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Almedalen: Sweden's summer politics extravaganza in numbers

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Almedalen: Sweden's summer politics extravaganza in numbers
Almedan kicked off on Sunday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT
12:11 CEST+02:00
If you find yourself in Sweden during July, you're going to hear a lot of talk about Almedalen. A huge festival where political parties, businesses, media, and other organizations gather for a week of seminars and events -- there's nothing quite like it elsewhere in the world.

Here are the key facts and figures to know about Almedalen so you've got something to add when conversation inevitably turns to the political extravaganza.

50: Years since the event first kicked off.

It was back in 1968 that Olof Palme (even if your knowledge of Swedish political history is limited, you'll likely recognize the name from the many streets around Sweden baptized in his honour) started the tradition of political speeches on Gotland. His family was one of many that spent its summers on the island, and the young politician took the chance to give a speech from the back of a truck to an audience of just a few hundred, reading from notes on the back of a shop receipt.

The event is so closely linked to him that some call it Palmedalen, and after his murder in 1986, there was a big debate about whether it should go on.

1982: The year Almedalen became official

Although political speeches were held in Visby's Almedalen park each summer after Palme began the tradition, it only gained official status in 1982, when the Social Democrats organized a series of seminars and the leaders of all the major political parties were all present for the first time.

27: The week Almedalen is held

In case you hadn't noticed, Swedes seem to enjoy describing things in numbers, and at any given point, many will be able to tell you exactly which week of the year it is -- a relatively useful albeit not that exciting party trick. Anyway, Almedalen is held on the 27th week of the year, but this has only been the case since 2009; before that, it was during the first full week of July.

8: Number of days

Although it's usually referred to as a week-long event, it actually lasts eight days in total, so that each political party represented in parliament can have their own specific day. The political speeches are still at the core of the week, but these days it also incorporates events from many other organizations and groups -- including The Local!

2: Months until the election

When Almedalen wraps up on July 8th, it will be exactly two months and one day until Swedes go to the polls in the general election -- so you can bet the politicians will be doing their best to win over voters.

4,250: Approximate number of events

This year's programme will be bigger than last year's, when a record 4,062 events were held.

READ ALSO: Five reasons why Sweden's Almedalen is like Survivor

1,152: Events on Tuesday, July 3rd

This is the busiest day of the week in terms of scheduled events.

351: Events about healthcare

A key issue in the run-up to the autumn election, healthcare is the number one topic featured in this year's Almedalen, according to the official programme.

45,000: Visitors expected to attend Almedalen this year

That's according to estimates from organizers, who expect the 50th anniversary event to exceed last year's visitor number of 42,000.

5 percent: The proportion of Gotlanders among Almedalen visitors

The remaining 95 percent travel to Visby and the surrounding area specifically for Almedalen.

976,797: Overnight stays in Gotland during Almedalen week 2017

The political event has been a big boost for tourism on the island, which has welcomed over a million guests in total each of the past two years. This figure is up from 762,855 in 2008 and includes stays in hotels, hostels, cottages, campsites and rental apartments. 

READ ALSO: Ten things that make a visit to Gotland unforgettable

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