Cruising in Sweden


A military power during the 17th century, Sweden has not participated in any war in almost two centuries. An armed neutrality was preserved in both World Wars. Sweden's long-successful economic formula of a capitalist system interlarded with substantial welfare elements was challenged in the 1990s by high unemployment and in 2000-02 by the global economic downturn, but fiscal discipline over the past several years has allowed the country to weather economic vagaries. Indecision over the country's role in the political and economic integration of Europe delayed Sweden's entry into the EU until 1995, and waived the introduction of the euro in 1999.


Location: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, and Skagerrak, between Finland and Norway
Geographic coordinates: 62 00 N, 15 00 E
Map references: Europe
Area: total: 449,964 sq km
Land: 410,934 sq km
Water: 39,030 sq km


3,218 km

Maritime claims

Territorial sea: 12 nm (adjustments made to return a portion of straits to high seas)
Exclusive economic zone: agreed boundaries or midlines
Continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation


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


Mostly flat or gently rolling lowlands; mountains in west

Elevation extremes

Lowest point: reclaimed bay of Lake Hammarsjon, near Kristianstad -2.41 m
Highest point: Kebnekaise 2,111 m


Aided by peace and neutrality for the whole of the 20th century, Sweden has achieved an enviable standard of living under a mixed system of high-tech capitalism and extensive welfare benefits. It has a modern distribution system, excellent internal and external communications, and a skilled labor force. Timber, hydropower, and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Privately owned firms account for about 90% of industrial output, of which the engineering sector accounts for 50% of output and exports. Agriculture accounts for only 2% of GDP and of jobs.

The government's commitment to fiscal discipline resulted in a substantial budgetary surplus in 2001, which was cut by more than half in 2002, due to the global economic slowdown, declining revenue, and increased spending. The Swedish central bank (the Riksbank) focuses on price stability with its inflation target of 2%. Growth remained sluggish in 2003, but picked up in 2004 and 2005. Presumably because of generous sick-leave benefits, Swedish workers report in sick more often than other Europeans. In September 2003, Swedish voters turned down entry into the euro system, concerned about the impact on democracy and sovereignty.


Airports: 255 (2005)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 155
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 100
Heliports: 2 (2005)
Pipelines: gas 798 km (2004)
Railways: total: 11,481 km
Roadways: total: 424,981 km


2,052 km (2005)

Merchant marine

Total: 198 ships (1000 GRT or over) 3,528,264 GRT/2,193,807 DWT
By type: bulk carrier 7, cargo 29, chemical tanker 43, passenger 4, passenger/cargo 35, petroleum tanker 16, roll on/roll off 38, specialized tanker 6, vehicle carrier 20
Foreign-owned: 39 (Belgium 3, Denmark 3, Finland 11, Germany 4, Italy 7, Japan 2, Norway 8, US 1)
Registered in other countries: 161 (The Bahamas 10, Bermuda 12, Cayman Islands 12, Cyprus 4, Finland 3, France 3, French Southern and Antarctic Lands 8, Gibraltar 5, Greece 1, Isle of Man 1, Liberia 8, Malta 3, Marshall Islands 1, Netherlands 21, Netherlands Antilles 9, Norway 22, Panama 5, Russia 1, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1, Singapore 12, UK 15, US 4) (2005)

Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals

Goteborg, Helsingborg, Karlshamn, Lulea, Malmo, Oxelosund, Stenungsund, Stockholm, Trelleborg

Other Sailing Destinations in the Region

Belgium - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - Germany - Latvia - Lithuania - Netherlands - Norway - Poland - Russia - Sweden

Further Reading

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