Sweden 500- A year of Celebration
What’s in a number? Why plenty, if you ask us!
2023 truly is a jubilee year for Sweden, as the country boasts 500 years worthy of a celebration. It’s a year with more than one Swedish milestone, featuring everything from royals and opera to rollercoasters and the Nobel Prize Banquet. But at the heart of it all is independence and democracy. Intrigued? Then hop along as we take you through the numbers.
So, you’ve done your math and have rewound to 1523. What exactly happened then?
That year, on 6 June to be exact, Gustav Vasa was elected King of Sweden. With Gustav Vasa elected, Sweden left the so-called Kalmar Union with Denmark and Norway, and once again became independent. The historic place where Gustav Vasa was elected? Strängnäs, 59 kilometres west of Stockholm. Under King Gustav Vasa, the Protestant Reformation was introduced and the church was nationalised. During King Gustav Vasa’s reign, Sweden would also lay the foundations of the strong central governance it would develop over centuries to come.
2023 also marks 50 years on the throne for King Carl XVI Gustaf, Sweden’s current monarch. As head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf is the country’s foremost unifying symbol. According to the constitution, he has no political affinity or formal powers, and his duties are mainly of a ceremonial and representative nature. He became King of Sweden on 15 September 1973, following the death of King Gustaf VI Adolf. Fast-forward to today, and King Carl XVI Gustaf can boast the title as the longest reigning monarch in Swedish history, with more than 80 state visitsabroad. All set to follow in his footsteps is Crown Princess Victoria. In 1980, the Succession Act was made gender-neutral, which turned Princess Victoria – the oldest of Carl Gustaf’s three children – into Crown Princess Victoria. As a celebration of his 50 years on the throne, King Carl XVI Gustaf is paying visit to all 21 of Sweden’s regions during the course of the year, together with Queen Silvia. Hosted by the respective governors, these visits are an opportunity to meet with the people.
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PHOTO: THRON ULLBERG/KUNGL HOVSTATERNA