: the north (Norrland), comprising about two thirds of the country, which is mountainous (except for a narrow strip of lowland along the Gulf of Bothnia); and the south (Svealand and Götaland), which is mostly low-lying and where most of the population lives. About 65% of Sweden's land area is forested, and less than 10% is arable. The country has several large rivers, which generally flow in a southeastward direction; these include the Götaälv, the Dalälven, the Indalsälven, the Ångermanälven, the Umeälv, the Skellefteälven, the Luleälv, and the Torneälv. There are also a number of large lakes, including lakes Vänern, Vättern, Mälaren, Storsjön, Hjälmaren, Siljan, and Uddjaur. The highest point in Sweden is Kebnekaise (6,965 ft/2,123 m), located in the Kölen (Kjölen) Mts. in LaplandLapland
, Finn. Lappi, Nor. Lapland, Swed. Lappland, vast region of N Europe, largely within the Arctic Circle. It includes the Norwegian provinces of Finnmark and Troms and part of Nordland; the Swedish historic province of Lappland; N Finland; and the Kola
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The great majority of the nation's population speaks Swedish and is descended from Scandinavian tribes (see GermansGermans,
great ethnic complex of ancient Europe, a basic stock in the composition of the modern peoples of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, N Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, N and central France, Lowland Scotland, and England.
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); there is a sizable Finnish-speaking minority and a small Sami-speaking (Lapp) minority. About 12% of the population is foreign born. Most Swedes belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church; the metropolitan see is at UppsalaUppsala
, city (1990 pop. 109,500), capital of Uppsala co., E Sweden, on the Fyrisån River. It is an industrial and cultural center and a railroad junction. Manufactures include machinery, printed materials, processed food, clothing, pharmaceuticals, and footwear.
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. It was long the official state church, but it was disestablished in 2000. The Nobel Prizes (except the Peace Prize) are awarded annually in Sweden. Social welfare legislation has long been advanced and comprehensive, providing for pensions, maternity benefits, health insurance, and allowances for all children.


Sweden is a highly industrialized country and has one of the highest living standards in the world. Since 1940 there has been a great movement of workers from farms to cities; nevertheless, agricultural output has increased considerably with the application of scientific farming methods. In 2006 industry contributed about 28% of the annual national income and agriculture about 1%. Transportation, communication, and trade are also important. Farming is concentrated in the southern part of the country; the leading commodities produced are dairy products, grain (including fodder crops), sugar beets, and potatoes. Large numbers of poultry, hogs, and cattle are raised.

Sweden is one of the world's leading producers of iron ore; important mines are at KirunaKiruna
, city (1990 pop. 20,470), Norrbotten co., N Sweden. The northernmost city in Sweden, it is the center of the Lapland iron-mining region. The ore is shipped on the Lapland railroad (completed 1902) either to Narvik, Norway, an ice-free Atlantic port, or to Luleå,
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 and Gällivare. Copper, lead, and zinc ores and pyrite are also extracted. The country's chief industrial centers are Stockholm, GöteborgGöteborg
or Gothenburg
, city (1990 pop. 574,433), capital of Göteborg och Bohus co., SW Sweden, on the Kattegat at the mouth of the Göta älv.
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, MalmöMalmö
, city (1990 pop. 223,660), capital of Malmöhus co., S Sweden, on the Øresund opposite Copenhagen. Sweden's third largest city, it is a major naval and commercial port and an industrial center.
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, Uppsala, VästeråsVästerås
, city (1990 pop. 98,303), capital of Västmanland co., E Sweden, a port on Lake Mälaren at the mouth of the Svartån River. It is the main center of the Swedish electrical goods industry; other manufactures include metal goods, textiles, and
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, HelsingborgHelsingborg
or Hälsingborg
, city (1990 pop. 81,165), Malmöhus co., S Sweden, a seaport on the Øresund, connected by ferry with Helsingør, Denmark. It is a commercial and industrial center.
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, and NorrköpingNorrköping
, city (1990 pop. 82,640), Östergötland co., SE Sweden, a seaport at the head of the Bråviken, a narrow inlet of the Baltic Sea. It is a commercial, industrial, and transportation center.
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. Food processing is important and the leading manufactures include iron and steel, machinery, precision equipment, forest products, chemicals, and motor vehicles. Sweden is known for its decorative and folk arts, fine glassware (made especially at OrreforsOrrefors
, town, Kronoberg co., SE Sweden. It is noted for the manufacture of fine crystal and glassware. Simon Gate and Edward Hald, who made Orrefors famous, were outstanding engravers of glassware, and their work is represented in numerous collections. The town has a museum of glass.
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), and high-quality steel cutlery and blades. Much hydroelectric power is generated. The country's beautiful scenery and handsome towns and cities attract large numbers of tourists.

Sweden carries on a large foreign trade, and the value of exports usually slightly exceeds that of imports. The chief exports are machinery, motor vehicles, paper goods, pulp and wood, iron and steel products, and chemicals.The main imports are machinery, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, motor vehicles, iron and steel, foodstuffs, and clothing. The principal trade partners are Germany, Norway, Denmark, Great Britain, and Finland.


Sweden is a constitutional monarchy governed under the constitution of 1975, which replaced that of 1809. The hereditary monarch is the head of state but has little power. The prime minister, who is the head of government, is elected by the Parliament. Legislative power is vested in the unicameral Parliament or Riksdag, whose 349 members are elected by a system of proportional representation to four-year terms. The country's executive is the cabinet, headed by the prime minister, which must have the confidence of the Riksdag. Public administration is to a large extent decentralized, so that elected county and municipal governments play a major role in running the country. Administratively, Sweden is divided into 21 counties.


Origins of Sweden

In early historic times, Svealand was inhabited by the Svear (mentioned as the Suiones by Tacitus in the late 1st cent. A.D.). They engaged in wars with their southern neighbors, who inhabited Götaland and who according to an unproved tradition were the ancestors of the Goths. By the 6th cent. A.D. the Svear had conquered the Götar, with whom they merged. The early Swedes were combined and confused with other Scandinavians (e.g., the piratical VikingsVikings,
Scandinavian warriors who raided the coasts of Europe and the British Isles from the 9th cent. to the 11th cent. In their language, the word "viking" originally meant a journey, as for trading or raiding; it was not until the 19th cent.
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 and NorsemenNorsemen,
name given to the Scandinavian Vikings who raided and settled on the coasts of the European continent in the 9th and 10th cent. They are also referred to as Northmen or Normans.
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). The Swedes alone, known as VarangiansVarangians
, name given by Slavs and Byzantine Greeks to Scandinavians who began to raid the eastern shores of the Baltic and penetrate Eastern Europe by the 9th cent. Their leader, Rurik, established himself at Novgorod in 862, thus laying the traditional foundation for Kievan
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 in Russia, extended (10th cent.) their influence to the Black Sea. The Swedish kings warred for centuries with their Danish and Norwegian neighbors.

St. Ansgar introduced Christianity c.829, but paganism was fully eradicated only in the 12th cent. by Eric IXEric IX
(Eric the Saint), d. 1160, king of Sweden. He led (1157?) a Christian crusade to Finland, where he left the bishop of Uppsala in charge of missionary work. While attending mass he was killed by a Danish prince.
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, who also conquered Finland. The royal authority was weakened before the 13th cent. by the rise of an independent feudal class. The Swedish cities also began to acquire wide rights at that time and were strongly influenced by German merchants of the Hanseatic LeagueHanseatic League
, mercantile league of medieval German towns. It was amorphous in character; its origin cannot be dated exactly. Originally a Hansa was a company of merchants trading with foreign lands.
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, active especially at VisbyVisby
or Wisby
, city (1990 pop. 20,990), capital of Gotland co., SE Sweden, on Gotland Island and on the Baltic Sea. It is an industrial center and a popular resort and has a modern ice-free port. Manufactures include cement and refined sugar.
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. In 1319, Sweden and Norway were united under Magnus VIIMagnus VII
(Magnus Ericsson), b.1316, d.1373 or 1374, king of Norway (1319–43) and Sweden (1319–63). He succeeded his grandfather, Haakon V, in Norway; at the same time he was elected king by the Swedish nobles to succeed his exiled uncle, King Birger of Sweden.
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, and in 1397 Queen Margaret IMargaret I,
1353–1412, queen of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, daughter of Waldemar IV of Denmark. She was married (1363) to King Haakon VI of Norway, son of Magnus VII of Norway and Sweden.
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 effected the personal union of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark through the Kalmar UnionKalmar Union,
combination of the three crowns of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, effected at Kalmar, Sweden, by Queen Margaret I in 1397. Because the kingship was elective in all three countries, the union could not be maintained by inheritance.
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However, Margaret's successors, whose rule was centered in Denmark, were unable to control the Swedes. Real power was held for long periods by regents (notably those of the StureSture
, noble family that played a leading role in Sweden in the 15th and 16th cent. Sten Sture, the elder, c.1440–1503, was chosen regent in 1470. In the battle of Brunkeberg (1471) he defeated a Danish force sent by King Christian I.
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 family) chosen by the Swedish diet. Christian IIChristian II,
1481–1559, king of Denmark and Norway (1513–23) and Sweden (1520–23), son and successor of King John. After several unsuccessful attempts, he asserted claim to Sweden by force.
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, who asserted his claim to Sweden by force of arms, ordered a massacre (1520) of Swedish nobles at Stockholm. This "Stockholm Blood Bath" stirred the Swedes to new resistance; at SträngnäsSträngnäs
, city (1990 pop. 11,420), Södermanland co., E Sweden, on Strängnäsfjärden, an arm of Lake Mälaren. Manufactures include medical supplies and pharmaceuticals. Known in the 11th cent. as a pagan site for human sacrifices, it became (c.
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, in 1523, they made Gustavus Vasa their king as Gustavus IGustavus I
, 1496–1560, king of Sweden (1523–60), founder of the modern Swedish state and the Vasa dynasty. Known as Gustavus Eriksson before his coronation, he was the son of Erik Johansson, a Swedish senator and follower of the Sture family.
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Growth of the Swedish State

The founder of the modern Swedish state, Gustavus eliminated the influence of the Hanseatic League in Sweden, strengthened the central authority, made (1544) the kingship hereditary in the VasaVasa
, Pol. Waza, royal dynasty of Sweden (1523–1654) and Poland (1587–1668). Gustavus I, founder of the dynasty in Sweden, was succeeded by his sons Eric XIV (reigned 1560–68) and John III (reigned 1568–92).
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 dynasty, and made Lutheranism the state religion. However, he was unable to regain the southern provinces, held by Denmark. His successor, Eric XIVEric XIV,
1533–77, king of Sweden (1560–68), son and successor of Gustavus I. To strengthen the power of the crown, he limited (1561) the privileges of the royal dukes.
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 (reigned 1560–68), began the Swedish conquest of LivoniaLivonia
, region and former Russian province, comprising present Estonia and parts of Latvia (Vidzeme and Latgale). It borders on the Baltic Sea and its arms, the Gulf of Riga and the Gulf of Finland, in the west and the north and extends E to Lake Peipus (Chudskoye) and the
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 by taking (1561) its northern section (Estonia).

Swedish interests in E Europe were further enhanced by the marriage of John III (reigned 1569–92), Eric's successor, to the sister of Sigismund II of Poland. Their son, Sigismund IIISigismund III,
1566–1632, king of Poland (1587–1632) and Sweden (1592–99). The son of John III of Sweden and Catherine, sister of Sigismund II of Poland, he united the Vasa and Jagiello dynasties.
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 of Poland, was a Roman Catholic; his accession (1592) to the Swedish throne was deeply resented by the Protestant Swedes. He was deposed in 1599, and his uncle became regent and then king of Sweden as Charles IXCharles IX,
1550–1611, king of Sweden (1604–11), youngest son of Gustavus I. He was duke of Södermanland, Närke, and Värmland before his accession. During the reign of his brother, John III (1568–92), he opposed John's leanings toward Catholicism.
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 (reigned 1607–11).

Charles's son, Gustavus IIGustavus II
(Gustavus Adolphus), 1594–1632, king of Sweden (1611–32), son and successor of Charles IX. Military Achievements

Gustavus's excellent education, personal endowments, and early experience in affairs of state prepared him for his crucial role
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 (Gustavus Adolphus; reigned 1611–32), made Sweden a great European power. Through a war with Russia, he acquired (1617) Ingermanland and Karelia; from Poland he took nearly all of Livonia. By his victories at Breitenfeld (1631) and Lützen (1632) in the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War

There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
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, Gustavus made Sweden the dominant Protestant power of continental Europe. Axel OxenstiernaOxenstierna, Count Axel Gustafsson
, 1583–1654, Swedish statesman. Named chancellor in 1612, he was the actual administrator of Sweden because Gustavus II was continually occupied with foreign campaigns.
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, appointed chancellor by Gustavus in 1612, was highly influential during Gustavus's reign and the first half of the reign of Queen ChristinaChristina
, 1626–89, queen of Sweden (1632–54), daughter and successor of Gustavus II. From her father's death (1632) until 1644 she was under a regency headed by Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna.
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In the 17th cent. Swedish colonial aspirations in North America (see New SwedenNew Sweden,
Swedish colony (1638–55), on the Delaware River; included parts of what are now Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. With the support of Swedish statesman Axel Oxenstierna, Admiral Klas Fleming (a Finn), and Peter Minuit (a Dutchman), the New Sweden Company
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) proved short-lived. The Peace of Westphalia (1648; see Westphalia, Peace ofWestphalia, Peace of,
1648, general settlement ending the Thirty Years War. It marked the end of the Holy Roman Empire as an effective institution and inaugurated the modern European state system.
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), which ended the Thirty Years War, gave W PomeraniaPomerania
, region of N central Europe, extending along the Baltic Sea from a line W of Stralsund, Germany, to the Vistula River in Poland. From 1919 to 1939, Pomerania was divided among Germany, Poland, and the Free City of Danzig (Gdańsk).
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, WismarWismar
, city (1994 pop. 53,149), Mecklenburg–West Pomerania, N central Germany, on the Baltic Sea. It is an industrial center and an oil and fishing port. Manufactures include metal products and refined sugar, and there are shipbuilding yards in the city.
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, and the archbishopric of BremenBremen
, city (1994 pop. 551,600), capital of the state of Bremen, NW Germany, on the Weser River. Known as the Free Hanse City of Bremen (Ger. Freie Hansestadt Bremen
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 to Sweden, making the Swedish kings princes of the Holy Roman Empire. Charles XCharles X,
1622–60, king of Sweden (1654–60), nephew of Gustavus II. The son of John Casimir, count palatine of Zweibrücken, he brought the house of Wittelsbach to the Swedish throne when his cousin, Queen Christina, abdicated in his favor.
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, who became king on the abdication (1654) of Christina, successfully led wars against Poland and Denmark. The southern provinces of Sweden were definitively recovered from Denmark in 1660. Under Charles XICharles XI,
1655–97, king of Sweden (1660–97), son and successor of Charles X. Charles ascended the throne at the age of five, so a council of regency ruled until 1672.
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 (reigned 1660–97), Sweden became an absolute monarchy, and the great nobles lost their independence.

In the Northern WarNorthern War,
1700–1721, general European conflict, fought in N and E Europe at the same time that the War of the Spanish Succession was fought in the west and the south.
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 (1700–1721), which broke out shortly after the accession of Charles XIICharles XII,
1682–1718, king of Sweden (1697–1718), son and successor of Charles XI. The regency under which he succeeded was abolished in 1697 at the request of the Riksdag. At the coronation he omitted the usual oath and crowned himself.
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 (reigned 1697–1718), Sweden was crushed after gaining its greatest military triumphs (e.g., at NarvaNarva
, city (1994 pop. 79,094), NE Estonia, on the left bank of the Narva River. A leading textile center, it also has machinery plants, sawmills, flax and jute factories, and food-processing industries. The city is also an important producer of electric power.
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 and in Livonia). Under the treaties of Stockholm (1720) and Nystad (1721), Sweden ceded the archbishopric of Bremen to Hanover, part of Pomerania to Prussia, and Livonia, Ingermanland, and Karelia to Russia. Internally, Sweden was torn in the 18th cent. by political intrigue and civil discord. Ulrica Eleonora (d.1741) succeeded her brother, Charles XII, in 1718, but abdicated (1720) in favor of her husband, Frederick I (d. 1751), a prince of Hesse-Kassel.

The constitution of 1720 gave increased powers to the Riksdag (diet) and the political scene was dominated (1738–65) by the faction known as the Hats, who favored an aggressive anti-Russian policy in alliance with France and who represented the nobility and the bureaucracy. They were successfully challenged in 1765 by the Caps, who sought peaceful relations with Russia and who represented the lesser estates. In 1751 the house of Oldenburg-Holstein-Gottorp gained the Swedish throne when Adolphus Frederick became king. His son, Gustavus IIIGustavus III,
1746–92, king of Sweden (1771–92), son and successor of Adolphus Frederick. When Gustavus ascended the throne, he found his kingdom torn by civil strife.
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 (reigned 1771–92), restored absolutism in 1772 but was later assassinated by a conspiracy of nobles. Gustavus IVGustavus IV,
1778–1837, king of Sweden (1792–1809). On the assassination of his father, Gustavus III, he succeeded under the regency of his uncle, later King Charles XIII, a liberal.
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 (reigned 1792–1809), a despotic ruler, involved Sweden in war with Napoleon I and then (1806–9) with Russia. A coup (1809) placed his uncle, Charles XIIICharles XIII,
1748–1818, king of Sweden (1809–18) and Norway (1814–18). He became regent for his nephew, Gustavus IV, after the assassination (1792) of his brother Gustavus III.
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, on the throne, and later in the same year Sweden was forced to cede Finland to Russia.

A constitutional monarchy was established by the constitution of 1809, which, although modified considerably (e.g., in 1866 and 1969), remained in effect until Jan. 1, 1975. From 1810, Swedish affairs were in the hands of Charles's adopted heir, Marshal Bernadotte (later Charles XIVCharles XIV
(Charles John; Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte) , 1763–1844, king of Sweden and Norway (1818–44), French Revolutionary general. Bernadotte rose from the ranks, served brilliantly under Napoleon Bonaparte in the Italian campaign (1796–97), was French
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). Sweden again joined the allies against Napoleon in 1813; this was the last war in which Sweden has participated. The Congress of Vienna compensated (1814) Sweden for its loss of Pomerania and Finland with NorwayNorway,
Nor. Norge, officially Kingdom of Norway, constitutional monarchy (2005 est. pop. 4,593,000), 125,181 sq mi (324,219 sq km), N Europe, occupying the western part of the Scandinavian peninsula. Extending from the Skagerrak, which it borders in the south, c.
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, which remained a separate kingdom in personal union with Sweden until 1905.

Sweden since 1814

The history of 19th-century Sweden, under Charles XIV (reigned 1818–44), Oscar IOscar I,
1799–1859, king of Sweden and Norway (1844–59), son and successor of Charles XIV. His reign was one of social and economic advance. His book on the reform of criminal law and prisons had wide influence. Oscar was succeeded by his elder son, Charles XV.
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 (1844–59), Charles XVCharles XV,
1826–72, king of Sweden and Norway (1859–72), son and successor of Oscar I. A liberal and popular ruler, he consented to many reforms, including the creation of a bicameral parliament. He was succeeded by his brother, Oscar II.
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 (1859–72), and Oscar IIOscar II,
1829–1907, king of Sweden (1872–1907) and Norway (1872–1905), younger son of Oscar I. He succeeded his brother, Charles XV. He refused to concede to Norway its own consular representation, thus increasing the tension between Norway and the crown.
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 (1872–1907), was one of progressive liberalization in government and of industrial development. Freedom of the press (1844) and internal free trade (1864) were established, and the suffrage bill of 1865 enfranchised the middle class. The accelerated industrial development of the late 19th cent. was accompanied by the rise of the Social Democratic party, which dominated Swedish politics after 1920. From 1870 to 1914 about 1.5 million Swedes emigrated to the United States, mostly to the Midwest.

Relations with Norway were strained throughout the 19th cent., and in 1905 the union of Norway and Sweden was peacefully terminated. Under Gustavus VGustavus V,
1858–1950, king of Sweden (1907–50), son and successor of Oscar II. During his reign Sweden evolved toward political equality and economic prosperity and avoided military involvement in two world wars. He married (1881) Victoria of Baden.
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 (reigned 1907–50), Sweden averted involvement in World War I and II, making armed neutrality the basis of its foreign policy, and, except for the early 1920s and early 1930s, enjoyed economic prosperity. Universal taxpayer suffrage was introduced in 1907, and in 1910 a workers' compensation insurance law began the long series of Swedish welfare legislation. Sweden entered the United Nations in 1946, and Dag HammarskjöldHammarskjöld, Dag
, 1905–61, Swedish statesman, secretary-general of the United Nations (1953–61). He attended the universities of Uppsala and Stockholm (Ph.D., 1934).
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, a Swedish diplomat, was secretary-general of the organization from 1953 until his death in 1961. In 1950, Gustavus VIGustavus VI
(Gustaf Adolf), 1882–1973, king of Sweden (1950–73), son and successor of Gustavus V. After the death (1920) of his first wife, Princess Margaret of Connaught, he married (1923) Lady Louise Mountbatten (d. 1965).
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 ascended the throne; he was succeeded in 1973 by Charles XVI GustavusCharles XVI Gustavus
(Carl Gustaf), 1946–, king of Sweden (1973–), grandson and successor of Gustavus VI; son of Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
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. Sweden refused to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1949 in order not to compromise its neutrality, and for similar reasons withdrew its first application for full membership in the European Community in 1971.

The Social Democrats, led by Tage ErlanderErlander, Tage Fritiof
, 1901–85, Swedish socialist leader, prime minister of Sweden (1946–69). On the editorial staff of the encyclopedia Svensk Upplagsbok from 1929 to 1938, he was first elected to the Riksdag in 1933.
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 from 1946 to 1969 and thereafter by Olof PalmePalme, Olof
(Sven Olof Joachim Palme) , 1927–86, Swedish political leader, prime minister of Sweden (1969–76, 1982–86). Palme joined the Social Democratic party in 1952, entering parliament shortly afterward.
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, controlled the government after 1945, usually at the head of coalition governments. Considerable new social welfare legislation was passed, but from the mid-1960s Swedish economic growth slowed, and there were sizable increases in unemployment and in the rate of inflation in the early 1970s. Palme was replaced in 1976 by Thorbjörn FälldinFälldin, Thorbjörn
(Nils Olof Thorbjörn Fälldin), 1926–2016, Swedish political leader, prime minister of Sweden (1976–78, 1979–82).
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, a Center party member who led a coalition that ended 44 years of domination by the Social Democrats.

