Stockholm is the capital and largest city of Sweden, as well as the most populated city of the Nordic countries. It is the site of the national Swedish government, the parliament, and the official residence of the Swedish monarch. As of 2008, the Stockholm metropolitan area is home to around 21% of Sweden's population and contributes 35% of Sweden's gross domestic product. Stockholm is the most populous city both in Sweden with a population of 810,120 in the city, 1,3 million in the urban area and around 2 million in the metropolitan area.
Stockholm has been the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden since the 13th century. Its strategic location on fourteen islands on the south-central east coast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago, has been historically important. Since the city is built on islands and known for its beauty, tourist interests have tried to popularize the appellation "Venice of the North". The city is known for its beauty, its buildings, its water and parks. According to Euromonitor, Stockholm is one of the most visited cities of the Nordic Countries in terms of international visitors, with over 1 million international tourists every year.
Stockholm is located on Sweden's south-central east coast, where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. The central parts of the city consist of fourteen islands that are continuous with Stockholm archipelago. The geographical city centre is situated on the water, in the bay Riddarfjärden.
Over 30% of the city area is made up of waterways and another 30% is made up of parks and green spaces, giving Stockholm perhaps the freshest air and widest lungs of any European capital.
For details about the other municipalities usually considered part of Stockholm, see the municipality in question. 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.
Stockholm has a humid continental climate according to the Köppen climate classification. Due to the city's high northerly latitude, daylight varies widely from more than 18 hours around midsummer, to only around 6 hours in late December. Despite its location, Stockholm has relatively mild temperatures and much warmer and sunnier weather throughout the year than other places at similar latitude, or even somewhat further south, mainly because of the influence of Gulf Stream. The city enjoys 1,981 hours of sunshine annually.
Summers are pleasantly warm with average daytime high temperatures of 20 - 23°C (68 - 74°F) and lows of around 15°C (59°F), but there are periods of heat waves and many days with temperatures above 25°C+ (77°F+) during the summer. Winters are cold with average temperatures ranging from -3 to 1°C (27 - 33°F), and rarely drop below −10 °C (14 °F). Spring and autumn are generally chilly to mild.
Annual precipitation is 539 mm (21.2 inches) with 164 wet days and light to moderate rainfall throughout the year. Snow mainly occurs from December through March, but recently winters tends to be virtually free of snow.