A report on Sweden and Sámi

Sámi outside Lavvu, c. 1910
A Sámi depicted in art, painting by François-Auguste Biard
A Vendel-era helmet, at the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities
Aleksander Lauréus's painting of the Sámi by the fire
Viking expeditions (blue lines)
Homeland of the Sámi people at present
The Tjängvide image stone dating from 800 to 1099, example of Viking art
A Sámi family in Norway around 1900
Gamla Uppsala (Old Uppsala), a site of religious and political importance in the early days of Sweden
A Sámi man and child in Finnmark, Norway, circa 1900
Skog tapestry, made most probably during the late 13th century.
Three Sámi women
Gustav I liberated Sweden from Christian II of Denmark, ending the Kalmar Union. He established the House of Vasa which ruled Sweden and Poland until the 17th century
Sámi people in Norway, 1928
Gustavus Adolphus at the Battle of Breitenfeld in 1631.
A Sea Sámi man from Norway by Prince Roland Bonaparte in 1884
The Swedish Empire between 1611 and 1815, with its absolute peak between 1658 and 1660.
A Sea Sámi man from Norway by Prince Roland Bonaparte in 1884
The Battle of Poltava in 1709. In the following years, Russia and her allies occupied all Swedish dominions on the Baltic coast and even Finland.
Sámi family in 1936
Illustration of starvation in northern Sweden, Famine of 1867–1869
Swedish emigrants boarding ship in Gothenburg in 1905
Suorvajaure near Piteå
A Swedish soldier during World War II. Sweden remained neutral during the conflict.
Sámi man from Norway
Tage Erlander (left), Prime Minister under the ruling Swedish Social Democratic Party from 1946 to 1969.
Sámi Parliament of Norway
Sweden joined the European Union in 1995 and signed the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.
Mountain landscape in Kvalsund near Hammerfest
Second day of the Stockholm Husby riots. The picture shows three cars on fire in the Stockholm suburb of Husby, 20 May 2013
Sámi Parliament in Sweden
View of the Stora Sjöfallet National Park
Land near Ylläs
Scania in southern Sweden
Finnish Lapland. The three northernmost municipalities Utsjoki, Inari and Enontekiö and part of Sodankylä are officially considered the Sámi area.
Sandhamn island, Stockholm archipelago
Kildin Sami Map (green). СААМИ is "Sámi" in Cyrillic
Köppen climate classification types of Sweden using the 0°C isotherm
National Culture Centre in Lovozero
Köppen climate classification types of Sweden using the -3°C isotherm
Chibini massif, Kola Peninsula
Map of Sweden's five major vegetation zones
The port of Murmansk in the Kola Bay
The current King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, and his consort, Queen Silvia
Krasnoshchelye village on the Ponoi River
Rosenbad, in central Stockholm, has been the seat of the Government since 1981.
Sámi knives
The Riksdag chamber, at the time of a vote, in 2009
Beaded belt, knife, and antler needlecase
The party leaders lined up before the start of the televised live debate on 12 September 2014.
Sámi woman from Sweden
Municipal divisions of Sweden
Sámi hats
Kingdoms of Svear (Sweonas) and Götar (Geats) in the 12th century, with modern borders in grey
Johan Turi's illustration of reindeer herding from his 1910 book Muitalus sámiid birra (An Account of the Sámi), the first book published in a Sámi language
