Sweden

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Overview

Located in northern Europe on the Scandinavian Peninsula, Sweden became a unified Christian nation in the 11th century after the arrival of the Vikings. During the next several centuries, Sweden either fought with or created alliances with its neighboring countries: Norway, Finland and Denmark. In the Napoleonic Wars, which lasted from 1799 to 1815, Sweden was forced to give up territory and unite with Norway to protect itself from outside aggression. In 1905, this alliance was peacefully dissolved, and Sweden became neutral. Following its Industrial Revolution, there was a shift from village-based to private, farm-based agriculture. However, this economic system could not keep up with the demands of its growing population, so guild monopolies were abolished in order to allow a free market economy to flourish. In both World Wars, Sweden remained neutral, using its status to benefit from trade with warring nations. After World War II, Sweden’s prime minister was murdered, giving rise to a period of instability. An accompanying economic crisis, elevated bankruptcy, and unemployment created further problems. Sweden has since managed to recover from that period, entering the European Union in 1995, but has kept its own currency, the Krona. The 9/11 attacks and the 2003 Iraq War led to some conflict between the United States and Sweden, including the December 2001 rendition of an Egyptian citizen back to Egypt while on Swedish soil at the request of the U.S. Another recent controversial issue was the imprisonment of a Swedish citizen by U.S. personnel in Iraq.

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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Located in northern Europe on the Scandinavian Peninsula, Sweden stretches 977 miles from its northern border above the Arctic Circle to its southernmost region of Skåne. From east to west, it averages 200 to 250 miles across. The country is composed of flat farmlands in the south, rocky and hilly countryside in the center, and forested mountains in the north. Located in the same latitudes as Alaska, Sweden has 9,600 lakes which cover a tenth of its territory, and has about 50 billion trees blanketing half the country.

 
Population:  9,366,092 (Swedish government, May 31, 2010)
 
Religions: Church of Sweden 77%, Muslim 4.9%, other Protestant (Pentecostal, Missionary Church, Evangelical, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormon) 4.4%, Catholic 1.5%, Orthodox Christian 1.2%, Buddhist 0.2%, Hindu 0.1%, Jewish 0.1%. Religious observance is in decline across Christian faiths, and estimates of atheism in the adult population range from 10% to as high as 46%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Swedish, Finnish, Sami, Yugoslavian, Danish, Norwegian, Greek, Turkish, Iraqi
 
Languages: Swedish (official) 86.7%, Finnish 2.2%, Scanian 0.9%, Tornedalen Finnish (spoken by Finnish-Swedes) 0.8%, Jamtska 0.3%, Romani (Kalo Finnish, Tavringer, Vlax) 0.3%, Saami (Lule, North, Pite, South, Ume) 0.07%, Dalecarlian 0.02%
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History

Archeological evidence shows that Sweden was settled as early as 5000 BC. Prehistoric rock engravings of elk, reindeer, bears, and seals indicate that the country’s early culture centered around hunting and fishing. Carvings from 2300-500 BC reveal images of agriculture, ships, domesticated animals, and home life.

 
In the 7th and 8th centuries, the Swedes were merchant seamen trading with neighboring countries. By the 9th century, the Vikings (who were of Nordic descent) ravaged their way across Europe, looting and pillaging.
 
In the 11th century, Sweden became a unified Christian kingdom, which later included Finland. In 1397, the Kalmar Union gave Queen Margaret of Denmark control of all the Nordic island nations. However, this created tension between the Swedes and the Danes in the 15th century. The union eventually dissolved, with Norway and Denmark on one side, and Sweden and Finland on the other. Gustav Vasa fought for independence during this time, breaking with the Catholic Church and establishing the Reformation. Soon after, Vasa was elected regent and ruled as the King of Sweden from 1523 to 1560.
 
In the 17th century, Sweden-Finland emerged as a more powerful country, having defeated Denmark, Russia, and Poland in various wars. By 1658, Sweden ruled several provinces in Denmark and Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and northern Germany.
 
In 1700, Russia, Saxony-Poland, and Denmark-Norway joined to attack the Swedish-Finnish Empire. Swedish King Karl XII (also known as Charles XII) was successful in early battles, but made a costly mistake in 1718 when he decided to attack Moscow in order to force Russia into peace. Following his death in battle, Sweden’s reign as a great power ended.
 
During the Napoleonic Wars, Sweden was forced to cede Finland to Russia. In 1810, the Swedish king’s adopted heir, French Marshal Bernadotte, was elected crown prince as Karl Johan. Bernadotte joined his forces with the allies against Napoleon.
 
The Congress of Vienna compensated Sweden for its lost territory in Germany by merging its crown with that of Norway. Though the merger was not always easy, Norway eventually entered into a strategic union with Sweden, but retained its own constitution and Parliament. The Sweden-Norway union was peacefully dissolved at Norway’s request in 1905.
 
During the Industrial Revolution, Sweden’s economy, which had been built around village-based agriculture, shifted to private, farm-based agriculture. However, this shift could not keep pace with the growing population and, as a result, approximately one million Swedes emigrated to the United States between 1850 and 1890.
 
In the 19th century, guild monopolies were abolished so that free enterprise could flourish. Sweden also adopted modernizing influences such as taxation laws, voting reforms and a national military service. During this time, the country’s three major political parties, the Social Democratic, Liberal and Conservative Parties, were created.
 
Sweden remained neutral during World War I, benefiting from the need for steel, ball bearings, wood pulp, and matches by the warring powers. After the war, Sweden prospered and laid many of the foundations for the country’s social welfare system.
 
During the 1930s, Sweden shifted its focus to foreign policy concerns, such as the expansion of Russia and Germany. The Swedes tried to create a Nordic defense union in the region, which ultimately did not come together. During World War II, Sweden again remained neutral, and remains non-aligned to this day.
 
On February 28, 1986, Prime Minister Olof Palme was murdered, creating a period of instability in the government. Christer Pettersson was found guilty in 1988, but released on appeal the following year because the evidence was not strong enough. Since then, many theories have surfaced, although the case remains unresolved.
 
During the early 1990s, the country suffered through an economic crisis, with high unemployment and bankruptcy rates.
 
On January 1, 1995, Sweden became a member of the European Union, and in 2003, the country held a referendum on entering the European Monetary Union. The Swedish people rejected this measure, and no new referendum has been planned.
 
In 1996, Social Democrat Göran Persson became Prime Minister of a minority government. His position was supported by former communists and by the Green and Left parties in 1998. In that year, Persson’s government began to greatly reduce the military budget. The Social Democrats stayed in power until September 2006.
 
The Lutheran Church enjoyed State-Church ties until 2000, by which time a growing population of Swedes were not Lutheran. As a result, on the first of the year, the Church of Sweden (also known as the Lutheran Church) ceased to be the official church of Sweden.
 
Mijailo Mijailović, a Swedish Serb stabbed Anna Lindh, the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, on September 10, 2003, at a department store. Lindh died the following morning despite an initial display of recovery. Mijailović pleaded guilty and claimed that he was suffering from a mental illness when he stabbed Lindh.
 
Following the partial meltdown at the US’s Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, Sweden held a referendum in 1979 deciding to end construction of nuclear plants and phase-out nuclear power by 2010. Since then, Sweden has decided to rely on hydroelectricity as an energy source. However, in light of growing energy problems, the Swedish government decided to repeal the 30-year-old nuclear phase-out policy. On February 5, 2009, the government agreed to replace the existing nuclear reactors with new ones, beginning on January 1, 2011. .
 
History of Sweden (Wikipedia)
Sweden: History (Smorgasbord)
History of Sweden (History World)
The Virtual Jewish History Tour (by Rebecca Weiner, Jewish Virtual Library)
Timeline: Sweden (BBC News)
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Sweden's Newspapers

Dagens Nyheter (Swedish)

Expressen (Swedish)
Dagen (Swedish)
Stockholm News (English)
Sydsvenskan (Swedish)
The Local (English)
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History of U.S. Relations with Sweden

In 1638, a Swedish merchant company founded the official colony of New Sweden in Delaware. The Dutch overran the colony in 1655, followed by the English a few years later, but nevertheless, an enclave of Swedish-speaking people survived in the Delaware valley until the 19th century.

 
American Swedes continued to play a role in America, participating in the Revolutionary War and electing John Hanson as the first president of Congress from 1781 to 1782.
 
Massive immigration started in 1840, as Swedes flooded American shores in search of economic opportunities. More than 1.2 million Swedes immigrated between 1851 and 1930; this exodus represented nearly 25% of Sweden’s total population at the time. The largest wave of 475,000 Swedes came between 1880 and 1893. Early Swedish immigrants traveled with their families, and were largely agrarian, while later arrivals tended to be single individuals who settled in cities. California claims the largest Swedish-American population, followed by Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, and Michigan.
 
Relations between Sweden and the United States were established in 1782 when Benjamin Franklin was also accredited to France. Though he did not journey to Stockholm, he negotiated the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with Sweden, which was signed in 1783.
 
During the Vietnam War, as an ally of North Vietnam, Sweden and its prime minister at the time, Olof Palme, expressed great discontent with U.S. foreign policy. This difficult period of relations was strained further with Sweden granting asylum to Americans soldiers who refused to participate in the war. In response, the US recalled its Ambassador to Sweden in February 1968 and subsequently left the spot vacant for two years.
 
At the end of 1972, US-Swedish relations were frozen for one year. After Palme’s assassination in 1986, relations improved and the new Prime Minister, Ingvar Carlsson became the first Swedish leader to be invited to the White House in 26 years.
 
