Sweden–United Kingdom relations

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

British–Swedish relations
Map indicating locations of United Kingdom and Sweden

United Kingdom

Diplomatic mission
British Embassy, StockholmSwedish Embassy, London
Ambassador Judith GoughAmbassador Torbjörn Sohlström

United Kingdom–Sweden relations (also known as Anglo-Swedish relations or British-Swedish relations) (Swedish: Relationer mellan Storbritannien och Sverige or svensk-brittiska relationer) are relations between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Kingdom of Sweden. Both countries are members of the Council of Europe and NATO.


Viking Age

The earliest wave of migration from present-day

Eastern England, Scotland and the Shetland Islands).[2]

Another early recording of

of this period mentioning England are found in modern day Sweden.


One of the earliest mentions of present day Sweden in old English literature comes in the form of the

but is mortally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants cremate his body and erect a tower on a headland in his memory.

Colonial era

In the Treaty of Stockholm of 1813, Britain ceded Guadeloupe to Sweden in exchange for Swedish support against Napoleon in the War of the Sixth Coalition and trading rights in major Swedish cities. Swedish rule was brief as the island was ceded to France in the 1814 Treaty of Paris.


During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Swedes emigrated to the United States and the majority of Swedes sailed from Gothenburg to Kingston upon Hull before travelling to Liverpool or Southampton to continue their journey to North America.[3] This created a significant Swedish presence in these cities, so much so that Swedish churches were built to cater to the dynamic communities.[4] Although most emigrants eventually left the ports for the US, some remained in Britain and started their new lives a stage early.[4]


In 2022, Sweden and the UK signed a mutual defence treaty.[5] In July 2022, the United Kingdom fully approved Sweden's application for NATO membership.[6]


  • Embassy of Sweden in London
    Embassy of Sweden in London
  • Embassy of the United Kingdom in Stockholm
    Embassy of the United Kingdom in Stockholm

The British embassy in North Korea based in Pyongyang is located in the same building as the Swedish embassy.

State visits


Carl XVI Gustaf
made an official visit to the UK between 8 and 11 July 1975. Elizabeth later returned the visit between 25 and 28 May 1983.


Victoria of the United Kingdom through her third son, Prince Arthur. King Charles III, although a descendant of Charles IX of Sweden is not in line to the Swedish throne, as the Swedish Act of Succession
limits successors to the descendants of Carl XVI Gustaf.

Other noted British members of the

Charles Edward of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha
, was by birth a British prince.


Countess of Wessex has represented the British Royal Family in all the recent royal weddings the king's children of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling, Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill and Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist

The UK and Sweden have small republican movements, including

Republic and Republikanska Föreningen. Which are members of the pan-European Alliance of European Republican Movements,[9] which is based in Stockholm.[10]


Air transport

The UK and Sweden are part of the Single European Sky, hence there are no restrictions between them to operate flights to. Both flag carriers British Airways and SAS between them fly between the capitals’ major airports of London-Heathrow to Stockholm-Arlanda, SAS also flies from Arlanda to Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh. BA and SAS also flies between Heathrow and Gothenburg airports, with SAS providing connections to other parts of the country.

Other carriers that fly between the UK and Sweden include regional and low-cost carriers. The regional carriers that fly between UK and Sweden are Sun-Air which flies from Gothenburg to Manchester.

Low-cost carriers are well established between the UK and Sweden,

Gothenburg-City, Malmö and Skellefteå airports in the past. Polish airline Enter Air offers seasonal charter flights to Kiruna
from eleven British airports.

BA, SAS, Norwegian, easyJet and Ryanair all fly to nearby Copenhagen airport in Denmark from various British airports, which has easy access by the Öresundståg and SJ trains to Scania and Småland.

Marine transport

In the past, there were regular

cross-channel services
. Currently commercial port services for freight exist between Harwich and Immingham to Gothenburg.

Culture and media

The UK and Sweden are considered

cultural superpowers as they have given a large amount of cultural influence in the world despite their small size.[peacock prose] Cross-culturally they strongly influence each other due to being Northern European countries with a majority of people being non-practicing Protestants, with a notable immigrant population. Sweden is also influenced due to the country's strong knowledge of English as a second language.


