Norrbotten County (Norrbottens län)
Norrbotten County (Norrbottens län) is a Swedish county or län in the extreme north of Sweden. It borders to Västerbotten County and the Gulf of Bothnia. It also borders the counties of Nordland and Troms in Norway, and Lapland Province in Finland.
The name 'Norrbotten' is also used for a province of the same name. Norrbotten province covers only the eastern part of Norrbotten County - the inland mostly belongs to the Swedish Lapland (Lappland) province.
The climate is generally harsh, which is not surprising considering its northern location. However, the long summer days allow crops to ripen within 2–3 months, and various grains are commonly grown and make up an important part of the industry. Besides grains, potatoes and turnips are also grown. The most important plant is however grass, used as hay for the livestock.
Major rivers in Norrbotten County (north–south) include the Torne River, Lule River, Kalix River, and Pite River. Rivers shared with Västerbotten County include Skellefte River and Ume River. Other rivers that flow directly to the sea and that are at least 100 km long are the Sangis River, Råne River, Åby River, and Byske River.
Following the Finnish War in 1809, Västerbotten County was split between Sweden and Finland, with the larger part remaining within the Swedish borders. In 1810, the county was divided again when Norrbotten County was created out of the northern part, on the Swedish side. Most people in Norrbotten County still refer to the entire county, including the areas in Finnish Lapland, when they say 'Norrbotten', which is also the name of a smaller province for practical and historical reasons, which do not imply that they would not prefer to use the name Lapland.
Even though the natural resources (hydroelectricity, timber, and minerals) from Norrbotten played a key role in the industrialization of Sweden, Norrbotten is rather poor when compared to the southern parts of Sweden. It has a high rate of unemployment and young people leave the area for a better future 'down south'.
The coast has the historical cities of Luleå and Piteå. Luleå's Gammelstad ('Old town'), which is 10 km north of the present downtown, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sami, Meänkieli, and Finnish may be used in dealing with government agencies, courts, municipalities, preschools and nursing homes in parts of Norrbotten County. Sami language has an official minority language status in Arjeplog, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, and Kiruna municipalities. Finnish has the same status in Gällivare, Haparanda, Kiruna, Pajala, and Övertorneå municipalities.
In Norrbotten Province:
In Lapland Province:
The Sami language can be used in contacts with local authorities in Arjeplog, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, and Kiruna. Similarly, Finnish and Meänkieli can be used in Gällivare, Haparanda, Kiruna, Pajala, and Övertorneå.
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