Counties of Sweden

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Georg Ebner discovered an error in the Population history table. The error was in my source. I've corrected it in a plausible way.

Update 12 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes (formerly FIPS 10-4) is dated 2013-06-30. It changes all of the county names to informal ones. For example, it changes Hallands Län to plain Halland. The new names are the same as in the table below.

The NUTS code scheme for Sweden has been revised several times. In ~2001, the level-2 codes for two regions were changed for no apparent reason. In 2003, the level-3 code for Stockholms län was changed. There was another revision in ~2008, affecting all counties. The latest version is shown in the tables below.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-3 is dated 2011-12-15. For Sweden, the sort order of county names is corrected, and the status of the divisions is changed from provinces to counties (or départements in French).

International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on December 15, 1998. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For Sweden, the draft standard showed 24 counties. The final standard shows 21 counties. The difference is due to actual changes in Sweden's administrative geography.

Sweden has two sets of county codes. Länskoder are two-digit codes; länsbokstäver are one- or two-letter codes. The alphabetic codes are more familiar to the typical Swede. The numeric codes are used in governmental work. In government reports, for example, the counties may be sorted by numeric code. Both versions of ISO 3166-2 show both sets of codes, but the draft standard represents the numeric codes as official. The alphabetic codes are given as background information. The final standard reverses the positions of the two sets of codes. It states, however, that the numeric codes may eventually supplant the alphabetic ones.

Country overview: 

Short nameSWEDEN
ISO codeSE
LanguageSwedish (sv)
Time zone+1~


Sweden was sovereign over Norway during most of the 19th century. The united kingdom was called Sweden and Norway. Norway became separate on 1905-06-07.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Sverige
  2. Dutch: Zweden, Koninkrijk Zweden (formal)
  3. English: Kingdom of Sweden (formal)
  4. Finnish: Ruotsi
  5. French: Suède f
  6. German: Schweden n
  7. Icelandic: Svíþjóð
  8. Italian: Svezia f
  9. Norwegian: Sverige, Kongeriket Sverige (formal)
  10. Portuguese: Suécia, Reino m da Suécia f (formal)
  11. Russian: Королевство Швеция (formal)
  12. Spanish: Suecia, Reino m de Suecia f (formal)
  13. Swedish: Sverige, Konungariket Sverige (formal)
  14. Turkish: İsveç Krallığı (formal)

Origin of name: 

from ethnic name variously transcribed Suethi, Svear, etc.

Primary subdivisions: 

Sweden is divided into 21 län (counties).

Blekinge SE.BLK SW0210SE221151,436 3,0551,180KarlskronaBlekinge län
Dalarna SE.KOW SW1020SE312275,711 30,40411,739FalunDalarnes län
Gävleborg SE.GVX SW0321SE313275,653 19,7567,628GävleGävleborgs län
Gotland SE.GTI SW0509SE21457,297 3,1841,229VisbyGotlands län
Halland SE.HAN SW0613SE231288,859 5,7202,208HalmstadHallands län
Jämtland SE.JAZ SW0723SE322127,020 54,10020,888ÖstersundJämtlands län
Jönköping SE.JOF SW0806SE211331,539 11,2534,345JönköpingJönköpings län
Kalmar SE.KAH SW0908SE213233,776 11,6944,515KalmarKalmar län
Kronoberg SE.KRG SW1207SE212179,635 9,4293,641VäxjöKronobergs län
Norrbotten SE.NBBDSW1425SE332251,886 106,01240,931LuleåNorrbottens län
Örebro SE.ORT SW1518SE124275,030 9,3433,607ÖrebroÖrebro län
Östergötland SE.OGE SW1605SE123417,966 11,6464,497LinköpingÖstergötlands län
Skåne SE.SNM SW2712SE2241,184,50011,3694,389MalmöSkåne län
Södermanland SE.SDD SW1804SE122263,099 6,6072,551NyköpingSödermanlands län
Stockholm SE.STABSW2601SE1101,918,1046,7892,621StockholmStockholms län
Uppsala SE.UPC SW2103SE121319,925 7,2062,782UppsalaUppsala län
Värmland SE.VRS SW2217SE311273,489 19,3887,486KarlstadVärmlands län
Västerbotten SE.VBACSW2324SE331257,581 59,28422,890UmeåVästerbottens län
Västernorrland SE.VNY SW2422SE321243,978 23,1078,922HärnösandVästernorrlands län
Västmanland SE.VMU SW2519SE125248,489 6,6142,554VästeråsVästmanlands län
Västra GötalandSE.VGO SW2814SE2321,538,28425,3899,803GöteborgVästra Götalands län
21 counties9,113,257441,370170,414
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2; identical to länsbokstäver.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Lk: Länskoder (county codes). The counties are often sorted by länskod.
  • NUTS: Level-3 NUTS code (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics).
  • Population: 2006-12-31, based on population registers
  • Area: Source [5].
  • Swedish: Names of counties in Swedish


