Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the Nordic countries; 932,917 people live in the municipality, approximately 1.5 million in the urban area, region. The city is home to some of Europe's top ranking universities, such as the Stockholm School of Economics, Karolinska Institute and Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). It hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies and banquet at the Stockholm Concert Hall and Stockholm City Hall. One of the city's most prized museums, the Vasa Museum, is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia. The Stockholm metro, opened in 1950, is well known for its decoration of the stations; it has been called the longest art gallery in the world. Sweden's national football arena is located north of the city centre, in Solna. Ericsson Globe, the national indoor arena, is in the southern part of the city. The city was the host of the 1912 Summer Olympics, and hosted the equestrian portion of the 1956 Summer Olympics otherwise held in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Stockholm is the seat of the Swedish government and most of its agencies, including the highest courts in the judiciary, and the official residencies of the Swedish monarch and the Prime Minister. The government has its seat in the Rosenbad building, the Riksdag (Swedish parliament) is seated in the Parliament House, and the Prime Minister's residence is adjacent at the Sager House. The Stockholm Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the Swedish monarch, while the Drottningholm Palace, a World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Stockholm, serves as the Royal Family's private residence.
Stockholm is located on Sweden's south-central east coast, where the freshwater Lake Mälaren - Sweden's third largest lake - flows out into the Baltic Sea. The central parts of the city consist of fourteen islands that are continuous with the Stockholm archipelago. The geographical city centre is situated on the water, in Riddarfjärden bay. Over 30% of the city area is made up of waterways and another 30% is made up of parks and green spaces.
The biome Stockholm belongs to is the Temperate Deciduous Forest, which means the climate is very similar to that of the far north-eastern area of the United States and coastal Nova Scotia in Canada. The average annual temperature is 10 °C (50 °F). The average rainfall is 30 to 60 inches a year. The deciduous forest has four distinct seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter. In the autumn the leaves change colour. During the winter months the trees lose their leaves.
For details about the other municipalities in the Stockholm area, see the pertinent articles. North of Stockholm Municipality: Järfälla, Solna, Täby, Sollentuna, Lidingö, Upplands Väsby, Österåker, Sigtuna, Sundbyberg, Danderyd, Vallentuna, Ekerö, Upplands-Bro, Vaxholm, and Norrtälje. South of Stockholm: Huddinge, Nacka, Botkyrka, Haninge, Tyresö, Värmdö, Södertälje, Salem, Nykvarn and Nynäshamn.
The vast majority of Stockholm residents work in the service industry, which accounts for roughly 85% of jobs in Stockholm. The almost total absence of heavy industry (and fossil fuel power plants) makes Stockholm one of the world's cleanest metropolises. The last decade has seen a significant number of jobs created in high technology companies. Large employers include IBM, Ericsson, and Electrolux. A major IT centre is located in Kista, in northern Stockholm.
Stockholm is Sweden's financial centre. Major Swedish banks, such as Nordea, Swedbank, Handelsbanken, and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken, are headquartered in Stockholm, as are the major insurance companies Skandia, Folksam and Trygg-Hansa. Stockholm is also home to Sweden's foremost stock exchange, the Stockholm Stock Exchange (Stockholmsbörsen). Additionally, about 45% of Swedish companies with more than 200 employees are headquartered in Stockholm. Noted clothes retailer H&M is also headquartered in the city. In recent years, tourism has played an important part in the city's economy. Stockholm County is ranked as the 10th largest visitor destination in Europe, with over 10 million commercial overnight stays per year. Among 44 European cities Stockholm had the 6th highest growth in number of nights spent in the period 2004–2008.
Research and higher education in the sciences started in Stockholm in the 18th century, with education in medicine and various research institutions such as the Stockholm Observatory. The medical education was eventually formalized in 1811 as the Karolinska Institutet. The Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska högskolan, or KTH) was founded in 1827 and is currently Scandinavia's largest higher education institute of technology with 13,000 students. Stockholm University, founded in 1878 with university status granted in 1960, has 52,000 students as of 2008. It also incorporates many historical institutions, such as the Observatory, the Swedish Museum of Natural History, and the botanical garden Bergianska trädgården. The Stockholm School of Economics, founded in 1909, is one of the few private institutions of higher education in Sweden.
In the fine arts, educational institutions include the Royal College of Music, which has a history going back to the conservatory founded as part of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music in 1771, the Royal University College of Fine Arts, which has a similar historical association with the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts and a foundation date of 1735, and the Swedish National Academy of Mime and Acting, which is the continuation of the school of the Royal Dramatic Theatre, once attended by Greta Garbo. Other schools include the design school Konstfack, founded in 1844, the University College of Opera (founded in 1968, but with older roots), the University College of Dance, and the Stockholms Musikpedagogiska Institut (the University College of Music Education).
The Södertörn University College was founded in 1995 as a multi-disciplinary institution for southern Metropolitan Stockholm, to balance the many institutions located in the northern part of the region.
Apart from being Sweden's capital, Stockholm houses many national cultural institutions. The Stockholm region is home to three of Sweden's World Heritage Sites – spots judged as invaluable places that belong to all of humanity: The Drottningholm Palace, Skogskyrkogården (The Woodland Cemetery) and Birka. In 1998, Stockholm was named European Capital of Culture.