Stockholm (Swedish: [ˈstɔ̂kː(h)ɔlm] ) is the capital and most populous city of Sweden as well as the largest urban area in the Nordic countries. Approximately 1 million people live in the municipality, with 2.1 million in the urban area, and 2.4 million in the metropolitan area. The city stretches across fourteen islands where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. Outside the city to the east, and along the coast, is the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago. The area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, and was founded as a city in 1252 by Swedish statesman Birger Jarl. The city serves as the county seat of Stockholm County. Stockholm is the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden. The Stockholm region alone accounts for over a third of the country's GDP, and is among the top 10 regions in Europe by GDP per capita. Considered a global city, it is the largest in Scandinavia and the main centre for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region. The city is home to some of Europe's top ranking universities, such as the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm School of Economics, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm University.