The King and Queen visit Västra Götaland County
Thousands of people had gathered to see The King in Skövde. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix
On Wednesday 21 August, The King and Queen visited Västra Götaland County.
An interview with County Governor Lars Bäckström during the coach journey to Gothenburg. The King and Queen often visit the county. How did you plan a day that would offer something new? There's always something new to see. New people, new processes and new development — especially in a county as big as Västra Götaland. What was your thinking behind today's programme? It was important to draw up a programme that The King and Queen would be interested in. It's not a case of me being satisfied with the programme — it's The King and Queen who need to find it varied and interesting. How has the day gone? So far, so good. The walks between the programme items have been particularly enjoyable. I like seeing the warmth between The King and Queen and the people they meet.
The King and Queen visit the Kinnarps production facility. Photo: royalcourt.se
Owner Henry Jarlsson welcomes The King and Queen to Kinnarps. Photo: royalcourt.se
15:57 The King and Queen arrived at Kinnarps. Concept developer Henrik Axell spoke about the office solutions of the future. There are a number of different trends: location-independent technology, four generations of working to an older age, an environmental focus... The desk is being replaced by meeting places, flexible workplaces and telephone rooms. To make more space, the desk is no longer personal — instead, we share it with our colleagues. 15:30 CEO of Kinnarps Per-Arne Andersson and Sustainability Manager Tomas Ekström then spoke about the family business, which was founded in 1942. The company is still owned by the same family. Today, Kinnarps has a presence in 40 different countries, with production in Sweden and Germany. Kinnarps take responsibility for the entire chain, from design and development to production and installation. Environmental work is important to Kinnarps, in terms of production, employees and the end-user. 15:11 After a presentation of Skövde Cultural Centre, the coach headed for Falköping Municipality. Chairman of the Municipal Council Patrik Björck explained that the municipality currently has almost 40,000 inhabitants and a strong labour market, thanks to good communications. The railway has been important to the town, not least today as the municipality focuses sharply on becoming a "drive port" — a loading port for the goods that the Port of Gothenburg does not have sufficient capacity for due to high demand.
The King and Queen hear about Skövde Cultural Centre's extensive renovation. Photo: royalcourt.se
14:59 Lunch featured food from Skaraborg: spruce shoots and small beetroot, fresh goat's cheese, venison, potatoes, yellow and red onions, chanterelles and Svecia cheese. Afterwards, Cultural Director Katarina Strömgren Sand gave a tour of Skövde Cultural Centre, Sweden's first such centre. The centre has recently been re-opened following a renovation programme.
Skövde Cultural CentreSkövde Cultural Centre was opened in 1964, with an art gallery, art museum, library, theatre and cinema under the same roof. This was Sweden's first "real" cultural centre. Major renovations were carried out in spring 2013.
13:49 Lunch was served at Skövde Cultural Centre.
The King gives a speech at Hertig Johans Torg in Skövde. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix
13:22 The King gave a speech, in which he said:
"Västra Götaland is still extremely important to Sweden. There is a long tradition of trade featuring industrial knowledge and enterprise in the county, and this is a region that is rich in tradition."
13:04 The King and Queen arrived at Hertig Johans Torg in Skövde. After The King's Song, a group of young people performed a modern dance interpretation about the legend of St. Elin. Chair of the Municipal Executive Board Katarina Jonsson then gave a speech. County Governor Lars Bäckström also gave a speech, after which he introduced The King.
