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What is Sweden doing to celebrate the King’s 50th year on the throne?

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf marks his 50-year jubilee next year, while the nation will mark the 500th anniversary of the year Gustav Vasa ascended to the throne after liberating Sweden from Danish rule. So, how is Sweden celebrating?

What is Sweden doing to celebrate the King's 50th year on the throne?
Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf celebrates his birthday with his grandchildren Prince Gabriel, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Carl XVI Gustaf was only 27 when he became king following the death of his grandfather, Gustaf VI Adolf in 1973, and he had been Crown Prince since his father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, died in a plane crash when he was just four years old. 

In 2018, he became Sweden’s longest reigning monarch ever, and he’s currently showing few signs of slowing down. 

Here are the main events planned for 2023 to celebrate his rule. 

January 27th: the Sweden Dinner

Jubilee celebrations will begin shortly after the New Year’s celebration, with a Sverigemiddag, or “Sweden Dinner”, planned in Stockholm at the Kungliga slottet, or Royal Palace, for January 27.

Leaders from each of Sweden’s 21 counties are invited, and those leaders will also select significant people from their counties to “set the tone” (tongivande människor) for the event.

February-September: Tour of Swedish counties

Throughout the year, the King and Queen will travel to all of Sweden’s counties, riding in a horse-drawn carriage wherever possible. These visits will take place between February and September.

June 6th: National Day celebrations

As mentioned above, on June 6, the royal couple will be in Strängnäs to mark the anniversary of the founding of modern Sweden under Gustav Vasa.

After visiting Strängnäs, the King will give a National Day speech at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm, which has its own statue of Gustav Vasa, and which will itself be celebrating its 150-year anniversary next year. A National Day reception will also be held at the museum.

September 15th and September 16th: Main jubilee celebrations

September 15, 2023, officially marks 50 years from the day when Carl XVI Gustaf became Sweden’s king. 

A Jubilee dinner with international heads of state and royals will be held that evening in the Rikssalen at the Royal Palace.

The next day, on September 16th, the King and Queen will travel through Stockholm in a Jubilee Cortege. This will be followed by a Jubilee Concert, which will be open to the public and may also be broadcast live on TV and radio.

While not all these events will be open to the public, there are plenty of opportunities for regular civilians to get caught up in Jubilee celebrations. In March, an exhibition titled “Vasa to Bernadotte – Culture in the service of the kingdom 1523 – 1973 – 2023”, tracking the history of the Swedish monarchy, will open at the Royal Palace. And in June, an outdoor photography retrospective on Carl XVI Gustaf’s time as King will open at Slottsbacken, by the Royal Palace. 

Gustaf Vasa led a rebellion against the Danish King Kristian II, led Sweden’s reformation, and established Sweden as a unitary kingdom. Photo: National Museum of Sweden

So what’s planned to celebrate the the Vasa anniversary? 

Next year isn’t all about contemporary royalty, there’s also a historical king to celebrate. 

Gustav Vasa, or Gustav 1st, is seen by many Swedes as the country’s greatest ever ruler. During his rule, Vasa did away with the tradition of elected monarchs, replacing the system with a hereditary monarchy, then ruled by the House of Vasa.

The day he was elected king, June 6th, 1523, is now celebrated as Sweden’s national day.

So on June 6th, a full day of festivities is planned in Strängnäs, the city where Vasa’s election was held, with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia presiding over the day’s events.

The Royal Castles will mark Gustav Vasa’s election with a variety of events, including lectures, concerts, and park walks planned throughout the year at Vasaborgen Gripsholm, or Gripsholm Castle, in Mariefred. The castle itself is an important historical site, dating back to the era of Sweden’s Vasa rulers

You can apply for tickets here from March for the events at Gripsholm Castle. 

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For members


Eight festivals you shouldn’t miss in Sweden this summer

Planning a trip to Sweden, or just looking for something to do in your four-week summer holidays this year? Here's a list of eight events and festivals to give you some ideas.

Eight festivals you shouldn't miss in Sweden this summer

Sweden Rock

The Sweden Rock Festival has been a fixture of the Swedish summer for more than 30 years, and returns to its site in the city of Sölverborg once again this June.

