The Opening of the Parliamentary Session – a history

Motiv: The King declares the Parliamentary Session open in 1975 at the Riksdag's temporary premises in what is now Kulturhuset Stadsteatern in Stockholm. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

On Tuesday 30 September, The King opened the Parliamentary Session in his capacity as Sweden's Head of State. This signified the beginning of the Riksdag's working year.

The King at the ceremonial opening of parliament in the Hall of State at the Royal Palace of Stockholm in 1974. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

The King at the ceremonial opening of parliament in the Hall of State at the Royal Palace of Stockholm in 1974. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

History

The opening of parliament has historically been marked by ceremonies and parades. Before 1810 parliamentary sessions could be held at various locations around the kingdom, although the capital was the most common location. The ceremonial opening of parliament in the Hall of State at the Royal Palace of Stockholm took place for the final time in 1974. According to provisions contained in the 1974 constitution, the ceremony now takes place at the Riksdag building and is called the Opening of the Parliamentary Session.

Sweden's first parliamentary session was the Arboga Meeting of 1435. Up until the beginning of the 17th century, the parliamentary session was only convened on individual occasions. Parliamentary sessions were first regulated in the 1634 constitution, and were not changed to annual meetings until 1866.

About the Riksdag building

The construction of the new Riksdag building began on 13 May 1897, when King Oscar II symbolically laid the first foundation stone for the building. The architect was Aron Johansson, and the Riksdag building was completed on 11 January 1905. The new building on Helgeandsholmen replaced the former building on Riddarholmen. The Riksdag building remained largely unaltered until the 1980s, when the western section's new extension was designed by Ahlgren-Olsson-Silow Arkitektkontor AB. During the rebuilding work, the Riksdag moved into what is now Kulturhuset Stadsteatern on Sergels Torg in Stockholm.

The Riksdag building during construction. Photo: Stockholmskällan

The Riksdag building during construction. Photo: Stockholmskällan

Visit the Swedish Riksdag External link, opens in new window.

Service in Stockholm Cathedral

There is a long tradition of the Church of Sweden holding a service to mark the Opening of the Parliamentary Session. The service is held in Stockholm Cathedral External link, opens in new window.. Since 2007, these services have included multi-faith elements from other religious communities. The humanists arrange a parallel gathering attended by some of the Riksdag's members.

The Royal Family outside Stockholm Cathedral at the opening of the 2012 Parliamentary Session. Photo: TT

The Royal Family outside Stockholm Cathedral at the opening of the 2012 Parliamentary Session. Photo: TT