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Municipalities of Sweden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sweden's municipal borders
Sweden's municipal borders
Great coat of arms of Sweden.svg

Public administration of Sweden
Counties of Sweden:
Administrative Boards
Municipalities of Sweden:
County councils
See also:
NUTS of Sweden
ISO 3166-2:SE

The municipalities of Sweden (Swedish: Sveriges kommuner) are its lower-level local government entities. There are 290 municipalities which are responsible for a large proportion of local services, including schools, emergency services and physical planning.

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  • ✪ Geography Now! NETHERLANDS
  • ✪ Geography Now! MONTENEGRO
  • ✪ Intersections | 2 of 4 | Ways of Knowing the City || Radcliffe Institute
  • ✪ Municipal Solid Waste Management in Developing Countries
  • ✪ Plant Based Symposium: Dr. Neal Barnard (with German subtitles)


Hey guys, so this is gonna be a little awkward. Why? Because 2 years ago my Dutch friend, Vincent, who used to do the animations before I regrettably hired Ken... Wait, what? ...He came and visited here in L.A. Long story short, I promised him he could be in the Netherlands episode. So we pre-shot some footage, and this was the intro we made. I flew over this guy, a real Dutchman. Say hi to Vincent! Right here. Hey, Vincent! Hey. Vincent, I know the Dutch are tall but just step down from the box, okay? Step down. Are you getting off your box then? Good Barby. I can never top those days. Oh, and this episode is on the Netherlands. [♪ Geography Now! theme ♪] Hi everybody, I'm your host Barbs. Now, there are many countries that deal with water issues. Some lack water, some have too much water, and some, like the Netherlands, have bridled the wild stallion and have learned how to control the water and use it to their advantage. Water is probably the most powerful element in the Netherlands and without it they would be, I don't know, pretty useless. So what do you say, 2016 Vincent? ''En dan nu, politieke geografie'' ♪♪ So yeah, stop calling this place "Holland." That's just 1 part of the country. Even though their country's national tourism website is called You're not helping us here, Dutchies. Oh, and hehe, there's a town called The Hulk. First of all, the country is located in northwestern Europe along the North Sea, bordered by Germany and Belgium. The country is divided into 12 provinces. Here's 2016 Vincent naming all of them for you. They are Limburg, North Holland, Zeeland, South Holland, Utrecht, Gelderland, Overijssel, Drenthe, Groningen, Friesland, North Brabant, and the newest province, Flevoland. Almost all of Flevoland was reclaimed from the Zuiderzee in the 1950s. So besides being famous for making cheese and clogs, we also MAKE OUR OWN LAND. The country kind of has 2 capitals. Amsterdam, the largest city and economic hub of the country and home to the royal palace, and just a skip over, the third largest city, The Hague acts as the second capital, which holds the seat of government as well as the International Court of Justice. The second largest city, though, would be Rotterdam, which holds the busiest seaport in all of Europe. The busiest airport, though, is of course Amsterdam's Schiphol International, Europe's third busiest airport, carrying nearly 70 million passengers annually. Now we reach the overseas territories. Apart from the mainland European part, the country actually holds sovereignty over 6 other island entities in the Caribbean, remnants of the colonial past. These are collectively called the "Dutch Caribbean," and here's where it gets a little confusing. Technically, the Netherlands is a country made up of 4 countries: the mainland Netherlands, as well as 3 other constituent countries, kind of like what Wales and Scotland are to the UK. They are Aruba, Curaçao and Saint Martin, which is actually half of an island shared with the French overseas territory of the same name, but in French. This means that this 1 island is the only area which the Netherlands technically borders France. These guys hold a high level of autonomy. They can have their own constitutions and currency. Otherwise, the remaining 3 islands are Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and little Saba which by the way has the shortest airport runway in the world. These 3 fall under the title of special municipalities and do not belong to any province. They are directly controlled by the Dutch government. However, in 2011, they decided to switch currencies and adopt the US dollar. All these islands lie in the sub-region known as the Lesser Antilles. Aruba, Curaçao, and Bonaire are usually referred to as the ABC islands, lying in the sub-region