At Birger Jarl's grave in Varnhem Abbey. Photo: royalcourt.se
12:19 The King and Queen arrived at Varnhem Abbey, where Bishop Åke Bonnier and Chairman of the Church Council Carl Gustaf Lundström welcomed the royal visitors. Archaeologist Maria Vretemark then spoke about the history of the abbey. This is where Birger Jarl is buried, and the tour began at his grave. The grave was opened at the beginning of the 21st century to establish that it really was Birger Jarl who was buried here. He is buried with his son Erik and his second wife Mechtild, daughter of Duke Adolf IV of Holstein and widow of King Abel of Denmark. 12:07 During the coach journey, The King and Queen learnt about Varnhem. Tourists were already starting to visit the area at the turn of the previous century, drawn here by Varnhem and Husaby. Interest in Varnhem is still strong today. There was significant historical interest when Skara celebrated its 1,000th anniversary in 1988, and the publication of Jan Guillou's Crusades trilogy attracted the latest wave of visitors. 11:32 The King and Queen learnt about the Food from Skaraborg project. The aim is to stimulate growth within the food industry by more clearly labelling and marketing food from Skaraborg. There is also a joint body for marketing products to shops, wholesalers and restaurants. 11:27 The King and Queen arrived at Skara Green Tech Park, where they were met by CEO Pascal Tshibanda. Operations began in 2009. Green Tech Park aims to support the bio-based economy within the county. The park works in partnership with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Västra Götaland County Council, the county administrative board, the municipality and organisations such as the Federation of Swedish Farmers. 10:59 The coach left for Skara, and Chairman of the Municipal Council Jan Olof Bohlin and Chair of the Municipal Executive Board Charlotte Nordström welcomed The King and Queen to Skara Municipality. Skara is one of Sweden's oldest towns, and has been a seat of learning for centuries. The first college here was founded back in the 17th century. The food industry and tourism are significant industries in Skara Municipality. Skara has a focus on culture, food and music, and promotes tourism within these fields. The King and Queen received two gifts: a copy of the Skara Missal, Sweden's oldest book which was published in 1150, and a bell from Sweden's only bell foundry.
CEO Ulf Dafgård and Vice CEO Magnus Dafgård show The King and Queen a model of the Dafgårds factory. Photo: royalcourt.se
10:30 CEO Ulf Dafgård welcomed The King and Queen and announced Sweden's largest bun party. As Class 2 from Källby School sang, trays of buns were brought out for all those present.
Gunnar Dafgård AB Gunnar Dafgård AB was founded in 1937. The company carries out all its manufacturing in Källby, and its products include ready meals, cold cuts, meat, bread and pastries. For almost ten years, the company has been run by the second and third generations of the Dafgård family.
The King and Queen last visited Källby in May 1976.
10:21 The King and Queen arrived at Källby, where they were met by representatives from the Dafgård family. 09:46 Chairman of the Municipal Council Åke Fransson then presented Götene Municipality, and Municipal Chief Executive Jerker Andersson Liljestrand spoke about the municipality, including Källby and Dafgårds. In 1937, Källby hardly existed. The Dafgård family started their business, laying the foundation for the community. This was a defining example for Götene Municipality, where a number of communities have been built around entrepreneurial families. The central town is Götene, which was founded by Karl Johansson who came as an estate steward to Göte Estate in 1858 and married the widow living there within a year. He started a sawmill, workshop, joinery and dairy, and ensured that the railway came to Götene. Many of the businesses that he started are still here today. For example, the dairy was taken over by Arla, which now employs 550 people in Götene. All the prästost cheese made by Arla in Sweden is matured in Götene. 44% of those living in the municipality work in the food industry in some way, in either farming or food preparation. This is a small municipality that works together with larger neighbouring municipalities — particularly Lidköping and Skara. The environmental work carried out at Kinnekulle has won many awards.
The King and Queen are welcomed to Västra Götaland County. Photo: royalcourt.se
09:29 The King and Queen arrived at Såtenäs Airport, and were welcomed by the County Governor and his wife. On the coach, County Governor Lars Bäckström welcomed the royal visitors to the county, which is home to 1.6 million inhabitants — the same as the population of Manhattan.
The programme for The King and Queen's visit on Wednesday 21 August.09:35 The King and Queen arrive at Lidköping-Såtenäs Airport, and are welcomed to Västra Götaland County by County Governor Lars Bäckström. 10:15 The King and Queen visit Dafgårds. 11:10 The King and Queen visit Skara Green Tech Park. 11:55 The King and Queen visit Varnhem Abbey. 12:45 The King and Queen arrive at Hertig Johans Torg in Skövde. The King gives a speech. 13:30 Lunch is served at Skövde Cultural Centre. 15:20 The King and Queen visit Kinnarps AB. The day in Västra Götaland County concludes with dinner hosted by the County Governor at the County Governor's official residence in Gothenburg.
County visits 2013In connection with The King's 40th jubilee, The King and Queen will be visiting all of Sweden's 21 counties during the year. Find out more about the county visits here.