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Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and it is built on small islands in Lake Mälaren. The various parts of the city are connected by bridges. The small Stortorget square is the heart of the very beautiful medieval city centre (Gamla Stan). Of course the streets here are narrow, but otherwise Stockholm is a spacious city: a third of the city consists of water, and another third of parks and other green areas.
The city itself has nearly 800,000 inhabitants, but including the suburbs it has a population of 1.8 million. Nevertheless, Stockholm feels like a small city. A large part of the population (15%) is from other parts of the world. Some areas have a high percentage of immigrants, where even an alternative form of Swedish has developed, the so-called Rinkeby Swedish (named after the suburb of Rinkeby).
Stockholm is located on Sweden's east coast between Lake Mälaren to the west of the city and the Baltic Sea. The heart of the city is situated on 14 small islands that are part of the Stockholm archipelago (Skärgård), a collection of some 24,000 islands off the coast.
Most of the people of Stockholm work in the commercial service sector or (semi-)government institutions. In the last 20 years, many jobs were created in the high-tech industry. Large employers are, among others, computer giant IBM, electronics giant Ericsson and Electrolux, a manufacturer of domestic appliances.
In addition, Stockholm is the financial centre of Sweden, with the head offices of Swedish banks and insurance companies.
Tourism plays an increasingly important role. Between 1991 and 2004, the number of hotel stays in Stockholm doubled.
There is virtually no heavy industry, which makes Stockholm one of the cleanest capitals in the world.
The most important airport is Stockholm Arlanda Airport, which is located 45 kilometres to the north of the city. There are connections to all European capitals and intercontinental flights. Ten kilometres to the west of Stockholm lies the small Bromma Airport, which is used above all for domestic flights and short European flights, for instance to Paris and Brussels.
Budget airlines use Stockholm Skavsta Airport, 100 kilometres to the south-west of Stockholm (close to Nyköping). Västerås Airport (100 km to the west of Stockholm) is also used by budget airlines (including Ryanair, with flights to London-Luton).
All airports have a shuttle connection to the centre of Stockholm.
Stockholm has an extensive public transport network which consists of metro, tram, bus and some commuter trains. The metro is the most convenient mode of transport. The hundred stations are indicated with a blue T (of Tunnelbana) and the trains are operational from 5 am to 1 am (during the weekend even until 3 am).
In addition, there are many tram and bus lines. The historical tram 7 is of interest to visitors, because it connects the main attractions. Virtually all buses stop at the central bus station (Cityterminalen) and at the train station (Centralstationen) of Stockholm. From there, the long distance buses depart as well.
There are international train connections with Oslo, Trondheim and Narvik in Norway and with Copenhagen in Denmark.
There are ferry connections to Turku and Helsinki in Finland.
Stockholm is located along a few main motorways. The E18 goes to Oslo in Norway (travel time about 6 hours), the E20 to the south-west (Gothenburg, 6 hours) and the E4 to the south Helsingborg, about 8 hours).
Because the city is built on islands, it can be difficult to find your way around. Buy a good city map and study your itinerary carefully before starting your car. In Stockholm there are many restrictions with regard to cars and the speed limits are enforced rigorously (in the city 50 km/h, near schools 30 km/h).
In the old city centre there are no parking facilities. The conveniently located car parks are the Galleriangaraget near the Galleriancomplex (Hamngatan 37) and the car park near the Phus Pub (Slöjdgatan 3).
Stockholm has a large number of hotels, youth hostels and bed & breakfast accommodations and campsites. In the old centre, there are a few hotels located in beautiful ancient buildings.
Examples are the hotel Anno 1647 and the Victory Hotel, where the large suites resemble mini-museums. If you want to stay in one of these hotels, you need to book in advance. In the suburbs are larger and more modern hotels.
For more information about Stockholm, we recommend Google, and the following sources: