Västerbotten County is situated in the north of Sweden, just below the Arctic Circle, and borders Norrbotten in the north, Västernorrland and Jämtland counties in the south and Norway in the west. Västerbotten’s location provides a clue about the severe climate. Winters can be harsh with a great deal of snow and subzero temperatures. On the other hand, it has been known for the temperature to exceed 30°C in the summer.

The natural geography of the county can be divided into the flat lands closest to the Gulf of Bothnia’s coast; an inland dominated by a mountainous-hilly terrain with alternating evergreen forests, marshlands, and alpine heaths; and in the west, the alp regions with steep mountainsides and glaciers as well as low-growing vegetation boundaries.

Ten rivers with natural reproduction of salmon around the Baltic Sea are in the County of Västerbotten. There are many wild animals in the county also. There is a zoo in Lycksele where you can see, among other things, wolves, muskoxen, wolverines and other exciting animals.

Municipalities in Västerbotten are: Bjurholm, Dorotea, Lycksele, Nordmaling, Norsjö, Malå, Robertsfors, Skellefteå, Sorsele, Storuman, Umeå, Vilhelmina, Vindeln, Vännäs and Åsele.
The county is oneeighth the size of Sweden, or the same size as Denmark (55 400 sq. km).


Västerbotten has a population of 260 217 (2012) where 80% live along the coast and the remaining live in the sparsely populated interior and mountain areas. One can say that 70% of the population is concentrated to 20% of the total area. The population in the interior is concentrated to the chief city in each municipality and it has decreased significantly over the past 20 years. In sharp contrast, Umeå has been one of the most dynamic cities in Sweden with a population growth during the period 1980-97 of 27%. The other coastal municipalities have decreased.


The base industries of agriculture, forestry and mining are very important to the economic structure and development of the county. New jobs can be created in areas of production such as bioenergy and industrial crops. In Västerbotten, there are excellent opportunities for developing activities on a wide front that will lead to the increased development and processing of wood and forest  products.

Mining also plays an important role in Västerbottens trade sector and is composed of the quarrying and refining of a number of metals and minerals. The bedrock in Västerbotten is rich in copper, zinc, lead, and gold.

Natures assets have been an indisputable factor in Västerbottens development. Nature itself is a treasure chest that provides the basis for tourism and recreation with many unique qualities. The vast woods and the untamed mountain world attract tourists from around the world, not to mention the Västerbottningar themselves.

Although it plays an important part in the food industry, reindeer herding is much more since it is a bearer of an age-old culture for the Sami people. This unique culture is a resource for Västerbotten. It is also an important part of the developing tourism in the county.

Workplaces by sector in Västerbotten , 2007: (number / percentage)
Agriculture, forestry, fishing: 14 923 / 44,0 %
Manufacturing: 3 592 / 10,6 %
Service: 15 348 / 45,4 %
Total: 33 899 / 100 %

Transport Infrastructure

Västerbotten has a well developed transport and communications infrastructure. Accessibility of the region by road is good. In fact, Västerbotten has Sweden’s longest road system10,000 kilometres of public roads to which can be added an expansive network of private roads. The main axis runs along the coast (E 4 motorway linking the South of Sweden and Finland). In an eastwest
direction the E 12 links the countries of Russia, Finland, Sweden and Norway.

The railway line is well established. Swedish State Railway’s main line to northern Sweden runs through Västerbotten along with several regional railway lines. Branch rail lines provide access to the main industrial sites.

Västerbotten has several airports in Umeå, Skellefteå, Lycksele, Vilhelmina and Storuman. All the regional airports have regular connections with Stockholm airport (Arlanda). Umeå, for
example, has 24 daily flights, 12 of which are the fifty minute flight to Arlanda, and a projected passenger volume for the year 2000 of 750,000.

Shipping is most important to the forest and mining industry (export and import of raw materials and products). There are seaports in Umeå, Skellefteå and Rundvik. The continuity of service is a major goal and year round accessibility is guaranteed by efficient ice breaking during the winter.


In Västerbotten county there are Umeå University, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Luleå University of Technology at Skellefteå. The University of Umeå is one of Umeå’s main employers and has been the driving force in the city’s rapid development. Norrland University Hospital is another main employer.


The scope of the arts is very broad and is represented throughout the county. There are nearly 100 libraries, at least one in each municipality. The Västerbotten County Theatre is located in Skellefteå and in Umeå there are two independent drama companies, Ögonblicksteatern and Profilteatern.  Also music scene is active in Västerbotten. There are jazz, chamber music and folk music.festivals that attract both international artists and public.

Umeå has the county Museum at Gammlia with its openair museum, the Fishing and Maritime Museum, as well as the Swedish Ski Museum. Skellefteå has its museum and the Farmers’ Village, while Lycksele has Gammplatsenopenair museum and the Museum of Forestry. The Umeå niversity runs the BildMuseeta Museum of Images, Contemporary Art and Culture, which is also located in the Gammlia area.

City of Umeå has been chosen to Capital of Culture 2014.

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