The Crown Princess Couple visit Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Crown Princess Couple visited Bosnia and Herzegovina together with Minister Isabella Lövin.

The Crown Princess Couple visited Bosnia and Herzegovina together with Minister Isabella Lövin. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

On Wednesday 6 to Thursday 7 November, The Crown Princess and Prince Daniel carried out a two day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. During the visit, the Swedish Government was represented by Minister Isabella Lövin.

On arrival at the Presidency Building in Sarajevo, The Crown Princess Couple and Minister Isabella Lövin were welcomed by the elected Presidency Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which consists of three representatives from the country's constituent ethnic groups: Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs. The Crown Princess Couple then attended a meeting with the Presidency Council.

The Crown Princess Couple with Mayor of Sarajevo Abdulah Skaka and his wife.

The Crown Princess Couple with Mayor of Sarajevo Abdulah Skaka and his wife. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

The current representatives are Željko Komšić, Šefik Džaferović and Milorad Dodik. The chairmanship rotates between the three representatives every eight months, and political decisions can only be made by consensus. The current chairman is Željko Komšić.

Environmental conference on smart cities

During the morning, The Crown Princess Couple attended a conference at Sarajevo's Parliament focusing on smart cities, environmental solutions, air quality and renewable energy. The conference was arranged by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Swedish Government, and drew 300 attendees from the private and public sectors.

The Crown Princess Couple and Isabella Lövin at the conference on smart cities.

The Crown Princess Couple and Isabella Lövin at the conference on smart cities. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

According to the WHO, Bosnia and Herzegovina is currently one of the countries with the worst air quality in Europe and is in the top three when it comes to deaths linked to air pollution.

Together with the UNDP, Sweden has co-funded several different projects in the country to make its cities more environmentally friendly.

The Crown Princess opened the conference with a speech, in which she said:

"We should not underestimate the challenges ahead of us. But neither should we underestimate ourselves, and our ability to solve the problems we face.

"It is my sincere wish that you will all seize this opportunity to learn and share, and to create the basis for new ideas and alliances. I truly believe that this is the only way forward: to face our challenges head on – and to do it together."

Read The Crown Princess's speech in full hereopens in new window.

The Crown Princess gives a speech at Sarajevo's Parliament.

The Crown Princess gives a speech at Sarajevo's Parliament. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

Visit to a Swedish IT company

The Crown Princess Couple then visited the Swedish IT company System Verification in central Sarajevo. System Verification is a Swedish IT company specialising in quality monitoring and analysis, with a focus on innovation, efficiency and safety.

The Crown Princess Couple during the visit to System Verification.

The Crown Princess Couple during the visit to System Verification. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

The parents of the company's founder Hamdija Jusufagic came to Sweden from Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 1970s, and Hamdija himself was a Swedish UN soldier in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has now opened a branch in Sarajevo to give something back to his parents' home country.

The RoboKids project enables children from different regions in the country to meet up and learn more about programming together.

The RoboKids project enables children from different regions in the country to meet up and learn more about programming together. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

The Crown Princess Couple then met children from RoboKids, a local project that enables children aged between 7 and 10 from different regions in the country to meet up and learn more about programming together. RoboKids receives support from the Institute for Youth Development (KULT), an organisation that Sweden supports financially. During their visit, The Crown Princess Couple had the opportunity to take part in a workshop where children learnt to build robots.

The Crown Princess Couple with children at the local RoboKids project.

The Crown Princess Couple with children at the local RoboKids project. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

Guided city tour and tree planting

After lunch at the official residence, The Crown Princess and Prince Daniel were given a guided tour of Sarajevo's old town.

The Mayor of Sarajevo led a tour of the city.

The Mayor of Sarajevo led a tour of the city. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

During their walk, they visited a Serbian Orthodox church, a mosque, a synagogue and a Catholic cathedral.

The Crown Princess Couple visit a mosque during the tour of the city.

The Crown Princess Couple visit a mosque during the tour of the city. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

The Crown Princess Couple visit a mosque during the tour of the city.

The Crown Princess Couple visit a mosque during the tour of the city. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

In Koševo Park, The Crown Princess Couple took part in a tree-planting ceremony to mark the start of Swedish-supported efforts to develop a new environmental strategy. This work is being led by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), an international non-profit organisation that addresses environmental and development challenges.

