Restaurant owner charged with breaking Sweden's ban on unauthorised dancing

The Local Sweden
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Restaurant owner charged with breaking Sweden's ban on unauthorised dancing
The controversial rule that bans spontaneous dancing at bars that lack the correct permit dates back to the 1930s. Photo: Dan Hansson/SVD/TT

A restaurant owner in Härjedalen municipality has been charged with breaking the Swedish law that effectively bans dancing in bars unless the owner has a permit.


As the owner of this restaurant didn't have such a permit for the dancing that allegedly took place, he has been charged, reports P4 Jämtland.

The dance performances are said to have taken place from December last year to February this year. The restaurant owner denies the charge.

The controversial rule that bans dancing at bars that lack the correct permit can be traced back to the 1930s, although it has changed shape over the years.

A bar owner who falls afoul of the rules could risk the withdrawal of other permits, fines or even prison.


In April 2016, Sweden's parliament voted to scrap the rule but the government has yet to implement the law change. Industry groups have become frustrated that police reports are still being filed over rule breaches, despite the announcement that the rule would be abolished.

Interior Minister Mikael Damberg told parliament in early March this year that the government was working on a proposal to scrap the rule for dance permits, but that the matter had not been prioritised due to several other ongoing law changes aimed at clamping down on organised crime and gang violence.

Swedish lawmakers want the government to abolish the rule as soon as the coronavirus pandemic is over.

Sweden's ban on 'spontaneous dancing' has been hotly debated in recent decades. Between 2011 and 2014 a total of 20 motions to abolish it were put forward by members of various parties in the Swedish parliament.

The ban has been updated over the years, but initially came following decades of debate starting in the 1930s over concerns about the effects that dancing, drinking and decadence would have on the Swedish youth.


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