Here’s  what I learned from my guide:

1)        When you eat at a Smorgeborg don’t mix fish and meat

2)        Always start your meal with herring

3)        Smorgas are open faced sandwiches

4)         Gamla Stan means old town and the city wall date from the 13th century

5)        Subways are marked with a blue T on a white circle and there is great art work at each subway station

6)        Sweden is made up of 24,000 islands (arpeggios) 

7)        We arrived In Vaxjo the evening of the 6th day and it seemed like a pretty long bus ride. The weather was bad and the town was dead- what were we doing here?  We didn’t do too much that night except to eat because the weather was not so great and we were tired.  But the next day we got up pretty early and ate Breakfast for a brief time with Anne and Rick- I learned that Rick lived 10 miles from Bill Gates and his son Andy and I are in the same grade. After breakfast went for a walk to the center of town by ourselves, it was raining a little and I was getting tired of the rain.  The first place we went to see was Vaxjo Domkyrka (Cathedral). Now don’t get me wrong, I am pretty sick and tired of churches but this church was beautiful. It was built somewhere in the early part of the century but then new modern additions were added. The first thing we saw when we went in was the beautiful colorful altar but we turned left and there was “the tree of life” made out of glass and had all kinds of biblical meanings woven through it. The altar was very modern and colorful and I felt really good being in here.  Someone came in and said that Rick had gotten the Swedish Emigration Museum  to open its doors so we all started charging across the street to the museum, and you guessed it in the rain. Up went the umbrellas, on went the hoods and we walked head on into the wind happy that he had been able to get the museum open for us.  This is a museum that maintains records and memorabilia from the time of about 1846-1930 when 1.3 million people left Sweden. There was a lot of reading to do there but there is a street (Snooze Blvd) in there that is supposed to be from the US Chicago region and I really really liked it. It showed what the Swedish immigrants did one they came to America and I felt like I was walking down the street itself. I liked looking at the stories of the development of Sweden and was pretty glad we had not missed this museum.  However do not let me mislead you the town of Vaxjo is not worth staying overnight but a ride through to see a few things is worth the effort. 

8)        Then next we headed out to the glass factory and although I had seen them blow glass in Venice I like this better- I could get closer to the blower and watch him and plus he made a few things that I found interesting. The day we were there was a day off for most of the staff so there was not much to see but we enjoyed looking in the shop and most everyone purchased a little something.  We stayed for lunch and I sat next to Jean whom I found had worked for Globus and Trafalgar and during his time with the prime time players had made so much money that he had bought a Mercedes and that one of the tour guides he had worked with had bought a small château in the south of France. But he said he loved working for Rick, we ate our lunch and then took off. (By the way the lunch was great, it had some kind of  pasta with shrimp  in it)

