June 6th became Sweden’s official national day only 27 years ago, and it only became a national holiday in 2005. While there will be groups of proud Swedes found waving the blue and yellow flag at Stockholm’s Skansen, and town squares across the country, for many the day remains something of a non-event.
With the June 21st royal wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling fast approaching this year’s national day however also coincides with the opening of Love Stockholm – a two week festival in cupid’s honour featuring concerts and other events building up to the wedding day itself.
Well-wishers will have the opportunity to pen their message of goodwill at the Royal Palace throughout Sunday, as well as take part in other activities including lectures, tours and concerts at the palace church – the venue of the wedding.
Daniel Westling will take part in national day celebrations for the first time this evening when he joins King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria at Skansen in central Stockholm.
The royal cortège through the city will this year be somewhat extended in a dress rehearsal of the wedding procession.
National day is also an occasion for demonstrations, with far-right and anti-racist groups voicing their respective interpretations of the day, and of modern Swedish identity.
Despite the widespread nonchalance, Sweden’s national day celebrates events of significance equal to those in the US, France and elsewhere.
2010 marks the 487th anniversary of Gustav Vasa’s proclamation as Swedish king. Gustav Vasa’s reign was noteworthy for taking Sweden out of the Kalmar Union with Denmark, leading the Swedish break with the Catholic Church, and the founding of Sweden’s hereditary monarchy.