Norrland (Swedish: [ˈnɔrːland] ( listen),
"Northlands") is the northernmost, largest, least populated and least
densely populated of the three traditional lands of Sweden, consisting
of nine provinces. The term
Norrland is not used for any
administrative purpose, but as a historical region, it is common in
everyday language, e.g., in weather forecasts.
1 Provinces and counties
5 In fiction
6 See also
9 External links
Provinces and counties
Norrland comprises the historical provinces (landskap) Gästrikland,
Medelpad, Ångermanland, Hälsingland, Jämtland, Härjedalen,
Norrbotten and Lappland, roughly 59 percent of Sweden's
total area. Historically,
Härjedalen belonged to
Norway until 1645, and are thus often considered outside of the
Sweden is not divided into provinces but into
counties (Län). Although
Norrland is defined in terms of the
historical provinces and not the counties, it roughly comprises the
modern counties of Gävleborg, Jämtland, Norrbotten, Västerbotten
Norrland is subdivided into Northern
Norrland) and Southern
Norrland (södra Norrland). The northern part
of the region typically covers the historical provinces of Norrbotten,
Västerbotten and Lappland (the modern counties of
Västerbotten), while the southern part covers the remainder of the
Stora Blåsjön and the lake of
Stora Blåsjön in
Strömsund Municipality, Jämtland.
Except for the coastal areas,
Norrland is sparsely populated.
Approximately 12 percent of Sweden's population lives in Norrland.
Except for some coastal areas most of
Norrland is made up by the
Norrland terrain– hilly and mountainous land covered by boreal
forests. More in detail
Norrland is made up of three north-south
Scandinavian Mountains in the west, the Muddus Plains
covering much of the inland, and the mixed relief[A] of the eastern
Unlike the much more densely populated
Svealand and Götaland, which
are better known for big cities (Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö) with
landmarks and tourist attractions,
Norrland is known for its nature:
wide forests, large rivers and untouched wilderness.
Most inhabitants live in rural areas and small villages, and in cities
along the coast. Towards the end of the 20th Century there was a
noticeable increase of the population in Norrland, mainly from people
moving from bigger cities. The largest cities in Norrland, from north
to south, are Luleå, Skellefteå, Umeå, Östersund,
Gävle. With the exception of Östersund, all these cities are located
near the coast.
During the industrial revolution, which reached
Sweden in the mid-19th
Norrland became the source for the important wood and pulp
industry. All of the major
Norrland rivers but four have been
exploited for water power. The rivers in
Norrland account for the bulk
of hydroelectric power in
Sweden – in many countries a limited
energy source, but in
Sweden hydroelectrical power accounts for
approximately 40 percent of Sweden's total production of electricity.
Mines for producing precious metals have also been located in
Norrland. In older history, the administration in
Norrland pretty much as a colony consisting of natural resources to be
Norrland we have an
India within our borders, if only
we realize we should be taking advantage of it" (I
Norrland hava vi
inom våra gränser ett Indien, blott vi förstå att bruka det) is a
quote attributed to
Axel Oxenstierna that fairly well describes the
attitude. In the official history of
Sweden not much is written about
the northern parts of the country.
Kebnekaise, Sweden's tallest mountain at 2,111 metres (6,926 feet), is
located in Lappland in the north of Norrland.
Norrland has a highly variable climate depending on altitude, latitude
and distance to water. The southern coastal areas have a humid
continental climate, but further north the subarctic climate is
abundant, although it in many areas is very mild for that
classification, especially in coastal regions. In the mountain ranges
the tundra climate can be found with summer temperatures averaging
below 10 °C (50 °F), although this is due to altitude and
not in populated areas. All low-lying areas of
Norrland are below the
tree line due to the mild summers, meaning that the boreal forest is
In older history,
Norrland is one of the four lands of Sweden. To the
west it represented the northern half of
Sweden bounded to the south
Svealand and to the east it represented the northern half of
Finland – which was then a part of
Sweden – bounded to the south
by Österland. In
Svealand and Götaland, the land boundaries were of
major juridical and administrative importance, but this was not the
case with Norrland. The name
Norrland just gradually became a
denomination of everything north of Svealand. Up to the Middle Ages,
the northern part of
Norrbotten and Lappland) was basically
a no man's land. The area was sparsely populated by Sami,
different tribes/people related to the Finns. In the southern part of
Norrland, Swedish and Norwegian settlers lived side by side with the
Sami population. From the Middle Ages on, the Swedish kings tried hard
to colonize and Christianize the area. But it took time – even
today, Finnish and Sami minorities live in the northern parts of
Norrland and have maintained their culture and customs.
As a result of the changing relations to Finland, the northern borders
Norrland have shifted. While the word
Finland originally meant only
the southwestern part of what is now
Finland Proper), the
Norrland was drawn at the rivers Kaakamojoki or, later,
Simojoki. This changed when the eastern half of
Sweden (Finland) was
Russia in 1809, and the new border was drawn at Torne River.
