Established in 1999, Västra Götaland Region is a politically governed organization which represents a separate political level between state and municipality and is the first region in Sweden. The Region, located in Western Sweden, has around 1.7 million inhabitants, distributed among 49 municipalities. This county, with capital in Göteborg and surface area of 25 247km², with the most diverse landscapes (urban and rural areas, green spaces, marinas and ocean sides, mountains), is historically characterized with agriculture, forestry, and exports industry.
Its political activities are led and coordinated by a Regional Executive Boards, consisting of 15 members, through several committees, focusing on healthcare, regional development, environmental issues and cultural affairs.
Although the main task of VGR is to grant good medical care and health conditions for its inhabitants, the organization also drives renewal issues in the area of cultural policy. Actually, the Västra Götaland Region works actively to strengthen free cultural life, associations and organizations and is furthermore the Swedish region that spends the most money on culture in the entire country.
Västarvet is a provider organization and a part of the Västra Götaland Region (VGR). It’s the largest regional nature and cultural heritage administration in Sweden, responsible for a lot of activities out in the region and several museums and visit centers.
The objective of Västarvet is to be a regional resource focused on preservation of built cultural heritage and historical items, crafts, archaeology, natural and cultural environment, exhibitions and teaching and provide support for projects and development. The basic idea is to make history visible and enrich the living environment for people’s future and sustainable social development and the key concept is regional responsibility, overview and knowledge, networking and collaboration.
Västarvet employs approximately 160 people working mainly to support the 49 municipalities of Västra Götaland in developing projects and processes concerning regional development with nature and cultural heritages as a driving force.
It runs several initiatives to strengthen cross-sectoral cooperation between regional actors, the municipality, private landowners and local stakeholders to promote local plans for developing 5-10 cultural places in Västra Götaland. A common aspect of those places is that the built cultural heritage could be the starting point for the regional inclusive, sustainable and innovation-driven development. One important project is “Fields of Creative Powers” where the spill-over effects of culture and cultural heritage is analyzed. Västarvet also has an ongoing cooperation with The Tourist Board of Västra Götaland concerning outdoor and cultural tourism.