9)        By now I was getting a little antsy on the bus and getting on Dave’s nerves big time and I must have made Sonya mad because she would not talk to me and kept telling me to go to the back of the bus and to leave her and Dave alone they were busy. The bus ride was long but I had my note book (which Dave bought me) to make notes in. From the glass factory we set off for Kalmar and I loved the city of Kalmar. Maybe it is because I found three toy stores a block from my hotel but maybe it also was because I really like the Kalmar Castle. Getting over to Kalmar Castle  was a little tricky we followed Dave across the boulevard  and since he had not been there many times he really did not have a shortcut to follow- when it seemed like we were getting hopelessly lost  Anne Steves stopped and asked a local girl how to get over to the castle  and within minutes we were on our way there.  Now here is what I loved about the place – it had a cool drawbridge and in the first room we went into there was miniature of the entire castle. But wait the best was the hidden room in the kings bedroom. It seems like the king was a loony tune and thought everyone was out to get him so he had a special escape room in his bedroom and I snuck in when everyone had left.  What was really strange about the place is that these people were not rich like the French and English kings so they decorated their castles by drawing pictures on the wall- I liked it, not much furniture either but it still felt like a castle (slot). But to the point this is what I learned about the castle from the guide- Kalmar slott, is situated on a small island right outside the city center and is connected to the central island with two short bridges. The magnificent castle started as a defense tower in the 1100´s, and became the center of Swedish politics in 1397, when the so called Kalmar Union was founded. King Gustav Vasa with his sons Erik XIV and Johan III rebuilt the medieval castle in splendid Renaissance style, and today it is one of Scandinavians most well preserved Renaissance castles. Some of the most famous rooms in the castle are the Kungsgemaket, Tornrummet and the Castle Church that is a very popular wedding church. That night we had a great dinner at the restaurant next to the hotel, I had a great steak and Rick came in for a while and talked to me while I was working on my book. After diner we went to the toy store but could not find any games that would work on my system at home, so we went back to the hotel and tried to get to bed early but there was a party going on that if I was older I would have been sitting with- but mom said no watch TV and get some sleep. I loved the hotel, it was old but renovated, they had tea waiting for us with cookies and we had our own bathroom and did not have to share one with anyone. We left Kalmar the next day and headed toward Stockholm, where Dave promised me they had the prettiest girls, so I was getting ready (he still kept telling to go sit in the back of the bus he was busy but I stayed close). On our way to Stockholm we stopped at the Gota Canal and got to see how it worked.  What I learned from my travel guide is that the Gota Canal was begun in the early 19th century and was designed to transport goods across Sweden. The canal is really a connection of man made canals, lakes and rives, connected together. In a small sentence it is an artificial waterway that crosses southern Sweden to connect Lake Vänern with the Baltic Sea and for most of its course it passes through lakes, providing inland navigation from Göteborg to Stockholm. I suggest you go to the Gota Canal on your way to Stockholm; it is a great place to have a picnic.  If you would like to go on a tour of the town on the Gota Canal  then go on the Mini train for sightseeing. I think the most interesting part of the stop was the picnic that Dave and Sonja prepared for us – it was pretty windy and keeping the food on the table was a challenge!!  After lunch we walked around the town a little and I wish I had more time to visit because they had a great tourist train to take you around but if we took it we would have missed our ride to Stockholm.

10)     We arrived in Stockholm late afternoon and there was a parade going on so we had to do an about face and find another way back to our hotel- but I did get to see men dressed up in old fashioned costumes riding a bike with a huge front wheel and small back wheel. We saw lots of joggers and I was glad to be in the bus.  That afternoon we checked into the Queens hotel  and let me tell you the only good thing about the Queens Hotel was the chess set on the 2nd floor and leave it at that (it was the butt of all our jokes- from peeling wallpaper to the grump who ran it-but breakfast was good). We were all pretty pooped but Jane dragged us out over to Gamla Stan!!     We started our visit in Stockholm in the Gamla Stan section or old city and walked there from our hotel across the main road . There are buildings there that are over 800 years old, the streets are very narrow and made of cobblestone. St George and the Dragon are a main focus in town. You also will want to visit the city square where many dignitaries were invited to visit and slaughtered- the street of the river of blood.


