Industrialization of Sweden

Industrialization of Sweden

The industrialization of Sweden began in earnest after 1870. By the late 19th century, the first multinational companies based on advanced technology had emerged.

During the early phase of World War I, in which Sweden remained neutral, the country benefited from increasing demand. However, with the German u-boat war, Sweden was cut off from its markets, which lead to a severe economic downturn. Between the world wars, major Swedish exports were steel, ball-bearings, wood pulp, and matches. Prosperity following World War II provided the foundations for the social welfare policies characteristic of modern Sweden.

Foreign policy concerns in the 1930s centered on Soviet and German expansionism, which stimulated abortive efforts at Nordic defence co-operation.


The main line railways were of major importance for the development of the Swedish industry. The two first main line railways were the Southern, stretching from Stockholm to Malmö in the south, and the Western, to Gothenburg in the west. They were finished between 1860-1864. The Northern railway runs along the Baltic coast up to Boden in northern Sweden, and was finished in 1894. The Inland Railway runs through the central parts of northern Sweden, and was built between 1908-1937.

The construction of the early main lines provided a fast and safe connection from the mines in the north to the rest of Sweden. It also facilitated business (and private) travel, that had earlier required horse-driven carriages.

See also

*Politics of Sweden
*Economy of Sweden
*Nordic Council
*Scandinavian defense union
*Foreign relations of Sweden
*History of the European Union

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