In 1988, both countries celebrated the 350th anniversary of the first Swedish settlement in the United States.
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Current U.S. Relations with Sweden

Actors and Entertainment:

Kirsten Dunst: A successful actress, model, and singer, Dunst won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in her 1994 film Interview with the Vampire, but is best known for her role as Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man trilogy. She was born in Point Pleasant, New Jersey to a Swedish mother and German father.
Melanie Griffith: The actress is an Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner for her work in Working Girl (1988). She was born in New York City to a half-Swedish mother.
Jake Gyllenhaal: He pursues a career as an actor and is best known for his roles in Jarhead (2005) and Brokeback Mountain (2005). Born in Los Angeles, Gyllenhaal embraces his mother’s Jewish identity, but his great-great-grandfather on his paternal side was a Swedish native.
Scarlett Johansson: The singer-actress has been nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for Manny & Lo (1996), Hollywood Reporter Young Star Award in 1998 for The Horse Whisperer, and four Golden Globe Awards for Match Point (2005), A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004), Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), and Lost in Translation (2003). She was born in New York City to a father who is part Swedish and a Jewish mother.
Michelle Pfeiffer: As an actress, Pfeiffer was nominated for an Academy Award three times for Love Field (1992), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), and Dangerous Liaisons (1988); and won a Golden Globe Award for The Fabulous Baker Boys. She was born in Santa Ana, California to a mother of Swiss and Swedish descent.
Mark Wahlberg: Wahlberg is an Academy Award-nominated actor for The Departed (2006), rapper, and TV and film producer. He is of Swedish descent on his father’s side.
Greta Garbo: The Swedish-born actress moved to California in late 1925 to star in the MGM production The Torrent. She was nominated for four Academy Awards and is best known of her role in Ninotchka (1939).
Gloria Swanson: The actress was famous for her role in Sunset Boulevard (1950). She was born to a father of Swedish ancestry.
Warner Oland: Born in Nyby, Sweden, Oland moved to the US in 1892. He is best known for his role as the Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan.
Ann Margaret: The actress, singer, and dancer won five Golden Globe Awards and was nominated for two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and six Emmy Awards. She was born in Stockholm, Sweden and moved to the Chicago in 1946.
Kris Kristofferson: Kristofferson is a writer, singer-songwriter, actor, and musician. He was born in Brownsville, Texas, but his family on his father’s side,isfrom Nås in Dalarna (County), Sweden.
Larry Hagman: He was born in Fort Worth, Texas and became an actor, producer, and director. He is famous for his roles in Dallas and I Dream of Jeannie. His great-grandparents were Swedish.
Steven Soderbergh: He is an Academy Award-winning film director for Traffic (2000). He also directed the Ocean’s Eleven remake series.He was born in Atlanta, Georgia to parents of Swedish ancestry. When his family moved to the US, their surname changed from Söderberg to Soderbergh.
Quincy Jones: Jones is a composer, music and film producer, and author. His mother was a Swedish model and moved to Sweden in 1973, when he was four years old. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
Peggy Lee: Born in Jamestown, North Dakota, Lee became a singer, songwriter, actress, and composer. Her grandparents were Swedish and Norwegian immigrants.
Grace Slick: She was a singer-songwriter with the Jefferson Airplane. Slick was born in Evanston, Illinois to a Norwegian-Swedish father.
 
Writers:
Jack Anderson: He was a columnist and won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1972. He is considered one of the fathers of investigative journalism. Anderson was born in Long Beach, California to a Mormon family of Swedish-Danish ancestry.
Ray Bradbury: Bradbury is a science-fiction author known for works such as Fahrenheit 451. He was born in Waukegan, Illinois to a mother who was a Swedish immigrant.
Carl Sandburg: He was a writer and editor who won three Pulitzer Prizes. He was born in Galesburg, Illinois to Swedish immigrant parents.
 
Science and Engineering:
Clarence (Kelly) Johnson: He was among the most respected aircraft designers. He worked for Lockheed and contributed to the P-38 Lighter used in World War II and the F-80 Shooting Star, the first successful U.S. jet fighter. Many of his aircraft designs won the Collier Trophy. He was born in Ishpeming, Michigan to Swedish immigrant parents from Malmö.
Glenn T. Seaborg: Seaborg won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1951 for his discoveries with transuranium elements, one which was named after him. He was born in Lafayette, California to Swedish parents. His mother was born in Grängesberg, Sweden and his father’s parents were born in Sweden.
John Ericsson: Ericsson was an inventor and mechanical engineer. He is known for working on the ironclad ship USS Monitor during the American Civil War. He was born in 1803 in Långbanshyttan, Värmland, Sweden.
 
Business:
Walter Hoving: He headed Tiffany and Company from 1955 to 1980. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1897 and moved to the US in 1903.
J. Erik Johnsson: He is best known as the co-founder and former president of Texas Instruments, but also was the mayor of Dallas and a philanthropist. Johnsson was born in Brooklyn, New York to Swedish-born parents.
John Nordstrom: Born in Alvik-Ale, he was a co-founder of the Nordstrom department stores. He moved to the US in 1887.
Eric Wickman: Wickman is known for founding Greyhounds Lines. He was born in Vämhus, Sweden and moved to the US in 1905, changing his name from Martis Jerk to Eric Carl Wickman.
Eli Lilly: Amongst many occupations, Lilly is known for founding the Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical corporation. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the third generation born in the US. His great-grandparents had Swedish links, but moved to Maryland in 1789 from France. Charles R. Walgreen: The businessman is known for founding the Walgreens drugstore chain. He was born in Galesburg Knox County, Illinois to Swedish parents who immigrated to the US. His father changed the surname from ‘Olofsson’ to ‘Walgreen’.
 
Politics:
John Anderson: He was a former Congressman and a Presidential candidate from Illinois. His father was a Swedish immigrant.
Mamie Eisenhower: She was the first lady of the US from 1953 to 1961 and was married to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. She was born in Boone, Iowa, but her maternal grandfather was born in Sweden.
William Rehnquist: He served as the 16th Chief Justice of the US. Rehnquist was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but his paternal grandparents were born in Sweden.
Earl Warren: He served as the 14th Chief Justice of the US and was the Governor of California from 1943 to 1953. Warren was born in Los Angeles, California to a Swedish immigrant mother.
 
Sports:
Walter Johnson: Nicknamed “The Big Train”, Johnson was known for his success as a pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1907 to 1927. He was born in Humboldt, Kansas in 1887 to Swedish immigrant parents.
Greg Louganis: Louganis is an Olympic-winning diver (1984 and 1988). He was born to parents of Samoan and part-Swedish ancestry and given up for adoption.
 
Other:
Charles Lindbergh: Lindbergh is known as the aviator who piloted the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic in 1927. He was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father was born in Sweden.
Buzz Aldrin: He is a mechanical engineer and was a US Air Force pilot and an astronaut on Apollo 11 (second man on the moon). He was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey in 1930, but had ancestors from Värmland, Sweden.
Joe Hill: Born in Gävle, Sweden, Hill was a labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies). He moved to the US in 1902 at the age of 23.
 
 
Relations between the U.S. and Sweden are strong and close. The U.S. has been supportive of Sweden’s entry into NATO, and cooperates with Sweden on matters of global security and freedom. The presence of nearly 14 million Americans of Swedish heritage helps to encourage a warm relationship between the two countries.
 
An illustration of the importance the Swedish government attaches to Swedish-U.S. relations is House of Sweden, the new embassy building along the Potomac River in Washington, DC, which opened in 2006. The embassy’s network in the U.S. includes the Consulates General in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and 28 other cities. There is also the Export Trade Council and Invest in Sweden Agency in the U.S. 
 
Trade is the most pivotal aspect to the U.S.-Sweden relationship. The U.S. is Sweden’s largest export market, absorbing approximately 11% of its total exports. The U.S. is also one of the largest investors in Sweden. Combined, more than 1,000 U.S. companies employ about 100,000 employees in Sweden.
 
All of the large Swedish international companies such as Ericsson, Volvo Truck (including Mack), Electrolux, and the security company, Securitas, are represented in the U.S. The U.S. is the third largest recipient of Swedish investments abroad. Swedish-owned enterprises employ more than 200,000 people in the U.S. The Swedish premium car manufacturer Volvo (owned by Ford Motor Company) has been very successful with its SUV and other models with American car buyers.  
 
In the U.S. Census of 2000, 3,998,310 people identified themselves as being of Swedish ancestry.
 
In 2003, 349,000 Americans visited Sweden, as opposed to 328,000 in 2002.
 
In 2008, 397,017 Swedes visited the U.S., but this number decreased 18% in 2009 which was met with 324,417 Swedish tourists.
 
On February 18, 2010, the Swedish Embassy began a website (www.sagastory.blogspot.com) to allow Swedish and American people to post stories about environmental sustainability in the two countries.
 
Swedish-U.S. Relations (Embassy of Sweden, U.S.)
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Where Does the Money Flow

The US exported a total of $4.6 billion worth of goods while importing $8.2 billion worth of goods in 2009.

 
The largest US exports to Sweden are household items ($618 million), “pharmaceutical preparations” ($561 million), “semiconductors” ($ 290 million), and “civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts” ($ 257 million.
 
The largest U.S. imports from Sweden are “medicinal, dental and pharmaceutical preparations” ($1.34 billion), “passenger cars, new and used” ($ 761 million), “other scientific, medical and hospital equipment” ($ 445 million), “telecommunications equipment” ($ 431 million), and “alcoholic beverages, except wine and related products” ($ 430 million).
 