The Riksdag, the Swedish Parliament in 2014
Sara Marielle Gaup at Riddu Riđđu
Bonde Palace in Stockholm, seat of the Supreme Court of Sweden
Reindeer herding
The EU parliament in Brussels. Sweden is a member state of the European Union.
Building in Ljungris, owned by the Sámi community and used especially for reindeer calf marking in the summer
Development aid measured in GNI in 2009. Source: OECD. As a percentage Sweden is the largest donor.
Sámi people in Härjedalen (1790–1800), far south in the Sápmi area
The Saab JAS 39 Gripen is an advanced Swedish multi-role fighter aircraft of the Swedish Air Force.
Laponian area in Sápmi, UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Infantry fighting vehicle CV90, which is produced and used by Sweden
Kanevka, Ponoy River, Russia's Lovozersky District
Gross regional product (GRP) per capita in thousands of kronor (2014)
Ájtte Museum of the Sámi people, Jokkmokk
A proportional representation of Sweden exports, 2019
Log cabin in Utsjoki
Sweden is home to Volvo Cars, an automobile company with its headquarters in Gothenburg
Sámi child, 1923
Real GDP growth in Sweden, 1996–2006
Sámi family at spring celebration
Sweden is part of the Schengen Area and the EU single market.
E.W. Borg alphabet book, published in 1859 in Finnish-Inari Sámi
Nordstan is one of the largest shopping malls in northern Europe
Geographic distribution of the Sámi languages: Darkened area represents municipalities that recognize Sámi as an official language.
Ringhals Nuclear Power Plant, located south of Gothenburg
This map shows the geographic distribution of Sámi languages and offers some additional information, such as number of native Sámi speakers and locations of the Sámi parliaments.
The Öresund Bridge between Malmö and Copenhagen in Denmark
Sámi traditional presentation in Lovozero, Kola Peninsula, Russia
Stockholm Central Station
Reindeer in Alaska
Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and institutor of the Nobel Prize
Sven-Roald Nystø, Aili Keskitalo and Ole Henrik Magga, the three first presidents of the Sámi Parliament of Norway
Population density in the counties of Sweden.
Land rights for grazing reindeer
Distribution of speakers of the Swedish language
Sámi flag
The Protestant Katarina Church in Stockholm
Copper etching (1767) by O.H. von Lode showing a noaidi with his meavrresgárri drum
The second oldest mosque in Sweden is the Malmö Mosque, inaugurated in 1984
A sermon at the 2004 Samiske kirkedager
Historical development of life expectancy in Sweden
Noaidi drum
Uppsala University (established 1477)
Sámi mother with her children
Nationalmuseum in Stockholm
Ad for an 1893/1894 ethnological exposition of Sámi in Hamburg-Saint Paul
The Swedish band ABBA in April 1974, a few days after they won the Eurovision Song Contest
Nils-Aslak Valkeapää, a Sámi writer, musician and artist from Finland
Agnete Johnsen
Kalmar Cathedral
Nils Gaup, a Sámi film director from Norway
Headquarters of Sveriges Television in Stockholm
Anja Pärson a Sámi skier from Sweden
The writer and playwright August Strindberg
Börje Salming, a retired ice hockey defenceman
Walpurgis Night bonfire in Sweden
Cinnamon rolls originated in Sweden and Denmark.
Former World No. 1 tennis player Björn Borg
Former world No. 1 tennis player Björn Borg

