Football derbies in Sweden

There are many Derbies in the Allsvenskan, and in lower divisions within the Swedish football pyramid.


Most derbies in the league occur due to geographical location, like most leagues in the world. It should also be noted that like Spain's Superclasico and the Liverpool/Manchester rivalry, derbies also take place between two cities in differing parts of the country, most of which involve one of the 3 big Stockholm based teams and either Malmö or Gothenburg.

City Derbies


Main article: Tvillingderbyt

The most classic derby in Stockholm and known as the biggest derby in Sweden and Scandinavia. They are historically Stockholm's biggest and most successful clubs with both having won a total of 11 Swedish Championships each. The rivalry has existed since 1891, the year which both clubs were founded in, separated by just three weeks. Thereby known as Tvillingderbyt (the Twinderby), matches between the two clubs are sometimes listed in the European top ten of hottest derbies. Since 1891, 220 fixtures have been contested in all competitions with both clubs winning 80 games each. Both clubs have gained a large amount of support throughout the city. Though there is a certain geographical divide as well, with AIK's heartland being in the Northwestern part and Djurgården's heartland being in the Eastern part of the city. This rivalry is also found in ice hockey which further aggravates tension between both sets of fans and shapes the rivalry as quite unique in Swedish sport. In general, the supporters of these two clubs consider the other team to be their biggest rival.

AIK and Hammarby are arguably the two football clubs with the biggest support in Sweden. In 2015, two of the three games between these two teams had an attendance of 41 063 and 41 630 respectively, which is more than any other matches in the Nordic Countries. AIK was founded in the neighbourhood of Norrmalm but has since 1937 been based in the municipality of Solna and have the largest portion of their support in the Northern parts of the city. While Hammarby is from the neighbourhood of Södermalm and has most of its support in the South. Meaning the game symbolizes the struggle between North and South Stockholm.

Another derby, considered less significant than the AIK-Djurgården rivalry but equally or possibly even more intense than the AIK-Hammarby rivalry. This fiercely contended football rivalry traces its origin back to the later half of the 1910s but did not reach relevance until the 1950s and '60s when Hammarby established themselves as a top-flight outfit. The rivalry's dynamic largely stems from the geographical proximity of the two clubs, with Djurgården originating from the island of Djurgården in the Northeastern part of the city and Hammarby from the neighbourhood of Södermalm in the Southern part. Djurgården's former home ground Stockholm Olympic Stadium was located adjacent to the neighbourhood of Östermalm, while Hammarby has since 1946 predominantly played in the area of Johanneshov, just South of Södermalm. In 2013, both teams moved into the new Tele2 Arena located in Johanneshov, which has increased tensions significantly between Djurgården and Hammarby fans.


Traditionally the main rivalry in Gothenburg, contested between the city's most successful sides. Before the foundation of IFK Göteborg, the dominant club in the Gothenburg area was Örgryte IS, which was considered a middle class club, and in later years an upper class club, like most clubs of that time. IFK became popular amongst the working class, creating a fierce rivalry based upon both local pride and social class. In the early 20th century, supporters were supposed to act as gentlemen, applauding and supporting both their own team, and the opponents. However, this proved a hard task for supporters of the Gothenburg teams. Local patriotism and class differences sometimes resulted in fights and pitch invasions, making the Swedish press view IFK and Örgryte fans as the scum of Swedish football.[1] The derbies between the two teams have attracted some of the highest attendance in Swedish football. The fixture attracted 52,194 spectators in 1959, an all time Allsvenskan record.[2] The rivalry has decreased in recent years due to the decline of Örgryte IS.

IFK Göteborg and GAIS are two best supported clubs in the city with 50% and 12% of the city respectively supporting them. Both clubs supporters are historically working-class. The biggest attendance in "Göteborgsklassikern" (Gothenburg Classic) is 50,690 at Nya Ullevi stadium.

Games between the second most popular (GAIS, supported by 12% of the city) and third most popular (Örgryte, supported by 11%) clubs of Gothenburg do not stir up the same kind of emotion as the other derbies in the city tend to do. Though there is some ill feeling between the clubs due to GAIS traditionally being seen as a working-class club and Örgryte IS being seen as an upper-class club.

As the smallest club of the Gothenburg area, based on the island Hisingen the rivalry with the bigger clubs in Gothenburg is not especially strong but has increased in recent years due to the successful results on the pitch of BK Häcken. In 2012 Allsvenskan they finished as runners up.


Formally a significant rivalry in the early 20th century, since the decline of IFK in 1960s the clubs have played only one cup fixture.


Based in the city of Södertälje, both clubs share the 6,700 capacity Södertälje Fotbollsarena. The two are the most successful and popular 'immigrant clubs' in Sweden. Assyriska Föreningen were founded in 1971 and Syrianska in 1977 by Assyrian refugees. Although both founded by Assyrians, Syrianska fans identify themselves as Syriacs/Arameans from within this ethnic group.

