Municipality (Sweden)

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The Swedish municipalities (Kommuner)

Municipality ( Swedish commun , therefore sometimes translated as municipality ) is the name of an administrative unit in Sweden within the administrative structure of the country.

The German term municipality can lead to misunderstandings, as the Swedish administrative system works differently and the Swedish municipalities have different tasks than German ones. Moreover, there is in Sweden no division into towns and cities, so that the translation community for the Swedish term kommun the impression can bring when it states that it is a municipal unit with small populations. But also the largest cities in Sweden, Stockholm , Göteborg and Malmö are in the status of a commun . From an administrative point of view, the Swedish municipalities are equivalent to LAU 2 . Historically, there was a historical distinction between the types of municipality urban municipality (stadskommun) , market municipality (köping) and rural municipality (landskommun) ; it was abolished in the 1970s.


Local self-government has its roots in the Middle Ages . It formed the starting point for the first Swedish municipal code of 1862, in which the country was divided into about 2500 municipalities (towns, markets and rural communities). The municipal administrative structure was modernized in several steps between 1952 and 1971, in which the 2500 municipalities were merged into 278 large municipalities and at the same time the distinction between different types of municipalities was abolished. This was done above all in order to secure a sufficient population base for the municipalities to carry out the municipal tasks within the framework of local self-government, which was expressly mentioned for the first time in the new constitution on the form of government in 1975. After the municipal reform of 1992 there are 290 municipalities today, which as a rule consist of several localities and in the sparsely populated north of the state can reach the size of German federal states (such as Saxony).

The parallel administrative division into parishes (församling) , which existed until 1999, was abandoned with the separation of church and state in 2000.

A second municipal level was set up as early as the municipal code of 1862, and it still exists today: the provincial parliament (Swedish landsting ). The provincial assembly takes on municipal tasks that are beyond the power of individual municipalities, especially in the area of ​​health care.

The largest municipalities, measured by population, were on December 31, 2013:

local community Population
(December 31, 2013)
Stockholm 897,700
Gothenburg 533.271
Malmo 312.994
Uppsala 205.199
Linkoping 150.202
Västerås 142.131
Örebro 140,599
Norrkoping 133,749
Helsingborg 132,989
Jonkoping 130,798

Tasks within the framework of local self-government

Local self-government was enshrined in the Basic Law on the Form of Government 1975, and its competence was defined in the Local Law of 1992. In addition, the Reichstag imposed mandatory administrative tasks on the municipalities through legislation, such as B.

  • childcare
  • School system (elementary schools and high schools)
  • Social service
  • Elderly care
  • Support and care for physically and mentally disabled people
  • Urban planning and construction
  • Ambulance, fire protection and civil protection
  • Environment and health protection
  • technical infrastructure (energy supply, water supply, sewage disposal, garbage disposal, street cleaning, municipal road construction and maintenance, etc.)

In order to better cope with certain tasks, municipalities can form a municipal association (Swedish municipalförbund ) in which there is regionally limited, municipal cooperation (e.g. for the school system).

Community organization

Every municipality has a decision- making body elected by the people, the municipal council (Swedish: commun-full-market ). The municipal council is elected every four years in general elections at the same time as the provincial parliament and the Reichstag according to proportional representation. The municipality council elects the municipality board (swed. Kommunstyrelse ) and its chairman as well as one or two deputies. The chairman of the municipality board usually receives a fixed salary (Kommunalråd) .

How the community organizes its work is left to it according to the new local law. In any case, the municipal administration is organized in committees (Swedish namnd ), which nowadays - depending on the municipality - follow three different models:

  • the sector model (departmental model), in which the committees reflect the individual sectors of the municipal administration (e.g. school committee, social committee, building committee, etc.),
  • the territorial model , in which the municipality divides its area into spatially limited units and sets up its own committees for these (e.g. Stockholm, which is divided into municipal districts similar to Vienna, Berlin or other large cities),
  • the buyer-exporter model , in which the municipal activity is organized according to buyers and exporters according to a market economy principle (e.g. the municipal council decides on the routes and timetables of the city buses and issues a tender in which various bus companies participate and the best bidder, the receives the contract, then has to run the public service according to the specifications of the municipal council).

The latter model in particular has resulted in the outsourcing of certain services to community-owned public companies. In many municipalities, depending on the subject area, all three or at least two of the models mentioned are used; a combination of sector and buyer-exporter model is particularly common.

Community budget

More than half of the tasks of the municipality are financed by the collection of municipal income taxes. In 2006, the highest municipal income tax rate for municipalities and provincial parishes was 34.24% ( Dals-Ed municipality ) and the lowest was 28.89% ( Vellinge municipality ). In addition, the municipalities receive state subsidies (e.g. burden sharing) and levy charges for certain services.

On the expenditure side, the largest areas are the school system (28% of gross costs), care for the elderly and the disabled (27%) and childcare (13%).

Local interest representation

The Swedish municipalities are organized in the municipal association "Sveriges kommuner och landsting" (SKL), which v. a. to represent to the state. This association of municipalities was established in 2003–2007 through the merger of “kommunförbundet” and “landstingsförbundet”, which previously represented the municipalities and regional authorities. SKL is not an authority, but a non-profit association. In addition to their public relations work and participation in the legislative process as experts, they also offer their members a comprehensive service (including advice on legal, economic and administrative issues). In addition to SKL, in which all Swedish municipalities are represented, there are also regional associations of municipalities, such as the association of municipalities in the Stockholm region, “Kommunförbundet Stockholms län”.

See also

Web links

Commons : Maps of Swedish parishes  - album with pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Population of the fifty largest municipalities ( memento of the original from September 19, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Swedish) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /