Sweden is a country that holds a very special place in the heart of my family, and for all British people.The Prince of Wales
It has been a great pleasure to be in Stockholm these last two days. Sweden is a country that holds a very special place in the heart of my family, and for all British people. And our expectations about this beautiful city have been more than fully met!
When Catherine and I first planned our visit here, we knew that we wanted to come here to learn. We wanted to find out what it was about Sweden that gave you such an enviable reputation in the world: design, the creative industries, hi-tech manufacturing, social justice, popular culture… the list could go on. What are, we wanted to know, are the magic Swedish ingredients?
Of course, on one visit, we can only touch the surface. But in the past two days, Catherine and I have experienced some of the unique mix of factors that contribute to the Swedish way of life.
The Swedish love of the outdoors – the way you embrace your climate and environment, and are committed to ensuring future generations can do the same. The fact that you do so when it is so cold, is really inspiring. One lesson that we will take home with us is that children are actively encouraged to spend time outdoors, whatever the weather. This is obviously very good for their physical health but, as we learned this morning at the remarkable Karolinska Institute, it has huge benefits for a child’s mental health as well.
In the past two days, Catherine and I have also explored some of the many scientific partnerships between the UK and Sweden that make our lives longer, healthier and more productive. It was a privilege to learn more about how the legacy of Alfred Nobel is used to celebrate the very best of humanity in science and the arts. Our visit to the Karolinska Institute was a particular highlight – a world-class centre of learning, which has developed extraordinary insight into the science underpinning our mental health.
We have learned about the extraordinary contribution Swedish design and fashion has made to the world. I am very pleased we were able to launch a programme that links young architects and designers from our two countries to develop creative ideas for affordable, sustainable, safe housing.
Tomorrow, we are looking forward to meeting representatives of Sweden’s armed forces. There is a Swedish saying that I won't attempt to say in Swedish but which translates in English something like, "It matters to you, too, when a neighbour's wall is on fire." Your security concerns are ours, and it is hugely important that we continue to work ever more closely together to reduce threats.
Great things happen when we work together. Indeed this very special place where we are this evening will bring a great new addition to the London arts scene when it opens a sister museum there later this year.
We have encountered a wonderfully warm welcome. We are particularly grateful for the hospitality of Their Majesties The King and Queen, and of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. We have been very fortunate to have spent much of the past two days in their welcoming company, including at their home in Haga. Thank you for making us feel so welcome. We very much hope we will have the opportunity to repay your generosity in the United Kingdom soon.
Tonight is a celebration of energy, creativity, innovation and engagement in the world – all words we associate with both Britain and Sweden. Above all, tonight is a celebration of friendship. Thank you, all, for joining us.