Swedish society

Sweden is a democracy. This means that the people govern by electing parties or individuals who have the right to make important decisions. The individuals elected are called politicians. They make decisions in municipal assemblies, county council assemblies and the Riksdag (Swedish Parliament).

Some important foundations of Swedish society

  • Freedom of the press and freedom of expression: everyone must be able to express their thoughts, opinions and feelings in speech and writing.
  • Freedom of association; the right to join or start an association is a fundamental part of a democracy.
  • Freedom of religion or freedom of faith is the right to decide freely whether to practise a religion. Freedom of religion counts as one of the human rights.
  • Rule of law means that everyone must be equal before the law. A person shall be regarded as innocent until he or she has been found guilty by a court.

Sweden is governed through the state, county councils and municipalities

Government agencies and state-owned companies

The Riksdag, the Government and Government Offices, and government authorities and agencies work for the state (central government) but are represented throughout Sweden. The National Board of Health and Welfare, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and the county administrative board are examples of government agencies.

Counties (Län)

Sweden is divided into 21 geographical areas known as counties. A county covers a large area and is made up of several municipalities. One of the local authorities in counties is the county administrative board (länsstyrelsen), which serves as a link between the central government and the municipalities. Every county has a county administrative board and a county governor (landshövding). The county administrative board is involved with many different things, including civil protection, infrastructure and building, environmental protection and conservation, integration, animals, hunting and fishing.

County councils/Regions

A county council is the political body responsible for certain services and functions in each county. County councils are led by elected assemblies known as landstingsfullmäktige (county council assemblies) and landstingsstyrelser (county council boards). County councils are responsible for e g health and medical care and public transport. Some county councils are also responsible for regional development, and therefore call themselves regions.


Municipalities are governed by municipal assemblies and municipal executive committees. The municipalities are responsible for schools, libraries, home care services, fire services and cleaning, for example.

This site contains information about the Swedish society and is run by the County Administrative Boards of Sweden
© Copyright 2016 County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland

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