Here’s what I learned on my walk around the Gamla Stan

If you start out facing the Royal Palace you will see the statue of Gustav III who loved the arts but was assassinated at a masked ball at the Royal Opera in 1792.  We then walked across the North Bridge (toward the Royal Palace) and on the right we passed the Swedish Parliament. Along the bridge we passed some stairs on the left that leads up to the Museum of Medieval Stockholm. From there around the Museum we headed right and walked back to the bridge  and crossed it to Slottskajen. You’ll know you are there because there is a government building that was built around 1930 with a column that belonged to the Royal Mint from 1790 facing you.  We continued on until we reached Riddathustoget and on the right is the 17th century House of Nobles where my guide told us the Swedish aristocracy met during the Parliament of Four Estates. We continued across the bridge until we got to the little island of the knights (Riddarholem) and the landmark here is the church with its cast iron spire founded as an abbey in the 13th century. We continued our walk and once we got into the Great Square (Stortoget) we found some benches for resting. This plaza was the site of the Stockholm Blood Bath of 1520 when Christian II of Denmark beheaded 80 Swedish nobles and displayed a pyramid of their heads in the square. This is also where the Swedish Academy meets every year to choose the Nobel Peace Prize winner in literature.  We continued on our walk, which brought us back to the place and to where the changing of the guard takes place every day at 12:00 noon.  On the right is a church (Storkykan), which was founded in the middle 1200’s . I found out it is the site of coronations and royal weddings.  Here you will also find a sculpture of St. George and the Dragon a work dating back to the late 1400’s.  If you continue on along Slottsbacken then you go right when you reach Bollshusgrnd  which is a cobbled street of old houses. It leads to a square of the Old town where there is a copy of the statute St. George and the Dragon.  We continued on with some twists and turns and wound up along the street of steps, which is the narrowest in Gamla Stan.  Climb up them but take it slow if you are dragging around a mother. We had a great time and we visited Gamla Stan every day we were there, they have great shops and restaurants. I was exhausted by time we finished I felt like I had seen all of Stockholm in a few hours but Rick gave us our Stockholm card so I knew there was more to come. 


11)     The next day we started out after a great breakfast and headed to a castle that I liked and suggest you do not miss - Drottningholm palace. It seems like every country I visit always has a castle or palace that is compared to Versailles in France and this is the Versailles of Sweden. The palace has been the residence of the kings and queens of Sweden for hundreds of years and this is where the royal family lives.  It is very nice with lots of marble but it is fake. What do I mean by fake? If you touch the columns that appear to be marble they heat up under your hand and that means they are not real marble. (I learned that from a Rick Steves show)   There are many rooms in the castle that are what is called opulent (gaudy- you know too much) and there are some rooms that you can really live in. You can tell from visiting here that these people had a lot of money.  We got to run around the outside for a little bit and we saw the Fountain that had been take from Denmark in one of the wars (Freidricksborg Castle has the fake one). We then got back on the bus and headed out to Skansen- a huge open-air museum (you can use the Stockholm card).  Skansen is an open air museum called Sweden in a nutshell because it contains 150 original houses that people lived in during the 18th and 19th century.   Skansen is a place where farms and buildings from long ago are gathered into one place and you see how people lived back in olden times. Some of the people are dressed in period dress and you also can see people doing their jobs from the past.  You can visit homes and also pet some animals that are kept there as well. Skansen is Sweden in miniature and illustrates peoples living conditions. What we saw: a windmill, a manor house, a complete town square, old workshops and handicrafts. and best of all you can get in with your Stockholm card. You would think this was enough for one day but no we had more yet to see. From here with Jane in the lead, we crossed the street, and went to visit the Vasa Museum. You have to see the Vasa Museum which houses a 17th century man of war the Vasa which is the world’s oldest and complete ship. On its maiden voyage in 1628 in front of thousands of onlookers the ship capsized and sank almost instantly to the bottom of the Stockholm harbor. On board were 4,000 coins, carpenters tools, sailor’s pants, fish bones and other items.  97% of the original ship sculptures were found. . A great Swedish king who ruled Scandinavia in the early 17th century had to have a fleet of warships to patrol the Baltic and ordered 4 new galleons. One was to be the royal mighty battle galleon called Vasa, greater than any ship ever built at that time. The king himself dictated the Vasa's measurements and no one dared argue against him. It had two gun decks and held 64 bronze cannons. Stern ornaments (painted red, gold, blue) were carved gods, demons, kings, knights, warriors, cherubs, mermaids, weird animal shapes – all meant to scare the enemies and also symbolize power, courage and cruelty. The ship was painted in colors of Baroque style. It took 3 steady years to build Vasa, turning her into a floating work of art and a weapon of war. Vasa began her maiden voyage August 10, 1628; she had only sailed for less than a nautical mile before capsizing.  333 Years later the Vasa was excavated and placed in the place we now see it.  This is a must see and you can get a CD from the shop that takes you around the boat. Make sure you go to the 5th floor so you can see what it was like to be on the boat at that time. After the museum you can try a canal ride to rest your feet a little and see Stockholm from another side.   Believe it or not our day did not end here- from here we walked over to the canals and took a canal ride around the 14 little islands- boy was I glad to sit down, it was just way too much for one day. Before we got on board I bought 2 ice cream cones and a drink so I was ready. This was a peaceful and pretty ride but I like the canals of Denmark better- maybe next time I will not be so tired and see some more of the Swedish island. We then headed back to town and into Gamla Stan for a great dinner at Christina’s- some people had reindeer- I passed. We had to walk a couple of miles back to our hotel over hill and over dale, past the palace and over the bridge and I was glad to be back and going to bed.

