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Swedish Flag
21 November 2017

Sweden's National Day

Sweden National Day Since 1916, June 6 has been celebrated as the Swedish Flag Day, but it was not until 1983 that it officially became the National Day.

For a long time Sweden was probably one of very few countries in the world with no national day.

Since 1916, June 6 has been celebrated as the Swedish Flag Day, but it was not until 1983 that it officially became the National Day. Nowadays, the custom of celebrating the national day has grown stronger and today almost every town has its own festivities with speeches, music and distribution of Swedish flags to private persons and associations. The biggest celebration takes place at Skansen, an open-air museum in Stockholm, where some 15000 people gather together with the Royal family.

In the early 1900s, a wave of nationalistic sentiments made Swedes start to long for a national day. But it was not until after the First World War, and as a result of private initiatives, that the Swedish Flag Day began to be celebrated on the 6th of June. The date was chosen because Gustav Vasa was elected as the King of Sweden on that day in 1523, and it is also the day when Sweden's constitution was signed in 1809.

Public holiday for the first time in 2004

In 2004, the Swedish Riksdag voted to make it a public holiday, which may cause people to become more interested in celebrating it. The final decision took decades to reach, various proposals had been bandied about under a succession of governments. There are also groups lobbying for the introduction of an official National Pastry, and a National Dish, and for the key-fiddle (nyckelharpa) to be made the National Instrument. But even for ideas as innocent as these, arriving at a consensus has proved difficult. More information about Swedish traditions and festivities can be found in the theme site Celebrating the Swedish way on www.sweden.se/traditions.

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