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Provinces of Sweden

The Provinces or Landskap were the subdivision of Sweden until 1634, when they were replaced by Counties in a reform, led by Axel Oxenstierna, that still remains in force in Sweden Proper. The county reform also survived until 1997 in Finland, despite the separation from Sweden in 1809. The provinces have no administrative function today but remain as a historical legacy and as a source of cultural identification. Even if the provinces are defunct as entities their traditions are still maintained by present day authorities.



The origin of the division into provinces were the smaller separate kingdoms that eventually united and formed the unified Sweden. Even after being united under a Swedish monarch each of these lands had its own law and Ting, a combined political and judicial assembly. The constituent provinces were held as duchies, but as the kingdom expanded with newly conquered provinces depending on their importance they received a status of duchy or county.

Of the conquests made after separation from the Kalmar Union in 1523 only some were incorporated as provinces. Most significantly at the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, where the former Danish provinces of Scania, Blechingia, Hallandia and Bahusia, with the Norwegian provinces of Jemtia and Herdalia became Swedish and eventually fully integrated. Other than that conquered territories were ruled as separate Dominions under the Swedish monarch, which in some cases lasted for two or even three centuries. Norway was in personal union with Sweden for during the 19th century but never an integral part of Sweden.

The division of Västerbotten that took place when ceding Finland inavertly caused the new province of Norrbotten to emerge and eventually it came to be recognised as a province in its own right. It was granted a coat of arms in 1995.


At the funeral of King Gustav Vasa(Gustav I) in 1560 the coats of arms for the provinces were displayed togeather for the first time and several of them had been granted for that particular occasion. After the separation of Sweden and Finland the traditions for respective provincial arms diverged. Most noticeably in that all Swedish provinces carry dukal crowns, following an order by the Privy Council on January 18, 1884, while the Finnish provincial arms still distinguish between dukal and countal dignity. A complication is also that the representation of Finnish dukal and countal coronets resemble Swedish coronets of a lower order, namely countal and baronal. The division of Laponia necessitated a distinction between the Swedish and the Finnish arms.


Götaland consists of the following ten provinces all within present day Sweden:

Bahusia Blechingia Dalia Dalia Hallandia
Scania Smalandia Oelandia Ostrogothia Westrogothia


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

Dalecarlia Nericia Sudermannia
Uplandia Wermelandia Westmannia


Norrland consists of the following nine provinces, out of which Westrobothnia and Lapponia are divided between present day Sweden and present day Finland, and Ostrobothnia which is wholly located within present day Finland:

Angermannia Gestricia Helsingia Herdalia Jemtia
Lapponia Medelpadia Ostrobothnia Westrobothnia


Österlanden consists of the following seven provinces all within present day Finland:

Alandia Finland Proper Karelia Nylandia
Satakunda Savonia Tavastia

See also: Dominions of Sweden, Historical provinces of Finland, Counties of Sweden

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45