Provinces of Finland


Provinces of Finland
Finland

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The state of Finland consisted of six provinces (Finnish: läänit, Swedish: län) between the years 1997 and 2009. The provincial authority was part of the central government's executive branch, not directly elected. The system was created in 1634, and its makeup was changed drastically in 1997, when the number of the provinces was reduced from twelve to six. This effectively made them purely administrative units, as linguistic and cultural boundaries did not follow the borders of the provinces.

The provinces were abolished altogether on January 1, 2010. Six Regional State Administrative Agencies (aluehallintovirasto, regionförvaltningsverk) – in addition to the Government of Åland – now form the government's regional administration: Etelä-Suomi, Itä-Suomi, Lounais-Suomi, Länsi- ja Sisä-Suomi, Pohjois-Suomi, Lappi. Among these, Lounais-Suomi and Länsi- ja Sisä-Suomi cover the old province of Länsi-Suomi, and the old province of Oulu was renamed as Pohjois-Suomi; other old provincial boundaries remain much the same in the new disposition.

Duties

Since the late 19th century the state of Finland has been bilingual. Its governmental offices and agencies use both domestic languages in contacts with the public. Each province was led by a governor (maaherra, landshövding) who was appointed by the president on the recommendation of the cabinet. The governor was the head of the State Provincial Office (lääninhallitus, länsstyrelse), which acted as the joint regional authority for seven ministries in the following domains:

  • social services and health care
  • education and culture
  • police administration
  • rescue services
  • traffic administration
  • competition and consumer affairs
  • judicial administration

The official administrative subentities under the Provincial Office authorities were the Registry Offices (Finnish maistraatti, Swedish magistrat). Formerly there was also a division to state local districts (Finnish kihlakunta, Swedish härad), which were districts for police, prosecution, and bailiff services, but there was reorganization such that 24 police districts were founded. These usually encompass multiple municipalities.

Provinces governed only state offices, such as the police. Most services, such as healthcare and maintenance of local streets, were and remain the responsibility of municipalities of Finland. Many municipalities are too small for a hospital and some other services, so they cooperate in municipality groups, e.g. health care districts, using borders that vary depending on the type of service. Often Swedish-language municipalities cooperate even if they do not share a border.

Provinces of Finland, 1997–2009

No. Coats of arms Provinces Finnish and
Swedish names
Residence city Largest city Population (2003) Area (km²) Merged Provinces (1997) Map
1.
Etelä-Suomen läänin vaakuna.svg
Southern Finland Etelä-Suomen lääni
Södra Finlands län
Hämeenlinna
Tavastehus
Helsinki 2,116,914 34,378 Uusimaa, Kymi, Häme FI-provinces-numbered.svg
2.
Länsi-Suomen läänin vaakuna.svg
Western Finland Länsi-Suomen lääni
Västra Finlands län
Turku
Åbo
Tampere 1,848,269 74,185 Vaasa, Turku-Pori, Central Finland, Häme
3.
Itä-Suomen läänin vaakuna.svg
Eastern Finland Itä-Suomen lääni
Östra Finlands län
Mikkeli
S:t Michel
Kuopio 582,781 48,726 Kuopio, North Karelia, Mikkeli
4.
Oulun läänin vaakuna.svg
Oulu Oulun lääni
Uleåborgs län
Oulu
Uleåborg
Oulu 458,504 57,000 No changes
5.
Lapin läänin vaakuna.svg
Lapland Lapin lääni
Lapplands län
Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi
Rovaniemi 186,917 98,946 No changes
6.
Aland coat of arms.svg
Åland[a] Ahvenanmaan lääni
Ålands län[b]
Mariehamn[b]
Maarianhamina
Mariehamn 26,000 6,784 No changes

a. ^ Some duties, which in Mainland Finland are handled by the provinces, are on the Åland Islands transferred to the autonomous Government of Åland.
b. ^ The Åland Islands are unilingually Swedish.