The southern border was originally everything north of the
Gästrikland province (until the 14th or 15th century a part of
Uppland), but since the mid 17th century,
Gästrikland is also
considered a part of Norrland. The name can be first traced from
Karl's Chronicle, explaining how
Engelbrekt Engelbrektsson in 1433
sent a letter to Erik Puke requesting assistance to conquer entire
Norrland (al norland vnte han honom wolla).
Norrland teams compete at the Swedish Hockey League: Brynäs IF,
Skellefteå AIK and
Luleå HF. But also Timrå IK,
MoDo Hockey and
Björklöven IF have long traditions within Swedish Ice Hockey.
Norrland soccer (football) teams include Sandvikens IF, Gefle
IF, Östersunds FK, and GIF Sundsvall.
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Norrland is often portrayed slightly negatively in Swedish fiction,
often being a place of terror and dread. The thriller films The
False Trail (The Hunters 2) show a highly negative
portrait of Norrland, filled with racial prejudice and violence. The
Norrland in their turn tend to have a fairly negative view
of people from
Stockholm and the rest of southern Sweden, for example
by referring to
Stockholm as "fjollträsk", which loosely translated
means "sissy town". This dynamic is portrayed in movies and series
such as Sällskapsresan 2 – Snowroller, The Hunters and Pistvakt –
En vintersaga. Despite
Norrland being the most diverse of the three
Sweden in terms of languages and cultures it is usually
portrayed as one homogeneous region. Fiction usually portrays
Norrland as villagers from the wilderness even though
the majority of the population live in and around the coastal cities.
In the 2006 horror film Frostbite, the portrait is more balanced.
Unlike most other Swedish films, it takes place in a larger community
at the northern peak of Sweden, being filmed in
Kalix and Kiruna. The
people are shown to be pretty warm and welcoming towards outsiders.
Rather than the people, the nature of
Norrland is shown to be hostile.
A constant darkness roams over the town and there is extreme cold.
Vampires have been shown taking a liking to the land and hunt the
towns people in the arctic night. The film is notorious for not having
the actors speak without the district
Norrland accent, even the actors
in the film which are native to Norrland.
A mixed portrait of the region is found in
As It Is in Heaven (2004),
which "vividly conveys both the delights and the challenges of small
town living." The northern town is initially inhospitable to the
main character as a boy, whose mother chooses to take him out of the
town to escape bullying. He returns years later as an accomplished
musician, only to find an insular town where bullying continues in
several forms, including from the original classmates who troubled him
as a youth. It is through his outside status -- along with his music
and desire share its joy -- that the town finds redemption.
The plot of the well-known thriller The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
shifts back and forth between
Stockholm and the fictional Norrland
town of Hedestad. A constantly repeated theme in the book's background
are the social, cultural and physical differences between these two
Norrland is more sedate, conservative and slow-moving in
comparison with the cosmopolitan Stockholm; a Stockholmer having to
live for an extended period in
Norrland feels "exiled to the back of
Norrland is also colder, and a Stockholmer coming there must
urgently buy warmer clothes (a theme highlighted also in As It Is in
Heaven); Norrlanders often speak regional dialects which Stockholm
people find nearly incomprehensible;
Stockholm people look down their
noses at "a working class boy from Norrland" even when he had lived
many years in Stockholm. The book's great success and translation into
numerous languages made non-Swedish people more aware of
its special characteristics.
Historical provinces of Finland
Norrland Grand Regiment
^ This includes coastal plains and parts of the Sub-Cambrian
Norrland from Nordisk familjebok. In Swedish.
Norrland region, Sweden". Brittanica.com. Encycopaedia
Brittanica. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
^ Population of
Sweden 2008-12-31 Archived 2010-08-20 at the Wayback
Machine., Statistics Sweden
^ Lidmar-Bergströrm, Karna (1995). "Relief and saprolites trough time
on the Baltic Shield". Geomorphology. Elsevier. 12: 45–61.
access-date= requires url= (help)
^ Sporrong, Ulf (2003). "The Scandinavian landscape and its
resources". In Helle, Knut. The Cambridge History of Scandinavia.
Cambridge University Press. p. 22.
^ a b Lidmar-Bergström, Karna (2002). "Berggrundens ytformer". In
Fredén, Curt. Berg och jord. Sveriges Nationalatlas (in Swedish).
Sveriges Nationalatlas. pp. 44–54.
^ Brussat, Frederic; Brussat, Mary Ann. "An astonishing Swedish drama
about a church choir and its creative director who take a meaningful
and loving journey together". Spirituality & Practice. Retrieved
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Norrland.
Media related to
Norrland at Wikimedia Commons
Lands and Provinces of Sweden
Coordinates: 63°11′00″N 14°40′00″E / 63.1833°N
14.6667°E / 63.1