A large increase in the export of metallurgical grade coal was documented from $32,159,000 in 2005 to $67,478,000 in 2009. Similarly, nuclear fuel materials augmented from $3,581,000 in 2005 to $93,745,000 in 2009. Export of semiconductors rose from $104,961,000 in 2005 to $289,610,000 in 2009. Export of nuclear fuel materials, metallurgical grade coal, and semiconductors increased to meet demands for Sweden’s hydroelectricity and nuclear power energy program.
 
US imports of feedstuff and food grains decreased from $28,407,000 in 2005 to $3,969,000 in 2009. Similarly, fuel oil imports decreased from $273,230,000 in 2005 to $11,641,000 in 2009. “Lumber and wood in the rough” imports also declined from $209,224,000 in 2005 to $36,965,000 in 2009. Import of engines and engine parts decreased from $251,413,000 in 2005 to $78,115,000 in 2009. Lumber and wood imports declined due to the economic initiatives and sustainability efforts. The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) stated that US tropical lumber imports dropped about 50% between 2008 and 2009. The decline in US imports of engines and engine parts is a result of downturn of the US auto industry.
 
The U.S. does not give foreign aid to Sweden.
 
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Controversies

Swedish Citizen Detained by U.S. in Iraq

In December 2008, Sweden urged the US to prosecute or release a Swedish citizen being held in Iraq. The detainee had been held since May, without moving towards due process. The U.S. interpreted the United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the Iraq mission to detain anyone believed to pose a security threat. Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Amelie Heinsjo said the U.S. needs to either charge the citizen, or give him a defense counsel.
Sweden Urges Due Process for Iraq Detainee (International Business News)
 
Sweden Changes Its Stance on Renditions
In December 2001, Swedish police handed over two Egyptian nationals, Ahmed Hussein Agaiza and Mohammed Ibrahim al-Zari, to agents from the United States, who rendered the men back to their home country for further investigation for terrorism.
 
The two were asylum seekers and Egyptian fugitives. Agaiza was also on Egypt’s most wanted list. They were both charged for participating in banned groups.
 
The two were lawfully free in Sweden and were waiting for a decision on their request for asylum in December 2001. However, it is believed that after the September 11, the US “expressed concern” about the two men.
 
Although the Swedish government was promised that the two would not be tortured or suffer the death penalty, both men were tortured when they returned to Egypt by having electrical charges attached to their genitals. In April 2004, Agiza was charged with terrorism and given 25 years in prison. On the other hand, al-Zari was released, but is reportedly under surveillance.
 
Public outrage was so heated that Sweden’s security police promised to never again allow foreign agents to have control over intelligence operations on Sweden’s soil. The UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) stated that Sweden’s actions violated the global torture ban and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The UNHRC suggested that European countries needed to conduct thorough investigations regarding “European complicity in illegal US renditions.”
 
Ahmed Agiza (Wikiwatch)
U.S. Treatment of Terror Suspects and U.S.-EU Relations (by Mary Crane, Council on Foreign Relations)
New Swedish Documents Illuminate CIA Action (by Craig Whitlock, Washington Post
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Human Rights

According to the State Department, “Reported human rights problems included isolated incidents of excessive force by police, prison overcrowding and lengthy pretrial detention, government surveillance and interference, incidents of anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic discrimination and civil disturbances, abuse of women and children, and trafficking in persons.”

 
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Sweden usually abided by international standards, however, overcrowding and lengthy pretrial detention remain problematic.
 
The Swedish Prison and Probation Service stated that about 40% of pretrial detainees were isolated for long periods of time and were unable to access mail or exercise.
 
Similar charges were made by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture who sent a delegation for 10 days to evaluate Sweden’s prisons.
 
Sweden does not hold political prisoners.
 
Freedom of Speech and Press
The government prohibited certain types of expressions considered to be hate speech. The law on hate speech prohibits threats or expressions of contempt for a group or member of a group based on race, color, national or ethnic origin, religious belief, or sexual orientation. Penalties ranged from fines to up to four years in prison.
 
The media reported that individuals associated with the openly Nazi organization “National Socialist Front Party” perpetrated numerous discriminatory acts involving violence and harassment. The reports included cases of assault and hate speech, unauthorized demonstrations, illegal distribution of posters, illegal possession of weapons, and disorderly conduct.
 
On August 17, an article in Aftonbladet, “cited a Palestinian sources alleging that Israeli troops harvested organs from Palestinian prisoners for sale on international markets.” Although the Israeli government asked its Swedish counterparts to condemn the article, the Swedish government considered tha affair a matter of freedom of speech that was protected by the Swedish constitution and did not condemn or force the newspaper to repeal its article.
 
Freedom of speech and press was also enforced with regards to the Internet.
 
Societal Abuses and Discrimination
The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status. Although the government effectively enforced these laws, violence against women and children, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against resident foreigners, Roma, and homosexuals remained areas in need of improvement.
 
There were isolated incidents of societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals. The ombudsman against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation registered 47 reported cases during 2008, the same as in 2007. Moreover, the ombudsman began six new discrimination investigations, two less than the year before. There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.
 
In 2008, there were 159 reported cases of anti-Semitic crime, an increase from 41 from the previous year while there were 272 reported cases of Islamophobic crimes, up from 66 in 2007.
 
The National Council for Crime Prevention published its 2008 study on hate crimes. The Council stated that the most common religious offences are illegal threats and “agitation against an ethnic group.”
 
Trafficking in Persons
Although the law disallows trafficking, statistics suggest that about 400-600 women are trafficked annually.
 
There were reports that persons were trafficked to, through, and within the country. The country continued to be a transit point and a destination, for trafficked women and children. Victims came primarily from Romania, Nigeria, Albania, Tanzania, Thailand, Estonia, and Russia. Trafficking of persons is prohibited and is punished by two to ten years in prison for those convicted. In 2008, police reported ten cases of trafficking for sexual purposes. There is a special ambassador assigned to this issue who works on building international anti-trafficking efforts.
 
Minority Rights
Longstanding tensions between Sami and the government over land and natural resources persisted, as did tensions between Sami and private landowners over reindeer grazing rights. However, the Swedish government supports and protects the national minority.
 
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Benjamin Franklin

Appointment: Sep 28, 1782
Note: Also accredited to France; did not proceed to Stockholm, but negotiated a treaty with Sweden which was signed at Paris, Apr 3, 1783.
 
Jonathan Russell
Appointment: Jan 18, 1814
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 29, 1818
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 22, 1818
Note: An earlier nomination of May 29, 1813 had been rejected by the Senate. Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Christopher Hughes, Jr.
Appointment: Jan 21, 1819
Presentation of Credentials: [see note below]
Termination of Mission: Presented recall about Jul 5, 1825
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm. No report has been found concerning Hughes’ presentation of credentials as Chargé d’Affaires en titre; he had been serving at Stockholm as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim since Oct 1818.
 
William C. Somerville
Appointment: Mar 9, 1825
Note: Did not proceed to post.
 
John James Appleton
Appointment: May 2, 1826
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 28, 1826
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Aug 16, 1830
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Christopher Hughes
Appointment: Mar 3, 1830
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 16, 1830
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 22, 1841
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
George W. Lay
Appointment: May 12, 1842
Presentation of Credentials: 2-Oct 4, 1842
Termination of Mission: Presented recall on or shortly before Oct 11, 1845
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Henry W. Ellsworth
Appointment: Apr 19, 1845
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 11, 1845
Termination of Mission: Relieved by Consul, Jan 25, 1861
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 28, 1845. Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Francis Schroeder
Appointment: Nov 7, 1849
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 22, 1850
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Minister Resident
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 19,1850. Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
Francis Schroeder
Appointment: Jun 29, 1854
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 19, 1854
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 17, 1857
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
B.F. Angel
Appointment: Jul 17, 1857
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 4, 1857
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 25, 1861
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 14, 1858. Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Jacob S. Haldeman
Appointment: Mar 16, 1861
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 25, 1861
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 24, 1864
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
James H. Campbell
Appointment: May 18, 1864
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 24, 1864
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Mar 29, 1867
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
John McGinnis, Jr.
Appointment: Nov 16, 1866
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate. Did not proceed to post his nomination having been rejected by the Senate while he was en route.
 
Joseph J. Bartlett
Appointment: Mar 19, 1867
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 4, 1867
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 24, 1869
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
John S. Carlile
Note: Not commissioned; nomination first confirmed and then reconsidered by the Senate, with no final action taken.
 
C.C. Andrews
Appointment: Jun 3, 1869
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 24, 1869
Termination of Mission: Superseded, Nov 5, 1877
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 15, 1870.
 
John L. Stevens
Appointment: Aug 28, 1877
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 5, 1877
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Jun 3, 1883
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Nov 12, 1877.
 
William W. Thomas, Jr.
Appointment: Jun 6, 1883
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 6, 1883
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 30, 1885
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 12, 1883. Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Rufus Magee
Appointment: Apr 2, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 3, 1885
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
Rufus Magee
Appointment: Aug 10, 1888
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 26, 1888
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 25, 1889
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
William W. Thomas, Jr.
Appointment: Mar 19, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: May 27, 1889
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 2, 1894
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Thomas W. Ferguson
Appointment: Feb 14, 1894
Presentation of Credentials: May 2, 1894
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Feb 7, 1888
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
William W. Thomas, Jr.
Appointment: Dec 18, 1898
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 8, 1898
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 31, 1905
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Charles H. Graves
Appointment: Mar 8, 1905
Presentation of Credentials: May 31, 1905
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 12, 1913
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm. See also Norway.
 
Ira Nelson Morris
Appointment: Jul 13, 1914
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 28, 1914
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Apr 3, 1923
 
Robert Woods Bliss
Appointment: Jan 30, 1923
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 8, 1923
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 15, 1927
 
Leland Harrison
Appointment: Feb 26, 1927
Presentation of Credentials: May 31, 1927
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 11, 1929
 
John Motley Morehead
Appointment: Jan 22, 1930
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 31, 1930
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 6, 1933
 
Laurence A. Steinhardt
Appointment: May 11, 1933
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 28, 1933
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 26, 1937
 
Fred Morris Dearing
Appointment: Apr 22, 1937
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 23, 1937
Termination of Mission: Appointment terminated, Jun 17, 1938
 
Frederick A. Sterling
Appointment: Jun 16, 1938
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 26, 1938
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 14, 1941
 
Herschel V. Johnson
Appointment: Oct 21, 1941
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 12, 1941
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 28, 1946
 
Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr.
Appointment: Aug 1, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 3, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 6, 1947
 
H. Freeman Matthews
Appointment: Jul 21, 1947
Note: Took oath of office, but did not proceed to post in this capacity.
H. Freeman Matthews
Appointment: Sep 20, 1947
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 5, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post May 24, 1950
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 9, 1947.
 
W. Walton Butterworth
Appointment: Jul 5, 1950
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 18, 1950
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 9, 1953
 
John M. Cabot
Appointment: Mar 1, 1954
Presentation of Credentials: May 6, 1954
Termination of Mission: Left Sweden, May 14, 1957
 
Francis White
Appointment: Jun 3, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 17, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left Sweden, Dec 9, 1958
 
James C.H. Bonbright
Appointment: Oct 29, 1958
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 9, 1959
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 20, 1961
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 29, 1959.
 
J. Graham Parsons
Appointment: Mar 15, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 16, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left Sweden, Apr 17, 1967
 
William W. Heath
Appointment: Apr 5, 1967
Presentation of Credentials: May 23, 1967
Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 23, 1969
 
Jerome H. Holland
Appointment: Feb 16, 1970
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 14, 1970
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 30, 1972
 
Note: Arthur J. Olsen served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, Dec 1972-May 1974.
 
Robert Strausz-Hupe
Appointment: Apr 25, 1974
Presentation of Credentials: May 29, 1974
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 3, 1976
 
David S. Smith
Appointment: Apr 6, 1976
Presentation of Credentials: May 7, 1976
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 29, 1977
 
Rodney O’Gliasain Kennedy-Minott 
Appointment: Aug 3, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 29, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 26, 1980
 
Note: William C. Hamilton served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, Sep 1980-Oct 1981.
 
Franklin S. Forsberg
Appointment: Dec 11, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 14, 1982
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 12, 1985
 
Gregory J. Newell
Appointment: Dec 9, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 19, 1985
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 12, 1989
 
Charles Edgar Redman
Appointment: May 12, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 13, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 24, 1992
 
Note: The following served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim: Michael Klosson (Aug 1992-Jul 1993) and Gregory L. Johnson (Jul 1993-Mar 1994).
 
Nicolas Miklos Salgo
Note: Nomination of Jun 16, 1992 was not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Thomas L. Siebert
Appointment: Feb 9, 1994
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 24, 1994
Termination of Mission: Dec 17, 1997
 
Lyndon Lowell Olson, Jr.
Appointment: Nov 10, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 22, 1998
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 1, 2001
 
Charles A. Heimbold, Jr.
Appointment: Aug 3, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Sept 26, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post Feb 12, 2004
 
Miles T. Bivins
Appointment: May 25, 2004
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 9, 2004
Termination of Mission: Left post, January 31, 2006
 
Michael Wood
Appointment: May 30, 2006
Presentation of Credentials: June 8, 2006
Termination of Mission: Jan 2009
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Sweden's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Lyrvall, Björn

 

Björn Lyrvall, a career foreign service officer, presented his credentials as Sweden’s ambassador to the United States to President Barack Obama on September 17, 2013. It’s the first posting as chief of mission for Lyrvall.

 

Lyrvall was born in Hofors, Sweden in 1960. During high school, he spent a year as an exchange in rural Pennsylvania. He graduated from Stockholm University with a degree in political science, Eastern European affairs and Russian.

 

Lyrvall started working for Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1985. He was posted to the Soviet Union early in his career, serving as a vice consul in Leningrad and working for Sweden’s trade council on Soviet issues. He was also stationed at the embassies in Moscow and London.

 

In the mid-to late 1990s, Lyrvall spent much of his time on the Balkans. From 1995 to 1997, he was special advisor to Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, in his role as EU negotiator and International High Representative in Bosnia and Hercegovina. In 1999, Lyrvall was named United Nations special envoy on the Balkans.

 

Lyrvall went to the European Union in Brussels in 2002, first as Sweden’s delegate to the enlargement negotiations, and then in 2003 as Sweden’s ambassador to the EU Political and Security Committee, remaining in that post until 2007.

 

He returned to Stockholm to serve as director general for political affairs in the foreign ministry. He remained in that post until being sent to Washington.

 

Lyrvall’s wife, Madeleine Andersson Lyrvall, has also worked in Sweden’s foreign ministry. They have three children.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

SACC-USA Welcomes Swedish Ambassador Björn Lyrvall (Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce Currents)

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Sweden's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Sweden

Brezinski, Mark
ambassador-image

Attorney and lobbyist Mark Brzezinski was nominated on September 6, 2011, by President Barack Obama to be the next U.S. ambassador to Sweden, replacing Matthew Barzun, who was one of Obama’s biggest campaign bundlers during the 2008 presidential campaign. Brzezinski was confirmed by the Senate on October 18.

 
Born in 1965, Brzezinski is the son of Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser. His sister, Mika Brzezinski, is a host on MSNBC. His brother, Ian Brzezinski, served in the administration of President George W. Bush and was an advisor to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
 
Brzezinski graduated from Dartmouth College in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in government, earned a JD from the University of Virginia Law School in 1991, and holds a DPhil in political science from Oxford University. He also earned a Fulbright Scholarship to study the Polish Constitutional Court.
 
From 1996 to 1999, he was a corporate and securities associate at Hogan & Hartson LLP in Washington, DC.
 
Brzezinski served in the Clinton administration for the next two years as a director of Russian/Eurasian, and later Southeast European, affairs for the National Security Council at the White House. In that capacity, he was White House coordinator for U.S. democracy and rule of law assistance programs for the region.
 
Brzezinski has been a partner at the firm McGuireWoods LLP, managing the international law practice in the firm’s Washington office. His legal work has focused on regulatory and legal compliance pertaining to sanctions, Export Administration Regulations and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the development of corporate internal compliance programs.
 
Between 2002 and 2007, he was an active lobbyist for McGuireWoods, representing clients such as Smithfield Foods and Gannon International.
 
In the spring of 2005, he served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School for International Affairs.
 
He has donated more than $16,000 to politicians and political committees since 1999, most of which has gone to Democrats.
 
During the 2008 presidential race, Brzezinski served as a foreign policy advisor to Obama. Since his inauguration, Brzezinski has written numerous newspaper opinion pieces supporting Obama’s policies, in particular those relating to how U.S. businesses should deal with corrupt regimes abroad.
 
Brzezinski is the author of The Struggle for Constitutionalism in Poland(2000). He has been married twice, in 1991 to attorney Carolyn Campbell and in 2008 to Natalia Lopatniuk. He is fluent in Polish and knows some French.
 
Professional Profile (Oxford Analytica) (pdf)
Biography (McGuireWoods LLP)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Sweden

Barzun, Matthew
ambassador-image

What Matthew W. Barzun lacks in terms of diplomatic experience, or knowledge about Sweden, he makes up with having supported President Barack Obama’s election—to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The former CNET executive was one of Obama’s key bundlers, helping to funnel at least $500,000 towards the campaign. He was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Sweden August 12, 2009.

 
Born on October 23, 1970, in New York City, Barzun grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and attended the St. Paul’s School private academy in New Hampshire. He went to college at Harvard, during which he spent a summer internship working in the office of U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts). He received his bachelor’s degree in history and literature, magna cum laude, in 1993.
 
After graduating from Harvard, Barzun joined the fledgling CNET as the company’s fourth employee. He spent the next decade rising up through the growing Internet business. In 1995 he was promoted to Vice President of Software Services, where he led the acquisition of the Virtual Software Library, a library of downloadable software. He was in charge of launching CNET’s Download.com service, and he became senior vice president in 1998.
 
The following year he married his wife, Brooke Brown, and in 2000, he was promoted again, to chief strategy officer. He remained at CNET until 2004, when he left to start his own consulting company, Brickpath LLC, which advises Internet media companies.
 
That same year Barzun helped raise money for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.
 
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barzun joined Obama’s National Finance Committee. He raised more than half a million dollars for Obama, according to OpenSecrets.org, and he donated $4,600 of his own money. He also contributed $25,000 to Obama’s inauguration fund. Barzun and his family contributed more than $290,000 to political campaigns and groups during the 2008 election cycle.
 
Barzun has served on the boards of many non-profits with a focus on education (the Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, Louisville Public Media, and Teach Kentucky); public policy (the Kentucky Long Term Policy Research Center, and The Greater Louisville Project) and interfaith relations (Center for Interfaith Relations).
 
Barzun and his wife have three children.
 
