So we have just started to explore the amazing country that is Sweden and there are still a lot of places to see. We will continue to write small posts about the towns and localities that we encounter during our travels. Here we sort them according to the historical provinces that they belong to. In these days of uncertainty regarding how regions in Sweden should look like, one thing is for sure – the historical provinces are still important for the culture in each of the towns that we have visited. However, they do not have any political or administrative importance. We welcome you to join us in exploring Sweden.
Exploring Sweden: Halland
Halland is one of four provinces in Sweden that makes out the Swedish west coast. It borders Skåne in the south, Småland in the west and Västra Götaland in the north. To the west is Kattegat, a sea area separating the region from Denmark. Halland once belonged to Denmark, but was transferred to Sweden in 1645 and was eventually ceded in 1658 with the Treaty of Roskilde.
Halland has a population of around 304.000 inhabitants and is today mostly covered by Halland County. Small parts are located in what is today the counties of Västra Götaland and Skåne.
Exploring Sweden: Härjedalen
Exploring Sweden: Närke
Närke is a province situated in the central part of the southern half of Sweden. In English it is sometimes referred to as Nerike (an archaic spelling of the province) and Nericia (the Latin name). The province is the home of around 205.000 inhabitants and is nowadays part of the counties of Örebro, Västmanland and Södermanland. Its largest city is Örebro. The symbolic flower of the province is the primula veris, commonly known as cowslip, and the symbolic animal is the hazel dormouse.
Närke has several places of interest, read more about one fascinating city:
Exploring Sweden: Skåne
The southernmost province in Sweden is famous for its dialect. Skåne has around 1.305.000 inhabitants and it also has the third largest city of Sweden within its borders. In in English the area goes by the name Scania. The whole province is nowadays a part of the County of Skåne. The province has the leucanthemum vulgare, commonly know as ox-eye daisy as its flower and its animal is the red deer.
Exploring Sweden: Småland
Småland, the small lands, lies in south-eastern Sweden. Three counties make up the province: Jönköping, Kalmar and Kronoberg. The first people arrived in the area at least by 6000 BC. Back in the day Småland was the southernmost part of Sweden, and Kalmar – on the Baltic Sea coast – was one of the most important cities in the country. In modern times the largest city is Jönköping, on the southern tip of lake Vättern.
IKEA has its roots in Småland. Ingvar Kamprad started his business in the town Älmhult in 1943. The region is often present in Astrid Lindgren’s world-famous stories for children – she was born in Vimmerby, Kalmar County. Another famous Swede, Carl Linnaeus, also came from Småland. Perhaps that is the reason why linnaea (twinflower) is the province’s flower. The animal that represents Småland is the otter.
Exploring Sweden: Södermanland
Södermanland is a province that stretches along the eastern shore of Sweden. Its name – meaning “Southern man land” refers to its people who live south of lake Mälaren. The province includes the southern half of the country’s capital Stockholm. In total the population is around 1.300.000. The province is famous for its history; the earliest settlements date back to the early stone-age, and around 300 runestones remain from the Viking Age. Before the end of the 14th century, six cities had received an official city status. These places can still be visited today and they are Södertälje, Nyköping, Stockholm, Strängnäs,Torshälla, and Trosa.
The flower that symbolizes the province is the nymphaea alba, also known as the white water-lily. The animal of the province is the osprey.
Make sure to read about the following towns:
- Gnesta >>
- Malmköping >>
- Mariefred >>
- Nyköping >>
- Sparreholm >>
- Strängnäs >>
- Södertälje >>
- Trosa >>
- Vagnhärad >>
Exploring Sweden: Uppland
Uppland, coming from that it is the land north of lake Mälaren. The province includes the northern part of the Capital Stockholm where most of the 1.433.000 inhabitants live. The province is mostly split between the counties of Uppsala and Stockholm, but smaller parts are also found within the borders of the counties of Västmanland, Södermanland and Gävleborg.
The animal that represents Uppland is the White-tailed eagle and the flower is the Leper lily.
Exploring Sweden: Värmland
Exploring Sweden: Västergötland
Västergötland or West Gothland is a province in the south-western part of Sweden. It has around 1.310.000 inhabitants and Sweden’s second largest city is within its borders.
The flower of the province is the calluna and the animal is Eurasian crane.
There is more to Västergötland than only Göteborg (Gothenburg). Some of the most famous attractions include the Läckö Castle on the shores of lake Vänern, the huge Karlsborg Fortess by lake Vättern, and Skara – one of the oldest towns in Sweden.
Exploring Sweden: Västmanland
Västmanland is another province situated in the center of the country. It has approximately 305.000 inhabitants and it today has parts within the counties of Västmanland, Örebro and Dalarna. The name means “Western man land” and it refers to the people west of Uppland. The oldest town, Västerås, was formed around 990. Next up was Arboga, being chartered in the 12th century.
The flower of Västmanland is the viscum album, also known as the mistletoe. The animal is the roe deer.
Click on the links below to find out more about different towns in Västmanland.
Exploring Sweden: Östergötland
Östergötland, or East Gothland, is situated in south-eastern Sweden along the shores of the Baltic Sea. The province have around 440.000 inhabitants and the whole province is today a part of the county of Östergötland.
The area boasts with a long and interesting history. One of its most famous citizens might well have been the viking Beowulf, the hero of the Geats. The region kept its own laws, the Östgötalagen, into the Middle Ages. It was also an important religious center after Christianity came to Sweden. The most important cities in modern times arr Linköping and Norrköping.
The flower of Östergötland is the centaurea cyanus, also known as cornflower, while the animal is the mute swan.
The following places are well worth a visit the next time you are in Östergötland: