What’s in a number?
Well, plenty as Sweden celebrates 500 years on the 6th of June, making 2023 a jubilee year.
At the heart of it is Sweden’s transition into a national state as Gustav Vasa was elected King of Sweden on the 6 June 1523 in the small town of Strängnäs. Shortly after that Sweden left the so-called Kalmar Union with Denmark and Norway and became independent again.
On the 6th of June 2023, in Melbourne at Toorak House, on an unusually warm winter’s day (almost like a northern summer’s day in Sweden). Ambassador Pontus Melander invited the Swedish community, Swedish companies, Swedish Church and friends of Sweden in Melbourne to an evening to celebrate the Swedish National Day and Sweden 500 years.
Starting with formalities, as one should on a National Day, toasts for Sweden and Australia were followed by the Swedish National Anthem and the Australian National Anthem, both sung a capella by talented singer Suzann Frisk.
Ambassador Melander opened his speech with an acknowledgement of country by paying his respect to the traditional owners of the Kulin land and welcoming everyone to the celebrations. He also thanked Katja Lin and the Swedish Church for the opportunity to host the National Day in the beautiful Toorak House.
“Depending on one’s perspective, 500 years of human history can be a long period or a very short one. We are humbled by the fact that this continent has been continuously inhabited by Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander people for over 60 000 years” the Ambassador said, then continued: “Sweden has changed over 500 years and today we take pride that Sweden, just like Australia, is a modern society where people can pursue their dreams and exercise their freedom of expression, regardless of gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation.”
Sweden’s excellent political and diplomatic relations with Australian were confirmed with the recent visit in February from the Crown Princess of Sweden, HRH Crown Princess Victoria, HRH Prince Daniel and the Minister of Trade, Johan Forssell.
The visit highlighted our shared values and interest and showcased the strong relationship between Swedish companies and relevant Australian partners. Many Swedish companies are well established in Australia, creating jobs and furthering the economic development, innovation and sustainability focus and many of them located in Melbourne.
We were delighted to have company representatives from Ericsson, ABB, Scania, Tetra Pak, Axis, Astra Zeneca, IKEA, Sinch, SAAB, Polestar, Husqvarna, Alfa Laval and many entrepreneurs celebrating Sweden together with us.
The evening was truly a success with many from the Swedish community and organisations in Melbourne coming out for the National Day celebration, for the first time properly since the pandemic. It is safe to say that the quiz about Sweden was the most popular thing of the evening, with almost all guests testing their knowledge of Sweden. 15 happy winners were selected and were given a goody bag from the Ambassador with information books about Sweden and chocolate from Mörk Chocolate.
Look out for more celebrations later in the year as this year we also celebrate His Majesty the Kings’ golden jubilee. It marks the 50th anniversary of his accession to the throne, His Majesty is currently the third longest serving head of state in the world.
Thank you, Melbourne, we are happy you all joined us in celebrating Sweden 500!
Embassy of Sweden in Canberra