The Sámi (also spelled Sami or Saami) are a Finno-Ugric-speaking people inhabiting the region of Sápmi (formerly known as Lapland), which today encompasses large northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and of the Murmansk Oblast, Russia, most of the Kola Peninsula in particular.

- Sámi

The Sami originally had their own shamanistic religion, but they were converted to Lutheranism by Swedish missionaries in the 17th and 18th centuries.

- Sweden

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Nordic country in Northern Europe.

Nordic country in Northern Europe.

Finland on a medieval map, which is part of the Carta marina (1539)
Reconstruction of Stone Age dwelling from Kierikki, Oulu
Stone Age bear head gavel found in Paltamo, Kainuu.
An ancient Finnish man's outfit according to the findings of the Tuukkala Cemetery in Mikkeli, interpretation of 1889. The cemetery dates from the late 13th century to the early 15th century.
Late Iron Age swords found in Finland
The Swedish Empire following the Treaty of Roskilde of 1658.
Dark green: Sweden proper, as represented in the Riksdag of the Estates. Other greens: Swedish dominions and possessions
Now lying within Helsinki, Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of an inhabited 18th-century sea fortress built on six islands. It is one of Finland's most popular tourist attractions.
Pioneers in Karelia (1900) by Pekka Halonen
White firing squad executing Red soldiers after the Battle of Länkipohja (1918)
Finnish military leader and statesman C. G. E. Mannerheim as general officer leading the White Victory Parade at the end of the Finnish Civil War in Helsinki, 1918
J. K. Paasikivi and P. E. Svinhufvud, both at the time future presidents of the Republic of Finland, discuss the Finnish monarchy project in 1918.
Finnish troops raise a flag on the cairn in April 1945 at the close of the World War II in Finland
Areas ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union after World War II. The Porkkala land lease was returned to Finland in 1956.
Urho Kekkonen, the eighth president of Finland (1956–1982)
Finland joined the European Union in 1995 and signed the Lisbon Treaty in 2007.
Topographic map of Finland
There are some 187,888 lakes in Finland larger than 500 square metres and 75,818 islands of over 0,5 km2 area, leading to the denomination "the land of a thousand lakes". Picture of Lake Pielinen in North Karelia.
The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is Finland's national animal. It is also the largest carnivore in Finland.
Köppen climate classification types of Finland
The Parliament of Finland's main building along Mannerheimintie in Töölö, Helsinki
The Session Hall of the Parliament of Finland
The Court House of the Supreme Court
Martti Ahtisaari receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2008
Finnish Leopard 2A4 tank Ps 273–106 in a combat demonstration at Comprehensive security exhibition 2015 in Tampere.
Sisu Nasu NA-110 tracked transport vehicle of the Finnish Army. Most conscripts receive training for warfare in winter, and transport vehicles such as this give mobility in heavy snow.
People gathering at the Senate Square, Helsinki, right before the 2011 Helsinki Pride parade started.
Angry Birds Land, a theme park in the Särkänniemi amusement park, in Tampere, Pirkanmaa; the mobile phone game Angry Birds, developed in Finland, has become a commercial hit both domestically and internationally.
A treemap representing the exports of Finland in 2017
The two existing units of the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant. On the far left is a visualization of a third unit, which, when completed, will become Finland's fifth commercial nuclear reactor.
Supply of electricity in Finland
The Oasis of the Seas was built at the Perno shipyard in Turku.
Flags of the Nordic countries from left to right: Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark
Medieval old town in Porvoo is one of the most popular tourist destinations in summers for those who are fascinated by the old look.
The historical Tavastia Castle (or Häme Castle) in Hämeenlinna, Tavastia Proper is located close to the Lake Vanajavesi.
Municipalities of Finland:
The Evangelical Lutheran Helsinki Cathedral
The Meilahti Tower Hospital, part of the Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH) in Töölö, Helsinki
Development of life expectancy in Finland
Helsinki Central Library Oodi was chosen as the best new public library in the world in 2019
Pupils at the school of Torvinen in Sodankylä, Finland, in the 1920s
Auditorium in Aalto University's main building, designed by Alvar Aalto
The library of the University of Eastern Finland in Snellmania, the Kuopio campus of the university
The sauna is strongly associated with Finnish culture
A smoke sauna in Ruka, Kuusamo
Mikael Agricola (1510–1557), Bishop of Turku, a prominent Lutheran Protestant reformer and the father of the Finnish written language
Akseli Gallen-Kallela, The Defense of the Sampo, 1896, Turku Art Museum
The Finnish composer Jean Sibelius (1865–1957) was a significant figure in the history of classical music.
Perttu Kivilaakso of Apocalyptica
The Finnish filmmakers Edvin Laine and Matti Kassila in 1955
Linus Torvalds, the Finnish software engineer best known for creating the popular open-source kernel Linux
Karelian pasty (karjalanpiirakka) is a traditional Finnish dish made from a thin rye crust with a filling of rice. Butter, often mixed with boiled egg (egg butter or munavoi), is spread over the hot pastries before eating.
Paavo Nurmi lights the 1952 Summer Olympics flame
Finland's men's national ice hockey team is ranked as one of the best in the world. The team has won four world championships (1995, 2011, 2019 and 2022) and one Olympic gold medal (2022)
Kankkunen on the Laajavuori stage of the 2010 Rally Finland

It shares land borders with Sweden to the northwest, Norway to the north, and Russia to the east, with the Gulf of Bothnia to the west and the Gulf of Finland across Estonia to the south.