of the Leeward Antilles, whereas St. Eustatius, Saba, and St. Martin, usually called the SSS Islands, are located in the sub-region of the Leeward Islands. Keep in mind, at one point all 6 of these islands were called the "Netherland Antilles" and operated collectively as a single constituent country with the capital at Willemstad in Curaçao . They even competed separately in the Olympics. With the exception of Aruba, who had autonomy in 1986, it wasn't until the early 2000s when they all voted for their future and it kind of went like this: NETHERLANDS: Okay, guys, you have 4 options for your future. Choose wisely. You can have closer ties to us, remain just as you are in the Netherlands Antilles, autonomy as a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, or you can opt for complete independence as a new nation and break away from us. ARUBA & CURAÇAO: We vote for autonomy as constituent countries! SAINT MARTIN: Me too! What the-? S. EUSTATIUS, BONAIRE, & SABA: We want closer ties, and we'll settle for special municipality status. Really, Bonair? You're one of us, the ABC Islands! You're really gonna ditch us like that and leave us with this half-Frenchy Magoo? Yep, deal with it. And that's basically how it went down. So there you go! That's how you make a Netherlands. Waterways dominate the country, though. There's even a town with no roads and only canals. But how did it end up this way? Somewhere around the 9th century, people were kind of fed up with all the flooding and invented these sea walls known as "dijks" which surrounded "polders" or reclaimed land plots, protected by the dijks. To this day, the Netherlands has reclaimed about a fifth of its total land mass from the sea. So what would happen if all the dijks were destroyed and all the water just came and flooded everything? Scientists speculate that the country would go from looking like this, to this. Whoa, Amsterdam would be gone. Yep. Luckily, the Dutch are fantastic engineers and have been taming this dragon for centuries. And speaking of engineering, there are so many notable spots to check out in case you ever visit. So many museums, but the most notable one probably being the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Royal Palace, the van Gogh museum, the Anne Frank house, numerous castles like these, numerous star-shaped fortress towns, so many amusement parks like these, the enclaves and exclaves of Baarle-Nassau, we talked about this in the Belgium episode, the world's largest flower garden at Keukenhof, Austerlitz pyramid, this prehistoric burial site, and of course there are somewhere around 1,000 historic windmills left in the country from the 1800s, mostly in the Kinderdijk area, a UNESCO heritage site. Keep in mind, though, the country has a ton of modern wind turbines that help supply energy to the nation, a topic that will be discussed in: ♪♪ Greek philosopher Pytheas visited in the 3rd century BC and he said about this place, "More people have died in the struggle against water than in the struggle against men." The Netherlands is really unlike any other country in Europe because in order for them to even have physical land, a lot of work has to go into it. For one, the country is the lowest country in Europe, elevation-wise. Over a quarter of the land and a fifth of the population lies below sea level and about half of the land lies less than a meter above sea level. The lowest point actually being here at Zuidplaspolder, and the highest point of the mainland European part of the country at a small hill called Vaalserberg, just over 1000 feet, or 322 meters, high. However, in the entire Kingdom of the Netherlands, the highest point would actually be Mount Scenery, a potentially active volcano on the island of Saba in the Caribbean. Back to mainland Europe though. Within this complex system of waterways and canals, the famous Rhine River that goes through all of Europe, and the longest in the country, actually ends in Rotterdam The largest body of water would be Lake (or Bay) Ijsselmeer, contained within the N-302 and E-22 highways. In order to manage all the flooding in the south though, the Netherlands has undergone one of the largest engineering projects in modern history. The Delta works is a series of massive elevated levees at closed-off sea estuaries, preventing flooding. They even have backup levees in case one down the line bursts. In the north, though, the Walden Islands act as kind of like natural barriers against the sea. All this land reclamation has left many of the inland areas exposed to what are labeled as the largest open sand drifts in Europe. Keep in mind they are not deserts, but rather strange, wet, sandy plots in the middle of green shrubbery, a rare natural sight