|• Total||10,939 km2 (4,224 sq mi)|
|Population (30 June 2011 )|
|• Density||110/km2 ( 300/sq mi)|
|• Flower||Oxeye daisy|
|• Animal||Red deer|
|• Bird||Red Kite|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
Scania ( Skåne (help·info) in Swedish) is the southernmost of the 25 traditional non-administrative provinces (landskap) of Sweden, constituting a peninsula on the southern tip of the Scandinavian peninsula, and some adjacent islands. The modern administrative subdivision (län) Skåne County is almost, but not quite, coextensive with the province. The largest city is Malmö, which is also the third largest in Sweden and the administrative centre of Skåne County.
To the north, Scania borders the provinces of Halland and Småland, to the northeast Blekinge, to the east and south the Baltic Sea, and to the west the Öresund. Since 2000 a road and railway bridge, the Øresund Bridge constitutes a fixed link to the Danish island of Zealand. It is part of the transnational Öresund Region.
The province, up until the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, formed part of the kingdom of Denmark . The transition to Sweden was later confirmed by the Treaty of Copenhagen 1660, the Peace of Lund 1679, the Peace of Travendal 1700, though greatly resented by the local population. The last serious Danish attempt to invade the province failed in 1710, after the Battle of Helsingborg. The period 1658–1720 saw widespread violence by the Danish and Swedish militaries against the local population. The region did not form part of Sweden proper until 1719, but had the status of conquered "foreign land" until that year. It was then divided in two counties and has since then been regarded as integrated by Sweden. Until the early 19th century, a policy of forced assimilation was employed by the Swedish government in what until then had been a linguistically Danish region. Controversy relating to whether the Scanian dialects should be classified as a regional language or as Danish or Swedish dialects remains to this day.
Around 130 km long from north to south, Scania covers less than 3% of Sweden's total area, but the population of approximately 1,260,000 represents 13% of Sweden's total population. About 16% of the total population of the province are foreign-born. With 111 inh/km² Scania is the second most densely populated province of Sweden, next only to Södermanland. The western part, along the coast of the Øresund is by far the most populated part of the province.
The endonym used in Swedish and other North Germanic languages is Skåne, formerly in Danish and Norwegian spelled Skaane. The Latinized form Scania is widely used in English as an exonym. However, there are also many examples of the endonym Skåne used in English texts, sometimes as Skane with the diacritic omitted. Scania is the only Swedish province for which exonyms are still widely used in many languages, e.g. French Scanie, German Schonen, Polish Skania, Spanish Escania, Italian Scania, etc. For the province's modern administrative counterpart, Skåne län, the endonym Skåne is mostly used even in English.
The names Scania and Scandinavia are considered to have the same etymology and the southernmost tip of what is today Sweden was called Scania by the Romans. The name is possibly derived from the Germanic root *Skaðin-awjo, which appears in Old Norse as Skáney. According to some scholars, the Germanic stem can be reconstructed as *Skaðan- meaning "danger" or "damage" (English scathing, German Schaden, Swedish skada). Skanör in Scania, with its long Falsterbo reef, has the same stem (skan) combined with -ör, which means "sandbanks".
In the Alfredian translation of Orosius's and Wulfstan's travel accounts, the Old English form Sconeg appears. Frankish sources mention a place called Sconaowe; Æthelweard, an Anglo-Saxon historian, wrote about Scani; and in Beowulf's fictional account, the names Scedenige and Scedeland appear as names for what is a Danish land. Scodanus in old maps may add to the name of the place "from where the Danes came, from Scandinavia", also derived from it.
Also, in the one of the most archaic European languages (Latvian) skani/skanēt means - make sound or to sound. Possibly - the sounding island.
Like the other provinces of Sweden, the province of Scania serves no administrative or political purposes, but is an exclusively historical and cultural entity.
