Sweden and the National Anthem

Curious to learn the words to the Swedish national anthem? Look no further!

You can pretty much count on every Swede knowing the words to snapsvisor (drinking songs), such as Helan Går. But you are also likely to hear the Swedish national anthem played at sporting event, during midsummer, or even at sittnings (a formal party) and the Swedes will definitely sing along then too! It is also always played at the welcoming ceremony for new Swedish citizens!

And since June 6th is Sweden’s national day, I thought it is the perfect time to introduce you to Du Gamla, Du Fria, Sweden’s national anthem!

Du Gamla, Du Fria

Du gamla, Du fria, Du fjällhöga nord
Du tysta, Du glädjerika sköna!
Jag hälsar Dig, vänaste land uppå jord,
Din sol, Din himmel, Dina ängder gröna.

Du tronar på minnen från fornstora dar,
då ärat Ditt namn flög över jorden.
Jag vet att Du är och förblir vad du var.
Ja, jag vill leva jag vill dö i Norden.

Thou Ancient, Thou Free

Thou ancient, Thou free, Thou mountainous north
Thou quiet, Thou joyful [and] fair!
I greet thee, loveliest land upon earth,
Thy sun, Thy sky, Thy climes green.

Thou thronest on memories of great olden days,
When honoured Thy name flew across the earth,
I know that Thou art and wilt remain what thou werest,
Yes, I want to live, I want to die in the North.

Tell me, what is it with Swedish songs getting dramatic at the end?!

Curious in hearing Sveriges nationalsång? Listen to it here:

Fun Facts:

  • Swedes are a pretty nationalistic bunch and nowadays every third Swede celebrates their nation on June 6th.
  • Originally, June 6th was Sweden’s flag day, (svenska flaggens dag), but that all changed in 1983 it became the national day of Sweden.
  • Since 2005, June 6th has officially been a public holiday.
  • Sweden’s national anthem translates to Sveriges nationalsång.
  • Sveriges nationalsång was written by Richard Dybeck in 1844.
  • Curiously, Swedish Parliament has never declared Du Gamla, Du Fria as the official national anthem of Sweden!
  • And yet still it is played during official state visits and other national events.

Tess’ Tips:

  • Want to be really current on Swedish pop culture? Watch this video with two of Sweden’s national treasures, Volvo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swedish football star. In this campaign, Zlatan speaks the Swedish national anthem but makes a slight change at the end: instead of saying Jag vill dö i Norden (I want to die in the North), he says Jag vill dö i Sverige (I want to die in Sweden).

Hope you learned some new Swedishness today and I’ll see you in the next post!


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