Vänern - the biggest lake in Sweden
Vänern is Sweden’s biggest lake, and the third largest lake in all of Europe after Ladoga and Onega, both in Russia. It has an area of 2,181 sq miles and a mean depth of 88 feet. Lake Vänern is located in the provinces of Västergötland, Dalsland, and Värmland. Geologically it was formed after the last ice age, about 10.000 years ago, when the ice melted the entire width of Sweden was covered in water, creating a strait between Kattegat and the Gulf of Bothnia, after which lakes such as Vänern and Vättern (Sweden’s second largest lake) were pursed off. Because of this, there are still species remaining from the ice age not normally encountered in fresh water lakes, such as the amphipod Monoporeia affinis. In 2009, a Viking ship was found on the bottom of Lake Vänern. A story told by Snorri Sturluson in his Prose Edda, might very well refer to the origin of Lake Vänern (rather than Lake Mälaren, as previously thought). According to Sturluson, the Swedish king Gylfi promised a woman named Gefjun as much land as four oxen could plough through in a day and a night, but she used oxen from the land of the giants, and moreover uprooted the land and dragged it into the sea, where it became the island of Zealand (Denmark). Snorra Edda says that “the inlets in the lake correspond to the headlands in Zealand” and this is quite true of Lake Vänern. Vänern is also mentioned in the Old English epic “Beowulf”.

Vänern, with an area of 2,181 sq miles (5,650 km²) is the largest lake in Sweden, the largest lake in the European Union and the third-largest lake in Europe after Ladoga and Onega in Russia

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To compare, Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. The other four Great Lakes are shared by the U.S. and Canada. Its area: 22,394 sq miles (58,000 km²)