The tree-planting ceremony marked the start of a new Swedish-backed environmental strategy.

The tree-planting ceremony marked the start of a new Swedish-backed environmental strategy. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

The ceremony was attended by representatives working with the strategy, three of the country's environment ministers and the Major of Brčko, a district in the north of the country.

Museum visit and exhibition

The Crown Princess Couple visited the Zanat furniture museum in the city of Konjic. Zanat was founded in 1927 and makes wooden furniture using a unique traditional woodworking technique that is included on UNESCO's world heritage list. Zanat prioritises environmental sustainability and has an international focus. The company has begun working with several international architects and designers.

The Crown Princess Couple and Isabella Lövin visit the Zanat furniture museum.

The Crown Princess Couple and Isabella Lövin visit the Zanat furniture museum. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

The Crown Princess Couple and Minister Isabella Lövin then visited the Srebrenica exhibition at Gallery 11/07/95. The exhibition provides a picture of what the country's population went through during the war, and continues to go through due to the loss of so many during the war.

The Crown Princess Couple with the museum's founder, Tarik Samarah.

The Crown Princess Couple with the museum's founder, Tarik Samarah. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

The museum's director and founder, Tarik Samarah, gave a guided tour of the permanent exhibition and explained how it came about.

The Crown Princess Couple also visited the bunker built by Josip Broz Tito. Tito was the Head of Government from 1945 and President from 1953 of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia until his death in 1980. The bunker was constructed to withstand a nuclear attack, and was a secret during Tito's time.

A visit to the bunker built by former President Tito.

A visit to the bunker built by former President Tito. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

Dinner with youth organisations

On the Wednesday evening, The Crown Princess Couple and Minister Isabella Lövin attended a dinner together with representatives from various organisations that work for innovation, entrepreneurship and creating opportunities for young people to stay in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Crown Princess Couple at Wednesday evening's dinner.

The Crown Princess Couple at Wednesday evening's dinner. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

The organisations attending the dinner:

  • IT Girlsexternal link, opens in new window consists of young Bosnian women working within the UN to ensure that girls and young women get the chance to learn about IT and programming.
  • Institute for Youth Development (KULT)external link, opens in new window supports various youth organisations with the aim of encouraging more young people to stay in the country and engage in politics and entrepreneurship.
  • Challenge 2 Changeexternal link, opens in new window provides grants to promising start-ups and small businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina that have been unable to secure funding from other sources.
  • FARMAexternal link, opens in new window is a project that intends to boost the export of agricultural products from Bosnia and Herzegovina to the European market. The project is being run in partnership with USAID.
  • The MOZAIKexternal link, opens in new window foundation is a leading investor in the region that supports and invests in value-driven innovative social entrepreneurs.

Sweden supports all these organisations.

Visit to the War Childhood Museum

The Crown Princess Couple's second day in Bosnia and Herzegovina began with a visit to the War Childhood Museum in Sarajevo. The museum uses witness testimonies and objects to describe children's experiences of the 1993-1995 war. Founder Jasminko Halilovic was a child himself during the Siege of Sarajevo, and in 2018 the Council of Europe named this Europe's best museum.

The Crown Princess visits the War Childhood Museum.

The Crown Princess visits the War Childhood Museum. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

The War Childhood Museum describes children's experiences during the war of 1993-1995.

The War Childhood Museum describes children's experiences during the war of 1993-1995. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Visit to Sarajevo Music Academy

The Crown Princess Couple and Minister Isabella Lövin visited Sarajevo Music Academy, where Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton Edin Forto described how a successful Swedish project and cooperation with the UNDP have helped to make public buildings more energy-efficient. The school is one of the buildings being renovated as part of the project.

The Crown Princess Couple with Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton Edin Forto during the visit to Sarajevo Music Academy.

The Crown Princess Couple with Prime Minister of Sarajevo Canton Edin Forto during the visit to Sarajevo Music Academy. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson

Mr Forto also spoke about other efforts to make the city more environmentally friendly. These include plans to buy more electric buses, introduce new carbon dioxide emission targets and invest in waste incineration instead of piling up waste.

