Götaland theory

Götaland theory

The term Götaland theory (Swedish "Västgötaskolan") is a local patriotic view which challenges established history and archaeology, and which claims that the foundation of Sweden was not in East Sweden, but in Västergötland. The adherents use wide ranging methods from controversial ones such as dowsing and asking mediums to contact the dead, to less controversial ones such as etymology, but also claim that the established academic material consists of lies and forgeries. Although well-known in Sweden and fervently preached by its adherents, it has never been accepted by scholars. [Larsson 2002:8:]

The Nazi origin

The Götaland theory was the only "successful" result of the Nazi infiltration of Swedish archaeology during 1933-1945. [Alkarp 2007] Carl-Otto Fast, the founder of the "Västgötaskolan" was a notorious nazi who collaborated with SS Ahnenerbe, Richard Walther Darré and eugenic "specialists" from Hadamar in Germany. The idea that the craddle of the "germanic" was located in Västergötland, was the un-disputable "truth" in Nazi Germany.Archaeologist Magnus Alkarp, who has studied classified and semi-classified documents from the post-war era, has showed that the "Västgötaskolan", among other regional, right-wing separatists movements in Scandinavia, was an important part of the Operation Gladio.

Putting the theory to the test

Several times, laymen have tried to prove what they considered important aspects of the theory. The barrow at Skalunda was claimed to be the burial site of the hero Beowulf of the "Beowulf" epic, and by applying the dowsing technique with a pendulum, they established that the barrow was indeed the burial site of the Geatish hero.Larsson 2002:90] Later, professional archaeologists drilled into the barrow to extract a sample for C14 dating. The barrow was from c. 700, c. 150 years too late for being a candidate for Beowulf's burial site.

The locality Sätuna at the small lake Hornborgasjön in Västergötland was commonly claimed to be the true Sigtuna, where king Olof Skötkonung had his coins made.Larsson 2002:34] A protrusion in the ground was pointed out by the adherents as the king's mint. However, when archaeologists examined their claims it turned out to be the remains of an uncompleted barn from the 1890s.


The Götaland theory originated in the late 19th century with claims that the ancient city Ubsola ("Uppsala") was situated in the province of Västergötland in the old lands called "Uplanden". Additionally, the theory's supporters also held the view that Västergötland and the region of Lake Vänern was in fact the land of Sithun, translated to modern day language as "Sigtuna", where Odin and his Aesir companions supposedly settled when they came to Scandinavia.

An early advocate was Pehr Tham (1737-1820), who during the 19th century unsuccessfully tried to promote ideas such as the village Sätuna being the location of Old Sigtuna, and the ancient town of Birka being somewhere around Lake Hornborgasjön. He is regarded as an ideological successor of Olof Rudbeckius, the professor of medicine, who was convinced that Sweden was the true location of the sunken Atlantis.

The early proponents of the Götaland theory suggested ideas on how Västergötland, and the Lake Väner region in particular, was the origin not only of the Geats, but also of the Suiones, the Danes; and furthermore the location of the events Norse mythology, such as Odin's Sithun ("Sigtuna"), Valhall, and the ashtree Yggdrasil. These ideas, written in the spirit of Romanticism, were also a reaction to the archeological research at the time, which arguably neglected other areas of Sweden that were no less rich of archeological remains. The speculations of the adherents of the movement are to a large extent irrelevant for modern academic discussion, which does not pay much attention to Swedish-Geatish wars, Yngling kings, etc.

"Birka" speculations

Birka is one of Sweden's historical crown jewels, being a World Heritage Site and a popular tourism attraction. Its location is on Björkö in lake Mälaren.

According to the Västgöta theory, "Birka" as a name meant "merchant town", and could refer to any such town in ancient Sweden. A possible candidate is Köpingsvik on the island Öland in the Baltic Sea, which has several remains from the 9th and 11th century.

"Ubsola" speculations

"Upsalum", or "Ubsola", was the main cult center of pagan (heathen) Ása-faith in ancient Scandinavia and Sweden. The ancient Upsalum was described by Adam of Bremen in the 11th century, and by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century. It is generally considered to correspond to modern day Uppsala, with its location on Uppsala's old location -- Old Uppsala, in east Sweden, the habitat of the ancient tribe called Suiones (Swedes). The Västgöta school however claim that the original site for the temple was located in West Sweden, in the habitat of the ancient Geats ("Götar"), the tribe which came to name "Västergötland".

Especially, the story of Odin and the Aesir's emigration according to the Ynglinga saga is generally considered invalid by the official views and scholars. Other parts of the extensive work of Snorri Sturluson (and other saga writers) may however be considered valid references for finding elements of the ancient history of Scandinavian people and their religious customs and beliefs.

There are however no archeological findings that support the view of Västergötland being the original site of Ubsola, and therefore the views of the Västgöta theory have little or no credibility.

ee also

* Lands of Sweden
* History of Sweden
* Gothicismus



Larsson, M. G. (2002). "Götarnas riken. Upptäcksfärder till Sveriges enande". Atlantis, Stockholm. ISBN 91-7486-641-9.

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