An important research and science center in northern Sweden

The County of Västerbotten covers a 55 432 square kilometer area which in the west borders on the Norwegian County of Nordland. Västerbotten has a growing population, much thanks to the Umeå University, which is one of Sweden`s biggest teaching and research institutions. Västerbotten has a well-developed infrastructure with five airports, sea ports, railway connections and roads

The regional economy is based on revenues from the forestry industry, hydropower production, public administration, university and research, healthcare and a wide range of technology-related companies.


Regional stories

Which region is home to the biggest Barents Brains?
Patchwork Barents presents the latest data on higher education in the Barents Region.
By Elizaveta Vassilieva, Barents Secretariat

Higher education is becoming an increasingly common trend in the Barents Region, BarentsObserver reports. In the last twenty-three years (1990-2013), the average rate of higher education attainment in the Barents Region has almost doubled itself.

The highest rate of tertiary education attainment can be found among the population of Västerbotten, Sweden. In 2013, 31.5 % of the population aged fifteen or higher held a higher (university level) education degree. 

The five Russian Barents counties rank relatively low, compared to the rest of the Barents Region. In Murmansk Oblast, which has the highest tertiary education rate on the Russian side, the share of population holding a higher education degree is...

Mining sector expects 20 golden years in Lapland
Barents gold is currently mined in several parts of the region, although Finland stands out as the leading European goldminer. With an annual output of five tonnes, Lapland is expected to produce gold for at least another twenty years.
By Elizaveta Vassilieva, Barents Secretariat

As the price on gold has reached record heights, the Barents Region brings its noble riches to the fore, BarentsObserver reports.

Gold is produced in several parts of the Barents Region. In Norrbotten and Västerbotten gold has been mined for years. The Swedish metals company Boliden operates production at the Aitik mine (Norrbotten) and the Boliden Area (Västerbotten). The combined annual production in these two mining areas amounts to about 3.5 tonnes of gold.

The Swedish mines have been producing gold over a relatively long time, although their output is significantly smaller than Finland’s. Lapland is considered as the number one goldminer not only in the Barents Region, but also in Europe...

Best on women and democracy
The Swedish county of Västerbotten has an election voter turnout of more than 85 percent and a 56 percent stake of women in its regional parliament.
By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

The northern Swedish region with a population of close to 260 thousand has top ranking in the world’s leading country on democracy issues and women’s participation. Figures assembled by BarentsObserver show that Västerbotten in its last regional parliament elections (2010) had a voter turnout of as much as 86,2 percent. Furthermore, contrary to the situation in most other regions, the turnout is on the increase compared with the previous two elections.

The results put Västerbotten far ahead of its neighbors in the Barents Region.  Data from northern Finland, Norway and Russia show a picture of considerably less voter activity. In Barents Russia, the election turnout is the lowest with the Republic of Karelia as the worst-off region (44,4%). In northern Finland, voter turnout in the last municipal elections were 61,1 percent and...