Pupils from Sarajevo Music Academy perform in the school's concert hall.

Pupils from Sarajevo Music Academy perform in the school's concert hall. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

In the school's concert hall, The Crown Princess Couple and Minister Isabella Lövin listened to a concert by the school's pupils.

Workshop with upper secondary pupils on environmental issues

The visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina continued in Trebević, where Mayor of Sarajevo Abdullah Skak and Mayor of Istočno Sarajevo Nenad Vuković welcomed The Crown Princess Couple and Minister Isabella Lövin.

The Crown Princess Couple and Isabella Lövin talk with young people about environmental issues.

The Crown Princess Couple and Isabella Lövin talk with young people about environmental issues. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

The Swedish-financed Center for the Promotion of Civil Society (CPCD) organised a workshop for 20 young people aged 15 to 18 to raise awareness of environmental issues. The Crown Princess Couple and Isabella Lövin met young people together with the mayors, and spoke about environmental issues with a focus on recycling and picking up litter.

Walking up to the mountain's look-out point, with views of Sarajevo.

Walking up to the mountain's look-out point, with views of Sarajevo. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

Visit to Sarajevo's old bobsleigh track

The delegation then made their way into the mountains of Sarajevo to a viewing point with spectacular views of the city. They then visited the old Olympic bobsleigh track, which is one of Sarajevo's most popular tourist destinations. The track was used during the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics, but was destroyed and is now covered by graffiti.

The Crown Princess Couple and Minister Isabella Lövin with the mayors at the old Olympic bobsleigh track.

The Crown Princess Couple and Minister Isabella Lövin with the mayors at the old Olympic bobsleigh track. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

Mine-clearing work with Swedish support

Near the bobsleigh track, Ervina Puskar from Bosnia and Herzegovina's Mine Action Group (MAG) welcomed the group and spoke about the organisation's work in the country. There are still mines from the war on Mount Trebević, and these are a problem for residents of both Sarajevo and Istočno Sarajevo. Over the course of five years, Sweden is contributing SEK 20 million to MAG's work.

Jonas Zachrisson, the Swedish head of a training school for mine-clearing dogs, spoke about his work and the delegation met the dogs.

Jonas Zachrisson explains how dogs are used in mine-clearing work.

Jonas Zachrisson explains how dogs are used in mine-clearing work. Photo: Pelle T Nilsson/SPA

Visit to the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina

At the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, The Crown Princess Couple saw an exhibition about the Sarajevo Haggadah, a unique Jewish text from around 1350.

The Crown Princess Couple and Minister Isabella Lövin at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Crown Princess Couple and Minister Isabella Lövin at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

The Sarajevo Haggadah exhibition at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Sarajevo Haggadah exhibition at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

The text is hand-written on bleached calfskin. It is illuminated in copper and gold, and begins with Biblical scenes from the creation to the death of Moses. Since 2017, the text has been on UNESCO's world heritage list.

The Sarajevo Haggadah, a unique Jewish text from around 1350.

The Sarajevo Haggadah, a unique Jewish text from around 1350. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

Visit to the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum

The visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina ended at the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum, where The Crown Princess Couple and Minister Isabella Lövin learnt more about the Siege of Sarajevo and the contributions of Swedish UN troops between 1992 and 1996.

The Crown Princess in the tunnel built by the Bosnian army to link Sarajevo with Bosnian territory on the other side of Sarajevo Airport.

The Crown Princess in the tunnel built by the Bosnian army to link Sarajevo with Bosnian territory on the other side of Sarajevo Airport. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden

During the Siege of Sarajevo between 1992 and 1995, an 800 metre long tunnel was built under the airport to transport food and other essentials.

At the Sarajevo Tunnel Museum, The Crown Princess Couple walked through part of the tunnel and saw an exhibition about the war.

Afterwards, Patrik Rydell from the Swedish Armed Forces explained about the Swedish troops' UN efforts during the war.

Patrik Rydell from the Swedish Military Academy in Halmstad explains about the Swedish troops' UN efforts during the 1990s.

Patrik Rydell from the Swedish Military Academy in Halmstad explains about the Swedish troops' UN efforts during the 1990s. Photo: Sara Friberg/The Royal Court of Sweden