Scania (in Swedish and Danish) is a geographical region on the southernmost tip of the Scandinavian peninsula, a traditional province (landskap) in the Kingdom of Sweden, before 1658 a province in the Kingdom of Denmark and part of the historical lands of Denmark. To the north, it borders the provinces Halland, Småland and Blekinge, to the east and south the Baltic Sea, and to the west the Oresund strait. It is part of the transnational Oresund Region and the historical region Skåneland (Terra Scaniae or "Scania land"). Around 130 km long from north to south, Scania covers less than 3% of Sweden's total area. The population of approximately 1,200,000 represents 13% of Sweden's total population.
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.
An earlier administrative and political function of the province was to serve as a core area for one of the three provincial things that together elected the king of Denmark. The first Danish administrative sub-divisioning of Scania occurred as part of the centralization process, when the province became divided into administrative units called hundreds (herreder in Danish). The hundreds were possibly based on older, already existing units, but the establishment of the new form of hundreds was prompted by an increase in royal power during the High Middle Ages. These differed from the provincial thing areas in that they were not local communities joined under a governing assembly but top-down regional divisions established to ensure royal authority. These medieval Danish hundreds were used to implement military obligations and to expedite the collection of renders due to the king in the provinces. They were first established in Jutland, were they replaced previous administrative units called syssel. According to some scholars, they were introduced in Scania possible as early as the 11th century. In the 13th century, a new fiscal system was introduced and the hundreds were gradually included into larger administrative units called len, with a castle serving as the administrative center. This new administrative development was a result of the increased power of the aristocracy. In each len, a noble man was put in charge, with the title lensmand.
Under Swedish administration, several different administrative divisions have been in effect in the province. For most of the period between 1658 and 1719, Scania was part of a dominion called Skånska Generalguvernementet in Swedish. During the era of the dominion, Scania was subdivided into several different versions of early counties, which were subordinated a General-Governor for most of the period. In 1719, the Scanian dominion was suspended and the province was divided into two administrative counties, Kristianstad County and Malmöhus County, which had the same function and organization as other Swedish counties. With the exception of a short period 1801-1809 when the dominion was reintroduced, this county division was in effect until 1997, at which point a larger administrative unit, Skåne County, was created. The new county covers all of the province, with the addition of a small parish in Båstad Municipality, Östra Karup (43.57 km² and 2,000 inhabitants), which is part of the adjacent province Halland.
In 1999, a region was implemented on a trial basis in Scania, with a regional council, Region Skåne, responsible for the overall political organization and the development of the region. The regional assembly is currently the highest political body in the region and its members are elected by the Scanians themselves, as opposed to the county administrative council that guards the interest of the state in the region under the chairmanship of the county governor (landshövding in Swedish).
The coat of arms for the province are based on the Danish era arms for the city of Malmö. The Malmö coat of arms were granted in 1437 during the Kalmar Union by Eric of Pomerania and contains a Pomeranian griffin. The province coat of arms was created and granted for the funeral of Charles X Gustav of Sweden in 1660. . It is represented with a ducal coronet, and the formal description (blazon) is: "Or, a Griffin's head erased Gules, crowned Azure and armed Azure, when it should be armed."
Coat of arms:
The arms for the new county is based on the coat of arms for Kristianstad County and Malmöhus County, which in turn were based on the province arms. The Skåne County coat of arms have the red and yellow colors of the province arms reversed and a crown, beak and tongue in yellow instead of blue. When the county arms is shown with a Swedish royal crown, it represents the County Administrative Board, which is the regional presence of (royal) government authority. The griffin's head of the provincial coat of arms is also the region's arms, but with a different tinctures. The 33 municipalities within the county also have coat of arms.
In the Alfredian translation of Orosius and Wulfstan's travel accounts, the Old English form Sconeg appears. Frankish sources mention a place called Sconaowe; Aethelweard, an Anglo-Saxon historian, wrote about Scani; and in Beowulf's fictional account, the names Scedenige and Scedeland appear as names for what appears to be a Danish land.
Historically the province of Scania was a part of the Eastern Province of Denmark, referred to as Terra Scania in medieval texts, as Skåneland or "Skånelandskapen" in later Swedish texts and as Skånelandene in Danish.). Together with Jutland and Zealand, the other two Lands of Denmark, this land formed a Danish state in the 9th century. Common for the provinces of Skåneland were the Scanian Law and the Scanian Thing (assembly).
The region's status as a dominion was suspended in 1669 but recreated in 1676 before the start of the Scanian War. During 1676-1679, Scania, with the exception of Malmö, was again under Danish administration, but the peace dictated by France on behalf of Sweden in the Treaty of Lund (1679) returned Scania to Swedish administration. The 1676-1679 war between Denmark and Sweden over Scania was devastating for the people of Scania. It ended in a draw, after much destruction of property and suffering for the civilian population.
However, in 1680 Sweden’s first era of absolute monarchy was ushered in as the Swedish king Charles XI managed to convince the Diet, (the Riksdag of the Estates, an early form of Swedish Parliament) to declare the king "a Christian ruler with absolute power to rule his kingdom at his discretion". In 1682, the Diet downgraded the Council of State to a King's Council and gave the king unlimited powers to legislate without the need for confirmation from the Diet. A decision not to honor the agreement of the Malmö Recess soon followed and a tougher Swedification program was implemented in Scania, aiming to create uniformity within the Swedish kingdom. Scania was allowed to retain its old laws and customs until 1683, at which point the Swedish administration persuaded the Scanian aristocracy to waive the Scanian laws and privileges in favor of the new Swedish law and church ordinance, as a condition for allowing Scanians to have representation in the Swedish parliament.
An entire staff of Swedish politicians, artists, poets and scholars were engaged in creating an image of the king as an instrument of God and a personification of the apocalyptic "Lion of the North", a form of symbolic imagery first introduced for Gustav II Adolf. The propaganda was not only aimed at convincing the Swedish population of the king's divinely ordained power, but was also part of a campaign to present Sweden to the world as an imperial power of considerable wealth and military glory. The conquest and domination of Scania was an important theme in the art commissioned by the court to glorify the king. Many works of art from the era show Charles XI as a victorious warrior in Scania and on the central panel of Jacques Foucquet’s monumental ceiling painting in the Stockholm Royal Palace, Charles XI is depicted with "the goddess of Scania" at his feet.
Halland and Blekinge were successively removed from the Skåneland dominion and became fully integrated into the Swedish Kingdom, while the counties of Scania were joined into one county. By 1693, only Scania County was left a dominion, with a special, not fully integrated, status. It retained its autonomy with a parliament known as the Lantdag.
Scania's status was changed on May 9, 1719, when it was divided into two counties, Malmöhus County and Kristianstad County, and became fully integrated, with two county governors and an administration identical to the other Swedish counties. However, the hostilities between Denmark and Sweden during the Napoleonic Wars caused Sweden to revert Scania's status again and a General-Governor was reintroduced. Between 1801 and 1809, Johan Christopher Toll was appointed General-Governor of Scania, with the county governors of Kristianstad County and Malmöhus County answering to him. On January 1, 1997, the two Scanian counties were joined into the present Skåne County and in 1999, a regional pilot project was introduced.Swedish — Danish rivalry
Scania's geographical location on the southern end of the Scandinavian peninsula has promoted strong political and economical ties with Denmark throughout the major portion of the provinces's history. The strait separating the towns Helsingborg and Helsingør is only 4 km wide, while the forrested terrain to the north through Småland was hard to traverse and acted as a natural barrier before the establishment railways and other modern infrastructure. Since the end of the Kalmar Union, Scania has been the focal point of conflict and rivalry between Denmark and Sweden. By possessing both sides of the Øresund Strait, Denmark had effective control over the entrance to the Baltic Sea and was able to monopolize trade through the sound. From the 15th century, Denmark started to collect a Sound Toll, a transitory due from all foreign ships passing through the strait, whether en route to or from Denmark or not. The Sound Toll constituted a substrantial source of income for the Danish crown, up until the 19th century and was resented by the Swedish Crown.