Official Biography (State Department)

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Overview

Located in northern Europe on the Scandinavian Peninsula, Sweden became a unified Christian nation in the 11th century after the arrival of the Vikings. During the next several centuries, Sweden either fought with or created alliances with its neighboring countries: Norway, Finland and Denmark. In the Napoleonic Wars, which lasted from 1799 to 1815, Sweden was forced to give up territory and unite with Norway to protect itself from outside aggression. In 1905, this alliance was peacefully dissolved, and Sweden became neutral. Following its Industrial Revolution, there was a shift from village-based to private, farm-based agriculture. However, this economic system could not keep up with the demands of its growing population, so guild monopolies were abolished in order to allow a free market economy to flourish. In both World Wars, Sweden remained neutral, using its status to benefit from trade with warring nations. After World War II, Sweden’s prime minister was murdered, giving rise to a period of instability. An accompanying economic crisis, elevated bankruptcy, and unemployment created further problems. Sweden has since managed to recover from that period, entering the European Union in 1995, but has kept its own currency, the Krona. The 9/11 attacks and the 2003 Iraq War led to some conflict between the United States and Sweden, including the December 2001 rendition of an Egyptian citizen back to Egypt while on Swedish soil at the request of the U.S. Another recent controversial issue was the imprisonment of a Swedish citizen by U.S. personnel in Iraq.

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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: Located in northern Europe on the Scandinavian Peninsula, Sweden stretches 977 miles from its northern border above the Arctic Circle to its southernmost region of Skåne. From east to west, it averages 200 to 250 miles across. The country is composed of flat farmlands in the south, rocky and hilly countryside in the center, and forested mountains in the north. Located in the same latitudes as Alaska, Sweden has 9,600 lakes which cover a tenth of its territory, and has about 50 billion trees blanketing half the country.

 
Population:  9,366,092 (Swedish government, May 31, 2010)
 
Religions: Church of Sweden 77%, Muslim 4.9%, other Protestant (Pentecostal, Missionary Church, Evangelical, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormon) 4.4%, Catholic 1.5%, Orthodox Christian 1.2%, Buddhist 0.2%, Hindu 0.1%, Jewish 0.1%. Religious observance is in decline across Christian faiths, and estimates of atheism in the adult population range from 10% to as high as 46%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Swedish, Finnish, Sami, Yugoslavian, Danish, Norwegian, Greek, Turkish, Iraqi
 
Languages: Swedish (official) 86.7%, Finnish 2.2%, Scanian 0.9%, Tornedalen Finnish (spoken by Finnish-Swedes) 0.8%, Jamtska 0.3%, Romani (Kalo Finnish, Tavringer, Vlax) 0.3%, Saami (Lule, North, Pite, South, Ume) 0.07%, Dalecarlian 0.02%
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History

Archeological evidence shows that Sweden was settled as early as 5000 BC. Prehistoric rock engravings of elk, reindeer, bears, and seals indicate that the country’s early culture centered around hunting and fishing. Carvings from 2300-500 BC reveal images of agriculture, ships, domesticated animals, and home life.

 
In the 7th and 8th centuries, the Swedes were merchant seamen trading with neighboring countries. By the 9th century, the Vikings (who were of Nordic descent) ravaged their way across Europe, looting and pillaging.
 
In the 11th century, Sweden became a unified Christian kingdom, which later included Finland. In 1397, the Kalmar Union gave Queen Margaret of Denmark control of all the Nordic island nations. However, this created tension between the Swedes and the Danes in the 15th century. The union eventually dissolved, with Norway and Denmark on one side, and Sweden and Finland on the other. Gustav Vasa fought for independence during this time, breaking with the Catholic Church and establishing the Reformation. Soon after, Vasa was elected regent and ruled as the King of Sweden from 1523 to 1560.
 
In the 17th century, Sweden-Finland emerged as a more powerful country, having defeated Denmark, Russia, and Poland in various wars. By 1658, Sweden ruled several provinces in Denmark and Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and northern Germany.
 
In 1700, Russia, Saxony-Poland, and Denmark-Norway joined to attack the Swedish-Finnish Empire. Swedish King Karl XII (also known as Charles XII) was successful in early battles, but made a costly mistake in 1718 when he decided to attack Moscow in order to force Russia into peace. Following his death in battle, Sweden’s reign as a great power ended.
 
During the Napoleonic Wars, Sweden was forced to cede Finland to Russia. In 1810, the Swedish king’s adopted heir, French Marshal Bernadotte, was elected crown prince as Karl Johan. Bernadotte joined his forces with the allies against Napoleon.
 
The Congress of Vienna compensated Sweden for its lost territory in Germany by merging its crown with that of Norway. Though the merger was not always easy, Norway eventually entered into a strategic union with Sweden, but retained its own constitution and Parliament. The Sweden-Norway union was peacefully dissolved at Norway’s request in 1905.
 
During the Industrial Revolution, Sweden’s economy, which had been built around village-based agriculture, shifted to private, farm-based agriculture. However, this shift could not keep pace with the growing population and, as a result, approximately one million Swedes emigrated to the United States between 1850 and 1890.
 
In the 19th century, guild monopolies were abolished so that free enterprise could flourish. Sweden also adopted modernizing influences such as taxation laws, voting reforms and a national military service. During this time, the country’s three major political parties, the Social Democratic, Liberal and Conservative Parties, were created.
 
Sweden remained neutral during World War I, benefiting from the need for steel, ball bearings, wood pulp, and matches by the warring powers. After the war, Sweden prospered and laid many of the foundations for the country’s social welfare system.
 
During the 1930s, Sweden shifted its focus to foreign policy concerns, such as the expansion of Russia and Germany. The Swedes tried to create a Nordic defense union in the region, which ultimately did not come together. During World War II, Sweden again remained neutral, and remains non-aligned to this day.
 
On February 28, 1986, Prime Minister Olof Palme was murdered, creating a period of instability in the government. Christer Pettersson was found guilty in 1988, but released on appeal the following year because the evidence was not strong enough. Since then, many theories have surfaced, although the case remains unresolved.
 
During the early 1990s, the country suffered through an economic crisis, with high unemployment and bankruptcy rates.
 
On January 1, 1995, Sweden became a member of the European Union, and in 2003, the country held a referendum on entering the European Monetary Union. The Swedish people rejected this measure, and no new referendum has been planned.
 
In 1996, Social Democrat Göran Persson became Prime Minister of a minority government. His position was supported by former communists and by the Green and Left parties in 1998. In that year, Persson’s government began to greatly reduce the military budget. The Social Democrats stayed in power until September 2006.
 
The Lutheran Church enjoyed State-Church ties until 2000, by which time a growing population of Swedes were not Lutheran. As a result, on the first of the year, the Church of Sweden (also known as the Lutheran Church) ceased to be the official church of Sweden.
 
Mijailo Mijailović, a Swedish Serb stabbed Anna Lindh, the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, on September 10, 2003, at a department store. Lindh died the following morning despite an initial display of recovery. Mijailović pleaded guilty and claimed that he was suffering from a mental illness when he stabbed Lindh.
 
Following the partial meltdown at the US’s Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, Sweden held a referendum in 1979 deciding to end construction of nuclear plants and phase-out nuclear power by 2010. Since then, Sweden has decided to rely on hydroelectricity as an energy source. However, in light of growing energy problems, the Swedish government decided to repeal the 30-year-old nuclear phase-out policy. On February 5, 2009, the government agreed to replace the existing nuclear reactors with new ones, beginning on January 1, 2011. .
 
History of Sweden (Wikipedia)
Sweden: History (Smorgasbord)
History of Sweden (History World)
The Virtual Jewish History Tour (by Rebecca Weiner, Jewish Virtual Library)
Timeline: Sweden (BBC News)
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Sweden's Newspapers

Dagens Nyheter (Swedish)

Expressen (Swedish)
Dagen (Swedish)
Stockholm News (English)
Sydsvenskan (Swedish)
The Local (English)
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History of U.S. Relations with Sweden

In 1638, a Swedish merchant company founded the official colony of New Sweden in Delaware. The Dutch overran the colony in 1655, followed by the English a few years later, but nevertheless, an enclave of Swedish-speaking people survived in the Delaware valley until the 19th century.

 
American Swedes continued to play a role in America, participating in the Revolutionary War and electing John Hanson as the first president of Congress from 1781 to 1782.
 
Massive immigration started in 1840, as Swedes flooded American shores in search of economic opportunities. More than 1.2 million Swedes immigrated between 1851 and 1930; this exodus represented nearly 25% of Sweden’s total population at the time. The largest wave of 475,000 Swedes came between 1880 and 1893. Early Swedish immigrants traveled with their families, and were largely agrarian, while later arrivals tended to be single individuals who settled in cities. California claims the largest Swedish-American population, followed by Minnesota, Illinois, Washington, and Michigan.
 
Relations between Sweden and the United States were established in 1782 when Benjamin Franklin was also accredited to France. Though he did not journey to Stockholm, he negotiated the Treaty of Amity and Commerce with Sweden, which was signed in 1783.
 
During the Vietnam War, as an ally of North Vietnam, Sweden and its prime minister at the time, Olof Palme, expressed great discontent with U.S. foreign policy. This difficult period of relations was strained further with Sweden granting asylum to Americans soldiers who refused to participate in the war. In response, the US recalled its Ambassador to Sweden in February 1968 and subsequently left the spot vacant for two years.
 
At the end of 1972, US-Swedish relations were frozen for one year. After Palme’s assassination in 1986, relations improved and the new Prime Minister, Ingvar Carlsson became the first Swedish leader to be invited to the White House in 26 years.
 
