(Det talade ordet gäller)
Kära vänner, Chers amis, Dear Friends!
I am delighted to be back in Paris and France – this time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Swedish Institute in Paris.
50 years ago, when the Institute first opened its doors, it was my father, His Majesty the King, when he was still a crown prince, who inaugurated the Centre Culturel Suédois – the only Swedish cultural institute of its kind in the world.
As a representative of a family with French heritage, I take extra pleasure in visiting France and Paris. I have warm memories from actually staying at the Swedish Institute during my internship at the Swedish Export Council in Paris, as well as from different visits at this magnificent cultural centre.
As you all know, it was here in Paris, in 1895, that Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament, by which he created the Nobel prizes. That makes me think of something that the Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich said in her speech at the Nobel banquet in 2015, and that I find highly relevant for this occasion. She said:
“The purpose of art is to accumulate the human within the human being.”
The human within the human being. Indeed.
I am a firm believer in arts and culture as a bridge between people, and as a reminder of all that unites us on a profound human level. That is why venues such as the Swedish Institute are so important.
Since 1971, the Institute has been an important meeting point for Swedish and French culture. Through the years, many artists, actors, writers, musicians, dancers, architects, designers and researchers have met here and created new friendly relations between our countries.
Not to mention all the students of the Swedish language, the directors and the collaborators of the Swedish institute – all contributing to strengthen the bonds between our two nations, Sweden and France.
This celebration is dedicated to Amitié, friendship. I look forward to reading this beautiful Amitié book and to continuing our friendship for many years to come.
Vive l’amitié entre la Suède et la France !