12)     The next day we headed out for the City Hall (Stadshuset)  with Sonya- walking and walking again, down the long streets and over several bridges- where were they buses when you wanted them? You want to make sure you see the city hall tour and if the tour guide asks you how old the building is remember it may look 150 years old but it is only about 77 years old and the staircase was designed by someone whose wife had to go up and down it everyday for what seemed forever to her and shortly after that – they got divorced.  In one of the rooms there is a clock that shows the slaying of the dragon by St George at noon but if you watch that then you can’t see the great changing of the guard, which you cannot miss.  While you are in the city hall make sure you see the gold room where after the Noble prizes are presented downstairs in the main hall, you get to upstairs and dance in a room filled with gold mosaics that tell the story of Sweden.  You want to look for the 3 crowns in one of the rooms, which is the symbol of Sweden. We went into a room that had a ceiling that looked like it was the upside down inside of a Viking Vessel and I remember from one of Rick’s shows that he said they made it like that in this assembly room because in the old days the Vikings use to have their war meetings under the boats.  When you finish with the inside make sure to take a long walk to the water- it is beautiful and my mom made me take lots of pictures there near the fountain and in front of statues with lots of gold in them. The rooms we saw included the blue room (the main place whre the Nobel Peace prizes are handed out), the council chamber, the ovale, the gallery of the prince and the golden room. The water was so clear you could almost see to the bottom.  We then had to move pretty fast to see the changing of the guard at the palace. The changing of the guard is great and it takes about a half hour.  There is a band that plays and while the band is playing the guard changes. Once that is completed walk a few steps to the Royal Place and Armory where you will see Sweden’s amour on display. I was very surprised to see how beautiful the armour was considering once you get killed what difference does it make how you look. (They have miniature chairs you can take around wit you that collapse so take one with you- and buy a crown and helmet) There are plenty of guns and lances to see as well. If you like coaches then visit the bottom floor to see the royal coaches.  From here I dragged my mom back to Gamla Stan to do some shopping and got some great Viking gear that I still wear to school. That night we met up with the rest of the group at the Grand Hotel and had a great smorgasbord- I followed the instructions eating each thing in its turn. After dinner since this was going to be our last night I literally pulled my mother for a few hours fun over to the Swedish Tivoli (bought Rick some goofy ears from here) . I made my mom get on the roller coaster and she was not too happy but I had a blast (her sweater was in her mouth and her hair standing straight up). We went on a backward whip and ferris wheel and then after about 2 hours called it a night. Take the 47 bus and don’t miss this!!!!!! And don’t miss getting a French hot dog from a vendor on the street. Lots and lots of walking in Stockholm. Stay away from the Queens Hotel.

