Thousands of onlookers gathered to welcome the three-masted wooden ship – an exact replica of the Swedish East India Company’s 18th century vessel of the same name – to Gothenburg’s Frihamn on Saturday afternoon.
Dozens of small boats escorted the ship into harbour and with a 21-gun salute Götheborg was brought into the quay by two tugboats.
King Carl XVI Gustaf and Chinese president Hu Jingtao watched the vessel arrive, along with some 90 guests of honour including the local bishop, top figures from business and Nobel Prizewinner Arvid Carlsson.
Peter Kaaling, who captained Götheborg into port, stood on deck and looked out over the flotilla of boats, from canoes to Chinese TV boats, surrounding the East Indiaman.
“I feel humbled. It’s fantastic that so many people have turned up to welcome us,” said Kaaling.
Crew member Linda Svensson, 30, was onboard when Götheborg came into Frihamn. She was also with the ship when it arrived in China a year ago.
“An unbelievable experience,” she said.
“When we were getting near China it was so incredibly warm that it wasn’t possible to sleep below deck. We fixed up our hammocks under the sky instead. It was wonderful to wake in the night and see the full sails and starry sky above. It was an amazing feeling.”