Between 1719 and 1996 the province was subdivided in two administrative counties (län), Kristianstad County and Malmöhus County each under a governor (landshövding) appointed by the central government of Sweden. When the first local government acts took effect in 1863 each county also got an elected county council (landsting). The counties were further divided into municipalities. The local government reform of 1952 reduced the number of municipalities and a second subdivision reform, carried out between 1968 and 1974 established today's 33 municipalities (Swedish: kommuner) in Scania. The municipalities have municipal governments, similar to city commissions, and are further divided into parishes (församlingar). The parishes are primarily entities of the Church of Sweden, but they also serve as a divisioning measure for the Swedish population registration and other statistical uses.
In 1997 the two counties were merged, and Skåne County has almost the same boundaries as the province. For the pre-1997 counties see map to the right, which also outlines the still valid municipal limits.
During the Danish era the province had no coat of arms. In Sweden, however, every province had been represented by heraldic arms since 1560. When Charles X Gustav of Sweden suddenly died in 1660 a coat of arms had to be created for the newly acquired province, as each province was to be represented by its arms at his royal funeral. After an initiative from Baron Gustaf Bonde, the Lord High Treasurer of Sweden, the coat of arms of the City of Malmö was used as a base for the new provincial arms. The Malmö coat of arms had been granted in 1437, during the Kalmar Union, by Eric of Pomerania and contains a Pomeranian griffin's head. To distinguish it from the city's coat of arms the tinctures were changed and the official blazon for the provincial arms is, in English: Or, a Griffin's head erased Gules, crowned Azure and armed Azure, when it should be armed.
The province was divided in two administrative counties 1719–1996. Coats of arms were created for these entities, also using the griffin motif. The new Skåne County, operative from 1 January 1997, got a coat of arms that is the same as the province's, but with reversed tinctures. When the county arms is shown with a Swedish royal crown, it represents the County Administrative Board, which is the regional presence of central government authority. In 1999 the two county councils (landsting) were amalgamated forming Region Skåne. It is the only of its kind using a heraldic coat of arms. It is also the same as the province's and the county's, but with a golden griffin's head on a blue shield. The 33 municipalities within the county also have coats of arms.
The Scania Griffin has become a well-known symbol for the province and it is used also by commercial enterprises. It is, for instance, included in the logotypes of the automotive manufacturer Scania AB and the airline Malmö Aviation.
Coat of arms:
Scania was first mentioned in written texts in the 9th century. It came under Danish king Harald Bluetooth in the middle of the 10th century. It was, together with Blekinge and Halland, situated on the Scandinavian peninsula, but forming the eastern part of the kingdom of Denmark. This geographical position made it for many hundred years the focal point of the frequent Dano-Swedish wars. By the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, all Danish lands east of Oresund were ceded to the Swedish Crown. First placed under a Governor-General the province was eventually integrated into the kingdom of Sweden. The last Danish attempt to regain its lost provinces failed after the Battle of Helsingborg (1710). In 1719 the province was subdivided in two counties and administered in the same way as the rest of the country. Scania has since then been fully integrated in the Swedish state.
There are no independence movements organized for electoral contests in Scania, although some of the small parties with seats in various municipalities have from time to time placed secession in combination with anti-immigration measures on their party platforms. A coalition of 16 smaller parties (Skånes Väl) held 6 seats of 149 in the regional council during the period 1998-2002, but in Region Skåne's 2002 election, they lost all their seats. In 2006, one of the 16 parties in the coalition, the small anti-immigration party Skånepartiet, made an unsuccessful bid for seats in the general election of Sweden, receiving 11 votes nationally. In the regional elections of 2006, The Scanian Independence Party ("Skånes självständighetsparti"), a coalition between Skånepartiet and another party called Centrum-Demokraterna, received 4623 votes.
As a part of the process of decentralization in Sweden, and as a part of the regionalist efforts in Scania, separatism thus plays a negligible role. According to some scholars, separatist driven activities may however run parallel with the top-down driven region-building efforts put in place to promote regional development, as well as the efforts by regional actors to promote and protect Scanian culture, and therefore, separatism may contribute to the mobilization of mutually supporting forces, especially in border areas like Scania where cross-border cooperation is important.