13)      Next day we headed out of Stockholm and I was sorry to go and we headed out to Norway. Lots of weird looking people in Stockholm, even weird in  my world, lots of gothic girls Goths) and people w with  tattoos. Oh and by now Sonya was really tired of me but Jane always was always kind to me and Rick lent me his green sweater when I got cold - I really wanted to keep this one it was very comfortable.  Anne had a couple of “mommy talks “ with me and Dave just shook his head. I was really surprised how much information Jane knew and she never got tired of my questions. ____________________-____________________________________________________________________________


Some research I did when I got back because I liked Scandinavia so much


The History of Sweden

Fourteen thousand years ago the whole of the present country of Sweden was covered by a thick ice cap. As the ice slowly retreated, man came to Sweden and the first known human dwelling place, which has been found in southern Sweden, dates from around 10,000 BC. It is clear that from the period 8000 to 6000 BC the country as a whole began to be populated by peoples who lived by hunting and fishing and who used simple stone tools.


Graves dating from the Stone Age, are being found in increasing numbers. Stone tools became more sophisticated during that period, which was followed in the Nordic region by the Bronze Age from 1800 to 500 BC.


 After about 500 BC bronze artifacts become more rare as iron began to be more generally used. During the Early Iron Age (500 BC- 400 AD), the period of the great migrations (400- 550) and the so called Vendel period (550- 800)--so named because of the magnificent boat graves found at Vendel in Uppland--the population of Sweden became a settled one and agriculture came to form the basis for the economy and for society.


The Vikinq Age and Early Christianity

The Viking Age, 800- 1050, was characterized by great expansion, mainly directed eastwards. Many Viking expeditions set off from Sweden with the mixed purpose of plunder and trade along the coasts of the Baltic Sea and the rivers, which stretched, deep into present- day Russia.

At the same time, Christianity first reached Sweden with the mission of Ansgar, who visited the country from the Carolingian Empire in the ninth century. However, it was not until the eleventh century that Sweden was Christianized. Even then the old pagan Nordic religion survived until far into the twelfth century, and Sweden did not obtain an archbishop of its own until 1164. Sweden's expansion in the east continued during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries through the incorporation of Finland into the Swedish kingdom after several crusades.


The Founding of the Kingdom

The various provinces of Sweden, which had previously been independent entities, were absorbed around 1000 into a single unit whose center of gravity lay partly in Västergötland and Östergötland and partly in the provinces around Lake Mälaren, especially Uppland. From the middle of the twelfth century onward there was a hard struggle for power in this kingdom between the Sverker and Erik families, which held the crown alternately between 1160 and 1250. However, during this period the main administrative units were still the provinces, each of which had its own assembly (ting), lawmen and laws.


It was first during the latter part of the thirteenth century that the crown gained a greater measure of influence and was able, with the introduction of royal castles and provincial administration, to assert the authority of the central government and to impose laws and ordinances valid for the whole kingdom. In 1280 King Magnus Ladulås (1275- 90) issued a statute, which involved the establishment of temporal nobility and the organization of society on the feudal model. A council containing representatives of the aristocracy and the church was set up to advise the king. In 1350, during the reign of Magnus Eriksson (1319- 64), the various provincial law codes were superseded by a law code that was valid for the whole country.


The Honsa Period

Trade increased during the fourteenth century, especially with the German towns. For the following 200 years, until the middle of the sixteenth century, the Hansa dominated Sweden's trade, and a large number of towns were founded in Sweden as a consequence of the lively commercial activity connected with the Hansa. Agriculture was and remained the basis for economic life and it too developed during these years through the introduction of the three- field system and improved tools. However, the Black Death, which reached Sweden in 1350, led to a long period of economic decline marked by a smaller population and many abandoned farms.


The Kalmar Union

In 1389, through inheritance and family ties, the crowns of Denmark, Norway and Sweden were united under the rule of the Danish Queen Margareta. In 1397, the so-called Union of Kalmar was concluded under her leadership. It involved an undertaking that the three Scandinavian countries should have one and the same king. In fact, however, the whole union period, 1397- 1521, was marked by conflict between the central government, represented by the king, on the one hand and the high nobility along with intermittently rebellious burghers and peasants on the other. These conflicts, which became interwoven with efforts to maintain Sweden's national unity and the economic interests it shared with the Hansa, culminated in the so- called bloodbath of Stockholm in 1520, when eighty of the leading men in Sweden were executed at the instigation of the Danish union king, Kristian II. This event provoked a rebellion, which in 1521 led to the deposition of Kristian II and the seizure of power by a Swedish nobleman, Gustav Vasa, who was elected king of Sweden in 1523.


