The European Heritage Awards were jointly launched in 2002 by Europa Nostra and the European Commission to recognise best practices in heritage conservation on a European level. The aims are three-fold: to promote high standards in conservation practice, to stimulate trans-boundary exchanges of knowledge and skills, and to encourage further exemplary initiatives in the field of cultural heritage.

Nils Ahlberg’s study ”Stadsgrundningar och planförändringar. Svensk stadsplanering 1521–1721” (New Foundations and Changes of Plan. Swedish Town Planning 1521–1721) was published in 2005. During the late 16th century, and even more so in the 17th century, when Sweden was a great power, the extent of Swedish town-planning activity was unparalleled in Europe. Still today most of the older towns in Sweden and Finland can be said to take their basic character from this era. The town-planning was based on the same principles as in the rest of Europe and its colonies. Foreign experts played a significant role in the projects.

– I am overwhelmed, incredibly proud and happy, Nils Ahlberg says. The prize shows that the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is a university for the complete human environment and the taking care of environmental values. The urban environment is, in fact, a very essential area for the university, including the historical dimension, heritage management and design. It is here that the Landscape Architects are trained, and many others who deal with the urban environment.

The study aims at the broader picture of Swedish town-planning of the period. It is intended this will provide opportunities for systematic comparison with similar studies in other countries and thus enhance our understanding of the urban development. Alongside this, the study seeks to help identifying the particular cultural values of individual towns and assist the conservation and future planning and design of the urban environment

It covers all Swedish town-planning in the areas under Swedish rule 1521–1721 and areas of Swedish interest outside this, including today’s Finland, Estonia and parts of Russia, Latvia, Poland, Germany, and USA. 175 sites are studied and in total 338 projects and just above 600 town plans. Part I consists of thematic studies, part II a synthesis, and part III studies of the individual towns. A separate volume contains some 370 of the most important maps and a few other images reproduced in colour.

The study was a multi-disciplinary cooperation between the Department of Landscape Planning Ultuna (today Department of Urban and Rural Development) at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and the Institute of Art History at Stockholm University.

The study, with full text and maps, can be read on or
a short English version directly on

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