Jämtland Härjedalen lies at the heart of the Scandinavian peninsula and is one of Sweden’s 25 counties, situated in the inland of southern Norrland, in central Sweden, bordered by Norway’s Tröndelag to the west. In terms of surface area, Jämtland Härjedalen is the second-biggest county at 34,009 square kilometres, or 8.2 per cent of Sweden’s total surface area. It stretches 315 kilometres north to south and 250 kilometres east to west.
History & politics
Jämtland Härjedalen has an interesting history, and from 1178 Jämtland Härjedalen belonged to Norway for more than 450 years, becoming Swedish at the Peace of Brömsebro in 1645. Jämtland Härjedalen’s shield includes a moose (Jämtland) being attacked from the west by a dog (Norway) and from the east by a falcon (Sweden). This is because historically, socially and politically, Jämtland Härjedalen has been in a difficult position with Norway on the one side and Sweden on the other.
Many people in Jämtland Härjedalen regard the country as a republic in the kingdom of Sweden. King Carl XVI Gustaf is the Duke of Jämtland Härjedalen, a title that he uses when visiting the county.
Hunters and gatherers
The first people to come to Jämtland Härjedalen were hunters and gatherers. They were nomads, and followed game animals as they migrated. The moose was dominate in Jämtland Härjedalen in 6,000 BCE, as shown in numerous examples of rock art. Pitfall traps are often found near rock art in Jämtland Härjedalen, with over 10,000 of them in the area. This is more than the number found in other regions of Scandinavia.
Jämts and Sami
Jämtland has a population of around 120,000 people (Jämts). It is sparsely populated with only 3.3 people per km² and is the county in Sweden that has the most people living in rural areas. The majority live around Lake Storsjön, in the county capital of Östersund and Frösön. The Sami people have lived in Jämtland for hundreds of years, and many Sami were once reindeer herders.
Weather and wind
Jämtland Härjedalen has a temperate climate that is greatly influenced by the North Sea and the Atlantic, due to the many mountain passes. In addition to a large mountain chain, Jämtland’s surface is eight per cent water. The county has two large waterways, Ljungan and Indalsälven, and a large lake, Storsjön.
Flora and fauna
Jämtland Härjedalen has rich flora and fauna, thanks to the great variation of habitat types. The animal that is mainly associated with Jämtland Härjedalen is its emblem, the moose, which is found throughout the county. Northern Jämtland has one of Sweden’s biggest bear populations, but the brown bear is throughout Jämtland Härjedalen. Another common carnivore is the lynx. You could also meet beaver, wolverine, Arctic fox and wolf in Jämtland Härjedalen’s forests and mountains.
Common fish species are trout and whitefish, grayling, perch, pike, char and burbot. You can also see 250 different bird species; alpine species such as bluethroat, long-tail jaeger, dotterel, grouse, Lapland bunting and snow bunting and forest species such as hazel hen, black grouse, capercaillie, Siberian jay.
Jämtland Härjedalen’s flora is characterised coniferous forest, pine and spruce. North-west Jämtland is the region in Sweden with the densest spruce forests. Orchids are common in Jämtland Härjedalen and the county flower, black vanilla orchid, is found in few other places that here and in the Alps. Around 20 different orchids are found here, including yellow lady’s slipper, fly orchid, heath spotted orchid, calypso orchid, ghost orchid and coralroot orchid.
Forest, marshes and mountains are also popular among berry and mushroom pickers, and there are plenty of cloudberries, bilberries, lingonberries and chanterelles, yellow foot mushroom, and funnel chanterelle.