Metal detecting

Would you like to use a metal detector in Sweden? Then you first need to apply for a permit from The County Administrative Board.

We only grant permits for limited search areas and never for areas involving ancient sites.

Prohibition according to The Cultural Heritage Act

To protect the ancient remains, it is forbidden to carry and use a metal detector without a permit from The County Administrative Board. This is stated in the second chapter of The Cultural Heritage Act. As the purpose with the prohibition is to protect our cultural heritage, no permits are granted in areas containing ancient remains and sites. Areas with high probability of finding unknown ancient remains or sites, are also removed from the permit.

Fornsök - map tool

Registered ancient remains and sites can be found in The National Heritage Board's map tool Fornsök.

The map tool contains information concerning all known and registered ancient and historical remains and sites in Sweden. The tool applies to both land and water areas.

Other permits or consents might be required

Note that this application only concerns exemption from the prohibition to use and carry a metal detector according to The Cultural Heritage Act. Thus, a granted permit doesn’t include rights against property owners or other rightsholders in the current area. Nor does it include the right to damage protected nature, submit to mayor digging or to use vehicles in the terrain.

Permits for activities in protected nature (in swedish)

Lost property and ancient artifacts

If you find anything which resembles an ancient artifact you are bond to report the find according to the Cultural Heritage Act and The Lost Property Act. The finding is to be reported immediately to The County Administrative Board, The Police Authorities or the Coast Guard (artifacts in the sea). Take a photo of the finding and note, if possible, the coordinates.

Tips for producing a complete application

  • Read the instructions carefully, use the application form and attach the required documents.
  • The size of a search area must fit on one A4 page when the map is at the scale 1:20 000.
  • Use maps of good quality in the application. You can use the Länsstyrelsen's map tool, accessible on our webpage, to mark your search area.
  • Prepared, checked and numbered maps for the most popular search areasPDF. If used, refer to the selected maps(s) using the map nr in the application form. When using the prepared maps, the processing of an application will be quicker.
  • Digging without permission from the property owner is not permitted. If metal detecting includes digging, you need a consent from the property owner. Attach the consent/permission to the application. If no consent is given or is for other reasons missing in the application, a permit cannot be granted.
  • I you are drawing the search area yourself, check that there are no ancient sites within 100 meters from the search area. Use the Länsstyrelsen's map tool or Fornsök to see all registered ancient sites and draw your search area(s). English instructions on how to use our map tool can be found at the bottom of this page.

Processing time

The processing of an applications starts at the earliest when the application is complete and this is when the application contains all required information and the fee is paid. The processing time is regularly 6-8 weeks but this can vary depending on the processors work load in general. Therefor, make sure that the application is complete well in advance before the survey is planned to start. For applications which are incomplete om the 15th of May, we cannot ensure a permit before the beginning of August because of the vacation period from the end of July – beginning of August.

Applications for minors

Individuals under the age of 18 cannot apply themselves but their legal guardian can do it for them. In these cases, the minor has to be accompanied by the legal guardian during the use of a metal detector. This term will be stated in the actual permit.

Application fee

The County Administrative Board charge for processing and granting permits to use and carry a metal detector, regardless if a permit is granted or not. The introduction of the fee and it’s size has been decided by the state. The fee is 870 swedish crowns for each search area and each applicant. Changes in the Charge Regulation Act in 2019 lead to this increase of the fee, which was applied from 1st of January 2020.

The fee is to be paid to the bank account 5181-9266 (Danske Bank). The transaction must be named so that we can identify it. Use your name and “proj 7243113”. For payments outside Sweden also state IBAN: SE81 1200 0000 0128 1011 1057 and SWIFT/BIC: DABASESX. If your bank needs the name of the receiving account holder, state "Länsstyrelsen I Norrbotten, 971 86 Luleå, Sweden".

The application

To apply for a permit to use and carry a metal detector make sure to:

  1. Fill in the application formPDF and make sure that all required documents are attached to the application
  2. Send your application to

    or by regular post to

    Länsstyrelsen i Norrbottens län
    971 86 Luleå
  3. Pay the fee to our account in Danske Bank