Sweden flag 10 x 15 cm
Sweden officially the Kingdom of Sweden is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden has land borders with Norway to the west and Finland to the northeast, and it is connected to Denmark by the Öresund Bridge in the south.
At 450,000 km² (174,000 sq mi), Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union. With a total population of over 9.2 million Sweden has a low population density of 20 people per km² (52 per square mile), but is much higher in southern half of the country. About 85% of the population live in urban areas. Sweden's capital is Stockholm, which is also the largest city in the country (population of 1.3 million in the urban area and with 2 million in the metropolitan area). The second and third largest cities are Gothenburg and Malmö.
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of government and a highly developed economy. It ranks first in the world in The Economist's Democracy Index and 7th in the United Nation's Human Development Index. Sweden has been a member of the European Union since 1 January 1995.
Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages. It received a modern centralized administration beginning with King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century. In the 17th century the country expanded its territories to form the Swedish empire. Most of the conquered territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were lost during the 18th and 19th centuries. The eastern half of Sweden, present-day Finland, was lost to Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814, when Sweden by military means forced Norway into a personal union with Sweden, a union which lasted until 1905.
Since 1814, Sweden has been at peace, adopting a non-aligned foreign policy in peacetime and neutrality in wartime.
The flag of Sweden (Swedish: Sveriges flagga) is blue with a yellow Scandinavian cross that extends to the edges of the flag. The design and colors of the Swedish flag are believed to have been inspired by the present Coat of arms of Sweden of 1442, which is blue divided quarterly by a cross pattée of gold, and modelled on the Danish flag. Blue and yellow have been used as Swedish colours at least since king Magnus Birgersson's royal coat of arms of 1275.