Major historical and contemporary British authors' literature are popular in Sweden, such as William Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, the Brontë sisters, Jane Austen, Beatrix Potter, Charles Dickens, J. R. R. Tolkien & J. K. Rowling. Due to the high literary knowledge of English language, many popular works are available and read in their original text as well as translated versions. Around ten British authors including Rudyard Kipling, T. S. Eliot, Harold Pinter and the current winner Kazuo Ishiguro have all won the respected Nobel Prize in Literature which is awarded by the Swedish Academy. One British-Irish laureate George Bernard Shaw, used his prize money to help set-up and run the Anglo-Swedish Literary Foundation,[11] a foundation which helps literate links between the UK and Sweden.

On the other hand, historical Swedish literature is quite small in the UK. The reason is that the UK is much more historically linked to literature in Central and Southern Europe such as France and Italy and knowledge of

Scandinavian noir, like Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series, Camilla Läckberg and the famous Stieg Larsson and his Millennium series. Sweden encourages English translations of its literature through an organisation The Swedish-English Literary Translators’ Association[12]
which provide grants to assist this.


The UK and Sweden are notorious literary readers with high readership of newspapers and magazines. The strength of British news and corporate affairs in Sweden, means that many major publications have a British correspondent including

. On the other hand, there aren't any British resident correspondents in Sweden and the nearest is the Financial Times' Nordic correspondent who is based in Norway. British media is more highly reliant on special roving correspondents and the TT news agency to give them the news.

Due to small size of the local market and the high level of literacy of English, many British magazines in a wide range of subjects are available in Swedish newsstands like Pressbyrån.[13] On the other hand, it is very difficult to purchase Swedish publications in the UK due to near zero knowledge of the Swedish language. The only regular publication of a Swedish language magazine is the Swedish Church's quarterly magazine Kyrkobladet .[14]

One highly notable exception to the Swedish press corp, is the English-language Swedish online tabloid The Local. This news-site which was started as a weekly e-mail in 2004 by two British expats Paul Rapacioli & James Savage. It has now morphed into the recognised news-site and it is often quoted abroad.

Radio and television

Although it is not immediately apparent, Swedish broadcasting is heavily influenced by the UK. The


The UK was also influential in

TV3, Sweden's first commercial broadcaster. Due to legal restrictions in advertising, TV3 was initially "broadcast" from its London headquarters, and even today all of the channels of TV3's parent company Viasat are broadcast from the UK despite a considerable relaxation since then of the rules on commercial broadcasting. This leads to an unusual situation where advertising on the service is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority of the UK and not the domestic regulator, Reklamombudsmannen. TV3's broadcasting from London is also noted, as it helped start the career of British-based Swede Ulrika Jonsson as one of her first jobs in television was a weather forecaster
for the channel.

The UK and Sweden are active in the field of international broadcasting. In radio, the English language service of the BBC World Service is available in Sweden by satellite on the Hotbird 13B.[15] The BBC's own Swedish-language service was shut down in March 1961. The weekday English-language programming of Radio Sweden is made by SR International[16] on Eutelsat 9A, and was formerly syndicated on WRN, which is available on Sky and WRN's website. The programme itself is run by a mixture of Swedes and Britons including Richard Orange and Loukas Christodoulou.[17] All the services are available to be streamed on the respective websites of the BBC and SR, and available on podcast libraries such as iTunes.

For television, the

BBC World News is available in Sweden on many platforms including BoxerTV, Viasat and Com Hem. Other BBC channels including BBC Earth, BBC Lifestyle and the BBC Knowledge channels which include a mixture of programmes from the BBC's archive are available on various Swedish satellite, cable and IPTV services. Until 2017 Swedes living in the UK had access to SVT's international channel SVT World on Eutelsat 9 and IPTV; this has been replaced by a limited selection of programmes on the on-demand service on SVT Play. On the other hand, people in Sweden cannot access the BBC's on-demand service iplayer as it is completely geo-blocked

Many British television formats, especially reality television, have been broadcast in Sweden, including

Survivor UK), although there have been suggestions of Melodifestivalen being brought over to improve British chances to win the Eurovision Song Contest

Various British TV shows are shown on Swedish public and commercial television including drama such as

rather than dubbed, except for those aimed at children. Much of this is because the cost of making programming is high in Sweden, and it is often convenient to import programming from abroad.