The provinces that existed in 1917 or thereafter

Former provinces of the Republic of Finland
name dates of existence notes
English Finnish Swedish
Province of Åland Ahvenanmaan maakunta ja lääni Ålands landskap och län 1918–2009 • had a special status: even though the province was discontinued at the end of 2009 along with the others, there was (and still is) a coextensive "maakunta" (a translation of "province" with a slightly different meaning from the usual) that is semi-autonomous and demilitarized by international treaties
Province of Central Finland Keski-Suomen lääni Mellersta Finlands län 1960–1997 • split off from the Provinces of Vaasa, Häme, Mikkeli and Kuopio
• merged into the Province of Western Finland
Province of Eastern Finland Itä-Suomen lääni Östra Finlands län 1997–2009 • see previous section
Province of Häme Hämeen lääni Tavastehus län 1831–1997 • produced by splitting the Province of Uusimaa and Häme
• merged into the Provinces of Southern Finland and Western Finland
Province of Kuopio Kuopion lääni Kuopio län 1776–1997 • underwent many changes since its founding as the Province of Savo and Karjala, mostly due to the fluctuation of Finland's border with Russia
• merged into the Province of Eastern Finland
Province of Kymi Kymen lääni Kymmene län 1947–1997 • formed from the part of the Province of Viipuri that remained on the Finnish side of the border with Russia
• merged into the Province of Southern Finland
Province of Lapland Lapin lääni Lapplands län 1938–2009 • split off from the Province of Oulu
Province of Mikkeli Mikkelin lääni St. Michels län 1831–1997 • split off from the Province of Kymenkartano (which had been abolished by 1917)
• merged into the Provinces of Eastern Finland and Southern Finland
Province of Northern Karelia Pohjois-Karjalan lääni Norra Karelens län 1960–1997 • split off from the Province of Kuopio
• merged into the Province of Eastern Finland
Province of Oulu Oulun lääni Uleåborgs län 1634–2009 • one of the original provinces formed in 1634, though parts were split off since then
Province of Pechenga Petsamon lääni Petsamo län 1921–1922 • gained from Soviet Russia
• merged into the Province of Oulu
• the entire area of the former Province of Pechenga was lost to the Soviet Union in World War II
Province of Southern Finland Etelä-Suomen lääni Södra Finlands län 1997–2009 • see previous section
Province of Turku and Pori Turun ja Porin lääni Åbo och Björneborgs län 1634–1997 • one of the original provinces formed in 1634, though parts were split off since then
• merged into the Province of Western Finland
Province of Uusimaa Uudenmaan lääni Nylands län 1831–1997 • produced by splitting the Province of Uusimaa and Häme
• merged into the Province of Southern Finland
Province of Vaasa Vaasan lääni Vasa län 1776–1997 • split off from the province of Pohjanmaa
• merged into the Province of Western Finland
Province of Viipuri Viipurin lääni Viborgs län 1634–1947 • one of the original provinces formed in 1634
• underwent many changes since founding, mostly due to the fluctuation of Finland's border with Russia
• most of its area was lost to the Soviet Union in World War II, and the remainder became the Province of Kymi
Province of Western Finland Länsi-Suomen lääni Västra Finlands län 1997–2009 • see previous section

In 1634, administratives provinces were formed in Sweden, and therefore in Finland, which was a part of Sweden until 1809. Six of the provinces covered what is now Finland; some of these also covered parts of what are now Sweden and Russia. The exact division of the country into provinces has fluctuated over time.

The boundaries of the old provinces partly survives in telephone area codes and electoral districts. The exception is Helsinki: there is a telephone numbering area that comprises Greater Helsinki (code 09), while only the city of Helsinki proper comprises the electoral district of Helsinki. The rest of Greater Helsinki belonging to the Uusimaa electoral district.

Historic maps

Provinces of Finland 1634: 1a: Uusimaa and Hämeenlinna, 2: Turku and Pori, 5a: Viipuri, 8a: Käkisalmi, 10a: Ostrobothnia
Provinces of Finland 1776: 1a: Uusimaa and Hämenelinna, 2: Turku and Pori, 6a: Kyminkartano, 7: Kuopio, 10: Vaasa, 11: Oulu
Provinces of Finland 1831: 1: Uusimaa, 2: Turku and Pori, 4: Häme, 5a: Viipuri, 6: Mikkeli, 7: Kuopio, 10: Vaasa, 11: Oulu
Provinces of Finland 1938: 1: Uusimaa, 2: Turku and Pori, 3: Aland, 4: Häme, 5a: Viipuri, 6: Mikkeli, 7: Kuopio, 10: Vaasa, 11: Oulu, 12: Lapland
Provinces of Finland 1945: 1: Uusimaa, 2: Turku and Pori, 3: Aland, 4: Häme, 5: Kymi, 6: Mikkeli, 7: Kuopio, 10: Vaasa, 11: Oulu, 12: Lapland
Provinces of Finland 1960: 1: Uusimaa, 2: Turku and Pori, 3: Aland, 4: Häme, 5a: Viipuri, 6: Mikkeli, 7: Kuopio, 8: Northern Karelia, 9, Central Finland, 10: Vaasa, 11: Oulu, 12: Lapland

See also

Notes

External links


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