The Vasa Period

The foundations of the Swedish national state were laid during the reign of Gustav Vasa (1523- 60). The church was turned into a national institution, its estates were confiscated by the state and the Protestant Reformation was introduced in several stages. At the same time the administration was reorganized along German lines and power was concentrated in the hands of the king. The position of the crown was strengthened further in 1544 when a hereditary monarchy was introduced. Before that time the country had been an elective monarchy, and the aristocracy had been able to assert itself every time the throne fell vacant. The efforts of the higher nobility to re- establish the power of the council during the reigns of Erik XIV (1560- 68),Johan III (1568- 92) and Sigismund (1592- 99) failed in the long run. During the reigns of Karl IX (1599- 1611) and Gustav II Adolf--Gustavus Adolphus--(1611- 32), the crown was able to maintain and strengthen its position. After the death of Gustav II Adolf at the Battle of Lützen in 1632, the higher nobility succeeded in introducing a new constitution, the Form of Government of 1634, which created a number of central administrative bodies and placed effective power in their hands. However, this constitution only applied during periods when the monarch was a minor--first in the case of Queen Kristina and then in that of Karl XI--and lost all actuality in 1680 when Karl XI repossessed crown land, which had previously been transferred to the nobility. This move turned the nobility into a bureaucratic class obedient to the king's will in everything.




From Great Power Policy to Neutrality

Since the dissolution of the union with Denmark and Norway, Swedish foreign policy had aimed at gaining domination of the Baltic Sea, and this led from the 1560s onwards to repeated wars with Denmark.


After Sweden intervened in 1630 with great success in the Thirty Years' War on the side of the German Protestants and Gustav II Adolf had become one of Europe's leading monarchs, Sweden defeated Denmark in the two wars of 1643- 45 and 1657-58. These victories led to the incorporation into Sweden of the previously Danish provinces of Skåne, Halland, Blekinge and Gotland and of the previously Norwegian provinces of Bohuslän, Jämtland and Härjedalen. Finland, as well as a number of provinces in northern Germany and the present- day Baltic republics, also belonged to Sweden, and after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 and the Peace of Roskilde with Denmark in 1658 Sweden was a great power in northern Europe. The country even founded a short- lived colony in what is now Delaware in North America.


 However, Sweden was,  a purely agrarian country based on a natural economy, and lacked the resources to maintain its position as a great power in the long run. After its defeat in the Great Northern War (1700- 21) against the combined forces of Denmark, Poland and Russia, Sweden lost most of its provinces on the other side of the Baltic Sea and was reduced to largely the same frontiers as present- day Sweden and Finland. During the Napoleonic Wars, Finland was finally surrendered to Russia and Sweden's last possessions in northern Germany were also lost. As compensation for these losses, the French marshal Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, who had been elected heir to the Swedish throne in 1810, succeeded in obtaining Norway, which was forced into a union with Sweden in 1814. This union was peacefully dissolved in 1905 after many internal disputes. Since the short war fought against Norway in 1814 in connection with the creation of the union, Sweden has not been involved in any war and has also since the First World War pursued a foreign policy of nonalignment in peacetime and neutrality in wartime, basing its security on a strong national defence. Nonetheless, Sweden joined the League of Nations in 1920 and the United Nations in 1946, and within the framework of these has taken part in several international peacekeeping missons.