The period was marked by a heated national debate over nuclear power. Fälldin resigned in 1978 when he was forced to compromise on his decision to halt the building of nuclear power plants. Ola Ullsten became prime minister briefly, but Fälldin was returned to power after a general election in 1979. A 1980 referendum called for the phasing out of nuclear power, but in the subsequent decades most nuclear power plants remained in operation, and in 2010 legislation allowed for the issuing of permits for the construction of new nuclear power plants. In 1982 the Social Democrats resumed power under the leadership of Olof Palme, who was assassinated by an unidentified gunman in 1986. Palme was succeeded by Ingvar Carlsson. In 1991 the Social Democrats lost power and Carl BildtBildt, Carl
, 1949–, Swedish political leader. Born into a prominent family, he was elected to parliament in 1979 as a member of the conservative Moderate party, serving there until 2001.
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, a Conservative, became prime minister; his government enacted austerity measures.

Carlsson and the Social Democrats were returned to power in the 1994 elections. Sweden joined the European UnionEuropean Union
(EU), name given since the ratification (Nov., 1993) of the Treaty of European Union, or Maastricht Treaty, to the European Community (EC), an economic and political confederation of European nations, and other organizations (with the same member nations)
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 in 1995. Carlsson resigned as prime minister in 1996 and was succeeded by his finance minister, Göran PerssonPersson, Göran
, 1949–, Swedish politician, prime minister (1996–2006). A member of the Social Democratic party, he was first elected to parliament in 1979, serving until 1984 and again from 1989.
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, who continued in office following the 1998 elections, despite a setback for the Social Democrats. In 2002, Swedish voters again returned the Social Democrats to power, this time with an increased percentage of the vote. Sweden, which deregulated many sectors of its economy while retaining its welfare state, has generally experienced steady growth since the mid-1990s.

A center-right coalition, led by the Moderate party, defeated the Social Democrats in Sept., 2006. Fredrik ReinfeldtReinfeldt, Fredrik
1965–, Swedish politician. A member of the center-right Moderate party, he joined its Youth League in the 1980s, was first elected to parliament in 1991, and was president (1992–95) of the Youth League.
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, leader of the Moderates, became prime minister of a four-party coalition in October. In the Sept., 2010, elections the ruling coalition won the largest bloc of seats but fell short of a majority. Four years later the Social Democrats won a plurality and formed a minority government with the Greens; Stefan Löfven became prime minister. In Dec., 2014, however, Löfven called for new elections after the government lost a budget vote, but the government and center-right opposition soon reached a budget deal.


See R. N. Bain, Charles XII and the Collapse of the Swedish Empire, 1682–1719 (1895, repr. 1969); C. J. Hallendorf and Adolf Schüch, History of Sweden (1929, repr. 1970); Wilfrid Fleisher, Sweden, The Welfare State (1956, repr. 1973); Ingvar Andersson, A History of Sweden (tr. 1968, repr. 1975); Kurt Samuelsson, From Great Power to Welfare State (1968); R. F. Tomasson, Sweden: Prototype of Modern Society (1970); M. D. Hancock, Sweden: The Politics of Post Industrial Change (1972); Vilhelm Moberg, A History of the Swedish People (2 vol., tr. 1972 and 1974); Michael Roberts, The Age of Liberty: Sweden 1719–1772 (1985); L. B. Sather and Alan Swanson, Sweden (1987); B. P. Bosworth and A. M. Rivlin, ed., The Swedish Economy (1987); David Popenoe, Disturbing the Nest: Sweden and the Decline of Families in Modern Society (1988); Ebba Dohlman, National Welfare and Economic Interdependence: The Case of Sweden's Foreign Trade Policy (1989).



(Sverige), Kingdom of Sweden (Konungariket Sverige)

A state in northern Europe, occupying the eastern and southern parts of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Sweden is bounded by Norway on the west and north, Finland on the northeast, the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia on the south and east, and the straits of Öresund (dividing Sweden from Denmark), Kattegat, and Skagerrak on the southwest. The Baltic islands of Gotland and Öland are part of Sweden. The country has an area of 450,000 sq km (excluding inland bodies of water, 411,500 sq km) and a population of 8,268,000 (1978). Stockholm is the capital.

For administrative purposes Sweden is divided into 24 counties (see Table 1). Historically, the country has been divided into the geographic regions of Gotaland, Svealand, and Norrland.

Table 1. Administrative divisions of Sweden
County (Ian)Area (sqkm)1Population (1976)Administrative center
1Excluding lakes
Älvsborg ...............11,400418,000Vänersborg
Blekinge ...............2,900155,000Karlskrona
Gävleborg ...............18,200294,000Gävle
Göteborg och Bohus ...............5,100715,000Göteborg
Gotland ...............3,10054,000Visby
Halland ...............5,400220,000Halmstad
Jämtland ...............49,900134,000Östersund
Jönköping ...............9,900302,000Jönköping
Kalmar ...............11,200241,000Kalmar
Kopparberg ...............28,400281,000Falun
Kristianstad ...............6,000272,000Kristianstad
Kronoberg ...............8,500170,000Växjö
Malmöhus ...............4,900740,000Malmö
Norrbotten ...............98,900264,000Luleå
Örebro ...............8,500274,000Örebro
Östergötland ...............10,600387,000Linköping
Skaraborg ...............7,900263,000Mariestad
Södermanland ...............6,100252,000Nyköping
Stockholm ...............6,5001,494,000Stockholm
Uppsala ...............7,000230,000Uppsala
Värmland ...............17,600284,000Karlstad
Västerbotten ...............55,400236,000Umeå
Västernorrland ...............21,800268,000Härnösand
Västmanland ...............6,300260,000Västerås

Sweden is a constitutional monarchy whose present constitution went into effect on Jan. 1,1975. The constitution consists of three basic laws, adopted Feb. 27, 1974: the Instrument of Government, the Act of Succession, and the Freedom of the Press Act. The head of state is the king, who exercises representative functions. The highest legislative body is the Riksdag, a unicameral parliament whose 349 deputies are popularly elected for three-year terms on the basis of proportional representation. All citizens who have attained the age of 18 may vote. The Riksdag enacts laws, adopts the budget, establishes taxes and levies, regulates government borrowing, ratifies international treaties, elects the prime minister, confirms the government (cabinet), and appoints standing committees, financial inspectors, and ombudsmen.

The government prepares legislation, and at the request of the Riksdag may adopt acts having the force of law. It appoints diplomats, governors, and high officials, and it directs the armed forces and governmental bodies.

The central government is represented in the counties (län) by a governor, who heads a special administrative bureau consisting of ten members, half of whom are appointed by the cabinet and half by the Landsting. The governor supervises the local governing bodies: the Landstings in the counties and the assemblies of deputies in the cities and rural communities. These local bodies are elected by the population for three years.

The judicial system includes the Supreme Court, six appellate courts, and municipal and district courts. Special courts exist for certain types of cases, for example, cases relating to the division of property, land ownership, and police matters. There are also administrative courts.


Sweden is located in the Atlantic sector of Europe, in the northern part of the temperate zone. The land is part of the Fen-noscandia geographical region.

Coastline. The Swedish coast, generally low and rocky, is fringed by small islands and skerries that hinder coastal navigation. Stretches of low, primarily sandy, aggradation shores are found along the northern and southwestern ends of the Gulf of Bothnia. The Skåne Peninsula in the south has an abrasion coast.

Topography. The northern and western regions of Sweden are occupied by the Scandinavian Mountains, rising to 2,123 m on Mount Kebnekaise. The mountains consist of ranges with stretches of alpine relief, high plateaus, and intermontane basins. More than 200 small glaciers, chiefly cirque but also some valley and diffluent glaciers, cover a total area of about 400 sq km. There are traces of ancient continental glaciation. The Norrland Plateau in the north, with elevations of 200–800 m, descends in several broad steps, bounded by escarpments, from the Scandinavian Mountains to the Gulf of Bothnia. The plateau is deeply dissected by fractures in which river and lake valleys have formed. To the south lies the Central Swedish Lowland, where low ranges and isolated ridges eroded by ancient glaciers alternate with flat depressions, many of them occupied by lakes. Glacial landforms such as eskers and moraine hills and ridges are widely found in the lowland. In the southern part of the country rises the Småland Upland, divided into ridges and massifs by a system of radiating valleys.

Geological structure and minerals. Sweden is located on the Baltic Shield of the Eastern European Platform and on the Caledonian folded structures surrounding the platform. The structure of the shield includes Proterozoic metamorphic complexes (leptites, granites, gneisses, quartzites, phyllites, spilites) of the Svecofen-nian, Karelian, Gothian, and Dalslandian and nonmetamorp-hosed strata of the sub-Jotnian (Rapakivi), Jotnian (sandstones, shales, and diabases), Sparagmite (sandstones and limestones), and Varegian (quartzites, tillites, and banded clays). The mantle is composed of some Cambrian-Silurian residual rock but chiefly of Quaternary glacial deposits. The Caledonides in northwestern Sweden contain Upper Proterozoic (Jotnian, Sparagmite and Varegian) deposits and Cambrian-Silurian sandstones, alum and clay shales, and bituminous limestones.

The principal minerals are iron ore (reserves of 3.4 billion tons with an iron content of 58–68 percent) and ores of copper (1.6 million tons), lead (about 2.3 million tons), and zinc (2.4 million tons). The largest iron ore deposits (apatite-magnetite), associated with Svecofennian metamorphic rocks, occur in northern Sweden at Kiruna, Gällivare, and other sites. Sulfide deposits of copper, zinc, and lead ore—sometimes containing gold, silver, and arsenic—are found at Boliden, Kristineberg and other places in the Skellefteå region. In northern and central Sweden deposits of iron ore (Grangesberg), zinc and lead (Laisvall), and copper (Aitik) are associated with Svecofennian leptites, and the uranium deposit at Ronstad is associated with Cambrian bituminous shales. The country also has small ore deposits of manganese, tungsten, rare elements, and fluorite, as well as mineral springs.

Climate. Sweden has a temperate climate that is strongly affected by the warming Gulf Stream. The January temperature is 10°C higher than the average for these latitudes and the July temperature 3°C higher. The climate is harsher in the northern regions, where continental temperate and arctic air masses play a greater role. The climate in the central and southern regions is transitional between marine and continental, although some places have a clearly marine climate. The mean January temperature ranges from 0° to 5°C in the south and from – 6° to – 14°C in the north. Summers are cool, with mean July temperatures of 15°–17°C in the south and 10°–11°C in the north.

The annual precipitation in the mountains is 1,500–1,700 mm, increasing to 2,000 mm in some places. The southern plains receive 700–800 mm and the northeast, 300–600 mm. The snow-pack lasts six or seven months in the northern mountains, diminishing to one month toward the south; in some areas a stable snow cover is not formed during the winter.

Rivers and lakes. Most of the rivers are short and full, fed chieflyby snow and rain. The largest rivers are the Dal, Tome, Klar, Ångerman, and Göta. The rivers have significant gradients with many rapids and waterfalls. The maximum flow occurs in the spring and summer, although fluctuations in water level are small because of the regulating effect of the numerous lakes and swamps. The rivers freeze over for three or four weeks in the south and for five or six months in the north. Sweden’s hydroelectric potential, about 80 billion kilowatt-hours a year, is the third largest in Europe after the Soviet Union and Norway. Lakes cover about 9 percent of the country’s area. The largest lakes are in the Central Swedish Lowland: Vänern, the largest lake in Europe outside the USSR, Vättern, Hjälmaren, and Mälaren. Numerous lakes in tectonic basins are found in Norrland. The lakes are frozen over for six or seven months in the north and three or four months in the south.

Soils and vegetation. Forests occupy more than half of the country’s area. Taiga forests growing on podzolic soils form vast tracts north of 60° N lat.; they consist chiefly of pine and spruce with some birch, aspen, and other deciduous species. To the south, mixed forests of conifers and broadleaf species occur on soddy podzolic soils. Broadleaf forests of oak and beech grow on brown forest soils on the Skåne Peninsula. Sweden has timber reserves of about 2.4 billion cu m (the largest in Europe outside the Soviet Union), of which about 2 billion cu m are conifers (1972). Swamps, found chiefly in Norrland, cover about 14 percent of the country.

Mountain taiga vegetation, growing on mountain podzolic soils, covers the slopes of the Scandinavian Mountains to elevations of 900–950 m in the south and 350–400 m in the north. At higher elevations the taiga gives way to birch krummholz, which in turn are supplanted by a swampy mountain tundra of mosses, lichens, junipers, dwarf birch, and berry bushes, growing on mountain tundra and marsh soils. Tundra vegetation occupies about 15 percent of Swedish territory. Heaths and meadows are found on the plains and along the coast.

Wildlife. The forests are inhabited by elk, brown bears, wolves, lynx, foxes, squirrels, marten, and blue hares. Badgers and hedgehogs are found in the south, and wolverines, arctic foxes, and lemmings live in the tundra. Waterfowl, chiefly ducks and geese, are common. Salmon, trout, perch, and pike are commercially valuable freshwater fish; cod, herring, and other marine species are obtained from the coastal waters of the Baltic.

Protected territories. In 1975, Sweden had 16 strictly protected national parks and 850 preserves. The principal parks are Abis-ko, Muddus, Peljekaise, and Sareks-Sjöfallets.

Natural regions. Sweden has five natural regions: the Scandinavian Mountains, Norrland, the Central Swedish Lowland, Småland, and Skåne. In the Scandinavian Mountains individual ranges alternate with plateaus and intermontane basins. The region has modern glaciers and landforms created by ancient glaciation. The vegetation consists of taiga and mountain tundra. Norrland is a plateau in northern Sweden crossed by numerous turbulent rivers and bearing traces of ancient glaciation. It is covered by taiga vegetation.

The Central Swedish Lowland is a region of lake plains, moraine hill landscapes, and rocky outliers. A significant part of this densely populated region has been brought under cultivation. Småland is an upland in southern Sweden with a moraine hill topography. It has conifer and mixed forests. In the Skåne Peninsula in the extreme south plains, mostly under cultivation, alternate with ridges of granite and gneiss. There are small tracts of oak and beech woods.


Poslednii evropeiskii lednikovyipokrov. Moscow, 1965.
Eramov, R. A. Fizicheskaia geografiia zarubezhnoi Evropy. Moscow, 1973.
O’Dell, A. Skandinaviia. Moscow, 1962. (Translated from English.)
Atlas över Sverige. Stockholm, 1953.
Dokembrii Skandinavii. Moscow, 1967. (Translated from English.)
Rutten, M. G. Geologiia Zapadnoi Evropey. Moscow, 1972. (Translated from English.)
R. A. ERAMOV (physical geography) and E. G. MARTYNOV (geological structure and minerals)

Ethnically, Sweden is a homogeneous land, with Swedes making up about 96 percent of the population. Lapps, the indigenous inhabitants of the north, constitute a national minority of some 10,000 persons. There is also a small Finnish population. The official language is Swedish, and Lutheranism is the state religion. The Gregorian calendar is used.

The average annual birth rate has tended to decline, while the death rate has stabilized. Between 1971 and 1975 the annual rate of natural increase averaged 3.5 per 1,000 population. The male and female populations are approximately equal. A low birth rate and a long life expectancy (72 years for men and 76 years for women) has caused a substantial “aging” of the nation. Between 1950 and 1975 the proportion of children under 15 declined from 23 percent to 20 percent of the population, while the proportion of people over 60 increased from 15 percent to 20 percent.

Of the total work force of 3.7 million (1975), 34 percent were employed in industry, 7 percent in agriculture, forestry, and fishing, 8 percent in construction, 7 percent in transportation and communications, and 44 percent in commerce and other service sectors. The low natural increase of the population has put a strain on the country’s labor resources. The number of foreign workers reached 200,000 in 1975, and foreigners accounted for more than 10 percent of the country’s industrial workers. The population density averages 20 per sq km (1976), with most of the population being concentrated in the central and southern regions. Some four-fifths of the population lives in cities and urban-type settlements. In 1976 the largest metropolitan areas were Stockholm (1,358,000 inhabitants), Göteborg (691,000), and Malmö (454,000).

Primitive communal system and origin of class society (to the 12th century). The earliest traces of man on the territory of modern Sweden date from the eighth and ninth millennia B.C. Around the third millennium B.C., the inhabitants, who had hitherto engaged in hunting and fishing, shifted to livestock raising and agriculture. In the next millennium, Sweden was invaded by livestock-raising tribes, presumably Indo-European, which subjugated the indigenous inhabitants. Property and social stratification, which began in the Bronze Age (1500–500 B.C.), was somewhat arrested in the early Iron Age (from the second half of the first millennium B.C.). Tacitus and other classical writers mention the Suiones (Svear), Götar (Goths), and other northern Germanic tribes that inhabited the area in the first centuries A.D. The disintegration of the primitive communal system among these tribes accelerated in the middle of the first millennium. Tribes and tribal confederations, subordinate to a military chief (konung), traded first with Rome and its Germanic provinces and, from the fifth century, with the Franks, Frisians, western (maritime) Slavs, and peoples of the eastern Baltic region.

Between the late eighth and mid-11th centuries, the Swedish Vikings, known in Western Europe as the Normans and in Russia as the Varangians, traded with and plundered not only the neighboring lands but also Rus’, Byzantium, the Volga Bulgars and Khazars, and the Arab Caliphate. The first Swedish city, Birka (founded c. 800), and somewhat later the island of Götland became trade centers on the Baltic. Christianity gained a foothold in Sweden at the beginning of the 11th century. At that time the kingdom of the Svear, Svitiod, subjugated all but the coastal areas of the state created by the Götar in the west and south. The Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish nations began to emerge from the conglomeration of ancient Scandinavian tribes.

Feudalism (12th to 17th centuries).ESTABLISHMENT OF FEUDAL RELATIONS (12TH AND 13TH CENTURIES). Feudal relations developed slowly in Sweden, where tribal-clan vestiges were firmly rooted. The labor of slaves (träls) and semifree men (brytes) was employed in the land communes. A feudally dependent peasantry evolved from among free peasants who had lost their land and slaves who had been emancipated and settled on the land; both became the temporary holders of land belonging to the king, the church, or the secular aristocracy. The peasants remained personally free in Sweden.

A class of feudal lords emerged from the ranks of the king’s retinue and other royal servitors, the tribal aristocracy, and the upper echelons of the bönder (free farmers). The adoption of Christianity also promoted the development of feudal relations; an archbishopric was established in 1164 at Uppsala, the religious and political center of ancient Sweden. In return for the support of the church, the kings of Sweden granted land to monasteries and the high clergy. New commercial centers sprang up, among them Sigtuna, Visby, Kalmar, and Lödöse. The Swedes began establishing shaft mines and smelting iron and copper. The free population was gradually divided into a tax-paying majority not subject to military duty (the exploited peasantry) and a non-tax-paying minority, the frälse (knights), who performed mounted military service. Slavery was not abolished until 1335.

The early-feudal centralization of Sweden was completed by Birger Jarl and his sons, who founded the Folkung dynasty (ruled 1250–1363). In this period stone fortress-castles were erected, among them Stockholm (mid-13th century), Sweden’s capital from the late 14th century. By the end of the 13th century Swedish society was divided into estates. Crusades against the Finnish tribes, begun in the mid-12th century, culminated in the final conquest of Finland in the early 14th century. After repeated defeats, notably the rout at the battle of the Neva (1240), Swedish attempts to conquer northwestern Rus’ resulted in the establishment of a boundary between Sweden and Rus’ under the Orek-hovets Peace, concluded between Sweden and Novgorod in 1323.

FEUDAL UNIONS (14TH TO EARLY 16TH CENTURIES). After the election of the Norwegian king Magnus Eriksson (ruled 1319–63) to the Swedish throne in 1319, Sweden was united with Norway until 1355. From this time, royal power was limited by a king’s council of secular and ecclesiastical magnates, later renamed the state council, or Riksråd. A national law code, the Landslag (c. 1350), was compiled, and the country was divided into läns headed by royal viceroys called lords of the läns. Weakened by feudal strife, Sweden in 1389 entered into a union with Denmark, a move that foreshadowed the Union of Kalmar (1397–1523) between Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Under King Erik of Pomerania (ruled 1412–39), Denmark began to gain ascendancy over economically weaker Sweden. Oppressive taxation and a war against the Hanseatic League (1426–32) sparked the anti-Danish uprising led by Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson (1434–36). The first four-estate Riksdag, representing the nobility, clergy, townspeople, and peasants (excluding those on noblemen’s domains), was convened in 1435–36.

The union with Denmark effectively broke up in 1448, and Sweden achieved relative independence in 1471 after its victory over the Danes at the battle of Brunkeberg. From 1471 to 1520 it was ruled by regents of the aristocratic house of Sture, under whom the central government was consolidated, the national culture strengthened (in 1477 the first university in northern Europe was opened at Uppsala), and the guild system was established in a number of cities. With the support of the Catholic Church, the Danish king Christian II forcibly reestablished the Danish-Swedish union in 1520 (seeSTOCKHOLM BLOODBATH). The large popular uprising of 1521, led by the nobleman Gustav Eriksson, put an end to the dominance of the Danes. Elected king of Sweden (Gustavus I) in 1523, Gustav Eriksson founded the Vasa dynasty.

SWEDISH HEGEMONY ON THE BALTIC AND THE BEGINNING OF CAPITALISM (EARLY 16TH TO LATE 17TH CENTURIES). The support given to the Danes by the Catholic prelates became the grounds for secularizing church holdings and carrying out the Lutheran Reformation (1527–39), which strengthened the authority of Gustavus I Vasa (ruled to 1560). The deterioration of the peasants’ condition, largely owing to the restrictions placed on their land rights for the benefit of the crown, touched off a series of uprisings, notably the Dal uprisings of 1524–25,1527–28, and 1531–32 and the uprising of “forest robbers” of 1542–43.

In the middle of the 16th century the strengthened national monarchy (hereditary from 1544) joined the struggle for Baltic supremacy, renewing its aggression in the east during the Russo-Swedish War of 1555–57. Taking advantage of the Livonian War of 1558–83, King Erik XIV (ruled 1560–68) captured Revel and northern Estonia in 1561. Hostility to the strengthened Russian state temporarily drew Sweden closer to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the late 16th century. A personal union between the two countries under King Sigismund III Vasa (1592–99) ensured a favorable outcome in the war of 1570–95 against the Russian state, but it exposed Sweden to the threat of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, actively encouraged by Sigismund. After the breakup of the union, Sweden and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth became embroiled in a long struggle for control over the Baltic. In the course of this struggle, Sweden initially aided Tsar V. I. Shuiskii against the Polish interventionists, but in the summer of 1610 it embarked on overt aggression against Russia (seePOLISH AND SWEDISH INTERVENTION OF THE EARLY 17TH CENTURY).

Sweden’s foreign trade, especially metal exports, grew steadily from the late 16th century. The metallurgy industry expanded in the first half of the 17th century in conjunction with the increased mining of copper and iron. By the middle of the century early-capitalist enterprise was developing, primarily in mining and met-alworking, and Swedish capital was accumulating. Under the command of King Gustavus II Adolphus (ruled 1611–32), the Swedish Army won victories in the war of 1610–15 against Russia, its conquests confirmed by the Peace of Stolbovo (1617). Sweden’s wars against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (1600–11 and 1617–29) ended in its seizure of Livonia and the Truce of Altmark (1629).

