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As any old-fashioned fantasy and history geek, I enjoy the simplicity and symbolism in coats-of-arms and general heraldry. Here I present a collection of the arms of my various hometowns and motherlands (presently including Sweden, Germany and Finland).
Gislaved (Gisle's Woods)
I was born in the province of Småland and spent my childhood in the small town Gislaved at the Nissan river. Gislaved had an history dating from Viking times, when Nissan was an important trading route. The golden thingy in the centre of the arms symbolises an inn.
Småland (The Small Lands)
This province belongs to Götaland, the southern third of modern Sweden. The Smålännings are reputedly very industrious and economical (some say cheap...). The land is stony and covered with dark forests. Religion is strong here, as is the tradition of peasant uprisings against the Crown. The crossbow is the traditional weapon of the Göta tribes.
Sverige (The Kingdom of the Svea) - Sweden
This is the smaller coat-of-arms of the Kingdom. The three crowns symbolize the medieval union between Denmark, Sweden and Norway, which is funny because Sweden was the first one to leave it. Probably because the only union they'd agree to is one that's led by Sweden... (a popular joke is that the Swedes think the EU decided to join Sweden in 1994.)
When I was just about 12, we moved to the Federal Republic of Germany. The year was 1991 and Germany was in the process of reunion. We were as overwhelmed by this consumer's paradise as the old DDR citizens. No wonder we made good friends among the 'Ossis', although we settled in the west.
My first German town. A Saxon called Wuonher settled down here in the 600's AD. Gives you a taste of the historical dimensions you encounter in Germany...

The Lower Saxony. Famous for providing England with the composer Handel and a few kings in the 18th century. The white horse is an ancient symbol of the Saxon tribe. The Saxons who conquered England together with the Angles in the 500's AD had names like Hengest and Horsa ("stallion" and "horse"). Even today, traditional farm houses in Lower Saxony have horse's head ornaments on the roofs for good luck. A note for Tolkien fans: The riders of Rohan resemble in some ways the Anglo-Saxons, and even quote Anglo-Saxon poetry on occasion. You might remember their banner: A white horse on a green field.

The Capital of Lower Saxony. I lived here 1992-1995. The Allied bombings destroyed it to the ground in WW2, which sounds remarkable when you see the prosperous city today.


Suomi - Finland
The coat-of-arms is from the 16th century, when Finland was declared a Grand Duchy under the Swedish Crown. At this time, the eastern border towards the rising Muscovite empire began to take shape under long wars. Thus we see the lion of the Swedish Folkkunga royal family wielding the straight sword of the west, trampling down the curved sabre of the east.

Häme - Tavastland
The lynx is a handsome animal and a symbol of the Finnish conifer forests. The tribes of Häme were quite warlike and only subjugated under Swedish rule when the leaders were promised rights to tax the Lapps freely. The strong and lonesome predator seems a fitting symbol for this province. Today, the reigning joke about the Häme people seems to be that they are slow thinkers and very stubborn to the point of bloody-mindedness. My 75% Finnish heritage is basically from Häme. Go figure...
Urjala - Urdjala
Lived here 1995-1997. Weird little town in the darkness of Häme's forests. Some might say that the people are inbred and/or evil. Urjala is actually quite famous for its "magic nights" and for being the birthplace of the author Väinö Linna ("The Unknown Soldier"). Linna's other epic novel about tenant farmers' struggle during Finland's 20th century wars is set in the Urjala area, and one of the main characters in "The Unknown Soldier" comes from this region - the stubborn and bluntly honest officer Koskela.
Göteborg - Gothenburg
As I moved back to Sweden in 1997, I briefly settled down in the second-largest city, "the gateway to the west". I have an aunt and four cousins here. We meet the Swedish royal lion again.
Skåne - Scania
The southernmost province of Sweden, taken by force from Denmark in the 17th century - thus has been Swedish for a much shorter time than Finland! The inhabitants are proud of their region and sometimes openly nationalistic. Their dialect is unfairly ridiculed in other parts of Sweden (throat-R's and diphthongs). In fact, not even the Danes understand what the Scanians say. They are famous for fat geese, flat fields and smoked eels.
My present home town. The medieval city-planning with winding little streets has been well preserved and protected, to the dismay of motorists. The university is spread throughout town, there is no single central campus.
Seal of Lund University
The third oldest Swedish university, if you count the university of Åbo (now Finnish). Founded in order to educate the Scanians to become faithful servants of the Swedish crown. A stroke of genius from king Charles XI, because a controlled amount of education is a better motivation to patriotism than total ignorance.
Third largest island of Sweden. At the west coast (according to the local board of tourism, the "Best Coast"), somewhere between Gothenburg and Norway. The Orustians consider themselves neither Swedish nor Norwegian and have tried to fight off both in pre-modern times. As you can see on the coat-of-arms, the traditional industry is fishing.



HERALDRY of My Homes


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