The name Suomi has uncertain origins, but a common etymology with saame (the Sami, the native people of Lapland) and Häme (a province in the inland) has been suggested (Proto-Finnic *hämä from older *šämä, possibly loaned into Proto-Saami as *sāmē), whose source could be the Proto-Baltic word *źemē, meaning '(low) land'.

Luther's rose seal, a symbol of Lutheranism


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One of the largest branches of Protestantism, identifying with the theology of Martin Luther, a 16th-century German monk and reformer whose efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Roman Catholic Church launched the Protestant Reformation.

One of the largest branches of Protestantism, identifying with the theology of Martin Luther, a 16th-century German monk and reformer whose efforts to reform the theology and practice of the Roman Catholic Church launched the Protestant Reformation.

Luther's rose seal, a symbol of Lutheranism
Martin Luther (1529) by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Title page of the Swedish Gustav Vasa Bible, translated by the Petri brothers, along with Laurentius Andreae
A Hundskirche replica
The University of Jena around 1600. Jena was the center of Gnesio-Lutheran activity during the controversies leading up to the Formula of Concord and afterwards was a center of Lutheran Orthodoxy.
Danish Queen Sophie Magdalene expressed her Pietist sentiment in 1737 by founding a Lutheran convent.
A nineteenth-century Haugean conventicle
The Olbers, one of the ships that carried Old Lutherans to the Western Hemisphere
Representing the continuation of the Finnish Awakening to the present, youth are confirmed at the site of Paavo Ruotsalainen's homestead.
Luther's translation of the Bible, from 1534
Moses and Elijah point the sinner looking for God's salvation to the cross to find it (Theology of the Cross).
Law and Grace, by Lucas Cranach the Elder. The left side shows humans' condemnation under God's law, while the right side presents God's grace in Christ.
Title page from the 1580 Dresden Book of Concord
Lutherans believe that whoever has faith in Jesus alone will receive salvation from the grace of God and will enter eternity in heaven instead of eternity in hell after death or at the second coming of Jesus.
Lutherans believe in the Trinity.
A.C. Article IX: Of Confession
Lutherans practice infant baptism.
Luther communing John the Steadfast
A.C. Article 18: Of Free Will
The Broad and the Narrow Way, a popular German Pietist painting, 1866
"Even though I am a sinner and deserving of death and hell, this shall nonetheless be my consolation and my victory that my Lord Jesus lives and has risen so that He, in the end, might rescue me from sin, death, and hell."—Luther
Luther composed hymns and hymn tunes, including "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" ("A Mighty Fortress Is Our God").
Divine Service at the St. Nicholas church in Luckau, Germany
Ukrainian Lutheran Church of the Cross of the Lord in Kremenets, which uses the Byzantine Rite
Christ Lutheran Church, Narsapur in India
Resurrection Lutheran School is a parochial school of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) in Rochester, Minnesota. The WELS school system is the fourth largest private school system in the United States.
Georg Calixtus taught at the University of Helmstedt during the Syncretistic controversy.
Stormtroopers holding German Christian propaganda during the church council elections on 23 July 1933 at St. Mary's Church, Berlin. After that, internal struggles, controversies, reorganization, and splits struck the German Evangelical Church.
LCMS pastor wearing a chasuble during communion
Confirmation in Lunder Church, Ringerike, Norway, 2012. The Church of Norway is a member of the Porvoo Communion, which means that these confirmands would be readily transferred into any Anglican church should they ever emigrate.
Læstadian lay preacher from Finnmark, Norway, 1898
Hallowed be Thy Name by Lucas Cranach the Elder illustrates a Lutheran pastor preaching Christ crucified. During the Reformation and afterwards, many churches did not have pews, so people would stand or sit on the floor. The elderly might be given a chair or stool.
Nathan Söderblom is ordained as archbishop of the Church of Sweden, 1914. Although the Swedish Lutherans boast of an unbroken line of ordinations going back prior to the Reformation, the bishops of Rome do not recognize such ordinations as valid.
Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in St. Petersburg
Schwäbisch Hall Church Order, 1543
The Pennsylvania Ministerium published this 1803 hymnal.
Lighthouse Lutheran Church, an LCMC congregation in Freedom, Pennsylvania
A church of the Batak Protestant Church in Balige, Indonesia, a merged denomination that includes a Lutheran element
View of the altar and the pulpit in the Church of the Ascension in Jerusalem
Faith Lutheran School in Hong Kong
The coat of arms of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland
Countries with a member of the Confessional Evangelical Lutheran Conference as of 2013

