Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me and the Queen to be here in Kiev, a historical city, the capital of modern Ukraine.
Today when contacts between Sweden and Ukraine have intensified in so many areas – trade, social affairs and culture – just to mention a few sectors, it is also fascinating to study the ties that existed several hundred years ago.
The collections of the Army Museum in Stockholm as well as other Swedish museums and archives preserve a rich heritage related to the historically decisive second half of the 17th century and the Great Nordic War.
Some of the objects in our museums and archives relate to common pages of Swedish and Ukrainian history and around this theme a joint exhibition “Ukraine and Sweden – Crossroads of History" has developed over the last year. The exhibits presented through this exhibition recall the memories of troubles some times, but also bare testimony of intensive interaction at highest political level as well as people-to-people contacts.
Next year we recall that 300 years have passed since the battle of Poltava. The commemoration of this important historical event should underline the need for peace and reconciliation in European history, and in Europe today. A dialogue between historians from Ukraine, Sweden, Russia, Finland and other countries affected, could help us better understand this page of our common history.
We are convinced that the exhibition we open today will be of interest to the Ukrainian public and that it will contribute to an even stronger interest in the relations between our countries, historically as well as today.