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Gothenburg is the second-largest city in Sweden and the fifth-largest in the Nordic countries. Situated by the Kattegat, on the west coast of Sweden, the city proper has a population of 543,005, with 549,839 in the urban area and 973,261 inhabitants in the metropolitan area.

The city was named after the Geats (Swedish: Götar varied: Geatas, Gautar, Goths, Gotar, Gøtar, Götar, Gothenborg), the inhabitants of Gothia, now southern Sweden—i.e. "Geat Castle". The river on which the city sits is the Göta älv or Gothia River. Göta borg "Gothia Fortress" is the fort on the Göta Älv, built to protect the port.

In Dutch, Scots, and English, all being languages with a long history of being spoken in this trade and maritime-oriented city, the name Gothenburg is used for the city. The French form of the city name is Gothembourg, but in French texts, the Swedish name Göteborg is more frequent. "Gottenburg" can also be seen in some older English texts. These traditional forms are now sometimes replaced with the use of the Swedish Göteborg, for example by The Göteborg Opera and the Göteborg Ballet. However, Göteborgs universitet, previously designated as the Göteborg University in English, changed its name to the University of Gothenburg in 2008. The Gothenburg municipality has also reverted to the use of the English name in international contexts. Other old variations in Swedish are Götheborgh, and the more common Götheborg. One English text, written in the late 15th century, states the name as "Guthaeborg".

In 2009, the city council launched a new logotype for Gothenburg. Since the name "Göteborg" contains the Swedish letter "ö" the idea was to make the name more international and up to date by "turning" the "ö" sideways. As of 2015, the name is spelled "Go:teborg" on a large number of signs in the city.