to come across anywhere in the world. So, in a nutshell, the entire country is basically one big river delta. BANGLADESH: Hmm, we should hang out sometime. Whew, so that's just about it for now. I gotta get my triple shot of espresso break, which means we need a guy who "Noah"s a few things, hehehe. [sighs] [energy blast] [yells] Besides all the water chaos, the Netherlands is quite a powerful nation, considering its size. They rank in the top 20 largest world economies, usually around 17th or 16th place, and they rank somewhere in the top 5 to 10 largest exporters on Earth. In fact, they have the oldest stock exchange in the world, dating back to 1602. Didn't that lead to like the whole tulip mania thing, where people sold a single bulb for the price of like an entire ship? That was not the stock market. That was just a socio-economic phenomenon, and at its height, sold for 10 times the annual wage of a skilled craftsman. Anyway, today, although they produce about 80% of the world's tulips and over half of the world's cut flower exports, their economy is mostly driven by the service and energy sectors. After the discovery of a natural gas field in 1959, the Dutch became a fuel powerhouse. The Shell company became the largest and most internationally recognized Dutch company in the world. Besides the petroleum industry though, the Dutch are well known for their electronics and tech innovation. The company Phillips invented the audio tape, which helped pioneer other formats like videotapes, CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays. BELGIUM: Yeah, the company was Dutch but keep in mind, it was invented in Hasselt, Belgium. NETHERLANDS: Oh, Belgium. We love you, but don't try to [beep]ing take this from us. Otherwise, the Dutch have made great strides towards environmental protection. It's not uncommon to find animal crossing bridges to allow wildlife to cross over highways. Over 70 mammal species exist here such as hares, hedgehogs, stoats, and deer. In addition, according to their government website, they produce over €65 billion in vegetable, fruit, flour, meat, and dairy products. Speaking of which, the modern orange-colored carrot was originally bred orange here in the Netherlands, to specifically honor the king. Since then, orange carrots are now kind of an international staple. And, speaking of which, food! Some top notable dishes you guys, the Dutch geograpeeps, suggested we mention include things like: various types of stamppot, Dutch pancakes with powdered sugar, apple tarts, bitterballen split pea soup, rookworst, stroopwafels, so many potato dishes, brined herring and smoked eel. Gin was invented here, sorry Brits. For breakfast, chocolate sprinkles on toast is common. And the pride and joy of the nation, Gouda cheese. [pronounced "Howda"] Yup, that's how you pronounce it guys. Oh, and keep in mind, they used to be the largest beer exporters in the world, Heineken being their top brand, until Mexico beat them in 2010. MEXICO: Oh, wow! Cool! It's also important to note that you will probably find lots of Indonesian and Surinamese dishes like satay or salted cod buns, a little cultural cue that hints towards the colonial past, which brings us to... ♪♪ Thank you, Noah. Follow him on Instagram. Yup. [whoosh] Okay, that just happened. Now in Europe, you have all different types of people that operate with all different customs and ideologies. Here, they have 2 sayings that kind of sum up how a lot of their country operates: "Meten is weten" and "Gezelligheid kent geen tijd." How was that, Dutchies? Terrible? Good? Well, you're gonna get what I give. Anyway, the country has about 17.5 million people and is the most densely populated nation in Europe. About 77% of the population identifies as Dutch to whatever extent that they mean, whereas 10% are other Europeans, and the remainder are made up of other people groups, mostly Turks, Indonesians, as well as the Surinamese, and surprisingly even some Americans. They use the euro as their currency, they use the type C and F plug outlets, and they drive on the right side of the road. Now, we all know that Dutch is the official language of the Netherlands, however, if you speak English you should have no problem at all visiting. The Netherlands has the highest proficiency in English out of any non-English official country in the world. Somewhere around 9 out of 10 Dutch people claim they can comfortably speak English and around 94% of the country is in some way bilingual. Geograpeep Anna told me a joke. Many times Dutch kids will ask their parents... Hey, mom. Yes, honey? Why do we have to learn English, but the British don't have to learn Dutch? Because our ancestors decided it would be a great idea to trade New York for Suriname