From 1630, Sweden fought on the side of the anti-Hapsburg coalition in the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48), acquiring a number of north German territories under the Treaty of Westphalia (1648). The wars against Denmark (1643–45 and 1657–60) concluded with the seizure of Danish possessions in the southern Scandinavian Peninsula (principally Skåne) and part of eastern Norway, ceded to Sweden by the Roskilde Peace (1658). Sweden’s conquests in the Baltic region during the Northern War of 1655–60 were confirmed by the Peace of Oliva (1660). The Treaty of Kardis (1661), which ended the Russo-Swedish War of 1656–58 in an “eternal peace,” reiterated the terms of the Peace of Stolbovo. As a result of the 17th-century wars, Sweden became one of the most powerful countries in Europe.

The burden of conscription, taxes, and duties grew heavier in the 17th century. Peasant holdings (taxpaying) and crown lands fell into the hands of the nobility, chiefly the aristocracy, on various terms. Under Queen Christina (ruled 1632–54), when nearly 70 percent of the arable and meadow land passed to the nobility, feudal reaction reached its peak. Exploiting the hostility of the tax-paying estates in the Riksdag to the aristocracy, King Charles X Gustavus (ruled 1654–60) began a partial reduction (recovery of crown lands) in 1655. From 1680 to 1682, King Charles XI (ruled 1660–97) carried out an extensive reduction, as a result of which more than 50 percent of the crown land previously acquired by the nobility was returned to the king. The implementation of a reduction heralded Sweden’s transformation into a bourgeois state. The Riksdag of 1680 declared that the king’s power was absolute and that the Riksråd was solely an advisory body. An absolute monarchy was thus established, its main support drawn from the middle-level nobility, the officials and officers of noble birth, and the commercial-manufacturing bourgeoisie.

Decline of feudal relations and further development of capitalism (18th century). By the beginning of the 18th century Sweden had become Europe’s chief iron exporter, as well as a major importer of grain. Noble landowners increasingly leased small holdings to peasants in exchange for their labor (seeTORPARE) or employed hired laborers. Some of the nobility began investing in industry. Exploiting its military and economic superiority, Sweden achieved successes in the early stages of the Northern War of 1700–21. In 1708–09, Swedish forces invaded Russian soil, but they were routed at the battle of Poltava (1709); on the seas, they were defeated at the battle of Hangö (1714). Under the Treaty of Nystadt (1721), Sweden lost its possessions in the eastern Baltic, as well as southwestern Karelia and Vyborg. The majority of Sweden’s German possessions were also renounced.

With the death of Charles XII (ruled 1697–1718), the period of Swedish absolutism came to an end; moreover, military defeat had undermined Sweden’s status as a great power. Between 1719 and 1723 royal power was substantially restricted in favor of the Riksråd and Riksdag, marking an important stage in the bour-geoisification of the state. The government headed by Chancellor A. Horn, in power from 1720 to 1738, carried out a series of reforms aimed at strengthening the country economically; in foreign affairs it supported the maintenance of peace with Russia. The revanchist party that formed in the 1730’s, known as the Hats, concluded an alliance between Sweden and France in 1738 and brought down the Horn government. (The supporters of peace with Russia were nicknamed the Caps.) The war against Russia (1741–43) unleashed by the Hats government (in office from 1735 to 1765) ended in Sweden’s defeat. Under the Abo Peace Treaty (1743) southeastern Finland passed to Russia. Sweden was also defeated in the Seven Years’ War (1756–63), which it joined in 1757.

From 1765 to 1769 and in 1772 the government of the Young Caps, a party founded in the early 1760’s, introduced a series of social and economic reforms, including freedom of the press and equal opportunity for advancement in government service, irrespective of class origin. The mounting hostility to the nobility led to clashes in the Riksdag session of 1771–72 and to peasant anti-landlord disturbances in Skåne from 1772 to 1776.

In August 1772, King Gustavus III (ruled 1771–92) carried out a bloodless coup d’etat. Political parties were banned, and the constitution adopted that year curtailed the rights of the Riksdag, strengthened royal power, and confirmed the privileges of the nobility. In view of the growing strength of commercial-manufacturing capital, however, Gustavus was obliged to pursue a policy of enlightened absolutism. Agreeing to a number of bourgeois reforms—including the equalization of privileges of 1789, giving the peasants equal rights with the other tax-paying estates—and suppressing the gentry constitutionalists of the Anjala League, Gustavus temporarily restored absolutism in Sweden.

Consolidation of capitalist relations (19th century).THE BOURGEOIS REVOLUTION AND REFORMS OF 1800–50. Feudal relations rapidly disintegrated in Sweden in the first quarter of the 19th century. The agrarian reforms introduced between 1807 and 1827 and the partition and sale of forest tracts, which continued throughout the 19th century, destroyed the land commune and made the individual farm the basis of agriculture. Dispersed manufacture, wherein the entrepreneur bought up goods produced by independent artisans, became widespread; mine owners and merchants formed an influential segment of the propertied elite; and the gentry was bourgeoisified. Sweden’s military defeats under the despotic king Gustavus IV, who ruled in his own right from 1796, led to the king’s overthrow in March 1809 by gentry officers and high officials. The coup was equivalent to a bourgeois revolution of the elite. The constitution adopted in June 1809, which remained in force, with modifications, until 1974, again limited royal power in favor of the Riksdag, proclaimed various civil liberties, and abolished many of the nobility’s privileges. Under the Treaty of Fredrikshamm (1809), which concluded the Russo-Swedish War of 1808–09, Sweden lost Finland and the Åland Islands.

In 1810 the Riksdag elected as heir to the throne the former French marshal J. B. Bernadotte, who immediately became the de facto ruler of the country. (He ruled as Charles XIV John from 1818 to 1844.) Bernadotte secretly violated the continental blockade, which Sweden joined in 1810, when it declared war on Great Britain. Although he concluded a treaty of alliance with Russia in 1812, Bernadotte did not actually make war on Napoleon until the spring of 1813, after forming an alliance with Great Britain. In the fall of 1813, Swedish troops invaded the German possessions of the Danish crown. By the Treaties of Kiel (1814), Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden, paving the way for a personal union (seeSWEDISH-NORWEGIAN UNION OF 1814–1905). Sweden sold Swedish Pomerania—the last of its German holdings— to Prussia in 1815.

The economic revival that began in the 1830’s coincided with an industrial revolution, as the Swedes shifted to mechanical spinning, introduced new methods of forging iron, and began producing machinery. The Liberal opposition, led by L. Hierta, called for parliamentary reform and freedom of trade and industry. Guilds were abolished and semifeudal labor legislation was modified in the late 1840’s. In March 1848 there were popular disturbances in Stockholm, as in a number of other European capitals. In its foreign policy Sweden tried to steer a middle course between Great Britain and Russia, issuing a declaration of neutrality in 1834. Pan-Scandinavianism became a popular cause in Sweden.

PREMONOPOLY CAPITALISM (1850–1900). The building of the first railroads and telegraph system in the 1850’s and 1860’s coincided with the founding of large private banks and joint-stock companies. Complete freedom of commercial and industrial activity was proclaimed in 1864. The creation of large-scale industry did not keep pace with the agrarian revolution, however, and large numbers of rural people emigrated, mainly to the USA. Local government was reorganized and expanded in 1862, and in 1865–66 the four-estate parliament was replaced by a bicameral Riksdag whose members were to be elected by qualified propertied voters. After a law providing for universal public education was enacted in 1842, the spread of public schools resulted in the complete elimination of illiteracy.

Industrialization reached its peak in the last third of the century, a time when the foreign trade turnover increased by a factor of 5, reaching 1 billion gold kronor. Large forest tracts and ore deposits were developed in the north, and railroad construction expanded (Stockholm-Boden trunk line, 1863–94). The peasant cooperative movement spread from the 1880’s, and numerous workers’ consumer cooperatives were organized in the 1890’s. By 1900 industrial and agricultural laborers made up 57 percent of the gainfully employed population. One of the first large strikes took place in the sawmills of Sundsvall in 1879. Trade unions were established in the first half of the 1880’s, and the Swedish Trade Union Confederation was founded in 1898. In 1889, A. Palm, K. H. Branting, and others organized the Social Democratic Labor Party of Sweden. Under King Oscar II (ruled 1872–1907), Sweden established a tradition of neutrality, although leaning toward Germany.

Twentieth century.TO 1918. By the outbreak of World War I, Sweden had become an industrial and agricultural nation. Various branches of machine building had been established, and large private banks were playing a larger role in financing industry. A protectionist customs policy encouraged the domination of the domestic market by cartels; in 1911 there were about 150 monopolistic associations, chiefly cartels.

Capitalist industrialization was accompanied by an upsurge in the workers’ movement, manifested in the metalworkers’ strikes of 1905 and the general strike of 1909, which V. I. Lenin rated highly despite its defeat. The Liberal Coalition Party, founded in 1900 and led by K. Staaff, and the Social Democratic Labor Party worked for parliamentary reform. (At the beginning of the 20th century, only 9.5 percent of the population had the right to vote.) In 1905 the Swedish government agreed to a peaceful dissolution of the union with Norway (seeKARLSTAD, TREATY OF). The limited parliamentary reform carried out between 1907 and 1909 instituted universal suffrage for men (with partial retention of the property qualification) in elections to the second chamber of the Riksdag, with the first chamber remaining the organ of the upper classes. With tensions growing in Europe, right-wing (pro-German) circles, calling for intensified military preparations, were able to bring the Conservative government of H. Hammarskjöld to power in 1914 with the support of King Gustavus V (ruled 1907–50).

In World War I, neutral Sweden in fact took a pro-German position. From 1914 to 1916 the country’s economy was deluged with foreign orders, but from late 1916, the submarine war and blockade brought on a fuel shortage and an industrial crisis. Calling for “civil peace,” the Social Democratic leaders espoused a policy of social patriotism. The leftist opposition, led by Z. Höglund, J. Vennerström, and F. O. Strom, seceded to found the revolutionary Left Social Democratic Party of Sweden in May 1917. The leftists welcomed the October Revolution in Russia. Under pressure from the Entente, Sweden in late 1918 ceased trading with Soviet Russia, breaking the Soviet-Swedish trade agreement signed in June of that year. Although it joined the anti-Soviet blockade, Sweden refrained from participating in the armed intervention.

1918 TO 1939. The revolutionary situation that developed in Sweden in 1917—partially in response to the October Revolution in Russia—reached its peak in late 1918 under the impact of the November Revolution of 1918 in Germany. However, the right-wing Social Democrats kept the masses under their control. Confronted with a mass strike movement, which lasted from 1918 to 1920, the government in 1918–19 carried out an electoral reform giving women the right to vote in parliamentary elections, democratizing the first chamber, and essentially abolishing the voter property qualification in elections to the second chamber. A law providing for an eight-hour workday was adopted in 1919. The next year a Social Democrat, K. H. Branting, headed the government for the first time. Sweden became one of the founders of the League of Nations. At its Fourth Congress in 1921 the Left Social Democratic Party accepted the 21 conditions for membership in the Comintern and was renamed the Communist Party of Sweden (since 1967, the Left Party-Communists).

At the end of 1920 the postwar boom gave way to a crisis of overproduction, and in the course of 1921, the value of exports declined by two-thirds in comparison with the previous year. The transition of Swedish capitalism to the monopoly stage was completed in the 1920’s, when Sweden became a major exporter of capital (2 billion kronor between 1922 and 1937), and its companies gained international renown. From 1920 to 1932 the governments of Sweden, which changed nine times, were generally headed by Liberals. Trade with the Soviet Union was resumed in 1920, and in March 1924 diplomatic relations were established between the two countries. In 1928 the Liberal government adopted laws on collective bargaining and on arbitration in labor conflicts (of a legal nature) between workers and entrepreneurs.

The world economic crisis reached Sweden at the end of 1930. Industrial production declined by 11 percent from 1930 to 1932, and in 1932–33 one-fifth of the trade union members were unemployed. The government used force against the expanding mass strike movement, which was headed by the Communist Party. (In 1931 troops fired on a workers’ demonstration at Ådalen.) Promising to combat the economic crisis by government regulation of the economy, the Social Democrats were victorious in the parliamentary elections of 1932. Until 1946 the government of Sweden was headed by the Social Democratic leader P. A. Hansson, who ushered in the “Social Democratic era.” Among the social reforms instituted between 1936 and 1939 were government aid to mothers and children, partial subsidies for unemployment assistance and housing construction, a two-week paid vacation for all workers, and compulsory seven-year education.

A shift from monopoly capitalism to state-monopoly capitalism became apparent in the 1930’s as indirect forms of economic regulation (taxation and credit-monetary policy) came to predominate, and national and municipal government investments gave priority to the infrastructure, chiefly transportation, energy, and communications. At the same time, the public sector continued to represent a comparatively small share of industrial production, and the nationalization of private means of production was virtually renounced. Consolidating its ranks in the second half of the 1930’s, the Communist Party intensified its struggle on behalf of the working class, stiffened its opposition to war and fascism, and redoubled its efforts to create an antifascist front.

WORLD WAR II. At the outbreak of World War II, Sweden proclaimed a policy of strict neutrality and hastened to conclude trade agreements with both Germany and Great Britain. During the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939–40, Sweden took the position of a “nonbelligerent,” while providing military aid to Finland. The coalition government of national unity created in December 1939 and headed by the Social Democrats resisted the efforts of Great Britain and France to draw Sweden into the war. A threat to Sweden’s security was posed by the German invasion of Scandinavia in April 1940. To a degree, Germany refrained from occupying Sweden because of the position of the Soviet government, which in a note to the German government on Apr. 13,1940, declared the desirability of maintaining Swedish neutrality.

After the victories of fascist Germany in Western Europe, Sweden agreed to allow German soldiers on leave to use its railroads in going to and from Norway, and it redirected about half of its exports to Germany. In September 1940, Sweden concluded a trade agreement and a credit agreement, the first such pact, with the USSR. Sweden also maintained economic ties with Great Britain and the USA, which together chartered half of Sweden’s maritime transport. After fascist Germany’s attack on the USSR, Sweden increased its aid to the fascist bloc, permitting the passage of German troops and armaments to Finland. In August 1943, after the Soviet Army’s victories at Stalingrad and at Kursk, Sweden forbade German military transit, and in the fall of 1944 it broke off trade with Germany. In May 1945, Sweden severed diplomatic relations with Germany. During the war a marked shift to the left took place in Swedish society. The influence of the Communist Party increased among the masses: in the parliamentary elections of 1944 it won 15 seats in the second chamber.

SINCE 1945. Although industrial production increased by 13 percent between 1937 and 1945, inflation and unemployment (3.3 percent of trade union members in 1946) plagued Sweden’s economy, and the living standard of the population declined. In view of the growing militancy of the workers’ movement, reflected in the five-month strike of 130,000 metalworkers between February and June 1945, entrepreneurs were obliged to begin raising wages at the end of 1945.

In July 1945 the coalition government was replaced by a single-party Social Democratic government headed by Hansson and after his death in October 1946, by T. Erlander, who also became the party’s chairman. The Social Democratic government pledged to base its policies on the Postwar Program of the Workers’ Movement, calling for radical socioeconomic and political reforms and the “transformation of society in a socialist direction.” The program had been adopted in 1944 by the Social Democratic Labor Party and the Swedish Trade Union Confederation. Supported by a majority of the representatives of the workers’ parties in the Riksdag, the government carried out a series of progressive measures. Universal health insurance was introduced in 1946, although it was not fully implemented until 1955. In 1946 the government enacted a worker safety law, established family allowances for every child, increased old age pensions (called national pensions), and raised income taxes for the wealthier strata of the population and joint-stock companies.

Growing economic difficulties and the cold war atmosphere of the late 1940’s caused the Social Democratic government to curtail its reform program and to concentrate on stabilizing the economy in the interest of big capital. In 1948 it adopted a program of modernizing the country’s armed forces under which military expenditures increased from 860 million kronor in 1948 to 2,026,000,000 kronor in 1953. Although Sweden agreed to participate in the Marshall Plan in 1949, it refused aid under the plan in 1951. Seeking to strengthen their parliamentary base, the Social Democrats in 1951 formed a coalition government with the Farmers’ Party, which had been founded in 1913. (In the 1948 elections the Social Democrats had lost five seats in the second chamber of the Riksdag and the Communists, eight seats.) The country’s progressive forces, above all the Communists, stepped up their struggle against the threat of war. The Swedish Peace Committee was established in 1949, and the next year the Permanent Committee of the World Congress of Partisans of Peace, meeting in Stockholm, issued an appeal for a ban on nuclear weapons.

Sweden’s postwar foreign policy was defined in a government declaration, issued Oct. 25, 1945, as one of noninvolvement in military-political blocs with the aim of maintaining neutrality in the event of war. In 1946 Sweden became a member of the UN; in 1948 it joined the Organization for European Economic Cooperation (from 1961, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development); and in 1949 it joined the Council of Europe. In 1948–49 the Swedish government tried to prevent its neighboring Scandinavian countries from joining NATO, proposing as an alternative a neutral defensive alliance between Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. In 1952, Sweden founded the Nordic Council jointly with Denmark, Norway, and Iceland. Sweden actively developed its relations with the USSR and the other socialist countries. The trade and credit agreements signed by the USSR and Sweden in 1946 promoted the growth of commodity exchange between the two countries.

In the 1950’s Sweden’s economy underwent periods of stagnation, notably in 1952–53 and in 1958. Much of the working class secured an increase in real wages in this period. In 1951 the coalition government led by the Social Democrats pushed through the Riksdag a law establishing a three-week paid vacation (effective as of 1953), and in 1957 it sponsored a law providing for a 45-hour work-week (introduced in 1960). The pension question dominated domestic political life in the late 1950’s. Supported by the Communists, the Social Democrats proposed the introduction of a labor pension, supplementing the national pension, for all industrial and office workers, to be financed by employers. The Social Democrats’ draft legislation obtained 46 percent of the votes in a consultative referendum held on Oct. 13, 1957.

Sharp disagreement over the pension issue and other questions of economic policy led to the breakdown of the government coalition and the establishment on Oct. 31, 1957, of a one-party Social Democratic minority government headed by Erlander. On Apr. 25, 1958, the government’s labor pension bill was rejected by the bourgeois majority of the second chamber of the Riksdag, resulting in the chamber’s dissolution. In the early elections of June 1, 1958, the Social Democratic Labor Party and the Communist Party together obtained a one-vote majority in the second chamber of the Riksdag. On May 14,1959, the labor pension law was adopted. Although the pension age was set at 67 and the law was not to take full effect until 1981, the reform was the most important social victory won by Sweden’s working class after 1945.

The state sector of the economy expanded somewhat in the mid-1950’s. As early as 1949 a law had been enacted establishing a state commercial bank, the Swedish Credit Bank, and in 1955 the Riksdag adopted a resolution to buy up half of the privately owned shares of the Lapland iron mines. Subsequently, the Social Democratic Labor Party retreated further and further from its plans to “socialize” the economy, confining itself to state-monopolistic regulation within the limits of a “mixed economy.” On the basis of an agreement between the Social Democrats and the bourgeois parties, the Riksdag in 1958 adopted a new program to build up the country’s armed forces, as a result of which military expenditures rose from 2,706,000,000 kronor in 1958 to 3,839,000,000 kronor in 1963. Despite the demands of the military and the bourgeois opposition, the government opposed equipping the Swedish Army with nuclear weapons. The public organization known as the Campaign Against Swedish Atomic Weapons, founded in 1958, played a major role in keeping Sweden from being drawn into the nuclear arms race.

In the 1950’s Sweden’s government advocated a policy of non-alignment for all the Scandinavian countries. In 1956 it condemned the aggression of Great Britain, France, and Israel against Egypt. Although it favored the ban on nuclear weapons testing and the creation of a nuclear-free zone in Central Europe, Sweden’s government did not support the Finnish proposal (1959) that northern Europe be declared a nuclear-free zone. The tradition of reciprocal visits by Soviet and Swedish heads of state began with Prime Minister Erlander’s official visit to the USSR in 1956.

In the parliamentary elections of 1960 the Social Democrats won 114 out of 231 seats in the second chamber of the Riksdag, more seats than all the bourgeois parties taken together. The Social Democratic government continued its policy of reforms: in 1963 the Riksdag adopted a law providing for a four-week paid vacation (instituted in 1965), and in 1962 and 1963 the national pension and the annual child allowances were increased. Nevertheless the problem of improving the condition of low-paid workers, who in 1967 constituted one-third of the membership of the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, remained unresolved and grew more acute. Increased rationalization of production, entailing the closing of unprofitable enterprises, aggravated the unemployment problem. The Communist Party and leftist forces in the trade union movement and in the Social Democratic Labor Party demanded that decisive measures be taken to counteract the power of the monopolies, guarantee employment for industrial and office workers, to end inflation, to increase wages, particularly for low-paid groups, and to reduce the workweek to 40 hours. They also called for the development of backward regions, primarily through the construction of large state enterprises, and for the transfer of large banks, insurance companies, and the petroleum-product and pharmaceutical industries to the ownership of the national government, local governing bodies, or cooperatives.

In 1967–68 the Social Democrats took steps to strengthen the regulatory role of the state in the economy by creating a state investment bank and a concern to manage state industrial enterprises AB Statsföketag. In the parliamentary elections of 1968 the Social Democrats received more than 50 percent of the votes for the first time since 1940. In 1968 and 1969 the Riksdag approved a partial constitutional reform, although the new constitution did not take effect until 1975. The two-chamber Riksdag was replaced by a one-chamber parliament elected on a proportional basis. The king retains mainly a representative function. On Oct. 1,1969, O. Palme was elected chairman of the Social Democratic Labor Party and later that month he became prime minister.

Complex questions of the country’s economic and social development still remained unresolved at the beginning of the 1970’s. Between 1971 and 1975 the average annual number of unemployed persons was three times higher than it had been in the 1960’s. The annual inflation rate, averaging 7–8 percent between 1969 and 1973 was largely owing to the introduction in 1969 of the value-added tax, called moms, which replaced the turnover tax. As a result of the rapid increase in prices and in rents, the growth in real wages slowed down or effectively ceased. The strike struggle of the working people gained momentum: the number of strikers and lost workdays increased from 9,000 and 112,000, respectively, in 1969, to 27,000 and 156,000 in 1970 and to 63,000 and 839,000 in 1971. Along with economic concessions, the strikers demanded guaranteed employment, the repeal of antilabor legislation, the restoration of the full right to strike, and limitations on the power of employers in enterprises.