In 1988, both countries celebrated the 350th anniversary of the first Swedish settlement in the United States.
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Current U.S. Relations with Sweden

Actors and Entertainment:

Kirsten Dunst: A successful actress, model, and singer, Dunst won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in her 1994 film Interview with the Vampire, but is best known for her role as Mary Jane Watson in the Spider-Man trilogy. She was born in Point Pleasant, New Jersey to a Swedish mother and German father.
Melanie Griffith: The actress is an Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner for her work in Working Girl (1988). She was born in New York City to a half-Swedish mother.
Jake Gyllenhaal: He pursues a career as an actor and is best known for his roles in Jarhead (2005) and Brokeback Mountain (2005). Born in Los Angeles, Gyllenhaal embraces his mother’s Jewish identity, but his great-great-grandfather on his paternal side was a Swedish native.
Scarlett Johansson: The singer-actress has been nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for Manny & Lo (1996), Hollywood Reporter Young Star Award in 1998 for The Horse Whisperer, and four Golden Globe Awards for Match Point (2005), A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004), Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003), and Lost in Translation (2003). She was born in New York City to a father who is part Swedish and a Jewish mother.
Michelle Pfeiffer: As an actress, Pfeiffer was nominated for an Academy Award three times for Love Field (1992), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), and Dangerous Liaisons (1988); and won a Golden Globe Award for The Fabulous Baker Boys. She was born in Santa Ana, California to a mother of Swiss and Swedish descent.
Mark Wahlberg: Wahlberg is an Academy Award-nominated actor for The Departed (2006), rapper, and TV and film producer. He is of Swedish descent on his father’s side.
Greta Garbo: The Swedish-born actress moved to California in late 1925 to star in the MGM production The Torrent. She was nominated for four Academy Awards and is best known of her role in Ninotchka (1939).
Gloria Swanson: The actress was famous for her role in Sunset Boulevard (1950). She was born to a father of Swedish ancestry.
Warner Oland: Born in Nyby, Sweden, Oland moved to the US in 1892. He is best known for his role as the Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan.
Ann Margaret: The actress, singer, and dancer won five Golden Globe Awards and was nominated for two Academy Awards, two Grammy Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and six Emmy Awards. She was born in Stockholm, Sweden and moved to the Chicago in 1946.
Kris Kristofferson: Kristofferson is a writer, singer-songwriter, actor, and musician. He was born in Brownsville, Texas, but his family on his father’s side,isfrom Nås in Dalarna (County), Sweden.
Larry Hagman: He was born in Fort Worth, Texas and became an actor, producer, and director. He is famous for his roles in Dallas and I Dream of Jeannie. His great-grandparents were Swedish.
Steven Soderbergh: He is an Academy Award-winning film director for Traffic (2000). He also directed the Ocean’s Eleven remake series.He was born in Atlanta, Georgia to parents of Swedish ancestry. When his family moved to the US, their surname changed from Söderberg to Soderbergh.
Quincy Jones: Jones is a composer, music and film producer, and author. His mother was a Swedish model and moved to Sweden in 1973, when he was four years old. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
Peggy Lee: Born in Jamestown, North Dakota, Lee became a singer, songwriter, actress, and composer. Her grandparents were Swedish and Norwegian immigrants.
Grace Slick: She was a singer-songwriter with the Jefferson Airplane. Slick was born in Evanston, Illinois to a Norwegian-Swedish father.
 
Writers:
Jack Anderson: He was a columnist and won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 1972. He is considered one of the fathers of investigative journalism. Anderson was born in Long Beach, California to a Mormon family of Swedish-Danish ancestry.
Ray Bradbury: Bradbury is a science-fiction author known for works such as Fahrenheit 451. He was born in Waukegan, Illinois to a mother who was a Swedish immigrant.
Carl Sandburg: He was a writer and editor who won three Pulitzer Prizes. He was born in Galesburg, Illinois to Swedish immigrant parents.
 
Science and Engineering:
Clarence (Kelly) Johnson: He was among the most respected aircraft designers. He worked for Lockheed and contributed to the P-38 Lighter used in World War II and the F-80 Shooting Star, the first successful U.S. jet fighter. Many of his aircraft designs won the Collier Trophy. He was born in Ishpeming, Michigan to Swedish immigrant parents from Malmö.
Glenn T. Seaborg: Seaborg won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1951 for his discoveries with transuranium elements, one which was named after him. He was born in Lafayette, California to Swedish parents. His mother was born in Grängesberg, Sweden and his father’s parents were born in Sweden.
John Ericsson: Ericsson was an inventor and mechanical engineer. He is known for working on the ironclad ship USS Monitor during the American Civil War. He was born in 1803 in Långbanshyttan, Värmland, Sweden.
 
Business:
Walter Hoving: He headed Tiffany and Company from 1955 to 1980. He was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1897 and moved to the US in 1903.
J. Erik Johnsson: He is best known as the co-founder and former president of Texas Instruments, but also was the mayor of Dallas and a philanthropist. Johnsson was born in Brooklyn, New York to Swedish-born parents.
John Nordstrom: Born in Alvik-Ale, he was a co-founder of the Nordstrom department stores. He moved to the US in 1887.
Eric Wickman: Wickman is known for founding Greyhounds Lines. He was born in Vämhus, Sweden and moved to the US in 1905, changing his name from Martis Jerk to Eric Carl Wickman.
Eli Lilly: Amongst many occupations, Lilly is known for founding the Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical corporation. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the third generation born in the US. His great-grandparents had Swedish links, but moved to Maryland in 1789 from France. Charles R. Walgreen: The businessman is known for founding the Walgreens drugstore chain. He was born in Galesburg Knox County, Illinois to Swedish parents who immigrated to the US. His father changed the surname from ‘Olofsson’ to ‘Walgreen’.
 
Politics:
John Anderson: He was a former Congressman and a Presidential candidate from Illinois. His father was a Swedish immigrant.
Mamie Eisenhower: She was the first lady of the US from 1953 to 1961 and was married to President Dwight D. Eisenhower. She was born in Boone, Iowa, but her maternal grandfather was born in Sweden.
William Rehnquist: He served as the 16th Chief Justice of the US. Rehnquist was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but his paternal grandparents were born in Sweden.
Earl Warren: He served as the 14th Chief Justice of the US and was the Governor of California from 1943 to 1953. Warren was born in Los Angeles, California to a Swedish immigrant mother.
 
Sports:
Walter Johnson: Nicknamed “The Big Train”, Johnson was known for his success as a pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1907 to 1927. He was born in Humboldt, Kansas in 1887 to Swedish immigrant parents.
Greg Louganis: Louganis is an Olympic-winning diver (1984 and 1988). He was born to parents of Samoan and part-Swedish ancestry and given up for adoption.
 
Other:
Charles Lindbergh: Lindbergh is known as the aviator who piloted the first solo non-stop flight across the Atlantic in 1927. He was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father was born in Sweden.
Buzz Aldrin: He is a mechanical engineer and was a US Air Force pilot and an astronaut on Apollo 11 (second man on the moon). He was born in Glen Ridge, New Jersey in 1930, but had ancestors from Värmland, Sweden.
Joe Hill: Born in Gävle, Sweden, Hill was a labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies). He moved to the US in 1902 at the age of 23.
 
 
Relations between the U.S. and Sweden are strong and close. The U.S. has been supportive of Sweden’s entry into NATO, and cooperates with Sweden on matters of global security and freedom. The presence of nearly 14 million Americans of Swedish heritage helps to encourage a warm relationship between the two countries.
 
An illustration of the importance the Swedish government attaches to Swedish-U.S. relations is House of Sweden, the new embassy building along the Potomac River in Washington, DC, which opened in 2006. The embassy’s network in the U.S. includes the Consulates General in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and 28 other cities. There is also the Export Trade Council and Invest in Sweden Agency in the U.S. 
 
Trade is the most pivotal aspect to the U.S.-Sweden relationship. The U.S. is Sweden’s largest export market, absorbing approximately 11% of its total exports. The U.S. is also one of the largest investors in Sweden. Combined, more than 1,000 U.S. companies employ about 100,000 employees in Sweden.
 
All of the large Swedish international companies such as Ericsson, Volvo Truck (including Mack), Electrolux, and the security company, Securitas, are represented in the U.S. The U.S. is the third largest recipient of Swedish investments abroad. Swedish-owned enterprises employ more than 200,000 people in the U.S. The Swedish premium car manufacturer Volvo (owned by Ford Motor Company) has been very successful with its SUV and other models with American car buyers.  
 
In the U.S. Census of 2000, 3,998,310 people identified themselves as being of Swedish ancestry.
 
In 2003, 349,000 Americans visited Sweden, as opposed to 328,000 in 2002.
 
In 2008, 397,017 Swedes visited the U.S., but this number decreased 18% in 2009 which was met with 324,417 Swedish tourists.
 
On February 18, 2010, the Swedish Embassy began a website (www.sagastory.blogspot.com) to allow Swedish and American people to post stories about environmental sustainability in the two countries.
 
Swedish-U.S. Relations (Embassy of Sweden, U.S.)
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Where Does the Money Flow

The US exported a total of $4.6 billion worth of goods while importing $8.2 billion worth of goods in 2009.

 
The largest US exports to Sweden are household items ($618 million), “pharmaceutical preparations” ($561 million), “semiconductors” ($ 290 million), and “civilian aircraft, engines, equipment, and parts” ($ 257 million.
 
The largest U.S. imports from Sweden are “medicinal, dental and pharmaceutical preparations” ($1.34 billion), “passenger cars, new and used” ($ 761 million), “other scientific, medical and hospital equipment” ($ 445 million), “telecommunications equipment” ($ 431 million), and “alcoholic beverages, except wine and related products” ($ 430 million).
 
A large increase in the export of metallurgical grade coal was documented from $32,159,000 in 2005 to $67,478,000 in 2009. Similarly, nuclear fuel materials augmented from $3,581,000 in 2005 to $93,745,000 in 2009. Export of semiconductors rose from $104,961,000 in 2005 to $289,610,000 in 2009. Export of nuclear fuel materials, metallurgical grade coal, and semiconductors increased to meet demands for Sweden’s hydroelectricity and nuclear power energy program.
 
