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Lake Mälaren (About this sound Swedish pronunciation ) (historically occasionally referred to as Lake Malar in English) is the third-largest lake in Sweden, after Lakes Vänern and Vättern. Its area is 1,140 km² and its greatest depth is 64 m. Mälaren spans 120 kilometers from east to west. The lake drains, from southwest to northeast, into the Baltic Sea through Södertälje kanal, Hammarbyslussen, Karl Johanslussen and Norrström. The easternmost bay of Mälaren, in central Stockholm, is called Riddarfjärden. The lake is located in Svealand and bounded by the provinces of Uppland, Södermanland, Närke, and Västmanland. The two largest islands in Mälaren are Selaön (91 km²) and Svartsjölandet (79 km²).

The Viking age settlements Birka on the island of Björkö and Hovgården on the neighbouring island Adelsö have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, as has Drottningholm Palace on the island of Lovön.



The etymological origin of the name Mälaren stems from the Old Norse word mælir appearing in historical records in the 1320s and meaning gravel. The lake was previously known as Løgrinn, which is Old Norse for "The Lake", from Old Norse lögr, meaning a lake or liquid. This is etymologically similar to the aged verb löga, "to bathe", arguably related to lördag, "Saturday". [1][2]

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