It will feature classic rock, hard rock, metal and some blues, with a lineup including Megadeth, Evanescence, The Hives, Alice Cooper and The Darkness. The festival, which attracts around 40,000 visitors, offers camping for caravans and motorhomes. Additional camping areas for tents are available but are operated by private companies.

There will also be around 100 different food stalls, 23 bars, a wine garden and a coffee lounge at the festival.

Day tickets start at 1,598 kronor and a basic four-day ticket is priced at 3,898 kronor.

Where: Sölvesborg, Blekinge

When: June 5th-8th 

Sthlm Fields

Sthlm Fields festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year. The event will see top artists, both national and international, play at Gärdet in Stockholm. The performers will include Toto, Doja Cat and Molly Sandén. Bars, food stalls and merchandise stands will be located within the grounds, too.

There are no spaces for camping on the festival grounds, so you’ll have to find somewhere to stay in Stockholm during the festival.

Daily tickets start from 795 kronor and the full access ticket starts at 2,595 kronor.

Where: Central Stockholm

When: June 28th-July 7th


If you want to really experience Swedish culture, consider visiting Dansbandsveckan. This festival of the hugely popular Dansband genre attracts nearly 100,000 visitors over seven evenings, with six dance floors and 82 dance bands.

The festival will include dance classes, a musical summer evening, a fairground, axe throwing, a car exhibition and much more.

Camping and private accommodation is available, but must be booked in advance.

Evening tickets are priced at 350 kronor and a weekly ticket costs 2,300 kronor.

Where: Malung, Dalarna County

When: July 14th- 20th

Classic cars cruising through Rättvik during Classic Car Week 2022. Photo: Lisa Abrahamsson/TT

Classic Car Week

The long-running Classic Car Week event will take place in Rättvik. The week will include music, events for children, a vintage market, a demolition derby, classic car parade and much more.

Private accommodation is available and should be booked independently.

Tickets for the event cost 900 kronor if booked before April 30th, or 1,000 kronor after May 1st.

Where: Rättvik, Dalarna County

When: July 26th-August 1st

Medieval Week Gotland

Gotland’s Medieval Week is Sweden’s largest historical festival. As well as taking you back in time so you can experience the Middle Ages, the eight-day event will include knights dressed in authentic armour competing in jousting, sword fighting, a horse parade, archery and falconry. Along with all those, there will be concerts, theatre performances and medieval folk dancing, and if you get peckish you can enjoy a selection of medieval themed treats.

You’ll need to book a camping spot beforehand through the event website.

A one-day ticket starts from 159 kronor and the eight-day ticket starts at 689 kronor.

Where: Gotland

When: August 4th-11th

Way Out West

The Way Out West (WOW) festival is running for its 17th year in Gothenburg. The three-day event has seen artists such as Prince, Kendrick Lamar and Stormzy play throughout its history, and the lineup this year includes André 3000, Queens of the Stone Age, Pulp, PJ Harvey and The National, as well as Sweden’s own Benjamin Ingrosso.

The festival will have five stages, a range of vegetarian and vegan food stalls, and also hosts Sweden’s third largest film festival.

Accommodation will need to be booked separately.

Adult tickets start from 1,245 kronor, with the three-day ticket costing 2,595 kronor. There are also premium, VIP and youth tickets available.

Where: Slottsskogen, Gothenburg

When: August 8th-10th 


Sweden’s oldest city festival transforms the streets of Malmö into a party, with dance, music, street food and more. The eight-day festival will take place in August and it will include 1,000 programme items.

The event is free to attend.

Where: Malmö

When: August 9th-16th

Crowds in Malmö during Malmöfestivalen last year. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Street Food Festivalen

With over 200,000 visitors and 200 participating food and drink vendors across Sweden’s three largest cities, this food festival is one of the largest festivals of its kind in the country. Along with food stalls, the event will host the Swedish championships in street food. The runners up from around the world, who will take part in the food festival in Malmö, Stockholm and Gothenburg, will be selected before the final that will take place at the Gothenburg festival at the end of the summer.

The event is free to attend, although you’ll obviously have to pay for food.

When: Malmö: June 28th and 29th, Stockholm: July 26th and 27th, Gothenburg: August 29th to September 1st