This year's Christmas speech was recorded in Prince Bertil's Apartments at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Photo: Sven-Åke Visén
According to Radio Sweden's archives, the first Christmas speech to Swedes living abroad was given in 1933 by Arthur Engberg. In 1938, Prince Wilhelm gave a speech to Swedes living abroad in both Swedish and English. King Gustaf VI Adolf gave his first Christmas speech to Swedes living abroad in 1951 and then again in 1957, 1964, 1966 and 1969. Prince Bertil gave a speech to Swedes living abroad in 1955.
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Dear people of Sweden, both at home and abroad,
My family and I would like you wish you a happy Christmas.
It has been said, quite aptly, that Christmas is not only a time of year but also a feeling. This description certainly rings true. The spirit of Christmas is best captured using words such as relaxation, community and togetherness. My wish is that everyone should be able to experience these feelings this Christmas. I would also like to send particularly warm greetings to all those who do not have anyone to share Christmas with. I hope that these feelings associated with Christmas will also reach you.
I am now giving my Christmas speech as King of Sweden for the fortieth time. This year, I would therefore like to send a big thank you to all those throughout Sweden who have helped make this a memorable year. The fortieth anniversary of when I became Sweden's King and Head of State has been commemorated in various ways. I am very grateful for all the commitment that has been shown in connection with this. And I would like to express my gratitude in particular for all the rewarding meetings with people all around Sweden. Many of these meetings took place during the visits The Queen and I made to every county in Sweden during the year. We travelled everywhere from Älvsbyn and Luleå in Norrbotten, to Hässleholm and Lund in Skåne. We found out about forward-looking research and passionate entrepreneurship, as well as many different societies carrying out important work to preserve local history.
We saw so many impressive things, which made so many impressions. But the most memorable thing of all was all the people we met during our travels. We experienced such warmth, consideration and go-ahead spirit. These meetings made it easy to understand why the eyes of the world are so often turned towards Sweden. Our northerly nation frequently attracts great interest, which is often manifested in global demand for Swedish products and services, and for the country itself.
This year, I have had the opportunity and the honour of representing Sweden on even more occasions than usual. The Queen and I carried out a state visit to Croatia in April. We also took part in various activities reflecting industry, research and culture in various countries. During a visit to the USA in May we travelled to Delaware to commemorate the 375th anniversary of when the first Swedes arrived in America. We also received foreign visits to Sweden during the year. For example, we hosted state visits by the presidents of Turkey and Portugal. Such visits provide us with an opportunity to showcase Sweden. And there is always a great deal of interest in what we have to show. It was only natural that Portugal's President should include a visit to Lund in his programme. There, he learnt about Ideon, the most successful forum for entrepreneurs in Scandinavia, and perhaps one of the most successful in the whole of Europe. He also visited the construction sites of the MAX IV laboratory and the ESS research facility. These two unique investments in the future within the field of advanced materials research are of significance both to Sweden and to the rest of the world. During the autumn, The Queen and I held an audience with the President of the USA Barack Obama at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. The President also visited the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, in order to find out more about how we work with renewable energy and related topics here in Sweden. Here, we are seen as one of the world's leading nations. We are at the forefront of efforts to find sustainable solutions to issues relating to energy, the environment and the climate. These are just a few examples of how Sweden is leading the way. Another example is Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, which has been commissioned by the EU to lead an extensive research project on the super material graphene, which has the potential to revolutionise the electronics of the future. The graphene centre at Chalmers already includes 126 academic and industrial research teams in 17 different European countries. Its scientific board features four Nobel Laureates, and the work currently being carried out here will involve a thousand researchers over the course of more than a decade.
The same is true for many other areas, from medicine to engineering and technology. Sweden continues to live up to her reputation as a place for research and innovation. This is something that I am extremely proud of, and that means a lot to the world's view of Sweden. I believe it is important that we build our country with insight into the significance of knowledge and innovation. In this way, not only can we strengthen the positive approach with which Sweden is associated today, we can also work together to reinforce and continue to develop our nation.
But if this is part of the picture of Sweden, I still believe that it is our people who mean the most when it comes to the world's positive view of our country. A country that is open, warm and forward-looking. And this is also the country that I have had the privilege of meeting this year. During my visits to every county in Sweden. During meetings through handshakes, smiles and warm words. During a Sweden Dinner at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. During an afternoon of dancing on my jubilee day in the Inner Courtyard here at the Palace. On these and many other occasions I have been filled with joy and pride, as well as a sense of confidence in the future. We may be a fairly small country in the world, but time and time again we have shown that we can create something big together. We do this through a combination of values such as hard work, consideration and curiosity. I have seen this during the forty years in which I have had the opportunity and the privilege of representing Sweden. I would therefore like to express my great thanks to all those who work for our country. From north to south. From our bustling towns to our magnificent countryside. In industries and service companies, cultural life and associations. At schools, homes for the elderly and hospitals. From young to old. It is all of you — and your fellow men and women — who make Sweden so fantastic and special. Through your efforts, you help to build our country. With everything you achieve each day, you make Sweden what she is. It has therefore been a privilege for me to represent Sweden. This has been true throughout my forty years as King. And all the meetings, all I have seen and all I have experienced during the year has confirmed this feeling. I feel an enormous sense of pride in Sweden and what we have to show the world. I look to the future with energy and great joy.
We now stand on the brink of another year. I hope that together we can make 2014 a good year — both for Sweden and for all of us who live here. Next year, we will also be celebrating something that is almost unique when looking at the world and its history. Sweden will have been at peace for 200 years. We have good reason to celebrate this, but we should also spare a thought for all those who cannot enjoy this, perhaps the greatest of all human privileges. Together with freedom, peace is one of the greatest things a country's people can experience. Let us hope that our history of peace and freedom can become something we can share with the whole world in future.
With these words, I bring my fortieth Christmas speech to a close. Once again, I would like to send you my best wishes for Christmas. And, together with my family, and I would like to wish you a happy new year for 2014!