How the Stockholm region is growing


Stockholm is a metropolis and an archipelago. In the County, there are densely populated cities and towns, as well as large areas that are sparsely populated. The County Council’s ambition is to contribute to good living conditions throughout the County.

Metropolis and archipelago

Stockholm’s archipelago is unique. Nowhere else in the world is there such an expansive archipelago so close to a metropolitan region. The archipelago should be attractive to visitors, residents and businesses. Public marine transport is an important prerequisite for this. Through Waxholmsbolaget, the County Council operates public transport services throughout the archipelago. The service area is 200 km long and 50 km wide, and extends between Arholma in the north and Landsort in the south.

On the waterways within Stockholm, the County Council ties the city together with commuter boats in SL’s name. The SL ticket and ordinary SL tariff apply here.

The vision is for Stockholm’s archipelago to be a world-class, year-round tourist destination by 2030. The objective is for the number of commercial guest nights and the number of full-time equivalents in the archipelago to increase by 50 per cent by 2020, and that the total turnover in the archipelago will increase by 80 per cent. To develop tourism in the Stockholm archipelago, the County Council cooperates with other stakeholders, not least the Stockholm Visitors Board and the archipelago municipalities. The County Council is also the main financier of the Archipelago Foundation, which works to make the archipelago more attractive and accessible to the County’s residents.

As a part of the work with the next regional development plan for the Stockholm region, RUFS 2050, the County Council is preparing a special strategy for the development of the archipelago.

Skills provisioning

The efforts being conducted in healthcare and public transport increase the demands on the County Council as an attractive employer. Today, more than 44,000 people work in the County Council’s operations.

To support the implementation of the Future Plan in terms of expertise, the County Council has developed a joint action programme. The programme shall strengthen the long-term skills supply and increase the County Council’s attractiveness as an employer, in part through efforts regarding salary levels, a reduction of temporary staff, educational efforts and by promoting new ways of working and collaboration. 

Woman with microscope. Photo

Research and innovation

Stockholm County Council’s innovation fund was established during the year. For the first time, funding was announced in a request for proposals for innovation work directed at employees in healthcare. In total, 113 proposals were received in the first announcement and a special assessment group with expertise in healthcare, engineering and innovation was appointed to review the proposals. The fund’s SEK 10 million was distributed to 32 projects in Stockholm County Council.

In the spring, the County Council announced funding with a request for proposals for gender studies research with an emphasis on health and care. During the autumn, the national prioritisation group decided to grant funding to four of 19 received proposals. In total, SEK 2 million was granted to research at Karolinska University Hospital, Söder Hospital and Danderyd Hospital in 2015-2016.

Stockholm County Council has appointed Karolinska Trial Alliance as a regional node for the effort for national coordination of clinical studies. The objective is to improve efficiency and increase competitiveness regionally and nationally for clinical studies. 


The County Council’s vision in the environmental area is to be a pioneer in its own operations, stimulate environmental technology development and inspire other stakeholders. The aim is to phase out all hazardous substances from healthcare environments and public transport to minimise the environmental and health impact. The environmental work is governed by the County Council’s environmental policy programme, Environmental Challenge 2016. With the new, upcoming environmental programme for the period 2017-2021, the intention is to raise the County Council’s ambitions further. The work shall be driven forward through the development of new methods, ways of working and technologies so that the County Council can provide sustainable healthcare and public transport and at the same time work for sustainable development in society.

The efforts the County Council is pursuing today shall be of benefit to both today’s County residents and future generations. This is why great importance is assigned to the environmental aspects in new construction and modernisation of the hospitals. For example, New Karolinska Solna (NKS) has been designed to meet the high requirements placed on certification according to the construction industry’s Sweden Green Building Council Gold. Thanks to a good climate shell, energy-efficient installations and a high level of recycling, NKS can significantly reduce its energy consumption compared with today’s hospitals.

A crucial approach for conducting a more sustainable operation is to set higher environmental and social demands on the procurements done by the County Council. Stockholm County Council actively conducts the work of formulating effective environmental requirements in procurements, which is knowledge that has spread to other interested stakeholders.

In public transport, the work is continuing on testing new technical solutions for reduced environmental and climate impact. One example is the eight hybrid-electric buses that have served Line 73 between Ropsten and Karolinska since 2015. The buses are powered by electricity with support from an engine run on biodiesel if necessary. The Traffic Administration, Volvo and Vattenfall have conducted the project jointly to implement an extensive test of the hybrid-electric buses that have 75 per cent lower fuel consumption than conventional diesel buses. Moreover, the hybrid-electric buses release 90 per cent less carbon dioxide than diesel buses since they are run on biodiesel and electricity from renewable sources.

The County Council has required renewable fuels through the transport agreements for several years. In the latest agreement for bus service, which began to apply in summer 2015, a transition to 100-per-cent renewable fuels was required. Thanks to this, the proportion of SL’s bus fleet run on renewable fuels increased to 91 per cent in autumn 2015.

Part of the County Council’s investments in public transport and healthcare is financed through so-called green bonds.

Artwork by Astrid Kroghs. Photo

Artwork by Astrid Kroghs in the lightwell of the U1:5 building, New Karolinska Solna.

Art and culture

The objective of the County Council’s cultural activities is to contribute to a high-quality, accessible cultural life. The County Council achieves this in several ways, including long-term activities grants and various project grants to the County’s free cultural life as well as support of Dance in Stockholm City and County, Film Stockholm, the County Handicraft Consultants/Slöjd Stockholm, the Stockholm County Music Organisation, Stockholm Regional Library and the Stockholm County Museum. The County Council is also the main financier of the Stockholm Concert Hall and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. The County’s study associations and folk high schools also receive financial support from the County Council.

Art and culture in healthcare environments comprise an important activity area. The County Council works through artistic creations at hospitals and other healthcare environments throughout the County, and by ensuring a programme offering for those who spend extended time in healthcare services and elderly care.

The Cultural Administration coordinates the efforts between the growth and regional planning administration and the County Administrative Board according to the Creative Stockholm programme. A clear cultural perspective shall be a part of the new regional development plan, RUFS 2050, which is being worked out right now.

The art investment at New Karolinska Solna is the largest single art project to-date for a public setting in Sweden. In 2015, the first piece in a series of artwork was inaugurated in the buildings.