|Sweden is situated in the most northerly part
of western Europe, in the region known as Scandinavia. To the northeast
is Finland, to the east is the Gulf of Bothnia, to the southeast is the
Baltic Sea, to the southwest are the Skagerrak Sea and the Kattegat Sea,
and to the west is Norway. Sweden is separated from Denmark by a narrow
strait called Öresund. Two islands in the Baltic Sea, Öland and
Gotland, are also part of Sweden.
Sweden is a little larger than the province of Newfoundland, and more than half of its land surface is covered by forests. There are nearly 100,000 lakes in Sweden, and thousands of islands line Sweden's long coastline.
|Sweden is divided into three regions: Norrland,
Svealand and Götland. Norrland, the northernmost region, is the country's
largest and most sparsely populated area. It covers about three-fifths
of the country, and contains forests, mountains, lakes and rivers. On the
west side of this region are the Scandinavian Mountains, a range that Sweden
shares with Norway. The highest mountain in Sweden, Mount Kebnekaise (2,111
metres), is in this area.
In the centre of the country is Svealand, the smallest of the three regions, an area of fertile plains, large forests and numerous lakes. The cities of Stockholm and Uppsala are located in this region. The southernmost region is Götland. The landscape here is flatter, with smaller lakes and wooded hills. This is the richest farming area of Sweden. Göteborg and Malmö are in Götland.
|Sweden's climate varies from one region
to another. The coldest month is February, and in northern Sweden the temperature
can drop as low -40°C during the winter nights. In the northern interior,
snow may remain for up to eight months. Southern Sweden has milder winters
because winds from the Atlantic Ocean have a moderating effect. Summers
are warm, but the summer is shorter in the north. Rain falls throughout
year, but late summer and autumn are the rainiest seasons.
The vegetation in Sweden is very similar to that in Canada. Mosses, lichens and stunted birch and willow grow in the arctic areas. Farther south are forests of firs, pines and birches. Deciduous trees, including oak, beech and maples, are found in the south. In the forests are mushrooms and berries, including lingonberries, blueberries and cloudberries.