About Värmland

Värmland in Sweden

SCB-kod: 17
GEOKOD: 1700000
County code letter: S
Regional code used by Lantmäteriet: R

”Mellan Norge och Sverige bor Värmlänningarna”. (Between Norway and Sweden live the ”Värmlanders”). Adam of Bremen (Germany) wrote this at the end of the 11th century. Another theory claims that the Swedish-Norwegian border was along the Klarälven and Göta Älv rivers. The present-day border can be traced back to around 1270. There are traces of settlements from early stone-age. The mythical king Olof Trätälja is said to have started farming Värmland.

The name ”VÄRMLAND”
There are several theories about the origin of the province name. The most likely refers to Värmernas land (the land of the Värmer tribe / peoples) – the people who lived by the Wärman river – so named since it never froze in the winter. The reason for this was the rapid flow of water rather than the temperature. These rapids have been an important source of energy for the Värmland ”bruk” industry. The river is today named Borgviksälven.

The name also appears in the estate name Värmerud (Värme from the river and rud meaning a clearing of new land). This estate is said to have been a Kungsgård (Royal estate) – the seat of a jarl (early king’s title in the Nordic countries) according to Fernow (a renowned Swedish historian).

The river of Borgvik (Värman), fall of 2000. Photo: Gunnar Jonsson

The PROVINCE Värmland is located in western Svealand, NW of lake Vänern. It covers 18 202 km2 and has about 329 000 inhabitants. Värmland borders to Norway in the west and to the provinces Närke in the east, Dalarna in the north and Dalsland and Västergötland in the south.

Värmlands län (county of Värmland) covers the province area except the Karlskoga and Degerfors areas plus the Södra Råda parish in the south-east (located in Västergötland province). The county is 14 584 km2 and has about 285 000 inhabitants. Residential city is Karlstad. The county was created in 1779 by splitting off land from Örebro county.

The area in mid-west Värmland named Nordmarks härad (Nordmark judicial district) belonged to province Dalsland in the middle ages but transferred to Värmland province in the early 1600’s. During a few years in the 1620-30’s Värmland and Dalsland were one county but later Dalsland was transferred to Älvsborgs län

Areas located in Värmland province but not in the county

  • Södra Råda parish in Västra Götaland county (until 1998 Skaraborg county)
  • Degerfors parish in Örebro county
  • Karlskoga parish in Örebro county
  • Nysund parish (the part located in Visnums härad) in Örebro county.

The remaining parts of Nysund parish (belonging to Edsberg och Lekeberg härader) are located in province Närke and Örebro county.

Areas located in Värmland county but not in the province

  • Southern and western parts of Svanskog parish, named Dalboredden, formerly Ämmeskog parish are located in province Dalsland
  • Northern part of Rämmen parish in province Dalarna.

Syssle divisions
A special division into sysslor (sing syssle) is unique to Värmland, Bohuslän, Jämtland and Härjedalen provinces. This is probably remains from a 14th century Norwegian influence.

Originally Värmland province was divided in Västersysslet (western s.) and Östersysslet (eastern s.). We know this was established in 1551. In 1682 a third syssle was created – Mellansysslet (middle s.) and in 1796 a fourth one -named Södersysslet (southern s.). Parts of Västersysslet and Mellansysslet were split off in 1826, creating Norrsysslet.

Värmland province belongs to Karlstads stift (diocese), which also includes Dalsland province and Nysund parish in Närke province.

The major part of Värmland is formed by the Nordskandinaviska höglandet (Northern Scandinavian highlands). The smaller, southern, part is the fertile Vänerslätten (lake Vänern plains). There are thousands of lakes and rivers of various sizes, among those Klarälven river, the Fryken lakes and Byälven (By river) with the Glafsfjorden lakes. Traditionally forest farming and iron manufacturing are the major sources of income. There are several herrgårdar (manors) in the province – remains from the flourishing ”bruk” industries earlier.

Several renowned authors come from Värmland province as Selma Lagerlöf (Östra Ämtervik), Gustaf Fröding (Alster), Erik Gustaf Geijer (Ransäter), Esaias Tegnér (By), Göran Tunström (Sunne) and Nils Ferlin (Filipstad).


Värmlands Släktforskarförenings hemsida