After the parliamentary elections of 1970 the Social Democrats were able to maintain an absolute majority in the Riksdag only by forming a coalition with the Communist Party, which was named the Left Party-Communists in 1976. Between 1971 and 1973 taxes were lowered for low- and middle-income persons, laws were enacted to improve the health insurance system, and a bill was passed providing for the appointment of government representatives to the boards of private banks. In 1972–73 the government succeeded in pushing through the Riksdag laws providing for the representation of industrial and office workers on the boards of enterprises, for occupational safety, and for guaranteed employment, placing certain restrictions on management’s right to hire, fire, or transfer workers. The system of unemployment insurance was improved. Although the Communists supported the government’s measures, which were opposed by the bourgeois parties, they nevertheless criticized the halfway nature of the measures and the government’s concessions to big capital.

In the parliamentary and municipal elections of 1973, the Social Democrats received 43.5 percent of the votes, and the Center Party, known as the Farmers’ Party until 1957, won 25 percent of the votes by expanding its social base among the petite and middle urban bourgeoisie, office employees, and industrial workers. An equilibrium was established in the Riksdag between the Social Democratic Labor Party and the Left Party-Communists on the one hand and the bourgeois parties on the other. Remaining in power with a weakened parliamentary base, the Social Democratic government decided to collaborate with the bourgeois People’s (Liberal) Party, founded in 1934, and the Center Party.

Reaching an understanding with the bourgeois parties, the government took steps to stimulate the economy, worked out tax policies, and sponsored various other measures. In 1974 the Riksdag adopted a law lowering the pension age to 65; two years later the Left Party-Communists demanded that the pension age be lowered to 60 for miners and workers in other hazardous occupations. The new program adopted by the Social Democrats in 1975 embodied the reformist concept of a “third path,” or “democratic socialism,” but it also included certain progressive social and economic demands. Between 1974 and 1976 the government put through the Riksdag laws lowering direct taxes for low and middle-income groups while increasing levies on employers. In 1976 the Riksdag adopted a law on the “participation” of industrial and office workers in the management of enterprises that replaced existing legislation on mediation in labor conflicts (1920), collective bargaining (1928), and trade unions (1936). The new law obliged employers to negotiate with representatives of industrial and office workers on important questions pertaining to the operation of the enterprise. On the other hand, the law put some restrictions on the workers’ right to strike and did not precisely define the forms of “participation.”

Seeking to replace the government, the bourgeois parties in 1976 launched an extensive demagogic campaign (under the slogan “Social reforms without socialism!”) against the “socialization” of Sweden. In the parliamentary elections of 1976, the Social Democrats received 42.8 percent of the votes, losing another four seats in the Riksdag; the Left Party-Communists lost two seats. The bourgeois parties obtained an 11-seat majority. For the first time since 1932, a purely bourgeois coalition government was formed by the Center, the Moderate Coalition, and People’s parties, with the Center Party leader T. Fälldin serving as prime minister. In a declaration issued on October 1976 the government pledged to continue carrying out social reforms and stated that Sweden’s policy of neutrality would remain unchanged. Dissension within the Left Party-Communists over questions of proletarian internationalism and the class character of the party resulted in the founding of the Workers’ Communist Party.

In the second half of the 1970’s the world economic crisis spread to Sweden. Industrial production declined by 10 percent between 1975 and 1977 and, despite further economic revival, the production output remained at the 1974 level. The number of unemployed reached between 90,000 and 100,000 in 1977, and about 150,000 persons were employed on special projects for the jobless. Social reforms were suspended as the government focused on stabilizing the economy by lowering the living standard and undermining the social condition of working people.

The importance of foreign policy increased steadily in the 1960’s and 1970’s. In 1961, Sweden’s government appealed to the nonnuclear countries to refrain from producing, acquiring, or stockpiling nuclear weapons. In 1963, Sweden signed the Nuclear Test-ban Treaty and in 1968, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. Swedish representatives have participated in the work of the Geneva-based UN Committee on Disarmament since 1961. Sweden’s expanding cooperation with the other countries of northern Europe was reflected in the founding of the Nordic Investment Bank in 1976 with capital from Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland. Sweden was a founding member of the European Free Trade Association (1960). Despite the pressure of the bourgeois opposition, the Social Democratic government did not agree to Sweden’s inclusion in the European Economic Community, although a free trade agreement with the EEC was signed in 1972.

During the 1960’s and 1970’s Sweden’s relations with the USSR and other socialist countries developed successfully. Five-year trade agreements between Sweden and the USSR were initiated in 1970, and from 1968 to 1975 the turnover of goods between the two countries increased from 160 million to 545 million rubles. A number of Soviet-Swedish governmental agreements were signed, including a consular convention (1967) and an agreement on economic and scientific-technical cooperation and on cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy (1970). In 1975 the two countries adopted a joint program for the development of economic, industrial and scientific-technical cooperation between 1975 and 1985.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s Sweden expanded its ties with the developing countries. By 1980 its economic aid to these countries exceeded 5,000,000,000 kronor, or 1 percent of the gross national product. In 1969, Sweden was the first capitalist country to recognize the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, and in 1976 its economic aid to that country amounted to 225 million kronor. In 1967, Sweden condemned Israel’s aggression against the Arab countries. An information bureau of the Palestine Liberation Organization was opened in Stockholm at the end of 1975. In 1969, Sweden recognized the existing Oder-Neisse boundary, and in 1972 it established diplomatic relations with the German Democratic Republic. After the 1973 fascist coup in Chile, the Swedish government supported the Chilean patriots. Prime Minister Palme signed the Final Act of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe on Aug. 1, 1975, in Helsinki. In 1980, Sweden maintained diplomatic relations with 122 countries.


Marx, K. “Bernadot.” In K. Marx and F.Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 14.
Engels, F. “Marka.” Ibid., vol. 19.
Lenin, V. I. “O prave natsii na samoopredelenie.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 25.
Lenin, V. I. “Rech’ na soveshchanii so shvedskimi levymi sotsialdemokratami,31 marta (13apr.) 1917 g.” Ibid., vol. 31.
Lenin, V. I. K. Ia. Brantingu, 6 (19) apr. 1901. (Letter.) Ibid.,vol. 46.
Lenin, V. I. A. G. Shliapnikovu 14 (27) okt. 1914. (Letter.) Ibid., vol. 49.
Lenin, V. 1. A. M. Kollontai 20 fevr. (15 marta) 1917. (Letter.) Ibid.
Andersson, I. Istoriia Shvetsii. Moscow, 1951. (Translated from Swedish.)
Istoriia Shvetsii. Moscow, 1974.
Kovalevskii, S. D. Obrazovanie klassovogo obshchestva i gosudarstva v Shvetsii. Moscow, 1977.
Forsten, G. Akty i pis’ma k istorii baltiiskogo voprosa v XVI i XVII stoletiiakh fascs. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1889–93.
Forsten, G. Baltiiskii vopros v XVI i XVII st., parts 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1893–94.
Russko-shvedskie ekonomicheskie otnosheniia v XVII veke. Moscow, 1960.
Svanidze, A. Remeslo i remeslenniki srednevekovoi Shvetsii. Moscow, 1967.
Shaskol’skii, I. Stolbovskii mir 1617 g. i torgovye otnosheniia Rossii so shvedskim gosudarstvom. Moscow, 1964.
Nekrasov, G. A. Russko-shvedskie otnosheniia i politika velikikh derzhav v 1721–1726 gg. Moscow, 1964.
Bäckström, K. Istoriia rabochego dvizheniia v Shvetsii. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from Swedish.)
Kan, A. Noveishaia istoriia Shvetsii. Moscow, 1964.
Chernysheva, O. V. Rabochee dvizhenie v Shvetsii nakanune vtoroi mirovoi voiny (1929–1939 gg.). Moscow, 1971.
Carlsson, S., and J. Rosen. Svensk historia, vols. 1–2. Stockholm, 1961–62.
Heckscher, E. F. Sveriges ekonomiska historia från Gustaf Vasa, vols. 1–2. Stockholm, 1935–49.
Heckscher, E. F. Svenskt arbete och liv. Stockholm, 1971.
Höjer, K. J. Svensk socialpolitisk historia. Stockholm, 1952.
Norborg, L. A. Källor till Sveriges historia. Lund, 1968.
Den svenska utrikespolitikens historia, vols. 1–5. Stockholm, 1952–59.
Roberts, M. Essays in Swedish History. London, 1967.
Carlsson, S. Ståndssamhälle och ståndspersoner 1700–1865, 2nd ed. Lund, 1973.
Samhälleoch riksdag, vols. 1–2. Stockholm, 1966–67.
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Sveriges statskalender. Stockholm, 1813—.

Bring, S. Bibliografisk handbok till Sveriges historia. Stockholm, 1934.

A. S. KAN (to 1945) and E. A. VOROZHEIKIN (since 1945)

Political parties. The Social Democratic Labor Party of Sweden (Sveriges Socialdemokratiska Arbetarepartiet), founded in 1889, has more than 1 million members (1979). It draws its strength chiefly from industrial and office workers and also attracts some members of the middle strata of the population. The party belongs to the Socialist International.

The Center Party (Centerpartiet), called the Farmers’ Party until 1957, was founded in 1913. Its 141,000 members (1979) include farmers, members of the petite and middle urban bourgeoisie, and office and industrial workers. The Moderate Coalition Party (Moderata Samlingspartiet), founded in 1904 and called the Conservative Party until 1969, has about 150,000 members (1979). It is supported by various strata of the bourgeoisie, high officials, and the intelligentsia, and it represents the interests of the big industrial and financial bourgeoisie. The People’s, or Liberal Party (Folkpartiet), founded in 1934, has 60,000 members (1978). It brings together representatives of the petite, middle, and big bourgeoisie, office workers, and a certain number of industrial workers. The Christian Democratic Party (Kristen De-mokratisk Samling), founded in 1964, expresses the interests of right-wing clerical circles.

The Left Party-Communists (Vaensterpartiet Kommunister-na), founded in 1917, was initially called the Left Social Democratic Party of Sweden (1917–21) and then the Communist Party of Sweden (1921–67). It includes industrial workers, office workers, and members of the intelligentsia. The Workers’ Communist Party (Arbetarepartiet Kommunisterna) was founded in 1977 by disaffected members of the Left Party-Communists.

Trade unions and other social organizations. The Swedish Trade Union Confederation, founded in 1898, has 2,100,000 members (1979), united in 25 affiliated trade unions. It works closely with the Social Democratic Labor Party and belongs to the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. The Central Organization of Salaried Employees, founded in 1944, has 1,100,000 members (1979), united in 24 affiliated unions. The Confederation of Professional Associations, founded in 1947, has 203,000 members (1979).

The Cooperative Union of Sweden, founded in 1899, has more than 1.5 million member-shareholders (1979). The Worker Educational League, founded in 1912, has about 4.5 million members (1979) and operates under the auspices of the Social Democratic Labor Party. The Social Democratic Youth League of Sweden, founded in 1917, has about 70,000 members (1979); the Youth League of the Center Party has more than 40,000 members (1979); the Youth League of the Moderate Coalition Party, founded in 1934, has about 40,000 members (1979); and the Youth League of the People’s Party, founded in 1934, has about 25,000 members (1975). Communist Youth, founded in 1973 to replace the Leftist Youth League, established in 1958, is the youth organization of the Left Party-Communists. The Communist Youth League of Sweden, founded in 1977, is the youth organization of the Workers’ Communist Party. Two other important organizations are the Swedish Peace Committee, founded in 1949, and the League of Sweden—Soviet Union Societies, founded in 1935.


General state of the economy. Sweden is one of the highly developed industrial capitalist countries of Western Europe, noted for its intensive agriculture and broad foreign economic ties, With just 0.3 percent of the population of the capitalist world, Sweden produces more than 1 percent of the industrial output of the capitalist countries and accounts for more than 2 percent of the world capitalist exports. Few countries surpass Sweden in per capita gross national product, amounting to $8,400 in 1975. This high level of economic development was reached through an exceptionally favorable combination of historical circumstances (not only has Sweden avoided war for more than 150 years, but it has enriched itself during the two world wars) and natural resources (the richest timber and iron ore reserves in Western Europe and enormous hydroelectric potential).

Industries engaged in the processing of wood and iron ore were the mainstay of industrial production and export until the mid-20th century. In the present economy wood, iron ore, and the semifinished products made from them have slipped into second place behind machinery, chiefly ships, motor vehicles, aircraft, and electrical and electronic equipment. Nevertheless, Sweden continues to be one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of iron ore, high-grade steel, lumber, and pulp and paper goods. In 1974 industry accounted for 32 percent of the gross national product and agriculture, including forestry and fishing, for just 6 percent.

One of the most important features of the Swedish economy is its strong export orientation: one-fourth of the gross national product and more than one-third of industrial output is sold on the foreign market. At the same time, the country depends heavily on imports, which satisfy as much as one-fourth of Sweden’s demand for goods and services. Crises in the world capitalist economy have an unhealthy effect on the country’s market forces and cause frequent recessions, accompanied by declining employment.

In times of economic difficulty the large Swedish monopolies increase their export of capital; between 1961 and 1977 direct foreign investments by Swedish firms exceeded 24 billion kronor. Monopolistic industrial companies are clearly shifting from the export of goods to the export of capital. Whereas in the early 1960’s the value of the output of foreign enterprises belonging to Swedish companies was about half the value of goods exported from Sweden, by the mid-1970’s it was more than nine-tenths of the value of exports. The rise in foreign capital investment has caused national wealth to shift abroad in the interest of monopoly capital. By the mid-1970’s the value of the output of the foreign enterprises of Swedish companies had reached one-fifth of the gross national product.

The Swedish economy is marked by a high degree of concentration of production and capital. A small number of large concerns, many of which have become multinational monopolistic associations, dominate the leading sectors of industry, merchant shipping, banking, and insurance. The SKF, ASEA, L. M. Ericsson, Elektrolux, Volvo, Saab-Scania, and Alfa-Laval companies dominate the machine-building sectors; Sandvik and Fagersta are the giants in high-grade metallurgy; and Svenska Cellulosa and Mo och Domsjö produce most of the country’s pulp and paper. These and many other companies have close financial ties to the country’s largest banks, the Skandinaviska Enskilda Bank (SEB) and the Svenska Handelsbanken. The country’s industry and banks are actually controlled by the 20 to 25 families of the Swedish financial oligarchy, among them the Wallenbergs, who control SEB and as much as 15 percent of Swedish industry, including 25 percent of machine building, the Jönssons, the Broströms, and the Bonniers.

The state sector accounts for more than 15 percent of the gross national product and for up to 30–40 percent of gross investments. State enterprises produce about 10 percent of Sweden’s industrial output. The state sector is most important in the production of iron ore (four-fifths of output), electricity (more than two-fifths), and steel (more than one-fifth). Sweden has also attracted considerable foreign capital investments; about 10 percent of the capital of joint-stock companies operating in Sweden belongs to foreign firms.

In the mid-1970’s the Swedish economy went into a recession caused primarily by the falling demand for Swedish industrial goods on foreign markets. From 1975 to 1977 industry was operating at 75–80 percent of capacity; the annual industrial output dropped an average of 3 percent; and gross capital investments declined by 1.5 percent. As the balance of trade and payments grew worse, Sweden resorted to foreign loans to cover the deficit, borrowing about 25 billion kronor between 1975 and 1977. The average annual rate of inflation exceeded 10 percent. Full or partial unemployment affected 2.5–3.5 percent of the economically active population. The steady rise in prices (the consumer price index rose 62 percent between 1970 and 1976), high direct taxes (30–35 percent of the average family’s total income), high indirect taxes, high rents, and the high cost of transportation are a heavy burden on the working people.

Industry. Sweden’s limited domestic market and labor resources, characteristic of a country with a small population, force Swedish industry to concentrate on the production of a comparatively small assortment of high-quality products. In the output of a number of important industrial products Sweden is on a par with the principal capitalist countries, and in several cases it even surpasses some of them, for example, in shipbuilding, pulp and paper manufacture, and high-grade metallurgy.

In 1974 industry employed 929,000 production and office workers and had a gross output of 179 billion kronor and a conventional net output of 82 billion kronor. Capital investments totaled 12.5 billion kronor.

There are two main groups of sectors: the metal industry, including mining, metallurgy, metalworking, and machine building, and the forest industry, comprising lumbering, woodworking, and pulp and paper production. These two groups of sectors account for more than two-thirds of the total number of persons employed in industry, for more than three-fifths of the gross industrial output, and for more than two-thirds of all industrial capital investments. Products from the metal and forest industries also constitute nine-tenths of the value of Swedish exports. Both groups of sectors are clearly oriented toward export: up to two-fifths of the output of the metal industry and more than half of the output of the forest industry are sold on the foreign market. They determine Sweden’s specialization in the international division of labor. The rapid development of machine building has brought about an important shift in the sectorial structure of industry since World War II. Table 2 shows the structure of industry.

POWER INDUSTRY. The country’s primary sources of energy are imported mineral, chiefly liquid, fuel and waterpower. Imported petroleum and petroleum products (26.4 million tons in 1975) provide more than 70 percent of the total energy consumption, and imported hard coal and coke (about 3 million tons), 5 percent. Hydroelectric power accounts for about another 15 percent of the total energy used; electricity generated by atomic power plants, 2–3 percent; and electricity produced using local fuel (primarily waste from sawmills), 6–8 percent. Petroleum refineries, which had a capacity of 22 million tons at the end of 1976, are located on the west coast at Göteborg and Lysekil and in the Stockholm region at Nynäshamn.

Table 2. Structure of industry (percentage, 1974)
 Total number of employeesGross outputConventional net outputCapital investment
Manufacturing ...............98.598.397.296.0
Food and condiments ...............7.713.17.47.5
Textile, garment, and ...............    
footwear ...............
Woodworking and furniture ...............
Pulp and paper ...............6.411.011.118.0
Chemical and petroleum ...............    
refining ...............7.310.59.011.6
Metallurgy ...............
Machine building and metalworking ...............45.535.740.133.6
Other sectors ...............

In per capita electricity production (10,500 kW-hr in 1977) Sweden is surpassed only by Norway and Canada. Hydroelectric power plants, most of them located on the rivers of northern Sweden, supply about two-thirds of the country’s electricity. The largest plants are Stornorrforsen on the Ume River (capacity, 375 megawatts); Harsprånget (330 MW), Vietas (320 MW), Mes-saure (300 MW), Letsi (290 MW), and Seitevare (225 MW) on the Lule River; Kilforsen (270 MW) on the Ångerman; and Krångede (210 MW) on the Indals. The power plants operate in a unified grid that is connected with the power systems of Denmark, Norway, and Finland. In the 1970’s construction began on large atomic power plants in central and southern Sweden. By late 1977 atomic power plants were in operation at Oskarshamn (1,000 MW), Ringhals (1,500 MW), and Barsebåck (1,200 MW).

Table 3. Output of leading industrial products
Electricity (billion kW-hrs) ...............18.234.784.3
hydroelectric power plants ...............17.331.154.3
Iron ore (million tons) ...............13.621.830.5
Pig iron (million tons) ...............
Steel (million tons) ...............
Rolled ferrous metal products (million tons) ...............
Electrolytic copper (tons) ...............26,00038,00060,000
Refined lead (tons) ...............24,00045,00049,000
Primary aluminum (tons) ...............5,00016,00083,000
Conifer lumber (million eu m) ...............5.26.811.3
Cellulose and wood pulp (million tons) ...............
Paper andcardboard (million tons) ...............
Cement (million tons) ...............
Synthetic resins and plastics (tons) ...............12,00085,000570,000
Petroleum products (million tons) ...............1.02.513.8
Cars ...............14,000109,000317,000
Trucks and buses ...............3,00020,00051,000
Merchant vessels (launched, gross tonnage) ...............340,000711,00 02,367,000

MINING. Sweden ranks second in Western Europe, after France, in the extraction of commodity iron ore (first if the ore output is calculated in terms of metal content). About three-fourths of the iron ore reserves and more than four-fifths of the extraction are concentrated in the extreme north at Kiruna and Gällivare. The Grangesberg mine is the largest in central Sweden. More than four-fifths of the ore is exported (32 million tons in 1974). The extraction of nonferrous metals in 1974 was as follows: copper, 40,000 tons; lead, 73,000 tons; and zinc, 109,000 tons. The largest mines are at Aitik (copper) and Laisvall (lead). In addition to copper, zinc, and lead, the complex sulfide ores mined in the Bo-liden-Kristineberg region yield pyrite, arsenic, gold, and silver.

MANUFACTURING. Although its output of ferrous metals is relatively limited, Sweden is noted for its development of high-grade metallurgy, chiefly the production of alloy and high-carbon steels. Most of the centers of high-grade metallurgy, among them Sandviken, Hofors, Fagersta, Avesta, Degerfors, and Hagfors, are located in the old Bergslagen mining region of central Sweden, which accounts for two-thirds of the country’s steel output, including nine-tenths of its high-grade steel. Large plants with full metallurgical cycles have been built at Borlänge and in the ore-exporting ports of Luleå and Oxelösund. More than 40 percent of the steel is produced in electric furnaces. The principal centers of nonferrous metallurgy are Skellefteå (copper and lead), Sundsvall (aluminum from imported alumina), and Västerås and Finspång (rolled nonferrous metals).

Alongside the prewar machine-building industries, linked to Swedish inventions (bearings, telephone equipment, turbines, separators), new machine-building sectors have arisen since the war whose output has found a steady demand on the domestic and world market. Among these sectors are shipbuilding, the automotive and aviation industries, and the manufacture of calculators and computers. Two-fifths of the machinery and equipment produced is exported.

The shipbuilding industry specializes in the construction of supertankers with deadweights of 100,000–500,000 tons. The largest shipyards are located on the western and southwestern coasts at Göteborg (Götaverken and Eriksberg companies), Malmö (Kockums), Uddevalla, and Landskrona. The electrical engineering industry excels in the production of powerful generators, transformers, and motors, most of them built by ASEA’s plants in Västerås and Ludvika, and in the manufacture of telephone and other communications equipment, produced chiefly by the L. M. Ericsson Company in Stockholm. The SKF Company, with large plants in Göteborg and in the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, the USA, and other capitalist countries, produces about one-fifth of the ball and roller bearings manufactured in the capitalist world; four-fifths of this output comes from the company’s foreign enterprises. The automotive industry is represented by the Volvo Company, which has a truck factory in Göteborg, a car factory in the city’s suburb of Torslanda, and a vehicle assembly plant in Kalmar, and by Saab-Scania, which produces trucks at Södertälje and cars at Trollhättan. The Saab-Scania Company also owns a large aircraft plant in Linköping, which manufactures military aircraft and guided missiles.

Sweden ranks fourth in the capitalist world, after the USA, Canada, and Japan, in the output of paper pulp, three-fourths of which is chemical pulp and one-fourth mechanical pulp. It produces about 10 percent of the capitalist world’s paper pulp. About half of the output is exported and the remainder is made into paper and cardboard. Sweden is second only to Canada in the export of paper pulp (5 million tons in 1974) and paper and cardboard (3 million tons). Most of the country’s pulp and paper enterprises and sawmills are located along the Bothnian coast of northern Sweden (near Sundsvall, Kramfors, Örnsköldsvik, and Umeå) and along the northwestern and northern shores of Lake Vänern (Karlstad-Säffle).