The end of the Cold War and of the political division of Europe has in the 1990s created new perspectives for Sweden`s foreign and security policy, and new opportunities for Sweden to participate in the process of West European integration. Sweden therefore applied for full membership of the European Community (EC) in 1991, and became a member of the European Union (EU) on 1 January 1995 after a referendum in November 1994 that gave "Yes to the EU" 52.3 % of the votes. As an EU member, Sweden will retain its military nonalignment, and thus does not contemplate joining any future EU defence alliance.



Constitutional, Economic and Political Development

After the death of the warrior king Karl XII in 1718 and Sweden's defeat in the Great Northern War, the Swedish Parliament (the Riksdag) and council were strong enough to introduce a new constitution, which abolished royal absolutism and placed power in the hands of Parliament. During the Era of LibertW (171972) Sweden developed a form of parliamentary government, which meant that the party dominant in Parliament appointed the government (the council), which in turn was responsible before Parliament. However, Gustav III (1771- 92) reduced the power of Parliament through a bloodless coup in 1772 and later, in 1789, he reintroduced absolutism.


his son and grandson, Oskar I (1844- 59) and Karl XV (1859- 72), witnessed a liberal breakthrough which involved the abolition of the guild system in 1846; the adoption of free trade in the 1850s and 1860s; and finally the introduction of local self- government in 1862 and the reform of Parliament in 1866. This last reform involved the abolition of the old Parliament of four estates, which had existed since the fifteenth century, and its replacement by a bicameral Parliament, which survived until the introduction of a unicameral system in 1971.


Nineteenth- century Sweden was marked by the emergence of strong popular movements like the free churches, the temperance and women's movements and above all the labour movement. The latter, which grew in pace with industrialization in the latter part of the nineteenth century, was reformist in outlook after the turn of the century and the first representatives of social democracy entered the government as early as 1917. Universal suffrage was introduced for men in 1909 and for women in 1921, and this latter date also marked the breakthrough for the principle of parliamentary government. Plans for a welfare society were laid during the 1930s after the Social Democrats had become the governing party, and it proved possible to put these plans into effect in all essentials after the Second World War, During the Second World War, a coalition government of the four democratic parties was formed. After the war ended, a purely Social Democratic government resumed office under Per Albin Hansson. On Hansson's death in 1946, Tage Erlander became prime minister and held this post without interruption until 1969, when Olof Palme succeeded him as PM until 1976. Under Social Democratic leadership but in close co- operation with the other democratic parties, a number of reforms were carried out in the 1940s and '50s that together laid the foundations of the Swedish welfare state.


Simultaneously, demands for a modernization of the 1809 constitution were also made. After lengthy discussions and investigations, a new form of government was adopted in 1974. This enshrines the principle that all public power is derived from the people, who are to appoint the members of Parliament in free elections. Parliament alone is to pass laws and is entitled to levy taxes. The government is appointed by and responsible to Parliament. The king is still the head of state, but his functions are reduced to purely ceremonial ones. Carl XVI Gustaf, who was the first Swedish king to “reign” in accordance with the new constitution, succeeded Gustaf VI Adolf, who came to the throne in 1950, on his death in 1973. In 1980, an amendment in the order of succession introduced an equal right of inheritance to the crown for men and women, which meant that Princess Victoria became the heir apparent instead of her younger brother Carl Philip.



The economic crisis resulted in the departure of the Social Democratic government after the 1976 parliamentary elections and the formation of a non- socialist coalition government under the leadership of Centre Party chairman Thorbjörn Fälldin. Parliamentary elections resulted in a victory for the Social Democratic Party, which thereafter formed a government with Olof Palme as prime minister. By devaluation and various other vigorous measures, the new government succeeded in improving Sweden's economic situation. The sharp upturns in the international trade cycle in 1983 and subsequent years enabled Sweden to balance the national budget once more, and the government utilized this for a massive expansion of the public sector. The murder of Olof Palme, the prime minister, on 28 February 1986 came as a shock to the Swedish people, who had been spared this kind of political violence for nearly 200 years. Palme's successor as prime minister was Ingvar Carlsson, who in all essentials retained Palme's policy.