Swedes sceptical towards National Day

Pär Nuder, finance minister, was hoping that June 6th, National Day, would be an opportunity to create a greater sense of community in Sweden and strengthen the Swedish identity. But according to a Temo research done for SAS, seven out of ten Swedes like the idea of being off on national day, but only one out of ten will wave the Swedish flag.

This year is the first time that National Day will be marked with a public holiday, replacing the holiday for the second day of pentecost. The 6th June is the anniversary of the day Gustav Vasa was crowned king in 1523.

Peter Aronsson, who is professor for cultural inheritance and history usage at the University of Linköping, thinks that the only thing that would make Swedes gather around a day to celebrate the nation is a war or other national drama.

“The whole idea is a failure. We have nothing to manifest over; no emancipation cause to fight for and for that we should be thankful,” said Aronsson to Östögta Correspondenten.

What will be seen on Monday instead are right and left wing demonstrations on the streets of Stockholm while the Royal Family will attract a crowd at Skansen.

The police are hoping for a calm day, compared to last year, when demonstrations were transformed into a violent stone-throwing event.

“The routes are planned so that they do not meet,” Tina Gustafsson, spokesperson for the police, told news agency TT.

The celebration tomorrow will set the tone for how Swedes look at National Day in the future, according to historian Heléne Lööw.

“I think that when it comes to the extreme nationalistic groups like Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna), National Democrats (Nationaldemokraterna) and others, they are hoping that it will be a day for their values and that they will create traditions that will attract more people. They see the national day as a day of more importance and so want to take a strong initiative,” said Lööw to Sveriges Radio.

Front page photo: Olof Holdar/Stockholm Visitors Board. Source: Image Bank Sweden

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet, Östgöta Correspondenten