The chemical industry does not have a broad raw material base. The annual capacity of the country’s chlorine-alkali plants, using imported raw material (salt) and supplying products to the paper and pulp enterprises, reached 400,000 tons of chlorine and about 500,000 tons of caustic soda in 1975. The capacity of the sulfuric acid plants, which draw on local pyrites, exceeds 1 million tons. The launching of a large petrochemical complex in Stenungsund has opened the way for the production of synthetic materials.

The various sectors of light industry (textiles, garments, leather footwear) produce almost exclusively for the domestic market, depend heavily on imported raw material, and face sharp competition from foreign goods. The number of persons employed in light industry is steadily decreasing. Borås is the major textile and garment center.

Table 3 shows the output of major industrial products.

Agriculture. Sweden’s highly productive and market-oriented agriculture supplies more than four-fifths of the country’s demand for foodstuffs, including virtually all its milk, meat, grain, and livestock feed and nine-tenths of its sugar and vegetable oil. Capitalist farms dominate agricultural production. The concentration of landed property has been promoted by government measures supporting large farms, such as the 1947 law On the Rationalization of Agriculture, extending credit and other privileges to farms of at least 20–30 hectares (ha). Between 1951 and 1975 the total number of farms declined by more than half. But while the number of farms with less than 20 ha decreased by a factor of 2.5, the number of farms with more than 30 ha grew by a factor of 1.4. The distribution of land by farm category is shown in Table 4.

Table 4. Distribution of cultivated land by category of farms (1975)
Farm size (hectares)FarmsArea
Less than 10 ...............55,00042328,00011
10–20 ...............33,00025479,00016
20–50 ...............32,000241,016,00034
More than 50 ...............12,00091,157,00039
Total ...............132,0001002,980,000100

Swedish agriculture has become highly mechanized: in 1974 there were 184,000 tractors, or one per 16 ha of arable land, and 47,000 grain combines, or one per 34 ha of grain crops. Consequently, although the number of farm workers declined by a factor of more than 2.5 between 1950 and 1975, the volume of agricultural output increased by a factor of 1.2. In the structure of agricultural production animal husbandry predominates, producing three times as much income as crop farming. In 1975, Sweden had 3,347,000 ha of farmland (covering 8 percent of the country’s area), including 2,980,000 ha of arable land and 367,000 ha of pastures and meadows. This represented a 28 percent decrease in agricultural land since 1950, including a 20 percent reduction in arable land.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY. In livestock raising the income from meat is 1.5 times greater than the income from milk. Although the number of cattle has decreased, productivity has risen. In 1976 the average yield per dairy cow was about 4,500 kg, and the average fat content of the milk exceeded 4 percent. Table 5 shows the changes in livestock population. In 1976, Swedish farms produced 3 million tons of milk (deliveries to dairies), 434,000 tons of meat, 44,000 tons of butter, 83,000 tons of cheese, and 109,000 tons of eggs.

Table 5. Livestock population
Cattle ...............2,648,0002,501,0001,926,0001,900,000
cows ...............1,654,0001,298,000758,000736,000
Hogs ...............1,300,0001,915,0002,074,0002,500,000

CROP FARMING. About three-fourths of the cultivated land is allocated for fodder crops, chiefly grain and grasses. Feed grains, primarily barley and oats, occupy 41 percent of the total arable land; grasses, 32 percent; food grain (primarily wheat), 13 percent, and oil crops (chiefly rape), 6 percent. Table 6 gives the sown area and yield of the main crops.

FISHING. The annual fish catch, obtained chiefly from the Baltic and North seas, averages about 150,000 tons.

FORESTRY. The lumber industry exploits productive forests covering 23.4 million ha (1968–72 assessment). The annual increase in timber is 70 million cu m. In 1974–75 timber production totaled 52.6 million cu m.

Transportation. Rail shipping is the principal means of transporting domestic freight, but it is facing rapidly growing competition from trucking. The length of the rail network decreased from 16,000 km in the early 1950’s to 12,100 km in 1976; 7,500 km, or 62 percent of the network, have been electrified. More than nine-tenths of railroad freight is hauled by electric traction. Ferries connect the Swedish railroads with those of Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, and the German Democratic Republic. At the beginning of 1978 the country’s motor vehicle pool included 2,857,000 cars and 182,000 trucks and buses. In 1977 the merchant fleet had a tonnage of 6.8 million gross registered tons. The principal ports are Göteborg, which handled 20.2 million tons of cargo in 1975, Luleå (7.7 million tons), Hälsingborg (6.7 million tons), and Stockholm (5.5 million tons). The main international airport is Arlanda near Stockholm.

Foreign trade. Sweden ranks tenth among the developed capitalist countries in volume of foreign trade. In 1976 its exports were valued at 80.2 billion kronor and its imports at 83.3 billion kronor. The principal exports are machine-building and metal-working goods (49 percent by value in 1976), woodworking and pulp-paper industry output (20 percent), and metallurgical products (8 percent). The main imports are machinery and equipment (36 percent), fuel (18 percent), chemicals (8 percent), and metals (7 percent). The geographical orientation of Sweden’s foreign trade attests to its strong economic and commercial-political affiliation with Western Europe, which accounts for three-fourths of Swedish exports and imports. Half of the foreign trade is conducted with the Common Market countries. Sweden’s principal trading partners in 1976 were the Federal Republic of Germany (which bought 10 percent of its exports and provided 19 percent of its imports), Great Britain (11 and 10 percent), Norway (11 and 6 percent), Denmark (10 and 7 percent), Finland (6 and 6 percent), and the USA (5 and 7 percent).

The socialist countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance account for 6 percent of Swedish foreign trade; commercial and economic ties are most extensive with the USSR, Poland, and the German Democratic Republic. Sweden imports

Table 6. Sown area and yield of principal crops1
 Area (hectares)Yield (tons)
1Average annual ...............
Wheat ...............366,000278,000250,000797,000897,0001,149,000
Rye ...............120,00059,00096,000245,000147,000350,000
Barley ...............166,000436,000644,000363,0001,185,0002,003,000
Oats ...............491,000519,000520,000809,0001,277,0001,547,000
Mixed grain ...............311,000190,00072,000656,000469,000194,000
Potatoes ...............127,00092,00045,0001,607,0001,559,0001,083,000
Sugar beets ...............54,00045,00045,0001,767,0001,615,0001,880,000
Oil crops ...............125,00087,000160,000181,000173,000340,000
Sown grasses (hay) ...............1,209,0001,044,000847,0004,428,0004,146,0003,650,000

liquid and solid fuels, metals, chemicals, and machine tools from the USSR, to which it sells primarily machinery and equipment. Production cooperation between Swedish and Soviet enterprises is expanding in industry, power engineering, and transportation.

Each year 3–4 million foreign tourists visit Sweden. Its monetary unit is the kronor. By the exchange rate of the USSR State Bank, 100 kronor equaled 14 rubles 96 kopecks in April 1978.

Economic regions. Central Sweden, encompassing the lowlands around the large lakes and stretching from the Baltic Sea in the east to the Kattegat in the west, emerged historically as the economic nucleus of the Swedish state. The combination of iron ore, timber, and waterpower resources promoted early industrial development. Although it occupies less than one-third of the country, the region accounts for three-fifths of the population and two-thirds of Swedish industrial production. The chief production specialization is the metal industry. The region produces more than two-thirds of the country’s machine-building output (including three-fourths of its electrical equipment and more than two-thirds of its ships) and more than four-fifths of its steel.

Southern Sweden, including the Småland Upland south of Lake Vättern, the adjacent coast of the Baltic Sea and Kattegat, and the Skåne Peninsula in the extreme south, developed historically as the principal agricultural region. Occupying just one-eighth of the country’s territory and inhabited by one-fourth of its population, the region includes more than one-third of the cultivated land and produces two-fifths of the agricultural output. Southern Sweden also manufactures one-fourth of the country’s industrial output.

Northern Sweden is a vast, sparsely populated land rich in resources. With about two-thirds of the country’s area and one-eighth of its population, northern Sweden possesses more than half of the nation’s timber reserves, three-fourths of its iron ore reserves, nine-tenths of its nonferrous metal ore reserves, and four-fifths of its hydroelectric resources. The region clearly specializes in lumbering, mining and metallurgy, and electricity generation, producing half of the country’s timber, about half of its wood products, four-fifths of its iron ore, and about two-thirds of its electric energy. It has large enterprises of ferrous (Luleå) and nonferrous (Skellefteå) metallurgy. In general, however, the region’s share of the country’s economic potential is small, inasmuch as it provides only one-tenth of the industrial output.


Sweden’s armed forces, consisting of an army, an air force, and a navy, are under the ultimate direction of the government and the direct command of the supreme commander. The three services, numbering 68,000 men in 1977, are recruited on the basis of conscription. The term of active duty is 7½–15 months in the army, 8–15 months in the air force, and 10–17½ months in the navy.

The army, numbering about 46,000 men, consists of 50 infantry, artillery, tank, and other mobilizable training regiments that in wartime can be expanded into brigades and battalions. The air force of about 10,000 men comprises more than 30 squadrons of various kinds (about 600 fighter planes) and ten helicopter groups, each having two to four helicopters. The navy of about 12,000 men is equipped with 17 submarines, six destroyers, six frigates, about 40 torpedo boats, 16 patrol boats, three mine-layers, and more than 30 minesweepers. There are about 65 mobile and stationary coastal artillery units. The largest naval bases are at Horsfjärd (Stockholm skerries), Karlskrona, and Göteborg, and the rocky indented coast provides many shelters for ships. The armaments of all the branches of the armed forces are of Swedish or foreign manufacture.

In 1976 the birth rate was 11.9 per 1,000 inhabitants, the mortality rate 11, and infant mortality 8.7 per 1,000 live births. Cardiovascular diseases, malignant neoplasms, and lung diseases are the leading causes of illness and death. Infectious diseases include influenza, childhood diseases, epidemic hepatitis, and venereal diseases.

The public health service is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and the National Council of Public Health and Social Insurance. Direct supervision over medical treatment and disease prevention is exercised by the county councils, which have departments of medical services.

In 1972 there were 721 hospitals with 123,100 beds (15 per 1,000 population). Outpatient care was provided by 200 hospital clinics, 11 independent clinics, and 848 public health centers. There were 11,900 practicing doctors (one for every 680 persons), 7,000 dentists, 3,400 pharmacists, and more than 100,000 other medical personnel. Doctors are trained at six medical faculties and secondary medical personnel, at 34 medical schools. Public health expenditures amounted to 4.4 percent of the state budget in 1972.

The best-known spas are the balneological resorts of Medevi and Ronneby, the pelotherapy resorts of Gustafsberg and Loka, and the climatic resort of Marstrand.

Sweden’s unified, state-run, compulsory social insurance system was improved substantially by the reforms of 1973 and 1975. Social insurance is financed by the state, by employers, and to a lesser degree by the citizens themselves, for example, unemployment insurance, available under a voluntary program financed by payroll deductions. Sickness insurance covers up to 90 percent of the lost earnings of most workers as well as the greater part of medical expenses. Maternity benefits have also been instituted. Old-age pensions consist of a national pension, a fixed amount that all citizens are eligible for upon reaching the age of 65 (since 1975), and a pension based on length of employment, which is financed by employers. Family allowances are paid for each child up to the age of 16.

O. A. ALEKSANDROV and A. G. KAN (social insurance)

Veterinary services. Sweden is free of the majority of infectious and parasitic animal diseases. Isolated cases of cattle vibriosis have been recorded (one outbreak in 1976); cysticercosis of cattle and hogs is prevalent in some regions; and leukosis of cattle and Marek’s disease (among fowl) are encountered.

The veterinary service is under the jurisdiction of the National Agricultural Council. Supervision over foodstuffs, including meat, is exercised by the National Food Administration. Veterinary services, available in all the counties, were provided by 1,312 veterinarians in 1976. One of the oldest higher veterinary schools in Europe, the Veterinary School of Uppsala, functions as a faculty of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Veterinary research is conducted by the National Veterinary Institute and a number of Veterinary research institutions. The production of biologicals has been initatied. Two veterinary journals are published.


The first schools in Sweden, founded in the 13th century, were either monastic schools established by the Dominican and Franciscan orders or urban schools offering instruction in arithmetic and writing. By the 16th century there were 20 church and monastery schools and ten urban schools. The Lutheran Reformation of the 16th century promoted the spread of literacy. Schools were controlled by the church down to the middle of the 19th century. Under a law enacted in 1842 compulsory elementary schools were established for the lower estates. A law providing for compulsory seven-year education was adopted in 1936, and in 1962 the length of compulsory schooling was extended to nine years. Public education is directed by the Ministry of Education.

Kindergartens and play schools are available for children between the ages of three and six. At the age of seven children are enrolled in the compulsory basic nine-year school, which is divided into three levels each consisting of three grades. All pupils receive the same general education during the first six years of instruction. The curriculum of the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades includes both required and elective subjects. After completing the nine-year school, students continue their education in secondary schools—integrated Gymnasiums with 22 departments. The technical, natural sciences, humanities, economics, and social sciences departments offer three- or four-year programs that prepare students for entry into higher educational institutions; the other departments offer two-year programs of vocational and technical training.

In the 1974–75 school year 1,195,000 pupils were enrolled in the basic schools, including 311,000 in the seventh, eighth, and ninth grades. The Gymnasiums had an enrollment of 221,000. The higher educational system includes 35 institutions, in which 101,800 students were enrolled in the 1976–77 academic year. The course of study ranges from three to six years. University faculties of humanities and natural sciences have an open admissions policy; admission to faculties of medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry, as well as to specialized higher schools, is based on competition and is contingent on having work experience in the chosen field. The largest higher educational institutions are the University of Stockholm, the universities in Uppsala (founded 1477), Lund (1668), Göteborg (1891), Umeå (1963), and Linkop-ing (1970), the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (1827), the university of technology in Göteborg (1829), and the Caroline Institute (Karolinska Institutet) in Stockholm (1810).

The major libraries are the Royal Library in Stockholm (1 million volumes), where V. I. Lenin did research; the libraries of the universities in Uppsala (more than 2 million volumes), Lund (more than 1.3 million volumes), and Göteborg (1.25 million volumes); and the city libraries of Stockholm (more than 1.4 million volumes) and Göteborg (more than 1 million volumes). Important museums in Stockholm include the National Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum, the Ethnographical Museum, the City Museum of Stockholm, the Museum of National Antiquities, the Nordic Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the National Maritime Museum, and Skansen, an open-air museum exhibiting ancient rural structures and utensils. Several fine museums are found in Göteborg, notably the Art Gallery, the Museums of the City of Göteborg (history, archaeology, and ethnography), and the Maritime Museum. Also noteworthy is the Cultural History Museum in Lund.


Natural and technical sciences. The development of natural science in Sweden was linked to the founding of the first universities in Uppsala and Lund and to the opening of astronomical observatories in Uppsala (1650) and Lund (1670). In the 18th century Swedish science was influenced by Enlightenment ideas emanating from France and Great Britain. The Royal Society of Sciences was established in Uppsala in 1710 and the Royal Academy of Sciences in Stockholm in 1739.

The first president of the Royal Academy of Sciences was C. Linnaeus (honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1754), who greatly influenced the development of science in the country. Linnaeus worked out a system for classifying plants and animals (published 1735) that was, for its time, all-embracing, and he was the first to begin systematically using binomial nomenclature. The Royal Academy of Sciences began publishing the first Swedish scientific journal in 1739. A founder of the academy, M. Triewald, promoted experimental physics in Sweden, built the first steam engine in Scandinavia, and wrote a work on mining.

The Stockholm Observatory was founded in 1753 by P. V. Wargentin (honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1760). Systematic scientific work in astronomy was begun by A. Celsius, the director of the observatory in Uppsala, who proposed a 100-degree temperature scale. S. Klingenstierna was known for his work in mathematics. P. Artedi worked out a system of classifying fish, and E. Acharius laid the foundation for lichenology. Significant advances were made in chemistry in the 18th century. T. O. Bergman perfected qualitative analysis. K. Scheele, a skillful experimenter, discovered manganese and was the first to obtain chlorine, potassium manganate, glycerol, a number of acids, and other compounds. He also described the properties of oxygen, as well as a method of obtaining it. A. F. Cronstedt discovered nickel and worked out a classification of minerals based on their chemical properties (An Essay Toward a System of Mineralogy, 1758).

The 17th and 18th centuries saw considerable progress in the technology of metallurgy and metalworking, naval shipbuilding, and the manufacture of cold weapons and firearms. C. Polhem had a marked influence on the development of technology, primarily mining and metallurgy.

In the 19th century, when most research was conducted at higher educational institutions, the leading branches of science were chemistry and mineralogy. J. J. Berzelius (honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1820) won international recognition for experimentally confirming the atomic theory and introducing it into chemistry. He introduced the system of designating chemical elements that is used today. Berzelius and his students, notably C. G. Mosander, made a major contribution to the discovery and study of the rare-earth elements lanthanum, yttrium, terbium, and erbium. These studies were continued by L. F. Nilson, who discovered scandium, and by P. T. Cleve, who isolated thulium and holmium. J. A. Arfved-son discovered lithium. C. W. Blomstrand developed the chemistry of complex compounds. A. Nobel, who established the Nobel Prizes, invented dynamite in 1867 and initiated its industrial production. In 1888 he developed ballistite. One of the greatest achievements of 19th-century chemistry was the electrolytic theory of dissociation proposed by S. A. Arrhenius (honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1925), the first Swedish scientist to receive the Nobel Prize (1903).

The physicist and astronomer A. J. Ångström measured with great precision the wave lengths of the solar spectrum and introduced the unit of length that bears his name. His son, the geophy-sicist K. J. Ångström, invented a compensation pyrheliometer and pyrgeometer. The research of J. R. Rydberg on the systema-tization of atomic emission spectra was important to atomic physics; in 1890 he introduced the fundamental physical constant that bears his name. H. J. Holmgren became known for his work on differential equations. M. G. Mittag-Leffler (elected honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1926) initiated the Swedish school of the theory of functions of a complex variable. In 1882 he founded one of the most important mathematical journals, Acta mathematica. At his invitation S. V. Kova-levskaia came to teach at the University of Stockholm. L. Ahlfors studied methods of topology in the theory of analytic functions. J. A. H. Gulden (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1882) developed the theory of the perturbation of comets and small planets and worked out its mathematical apparatus. E. Jaderin invented a reference device in 1880.

The meteorologist H. Hildebrand-Hildebrandsson (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1882) studied general air circulation and conducted important observations of clouds and the upper strata of the atmosphere with the aid of sounding balloons. A. Erdmann, the founder of the Geological Survey of Sweden (1858), holds a prominent place in the development of mineralogy and geology. G. J. De Geer (honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1925), who did pioneering work in Quaternary geology, established the origin of annual strata in banded clays. At the end of the 19th century, J. R. Sernander conducted systematic studies of the climate and flora of Scandinavia in the postglacial period; he was also concerned with the protection of Sweden’s natural environment. N. A. E. Nordenskjöld (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1879) made a major contribution to the study of the arctic. In 1878–79 he was the first to navigate the Northeast Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, wintering along the way. In 1897, S. A. Andrée made an attempt to reach the north pole in an air balloon of his own design.

Between 1850 and 1853, C. Andersson crossed the Kalahari Desert and the Damara Plateau in Africa. S. Hedin explored Tibet, the Gobi Desert, and other regions of Central Asia from 1893 to 1902. In another expedition, lasting from 1905 to 1908, he reached the sources of the Brahmaputra and the Sutlej and discovered the Trans-Himalayas. The first Swedish expedition to the antarctic was organized in 1901 under the direction of O. Nordenskjöld.

A significant contribution to 19th-century biology was the work of the algologists K. A. Agardh (who devised a classification system for algae and whose work was continued by his son, J. G. Agardh), J. Areschong, F. Kjellman, and G. Lagerheim. The botanist E. M. Fries (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1850) was one of the founders of mycology. C. J. Hartman compiled a basic guide to Scandinavian flora. S. Loven (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1860) was noted for his work on the fauna of Sweden’s lakes and the Baltic Sea. F. Holmgren, who established the first physiology laboratory in Sweden, worked out a method for revealing color blindness. Outstanding work in medical physiology was done by G. M. Retzius (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1895). A. Gullstrand revised the theory of the refraction of light in the eye (Nobel Prize, 1911). J. G. Zander founded medical mechanotherapy.

A major engineering project of the first half of the 19th century was the Göta Canal, built under the direction of N. Ericson. His brother, J. Ericsson, introduced into shipbuilding the screw propeller with blades (1836) and is remembered in the history of technology as the designer of steamships (including the Monitor) and steam locomotives.

Swedish industrial inventions and improvements of the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries became known throughout the world. After G. E. Pasch invented safety, or Swedish, matches in 1844, J. E. Lundström worked out the technology and equipment to mass produce them. CD. Ekman invented a method of producing high-quality sulphite cellulose, and the first chemical pulp factory went into operation in 1874. L. M. Ericsson, credited with numerous improvements in telephony, founded a telephone firm in 1896. C. G. P. de Laval invented a continuous-operation centrifugal cream separator in 1878 and an impulse steam turbine in 1889. He also developed a theory of nozzles and proposed one of the first designs for milking machines in 1896. J. A. Brinell developed a method for determining the strength of metals that is widely used today. N. G. Dalen invented a device for automatically lighting (nightfall) and extinguishing (daybreak) acetylene lighthouse lamps (Nobel Prize, 1912). S. Wingquist invented spherical roller bearings, putting them into mass production in 1907. Hydroelectric construction expanded at the turn of the century; the Trollhättan hydroelectric power plant, the world’s largest at the time, went into operation in 1910.

In the 20th century, Swedish mathematicians continued to work on the theory of functions of a complex variable (Mittag-Leffler’s students E. Lindelöf and O. Frostman), on differential and integral equations (E. I. Fredholm and E. A. Holmgren), on the theory of functions and integral equations (T. Carleman), and on algebra and number theory (T. Nagell). H. Cramér did fundamental work on probability theory and mathematical statistics. L. Carleson has won acclaim for his work on the theory of multiple-valued analytic functions, and L. Hörmander for his work on the theory of differential operators. C. Charlier applied methods of mathematical statistics to the study of the spatial distribution of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. E. Bergstrand worked on problems of stellar astronomy, and K. Lundmark studied spiral galaxies. T. Elvius and his wife, A. Elvius, have gained international recognition for their work in stellar astronomy.

