Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden. The City of Stockholm is administratively a municipality within Stockholm County. The population of the city proper is 761,721 (2004), and with the suburbs included, the population is 1,695,946 (2004) (Stockholm County except Norrtälje, Nykvarn, Nynäshamn and Södertälje). The metropolitan area is known as Stor-Stockholm. The conurbation of Stockholm, a statistical unit stretching through several municipalities, had a population of 1,212,196 according to the 2000 census.
As a capital Stockholm is the site of the Government and the Parliament of Sweden. It is also the residence of the head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf.
The earliest mention of Stockholm in writing dates from 1252, when it was an important post in the iron trade from the mines in Bergslagen. The first part of the name - stock - means logs, while the last part - holm - means small island. The city is said to have been founded by Birger Jarl in order to protect Sweden from invasion from the sea by foreign navies and to stop pillage of the cities such as Sigtuna on Lake Mälaren. The first building at Stockholm was a fortification for the purpose of controlling the traffic between the Baltic Sea and Mälaren.
The city is subdivided into 18 boroughs, which carry responsibility for primary school, social, leisure and cultural services within their respective areas.
Unofficially Stockholm is divided into three major parts: Stockholm City Centre (Innerstaden), South Stockholm (Söderort) and West Stockholm (Västerort). They are in turn divided into smaller parts.
The city is situated on fourteen islands and on the banks of the archipelago where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea, which are joined together by 53 bridges. The city center is virtually situated on the water. Coordinates: .
Stockholm might be best known for the Nobel Prizes and the prize ceremony held each year, but the city also houses the largest concentration of universities with research and higher education in Sweden.
Apart from being a large city with an active cultural life, Stockholm as a capital also houses many of the national cultural institutions of Sweden, including theatre, opera and museums. There are two UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Stockholm area: the Drottningholm Palace and a large cemetery, Skogskyrkogården, which include some well-known examples of the architecture of Gunnar Asplund. During 1998 Stockholm was designated as the European City of Culture.
Sites of interest
Sporting events are popular, with football and ice hockey being the most popular sports. The city hosted the 1912 Summer Olympics, as well as all but one of the Nordic Games, a winter multi-sport event that predated the Winter Olympics.
The three most popular men's football teams are Djurgårdens IF, Hammarby IF and AIK. All three clubs have women's teams, although Djurgården's women's elite team is called Djurgården/Älvsjö after a merger with Älvsjö AIK. The clubs also all have ice hockey teams, but currently (2004-2005 season) only Djurgården plays in the highest division. Hammarby also have a bandy team in the highest league, as well as a handball team.