The phenomenon of

British version of the programme, was produced, with a British cast filmed in Sweden. The Swedish Christmas classic Sagan om Karl-Bertil Jonssons julafton (Christopher's Christmas Mission) was broadcast on Channel 4 in 1987, with Bernard Cribbins as the narrator and English dubbing. Conversely the British farce Dinner for One (Grevinnan och betjänten), little known in the UK, has been broadcast on SVT
for over thirty years.


The Church of St Peter and St Sigfrid in Stockholm
The Ulrike Eleanora Church in London

The UK and Sweden have large

Episcopalian Church of Scotland

London is home of the Ulrike Eleanora Church, which is the city's Swedish Church on Harcourt Street, Marylebone.[18] It comes under the Diocese of Visby, which deals with the Church of Sweden Abroad. It is part of the group of the Nordic churches in the UK, which is informal group including the Danish, Norwegian and Finnish churches in London. Every year on the Friday evening closeness to 13 December, the church organises a St Lucia concert either in St Paul's Cathedral or Westminster Cathedral which a major part of the Swedish community's calendar. They also organise an annual Christmas market on the weekend before advent, selling Swedish Christmas-ware.

A copy of the ticket for the Church of Sweden London's Sankta Lucia concert at St Paul's.

Stockholm is home to an Anglican church, St Peter and St Sigfrid's Church, known locally as the "English Church" ("Engelska kyrkan"). It was built in the 1860s and was moved to its present location on Dag Hammarskjöldsväg in Östermalm in 1913.[19] Gothenburg also has an Anglican church, St Andrew's, which is located in the city centre.[20] Both churches are within the Archdiocese of Germany and Northern Europe and are administered by the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Overview: The Vikings, 800 to 1066". BBC. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Myths of British ancestry". Prospect Magazine. 21 October 2006. Archived from the original on 15 October 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  3. ^ "Liverpool and Emigration in the 19th and 20th Centuries". National Museums Liverpool. Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  4. ^ a b "History of the Gustaf Adolf Church in Liverpool". Liverpool International Nordic Community. Archived from the original on 3 August 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  5. Independent.co.uk
  6. ^ "NATO Instrument of Acceptance Sweden" (PDF). Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. 21 July 2022. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 August 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2022.
  7. ^ "Ambassaden & konsulat | SwedenAbroad". www.swedenabroad.com (in Swedish). Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  8. ^ Pathé, British. "The Queen's Visit To Sweden". www.britishpathe.com. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Alliance of European Republican Movements". www.aerm.org. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  10. ^ "About". www.aerm.org. Retrieved 6 April 2023.
  11. ^ "Anglo-Swedish Literary Foundation | SwedenAbroad". www.swedenabroad.com. Archived from the original on 19 January 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  12. ^ SELTA. "SELTA - Welcome to SELTA". www.selta.org.uk. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  13. ^ "Tidningar - Prenumeration & Lösnummer Tidskrifter - Pressbyrån". webshop.pressbyran.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Kyrkobladet". Svenska Kyrkan i London. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  15. ^ "BBC - About World Service radio". BBC. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  16. ^ Radio, Sveriges. "Radio Sweden | Sveriges Radio". Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  17. ^ "Loukas Christodoulou (@Loukas_RS) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
  18. ^ "Svenska kyrkan i London". www.svenskakyrkan.se. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  19. ^ Aurenav (10 January 2018). "Worship in English with the Anglican Church of St Peter and St Sigfrid". www.stockholmanglicans.se. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
  20. ^ "St Andrew's Church Gothenburg". www.standrews.nu. Retrieved 13 January 2018.

External links


Anglo-Swedish Clubs

Business links