Local Government in the Nordic and Baltic countries

Local Government in the Nordic and Baltic countries aims to give readers an overview of the key features of local government in eight Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland and Sweden. Although Poland is strictly speaking neither a Nordic nor a Baltic country, it is included because the post-1989 system of strong local self-governance has much in common with other countries in the region. While each country has a distinct history and tradition of local government there is a number of common features. At the same time, the countries have varying traits and diverse solutions.

  • Local Government in the Nordic and Baltic countries (pdf) Pdf, 11 MB.
  • This edition (revised and expanded since the first edition in 2016) focuses on the continuing trend of territorial reform in the region. Five out of eight countries have seen significant consolidation at the municipal level in recent years, and attempts or at least discussions are under way at municipal and/ or regional level in the others. This edition also includes more details on local authority associations, financial equalisation and state supervision, along with a review of the structure and functions of local government, local democracy, finances and EU relations.
¨cover page of local government in the nordic and baltic countries

Editorial notes

Manuscript: David Young, 2016 and revised version 2020

Editorial support: 2016 Suzanne Krook, Erik Faxgård

Editorial support: 2020 Lena Falcon, Ieva Kalnina

Graphic design and maps: Viera Larsson, Ordbildarna AB

Support to Decentralization in Ukraine

This publication is published through the project “Support to Decentralization in Ukraine” (DSP). In April 2014 the Government of Ukraine (GoU) committed to a process of comprehensive decentralization reforms. By expanding the powers of local government bodies, the GoU intends to promote democracy, improve service delivery to citizens, and better coordinate national and local interests.

The Swedish Government has committed to support the GoU in these reform efforts. Sweden and the Nordic countries have a long history of decentralized government, public service systems and relevant experiences of local self-governance. Through the project “Support to Decentralization in Ukraine” (DSP), the Swedish Government will support the GoU in the decentralization reforms and assist the local government sector to take on more powers and responsibilities.

SKL International

SKL International is a company, owned by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR). We focus on the development of well-functioning local and regional administrations.