The NUTS code system also defines groupings of counties. All the counties whose NUTS codes begin with the same four characters (for example, SE31-) can be designated as a group using those four characters. These areas have no administrative significance, but are used for statistical summaries. Here are the descriptions of the eight level-two NUTS regions of Sweden.

NUTSEnglish descriptionSwedish
SE11Stockholm city and countyStockholm
SE12East Central SwedenÖstra Mellansverige
SE21Småland with IslandsSmåland med Öarna
SE22South SwedenSydsverige
SE23West SwedenVästsverige
SE31North Central SwedenNorra Mellansverige
SE32Central NorrlandMellersta Norrland
SE33Upper NorrlandÖvre Norrland


Remove the last digit of these codes to get a NUTS-1 region code, where SE1 represents Eastern Sweden, SE2 is Southern Sweden, and SE3 is Northern Sweden.

Postal codes: 

Sweden uses five-digit postal codes, sometimes written with a space between the third and fourth digits. Swedish addresses can be identified by prefixing the postal codes with "SE-".

Further subdivisions:

See the Municipalities of Sweden page.

The counties are divided into kommuner (municipalities; 288 in 1998), which are further subdivided into församlingar (parishes). Sweden has a hierarchical system of numerical codes for these entities. The first two digits are a länskod, the first four are a kommunkod, and all six digits are a församlingskod.

There are also 25 traditional divisions called landskap (provinces). The counties and the provinces overlap, but rarely coincide. There are also three traditional regions: Götaland, Norrland, and Svealand, each consisting of several provinces.

Territorial extent: 

All of the counties except Gotland are predominantly on the Scandinavian mainland.

  1. Gotland consists of the island of Gotland and its smaller neighbors, such as Fårö and Gotska Sandön. Gotland is the only county that consists of a single municipality.
  2. Jönköping includes Visingsö in Lake Vättern.
  3. Kalmar includes Öland.
  4. Scania includes Ven island in Øresund sound.
  5. Stockholm includes many islands, in both the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren. The Baltic islands extend from Torö and Mörkö in the south to Gräsö in the north. The lake islands include Svartsjölandet, Munsö, and Adelsö.
  6. Västerbotten includes Ängesön and Holmön.
  7. Västra Götaland includes Torsö, Källandsö, and Djurö in Lake Vänern.

The UN LOCODE page  for Sweden lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Älvsborg: Old Swedish Eluesborg, from älv: river, ö: mouth, borg: fort
  2. Botten (Bothnia): Swedish botten: bottom
  3. Gotland: Land of the Goths
  4. Jämtland: Land of Jämte (ethnic name)

Change history: 

