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The provinces of Sweden (Swedish: Sveriges landskap) are historical, geographical and cultural regions. Sweden has 25 provinces and they have no administrative function, but remain historical legacies and the means of cultural identification. Dialects and folklore rather follows the provincial borders than the borders of the counties.
Several of them were subdivisions of Sweden until 1634, when they were replaced by the counties of Sweden (län). Some were conquered later on from Denmark–Norway. Others, like the provinces of Finland, were lost. Lapland is the only province acquired through colonization.
In some cases, the administrative counties correspond almost exactly to the provinces, as is Blekinge to Blekinge County and Gotland, which is a province, county and a municipality. While not exactly corresponding with the province, Härjedalen Municipality is beside Gotland the only municipality named after a province. In other cases, they do not, which then enhances the cultural importance of the provinces. In addition, the administrative units are subject to continuous changes–several new counties were for instance created in the 1990s–while the provinces have had their historical borders outlined for centuries. Since 1884 all the provinces are also ceremonial duchies, but as such have no administrative or political functions.
The provinces of Sweden are still used in colloquial speech and cultural references, and can therefore not be regarded as an archaic concept. The main exception is Lapland where the population see themselves as a part of Västerbotten or Norrbotten, based on the counties. Two other exceptions are Stockholm and Gothenburg, where the population see themselves as living in the city, not in a province, since both cities have province borders through them.
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