In the far north of the Scandinavian peninsula are the Sámi people, some of which practice a form of Lutheranism called Apostolic Lutheranism, or Laestadianism due to the efforts of Lars Levi Laestadius.

Lutheranism is the largest religious group in Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Namibia, and North Dakota and South Dakota in the United States.


Sámi languages

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The Sami languages in Fennoscandia
Sami Primer, USSR 1933
A t-shirt for the Norwegian Labour Party. From top to bottom: Northern Saami, Lule Saami, and Southern Saami.
A trilingual road sign for Jokkmokk. From top to bottom: Swedish, Lule Saami, Northern Saami
A quadrilingual street sign in Inari in (from top to bottom) Finnish, Northern Saami, Inari Saami, and Skolt Saami. Inari is the only municipality in Finland with 4 official languages.
Sami speakers in Finland 1980-2010.
Sami languages and settlements in Russia:
Skolt (Russian Notozersky)
Akkala (Russian Babinsky)

Sámi languages, in English also rendered as Sami and Saami, are a group of Uralic languages spoken by the Sámi people in Northern Europe (in parts of northern Finland, Norway, Sweden, and extreme northwestern Russia).

Arms of the Church of Sweden with its centered crown, representing both the victory of Christ over death and the crown of Erik the Holy, Patron Saint of Sweden.

Church of Sweden

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Arms of the Church of Sweden with its centered crown, representing both the victory of Christ over death and the crown of Erik the Holy, Patron Saint of Sweden.
Uppsala, with its large cathedral, remains the seat of the Church of Sweden.
Preparing for the celebration of mass in Strängnäs Cathedral, Church of Sweden
Coat of arms of the Church of Sweden
Coat of arms of the Archdiocese of Uppsala
Sung Mass with the ordinations of two deacons and seven priests by the Bishop of Stockholm, in St Nicholas's Cathedral (Storkyrkan)
Map of Swedish dioceses
Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of Uppsala (centre), with Johan Dalman, Bishop of Strängnäs (left), and Mikael Mogren, Bishop of Västerås (right)

The Church of Sweden (Svenska kyrkan) is an Evangelical Lutheran national church in Sweden.

However, Norse paganism and other pre-Christian religious systems survived in the territory of what is now Sweden later than that; for instance the important religious center known as the Temple at Uppsala at Gamla Uppsala was evidently still in use in the late 11th century, while there was little effort to introduce the Sami of Lapland to Christianity until considerably after that.


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Species in the deer family with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, subarctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of range of caribou extends from Alaska through the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut into the boreal forest and south through the Canadian Rockies.

Species in the deer family with circumpolar distribution, native to Arctic, subarctic, tundra, boreal, and mountainous regions of range of caribou extends from Alaska through the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut into the boreal forest and south through the Canadian Rockies.

Skull of a reindeer
A reindeer losing the velvet layer under which a new antler is growing, an annual process
Skull of a reindeer
A Swedish reindeer
The size of the antlers plays a significant role in establishing the hierarchy in the herd.
A Swedish reindeer walking
A reindeer in Suomussalmi, Finland
Two caribou licking salt from a roadway in British Columbia
A reindeer herd standing on snow to avoid bloodsucking insects
Reindeer pulling a sled in Russia
An early 20th century Inuit parka made of caribou skin
A reindeer sled, Arkhangelsk, Russia, late 19th-century photochrom
Milking reindeer in Western Finnmark, Norway in the 19th century
The tragelaphus or deer-goat
Two Scottish reindeer relax after pulling Santa's sleigh at the switching on of Christmas lights
A reindeer in the coats of arms of Kuusamo
Crossing frozen water
Drawing a waggon
Drawing a one-man sled
Reindeer-mounted cavalry

The Sámi people (Sápmi) have also depended on reindeer herding and fishing for centuries.

