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Mälaren (mĕ´lärən), lake, c.440 sq mi (1,140 sq km), E central Sweden. Third largest of the Swedish lakes, it extends c.70 mi (110 km) W from Stockholm, which is situated on the strait connecting the lake with the Baltic Sea. The lake's scenic shores and more than 1,000 islands have many villas and historic castles and ruins, notably Skokloster and Gripsholm. There are many important small industrial towns on the lake.