Sweden or The Kingdom of Sweden is a constitutional monarchy in Northern Europe. The territory includes – in addition to the eastern part of the Scandinavian peninsula – the islands of Gotland and Öland with one. Sweden is a member of the Nordic Council and – since 1995 – the EU.
Sweden is bordered to the Kattegat, to the states Norway and Finland and the Baltic Sea. To include approximately 221 800 Swedish islands of Gotland (2994 km²) and Oland (1347 square kilometers, both in the Baltic Sea) and Orust (346 sq km, north of Gothenburg) are the three largest of them. The longest distance from north to south is 1572 km, 499 km from east to west. The land borders with Norway is 1619 km long, 586 km to Finland. While large parts of the country is flat to hilly, rising along the Norwegian border, the mountain ranges of the Scandes at up to about 2000 m altitude. The highest peak is the Kebnekaise with 2111 m. Throughout the country there are 28 national parks. The largest area is located in the northwest of the country.
Since 1 July 2009, Swedish is no longer de facto but de jure official language office. In Torne Valley, along the Swedish-Finnish border, is approximately half the population Tornedalfinnisch (Meänkieli spoken). Sami is still used by several thousand people as the main language. All Swedish seed, however, use the Swedish language. In Sweden, Finnish, Tornedalfinnisch, Yiddish, Romani, Sami and Swedish sign language Svenskt teckensprak recognized the status of minority languages.
Nearly 80% of Sweden’s population speaks English as a foreign language, as English first, the first foreign language in schools and the other is on TV is very strong (feature films are usually not synchronized, but subtitled). As second foreign language, the majority of students choose Spanish. Also, German and French are offered as a second foreign language; German was like in the rest of Scandinavia until about 1945, the first foreign language. The Norwegian language is understood mostly due to strong similarities to the Swedish, the Danish this is true to a lesser extent, especially outside of the former Danish parts of the country Halland, Blekinge and Skane.