Major contributions to physical chemistry were made by T. Svedberg, who developed a method of ultracentrifugation (Nobel Prize, 1926), by A. Tiselius, who worked on electrophoresis and adsorptive analysis (Nobel Prize, 1948), and by A. Ölander and S. Claesson (member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR since 1976). Internationally acclaimed biochemical studies of enzymes and vitamins were carried out by H. von Euler-Chelpin (Nobel Prize, 1929; member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1927), A. H. Theorell (Nobel Prize, 1955), and E. Brunius. The biochemist S. Bergstrom (honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR since 1976) did major work on prostaglandins.

Among eminent Swedish physicists of the 20th century are K. M. G. Siegbahn, the founder of nuclear spectroscopy (Nobel Prize, 1924; member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1958), and his son K. M. Siegbahn, who has worked on problems of nuclear and photoelectron spectroscopy. H. Alfvén has achieved international renown for his work on the physics of plasma and cosmic radiation and on astrophysics (Nobel Prize, 1970; member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1958). Alfvén formulated the basic principles of magnetohydro-dynamics. Outstanding research in atomic physics has been done by P. Ohlin, T. Gustafson, and S. E. Nilsson, and B. Lehnert has done important work in plasma physics and the physics of thermonuclear reactions. In solid-state physics, G. Isingproposed the model of magnetics that bears his name. A. K. Ångström has conducted research in geophysics, notably the physics of the atmosphere, climatology, and actinometry. Research is under way on the isostasy of the Baltic Shield.

In oceanography, V. W. Ekman worked out a theory of drift and gradient currents. H. Pettersson directed the deep-water expeditions of the Albatross in the middle Atlantic in 1947–48. F. Malmgren studied the physical and chemical properties of sea ice; he perished in the expedition of the dirigible Italia. Meteorological research has been advanced by C. G. A. Rossby, who studied the thermodynamics of atmospheric processes, by T. Bergeron, who founded dynamic climatology, and by B. Bolin, who developed mathematical methods of weather forecasting.

Well-known geological studies have included H. G. Backlund’s research on the petrography and tectonics of the Baltic Shield, the mineralogical investigations of P. Quensel and G. Lindström (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1886), the work of L. von Post, who developed methods for spore and pollen analysis in geology, and the research of A. Hadding, the author of a basic work on the geology of Sweden. Important contributions to the study of the geology of Sweden’s ore deposits were made by P. Geijer and S. Gavelin. W. Lindgren has done valuable research in metallogeny and H. Ahlmann in glaciology.

In the biological sciences, there have been major achievements in zoology (S. Ekman, B. Hanström, S. Hörstadius, K. Curry-Lindahl), cytology (J. Runnström), and embryology (T. Gustafson, member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1976). The development of paleontology owes much to the work of A. G. Nathorst (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1901), E. J. G. Holm (corresponding member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences from 1910), and E. Stensiö (member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1929). Among botanists, outstanding work has been done by O. Rosenberg in plant cytology, by H. Lundegårdh, J. E. Melin, and G. Borgström in plant physiology, by J. A. Nannfeldt in floristics, and by K. Björling in phytopathology. G. Erdtman became known for his work in palynology.

The main center of research in medicine and physiology is the Caroline Institute (founded 1810) in Stockholm. G. Forssell was one of the first to use X-ray diagnosis and X-ray therapy for cancer; R. Granit studied the neurophysiological processes of vision (Nobel Prize, 1967); and U. von Euler established the role of noradrenaline in the transmission of nerve impulses (Nobel Prize, 1970). Among other medical men who have won acclaim for their scientific work are H. Olivecrona (neurosurgery), C. Crafoord (lung and heart surgery), G. Nylen and E. Mann-heimer (cardiology), T. Sjöstrand (hematology), and S. Friberg (orthopedics and traumatology; member of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR since 1967).

In the agricultural sciences, important results have been achieved in the selective breeding of cereals and fodder grasses at the Svalöv and Weibullsholm institutes. E. Åkerberg (member of the V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences [VASKhNIL] since 1967) is noted for his work on plant breeding, and K. Fröier (member of VASKhNIL since 1972) is a leading agricultural geneticist. Important contributions to the study of the genetics and hybridization of crops were made by N. H. Nils-son-Ehle (corresponding member of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR from 1932) and E. Åkerberg.

Scientific research and development in technology has expanded rapidly in the 20th century. Theoretical and applied research in electrical engineering has been conducted by E. H. Norinder (transmission of high-tension currents and lightning protection), F. Dahlgren (theory of electrical machines), and E. Velander. Research and development in high-tension technology are largely confined to the ASEA firm, and research in radio electronics and its application to communications are conducted by the L. M. Ericsson firm and Televerket, the government department of electric communications. The principles of modern telegraph and telephone technology have been developed by T. Laurent, E. Löfgren, E. Hallen, and H. Sterky.

The postwar period saw the rapid expansion of aviation research and development, conducted chiefly by the National Aeronautical Research Institute (founded 1940) and the Saab-Scania industrial firm. E. Pettersson and G. Drougge did important work in aviation aerodynamics. The Draken and Viggen supersonic fighter interceptors were designed in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Sweden is engaged in joint space research with other Scandinavian and Western European countries. In shipbuilding, research and development are carried out by the State Shipbuilding Experimental Establishment (founded 1940) and the leading shipbuilding firms—Götaverken, Eriksberg, and Kockums. The Arendal shipyard, built in Göteborg in the 1960’s, is the world’s first facility for the rapid continuous sectional construction of supertankers. The “safe car” developed by the Volvo Company was put into assembly-line production in 1975. Since the 1950’s large hydroelectric power plants with underground machine rooms have been built on the rivers of northern Sweden. A number of nuclear power plants have also been constructed.

Significant contributions to physical metallurgy have been made by A. Westgren (X-ray structural analysis), O. Forsman (fatigue in steel and stress in welding), and A. Hultgren (methods of testing metals). In the technology of ferrous metallurgy, the work of G. Wallquist and M. Wiberg holds an important place. B. Kalling developed a process, subsequently known as the Kal-Do process, for smelting steel in an oxygen converter. Much of the country’s scientific research and development is carried out within the framework of inter-Scandinavian scientific cooperation. In 1975 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences concluded an agreement with the Academy of Sciences of the USSR providing for scientific cooperation and the exchange of scientific personnel.


Social sciences.PHILOSOPHY. In the Middle Ages the development of philosophical thought in Sweden was closely linked to Christian mysticism and Scholasticism, as illustrated by the Revelations of St. Bridget, a 14th-century Thomist work. The teachings of P. Ramus, the French philosopher whose followers opposed the scholastic method, spread to Sweden in the late 16th century.

An independent, secular philosophy emerged in Sweden in the 17th century with the incipient secularization of cultural life. The first significant Swedish philosopher and poet was G. Stiern-hielm, whose works eclectically combined Pythagoreanism, Neo-platonism, and Renaissance natural philosophy. The adherents of R. Descartes, who came to Stockholm in 1649, attacked medieval Scholasticism. A. Rydelius propounded a rationalist ethics and theory of knowledge. Materialist empiricism and sensationalism, expounded by P. Christiernin, M. Fremling, C. G. Leopold, and N. von Rosenstein, attracted a large following in the 18th century. Influenced by the Enlightenment, T. Thorild polemi-cized against Kantianism from the standpoint of “dynamic pantheism.” In the 1740’s E. Swedenborg abandoned his mechanistic materialist views in favor of a mystical philosophy.

The first follower of Kant in Sweden, D. Boëthius initiated the turn away from sensationalist and materialist trends, derived from English and French thinkers, to German idealist philosophy. Another prominent exponent of Kantian philosophy was B. Höijer. In the first half of the 19th century, philosophical thought was influenced by romanticism, championed by the Phosphorists (fosforisterna) and the members of the Gothic Society. The great Swedish historian and poet E. G. Geijer was also an original philosopher whose social views evolved from conservative romanticism to bourgeois liberalism and faith in democracy. The “philosophy of the individual” as a peculiarly Swedish form of idealism was developed by N. Biberg, S. Grubbe, and especially C. J. Bostrom, all of whom held speculative theistic views.

The early 20th century was marked by a rejection of speculative systems, primarily Boströmianism, and a growing interest in positivism and experimental psychology. Some of Bostrom’s followers embraced neo-Kantianism and the philosophy of life (V. Norström); others gravitated toward logical positivism (P. Wikner). The “new Uppsala school” that emerged around 1910 expounded an early form of logical positivism. Its founders, A. Hägerström and A. Phalén, anticipated many of the basic ideas of the Vienna circle. A spokesman for the antipositivist views of certain Swedish scholars, poets, and writers, H. Larsson attacked Hägerström’s theory of the “nihilism of values” and developed a doctrine of intuition in a rationalist manner. Problems of axiology were elaborated by A. Vannérus. The views of J. Landquist, who wrote extensively on the history of philosophy, were similar to those of H. Bergson.

Since World War II, Swedish philosophers have sought to integrate bourgeois philosophy on the basis of neopositivism. The leading exponents of this trend are A. Wedberg, K. Marc-Wogau, M. Moritz, I. Segelberg, and I. Hedenius. Empirical sociology and psychology have become popular. G. Aspelin has studied the history of ideas and their relation to the social milieu. T. Segerstedt has aimed at transcending the limitations of positiv-ist concepts in sociology. The neopositivist “philosophy of science” is also opposed by the neo-Protestant “philosophy of man,” many of whose exponents, notably A. Nygren and T. Simonsson, have nevertheless come under the influence of logical analysis.

Known in Sweden as early as the mid-19th century, Marxism gained ground from the 1880’s through the efforts of A. Palm and A. Wermelin. The methods of historical materialism and scientific communism were first applied to the analysis of social conditions in Sweden by A. Danielson. After the creation of the Communist Party of Sweden in 1917, the struggle between the Marxist (S. H. Linderot) and the reformist (K. H. Branting) concepts of social development grew more intense. Contemporary Marxist theoretical thought is marked by a concern with such current social issues as the changes taking place in the social-class structure of Swedish society, the question of the allies of the working class, the transition from capitalism to socialism, the development of democracy, and the unity of the workers’ movement. The Marxist social science journal Häften för kritiska studier has been published since 1968.

The centers for the study of philosophy are the departments of philosophy at the universities of Stockholm, Uppsala, and Lund. Theoria, the leading philosophy journal, has been published since 1935.


HISTORY. Church chronicles, written in Latin, were compiled in Sweden as early as the mid-13th century. In the next century there appeared more detailed rhymed chronicles in Old Swedish, of which the most famous is the Erikskrönikan. The first known Swedish historian was Erik Olai, a professor of theology at Uppsala University in the 15th century. In the second third of the 16th century historical works reflecting a humanist outlook were written by the Lutheran Reformation leader Olavus Petri and two Catholic archbishops, the brothers J. Magnus and O. Magnus.

During Sweden’s age of greatness (17th and early 18th centuries), the State Archive was established, and the post of state historiographer was created (1618–1834); in the 17th century the post was occupied for a time by the German S. von Pufendorf, who wrote an apologist history of the 17th-century Swedish kings. The College of Antiquities was founded in 1667 (around 1837 it was reorganized as the Stockholm Historical Museum). The great-power notion that the Swedes were descended from the people of ancient Atlantis was given final form by O. Rud-beck. The late 17th century saw the first studies of Scandinavian antiquities (J. Schefferus) and the publication and scholarly critique of historical sources (Archbishop E. Benzelius). The country’s first historical learned society was founded in Uppsala in 1710.

Swedish 18th-century Enlightenment historiography provided a secular periodization of the country’s history from earliest times, the first rationalist exposition of national history (O. von Dalin), and the first example of historical scholarship (S. Lager-bring). The establishment of the Statistical Department in 1749 opened the way for the study of the country’s population and economy. The Royal Academy of Letters, History, and Antiquities was founded in Stockholm in 1788. The tradition of monar-chism and hostility to the aristocracy that characterized Swedish Enlightenment historiography was continued in the romantic historiography that emerged in the first third of the 19th century against the background of the European Restoration. The leading romantic historian was E. G. Geijer, the founder of the bourgeois-conservative Uppsala historical school, which came to prominence in the third quarter of the 19th century. The school’s leading exponents were W. Svedelius, C. G. Styffe, F. F. Carlson, and C. G. Malmström. Like the influential German historians of the Ranke school and the kleindeutsch school, Swedish historians were primarily interested in political history, centered on the Swedish king. The 19th-century historians embarked on the publication of vast collections of national historical sources, including narratives, medieval laws and documents, and acts of the Riksdag. A number of historical societies, notably the Swedish Historical Society (1880), museums, and journals were founded.

With the onset of the imperialist age, the growing monarchist, antidemocratic, and chauvinist (cult of Charles XII) tendencies in Swedish historiography crystallized in the “new school” founded by H. Hjarne, a professor at the University of Uppsala. The school nevertheless produced a number of eminent historians in the first half of the 20th century, among them S. Tunberg, C. G. Westman, G. Carlsson, H. Almquist, G. Wittrock, S. Clason, and N. Ahnlund. A positivist trend emerged in historiography in the early 20th century, somewhat later than in archaeology and the history of material culture (G. O. A. Montelius, H. Hilde-brand). Between 1910 and 1920 positivism had a strong impact on medieval studies through the “critical” Lund school, founded by the brothers L. Weibull and C. Weibull. A liberal, opposition historiography arose in the first decade of the century, leaving its mark on the study of Swedish political history of the 18th and 19th centuries. Its leading exponents were N. Edén, A. Bruse-witz, and F. Lagerroth. Right-wing socialist histories of the workers’ movement were produced in the 1920’s by G. Magnusson and J. Lindgren and later by Z. Höglund.

The first attempts at a Marxist interpretation of Swedish history were made in the 1930’s by P. Nyström. In the interwar period there were notable achievements in the study of economic history (E. F. Heckscher), the Viking age (S. Bolin, H. Arb-man), feudal Sweden (K. Löfqvist, J. E. Almquist, E. Lönnroth, S. A. Nilsson), and modern popular movements and radical social thought (A. Kjellén, A. Strindberg, C. A. Hessler). Significant contributions were made to runology (O. von Friesen, S. B. Jansson), toponymy (J. Sahlgren), cultural-historical geography (H. Nelson), and some aspects of Oriental studies and the history of the ancient world (M. P. Nilsson). Important work was also done in ethnography (S. Erikson’s school) and in the archaeology of prehistoric Europe (M. Stenberger, S. Lindqvist, C. A. Althin), prehistoric Asia (G. Andersson), the classical world (Swedish institutes were founded in Rome in 1926 and in Athens in 1948), and the Middle Ages (T. Arne, B. Nerman, W. Holmqvist, H. Arbman).

Since World War II, Swedish historiography has been profoundly affected both by the gradual radicalization of bourgeois concepts and by the growing influence of neopositivism and the historical-sociological and economic-historical thought of France (primarily the Annales school) and the USA (”the new economic history”), on the one hand, and Marxism on the other. Marxist studies have been published by K. Bäckström, C. H. Hermans-son, P. O. Zennström, and L. Herlitz. Swedish historians have shown a heightened interest in socioeconomic and contemporary history and in questions of methodology. Since the 1960’s they have frequently collaborated on joint projects (series of monographs) on various themes. Such series have been devoted to the social and financial problems of 17th-century Sweden, the wars of Charles X, the popular movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, and Sweden in World War II. In world history, there have been outstanding studies of classical society, Egyptian antiquities, the Baltic region in the 16th and 17th centuries, World War II, and international relations after 1945.

The leading contemporary historians are R. Torstendahl and B. Gustafsson in methodology; Å. Kromnow in archival studies; L. A. Norborg in source study; C. A. Moberg in prehistoric archaeology; E. Lönnroth, J. Rosén, S. U. Palme, I. Hammar-ström, G. Westin, B. Odén, and S. A. Nilsson in the study of the Middle Ages; S. Carlsson, F. Lindberg, R. Karlbom, and G. Rystad in modern history; W. M. Carlgren, C. G. Andrae, K. Wahlbäck, S. A. Söderpalm, K. Molin, and J. Torbacke in contemporary history; and A. Attman, L. Jörberg, and R. Adamson in economic history. Since the 1960’s Swedish historians have been expanding their contacts with the historians of the socialist countries; Soviet-Swedish symposia were held in Tallinn in 1973 and in Stockholm in 1976.

The centers of historical scholarship are the history and philosophy divisions of the humanities faculties of the universities of Uppsala, Lund, Stockholm, Göteborg, and Umeå. (Some research is also conducted by the social science faculties.) The principal historical journals are Historisk tidskrift (1881–1937), Aktuellt och historiskt (since 1953), Economy and History (since 1958), and the inter-Scandinavian Ethnologia Scandinavica (since 1971). Scandia (since 1928), Acta archaeologica (since 1930), Scandinavian Economic History Review (since 1953), and Scandinavian Journal of History (since 1976).


ECONOMICS. The emergence of Swedish economic thought dates from the 17th century, when the prevailing economic doctrine was mercantilism. In the first half of the 18th century, as Enlightenment ideas and notions concerning the bourgeois liberalization of economic life began to penetrate the public consciousness, a sharp controversy broke out between the partisans and opponents of mercantilism. A. Nordencrantz and A. Chydenius were the leading theoreticians of “economic liberalism,” calling for the free development of the national economy. The Physiocrats and A. Smith exerted considerable influence on Swedish economic thought in the last third of the 18th century. Economic liberalism became popular in the first half of the 19th century, when protectionist restrictions and precapitalist relations were abolished.

The founder of the national school of political economy was D. Davidson, whose works, written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, show the influence of both English classical bourgeois political economy, principally D. Ricardo, and the Austrian school of vulgar political economy. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Swedish economists G. Cassel and K. Wicksell made a significant contribution to the neoclassical trend in bourgeois political economy by developing mathematical methods of studying problems of prices, income, monetary circulation, and the economic cycle.

Against the background of the world economic crisis of 1929–33, the general restructuring of bourgeois political economy, and the emergence of Keynesianism in Sweden, the Stockholm school evolved as an original school of bourgeois political economy whose main objective was to find practical ways of dealing with economic crises and unemployment. The school’s views became the theoretical justification for the economic policy adopted by the right-wing Social Democrats who came to power. The most prominent representatives of the school were B. Ohlin, G. Myrdal, E. Lindahl, D. Hammarskjöld, and E. Lundberg. Anticipating in many respects the ideas of J. M. Keynes, the economists of the Stockholm school were instrumental in developing and revitalizing the methods of ideologically defending and improving the mechanism of state-monopoly regulation of the Swedish economy. The current views of the Stockholm school, approaching a neoclassical synthesis, integrate neo-Keynesian ideas of state-monopoly regulation of the economy with neoclassical prescriptions for automatic self-regulation based on maintaining the “general conditions of balanced growth.”

The idea of a mixed economy, expounded by E. Wigforss and adopted by the Social Democrats as the basis of their economic doctrine, has carried considerable weight in Swedish economics since the early 1930’s. Contemporary reformist economists, notably P. Holmberg, T. Lindbom, P. Lindblom, and G. Adler-Karlsson, specialize in socioeconomic problems, studying production relations and the influence on them of technological development. In propounding the idea of so-called democratic socialism, Adler-Karlsson has advanced the most recent version of the convergence theory—the theory of “functional socialism.”

Since World War II bourgeois theories concerning the world capitalist economy have attracted a large following among Swedish economists. Ohlin and Myrdal, who subscribe to these theories, have worked out methods for the state-monopoly regulation of currency and trade relations between capitalist countries on the basis of Keynesian or neo-Keynesian concepts of economic growth. Among contemporary Swedish economists, Myrdal has become famous as a leading exponent of institutionalism, as an authority on the economic problems of the Third World countries, and as the author of numerous works on the economic relations between the developed capitalist nations and the developing countries. Since the 1960’s the Swedish bourgeois economists S. Carlson, I. Swennilson, and B. Hansson have focused on the practical aspects of the state-monopoly regulation of prices, inflation, and monetary circulation, as well as on problems of taxation.

Swedish bourgeois economists began their polemic with Marxism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The country’s Marxist economists rallied around the Left Social Democratic Party, founded in 1917. (The party was called the Communist Party from 1921 to 1967, when it was renamed the Left Party—Communists.) The conflict between two conceptions of social development—the Marxist and the reformist—in the Swedish workers’ movement intensified after World War II. Contemporary Marxist economic thought is primarily concerned with socioeconomic problems. A central place in the works of such Swedish Marxist economists as C. H. Hermansson is given to analyzing the changes in the social-class structure of the Swedish “welfare state” and to justifying the need for fundamental reforms that would create the preconditions for a socialist transformation of society.

The main centers of economic research are the Institute for International Economic Studies of the University of Stockholm (founded 1962) and the Economic Research Institute at the Stockholm School of Economics (founded 1929). Economists are trained at the Stockholm School of Economics (founded 1909) and at the universities of Göteborg, Lund, Stockholm, Uppsala, and Umeå.

The principal economics journals are Svensk handelstidning justitia (since 1890), Ekonomisk tidskrift (since 1899), Ekonomisk revy (since 1944), Economy and History (since 1958), and Affàrsvàrlden (since 1901). Important statistical data are published in the statistical yearbook Statistisk årsbok för Sverige (since 1914), the journal Allmän månadsstatistik (since 1963), and various specialized statistics series published by the Central Bureau of Statistics.


LINGUISTICS. The first works of a linguistic nature appeared in the 16th century. As the Swedish nation and national language evolved, it became necessary to standardize the language and to develop its national literary norms, a task that long determined the practical bent and normative character of linguistic work. In 1541, L. Petri and O. Petri completed and published the first full translation of the Bible, subsequently called the Bible of Gustav Vasa, which showed considerable uniformity and consistency in orthography and grammar.

In the 17th century there were advances in general philology: the Old Swedish and Icelandic language and literature were studied by J. Bureus; ancient manuscripts were collected and studied by O. Verelius; and the study of runes was begun by J. Peringskiöld, J. Hadorph, and M. Celsius. The scientific study of the Swedish language was initiated in the second half of the century. The first Swedish grammar, written in Latin, was published by E. Aurivillius in 1684; it was followed in 1696 by N. Kjellman’s grammar in Swedish. E. Schroderus published dictionaries, and S. Columbus and N. Kjellman addressed themselves to the problems of standardizing the orthography and bringing it closer to pronunciation.

In the 18th century U. Hjärne, C. G. Tessin, S. Hof, J. Ihre, and A. Botin studied questions of orthography. H. Spegel’s dictionary (1712) and A. Sahlstedt’s Swedish Grammar (1769) and Swedish Dictionary (1773) were intended to serve a normative function. A collection of engravings of runic monuments, based on drawings assembled by J. Hadorph and J. Peringskiold in the late 17th century, appeared in 1750. Ihre’s etymological dictionary of the Swedish language, published in 1769, laid the foundation for the comparative and historical schools in Swedish linguistics. In the late 18th century, the Swedish Academy took up the problem of correct usage, issuing the Academy Grammar in 1836.

