Sweden (Swedish Sverige) Northern European state, consisting of the eastern regions of the Scandinavian Peninsula, the Baltic islands of Gotland and Öland and other smaller ones. It borders to the NW and W with Norway, to the NE with Finland, to the East overlooking the Gulf of Bothnia, to the SE and S to the Baltic Sea ; to the SW a narrow channel, the Øresund, separates it from the Danish island of Sjaelland and the Kattegat from mainland Denmark ; the Skagerrak bathes the SW belt bordering Norway.
The population is made up almost exclusively of Swedes; the minorities are represented by Lapps (20,000, in Norrland) and Finni (approx. 50,000, mostly settled in the Torne älv valley in Norrbotten). The Lapps (known locally as Sami), who have always lived as nomadic herders, now tend to live in villages and towns, more or less integrated with the rest of the residents. Emigration from the Sweden was particularly strong in the 19th century, mainly directed towards North America; from the second postwar period the country it has instead become a pole of attraction for foreign immigration flows. Sweden presents the demographic picture of a ‘mature’ country, with an annual growth rate of 0.1% (it was one of the first countries in the world to reach ‘zero growth’), a birth rate of 10, 1 ‰, an infant mortality rate of 2.7 ‰ (one of the lowest in the world) and a life expectancy at birth of over 80 years. These data also highlight the excellent level of services, in particular health and social care: preventive medicine and scientific research minimize the incidence of diseases, hospitals are among the most modern in Europe and a widespread assistance network even covers more isolated regions of Norrland.
● The population, small compared to the surface of the country,decisive measure, of the strong differences in climatic conditions. In the vast inland regions of Norrland, where densities of just 2 residents / km2 are reached, it is collected almost exclusively in mining centers and isolated farms. The great majority of Swedes are concentrated, therefore, above all on the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia and, obviously, in the central and southern regions. The Great Lakes belt, between the Stockholm and Gothenburg coasts, is home to 9 of Sweden’s 12 largest cities and nearly half of the population. After Stockholm, Gothenburg stands out, a large port located at the mouth of the Göta älv, facing northern Denmark, and Malmö, a bridgehead for communications with continental Europe. Other notable cities are: Uppsala, just N of Stockholm, a prestigious university and cultural center; Helsingborg, on the Øresund; Norrköping, a good port south of Stockholm, at the mouth of the Motala; Jönköping, located at the southern end of Lake Vättern, and Luleå, the northernmost port in the Gulf of Bothnia. Urbanization, very rapid until the second half of the 20th century, has now come to a halt: the regions around the major cities recorded in the last decade of the 20th century. and in the first of the 21st only modest population increases.
● The official language, Swedish, of Germanic origin, is spoken, as well as throughout the Sweden, in some Finnish and Estonian coastal areas. Lapps speak a language of the Uralic group, which is taught in schools alongside Swedish. The dominant religion is Lutheran Protestantism; small minorities of Catholics, Muslims and Israelites.
Swedish is spoken by around 9 million individuals in Sweden and also in Finland, the Baltic countries and by numerous emigrants, especially in North America. It belongs to the Nordic group of Germanic languages and includes 5 dialect systems: Norwegian, Svearike, Gotarike, Southern Swedish and Gothic; the latter is documented since the 10th century. with inscriptions and therefore from manuscripts, and differs considerably from the other 4 groups. For Sweden religion and languages, please check ezinereligion.com.
● In the history of the Swedish language there are 4 periods: the archaic period, documented only by runic inscriptions (9th-13th century); the classical period, with the first manuscripts (13th-14th century); middle Swedish (until 1525) and modern, in which the literary language, which was formed through three centuries of elaboration, Olof Petersson) and especially in the version of the New Testament (1526). In the following two centuries, Swedish underwent a notable evolution, especially due to the loss of the ancient flexural system, which took place around 1700, and the enrichment of the lexicon, caused by the new cultural needs. The literary language (rikssprak), although in recent centuries it has considerably approached dialects, is nevertheless still very far from them; the language spoken by educated people (rikstalsprak) occupies an intermediate position between dialects and the literary language, but its use is increasingly diminishing.
Music in Sweden had a notable development during the reign of Cristina (1644-54), who called musicians from abroad to her court, and, subsequently, during that of Gustavo III (1771-92), who founded the academy real music and promoted the activity of the opera house. Among the best known musicians: JH Roman (1694-1768), considered the ‘father’ of Swedish music, while FA Berwald was a prominent figure of the Romantic period.
● At the beginning of the nineteenth century the first collections of national songs and ballads were published, in which the composers found a source of inspiration of capital importance. The transition between the 19th and 20th centuries. it marked a moment of growth in musical life in Sweden, thanks also to the stabilization of various musical institutions, including various symphonic orchestras. Among the musicians of this period are JGE Hagg (1867-1925), H. Rosenberg (1892-1985), up to the contemporary SD Sandström (b.1942).