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Regional flags (Sweden)

Last modified: 2006-02-05 by phil nelson
Keywords: sweden | heraldry | regional flags | municipal flags | banner of arms |
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A general note on regional flags

All Swedish municipalities, provinces (landskap) and counties (län) have official flags derived directly from their arms, if they have arms (which most of them have). The flag is a square representation of the shield of the arms.

(Aside from this, many regions and provinces have their own, unofficial flags. Municipalities are unfortunately not always aware of what their official flag should look like, and are often using other flags, often as a white flag with the arms upon.)
Elias Granqvist 13 Aug 1999

The subdivisions of Sweden

Landskap (Historical Provinces)

Landskap is most often translated as province. This is the old subdivision of Sweden, dating back to the Middle Ages, when they actually (with a modern term) could be seen as federal states in a united kingdom which was Sweden. The provinces has since at least the 17th Century no political meaning what so ever, but they are still the main way to describe from where in Sweden you are (there are only a few exceptions to this rule).

There are 24 provinces in Sweden, each with its own coat of arms. The official flags for each province is a square banner of the arms. The arms can be crowned with a ducal crown. (Princes and princesses of Sweden who can inherit the Swedish throne are titular duke or duchess of one or two provinces.)
Elias Granqvist, 03 July 2003

Flags of Historical Provinces (landskap)

Län (County)

Län is usually translated as county. The counties are the subdivision of the state, which have led to that the county arms can be crowned with a royal crown when they represent the county board (länsstyrelsen), the highest body of the county, which is led by a landshövding ("land chief" or governor) appointed by the government.

Every county in Sweden also has arms, and their official flags are banners of their arms.

(As Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809, Finland has the same type of subdivisions in both landskap and län.)
Elias Granqvist, 03 July 2003

Län (Counties)

Recent changes affecting Swedish counties:

Elias Granqvist, 03 July 2003


Further, Sweden has municipalities. The ordinary municipality is called kommun (usually translated as commune). Before the beginning of the 1970's, there were three types of municipalities in Sweden, stad (pl. städer; = town or city), köping (often translated as "borough") and landskommun ("country commune"), but now there is only one type, even if some of the municipalities previously known as towns are using the term town about themselves. The territory of a municipality never crosses the border of a county.

These municipalities, the communes, are "primary municipalities". There are a couple of them in most counties. There are also "secondary municipalities" (landsting). The landsting usually do not have arms or flags, they only use logotypes. Just as in other municipalities, the highest political body in a landsting is elected in direct popular elections. A landsting has in most cases exactly the same borders as a county.
Elias Granqvist, 03 July 2003

Flags of municipalities (kommuner)


Now we have another type of subdivision in Sweden, the region. The name is influenced by regions set up in other member states of the European Union. In Sweden, a region has de facto come to be the same thing as a landsting but with some more questions to decide about, which have before been decided by the county. There are two such regions, one in each of the two new counties set up in the 1990's by merging a couple of older counties - i.e. there is one region in Scania and one in Western Gotaland.
Elias Granqvist, 03 July 2003

Other areas

Sweden is traditionally split into Götaland, Svealand and Norrland. I don't know if this split has any official significance at all. I have heard it used in the weather forecast, so it seems to be at least semi-recognized, but I don't think the three parts have flags.
Ole Andersen, 23 September 2000

They don't have flags, at least not official ones, but there has been some unofficial flags presented for Norrland and for (parts of) Götaland.

The borders are as between provinces: Scania (Skåne), Blekinge, Halland, Småland, Västergötland, Östergötland, Gotland, Öland, Dalsland and Bohuslän make up Götaland; Värmland, Närke, Västmanland, Dalecarlia (Dalarna), Södermanland and Upland (Uppland) make up Svealand; Gästrikland, Hälsingland, Härjedalen, Medelpad, Jamtland (Jämtland), Ångermanland, West Bothnia (Västerbotten), North Bothnia (Norrbotten, traditionally really a part of West Bothnia) and Lappland make up Norrland.

The split up in these three parts of Sweden has no official significance, but there are some official authorities which has names derived from these names as they are in charge for something in areas approximately corresponding to these borders. Among the courts of law (second instance, i.e. between local courts and the Supreme Court (Högsta Domstolen)) we have Svea Hovrätt, Göta Hovrätt, Hovrätten över Övre Norrland (Upper (i.e. North) Norrland) and Hovrätten över Nedre Norrland (Lower (= South) Norrland) (and two hovrätter which have names derived from other geographical places). The concept of Svealand, Götaland and Norrland is, to put it short, used when it is practical to use it, as e.g. in weather forecasts.
Elias Granqvist, 24 September 2000

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