US imports of feedstuff and food grains decreased from $28,407,000 in 2005 to $3,969,000 in 2009. Similarly, fuel oil imports decreased from $273,230,000 in 2005 to $11,641,000 in 2009. “Lumber and wood in the rough” imports also declined from $209,224,000 in 2005 to $36,965,000 in 2009. Import of engines and engine parts decreased from $251,413,000 in 2005 to $78,115,000 in 2009. Lumber and wood imports declined due to the economic initiatives and sustainability efforts. The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) stated that US tropical lumber imports dropped about 50% between 2008 and 2009. The decline in US imports of engines and engine parts is a result of downturn of the US auto industry.
 
The U.S. does not give foreign aid to Sweden.
 
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Controversies

Swedish Citizen Detained by U.S. in Iraq

In December 2008, Sweden urged the US to prosecute or release a Swedish citizen being held in Iraq. The detainee had been held since May, without moving towards due process. The U.S. interpreted the United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the Iraq mission to detain anyone believed to pose a security threat. Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Amelie Heinsjo said the U.S. needs to either charge the citizen, or give him a defense counsel.
Sweden Urges Due Process for Iraq Detainee (International Business News)
 
Sweden Changes Its Stance on Renditions
In December 2001, Swedish police handed over two Egyptian nationals, Ahmed Hussein Agaiza and Mohammed Ibrahim al-Zari, to agents from the United States, who rendered the men back to their home country for further investigation for terrorism.
 
The two were asylum seekers and Egyptian fugitives. Agaiza was also on Egypt’s most wanted list. They were both charged for participating in banned groups.
 
The two were lawfully free in Sweden and were waiting for a decision on their request for asylum in December 2001. However, it is believed that after the September 11, the US “expressed concern” about the two men.
 
Although the Swedish government was promised that the two would not be tortured or suffer the death penalty, both men were tortured when they returned to Egypt by having electrical charges attached to their genitals. In April 2004, Agiza was charged with terrorism and given 25 years in prison. On the other hand, al-Zari was released, but is reportedly under surveillance.
 
Public outrage was so heated that Sweden’s security police promised to never again allow foreign agents to have control over intelligence operations on Sweden’s soil. The UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) stated that Sweden’s actions violated the global torture ban and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The UNHRC suggested that European countries needed to conduct thorough investigations regarding “European complicity in illegal US renditions.”
 
Ahmed Agiza (Wikiwatch)
U.S. Treatment of Terror Suspects and U.S.-EU Relations (by Mary Crane, Council on Foreign Relations)
New Swedish Documents Illuminate CIA Action (by Craig Whitlock, Washington Post
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Human Rights

According to the State Department, “Reported human rights problems included isolated incidents of excessive force by police, prison overcrowding and lengthy pretrial detention, government surveillance and interference, incidents of anti-Semitic and anti-Islamic discrimination and civil disturbances, abuse of women and children, and trafficking in persons.”

 
Prison and Detention Center Conditions
Sweden usually abided by international standards, however, overcrowding and lengthy pretrial detention remain problematic.
 
The Swedish Prison and Probation Service stated that about 40% of pretrial detainees were isolated for long periods of time and were unable to access mail or exercise.
 
Similar charges were made by the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture who sent a delegation for 10 days to evaluate Sweden’s prisons.
 
Sweden does not hold political prisoners.
 
Freedom of Speech and Press
The government prohibited certain types of expressions considered to be hate speech. The law on hate speech prohibits threats or expressions of contempt for a group or member of a group based on race, color, national or ethnic origin, religious belief, or sexual orientation. Penalties ranged from fines to up to four years in prison.
 
The media reported that individuals associated with the openly Nazi organization “National Socialist Front Party” perpetrated numerous discriminatory acts involving violence and harassment. The reports included cases of assault and hate speech, unauthorized demonstrations, illegal distribution of posters, illegal possession of weapons, and disorderly conduct.
 
On August 17, an article in Aftonbladet, “cited a Palestinian sources alleging that Israeli troops harvested organs from Palestinian prisoners for sale on international markets.” Although the Israeli government asked its Swedish counterparts to condemn the article, the Swedish government considered tha affair a matter of freedom of speech that was protected by the Swedish constitution and did not condemn or force the newspaper to repeal its article.
 
Freedom of speech and press was also enforced with regards to the Internet.
 
Societal Abuses and Discrimination
The law prohibits discrimination based on race, gender, disability, language, or social status. Although the government effectively enforced these laws, violence against women and children, trafficking in persons, and discrimination against resident foreigners, Roma, and homosexuals remained areas in need of improvement.
 
There were isolated incidents of societal violence and discrimination against homosexuals. The ombudsman against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation registered 47 reported cases during 2008, the same as in 2007. Moreover, the ombudsman began six new discrimination investigations, two less than the year before. There were no reports of discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS.
 
In 2008, there were 159 reported cases of anti-Semitic crime, an increase from 41 from the previous year while there were 272 reported cases of Islamophobic crimes, up from 66 in 2007.
 
The National Council for Crime Prevention published its 2008 study on hate crimes. The Council stated that the most common religious offences are illegal threats and “agitation against an ethnic group.”
 
Trafficking in Persons
Although the law disallows trafficking, statistics suggest that about 400-600 women are trafficked annually.
 
There were reports that persons were trafficked to, through, and within the country. The country continued to be a transit point and a destination, for trafficked women and children. Victims came primarily from Romania, Nigeria, Albania, Tanzania, Thailand, Estonia, and Russia. Trafficking of persons is prohibited and is punished by two to ten years in prison for those convicted. In 2008, police reported ten cases of trafficking for sexual purposes. There is a special ambassador assigned to this issue who works on building international anti-trafficking efforts.
 
Minority Rights
Longstanding tensions between Sami and the government over land and natural resources persisted, as did tensions between Sami and private landowners over reindeer grazing rights. However, the Swedish government supports and protects the national minority.
 
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Benjamin Franklin

Appointment: Sep 28, 1782
Note: Also accredited to France; did not proceed to Stockholm, but negotiated a treaty with Sweden which was signed at Paris, Apr 3, 1783.
 
Jonathan Russell
Appointment: Jan 18, 1814
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 29, 1818
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 22, 1818
Note: An earlier nomination of May 29, 1813 had been rejected by the Senate. Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Christopher Hughes, Jr.
Appointment: Jan 21, 1819
Presentation of Credentials: [see note below]
Termination of Mission: Presented recall about Jul 5, 1825
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm. No report has been found concerning Hughes’ presentation of credentials as Chargé d’Affaires en titre; he had been serving at Stockholm as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim since Oct 1818.
 
William C. Somerville
Appointment: Mar 9, 1825
Note: Did not proceed to post.
 
John James Appleton
Appointment: May 2, 1826
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 28, 1826
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Aug 16, 1830
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Christopher Hughes
Appointment: Mar 3, 1830
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 16, 1830
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 22, 1841
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
George W. Lay
Appointment: May 12, 1842
Presentation of Credentials: 2-Oct 4, 1842
Termination of Mission: Presented recall on or shortly before Oct 11, 1845
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Henry W. Ellsworth
Appointment: Apr 19, 1845
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 11, 1845
Termination of Mission: Relieved by Consul, Jan 25, 1861
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 28, 1845. Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Francis Schroeder
Appointment: Nov 7, 1849
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 22, 1850
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Minister Resident
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Feb 19,1850. Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
Francis Schroeder
Appointment: Jun 29, 1854
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 19, 1854
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 17, 1857
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
B.F. Angel
Appointment: Jul 17, 1857
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 4, 1857
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 25, 1861
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 14, 1858. Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Jacob S. Haldeman
Appointment: Mar 16, 1861
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 25, 1861
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Sep 24, 1864
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
James H. Campbell
Appointment: May 18, 1864
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 24, 1864
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Mar 29, 1867
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
John McGinnis, Jr.
Appointment: Nov 16, 1866
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate. Did not proceed to post his nomination having been rejected by the Senate while he was en route.
 
Joseph J. Bartlett
Appointment: Mar 19, 1867
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 4, 1867
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jul 24, 1869
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
John S. Carlile
Note: Not commissioned; nomination first confirmed and then reconsidered by the Senate, with no final action taken.
 
C.C. Andrews
Appointment: Jun 3, 1869
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 24, 1869
Termination of Mission: Superseded, Nov 5, 1877
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Mar 15, 1870.
 
John L. Stevens
Appointment: Aug 28, 1877
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 5, 1877
Termination of Mission: Relinquished charge, Jun 3, 1883
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm. Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Nov 12, 1877.
 
William W. Thomas, Jr.
Appointment: Jun 6, 1883
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 6, 1883
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Jun 30, 1885
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 12, 1883. Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Rufus Magee
Appointment: Apr 2, 1885
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 3, 1885
Termination of Mission: Promoted to Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
Rufus Magee
Appointment: Aug 10, 1888
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 26, 1888
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 25, 1889
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
William W. Thomas, Jr.
Appointment: Mar 19, 1889
Presentation of Credentials: May 27, 1889
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 2, 1894
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Thomas W. Ferguson
Appointment: Feb 14, 1894
Presentation of Credentials: May 2, 1894
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Feb 7, 1888
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
William W. Thomas, Jr.
Appointment: Dec 18, 1898
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 8, 1898
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, May 31, 1905
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm.
 
Charles H. Graves
Appointment: Mar 8, 1905
Presentation of Credentials: May 31, 1905
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 12, 1913
Note: Served at the court of Sweden and Norway; resident at Stockholm. See also Norway.
 
