For centuries Sweden was a rather backward, relatively unknown country. It burst onto the world scene during the Viking Age, and then under the warrior kings Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII in the 17th and 18th centuries, only to withdraw into isolation again. In this century, however, the country has been transformed and hailed as a model welfare state. The over 240 entries in this volume range from the Viking Age to the present day, but the emphasis is on personalities and events of the 20th century and Sweden's rapid social and economic evolution.
Sweden's internal affairs are reflected in articles on economics, politicians and political parties, newspapers, parliament, trade unions, social welfare, education, religion, and the status of women. Foreign affairs are covered in such articles as Sweden and Finland, Union with Norway, Estonia, Nordic Council, the two World Wars, Neutrality, the United Nations, and the European Union. Cultural entries include Swedish theater, music, visual arts, literature and language, libraries, and cinema. Several Swedes of international fame have been included (e.g., Linneaus, Kreuger, Nobel, Palme, St. Birgitta, and Raoul Wallenberg).
The dictionary is preceded by a chronology and an introduction which give the reader an overview of Swedish history. There is, finally, a substantial bibliography to assist further reading.