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County of Western Götaland (Sweden)

Västra Götalands län

Last modified: 2006-01-07 by phil nelson
Keywords: gothenburg | gotaland | western gotaland | vastergotland | dalsland | bohuslan | halland | stars: 2 | mullets: 2 | crowns: 3 (yellow) | courtoisie | castle (red) | lion (yellow and black) |
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[flag of Västra Götalands county] illustration by Mello Luchtenberg

See also:


About the flag

The flag is a banner of the arms, which is quartered of the arms of Gothenburg (the county capital; lion with sword and shield) and the provinces Bohuslän (castle), Dalsland (bull) and Västergötland (lion and stars).

These arms were very criticized when they were presented, as they have so many fields - and why should Gothenburg be represented twice (as it is situated in Västergötland) and Lindome not at all (as it is situated in Halland)?

In the county arms, the arms of Dalsland is turned in courtoisie against the centre of the shield - this is not really in accordance with Swedish heraldic tradition, but is made in this case so that it should not be turned the other way than the lion of Gothenburg, which by tradition (and originally probably by a mistake when making a seal) is turned heraldically left.
Elias Granqvist 3 October 2000

According to the then state heraldist Clara Nevéus, the courtoisie turning of the arms of Dalsland was made, so that one should not get the impression, that the animals in the arms are chasing eachother. (Source: Heraldisk Tidsskrift, Bind 9, no. 81, March 2000.) Nevéus also states, that she does not like these county arms. They were adopted in 1997 by the organisation committee for the new county, against the advise of the state heraldist (the county was officially created on 1 January 1998, by merging of three earlier counties: the County of Gothenburg and Bohus, the County of Älvsborg and the County of Skaraborg).
Elias Granqvist, 8 October 2000

Courtoisie of fields in the same arms is not an unknown practice in Germany, whereas in Sweden it has never been seen until the adoption of the arms of the County of Western Gotaland in 1997. For courtoisie in the same shield in German arms, see e.g. the arms of Schleswig-Holstein and the arms of North Rhine-Westphalia, but it is not so in the arms of e.g. Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania.
Elias Granqvist, 31 October 2000


Official Blazon in Swedish

"Kvadrerad sköld, i första fältet Göteborgs vapen, i andra fältet Bohusläns vapen, i tredje fältet Dalslands vapen i courtoisie (med vapendjurets huvud vänt mot sköldens mittlinje), i fjärde fältet Västergötlands vapen."

(Gothenburg (Göteborg): "I blått fält tre av vågskuror bildade ginbalkar av silver, överlagda med ett vänstervänt, gyllene, med sluten krona krönt lejon med svansen kluven och tunga, tänder och klor röda, svingande med högra framtassen ett gyllene svärd och hållande i den vänstra en blå sköld, vari tre gyllene kronor, ordnade två och en";
Bohuslän: "I fält av silver en krenelerad röd fästning, försedd med ett krenelerat rött torn och två portar av guld med svarta gångjärn och lås samt åtföljd till höger av ett blått svärd och till vänster av ett mot fästningen upprest blått lejon med tunga, tänder och klor av guld";
Dalsland: "I fält av silver en gående röd tjur med beväpning av guld, därest dylik skall komma till användning";
Västergötland: "I av svart och guld ginstyckat fält ett lejon av motsatta tinkturer med röd beväring, därest dylik skall komma till användning, i övre vänstra och i nedre hörnet av fältets svarta del åtföljt av en stjärna av silver.")

Blazon in English

Quartered, I. Azure three bends wavy Argent overall a Lion rampant sinister double tailed and crowned Or langued and armed Gules holding in sinister a shield Azure three crowns Or and in dexter a sword of the same; II. Argent, a Castle embattled Gules with one embattled Tower of the same and two doors Or hinged Sable between a Sword point upwards and Lion rampant holding the Tower both Azure langued and armed Or; III. Argent, an Ox passant to sinister armed and hoofed Or; IV. per bend sinister Sable and Or, a Lion rampant counterchanged langued and armed Gules between two Mullets Argent in the Sable field.
English blazon by Željko Heimer, 5 October 2000

Unofficial flag

[flag of Västra Götalands county] illustration by Olivier Touzeau, 1 September 2005

In Mariestad, I saw a blue flag (ratio ~5:4 as far as I could see) with the coat-of-arms of Västra Götaland. I saw it near the tourism office.
Olivier Touzeau, 1 September 2005

The official flag would be a banner of arms, but then sometimes the politicians in some Swedish county or municipality get the idea to add the crown on top of the shield in the flag or something like that, and then they create a flag with the full arms on it for no good reason at all. The flag can thus very well be officially sanctioned, but it should not be considered to be the official flag.
Elias Granqvist, 4 September 2005

Historical Information

See also:

Former counties in western Gotaland

Former County of Gothenburg and Bohus (Göteborgs och Bohus län)

The county of Gothenburg and Bohus had arms and flag quartered of the arms of the City of Gothenburg (I and IV) and Bohuslän (II and III), granted on 25 May 1962. This county consisted of Bohuslän, the short coastline of Västergötland (where Gothenburg is situated) and a small part of Halland. It was one of the three counties which was merged to create the county of Western Gotaland on 1 January 1998.
Elias Granqvist, 18 February 2001

Images of the county arms (outside links):

Former County of Skaraborg (Skaraborgs län)

The county of Skaraborg bore the same arms as Västergötland and thus the same flag, granted on 5 September 1942. This county covered northeast Västergötland and a small part of Värmland. It was one of the three counties which was merged to create the county of Western Gotaland on 1 January 1998.
Elias Granqvist, 18 February 2001

Former County of Älvsborg (Älvsborgs län)

The county of Älvsborg had arms and flag quartered of the arms of Västergötland (I and IV) and Dalsland (II and III), granted on 5 September 1942. It was formed by Dalsland and the southwestern part of Västergötland. It was one of the three counties which was merged to create the county of Western Gotaland on 1 January 1998.
Elias Granqvist, 18 February 2001

Images of the county arms (outside links):

Municipalities (Kommuner)

The following communes are in this county (lan). The codes following the name are assigned by Sweden for statistical purposes.

  • Ale (1440)
  • Alingsås (1489)
  • Bengtsfors (1460)
  • Bollebygd (1443)
  • Borås (1490v
  • Dals-Ed (1438)
  • Essunga (1445)
  • Falköping (1499)
  • Färgelanda (1439)
  • Göteborg (1480)
  • Götene (1471)
  • Grästorp (1444)
  • Gullspång (1447)
  • Härryda (1401)
  • Herrljunga (1466)
  • Hjo (1497)
  • Karlsborg (1446)
  • Kungälv (1482)
  • Lerum (1441)
  • Lidköping (1494)
  • Lilla Edet (1462)
  • Lysekil (1484)
  • Mariestad (1493)
  • Mark (1463)
  • Mellerud (1461)
  • Mölndal (1481)
  • Munkedal (1430)
  • Orust (1421)
  • Partille (1402)
  • Skara (1495)
  • Skövde (1496)
  • Sotenäs (1427)
  • Stenungsund (1415)
  • Strömstad (1486)
  • Svenljunga (1465)
  • Tanum (1435)
  • Tibro (1472)
  • Tidaholm (1498)
  • Tjörn (1419)
  • Töreboda (1473)
  • Tranemo (1452)
  • Trollhättan (1488)
  • Uddevalla (1485)
  • Ulricehamn (1491)
  • Vänersborg (1487)
  • Vara (1470)
  • Vårgårda (1442)
  • Åmål (1492)
  • Öckerö (1407)