Institute of Urban History
The Institute of Urban History was founded
in 1919 as a section of the Confederation of Swedish Towns.
came from the confederation. Organizer and driving force
was Yngve Larsson who in this project worked together with
the historians Nils Herlitz and Nils Ahnlund. The contacts
between the institute and the academic world were close
from the very beginning and grew successively stronger.
In 1953 a chair designed for urban history was established
in Stockholm, and the Professor of urban history was also
to hold the position as director of the institute.
The institute is today a part of the Swedish Association
of Local Authorities but localized to the Department of
History at Stockholm University. The association, the university
and the City of Stockholm are each financing one third
of the chair in urban history.
There are two permanent positions at the institute today:
the director who also is Professor in Urban History and
a full-time research assistent. Besides, a varying number
of researchers and others are for special projects and
purpuses engaged on a non-permanent basis. The institute
has a board - Urban History Board - of seven
members are appointed by the Swedish Association of Local
Authorities. Stockholm university appoints one member
and the other two are elected by the
Urban History Association.
The Urban History Association is a meeting-place for professional
historians and people outside the universities with interest
for urban, municipal and local history. All members are
elected by the board of the Swedish Association of
Local Authorities after nomination by the
institute or the Urban History Board. The Urban History
association has about 200 members.
The main purpose of the institute is to promote research
and stimulate interest in urban, municipal and local history.
This goal is realized through a wide range of different
* The institute has organized an Urban History Group including
a network for local historians who meet once or twice
a year to discuss joint research questions and other
issues as well. The group consists of urban and local
historians from Sweden
and other Nordic countries.
* Since the mid-1950s the institute has been a member of
the International Commission for the History of Towns (La
Commision Internationale pour l`Historie des Villes). The
institute is also a partner in the European Association
for Urban Historians and collaborates with many departments
and researchers all over Europe and beyond, among others
the Center for Urban History at Leicester University.
* The institute cooperates regularly with urban historians
and institutes for local history in Denmark, Finland and
Norway. Since 1973 seminars on Nordic local history are
arranged every third year.
* The institute tries to be a link between the academic
world and local historians outside the universities. The
Urban History Association is one of several channels for
promoting cooperation between professional and non-professional
* Close collaboration has developed with the Committee
for Documentation on Stockholm (Kommittén för
Stockholmsforskning). Together we produced and published
a jubilee book in two columes when Stockholm celebrated
its 750 years of existence in 2002. Future research is
directed towards Migration to Stockholm throughout the
* The institute can give service and advice to towns as
well as rural municipalities that are preparing or working
whith their local history.
* The institute has arranged conferences, given series
of lectures and in other ways cooperated with the National
Association for the Preservation of Local Nature and Culture
(Svenska Hembygdsförbundet) and the National Association`s
regional section for Stockholm County (Stockholms läns
* Ever since the start in 1919 the institute has organized,
registered and published source material on the history
of Swedish towns. One result is the six volume series Privileges,
resolutions, statutes and by-laws for Swedish towns. The
volumes have been published between 1923 and 1985. Together
they cover the period from 1251 up to 1632.
* Another way to facilitate the use of source material
has been to build up a register with references to medieval
diploma, parliamentary documents, royal letters addressed
to the towns, and correspondence between Central Authorities
and the towns. The register covers the period 1561 to 1923
and is available at microfiche at the National Archives
* The institute owns a large collection of abstracts from
daily newspapers during the period 1910 to 1960. These
abstracts give a lot of information about local politics
in Swedish towns. Most of the material reflects the debates
in the town councils.
* The institute has initiated the building of a database
containing population figures for all Swedish towns and
other urban localities. Part of the material is published
in Urban Historical Statistics, volume 1-3.
* The institute presents information on Internet (CyberCity)
for every Swedish town on their history, population development,
economic structure, municipal elections and so on.
* The institute has regularly published bibliographies
of Swedish urban, municpial and local history. This has
been an on-going
task since 1919. Review of Urban and Municipal History
(Revy över stads- och kommunhistoria) is the
bibliographical publication. Nowadays this information
is given on the CyberCity-website. Besides the institute
has published bibliographies on Swedish urban
* The director and the assistent conduct their own research
in the field of comparative urban history. Research is
also carried out by Ph.D. students and others as well for
* The institute has three different series for the publication
of research results: Studies in urban history (Studier
i stads- och kommunhistoria), Local history (Lokalhistoria)
and Urban Historical Statistics (Historisk tätortsstatistik).
Previous directors of the Institute
Professor Nils Herlitz 1919-1927
Professor Nils Ahnlund
Professor Folke Lindberg 1936-1970
Professor Ingrid Hammarström 1970-1989
Professor Christer Winberg 1989-1990
Professor Heiko Droste
PhD Mats Berglund
FM Nils Fabiansson
Professor Lars Nilsson
Professor Sven Lilja
Institute of Urban History
Department of History
S-106 91 STOCKHOLM