During Sweden's financial crisis in the early and mid-1990s, Scania, Västra Götaland and Norrbotten were among the hardest hit in the country, with high unemployment rates as a result. In response to the crisis, the County Governors were given a task by the government in September 1996 to co-ordinate various measures in the counties to increase economic growth and employment by bringing in regional actors. The first proposal for regional autonomy and a regional parliament had been introduced by the Social Democratic Party's local districts in Scania and Västra Götaland already in 1993. When Sweden joined the European Union two years later, the concept "Regions of Europe" came in focus and a more regionalism-friendly approach was adopted in national politics. These factors contributed to the subsequent transformation of Skåne County into one of the first "trial regions" in Sweden in 1999, established as the country's first "regional experiment".
The relatively strong regional identity in Scania is often referred to in order to explain the general support in the province for the decentralization and regionalization efforts introduced by the Swedish government. On the basis of large scale interview investigations about Region Skåne in the region, scholars have found that the prevailing trend among the inhabitants of Scania is to "[look] upon their region with more positive eyes and a firm reliance that it would deliver the goods in terms of increased democracy and constructive results out of economic planning". The regionalist grassroots organizations in Scania generally oppose separatism and nationalism, while embracing multi-culturalism, cross-border activities and Swedish EU membership.
The geography of Scania was shaped by the last ice age, the Weichsel glaciation, a time when it was totally covered with ice. The relief of Scania's south-western landscape was formed by thick Quaternary deposits from sediment accumulation during the glaciations. Hallandsåsen and Söderåsen are major landmarks but, contrary to popular belief, they are not ridges left behind by the retreating ice but horsts formed by inversion tectonic activity along the Tornquist Tectonic zone in the late Cretaceous. The Scanian horsts run in a North-West to South-West direction, marking the southwest border of Fennoscandia.
Unlike some of the other regions of Sweden, the Scanian landscape is not mountainous. With the exception of the lake-rich and densely forested northern parts (Göinge), the rolling hills in the north-west (the Bjäre and Kulla peninsulas) and the beech-wood clad areas extending from the slopes of the horsts, a sizeable portion of Scania's terrain consists of plains. Its low profile and open landscape distinguish Scania from most other geographical regions of Sweden which consist mainly of waterway-rich, cool, mixed coniferous forests, boreal taiga and alpine tundra. The province has several lakes but they are a whole lot fewer compared with the province just north of Scania, Småland. Stretching from the north-western to the south-eastern parts of Scania is a belt of deciduous forests following the Linderödsåsen ridge and previously marking the border between Malmöhus County and Kristianstad County. The much denser fir forests—so typical of the greater part of Sweden—are only found in the north-eastern Göinge parts of Scania along the border with the forest dominated province of Småland. At some places, like f.i. north of Malmö, the terrain is almost entirelly flat, but more common is a slightly sloping profile.
Where the sea meet higher parts of the sloping landscape, dramatical steep descents emerges very suddenly. Such steeps arewhite if the soil has a high contence of chalk (like "the White cliffs of Dover"), but in Scania (and parts of Denmark) the soil is more sandy, and the cliffs are yellow instead. Good examples of such coastlines exists at the southern side of Ven in Øresund, at the and also between the towns Helsingborg and Landskrona. Such yellow coastlines cliffs also exists in nearby south-eastern Denmark, Stevns Klint and Møns Klint and at the German island of Rügen by Kap Arkona. But in other Swedish provinces steep coastlines usually reveals primary rock instead.
The two major plains, Söderslätt in the south-west and Österlen in the south-east, consist of highly fertile agricultural land—the yield per unit area is higher than in any other region in Sweden. The Scanian plains are an important resource for the rest of Sweden since between 25-95% of the total production of various types of cereals come from the region. Almost all Swedish sugar beet comes from Scania, the plant needs a long vegetation period. The same applies also to corn, pea and rape (grown for it's vegetarian oil), although these plants are less imperative in compare with sugar beets. The soil is among the most fertile in the world.
