Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, is situated on fourteen islands on the eastern coast of Sweden. Gamla Stan (Old Town), the original center of the city, is located on an island on the border between the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren. The Royal Palace (or Stockholm Palace), situated on the northern part of Old Town since construction in the late 13th century, is the official residence of the Swedish monarch (the actual residence of the king and queen is at Drottningholm Palace, on the island Lovön, approx. 10km west of the city). The original castle (Three Crowns) was destroyed in a fire in 1697. The current castle was erected in the same place, and completed in 1754.
Stockholm is home to some of Europe’s top ranking universities, such as the Stockholm School of Economics, Karolinska Institutet and Royal Institute of Technology, and hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies and banquet at the Stockholm Concert Hall and Stockholm City Hall.
The Vasa Museum is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia. Vasa is the world’s only preserved 17th century ship, consisting of more than 95 percent of its original parts.
The ship sank during its maiden voyage in the middle of Stockholm in 1628 and was salvaged in 1961, 333 years later. The Nationalmuseum has collections of paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints, ranging from the Renaissance until turn of the century 1900.
Stockholm has relatively mild weather compared to other locations at similar latitude. In recent years, winter temperatures have increased. The mean temperature in February is -2oC. The length of the day varies from more than 18 hours around midsummer to only around 6 hours in late December. In mid-February the sun rises at 07:30 and sets at 16:45.
Just outside the city, and along the coast, is the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago. Between Arholma in the north and Landsort in the south there are approximately 24,000 islands and islets. Ytterby is a village on the island of Resarö (Ytterby translates into “outer village”). Ytterby is famous for having the richest source of chemical elemental discovered in the world; the elements Yttrium (Y), Ytterbium (Yb), Erbium (Er) and Terbium (Tb) are all named after Ytterby.