and 1 small island in Indonesia. It's important to note, though, that there are 2 other regional languages accepted in Dutch society. They are Frisian, spoken in the northern Friesland region, and the other being Papiamento, a Dutch creole spoken in the ABC islands. And it's already kind of well known that the Dutch are the tallest people on average in the world, men averaging around 6'1" and women around 5'7". And once again, here's 2016 Vincent explaining. The latest studies have shown that natural selection has been the biggest reason. Being tall is equal to being more athletic, successful and healthy. Many educated men start families after their studies. Fast-forward a couple of years, with length being very heritable, and the result is a nation of giants. Yeah, we're out-breeding short people. Religion in the Netherlands is interesting, because historically they used to be predominantly Christian, mostly Protestant, but today about half the population identifies as "unaffiliated" which, depending on who you ask, could be anything from the largest unaffiliated group, agnostics, at about 34%, to the growing number of Ietsits, at around 28%, which is kind of like a technical term for "spiritual but not religious." Otherwise, Islam, at about 5% of the population, is mostly practiced by Turkish and Indonesian communities. Christianity, although not practiced regularly by most of the people, still plays a heavy cultural role in the Netherlands. Holidays like Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and Ascension are still celebrated by everyone in a Dutch manner. At one point, they were a vast empire that spanned across every inhabited continent. Australia was at one point called "New Holland," New Zealand named after the Zeeland province, Tasmania named after this Dutch guy, New York was once called "New Amsterdam," and so on. Otherwise, what is the Dutch way of doing things? Many of you guys, the Dutch geograpeeps, have told me there's a Dutch saying: "Act normal." Which is ironic, considering that they are almost anything but normal. And here's random Hannah to explain culture stuff! Historically, the Dutch have always kind of had a counter-traditional mindset that shaped the way they developed as a nation. For one, they are one of the few remaining monarchies left in the world. Technically a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy that limits the royal powers. And the people generally like their king. He even has a holiday to himself and the entire country wears the national color of orange. Of course, the country is known for being a front-runner in passing what many in the world see as controversial laws. They were the first country to legalize same-sex marriage, they have regulated legal prostitution, euthanasia, and they have a policy of tolerance toward recreational soft drugs, like marijuana. People 18 years or older are allowed up to 5 grams on them. Otherwise, it's a misdemeanor. They are world-renowned for excelling in field hockey, speed skating, and volleyball teams. Sailing is of course one of their longest pastimes. They even have a huge festival once every 5 years called the Sail Amsterdam festival. For some reason, it's common for people to give birth in their own homes as opposed to a hospital. About one-third of all babies are born this way. What about those clog things? Ah, yes. Well, in the past, they actually served a very useful purpose. They were worn by farmers, fishermen, and artisans in the past to protect the feet from nails, fish hooks, and other sharp objects. Today, they are mostly sold as souvenirs and very few people actually wear them, but they're pretty cool. Oh and hey, Hannah, what's up with all those spinny windmill thingymabobbers? Ah, yes, the iconic symbol of the Netherlands. Well, many of these historic windmills were actually used to pump out excess water to reclaim the land that they now use for farming. All before electricity. And as for music, the — Actually, I got this one. Barbs said I could have my own segment in the show now instead of just being a one-liner guy! Yeah, that's right, Keith has been upgraded. So, yeah. Oh, well, enjoy it! [whoosh] Well, that just happened. Again. I guess everybody has superpowers now. Historically speaking, the Dutch contributed much to the Baroque period at the end of the Renaissance, with numerous composers, organ players, and vocalists rooted in Christianity. Traditional clog dancing was also a cool way to add percussion to folk music in rural areas. Today, however, even though there are many genres the Dutch enjoy, electronic music reigns supreme. Most of the best, well-known DJs in the EDM scene across the world are from the Netherlands, and the Amsterdam Dance Event, ADE, is the