Stockholm is located on Sweden's south-central east coast, where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. The city is sometimes called "Venice of the north" because of its beauty and proximity to water.
Stockholm's core of the present Old Town (Gamla Stan) was built on a central island from the mid-13th century onward. The city originally rose to prominence as a result of the Baltic trade of the Hanseatic League. Stockholm developed strong economic and cultural linkages with Lübeck, Hamburg, Gdańsk, Visby, Reval, and Riga during this time.
In 1634 Stockholm became the official capital of the Swedish empire.
In the later half of the 20th century Stockholm became a modern, technologically advanced, and ethnically diverse city. Many historical buildings were torn down during the modernist era, including substantial parts of the historical district of Klara, and replaced with modern architecture. However, in other parts of Stockholm, many "old" buildings, blocks and streets, built before the modernism and functionalism movements took off in Sweden survived this era of demolition. Throughout the century, many industries shifted away from work-intensive activities into more high-tech and service industry areas.
Between 1965 and 1974, the city expanded very quickly with the creation of additional suburban districts. Many of these areas have been criticized for being "concrete suburbs". The most common complaints are about the high crime rate and the high racial and social segregation in these areas. Politicians and business have recently initiated large urban renewal projects. The purpose is to transform suburban areas to “growth engines” and places where people want to move. Investments are made and the creation of a "living neighbourhood" mentions cultural activities and artists as important collaborators and they are offered different ways to participate in the initiative.
The city's waterways lead on and off the coast to the Stockholm archipelago - where you approximately find 30.000 islands and islets.
In the entire Stockholm metropolitan area, with it’s 26 municipalities, the population reaches more than 2 million inhabitants. In the city live approximately 850.000.
The Stockholmers cares a lot about the culture and the silhouettes around the water. The water helps to beautify many of the buildings in Stockholm: like the Stockholm Palace, the Stockholm City Hall etc. The municipality has appointed an official "board of beauty" called "Skönhetsrådet" to protect and preserve culture heritage and the beauty of the city.
In the City Centre of Stockholm, the water is so clean that you, with no doubt, can fish, go for a swim and then eat the fish you have caught, for dinner – and you can easily drink the water directly from the tabs at home.