Policy Profile Sweden

Introduction

Sweden is a member state of the European Union and is therefore required to implement all EU directives, laws, regulations and policies, including those related to heritage and culture.

Sweden and the EU

The EU maintains a Delegation to Stockholm to foster cooperation with the country and the Government of Sweden maintains a Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels. 

National Cultural Policy in Sweden

The Ministry of Culture (Kulturdepartementet) is responsible for the arts, cultural heritage, media, national minorities, civil society, and democracy. It prepares government bills concerning these areas, and co-ordinates government agencies.

The Swedish National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet) is a government agency reporting to the Ministry of Culture. It serves as Sweden’s central administrative agency in the area of cultural heritage and historic environments. Its assignment includes ensuring that the cultural value of buildings and landscapes is preserved and utilised, and watching over the interests of the cultural heritage in community planning and construction. Since 2017, the National Heritage Board also has responsibility for coordinating and developing museums and museum policy.

The Ministry of Climate and Entreprise (Klimat- och näringslivs­­departementet) also addresses environmental issues that intersect with cultural heritage preservation, such as the impact of environmental policies on historical sites and landscapes. It also deals with sustainable development policies that include cultural dimensions.

Several other governmental authorities play crucial roles, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, the National Board of Housing, Building and Planning, the National Board of Agriculture, the Swedish Forestry Agency, the Swedish Transport Administration, and the National Property Board. The National Property Board, for instance, manages state-owned listed historic buildings.

Regional and Decentralised Policies in Sweden

On the regional level, County Administrative Boards (Länstyrelser) are responsible for issues relating to the cultural environment. It is they who decide on matters related to the National Heritage Act (Swedish Code of Statutes 1988:950) within their regions, and who are responsible for ensuring that protection of the cultural environment is taken into account in regional planning and development. The county administrative boards also allocate state funds for the restoration of historic buildings, ancient monuments, and historic landscapes within their regions. Together with the County Administrative Boards, regional museums work to protect cultural heritage.

View all Sweden policies gathered so far

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* = This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence

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