Last modified: 2022-10-08 by christopher oehler
Keywords: sweden | heraldry | regional flags | banner of arms |
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All Swedish municipalities, provinces (landskap) and counties (län) have
official flags derived directly from their arms, in the form of banners-of-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 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 August 1999
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.
Elias Granqvist, 03 July 2003
Note: Since Flags of the World is written in English, the Swedish counties are also ordered according to the English alphabet here, thus disregarding the Swedish order of having å, ä and ö as the last three letters of the alphabet. Endonyms (local names) are set within brackets.
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 have at least since the 17th Century had 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.)
(As Finland was a part of Sweden until 1809, Finland had the same type of subdivisions in both landskap and län for many years (until 2009).)
Elias Granqvist, 03 July 2003 and 18 January 2010
|Official flag||Swedish name||Other flags and symbols||Situated in|
|Bohuslän||Bohuslän||Bohuslän, unofficial flags and flag proposals||Götaland|
|Dalecarlia||Dalarna||Dalecarlia Seal - 15th Century||Svealand|
|Gotland||Gotland||Gotland, unofficial flags and flag proposals||Götaland|
|Hälsingland||Hälsingland||Hälsingland, unofficial flags and flag proposals||Norrland|
|Härjedalen||Härjedalen||Härjedalen, unofficial flags and flag proposals||Norrland|
|Jamtland||Jämtland||Republic of Jamtland (Republiken Jamtland)||Norrland|
|Lapland or Laponia||Lappland||Norrland|
|Öland||Öland||Öland, unofficial flags and flag proposals||Götaland|
|Östergötland||Östergötland||Unofficial flag of Östergötland or Götaland||Götaland|
|Scania||Skåne||Scanian cross flag (for Scania or for Skånelandskapen)||Götaland/Skånelandskapen|
|Småland||Småland||Småland, unofficial flags and flag proposals||Götaland|
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 1990s by merging a couple of older counties - i.e. there
is one region in Scania and one in Western Gotaland.
Elias Granqvist, 3 July 2003
Editor's note: These regions, as are the landsting, are legally a form of municipality, so flags for them will be presented at the page for Municipal flags (Sweden).
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 have 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 Uppland (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
Further, Sweden has municipalities. The ordinary municipality is
called kommun. Before
the beginning of the 1970s, there were three types of municipalities in
Sweden, stad (pl. städer; =
town or city), köping and landskommun ("country
municipality"), 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
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
For the flags of Swedish municipalities, see Municipal Flags (Sweden).