world's top and largest electronic music conference. So if you come out here, get ready to get shocked with some musical electricity. Thank you, Keith, and speaking of the development of the Netherlands over time, let's talk about history. In the quickest way I can put it: Hamburg and Bronze Age cultures, Iron Age with Celts and Germanic groups, Gallic wars, the Romans come in, Frankish kingdoms, Charlemagne, blah blah blah, Friesland once had a Viking ruler, Lotharingia, Holy Roman Empire, confusing Burgundian and Spanish Hapsburg and city-states, the Spanish takeover, Dutch Revolt, 80 years of war against Spain, this dude is a hero, Golden Age and stock market, Dutch East India Company, exploring years, Dutch Empire, Napoleon drama, Belgium breaks away Luxembourg breaks away, World War I, relatively neutral, World War II, attacked by Germans, not neutral, decolonialism after the war, mining Golden Age, founding co-members of the European coal and steel community, which would later become the EU, government encourages over half a million people to move out, euro adopted, and here we are today. Some notable people you guys, the Dutch geograpeeps, suggest we mention might include people like: William of Orange, the first king, Michiel de Ruyter, possibly the most famous painters, Vincent van Gogh and Rembrandt, Antoni Van Leeuwenhoek Willem Barentsz, Abel Tasman, Anne Frank, Max Verstappen, Glennis Grace, Dick Bruna, these soccer players, these skaters, and of course the royal family. And of course, there's so many others I could have mentioned. Of course, I butchered all the pronunciations but we're really running out of time and we gotta finish this marathon. So without further ado, let's see who the Netherlands hangs out with. ♪♪ Now there's a reason why it's called "going Dutch" when paying for a meal. The Netherlands likes to share. Systematic and mathematically equivalent to what is owed to each based on the merit they've earned. First of all, pretty much all the former colonies have some kind of amicable relation to the Netherlands. The Afrikaans language in South Africa is basically just an Africanized version of Dutch. Tons of Surinamese and Indonesians have been migrating to the Netherlands for decades. Otherwise, the USA and Canada are very close friends as well. During World War II, the royal family actually took refuge in Canada, and Canada actually quickly changed the law in which the hospital was temporarily considered extraterritorial so that the princess could be born Dutch. To this day, the Netherlands sends tons of flowers every year in gratitude. For the US, the two go way back, all the way to "New Amsterdam," before it was New York. The Dutch have emigrated to the US for centuries. Five American presidents have been of Dutch descent. They are each other's third-largest direct foreign investors. They are both charter members of NATO since 1949, and overall, in most global affairs, the two usually work together as close allies. With Germany, it's like a funny love-hate relationship, like the two share so much historically, both being under the same influences like the Western Roman Empire, the Franks, and even their first King William of Orange belonged to a German royal house. Then again, World War II was kind of like a jerk move and the Dutch never really forgot about it. But, nonetheless, they've moved on and today things are fine. Germany is their largest trading partner both in imports and exports. Many Germans and Dutch cross over and visit, study, live, and have families with each other's countries. When it comes to their best friends however, almost every single Dutch person I have talked to has said their little brother they love picking fun on and calling stupid, Belgium. Or, at least specifically the northern Flanders region of Belgium where the Dutch speakers are. And many see the Flanders region as just an extension of the Dutch realm. The royal families love each other. King Willem-Alexander even bestowed the Knight Grand Cross to King Philippe and his wife. Flemish and Dutch people have been intermarrying and cooperating side-by-side since the beginning, and even after Belgium's independence, they've still clung on as the only 2 Dutch official speaking nations in Europe. And even then Belgium is only half Dutch-speaking, so they really can't afford to sever ties. In conclusion, the lowest nation in Europe with the tallest people on Earth and with centuries of discovery, invention, innovation, and tradition. It's no wonder why the Dutch say they keep their heads above water. Stay tuned. New Zealand is coming up next! So once again Vincent, thank you so much for being in this episode, our favorite Dutchman. You have made your country proud. Dutch punch! ♪♪