The vast majority of Scania belongs to the European hardwood vegetation zone (today mostly agricultural). This area covers Europe west of Poland and north of the Alps, and includes the British Isles, northern and central France, Belgium and Holland up to Denmark. The northern border towards the pinewood vegetation zone passes through the north-eastern part of the province. South of this border fir do not grow naturally. Some pine may grow together with birch on sandy soil though. The most common tree is beech, of which large forests remain. During the last millennium most of theses forest has been replaced with agricultural areas. Other common trees are willow, oak, ash, alder and elm (which until the 1970s formed a few forests but now is heavily infected by the elm disease). Also rather southern trees like walnut tree, chestnut and hornbeam can be found. In parks also horse chestnut, lime and maple are commonly planted. Fruit trees consist of several varieties of apple, pear, cherry, plum and strawberry. Examples of wild berries are blackberry, raspberry, cloudberry (in the north-east), blueberry, wild strawberry and loganberry.
It has been estimated that around 1570, Scania had about 110,000 inhabitants. But before the plague in the middle of the 14th century the population of all Danish territory east of Øresund (Scania, Island of Bornholm, Blekinge and Halland) may have exceeded 250,000.
In 1658 the following ten places in Scania were chartered and held town rights: Lund (since approximately 990), Helsingborg (1085), Falsterbo (approximately 1200), Ystad (approximately 1200), Skanör (approximately 1200), Malmö (approximately 1250), Simrishamn (approximately 1300), Landskrona (1413), and Kristianstad (1622). Others had existed earlier, but lost their privileges. Ängelholm got new privileges in 1767, and in 1754 Falsterbo and Skanör were merged. The concept of municipalities was introduced in Sweden in 1863, making each of the towns a city municipality of its own. In the 19th and 20th centuries four more municipalities were granted city status, Trelleborg (1867), Eslöv (1911), Hässleholm (1914) and Höganäs (1936). The system with city status was abolished in 1971.
Over 90% of Scania's population live in urban areas. In 2000, the Öresund bridge—the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe—linked Malmö and Copenhagen, making Scania's population part of a 3.6 million total population in the Öresund Region. In 2005, the region had 9,200 commuters crossing the bridge daily, the vast majority of them from Malmö to Copenhagen.
Scania was formerly divided into 23 hundreds.
Scania has the mildest climate in Sweden, but there are great regional differences. The SMHI weather station in Malmö reports the highest annual average temperature in Sweden 8.4 °C (47.1 °F). The coldest month is February 0.0 °C (32 °F) and the hottest is July 17.1 °C (62.8 °F). The highest temperature ever recorded in the province is 36.0 °C (97 °F) (Ängelholm, 30 July 1947) and the lowest ever recorded is −34 °C (−29 °F) (Stehag, 26 January 1942) Temperatures below −15 °C (5 °F) are extremely rare even at night though, while daytime summer temperatures above 30 °C (86 °F) occurs once in a while evry summer.
Scania's long-running and sometimes intense trade relations with other communities along the coast of the European continent through history have made the culture of Scania distinct from other geographical regions of Sweden. Its open landscape, often described as a colourful patchwork quilt of wheat and rapeseed fields, and the relatively mild climate at the southern tip of the Scandinavian peninsula, have inspired many Swedish artists and authors to compare it to European regions like Provence in southern France and Zeeland in the Netherlands. Among the many authors who have described the "foreign" continental elements of the Scanian landscape, diet and customs are August Strindberg and Carl Linnaeus. In 1893 August Strindberg wrote about Scania: "In beautiful, large wave lines, the fields undulate down toward the lake; a small deciduous forest limits the coastline, which is given the inviting look of the Riviera, where people shall walk in the sun, protected from the north wind. [...] The Swede leaves the plains with a certain sense of comfort, because its beauty is foreign to him." In another chapter he states: "The Swedes have a history that is not the history of the South Scandinavians. It must be just as foreign as Vasa’s history is to the Scanian."
In Ystad singer-songwriter Michael Saxell's popular Scanian anthem Om himlen och Österlen (Of Heaven and Österlen), the flat, rolling hill landscape is described as appearing to be a little closer to heaven and the big, unending sky.
