Skandinavian Administrative Divisions
Skandinavia's complex geography and the wide distribution of the population has led to a number of conventions for it subdivisions. These have changed somewhat over time, and various reforms are still under continuous consideration.
Since the beginning of the formation of the unified nation, there has been a big controversy over the state organization and specially the role of the traditional fylker or counties. On the one hand those who thought they were too small units that should be grouped and another who felt that the success of the administrative organization of a state is in close proximity to citizens. After long debates the winning idea was that the traditional fylker were the essence of participatory democracy in Skandinavia and the construction of the new state should be put on the fylker. Although there are territorial divisions bringing together several fylker (counties), called landsdeler (regions), these divisions do not have any legal entity. The regional division is also used to coordinate the provision of certain services that by their nature are to be shared by several counties. (Some police services, military organization, regional justice courts, electricity or gas grids, etc.)
The political administration of Skandinavia takes place at four levels:
- Kongeriket (kingdom), covering all of metropolitan Skandinavia including Iceland and Svalvard, the autonomous regions of Greenland and Faroe Islands and the integral overseas areas of Jan Mayen and Bouvet Island.
- Autonome Landsdeler på Grønland og Færøerne (Autonomous Regions of Greenland and Faroe Islands), are regions of the Kingdom with a high degree of autonomy. In practice, they are like autonomous states except for defense and foreign relations. However, and despite the fact that they do not have a diplomatic corps, they do in some cases have specific representation within Skandinavia's diplomatic missions. In addition, they are present in sports competitions and also in some political and economic bodies independently.
- Landsdeler (Regions), these divisions do not have any legal entity. The regional division is also used to coordinate the provision of certain services that by their nature are to be shared by several counties. Some police services, military organization, regional justice courts, electricity or gas grids, etc.
- Fylker (Counties), derive in part from divisions that preceded the former nations constitutions but have been reformed several tiemes. Current county division was made in 2005. The fylker also function as constituencies during elections for Parliament.
- Kommuner (Municipalities), are the atomic unit of local government in Skandinavia and are responsible for many important and close services for the citizens.
- Integrerte Utenlandske Territorier (Integral Overseas Territories), these territories are an integral part of the Kingdom, not dependencies, but due to their special characteristics they are not integrated in any county or autonomous region.
- Biland (Dependencies), Queen Maud Land and Peter I Island on Antarctica which both are subject to the Antarctic Treaty System.
Landsdeler (regions)[edit | edit source]
The division into landsdeler (regions) is not a formal division to the extent that the landsdeler have no administrative or political entity. However, since they are larger entities than fylker (both in size and population) the division into landsdeler is often used for service planning like management of water and electricity as well as for military organization, justice and law enforcement.
Fylker (counties)[edit | edit source]
Skandinavia is divided into 55 administrative divisions called fylker (counties). The fylker form the primary first-level subdivisions of the nation and are further divided into 1031 kommuner (municipalities). Since the formation of Skandinavia government began working on a project to unify the fylker and turn them into larger territorial units. With this unification was intended to create fylker with more resources and able to ensure better living conditions for its inhabitants. This process ended in 2015 with the new fylker map.
Function[edit | edit source]
Filker (counties) and kommuner (municipalities) have local autonomy but this autonomy is circumscribed by national controls. Filker and kommuner are subject to the oversight of a Fylkeskommune (County Administration Board) headed by a Fylkesmann (County Governor) appointed by the Monark by proposal of the Statsrådet to coordinate administration with national political goals for the county. The main responsibility of the Fylkeskommune are upper secondary schools, health care, dental care, public transport, county roads, culture, cultural heritage management, land use planning and business development.
Each fylke has a local elected assembly, the Fylkesting, elected by direct election by all legal residents every fourth year to deliberate on the municipal affairs of the fylke. The Fylkesting typically have 30-50 members and meet about six times a year. They are divided into standing committees and an executive board called Fylkesutvalg that meet considerably more often. Both the Fylkesting and the Fylkesutvalg are headed by the Fylkesordfører (County Major).
A number of several other government agencies are organised on a county basis, including the main bodies of police, employment, social insurance, and forestry services.
Kommuner (municipalities)[edit | edit source]
Kommuner are the atomic unit of local government in Skandinavia and are responsible for primary education, outpatient health services, senior citizen services, unemployment and other social services, zoning, economic development and municipal roads.
Municipalities are undergoing continuous consolidation, but the consolidation effort is complicated by a number of factors. Since block grants are made by the national government to the municipalities based on an assessment of need, there is little incentive for the municipalities to lose local autonomy. The national policy is that municipalities should only merge voluntarily, and studies are underway to identify potential gains.
As the counties strengthen their powers, the municipalities are in a process of loss of functions. However, and especially for older people, they remain the first and closest administration.
Administrative divisions table[edit | edit source]
|Skandinavia: Administrative divisions until Level 3|
|Level 0||Level 1||Level 2||Level 3|
|Kingdom||Territories||Region||Region Code||Map Color||County||County Code|
|Kingdom of Skandinavia||Mainland||Øer||D1||Hovedstaden||D11|
|Sjælland and Loland||D12|
|Stockholm og Åland||S1||Stockholm||S11|
|Småland og Øerne||S3||Jönköping||S31|
|Sogn og Fjordane||N33|
|Møre og Romsdal||N34|
|Autonomous Regions||Grønland||G1||Knud Rasmussen Land||G11|
|Eirik den Røde Land||G13|
|Kong Christian IX Land||G14|
|Kong Frederik VI Land||G15|
|Integral Overseas Territories||Jan Mayen|
|Dependencies||Dronning Maud Land|
|Peter I Øy|