Stockholm is the capital of Sweden. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden and Scandinavia, with 897,700 people living in the municipality, 1,372,565 in the urban area, and a total population of 2,163,042 in the metropolitan area, accounting for 22% of the Swedish population in 2013. Stockholm is an important global city, placed in the "alpha-" category by the GaWC, and ranked 27th in the world, 12th in Europe and first in Scandinavia by the Global Cities Index in 2012. In 2013, Stockholm was named the 8th most competitive city in the world by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Founded in c. 1250, possibly as early as 1187, Stockholm has long been one of Sweden's cultural, media, political, and economic centres. Its strategic location spread across 14 islands on the coast in the south-east of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago, has been historically important. The city is known for its beauty, its buildings and architecture, its abundant clean and open water, and its many parks.