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The capital city is Stockholm, which is also the most populous city in the country.
The etymology of Swedes, and thus Sweden, is generally not agreed upon but may derive from Proto-Germanic Swihoniz meaning "one's own", a warm period around 12,000 BC, with Late Palaeolithic reindeer-hunting camps of the Bromme culture at the edge of the ice in what is now the country's southernmost province, Scania.
Though Sweden was formally neutral through both world wars, Sweden engaged in humanitarian efforts, such as taking in refugees from German-occupied Europe.
After the end of the Cold War, Sweden joined the European Union on 1 January 1995, but declined NATO membership, as well as Eurozone membership following a referendum.
Approximately 85% of the population lives in urban areas.
Germanic peoples have inhabited Sweden since prehistoric times, emerging into history as the Geats (Swedish Götar) and Swedes (Svear) and constituting the sea peoples known as the Norsemen.
The climate is in general very mild for its northerly latitude due to significant maritime influence, that in spite of this still retains warm continental summers.
Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, with a monarch as head of state, like its neighbour Norway.It has the world's eleventh-highest per capita income and ranks highly in numerous metrics of national performance, including quality of life, health, education, protection of civil liberties, economic competitiveness, equality, prosperity and human development.The name Sweden was loaned from Dutch in the 17th century to refer to Sweden as an emerging great power.As for literacy in Sweden itself, the runic script was in use among the south Scandinavian elite by at least the 2nd century AD, but all that has come down to the present from the Roman Period is curt inscriptions on artefacts, mainly of male names, demonstrating that the people of south Scandinavia spoke Proto-Norse at the time, a language ancestral to Swedish and other North Germanic languages.In the 6th century Jordanes names two tribes living in Scandza, both of which are now considered to be synonymous with the Swedes: the Suetidi and Suehans.It is also a member of the United Nations, the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe, the World Trade Organization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).