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The provinces or landskap were the subdivisions of Sweden until 1634, when they were replaced by the counties of Sweden (län).

The 25 provinces have no administrative function today but remain historical legacies and the means of cultural identification, and their traditions are maintained by present day authorities.

In some cases, the administrative counties correspond almost exactly to the provinces, as is Dalarna to Dalarna County and Gotland, which is a province, county and a municipality. In other cases, they do not, which then enhances the cultural importance of the provinces. In addition, the administrative units are subject to continuous changes – several new counties were for instance created in the 1990s – while the provinces have had their historical borders outlined for centuries.

The provinces of Sweden are still used in colloquial speech and cultural references, while for example the provincial Småländskt glasblåseri, referring to Småland glass-blowing manufactures, is an accepted formulation, the county counterpart Kalmarskt glasblåseri would be regarded as a misnomer. The provinces of Sweden can therefore not be regarded as an anachronistic concept.

Provinces[senisim | edit source]

Provinces of Sweden today.

Sweden is today divided into the three modern "lands" or unofficial regions, Götaland, Svealand, Norrland, based loosely on the historical lands. The terms are primarily used by geologists in their current meaning. In popular culture the division of the country into three lands is often thought of as a television weather report division, as the terms are used primarily on maps describing weather patterns.

Gotlan[senisim | edit source]
Svilan[senisim | edit source]
Nolan[senisim | edit source]

* Latin forms used occasionally in the English and some other non-Swedish languages.

History[senisim | edit source]

Sweden's provinces from 1658 to 1809.

The origins of the provincial divisioning lays in the petty kingdoms that were gradually more and more submitted to the rule of the King of Sweden during the consolidation of Sweden. Until the country law of Magnus Ericson in the 1360s, each of these lands still had its own laws with its own assembly (the thing), and in effect governed themselves. The historical provinces were held as duchies, but newly conquered provinces added to the kingdom either received the status of a duchy or a county, depending on its importance.

Of the conquests made after the separation from the Kalmar Union in 1523 only some were incorporated as provinces. The most permanent acquisitions were from the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, in which the former Danish Scanian lands – the provinces of Skåne, Blekinge and Halland – along with the Norwegian Bohuslän, Jämtland and Härjedalen, became Swedish and gradually integrated. Other foreign territories were ruled as Swedish Dominions under the Swedish monarch, in some cases lasting for two or three centuries. Norway was in personal union with Sweden from 1814 to 1905 but never became an integral part of Sweden.

The division of Västerbotten that took place with the cession of Finland caused the new province of Norrbotten to emerge, eventually being recognised as a province in its own right. It was granted a coat of arms in 1995.

History provinces according to lands[senisim | edit source]

Lands of Sweden and Finland

Sweden was historically divided into the four lands:

Götaland and Svealand consisted before (circa) 1000 AD by petty kingdoms: The main tribe of Götaland was the Geats; the main tribe of Svealand was the Suiones (or the "historical Swedes"). Norrland was the denomination for all the unexplored northern parts. Österland in Finland, was an integral part of Sweden, but was in 1809 annexed by Russia as the Grand Duchy of Finland, and since 1917 the independent country Finland.

Heraldry[senisim | edit source]

At the funeral of King Gustav Vasa (Gustav I) in 1560 some early versions of coats of arms for 23 of the 34 provinces listed below were displayed together for the first time, most of them having been created for that particular occasion. Erik XIV of Sweden modeled the funeral processions for Gustav Vasa on the continental renaissance funerals of influential German dukes, who in turn may have styled their display of power on Charles V's funeral procession, where flags where used to represent each entry in the long list of titles of the dead. Having only three flags as a representation of the entities Svealand, Götaland and Wends mentioned in Vasa's title, "King of Sweden, the Goths and the Wends", would have been diminutive in comparison with the pompous displays of ducal power on the continent, so flags were promptly created to represent each of the provinces. At the funeral of Charles X Gustav more flags were added to the procession, namely the coat of arms for Estonia, Livia, Ingria, Narva, Pommerania, Bremen and Verden, as well as coat of arms for the German cities Kleve, Sponheim, Jülich, Ravensburg and Bayern.

Since most of the historical Swedish provinces did not have set coat of arms at the time of Gustav Vasa's death, they were promptly created and granted. However, some of the coat of arms designed for the occasion were short-lived, such as the beaver picked to represent Medelpad, the wolverine in the coat of arms for Värmland and the rose adorned coat of arms for Småland. Östergötland was for the occasion represented by two coats of arms, one with a Västanstång dragon and one with a Östanstång lion. The current coat of arms for Östergötland, listed below, was created in 1884. The savage representing Lappland was not used in Vasa's procession, but was adopted as a coat of arms at the funeral procession of Charles IX in 1612, where the savage was initially black. The current coat of arms for Lappland, with a red, club-carrying man, was created in 1949. The list of coat of arms appearing below is thus different than the funeral possesion flags, and consists of more recent inventions, many created during a period of romantic nationalism in the 19th century.

After the separation of Sweden and Finland the traditions for respective provincial arms diverged, most noticeably following an order by the Privy Council on January 18, 1884. This established that that all Swedish provinces carry ducal crowns, while the Finnish provincial arms still distinguished between ducal and county dignity. A complication was that the representation of Finnish ducal and county coronets resemble Swedish coronets of a lower order, namely county and baronial. The division of Lapland necessitated a distinction between the Swedish and the Finnish arms.

For more information, see Lands of Sweden and Lands of Finland or articles on respective land.

Götaland[senisim | edit source]

Götaland is today considered to comprise ten historical provinces located within present-day Sweden. Until 1658, Bohuslän was a part of Norway, while Halland, Skåne and Blekinge were part of Denmark. Also, until 1645, Gotland was a part of Denmark. Obviously neither of those five provinces were part of the historic land Götaland, but were added to represent the modern concept.

Bohuslän
Bohuslän

Blekinge
Blekinge

Dalsland
Dalsland

Gotland
Gotland

Halland
Halland

Skåne
Skåne (Scania)

Småland
Småland

Västergötland
Västergötland

Öland
Öland

Östergötland
Östergötland

Svealand[senisim | edit source]

Svealand consists of the following six provinces all within present-day Sweden:

Dalarna
Dalarna

Närke
Närke

Södermanland
Södermanland

Uppland
Uppland

Värmland
Värmland

Västmanland
Västmanland

Norrland[senisim | edit source]

Norrland consists today of nine provinces. The development of the Västerbotten and Norrbotten provinces were a gradual shift during the 19th century, and Swedish Lapland was united with Finnish Lapland as Lapland until 1809.

Counted into the historical Norrland, but located in present day Finland, is the province Österbotten.


Ångermanland Ångermanland

Gästrikland
Gästrikland

Hälsingland
Hälsingland

Härjedalen
Härjedalen

Jämtland
Jämtland

Lappland
Lappland

Medelpad
Medelpad

Norrbotten
Norrbotten

Västerbotten
Västerbotten

Österbotten
Österbotten

Österlanden[senisim | edit source]

In present-day Finland, the Österlanden consists of the following seven provinces:

Åland
Åland

Egentliga Finland
Egentliga Finland
(Finland Proper)

Karelen
Karelen

Nyland
Nyland

Norra Finland
Norra Finland
(Satakunda)

Savolaks
Savolaks

Tavastland
Tavastland
(Tavastia)

See also[senisim | edit source]

Templet:Landskap