Reindeer in northern Fennoscandia (northern Norway, Sweden and Finland) as well in the Kola Peninsula and Yakutia in Russia, are all semi-wild domestic reindeer (Rangifer tarandus forma domesticus), ear-marked by their owners.


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A joik or yoik (anglicised, where the latter spelling in English conforms with the pronunciation; also named luohti, vuolle, vuelie, or juoiggus in the Sámi languages) is a traditional form of song in Sámi music performed by the Sámi people of Sapmi in Northern Europe.

Jon Henrik Fjällgren is a Colombian-born Swedish singer and jojkare, an interpreter of Joik Sami songs, winner of the Swedish Talang Sverige 2014 competition, and three-time participant in Melodifestivalen (2015, 2017 and 2019) with the songs "Jag är fri (Manne leam frijje)", "En värld full av strider (Eatneme gusnie jeenh dåaroeh)" (featuring Aninia) and "Norrsken (Goeksegh)", coming 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, respectively.

Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve (green area) in Northern Sweden

Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve

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Nature reserve located in the municipalities of Sorsele and Storuman in Västerbotten County of Swedish Lapland.

Nature reserve located in the municipalities of Sorsele and Storuman in Västerbotten County of Swedish Lapland.

Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve (green area) in Northern Sweden
Map of the reserve
The Norra Storfjället mountain range seen from the east, with the Syterskalet valley and the Norra Sytertoppen summit to the right
The softer landscape of the Ammarfjället mountain range with the Tjulträsk valley in the foreground.
A maze of islands in the southern part of Lake Tärnasjön
Södra Sytertoppen in the foreground and Norra Sytertoppen in the background.
The presence of hard rock protrusions created in the landscape, known as the amphibolites of Sulåive. In addition, the orientation of geological cause slopes east (to the right of the image) significantly more steep while the western slopes are gentler slopes.
The valley of Syterskalet
Map of the vegetation steps in the reserve
Birch tree forest in Tjulträsk Valley
Wetlands near Lake Tärnasjön.
Willow bushes in the moorlands of Vindelfjällen along the Kungsleden trail between Tärnasjön and Serve
Reindeer above the Tjulträsk Valley.
The Viktoriakyrkan church within the reserve.
Hemavan Airport in Tärnaby, with the Norra Storfjället mountain range in the background.
Suspension bridge over the Servvejuhka River
The successive bridges south of Lake Tärnasjön
Sauna complex at Tärnasjöstugorna
A shelter (Rastskydd) to Juovatvaratje along the Kungsleden trail

It is the largest natural reserve in Sweden and one of the largest protected areas in Europe, totaling 562,772 ha (approx.

Originally, it was likely the ancestors of today's Sami, a nomadic people of Northern Europe.

Harald Bluetooth's runestone, at Jellinge

Christianization of Scandinavia

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The Christianization of Scandinavia, as well as other Nordic countries and the Baltic countries, took place between the 8th and the 12th centuries.

The Christianization of Scandinavia, as well as other Nordic countries and the Baltic countries, took place between the 8th and the 12th centuries.

Harald Bluetooth's runestone, at Jellinge
The Christian cross from the Frösö Runestone, symbolizing the Christianization of Jämtland
The Holy Cross Church in Dalby
The Viking Age image stone Sövestad 1 from Skåne depicts a man carrying a cross.
Haakon Jarl was given missionaries by the king of Denmark, but before departure, Haakon sent the missionaries back.
Ansgar made an unsuccessful attempt as early as in the 830s.

The realms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden established their own Archdioceses, responsible directly to the Pope, in 1104, 1154 and 1164, respectively.

The Sami remained unconverted until the 18th century.