The Local Government Act of 1991 specifies several responsibilities for the municipalities, and provides outlines for local government, such as the process for electing the municipal assembly. It also regulates a process (laglighetsprövning, "legality trial") through which any citizen can appeal the decisions of a local government to a county court.

Municipal government in Sweden is similar to city commission government and cabinet-style council government. A legislative municipal assembly (kommunfullmäktige) of between 31 and 101 members (always an odd number) is elected from party-list proportional representation at municipal elections, held every four years in conjunction with the national general elections. The assembly in turn appoints a municipal executive committee (kommunstyrelse) from its members. The executive committee is headed by its chairman, (Swedish: kommunstyrelsens ordförande). The chairman is often referred as Municipal Commissioner (Swedish: kommunalråd).


The first local government acts were implemented on January 1, 1863. There were two acts, one for the cities and one for the countryside. The total number of municipalities was about 2,500. The rural municipalities were based on the old parishes (socknar) and the then 89 cities/towns (städer) (which is the same in Swedish) were based on the old chartered cities. There was also a third type, köping or market town. The status of these was somewhere between the rural municipalities and the cities. There were only eight of them in 1863, rising to a peak of 96 in 1959.

Up until 1930, when the total number of municipalities reached its peak (2,532 entities), there were more partitions than amalgamations.

In 1943 more than 500 of Sweden's municipalities had fewer than 500 inhabitants, and the 1943 års kommunindelningskommitté ("Municipal subdivision commission of 1943") proposed that the number of rural municipalities should be drastically reduced.

After years of preparations the first of the two nationwide municipal reforms of the 20th century was implemented in 1952. The number of rural municipalities was reduced from 2,281 to 816. The cities (by then 133) were not affected.

Rather soon it was established that the reform of 1952 was not radical enough. A new commission, 1959 års indelningssakkunniga ("Subdivision experts of 1959") concluded that the next municipal reform should create new larger mixed rural/urban municipalities.

The Riksdag decided in 1962 that the new reform should be implemented on a voluntary basis. The process started in January 1964, when all municipalities were grouped in 282 kommunblock("municipal blocks"). The co-operation within the blocks should ultimately lead to amalgamations. The target year was 1971, when all municipalities should be of uniform type and all the remaining formal differences in government and privileges between cities and rural municipalities should be abolished.[1]

The amalgamations within the "blocks" started in 1965 and more were accomplished in 1967 and 1969, when the number of municipalities dropped from 1006 to 848. The Riksdag, however, found the amalgamation process too slow, and decided to speed it up by ending the voluntary aspect. In 1971 the unitary municipality (kommun) was introduced and the number of entities went down to 464; three years later it was 278. In one case (Svedala Municipality) the process was not accomplished until 1977.

Most of the municipalities were soon consolidated, but in some cases the antagonism within the new unities was so strong that it led to "divorces". The total number of municipalities has today risen to 290.

The question of whether a new municipality will be created is at the discretion of the central Swedish government. It is recommended that the lower limit of a new municipality shall be 5,000 inhabitants.

Some municipalities still use the term "City" (Swedish: stad) when referring to themselves, a practice adopted by the largest and most urban municipalities Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö. 13 municipalities altogether, some of them including considerable rural areas, have made this choice, which is unofficial and has no effect on the administrative status of the municipality. The practice can, however, create some confusion as the term stad nowadays normally refers to a larger built-up area and not to an administrative entity.

Geographical boundaries

The municipalities in Sweden cover the entire territory of the nation. Unlike the United States or Canada, there are no unincorporated areas. The municipalities in the north cover large areas of sparsely populated land. Kiruna, at 19 446 km², is sometimes held to be the world's largest "city" by area, although places like La Tuque, Quebec (28 421 km², official style Ville), Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, Alberta (63 343 km², official style "specialized municipality") and the Altamira in Northern Brazil (159 533 km²) are larger. (By comparison, the total area of the state of Lebanon is 10 452 km².) At any rate, several northern municipalities are larger than many counties in the more densely populated southern part of the country.


The municipalities are also divided into a total of 2 512 parishes, or församlingar (2000). These have traditionally been a subdivision of the Church of Sweden, but still have importance as districts for census and elections. Many of the parishes still correspond to the original socknar, but there have been a lot of partitions and amalgamations throughout the years.


According to law, the municipalities are responsible for:

Many municipalities in addition have services like leisure activities for youths and housing services to make them attractive in getting residents.[2]

See also


  1. ^ "Indelning i kommuner och landsting" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2014-07-26.
  2. ^ "Levels of local democracy in Sweden". Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions. Archived from the original on 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2008-09-25.

External links

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