Ira Nelson Morris
Appointment: Jul 13, 1914
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 28, 1914
Termination of Mission: Presented recall, Apr 3, 1923
 
Robert Woods Bliss
Appointment: Jan 30, 1923
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 8, 1923
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 15, 1927
 
Leland Harrison
Appointment: Feb 26, 1927
Presentation of Credentials: May 31, 1927
Termination of Mission: Left post Nov 11, 1929
 
John Motley Morehead
Appointment: Jan 22, 1930
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 31, 1930
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 6, 1933
 
Laurence A. Steinhardt
Appointment: May 11, 1933
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 28, 1933
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 26, 1937
 
Fred Morris Dearing
Appointment: Apr 22, 1937
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 23, 1937
Termination of Mission: Appointment terminated, Jun 17, 1938
 
Frederick A. Sterling
Appointment: Jun 16, 1938
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 26, 1938
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 14, 1941
 
Herschel V. Johnson
Appointment: Oct 21, 1941
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 12, 1941
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 28, 1946
 
Louis G. Dreyfus, Jr.
Appointment: Aug 1, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 3, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 6, 1947
 
H. Freeman Matthews
Appointment: Jul 21, 1947
Note: Took oath of office, but did not proceed to post in this capacity.
H. Freeman Matthews
Appointment: Sep 20, 1947
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 5, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post May 24, 1950
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Dec 9, 1947.
 
W. Walton Butterworth
Appointment: Jul 5, 1950
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 18, 1950
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 9, 1953
 
John M. Cabot
Appointment: Mar 1, 1954
Presentation of Credentials: May 6, 1954
Termination of Mission: Left Sweden, May 14, 1957
 
Francis White
Appointment: Jun 3, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 17, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left Sweden, Dec 9, 1958
 
James C.H. Bonbright
Appointment: Oct 29, 1958
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 9, 1959
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 20, 1961
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 29, 1959.
 
J. Graham Parsons
Appointment: Mar 15, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: May 16, 1961
Termination of Mission: Left Sweden, Apr 17, 1967
 
William W. Heath
Appointment: Apr 5, 1967
Presentation of Credentials: May 23, 1967
Termination of Mission: Left post Jan 23, 1969
 
Jerome H. Holland
Appointment: Feb 16, 1970
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 14, 1970
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 30, 1972
 
Note: Arthur J. Olsen served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, Dec 1972-May 1974.
 
Robert Strausz-Hupe
Appointment: Apr 25, 1974
Presentation of Credentials: May 29, 1974
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 3, 1976
 
David S. Smith
Appointment: Apr 6, 1976
Presentation of Credentials: May 7, 1976
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 29, 1977
 
Rodney O’Gliasain Kennedy-Minott 
Appointment: Aug 3, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 29, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post Sep 26, 1980
 
Note: William C. Hamilton served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim, Sep 1980-Oct 1981.
 
Franklin S. Forsberg
Appointment: Dec 11, 1981
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 14, 1982
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 12, 1985
 
Gregory J. Newell
Appointment: Dec 9, 1985
Presentation of Credentials: Dec 19, 1985
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 12, 1989
 
Charles Edgar Redman
Appointment: May 12, 1989
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 13, 1989
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 24, 1992
 
Note: The following served as Chargé d’Affaires ad interim: Michael Klosson (Aug 1992-Jul 1993) and Gregory L. Johnson (Jul 1993-Mar 1994).
 
Nicolas Miklos Salgo
Note: Nomination of Jun 16, 1992 was not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Thomas L. Siebert
Appointment: Feb 9, 1994
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 24, 1994
Termination of Mission: Dec 17, 1997
 
Lyndon Lowell Olson, Jr.
Appointment: Nov 10, 1997
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 22, 1998
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 1, 2001
 
Charles A. Heimbold, Jr.
Appointment: Aug 3, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: Sept 26, 2001
Termination of Mission: Left post Feb 12, 2004
 
Miles T. Bivins
Appointment: May 25, 2004
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 9, 2004
Termination of Mission: Left post, January 31, 2006
 
Michael Wood
Appointment: May 30, 2006
Presentation of Credentials: June 8, 2006
Termination of Mission: Jan 2009
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Sweden's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Lyrvall, Björn

 

Björn Lyrvall, a career foreign service officer, presented his credentials as Sweden’s ambassador to the United States to President Barack Obama on September 17, 2013. It’s the first posting as chief of mission for Lyrvall.

 

Lyrvall was born in Hofors, Sweden in 1960. During high school, he spent a year as an exchange in rural Pennsylvania. He graduated from Stockholm University with a degree in political science, Eastern European affairs and Russian.

 

Lyrvall started working for Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1985. He was posted to the Soviet Union early in his career, serving as a vice consul in Leningrad and working for Sweden’s trade council on Soviet issues. He was also stationed at the embassies in Moscow and London.

 

In the mid-to late 1990s, Lyrvall spent much of his time on the Balkans. From 1995 to 1997, he was special advisor to Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt, in his role as EU negotiator and International High Representative in Bosnia and Hercegovina. In 1999, Lyrvall was named United Nations special envoy on the Balkans.

 

Lyrvall went to the European Union in Brussels in 2002, first as Sweden’s delegate to the enlargement negotiations, and then in 2003 as Sweden’s ambassador to the EU Political and Security Committee, remaining in that post until 2007.

 

He returned to Stockholm to serve as director general for political affairs in the foreign ministry. He remained in that post until being sent to Washington.

 

Lyrvall’s wife, Madeleine Andersson Lyrvall, has also worked in Sweden’s foreign ministry. They have three children.

-Steve Straehley

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

SACC-USA Welcomes Swedish Ambassador Björn Lyrvall (Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce Currents)

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Sweden's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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U.S. Ambassador to Sweden

Brezinski, Mark
ambassador-image

Attorney and lobbyist Mark Brzezinski was nominated on September 6, 2011, by President Barack Obama to be the next U.S. ambassador to Sweden, replacing Matthew Barzun, who was one of Obama’s biggest campaign bundlers during the 2008 presidential campaign. Brzezinski was confirmed by the Senate on October 18.

 
Born in 1965, Brzezinski is the son of Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser. His sister, Mika Brzezinski, is a host on MSNBC. His brother, Ian Brzezinski, served in the administration of President George W. Bush and was an advisor to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
 
Brzezinski graduated from Dartmouth College in 1987 with a Bachelor of Arts in government, earned a JD from the University of Virginia Law School in 1991, and holds a DPhil in political science from Oxford University. He also earned a Fulbright Scholarship to study the Polish Constitutional Court.
 
From 1996 to 1999, he was a corporate and securities associate at Hogan & Hartson LLP in Washington, DC.
 
Brzezinski served in the Clinton administration for the next two years as a director of Russian/Eurasian, and later Southeast European, affairs for the National Security Council at the White House. In that capacity, he was White House coordinator for U.S. democracy and rule of law assistance programs for the region.
 
Brzezinski has been a partner at the firm McGuireWoods LLP, managing the international law practice in the firm’s Washington office. His legal work has focused on regulatory and legal compliance pertaining to sanctions, Export Administration Regulations and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the development of corporate internal compliance programs.
 
Between 2002 and 2007, he was an active lobbyist for McGuireWoods, representing clients such as Smithfield Foods and Gannon International.
 
In the spring of 2005, he served as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School for International Affairs.
 
He has donated more than $16,000 to politicians and political committees since 1999, most of which has gone to Democrats.
 
During the 2008 presidential race, Brzezinski served as a foreign policy advisor to Obama. Since his inauguration, Brzezinski has written numerous newspaper opinion pieces supporting Obama’s policies, in particular those relating to how U.S. businesses should deal with corrupt regimes abroad.
 
Brzezinski is the author of The Struggle for Constitutionalism in Poland(2000). He has been married twice, in 1991 to attorney Carolyn Campbell and in 2008 to Natalia Lopatniuk. He is fluent in Polish and knows some French.
 
Professional Profile (Oxford Analytica) (pdf)
Biography (McGuireWoods LLP)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Sweden

Barzun, Matthew
ambassador-image

What Matthew W. Barzun lacks in terms of diplomatic experience, or knowledge about Sweden, he makes up with having supported President Barack Obama’s election—to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The former CNET executive was one of Obama’s key bundlers, helping to funnel at least $500,000 towards the campaign. He was sworn in as U.S. ambassador to Sweden August 12, 2009.

 
Born on October 23, 1970, in New York City, Barzun grew up in Lincoln, Massachusetts, and attended the St. Paul’s School private academy in New Hampshire. He went to college at Harvard, during which he spent a summer internship working in the office of U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts). He received his bachelor’s degree in history and literature, magna cum laude, in 1993.
 
After graduating from Harvard, Barzun joined the fledgling CNET as the company’s fourth employee. He spent the next decade rising up through the growing Internet business. In 1995 he was promoted to Vice President of Software Services, where he led the acquisition of the Virtual Software Library, a library of downloadable software. He was in charge of launching CNET’s Download.com service, and he became senior vice president in 1998.
 
The following year he married his wife, Brooke Brown, and in 2000, he was promoted again, to chief strategy officer. He remained at CNET until 2004, when he left to start his own consulting company, Brickpath LLC, which advises Internet media companies.
 
That same year Barzun helped raise money for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid.
 
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barzun joined Obama’s National Finance Committee. He raised more than half a million dollars for Obama, according to OpenSecrets.org, and he donated $4,600 of his own money. He also contributed $25,000 to Obama’s inauguration fund. Barzun and his family contributed more than $290,000 to political campaigns and groups during the 2008 election cycle.
 
Barzun has served on the boards of many non-profits with a focus on education (the Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, Louisville Public Media, and Teach Kentucky); public policy (the Kentucky Long Term Policy Research Center, and The Greater Louisville Project) and interfaith relations (Center for Interfaith Relations).
 
Barzun and his wife have three children.
 
Official Biography (State Department)

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