In the 19th century Swedish linguists, among them J. Rydqvist, E. Tegnér, and A. Noreen, continued to work on orthography. A conference was held in 1869 to discuss questions of orthography, and the Orthography Society was founded in 1885. A catalog of Swedish runic inscriptions, the most complete of its time, was compiled by J. Liljegren and published in 1833. C. Schlyter published collections of medieval regional laws. The history of the Swedish language was the subject of works by Rydqvist and G. Cederschiöld, Noreen’s History of the Scandinavian Languages, and K. Söderwall’s Dictionary of the Swedish Language of the Middle Ages. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences began publishing a historical dictionary of the Swedish language in 1893.

Outstanding 20th-century works include Noreen’s Grammar of Old Swedish (1904), A. Kock’s Historical Phonetics of the Swedish Language (1906–29), and E. Wessén’s History of the Swedish Language (1941–56). The philological study of medieval manuscripts has continued. Runology has been developed by O. von Friesen, Wessén, and I. Lindquist, and Swedish runic inscriptions have been published serially since 1900. The living language and its dialects have been studied. The normative Academy Dictionary of the Swedish Language has been published since 1874, and O. Östergren’s dictionary of modern Swedish, since 1915. The illustrated Swedish explanatory dictionary came out in 1955. Other major works include Noreen’s seven-volume theoretical grammar Our Language (1903–25, unfinished) and the descriptive grammars of E. Wellander and N. Beckman. Since the 1960’s problems of general linguistics have been elucidated by B. Malmberg, who has also done important phonological research along with G. Fant.

The main linguistics centers are the Scandinavian languages divisions at the universities of Lund, Uppsala, Stockholm, and Göteborg; the general linguistics departments at the universities of Lund and Stockholm; the Institute of Dialectology and Folklore at Uppsala; the Institute of Language Culture at Stockholm; and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. The leading periodicals are Arkiv för nordisk filologi (since 1882), Nysvenska studier (since 1921), Språkvård (since 1965), Studia lingüistica (since 1947), and Svenska landsmål och svensk folkliv (since 1879).


Scientific institutions. In the area of research and development an important role is played by the Swedish government, which after World War II adopted a coordinated policy in scientific research. The Science Advisory Council, created in 1962, coordinates scientific work and sets scientific and technical policy. The council is headed by the prime minsiter and includes the ministers of education, finance, industry, agriculture, and defense, as well as representatives of the leading industrial firms and prominent scientists and scholars. The Ministry of Education directs the scientific research of universities and technical institutions of higher learning; other ministries are responsible for specific areas of applied research and development carried out by both state and private scientific research institutions. Supervision over the development of scientific research and design work is exercised by eight government research councils: for the natural sciences, the technical sciences (Board for Technical Development), medicine, agriculture and forestry, the humanities, the social sciences, and atomic research. A special body, the Scientific Preparatory Commission, is charged with the selection of the most important projects.

The main tasks of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, founded in 1739 and having 160 members and 120 foreign members in 1975, are to promote the development of the mathematical and natural sciences, to organize congresses and symposia, to maintain contacts with foreign and international scientific centers, and to award Nobel Prizes in physics and chemistry. The Academy of Engineering Sciences (founded 1919, 382 members) exercises organizational and informational functions in the technical sciences and maintains attachés for science and technology at the Swedish embassies in the USA, USSR, Japan, and a number of other countries.

Most basic research is done at research centers and institutes attached to universities and other higher educational institutions. Applied research and development is conducted chiefly by the research institutes and design departments of leading industrial firms, as well as by government research centers operating under the direction of ministries, for example, the Research Institute for Atomic Physics and the Aeronautical Research Institute. Among higher educational institutions, the universities of Uppsala, Lund, Stockholm, and Göteborg, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, and the Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg have the greatest research capability. The Caroline Institute in Stockholm conducts scientific research in medicine and physiology and awards the Nobel Prizes in those fields.

About 1.5 percent of the gross national product is spent annually on scientific research, in which some 26,000 people are engaged (1975). Approximately three-fifths of the 4.2 billion kronor spent on research and development in 1975 came from private industrial companies and foundations (Wallenberg, Wenner-Gren). State budgetary funds are used primarily to finance basic research, as well as military, energy-related, and ecological research and development.

In 1975 industry spent about 2.7 billion kronor on research and development, about three-fifths of all the money allocated for scientific research. A breakdown of this amount by branch of industry shows that electrical engineering and radio electronics accounted for an estimated 25 percent, transportation machine building for about another 25 percent, other machine building for 15 percent, metallurgy for 10 percent, the paper and pulp industry for 5 percent, the chemical industry for 5 percent, and other branches for 15 percent. Universities and higher technical schools received more than one-fourth of all the money spent on research and development; government organizations obtained one-tenth. About 3 percent of those employed by industrial firms (21,000 persons in 1975) are engaged in scientific research and development, which accounts for about 4 percent of the value of the net industrial product. Of the funds allocated from the state budget in 1972–73, and distributed through the government research councils, 47 percent went for technological research, 18 percent for the natural sciences, 16 percent for medical research, 8 percent for atomic research, 4 percent for agricultural research, 4 percent for the social sciences, and 3 percent for the humanities.



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Norborg, L. A. Källor till Sveriges historia. Lund, 1968.
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Odén, B. Lauritz Weibull och forskarsamhället. Lund, 1975.

In 1979 the country’s more than 145 daily newspapers had a combined circulation of 4.6 million copies; some 2,500 other newspapers and periodicals were also published. The most influential dailies, with their 1977 circulation, are Arbetet (since 1887; circulation, 104,000), published in Malmö as the press organ of the Social Democratic Labor Party; Aftonbladet (since 1830; circulation, 423,000), published in Stockholm by the Swedish Trade Union Confederation; the Liberal Göteborgs-Posten (since 1858; circulation 294,800), published in Göteborg; the Liberal Dagens Nyheter (since 1864; circulation, 480,000), published in Stockholm; Svenska Dagbladat (since 1884; circulation, 186,000), published in Stockholm; the rightist Liberal Sydsvenska Dagbladet Snällposten (since 1848; circulation, 115,700), published in Malmö; and the evening Expressen (since 1944; circulation 532,700), published in Stockholm.

The newspaper Arbetartidningen—Ny Dag, founded in 1974 and published twice a week in Stockholm, is the organ of the Left Party—Communists. The daily Norrskensflamman, founded in Luleå in 1906, has been the organ of the Workers’ Communist Party since 1977. Founded in Stockholm in 1921, the Swedish information bureau, called the Newspapers’ Telegraph Agency, is a joint-stock company owned by Swedish newspapers.

The country’s radio and television broadcasting is conducted by Swedish Radio, a state-supervised joint-stock company founded in 1924 in Stockholm. Since 1979, Swedish Radio has maintained four branches: national radio, local radio, educational radio and television, and television. The country’s three domestic radio programs and its foreign radio broadcasts are conducted in English, Spanish, German, Portuguese, Russian, French, and Swedish. Regular television broadcasting was initiated in 1956, after two years of experimental broadcasting; color television is available.


The oldest extant literary works are runic stone inscriptions devoted to heroic subjects, such as the alliterative verses on the Rök Stone, dating from the ninth century. Latin-language religious literature appeared during the rise of feudalism and the spread of Christianity. The most famous works of this kind are The Life of Kristina of Stumbelen by Petrus de Dacia (1235-S9) and The Revelations of Saint Bridget (14th century). Many ballads were composed in the 14th and 15th centuries, and historical chronicles and courtly poetry appeared at the beginning of the 14th century. The poet Thomas Simonsson of Strengnäs (died 1443) was known for his patriotic songs. A leader of the Swedish Reformation, O. Petri (1493–1552) wrote the Swedish Chronicle and, with his brother L. Petri, translated the Bible. The 17th century saw the birth of dramaturgy in the plays of J. Messenius (1579–1636), devoted to subjects from Swedish history and folklore, and the rise of lyric poetry, written by L. Wivallius (1605–69). A Renaissance spirit animated the poetry of G. Stiernhielm (1598–1672), best known for his narrative poem Hercules (1658), and the drinking songs of Lucidor (L. Johansson, 1638–74). Baroque literary trends influenced the poems of J. Runius (1679–1713).

An Enlightenment literature emerged in the early 18th century. In his magazine Then swänska Argus (1732–34) and in his satires and narrative poems, O. von Dalin (1708–63) criticized the monarchy and the mores of the aristocracy and clergy. The first Enlightenment novel, The Adventures of Adalrik and Giöthilda (1742–44), was written by J. H. Mörk (1714–63). The traveler’s narratives of J. Wallenberg (1746–68) and the naturalist C. Linnaeus played an important role in the development of prose. The “builders of thought,” a literary society that included Hedvig Charlotta Nordenflycht (1718–63), G. P. Creutz (1731–85), and G. F. Gyllenborg (1731–1808), championed senti-mentalism, as did the poet J. G. Oxenstierna (1750–1818). A writer and publicist of the late Enlightenment who took a critical view of the monarchy and church, J. H. Kellgren (1751–95) defended the principles of classicism without rejecting preromanticism. The poet K. M. Bellman (1740–95), noted for his collection Fredman’s Epistles (1790), raised the traditional drinking song genre to the level of national poetry by giving his themes a democratic and realistic dimension. The idyls and satires of Anna Maria Lenngren (1754–1817) were also imbued with democratic sympathies. Preromanticism, whose theoretician was T. Thorild (1759–1808), a staunch defender of the French Revolution, steadily gained ground in the struggle against classicism. The poetry of Thorild, B. Lidner (1757–93), and F. M. Franzén (1772–1847) is remarkable for its intensity of feeling and rich imagery.

The struggle against the epigones of classicism, notably C. G. Leopold (1756–1829), and against Enlightenment illusions about the bourgeois system was brought to a close by the Romantics, who rallied around the magazine Phosphoros (1810–13). The romantic conflict between the ideal and the real was expressed in religious, mystical terms in the lyrics and dramatic poem Isle of the Blessed (1824–27) by the leader of the Phosphorists, P. D. At-terbom (1790–1855), and in the poetry and lyrical plays of E. J. Stagnelius (1793–1823), who shared their outlook. The mystical tendencies of the Phosphorists were attacked by the Romantics of the Gothic Society in their magazine Iduna (1811–24), published by their leader E. G. Geijer (1783–1847). The “Goths” called for a revival of heroic traditions and drew inspiration from folklore. E. Tegnér (1782–1846), who was associated with the Goths, embodied their patriotic and humanistic ideals in his narrative poem The Saga of Frithiof (1819–25), which became a kind of national epic.

The sharpening of social contradictions in the 1830’s impelled writers to a critical examination of society and hastened the birth of realism, trends best exemplified in the prose of K. J. L. Almqvist (1793–1866). From the 1830’s to the 1850’s daily life was skillfully portrayed in the novels of Fredrika Bremer (1801–65) and Emilie Flygare-Carlén (1807–92), the sketches of C. A. Wetterbergh (1804–89), and the comedies of A. Blanche (1811–68). The upsurge in the bourgeois-democratic movement was reflected in the political verse of O. P. Sturzen-Becker (1811–69) and C. V. A. Strandberg (1818–77). The traditions of romanticism were continued in the historical novels (The Last Athenian, 1859; The Armorer, 1891) and lyrics of A. V. Rydberg (1828–95).

In the late 1870’s and early 1880’s, marked by the rapid growth of capitalism and the workers’ movement, the writings of the Danish literary critic G. Brandes did much to strengthen realism. An important work of this period was The Red Room (1879), a highly critical novel by A. Strindberg (1849–1912). The Young Sweden writers grouped around Strindberg—Anne Charlotte Leffler-Edgren (1849–92), Victoria Benedictsson (1850–88), and G. Geijerstam (1858–1909)—explored pressing problems of Swedish life. In the late 1880’s naturalist tendencies grew stronger in the works of Strindberg, Geijerstam, and the novelist and playwright T. Hedberg (1862–1931). Strindberg’s naturalist plays The Father (1887) and Miss Julie (1888) marked a new phase in the development of European drama. The poetry and prose of O. Hansson (1860–1925) reflected the evolution from naturalism to impressionism and symbolism

In the 1890’s the neoromantics, led by V. von Heidenstam (1859–1940), launched an attack on naturalism. In his literary manifesto Renaissance (1889), his lyrics, and his novel Hans Alienus (1892) Heidenstam contrasted humdrum bourgeois existence with a highly aesthetic vision of Renaissance and Oriental life and the cult of pleasure. Aestheticism and a withdrawal into the past or a dream world characterized the lyrics of O. Levertin (1862–1906) and the short stories of P. Hallstróm (1866–1960). Images of a patriarchal rural way of life, derived from folklore, were evoked in the neoromantic poetry of G. Fröding (1860–1911), noted for his collection Guitar and Concertina (1891), and A. Karlfeldt (1864–1931). The early work of Selma Lagerlöf (1858–1940), who drew heavily on folk tales and legends, was influenced by the neoromantic movement. Her novel Gosla Berlings Saga (1891) was imbued with humanism and a rejection of bourgeois utilitarianism. In the 1890’s Strindberg became interested in mysticism and Nietzscheanism, which simultaneously attracted and repelled him, as revealed in the novel By the Open Sea (1890). His refusal to accept the bourgeois world was reflected in the dramas To Damascus (parts 1–3, 1898–1904) and The Ghost Sonata (1907), which heralded European expressionist drama.

In his psychological novels and short stories H. Söderberg (1869–1941) took an ironic and skeptical view of the moral, religious, and social conventions of bourgeois society. Söderberg’s works, as well as the lyrics and short stories of B. Bergman (1869–1967), center on life in Stockholm and the fate of the “little man.”

At the beginning of the 20th century, against the background of capitalist industrialization and the upsurge in the workers’ movement, the first significant works about the working class were produced by M. Koch (1882–1940), G. Hedenvind-Ericksson (1880–1967), and D. Andersson (1888–1920). The novelists L. Nordstróm (1882–1942), G. Hellstrom (1882–1953), and Elin Wagner (1882–1949) wrote about the everyday life of various strata of Swedish society. The psychological novel Downstream (1920) by P. S. Siwertz (1882–1970) sharply satirized bourgeois mores. Keen psychological insight, a feeling for the grotesque, and symbolism distinguished the cycle of novels by H. Bergman (1883–1931) about the industrial region of Bergslagen (God’s Orchid, 1919).

The sense of confusion and anguish engendered by World War I was conveyed by P. Lagerkvist (1891–1974) in his collection of expressionist poems Fear (1916) and by B. Sjöberg (1885–1929). Under the influence of the October Revolution in Russia, revolutionary themes appeared in the poetry of E. Blomberg (1894–1965). A Swedish section of the international society Clarté, which promoted the spread of socialist ideas, was organized in 1924 by the poets Karin Boye (1900–41) and A. Ljungdal (1901–68). In 1929 a group of five poets—G. Sandgren (born 1904), H. Martinson (1904–78), A. Lundkvist (born 1906), J. Kjellgren (1907–48), and E. Asklund (born 1908)—published the poetic anthology Five Youths. The group championed nebulous socialist ideals and primitivism and indulged in a romantic celebration of the “machine age” and “free love.” Albeit Utopian, their convictions helped bring literature closer to life. Lundkvist’s verse collection Naked Life (1929) evoked the modern city and the life of workers, and Kjellgren’s novel People and a Bridge (1935) was imbued with the spirit of proletarian solidarity. A romanticism of the sea pervaded the poems of Martinson.

The social autobiographical novel flourished in the 1930’s; the finest examples of this genre are Flowering Nettle (1935) and its sequel The Way Out (1936) by Martinson, the cycle of novels about Olof (1934–37) by E. Johnson (born 1900), and the Knut Toring trilogy (1935–39) by W. Moberg (1898–1973). A strong social consciousness marked the works of the statare school, a group of writers who described the poverty and social inequality of farm laborers. The leading writers of the school were Moa Martinson (1890–1964), J. Fridegård (1897–1968), and I. Lo-Johansson (born 1901). The cycle The Misses von Pahlen (1930–35) and other novels by Agnes von Krusenstjerna (1894–1940) portrayed the degeneration of the gentry in a naturalist manner. The novels of F. Nilsson-Piraten (1895–1972), notably Bombi Bitt and I (1932), and those of O. Hedberg (1899–1974) satirized bourgeois morality. A quest for new artistic means of expression is discernible in the prose of T. Aurell (1895–1976), W. Ljungqvist (1900–74), and T. Jonsson (1910–50). The poets H. Gullberg (1898–1961) and J. Edfeld (born 1904) continued the traditions of expressionism, and E. Taube (1890–1976) and N. Ferlin (1898–1961) developed the democratic traditions of the urban song. In the poetry of G. Ekelöf (1907–68) surrealistic motifs gave way to philosophical meditation.

A number of outstanding antifascist works were produced before and during World War II, among them the allegorical tale The Hangman (1933) by Lagerkvist, Johnson’s novel The Soldier’s Return (1940), the antiutopia Kallocain (1940) by Karin Boye, and Moberg’s historical novel Ride This Night! (1941). In the immediate postwar years some Swedish writers, disillusioned with bourgeois civilization, began to explore man’s inner world. Their works show the influence of existentialism. An intense feeling of fear and guilt pervades the novel Isle of the Damned by S. Dagerman (1923–54) and the early lyrics of E. Lindegren (1910–68) and K. Vennberg (born 1910). Man’s alienation in bourgeois society is the central theme of the works of S. Arnér (born 1909) and L. Ahlin (born 1915).

The moral conflicts of modern man are echoed in Lagerkvist’s cycle of novels on biblical themes (Barabbas, 1950). Johnson dealt with important contemporary problems in his philosophical historical novels Surf (1946) and The Age of His Greatness (1960). Martinson’s fantasy epic Aniara (1956) is a pessimistic an-tiutopian work. In his cycle of autobiographical novels, published between 1951 and 1960, Lo-Johansson painted a picture of Swedish life in the first third of the 20th century. Between 1949 and 1959, Moberg published a cycle of novels about the emigration of Swedish peasants to America in the middle of the 19th century. The traditions of the realistic novel were also continued in the 1940’s and 1950’s by Lundkvist, F. Fridell (born 1904), Å. Was-sing (born 1919), and Sara Lidman (born 1923).

A central theme of the 1960’s and 1970’s was the polemic against the official thesis of the “universal welfare state.” For Birgitta Trotzig (born 1929), material and spiritual poverty may be transcended through religion. Social and spiritual vices were exposed by L. Jörling (1931–66) and B. Runeborg (born 1937), by the satirists P. Rådström (1925–65) and P. C. Jersild (born 1935), and by the coauthors of detective novels with a social message P. Wahlöö (1926–75) and Maj Sjöwall (born 1935). The intellectual and analytical novels of P. O. Sundman (born 1922), L. Gyllenstein (born 1921), and P. O. Enquist (born 1930) were directed against moral and ideological stereotyping. The anti-imperialist and anticolonial movement engendered its own engagé literature, some of the finest examples of which are the anti-colonial novels of Lidman (I and My Son, 1961) and B. Söderbergh (born 1925; Stirrup, 1961) and the political novel Wool (1973) by L. Gustafsson (born 1936).

Documentary literature reached a high level in the reportage of Lundkvist, the articles about South Africa by P. Wästberg (born 1933), Lidman’s articles about Swedish miners and life in Vietnam, and the documentary novels of Enquist and S. Delblanc (born 1931). Works of epic proportions were produced by P. Å. Fogelström (born 1917), the author of the novel cycle City (1960–68), and by Delblanc, who wrote a series of novels about the province of Södermanland (1970–76). Astrid Lind-gren (born 1907) has become internationally famous for her children’s books about Karlsson and Pippi Longstocking.

A group of writers, among them Ö. Fahlström (born 1928), emerged in the early 1960’s to champion formalist “concrete” poetry. They were opposed by the “new simplicity” school of G. Palm (born 1931), Sonja Åkesson (born 1926), and B. Håkanson (born 1937), which sought to revive realistic poetry. The poets L. Södeberg (born 1931), Håkanson, and G. Sonnevi (born 1939) dealt with current political issues in their lyrics of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

The Swedish Union of Writers, founded in 1893, is the professional organization that protects the economic and intellectual interests of writers.

From the outset Swedish literary criticism has developed under the influence of Western European trends; in the 20th century American criticism has also been closely studied. The foundation of scholarly literary criticism was laid by the Romantics L. Hammarsköld (1785–1827), the author of Swedish Literature (1818–19), and Atterbom, both of whom applied aesthetic and psychological criteria in their analysis of literary works. The most influential 20th-century literary scholar was H. Schiick, an adherent of the cultural history school whose work was based on a careful study of sources. Schiick’s method was developed by M. Lamm (1880–1950), F. Book (1883–1961), and A. Nilsson (1878–1936). The critic V. Svanberg (born 1896) has affirmed the social roots and significance of literary works in his Poetry and Politics (1931) and other works. In the 1950’s,G. Tideström (born 1906) emerged as the leading exponent of the New Criticism.


Gorn, F. V. Istoriia skandinavskoi literatury ot drevneishikh vremen do nashikh dnei. Moscow, 1894.
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Among the oldest examples of prehistoric art in Sweden are the Bronze Age rock carvings in Bohuslän showing schematized figures of deities, hunting scenes, battles, and military campaigns. Archaeological excavations have also uncovered Bronze Age ornamented weapons and utensils. Artistic relics dating from the Iron Age (beginning in the sixth century B.C.) and from the first millennium A.D. include stone stelae, metal and wood objects richly decorated with interlace ornamentation in the “animal style,” and representations of people and animals. The Vikings (late eighth to mid-llth centuries) left behind the remains of frame buildings and stelae depicting narrative scenes.

In the 11th and 12th centuries massive Romanesque stone churches were built at Sigtuna, Old Uppsala, Lund, and elsewhere. Gothic churches with graceful towers, best exemplified in the Storkyrka (Great Church) in Stockholm and the Cathedral of Uppsala, were constructed over the next three centuries. Renaissance influences were strongest in 16th-century castle architecture (Gripsholm, Vadstena, Kalmar). The Middle Ages saw the rise of towns with a dense network of narrow streets and the development of decorative painting and sculpture and miniature painting.

In the 17th century Swedish noblemen built baroque and classical urban palaces and country residences with parks, designed by the architects J. de la Vallée, N. Tessin the Elder, and N. Tessin the Younger. Native artists, of whom the most famous were J. Sylvius and D. Ehrenstrahl, worked alongside German, French, and Dutch masters. Classical architecture (C. F. Adel-crantz) and sculpture (J. T. Sergei) flourished in the 18th century, as did genre painting, both in the courtly manner of the rococo (N. Lafrensen) and in the bourgeois-didactic style (P. Hille-ström). Realistic portraiture reached a high level in the work of A. Roslin, C. G. Pilo, the pastelist G. Lundberg, and the miniaturist P. A. Hall. New city districts were built on a grid pattern.