Scania's historical connection to Denmark, the vast fertile plains, the deciduous forests and the relatively mild climate make the province culturally and physically distinct from the emblematic Swedish cultural landscape of forests and small hamlets.
Traditional Scanian architecture is shaped by the limited availability of wood; it incorporates different applications of the building technique called half-timbering. In the cities, the infill of the façades consisted of bricks, whereas the country-side half-timbered houses had infill made of clay and straw. Unlike many other Scanian towns, the town of Ystad has managed to preserve a rather large core of its half-timbered architecture in the city center—over 300 half-timbered houses still exist today. Many of the houses in Ystad were built in the renaissance style that was common in the entire Oresund Region, and which has also been preserved in Elsinore (Helsingør). Among Ystad's half-timbered houses is the oldest such building in Scandinavia, Pilgrändshuset from 1480.
In Göinge, located in the northern part of Scania, the architecture was not shaped by a scarcity of wood, and the pre-17th-century farms consisted of graying, recumbent timber buildings around a small grass and cobblestone courtyard. Only a small number of the original Göinge farms remain today. During two campaigns, the first in 1612 by Gustav II Adolf and the second by Charles XI in the 1680s, entire districts were levelled by fire. In Örkened Parish, in what is now eastern Osby Municipality, the buildings were destroyed to punish the different villages for their protection of members of the Snapphane movement in the late 17th century. An original, 17th century Göinge farm, Sporrakulla Farm, has been preserved in a forest called Kullaskogen, a nature reserve close to Glimåkra in Östra Göinge. According to the local legend, the farmer saved the farm in the first raid of 1612 by setting a forest fire in front of it, making the Swedish troops believe that the farm had already been plundered and set ablaze.
A number of Scanian towns flourished during the Viking Age. The city of Lund is believed to have been founded by the Viking-king Sweyn Forkbeard. Scanian craftsmen and traders were prospering during this era and Denmark's first and largest mint was established in Lund. The first Scanian coins have been dated to 870 AD. The archaeological excavations performed in the city indicate that the oldest known stave church in Scania was built by Sweyn Forkbeard in Lund in 990. In 1103, Lund was made the archbishopric for all of Scandinavia.
Many of the old churches in today's Scanian landscape stem from the medieval age, although many church renovations, extensions and destruction of older buildings took place in the 16th and 19th century. From those that have kept features of the authentic style, it is still possible to see how the medieval, Romanesque or Renaissance churches of Danish Scania looked like. Many Scanian churches have distinctive Crow-stepped gables and sturdy church porches, usually made of stone.
The first version of Lund Cathedral was built in 1050, in sandstone from Höör, on the initiative of Canute the Holy. The oldest parts of today's cathedral are from 1085, but the actual cathedral was constructed during the first part of the 12th century with the help of stone cutters and sculptors from the Rhine valley and Italy, and was ready for use in 1123. It was consecrated in 1145 and for the next 400 years, Lund became the ecclesiastical power center for Scandinavia and one of the most important cities in Denmark. The cathedral was altered in the 16th century by architect Adam van Düren and later by Carl Georg Brunius and Helgo Zetterwall.
Scania also has churches built in the gothic style, such as Saint Petri Church in Malmö, dating from the early 14th century. Similar buildings can be found in all Hansa cities around the Baltic Sea (such as Helsingborg and Rostock). The parishes in the countryside did not have the means for such extravagant buildings. Possibly the most notable countryside church is the ancient and untouched stone church in Dalby. It is the oldest stone church in Sweden, built around the same time as Lund cathedral. After the Lund Cathedral was built, many of the involved workers travelled around the province and used their acquired skills to make baptism fonts, paintings and decorations, and naturally architectural constructions.