In the Treaty of Bromsebro in 1645, Sweden's representatives stipulated toll freedom in Oresund for the country, and after this point, Sweden was exempted from paying the Danish Sound Toll. However, this arrangement came to an end in 1720, when the Treaty of Fredriksborg officially ended Sweden's toll free status. Denmark continued to collect Sound Toll until 1857.
The status of Scania and the influence Scania has on the relationship between Denmark and Sweden are still contentious issues in the nationalistic discourse in the two countries. One of the state nationalist parties, the Sweden Democrats, is active in Scania and has launched frequent campaigns in the province under the slogan "Keep Sweden Swedish", a slogan which party spokesmen pronounced was their "most important message" during the 2006 election campaign. A member of the nationalist Danish People's Party created another stir in December 2007 by announcing that he would like to see Scania, Halland and Blekinge reunited with Denmark, if they expressed such a desire through a referendum. In response to the debate and the controversy erupting over the statement, several of the major Swedish newspapers conducted informal polls asking its Scanian readership, "Which country do you want to belong to?" and Swedes in general "Do you think we should give away Scania to Denmark?". The results of the polls in the Scanian newspapers Helsingborgs Dagblad, Kristianstad Bladet and Norra Skåne indicated that about half of those participating favored Sweden, half favored Denmark. In the larger national polls conducted by the Swedish newspapers Expressen, Svenska Dagbladet and Aftonbladet (the latter eliciting more than 182,000 responses), about 50 percent of the votes were cast in favor of the suggestion that Sweden should give Scania to Denmark and 50 percent were against. The least amount of votes in the Scanian newspapers' polls were cast in favor of the alternative "neither country", a result which is in line with the conclusions drawn in comparative political science studies in regards to the issue of secession in Scania.
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.
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 in Scania's south-western landscape is 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-woods clad areas extending from the slopes of the horsts, a sizeable portion of Scania's terrain consists of plains. The low profile and the open landscape distinguish Scania from the other geographical regions of Sweden which consist mainly of waterway-rich, cool mixed, coniferous forests, boreal taiga and alpine tundra. 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. Denser fir forests are found in the north-eastern Göinge parts along the border with the forest dominated province of Småland.
The two major plains, Söderslätt in the south-west och 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 25-50% of the total production of various types of cereals come from the region. In addition, close to 90% of Sweden's sugar beets are grown in Scania. The soil is among the most fertile in the world.
Over 90% of Scania's population live in urban areas. In 2000, the Oresund 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 Oresund Region. In 2005, the region had 9,200 commuters crossing the bridge daily, the vast majority of them from Malmö to Copenhagen.
The below list of towns all held City status in Sweden until the term was abolished in Sweden in 1971 in favour of municipalities. In Danish times, other towns had been granted a royal charter, but the towns remained small.
The motorway built between between Malmö and Lund in 1953 was the first motorway in Sweden. With the opening of the Oresund bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen (the longest combined road and rail bridge in Europe) in 2000, the Swedish motorways were linked with European route E20 in Denmark, and the two countries' railway systems were physically connected. Before the bridge was built there were train ferries operated between Helsingborg and Helsingør. There are also train ferries to and from Germany and Poland.
Scania has three major public airports, Malmö Airport, Ängelholm-Helsingborg Airport and Kristianstad Airport. One of the oldest airports in the world still in use is located in Scania, namely Ljungbyhed Airport, in operation since 1910. Starting in 1926, the Swedish Air force used the airport for flight training, and up until the military school was moved to the nearby Ängelholm F10 Wing in 1997, the airport was extremely busy. In the late 1980s, it was Sweden's busiest airport, with a record high of more than 1,400 take-offs and landings per day.
Scania's long-running and sometimes intense trade relations with other communities along the coast of the European continent through history has made the culture of Scania distinct from other geographical regions of Sweden. Its open landscape, often described as a colorful patchwork quilt of corn and rape 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.
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 leveled 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 remodeled 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 (born 1929) 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.
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 reinterpretated 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 (bäckahästar in Swedish), 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 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.