Sweden ‘should hand back Danish war booty’

Sweden should hand back booty taken from Denmark during wars in 17th and 18th centuries, a Danish Member of Parliament has said.

Sören Espersen, an MP for the populist Dansk Folkeparti, pointed to the fact that British booty taken from Denmark during the Napoleonic Wars was being returned to a museum in Copenhagen this week, Dagens Nyheter reports.

Espersen, whose party is often perceived as anti-Swedish, is calling on Danish ministers to act on the issue.

He said that Sweden was refusing to listen “presumably because if it were to start handing back all the loot it took in the 16th and 17th century, large parts of their museums, churches and castles would be completely empty,” he told Danish news agency Ritzau, according to DN.

This is not the first time that Dansk Folkeparti has pressed for the return of Swedish treasures. In 2002, it accused the “previous Swedish military dictatorship” from carrying out widespread robberies in Denmark.

It also accused Sweden of perpetrating “history’s first systematic ethnic cleansing of Danes in Skåne, Halland and Blekinge,” the southern Swedish provinces previously part of Denmark. So far, the demands for the return of cultural treasures to Denmark have not included requests for the return of southern Sweden.