Scania has 240 castles and country estates—more than any other province in Sweden. Many of them received their current shape during the 16th century, when new or remodelled castles started to appear in greater numbers, often erected by the reuse of stones and material from the original 11th–15th-century castles and abbeys found at the estates. Between 1840 and 1900, the landed nobility in Scania built and rebuilt many of the castles again, often by modernizing previous buildings at the same location in a style that became typical for Scania. The style is a mixture of different architectural influences of the era, but frequently refers back to the style of the 16th-century castles of the Reformation era, a time when the large estates of the Catholic Church were made Crown property and the abbeys bartered or sold to members of the aristocracy by the Danish king. For many of the 19th century remodels, Danish architects were called in. According to some scholars, the driving force behind the use of historical Scanian architecture, as interpreted by 19th century Danish architects using Dutch Renaissance style, was a wish to refer back to an earlier era when the aristocracy had special privileges and political power in relation to the Danish king.
Scanian dialects have various local native idioms and speech patterns, and realizes diphthongs and South Scandinavian Uvular trill, as opposed to the supradental /r/-sound characteristic of spoken Standard Swedish. They are very similar to the dialect of Danish spoken in Bornholm, Denmark. The prosody of the Scanian dialects has more in common with German, Danish and Dutch (and sometimes also with English, although to a lesser extent) than with the prosody of central Swedish dialects.
Famous Scanian authors include Victoria Benedictsson, (1850–1888) from Domme, Trelleborg, who wrote about the inequality of women in the 19th century society, but who also authored regional stories about Scania, such as From Skåne of 1884; Ola Hansson (1860–1925) from Hönsinge, Trelleborg; Vilhelm Ekelund (1880–1949) from Stehag, Eslöv; Fritiof Nilsson Piraten (1895–1972) from Vollsjö, Sjöbo; Hjalmar Gullberg (1898–1961) from Malmö; Artur Lundkvist (1906–1991) from Hagstad, Perstorp; Hans Alfredsson (born 1931) and Jacques Werup (born 1945), both from Malmö. Birgitta Trotzig (1929-2011) from Gothenburg has written several historic novels set in Scania, such as The Exposed of 1957, which describes life in 17th century Scania with a primitive country priest as its main character and the 1961 novel A Tale from the Coast, which recounts a legend about human suffering and is set in Scania in the 15th century. Gabriel Jönsson, (1892–1984) from Ålabodarna, Landskrona;
A printing-house was established in the city of Malmö in 1528. It became instrumental in the propagation of new ideas and during the 16th century, Malmö became the center for the Danish reformation.
Scanian culture, as expressed through the medium of textile art, has received international attention during the last decade. The art form, often referred to as Scanian Marriage Weavings, flourished from 1750 for a period of 100 years, after which it slowly vanished. Consisting of small textile panels mainly created for wedding ceremonies, the art is strongly symbolic, often expressing ideas about fertility, longevity and a sense of hope and joy. The Scanian artists were female weavers working at home, who had learned to weave at a young age, often in order to have a marriage chest filled with beautiful tapestries as a dowry.
According to international collectors and art scholars, the Scanian patterns are of special interest for the striking similarities with Roman, Byzantine and Asian art. The designs are studied by art historians tracing how portable decorative goods served as transmitters of art concepts from culture to culture, influencing designs and patterns along the entire length of the ancient trade routes. The Scanian textiles show how goods traded along the Silk Road brought Coptic, Anatolian, and Chinese designs and symbols into the folk art of far away regions like Scania, where they were reinterpreted and integrated into the local culture. Some of the most ancient designs in Scanian textile art are pairs of birds facing a tree with a "Great Bird" above, often symbolized simply by its wings. Regionally derived iconography include mythological Scanian river horses in red (Swedish: bäckahästar), with horns on their foreheads and misty clouds from their nostrils. The horse motif has been traced to patterns on 4th and 5th century Egyptian fabrics, but in Scanian art it is transformed to illustrate the Norse river horse of Scanian folklore.
The title of duke was reintroduced in Sweden in 1772 and since this time, Swedish princes have been created dukes of various provinces, although the titles are purely nominal.
The Dukes of Skåne are:
From his marriage, in 1905, King Gustaf VI Adolf had his summer residence at Sofiero Palace in Helsingborg. He and his family spent their summers there, and the cabinet meetings held there during the summer months forced the ministers to arrive by night train from Stockholm. He died at Helsingborg Hospital in 1973.
Football in the province is administered by Skånes Fotbollförbund.
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