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Images of Sweden

Sweden’s international image as a bastion of progressive politics faces scrutiny in light of recent developments. We delve into the evolution of Sweden’s global perception, from the era of the “open your hearts” campaign to the present day, seeking a deeper understanding of the nation’s position on the world stage.

This seminar, the fifth in a series exploring Sweden’s image, delves into the evolving perception of Sweden in the global arena. Recent shifts, including the rise of a nationalist party, an increase in violent crime, and a NATO membership application, have sparked concerns about the nation’s reputation. We examine how this image has transformed over time, with a focus on contemporary challenges to Sweden’s identity as a champion of political reason and progressive values. Our exploration provides valuable insights into Sweden’s current place in international politics.


Sofia Bard

Head of unit, Image of Sweden, The Swedish Institute

Anna von Bayern

Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Coty Inc.

Elisabeth Braw

Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute

Per Enerud

Author and former Media Counselor at the Embassy of Sweden in Moscow Psychology Defence Agency

Nils Erik Forsgård

Director, Think tank Magma

Johan Hakelius

Political Editor-in-Chief, Fokus Magazine

Fraser Nelson

Editor, The Spectator

Svante Nordin

Professor Emeritus of History of Ideas, Lund University

Nathan Shachar

Foreign Affairs Correspondent

Richard Swartz

Journalist and Writer, Vienna

Lars Trägårdh

Professor of History, Uppsala University

Mikael Wiberg

Professor of Informatics, Umeå University