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Stockholm city profile | city data
  • Stockholm is one of the five fastest growing cities in Europe. Stockholm has a growing gaming and music sector, it is second only to the United States in the number of unicorn companies (start-up companies with $1 billion turnover) per capita.
  • Over 30% of its residents come from a foreign background. Stockholm has introduced its Vision 2040 programme that aims to provide democratic access to high quality culture, with a focus on young people and children.
  • Stockholm has introduced new housing development schemes that combat growth challenges and ensure the demand for new housing will be met in an ethical and culturally sustainable way.

City data: Key facts

  • Geographical area: 6,526 sq. km
  • Total population: 2,308,143
  • GDP (PPP) million: US$ 155,526

Founded in the 13th century, Stockholm has evolved from a small medieval town into an increasingly international cultural destination. Much of this transformation took place in the 20th century, when many industries shifted into more high-tech production; yet Stockholm continues to be a pioneer of culture with over 80 museums alongside its growing start-up culture. Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, founded in 1956, is one of the city’s most significant contributions to global culture. It was a patron of modern and pop artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Andy Warhol, and helped to bring the US movement to Europe by hosting Warhol`s first museum retrospective in Europe in 1968. Other cultural attractions include Fotografiska, an international meeting place where everything revolves around photography. It is one of Stockholm’s most popular attractions and annually attracts over 500,000 visitors. The Vasa Museum is home to the world’s only preserved 17th century ship and is the most visited museum in Scandinavia.

Stockholm is one of the five fastest growing cities in Europe. Today it has nearly one million residents, a figure which grows to 2.3 million across its entire metropolitan area, making it the largest of all Nordic cities. This area is home to more workers in the creative and cultural sector than any other European region, and it has a growing gaming and music sector, both important export industries. Stockholm is second only to the United States in the number of unicorn companies (start-up companies with $1 billion turnover) per capita. Among these, the culture sector is represented within music tech by Spotify, and several gaming giants including King and Mojang.

Over 30% of its residents come from a foreign background, either born overseas or with both parents born overseas. A large number of refugees have also arrived in Stockholm in recent years. The city is now working to welcome and integrate these new arrivals and to decrease social segregation. To do this, Stockholm has introduced its Vision 2040 programme that aims to provide democratic access to high quality culture, with a focus on young people and children. Increasing cultural participation is a key objective. Contributing to this are major investments in libraries and adult education organisations; free park theatre shows in summer; as well as City-funded cultural and community centres across Stockholm. The city is also prioritising its international growth: Stockholm’s Event Strategy sets out its ambition to be one of Europe’s leading events destinations by 2030, particularly around sports and entertainment. To this end, two multipurpose stadiums with retractable roofs have been built in the past decade, as well as Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, with a capacity of 3,000. New music festivals contribute to the city’s growing appeal as a popular summer destination: most notably, the Chicago-based Lollapalooza will be introduced to Stockholm in 2019. The second edition of the me Convention, a collaboration between SXSW and Mercedes Benz, took place in Stockholm in September 2018.

To ensure the future development of Stockholm as a global events hub does not detract from the quality of culture provided to its residents, the city is also introducing long term cultural infrastructure projects. Renovations of popular cultural institutions including Stockholm City Museum and the Liljevalchs art gallery within Royal National City Park are some notable examples of improvements to pre-existing facilities. New developments include a former gasworks site in the Stockholm Royal Seaport, which is planned to be transformed into a new cultural quarter including 10,000 homes. One of the industrial gas holders is planned to be turned into a centre for the performing arts.

Stockholm today has entered a period of economic dynamism and unprecedented growth. It is now a major centre for the creative and cultural sector in Europe. Its challenge for the future is to manage its growth to retain its social cohesion and high quality of life.