2011-10-22

His Majesty's speech at the centennial celebration of the Norden Club, Jamestown, NY, October 22, 2011

(Det talade ordet gäller)

Dear fellow members of the Norden Club,
Dear guests,

I said during my visit in 1976 that "Jamestown is a place to return to." And here I am!

The Queen and I feel deeply honored by your exceptionally warm welcome. You and your ancestors have honored "the Old Country" with what you stand for and have achieved in America.

In the Charter of The Norden Club, there is a declaration of purpose. One of them is to show "the stellar quality of the best of our nationality." This you have certainly done. I am so impressed and proud of what you and your ancestors have achieved in this country.

The story of the Swedes in Jamestown is a history of entrepreneurship, creating the center of American furniture industry, and also companies in several other branches.
It is also a story of civic responsibility leading Jamestown into the modern area via strong involvement, building for the future in infrastructure and education. This has also manifested itself in churches and important social projects.

The Swedes of Jamestown have shown how you can adapt to a new country, show loyalty, dedication and effort, while still maintaining pride in your cultural background.

What I have read in "Saga from the Hills" about the the Swedes in Jamestown has impressed me. The dreams of those leaving Sweden for America became reality, but not without mobilizing everything from your cultural background of hard work, creativity and craftsmanship.

That spring of 1976, when I visited Jamestown for the first time was a very special period in my life since I, just some months later, married my Queen on a memorable summer day in Stockholm.

Therefore it means a lot to me to be here in Jamestown, this time together with Queen Silvia.

Years pass and new generations are born. Your pride in what previous generations have achieved, and what they have given you of strong values, is an inspiration to me. I congratulate the Norden Club to its first 100 years and commend the many dedicated individuals and organizations who keep the Swedish heritage alive. I compliment you for furthering this heritage also into the future - for new generations to know, to understand and have as an anchoring in life.

It is a dear obligation in Sweden to say "tack" — thank you — for a meal. I gladly do so for this luncheon. But more than that, I wish from my heart and from the Queen to say "tack" for the way in which you and your ancestors have represented Swedes in America. Thank you also for inviting us to be part of this great celebration of that Saga.