The rivalry is mainly friendly and offers financial benefits for the sides.


Sleipner were in the early 20th century seen as the working-class club in Norrköping, and the sides battled in Allsvenskan up until the 1940s. After that Sleipner has fallen through the divisions however and the rivalry is all but forgotten today, except among older generations.


A derby played in the town of Halmstad, both team sharing the main local football stadium Örjans Vall. The majority of the matches have been played in the leagues just below Allsvenskan. Halmia being the dominant team until the 1930s when the teams became more evenly matched. The last competitive derby, to date, was played in 1979 as Halmia was relegated the same year and since been unable to return to the top league.[3] The derby's that have been played since have mainly been friendly matches or in local youth competitions.[4]

Regional Rivalries

Scania County

Known as the Skånederby. A significant rivalry between the two most successful sides from the southern part of the country and the county of Scania, Helsingborgs IF and Malmö FF.

Known as the Nordvästra Skånederbyt. A match between the two biggest clubs from the northwestern part of the county of Scania, Helsingborgs IF and Landskrona BoIS.

Known as the Sydvästra Skånederbyt. A minor rivalry solely based on geography between two clubs from the southwestern part of Scania, Malmö FF and Trelleborgs FF.

Västra Götaland County

The match between IF Elfsborg and IFK Göteborg are known as the Västderby (Western Derby) or as "El Västico"! Elfsborg based in Borås 45 minutes east of Gothenburg.

Halland County

Derbies in Halland between the more up to date successful teams Halmstads BK, Falkenbergs FF and Varbergs BoIS FC. Traditionally the Halmstadderby has been the biggest derby in the county but since the decline of IS Halmia and the recent successiv years for Falkenbergs FF and Varbergs BoIS FC the rivalry between the three teams has increased. The biggest rivalry is between the two most successiv teams in recent years, Falkenbergs FF and Halmstads BK who have played against each other in Superettan two times and in Allsvenskan four times. These are the two clubs with most supporters in the county and the games attract relatively big crowds. Sometimes lighter trouble occurs between the two sets of supporters to the clubs and both clubs also have some noisy support. The derby between Falkenbergs FF and Halmstads BK is also known as "El Custico". Games between Varbergs BoIS FC and Falkenbergs FF also attract relatively big crowds and there is a bitter rivalry between the two sets of supporters to the clubs. The two clubs have played each other four times in Superettan. The derby between Varbergs BoIS FC and Falkenbergs FF is however the second derby in the county after "El Custico" due to Varbergs absent appearens in Allsvenskan but also due to that there are less supporters to Varbergs BoIS FC in comparison to the two biggest teams in the county, Falkenberg and Halmstad. Halmstads BK vs. Varbergs BoIS FC is a minor rivalry which attracts quite big crowds but the rivalry between the clubs two sets of supporters is not as big as the rivalry between Falkenberg-Halmstad and Falkenberg-Varberg due to that both Halmstad and Varberg would consider Falkenberg to be their biggest rivals.

Småland County

The two most supporterd clubs in Småland plays the Smålandsderby. Östers IF from Växjö have 4 titles in Allsvenskan and Kalmar FF have 1 title.


The match between GIF Sundsvall and Umeå FC is known as the most prestigeful derby in Norrland, the northern part of Sweden. Even though the distance between the cities is 264 km. Sundsvall also has a minor derby against Gefle IF in Norrland.

Örebro Län

The Derby between Örebro SK and Degerfors IF is known as a Länsderby (countyderby). Even though Degerfors historically belongs to Värmland county and Örebro SK to Närke county the rivalry is relatively big.


IFK Norrköping vs Åtvidabergs FF games are known as the "Östgötaderbyt", it is the match between the most successful clubs from the county. The fixture also gains prestige from Åtvidabergs proximity to Linköping, and the regional rivalry between the latter and Norrköping.

Sporting Rivalries

Played between the two most successful sides in Sweden. The rivalry was at its most significant in the 1980s when both clubs dominated Swedish football.

The biggest rivalry between a Stockholm-based club and a Gothenburg-based club. It can be said to be a footballing rivalry as well as inter-city based rivalry between the most successful teams from Stockholm and Gothenburg respectively. The nation's two biggest cities share a big inter-city rivalry between them and a strong dislike for each other. All meetings between the different clubs from the two cities are seen as important but this meeting is the only one which can be seen as a full on rivalry.


  1. Jönsson & Josephson 2004, p. 190.
  2. "Allsvenskans högsta publiksiffror genom tiderna" (PDF). (in Swedish). SFS. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  3. "HBK och Halmia möts igen" (in Swedish). 2009-09-08. Retrieved 2013-03-25.
  4. "HBK-seger mot Halmia" (in Swedish). 2013-02-26. Retrieved 2013-03-25.

External links

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