A County, or Län, is an administrative and political subdivision of Sweden. Sweden is divided into 21 counties, and in each county there is a County Administrative Board as well as a County Council. The County Administrative Board, or Länsstyrelse, is appointed by the Government to coordinate administration with national political goals for the County. The County Council on the other hand is a regional government, i.e. a political assembly appointed by the electorate to deliberate on the "municipal" affairs of the County, primarily regarding the public health care system.
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3 See also
List of counties
Each county is further divided into a total of 289 Municipalities or Kommuner (2002).
The Counties were established in 1634 on count Axel Oxenstierna's initiative, superseding the Provinces of Sweden to introduce a modern administration. The most significant change to the county system took place when Sweden, after the Finnish War, was forced to cede the Eastern counties to Russia in the Treaty of Fredrikshamn (1809). Despite this the county reform survived in Finland until 1997 and is still in force in Sweden today.
The Provinces of Sweden, or Landskap, and the Lands of Sweden, or Landsdelar, lack political importance today but are culturally of great significance. The division into the lands of Götaland, Svealand and Norrland is commonly used as a geographical reference.