Ystad - Sweden

Complete description of case study





Title Ystad
National level Sweden
Regional level Skanelän county
Local level Ystad


Ystad is located at the southern tip of Sweden, in the province of Scania, east of Malmö. Sweden generally does not suffer from coastal erosion because of land uplift, but it does occur in Scania, where the land uplift is around zero and land subsidence – although it is really small and seems insignificant – will result in the long run in ongoing erosion on most Scania’s southern coast. The combination of high water levels with strong wind has on many occasions resulted in severe damage to the coast of Ystad municipality.

West of Ystad, most of the beach consists of stone and gravel. On the coast at Ystad, some sea walls are present to protect the beach. East of Ystad, the beaches are mainly sandy with another sea wall. Over the years, these areas have been severely affected by erosion. The coastline has eroded by 1-1.5m/year, on average, for the last 150 years.

The erosion mainly affects urban areas and industry and threatens human lives, property and investments. Recreational beaches are threatened. In general, the purposes of the protection works along the Ystad coast have been different for different areas. The effects have therefore also been different.

Since 1950, the landowners in this area have been dumping rocks and this temporary action saved the buildings. However, in the long run, the (unprofessional) way in which the dumping has occurred has resulted in much more severe damage and more problems. However, the overall effect of the protection scheme at Ystad has been positive. In some areas, the problem has been moved further downdrift because only hard protective measures were applied. The aims can be the protection of infrastructure, holding the line and rebuilding the sand dunes.


Coastal characteristics
  • Study area: local scale
  • Type of coast: beaches (gravel beach in the west and sandy beach in the east)
  • Tidal regime: micro tidal (<0,25 m)
  • Range of waves : average Hsig = 0-1 m
  • Other: in this area instead of land uplift, there is a small land subsidence present of 0,5 mm/year
Policy options Hold the line
Socio-economic activities Agriculture and forestry, tourism and recreation, urbanisation, industry, nature conservation.
Engineering techniques Groins, seawall, dune protection


Name Hans Hanson
Institution Dept. Of Water Resources Engineering, Lund University
Telephone / fax +46 46 222-8987/ +46 46 222-4435