Sweden, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. It borders Norway and Finland and it is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Øresund. At 450,295 square kilometers, Sweden is the third-largest European Union country by area with a population of about 9.5 million people.
Sweden emerged as an independent and unified country during the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, it expanded its territories to form the Swedish Empire, which became one of the great powers of Europe until the early 18th century. Swedish territories outside the Scandinavian Peninsula were gradually lost during the 18th and 19th centuries, ending with the annexation of present-day Finland by Russia in 1809. The last war in which Sweden was directly involved was in 1814 when Norway was militarily forced into personal union. Since then, Sweden has been at peace, maintaining an official policy of neutrality in foreign affairs.
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbor Norway. The capital city is Stockholm, the most populous city in the country. Legislative power is vested in the 349-member unicameral Riksdag. Executive power is exercised by the government chaired by the prime minister. Sweden is a unitary state, currently divided into 21 counties and 290 municipalities.
Sweden maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. It has the world's eighth-highest per capita income. It ranks highly in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, health, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality, prosperity, and human development.
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit's Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Sweden is the most expensive country in the world for the second year in a row.
Since 2010, Sweden has been ranked as the "best country" in the world in a yearly index by the American news magazine The Nation. A global opinion poll for the BBC revealed that Sweden has the highest level of popularity of any European country. Swedes have been found to be some of the happiest people in the world with a life-satisfaction index of around 7.6 on a scale from 0 to 10.

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