In 19th-century architecture classicism gave way to a ponderous eclecticism. Romanticism became the prevailing style in the visual arts in the first half of the century. A heightened interest in the country’s past, its natural setting, and its people marked the paintings of N. Blommér, E. Lundgren, and M. Larsson and the sculpture of J. P. Molin. The development of realistic painting in the second half of the 19th and the early 20th centuries culminated in the joyous portraits and genre compositions of A. Zorn, the psychological portraits of E. Josephson, the everyday scenes of C. Wilhelmsson and C. Larsson, the landscapes of Prince Eu-gen, and the animal paintings of B. Liljefors. Official historical paintings were produced by G. Cederström.

In the 20th century a quest for new paths in architecture, stimulated by national romantic aspirations, was initiated by F. Boberg and C. Bergsten. A neoclassical style was evolved by the architects R. Östberg and I. Tengbom, and a school of modern architecture, blending functionalism with features akin to organic architecture, was founded by G. Asplund, S. Markelius, and S. Backström. Swedish architects have made a major contribution to the development of satellite cities (Vällingby and Farsta near Stockholm, with their extensive system of commercial centers), well-planned, self-sufficient residential districts (microdistricts in Stockholm, Göteborg, and Malmö), and various types of high-rise apartment buildings.

Outstanding examples of 20th-century Swedish sculpture include the monumental-decorative works of C. Milles, B. Hjorth, and B. Marklund, who combined a realistic treatment of national life with romantic symbolism and fantasy. The fine paintings of S. Derkert, E. John, and A. Amelin deal with important social themes. Another group of artists has produced highly colorful, often symbolic canvases: I. Aguéli, I. Grünewald, V. Nilsson, L. Engström, and E. Hallström. Technical excellence and keen observation distinguish the graphic art of P. von Schantz and L. Lindeberg. Swedish artists have also been attracted to various modernist currents, ranging from surrealism and abstract art (E. Nemes and T. Renquist) to pop art, conceptual art, and hyper-realism. The country’s extremely rich folk art tradition includes wood architecture (churches, houses, farm buildings), weaving, pottery, the working of metal and leather, and carving on wood and bone.


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Kidder Smith, G. E. Sweden Builds, 2nd ed. New York, 1957.

Until the 19th century, Swedish music developed within the mainstream of Scandinavian musical culture. Long influenced by German and Norwegian music, it acquired distinctive national traits by the early 20th century. Folk songs and dances—both round dances with singing and couple dances—differ in the various counties. The oldest folk instruments are the lur (a shepherd’s horn) and bells; later, village ensembles came to include violins, clarinets, flutes, and harps.

The bearers of musical culture down to the 13th century were the skalds; thereafter, until the early 16th century, their role was assumed by itinerant musicians called lekare, who played violins, pipes, and drums on city streets and at court. Folk ballads and antifeudal political songs appeared in the 14th and 15th centuries, and evangelical psalms became popular after the Reformation. The development of professional music was influenced by Gregorian chant, which spread to Sweden along with Christianity in the 11th century, and by the Protestant chorale, introduced at the time of the Reformation. The center of secular musical life was the royal court in Stockholm, where a court choir performed from 1526 and where several generations of the German Diiben family served as musicians.

In the 18th century the court choir was headed by J. H. Roman (1729–37), one of the first professional Swedish composers (church choral music) and the organizer of the first public concerts in 1731 and by F. Uttini (from 1768), who wrote the first Swedish-language opera, Thetis and Pelée (1773), and who formed an opera company that evolved into the Swedish Royal Opera. The opera company performed at the Bollhus Theater from 1773 to 1776 and at the Drottningholm Palace near Stockholm from 1777 to 1782, when it acquired a permanent theater. (A new theater building was constructed in 1898.) The opera theater’s early repertoire included works by the Swedish composer J. G. Naumann (Gustavus Vasa, 1786). In the early 19th century it presented the operas of F. A. Berwald, the greatest Swedish romantic composer and the first Swedish symphonist, as well as a fine violinist and conductor, and the comic operas of C. Stenborg. In the latter part of the century it gave fine performances of A. Hallén’s operas.

Other important composers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries were G. J. Vogler and J. M. Kraus, who produced religious and secular works, and J. F. Palm, who wrote songs. The Royal Academy of Music was founded in Stockholm in 1771, initially as a concert organization. In the late 19th century it was designated a conservatory, and in 1940 it became the Academy of Music, renamed the State Academy of Music in 1971.

Under the influence of romanticism, national folk music drew increasing attention in the early 19th century. Folk songs were collected by E. Drake, J. B. Struve, and R. Dybeck, and the first anthologies were published between 1814 and 1816 by A. Afzelius, E. G. Geijer (also a composer), and A. I. Arwidsson. Several composers of the second half of the 19th century used folk melodies, notably A. F. Lindblad, the Swedish Schubert, who also wrote operas, symphonies, and instrumental chamber works. Folk influences are also apparent in I. Hallstrom’s opera The Bewitched (1874) and in A. Hallén’s operas, symphonic poems, and choral works. After 1850 musical life developed in Malmö, Norrköping, and Göteborg, where B. Smetana headed the municipal symphony orchestra from 1856 to 1861. Sweden produced a number of internationally known singers, among them Jenny Lind, nicknamed the Swedish Nightingale, C. Nilsson, E. Gulbranson, and J. Björling.

A national school of composition was founded in the first half of the 20th century by W. Peterson-Berger, who wrote Wagnerian music dramas, five symphonies, and vocal and instrumental pieces; W. Stenhammar, known for his instrumental chamber works, operas, and symphonies; H. Alfvén, who produced orchestral compositions (Swedish Rhapsodies) and choral works; and D. I. Wirén, noted for his symphonies, concerti, and music for the theater and cinema. The works of these composers have a nordic coloring typical of Scandinavian romanticism. Other distinguished musicians included the violinist, conductor, and composer T. Aulin, who founded a quartet, and the composers E. Sjögren (romances and other works), N. Berg, E. Kallstenius, and T. Rangström.

Several talented composers came to prominence in the 1930’s and 1940’s: K. M. Atterberg, who wrote operas, ballets, and symphonies; G. Nystroem, a composer of instrumental works who lived in Paris for many years; H. Rosenberg, many of whose works are performed outside of Sweden; and M. Pergament, who employed the serial technique. Another important new composer was K. B. Blomdahl, whose best-known work was the opera Aniara, staged in 1959. Among eminent composers of the 1950’s were D. I. Wirén, L. E. Larsson, and E. von Koch. They were soon joined by the younger composers I. Lidholm, S. E. Back, and H. Eklund. A number of composers of the 1960’s and 1970’s were strongly influenced by the avant-garde movement. The Society for Contemporary Music (Samtida Musik) was founded in 1960, and electronic music studios were established in Stockholm (1964) and Malmö (1966). Experimental music has been written by A. Mellnäs, K. E. Welin, J. Bark, B. Nilsson, and J. Morthenson.

Sweden has ten professional symphony orchestras, the best known of which are the Swedish Radio Symphony, the Stockholm Philharmonic (directed by G. N. Rozhdestvenskii in 1974–76), and the Göteborg Symphony Orchestra. The leading choral groups are the Swedish Radio Choir and the Stockholm Chamber Choir. There are opera theaters in Stockholm (Swedish Royal Opera), Göteborg, and Malmö; musicals and operettas are performed at Oscar’s Theater in Stockholm. The country’s vigorous musical life owes much to the activity of the Concert Association in Stockholm (founded 1902), the Orchestra Association in Göteborg (1905), the Society of Swedish Composers (1918), the Choral Union (1925), and various amateur music organizations. Musical training is given at the State Academy of Music in Stockholm, the Conservatory in Malmö (1907), the Institute of Music in Göteborg (1932), and numerous music secondary schools. In 1963 a concert organization was founded to sponsor performances by soloists and chamber ensembles; prior to the 1960’s, chamber music concerts were much less popular than performances of symphonic works.

Among the leading performing artists of the 1970’s were the conductors S. Ehrling, S. Westerberg, and H. Blomstedt; the pianists H. Leygraf and S. Ericsson; the violinists L. Berlin and E. Wolf; the cellist E. Bløndahl-Bengtsson; and the singers N. Gedda, B. Nilsson, L. Andersson, E. Söderström, K. Meyer, and M. Hallin. The foremost musicologists are L. A. D. Fryk-lund and I. Bengtsson.


Lind, U. “Kompozitory Shvetsii.” Sovetskaia muzyka, 1955, no. 11. (Translated from Swedish.)
Wallner, B. La Musique en Suède. Stockholm, 1951.
Alander, B. Swedish Music. Stockholm, 1956.

Ballet performances by French artists were regularly staged at the royal court in Stockholm from 1638. The first permanent company, directed by L. Gallodier, was created under the auspices of the Swedish Royal Opera, founded in 1773. Ballets were staged by the Danish ballet masters Antoine Bournonville and L. Delande, who worked in Sweden from 1785 and 1809, respectively. In 1843 the first Swedish ballet master, A. Selinder, acquainted Swedish audiences with F. Taglioni’s romantic ballet La Sylphide, set to the music of J. Schneitzhöffer. Selinder also introduced Swedish folk dances into operatic productions. The most famous 18th-century ballerinas were G. Bassi and H. Hjortsberg; the mid-19th century produced the outstanding ballerina C. Norberg and the premier danseur C. Johansson, who worked primarily in Russia. Danish ballet greatly influenced the subsequent development of Swedish professional ballet, whose repertoire featured ballets choreographed by August Bournonville. Despite the appearance of such luminaries as the ballet master S. Lund and the ballerina H. Lund in the second half of the 19th century, Swedish ballet stagnated down to the second decade of the 20th century.

The arrival of M. M. Fokine in 1913 gave impetus to a resurgence of the ballet; among Fokine’s most popular productions were Cleopatra, based on the music of A. S. Arenskii with inserted numbers by other composers, and Les Sylphides, based on the music of F. Chopin. The Swedish Ballet, established in the 1920’s, gave performances in Paris from 1920 to 1925. Many of its productions were choreographed by J. Börlin, who favored ballets by French composers (D. Milhaud, E. Satie) and stage designs by French artists (F. Léger). Börlin also produced several ballets by Swedish composers, including H. Alfvén’s St. John’s Eve, which incorporates Swedish folklore. The leading dancers of this period were C. Ari and J. Hasselquist. In the 1930’s Swedish ballet was strongly influenced by expressionist dance, popularized by J. Algo.

In the 1940’s and 1950’s the ballet company of the Royal Opera revived a number of classical ballets, among them P.I. Tchaikovsky’s The Sleeping Beauty, staged by the Finnish choreographer G. Gé (Grönfeldt) during World War II and by the English choreographer M. Skeaping from 1953. At the same time, Swedish choreographers continued to use modern dance extensively, as evidenced by I. Cramér’s staging of A. Granström’s The Girl Who Trampled Bread (1945), S. S. Prokofiev’s The Prodigal Son (1958), The Water Sprite, based on the music of R. Lundsten (1973), and Peter and the Wolf, based on the music of Prokofiev (1976). Since 1967, Cramér has headed the Cramér Ballet, whose productions are largely inspired by folklore.

The choreographer B. Cullberg is known for her productions of Miss Julie by T. Rangström (1950), Adam and Eve by H. Rosenberg (1967), and Revolt, based on the music of B. Bartók (1973)—ballets performed at the Swedish Royal Opera, by the Cullberg Ballet (founded 1967), and on television. B. Äkesson has mounted fine productions of Sisyphus by K. B. Blomdahl (1957), Icarus by S. E. Bäck (1963), and Nausikaa Alone by I. Lidholm (1966). The repertoire of the Swedish Royal Opera has also included productions by a number of foreign choreographers who worked there in the 1960’s, notably A. Tudor, B. MacDonald, J. Limón, and J. Cranko. There are permanent companies in Göteborg (director, E. M. von Rosen) and Malmö (director, C. Borg).

The leading dancers of the 1940’s and 1950’s were B. Appelgren, E. Rasch, G. Lindgren, T. Rhodin, J. Mengarelli, and his brother M. Mengarelli; of the 1950’s and 1960’s, von Rosen, M. Orlando, G. Anderson, C. Selling, and W. Sandberg; and of the 1960’s and 1970’s, Y. Brosset, M. Lang, K. Lidström, B. Skold, N. Håggbom, V. Klavsen, P. A. Segerstrom, N. Winqvist, and J. Kåge.

The magazine Dans has been published in Stockholm since late 1973.


School theaters flourished in Sweden in the 15th and 16th centuries, and theatrical performances were given in the royal castles from the late 16th century. The first court theater, which opened in Stockholm in 1649, relied on foreign companies—Italian opera and commedia dell’arte troupes and German and French troupes—down to the early 19th century. The French troupes, in particular, greatly influenced theatrical life in Sweden, molding its taste to conform to the canons of the French classical theater. The first permanent national theater was the Uppsala Student Theater, which existed from 1682 to 1691. The Royal Swedish Theater was founded in 1737 by an amateur company of young noblemen and civil servants; from 1753 the amateur company was largely displaced by French and Italian troupes. The first public theaters were founded under Gustavus III, first in Göteborg in 1779 and then in Stockholm, where the Swedish Royal Dramatic Theater opened in 1788. Down to the 1870’s the stage was dominated by French musical comedy and by the pseudohis-torical tragedies of A. von Kotzebue and his imitators, acted in a heavy declamatory style.

The social, economic, and cultural upsurge of the 1870’s brought the “new drama,” including the plays of H. Ibsen and B. Bjørnson, to the stage of private and state theaters. The ascendancy of realism was assured by A. Strindberg, the great playwright and theoretician of the theater. Although many of Strind-berg’s historical dramas gained a firm place in the repertoire of European theaters, the majority of his boldly innovative works did not achieve recognition on the national stage. In 1907, Strindberg and the director A. Falck opened the Intima Theater in Stockholm, which staged most of his plays before it closed in 1910. The tours of the German Chamber Theater, M. Rein-hardt’s production of Strindberg’s A Dream Play (1921) on the stage of the Royal Dramatic Theater, and the tours of the Moscow Art Theater in 1921–22 had a profound impact on Swedish directors and performers. The principles of psychological realism were firmly established on the Swedish stage in the first quarter of the century through the brilliant performances of N. Personne, H. Bosse, T. Teje, V. Sjöström, E. Hillberg, I. Hedqvist, and A. de Wahl. Another master of characterization was J. Ekman. The foremost director of the first half of the 20th century was O. Molander. Two eminent men of the modern Swedish theater, A. Sjöberg and I. Bergman, began their careers in the 1930’s and 1940’s, respectively.

During World War II, the Royal Dramatic Theater showed a lack of principle in staging predominantly light plays of entertainment. At this time, only the City Theater of Göteborg, under the direction of T. Hammarén, openly opposed Nazism, staging such antiwar plays as Ahlström’s Readiness (1941), Moberg’s Ride This Night! (1942), and Munk’s Niels Ebbesen (1944). One of the most powerful condemnations of fascism was Bergman’s production of A. Camus’s Caligula in 1946. In the 1950’s a number of private theaters sought to popularize the “theater of the absurd.” But in the state-supported theaters preference was given to the classics and to plays by foreign playwrights, notably J.-P. Sartre, J. Anouilh, A. Miller, T. Williams, and J. Osborne. Swedish theaters gave fine performances of the plays of A. P. Chekhov, L. N. Tolstoy, N. Gogol, M. Gorky, V. V. Mayakovsky, and V. P. Kataev.

A heightened political awareness marked the Swedish theater of the 1960’s, when B. Brecht’s works were among those most frequently performed. Another new development was the creation of theater groups—communities of actors, directors, and playwrights who staged plays that reflected their common political and artistic views. Such groups generally arose within theaters, for example, in connection with the staging of They, a play about the Vietnam war, by the Royal Dramatic Theater in 1967. Some of the groups evolved into “free theaters,” which proliferated rapidly in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. The productions of these theaters tend to be highly political and frequently take the form of revues incorporating music, singing, and pantomime. The entire company participates in writing the script. The best-known group of this kind is the traveling Stockholm Free Professional Theater, which champions the economic and political demands of the working class.

Outstanding performers of the contemporary Swedish theater include I. Tidblad (died 1975), E. Josephson, G. Wållgren, A. Ek, E. Adolphson, E. Dahlbeck, G. Rydeberg, H. Löwenadler, T. Pawlo, S. Ruud, U. Palme, K. Kavli, J. Kulle, A. Tretow, S. Fürst, and P. Oscarsson.

In addition to the Royal Dramatic Theater and the City Theater, Stockholm has several private theaters. There are drama theaters in Göteborg, Malmö, and other cities. The state-supported Riksteater was formed to tour the smaller towns; each year it gives as many as 700 performances in more than 100 population centers.


Nordensvan, G. Svensk leater och Svenska skådespelare, vols. 1–2, Stockholm, 1917–18.
Hilleström, P. Gustaviansk teater. Stockholm, 1947.
Engel, P. G., and L. Janzon. Sju decennier: Svensk teater under 1900-talet. [Stockholm] 1974.
Circus. Itinerant circuses, such as those directed by Orlando, the Miiares brothers, and B. Schreiber, regularly toured Sweden. The founder of a remarkable circus dynasty was G. L. Housske, whose wife, the trick rider Rénee Léonard, headed the Stockholm Circus in the 1860’s. Among the larger circuses of the 1920’s were the Scott Circus, directed by Kate Bronett, and the Skala Circus, headed by Harry and Helen Johansson. In the 1940’s and 1950’s the Trolle Rodin Circus combined traditional circus acts with variety shows.

Sweden’s first documentary, consisting of short sequences, was made by the German cinematographer M. Skladanowsky. In 1897 several documentary and entertainment shorts were produced by the Swede N. Peterson. Regular film production began in 1907. The classical film school that flourished between 1910 and 1930 substantially influenced world cinematography through such fine films as V. Sjöström’s Strike (1914), Terje Vigen (1916, after H. Ibsen), and The Sons oflngmar (1918, after S. Lagerlöf) and M. Stiller’s When Love Kills (1913) and Song of the Scarlet Flower (1918). In the 1930’s the film output was largely restricted to salon melodramas and comedies, best represented by G. Molander’s On the Sunny Side (1935) and One Single Night (1939).

Films denouncing fascism were produced in the 1940’s; among the most memorable were Molander’s There Burned a Flame (1943), H. Ekman’s His Excellency (1944), and A. Sjöberg’s The Royal Hunt (1943). The first of H. Faustman’s films about the working class, affirming proletarian solidarity, appeared in the late 1940’s (Foreign Harbor, 1948; Night Journey, 1955). Several protest films made by young directors attacked the petit bourgeois ideals that dominated society. Among the best of these films were Sjoberg’s Miss Julie (1951, after A. Strindberg) and A. Mattsson’s One Summer of Happiness (1951). The great director I. Bergman won international acclaim for his brilliant portrayal of the tragic contradictions, spiritual emptiness, and inhumanity of capitalist society in such films as The Naked Night (1953), Wild Strawberries (1957), The Face (1958). The Silence (1963), Persona (1966), Cries and Whispers (1972), and Face to Face (1976). In 1977 he filmed the anti-Nazi Serpent’s Egg in Munich.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s a group of young directors emerged whose films dealt with vital social and economic issues. B. Widerberg dealt with the plight of workers in Raven’s End (1965), Ådalen 31 (1969), and Joe Hill (1971), and J. Troell showed the fate of the peasantry in Here Is Your Life (1967), TheEmigrants (1970), and The New Land (1972), the last two based on novels by V. Moberg. Problems confronting young people are explored in J. Halldoff’s Ola and Julia (1967) and A Dream ofFreedom (1969), Widerberg’s Elvira Madigan (1967), and R. Andersson’s A Love Story (1970). Swedish children’s films have become famous throughout the world; among the finest are O. Hellbom’s series of films based on A. Lindgren’s books about Pippi (1968–71) and Karlsson on-the-Roof (1974). Concurrently, a number of directors have been substituting frankly naturalistic depictions of sexual relations for an exposure of the causes of the spiritual degeneration of Swedish society. This approach is characteristic of V. Sjöman (I Am Curious, 1967–8), T. Wickman, B. Forslund, and B. Torn.

The leading film stars are B. Andersson, H. Andersson, I. Thulin, L. Ullmann, M. von Sydow, and G. Björnstrand. A joint Soviet-Swedish film Man From the Other Side, was issued in 1971. Although about 15–20 feature films are released each year, film distribution is dominated by American pictures filled with violence and brutality. Attendance at movie theaters has declined sharply, and the number of theaters has dropped accordingly from about 2,500 in the mid-1950’s to 1,200 in the second half of the 1970’s. The Swedish Film Institute, established in 1963, has operated a film school since 1965. Eminent film critics and theoreticians include B. Idestam-Almquist, R. Waldekrantz, L. Bergstrom, and H. Schein. The leading film magazines are Chaplin (since 1959) and Film och bio (since 1967).


Sadoul, G. Vseobshchaia istoriia kino, vols. 2, 3, 6. Moscow, 1958–65. (Translated from French.)
Cowie, P. Swedish Cinema. London-New York [1966].



Official name: Kingdom of Sweden

Capital city: Stockholm

Internet country code: .se

Flag description: 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)

National anthem: “Du gamla, Du fria” (Thou ancient, Thou freeborn)

Geographical description: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, and Skagerrak, between Finland and Norway

Total area: 173,731 sq. mi. (449,964 sq. km.)

Climate: Temperate in south with cold, cloudy winters and cool, partly cloudy summers; subarctic in north

Nationality: noun: Swede(s); adjective: Swedish

Population: 9,031,088 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: indigenous population: Swedes with Finnish and Sami minorities; foreign-born or first-genera­tion immigrants include Finns, Iraqis, former Yugoslav nationals, Iranians, Danes, Norwegians, Greeks, Turks

Languages spoken: Swedish, small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities

Religions: Lutheran 87%, other (includes Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist) 13%

Legal Holidays:

All Saints' DayNov 1
Christmas DayDec 25
Easter MondayApr 25, 2011; Apr 9, 2012; Apr 1, 2013; Apr 21, 2014; Apr 6, 2015; Mar 28, 2016; Apr 17, 2017; Apr 2, 2018; Apr 22, 2019; Apr 13, 2020; Apr 5, 2021; Apr 18, 2022; Apr 10, 2023
EpiphanyJan 6
Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Labor DayMay 1
National DayJun 6
New Year's DayJan 1
Second Day of ChristmasDec 26


a kingdom in NW Europe, occupying the E part of the Scandinavian Peninsula, on the Gulf of Bothnia and the Baltic: first united during the Viking period (8th--11th centuries); a member of the European Union. About 50 per cent of the total area is forest and 9 per cent lakes. Exports include timber, pulp, paper, iron ore, and steel. Official language: Swedish. Official religion: Church of Sweden (Lutheran). Currency: krona. Capital: Stockholm. Pop.: 8 886 000 (2004 est.). Area: 449 793 sq. km (173 665 sq. miles)
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