Regions (regioner) are tax-levying authorities on the regional level headed by Regional Councils appointed by directly elected Regional Assemblies. Sweden has 21 such regions (including the island of Gotland, where Gotland Municipality also carries the responsibilities of a Region). Until 2020, regional authorities in Sweden were officially known as County Councils (landsting). The Regions are mainly responsible for health services, but also provide support for, among other things, regional theatres, orchestras, museums, and libraries (mainly regional and hospital libraries). Historically, this has meant that the role of regional authorities has been comparatively limited in cultural policy. This was changed following the 2009 government bill on culture, and the subsequent introduction of the Culture Cooperation Model, under which each Regional Council submits a Culture Plan for the region to the Swedish Arts Council (see also chapter 1.2.6). In the making of their cultural policy plans, Regional Councils are obligated to consult with representatives of cultural institutions, professionals and civil society in their respective regions. After the plan has been approved, the Regional Council is granted government funding for the support of arts and culture in the region, including the regional cultural institutions. Their nationally funded work with cultural policy should support
- professional theatre, dance, and music,
- museums, and their work with the cultural environment,
- libraries, and activities supporting reading and literature,
- visual arts and related activities,
- private archives in the region,
- film cultural activities,
- support for crafts.
In 2011, this procedure was tested in five regions (West Sweden, Skåne, Norrbotten, Gotland, and Halland). Eleven more regions followed in 2012, leaving Stockholm Region, including the city of Stockholm, as the only region in which the model is yet to be implemented.
Regional governments provide 15 percent of the total public expenditure on culture.
The County Administrative Boards (länsstyrelser) are 21 government agencies representing the national government on the regional level on issues for which there is no other body of the national government on that level. This includes responsibilities in the areas of natural environment and cultural heritage (since the National Heritage Board does not have regional branches). Each County Administrative Board is headed by a governor (landshövding) appointed by the national government.