  1. 1637: Västerbotten county split from Västernorrland.
  2. 1645: Sweden acquired Gotland, Halland, and Jämtland from Denmark by the Peace of Brömsebro.
  3. 1658: Sweden acquired Bohus county, and a guvernement which corresponds to present-day Blekinge and Scåne, from Denmark by the Peace of Roskilde.
  4. 1680: Göteborg and Bohus county formed by merging Bohus county and Göteborg city; Kronoberg county split from Småland.
  5. 1683: Kalmar county split from a guvernement.
  6. 1687: Jönköping county split from Kronoberg.
  7. 1714: Blekinge county split from Kalmar; Stockholm county formed from parts of Nyköping and Uppsala; the remainder of Nyköping renamed Södermanland.
  8. 1719: Halland county split from a guvernement.
  9. 1762: Gävleborg county split from Västernorrland.
  10. 1779: Närkes och Värmlands län (Närke and Värmland county) split into Örebro and Värmland.
  11. 1809: Kristianstad and Malmöhus counties split from a guvernement.
  12. 1810: Jämtland county formed from parts of Gävleborg and Västernorrland; Norrbotten county split from Västerbotten.
  13. 1819: Öland county split from Kalmar.
  14. 1825: Öland county merged with Kalmar again.
  15. 1968-01: Stockholm City merged with Stockholm county. Before the change, Stockholm City had länskod 01, länsbokstav A, FIPS code SW20; Stockholm county had 02, B, and SW19, respectively. Stockholm was the capital of both. This was the first change in the number or identity of primary administrative divisions of Sweden since 1825.
  16. 1995-01-01: Sweden joined the European Union.
  17. 1997-01-01: Kristianstad (ISO=11, lb=L, FIPS=SW11, capital=Kristianstad) and Malmöhus (ISO=12, lb=M, FIPS=SW13, capital=Malmö) counties merged to form Scania. Name of Kopparberg county changed to Dalarna.
  18. 1998-01-01: Älvsborg (ISO=15, lb=P, FIPS=SW01, capital=Vänersborg), Göteborg och Bohus (ISO=14, lb=O, FIPS=SW04, capital=Göteborg), and Skaraborg (ISO=16, lb=R, FIPS=SW17, capital=Mariestad) counties merged to form Västra Götaland. Two municipalities (Habo and Mullsjö) transferred from Västra Götaland county to Jönköping.

Other names of subdivisions: 

In the early years of the 20th century, it was common to see e instead of ä, f instead of medial v, and w instead of initial v (Elfsborg, Gefleborg, Wermland, etc.).

  1. Dalarna: Dalecarlia (Anglicized); Kopparberg (obsolete)
  2. Göteborg: Gautaborg (Icelandic); Gothembourg (French); Gothenburg (English-variant, German)
  3. Gotland: Gothland, Gottland (obsolete)
  4. Skåne: Scania (Anglicized); Scanie (French)
  5. Södermanland: Sörmland (informal)
  6. Stockholm: Estocolmo (Portuguese, Spanish); Stoccolmo (Italian); Tukholma (Finnish); Стокгольм (Russian)

Population history:

Göteborg and Bohus313,340381,270510,896579,551666,000714,660735,672
Stockholm City271,638342,323671,284776,947  


Data for 1895 and 1955 are estimates. For 1975, data represent the 1975-11-01 census (source [6]).


  1. [1] Gustafsson, Agne, Local Government in Sweden. Roger Tanner tr. The Swedish Institute, Uddevalla, 1983.
  2. [2] När Var Hur 1956. Bokförlaget Forum AB, Stockholm, 1955. The table in this book gives 776,462 for the population of Kalmar län, which differs egregiously from earlier and later figures. What's more, using that figure would produce a column total of 7,773,664, which differs from the total given in the book by 539,000. The simplest fix is to assume that the entire 539,000 discrepancy is due to a mistake in Kalmar's figure. Under that assumption, the correct population of Kalmar was 237,462, which is a very plausible figure.
  3. [3] Chisholm, George G., ed., Longman's Gazetteer of the World. Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1920 (apparently not revised since the 1895 first edition).
  4. [4] Statistiska centralbyrån  (SCB). Retrieved 2007-09-22.
  5. [5] SCB , using the column headed "Land area and inland water excluding the four large lakes" (retrieved 2007-09-22).
  6. [6] 1979 Demographic Yearbook , 31st Ed. Statistical Office, United Nations, New York, 1980 (retrieved 2011-12-28).
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