King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden have now concluded a three-day state visit to Indonesia that started on Monday, 22 May. The royal couple were joined by Sweden’s Minister for Infrastructure, Anna Johansson as well as a business delegation.
The delegations from both countries hope to strengthen the political, economic and cultural ties between them.
The state visit began on Monday when the King and Queen were welcomed by the President of Indonesia, Joko Wildodo and his wife, Iriana Widodo at a ceremony held at the Bogor Presidential Palace. The Bogor Palace is one of six presidential palaces in Indonesia. Since 1745, it has served as the principal residence and summer residence of governor generals and presidents. It is currently the presidential couple’s main home.
The official delegation was introduced after the national anthems and a salute.
The King of Sweden and President of Indonesia then had a private meeting before they joined a meeting between the Swedish and Indonesian delegations. The meeting is said to have focused on trade between the two countries and sustainability.
The King said, “This visit is an expression of our strong commitment to strengthening cooperation between our countries. The cooperation is based on common fundamental values such as democracy, freedom and tolerance.
“Indonesia and Sweden have a common interest in increasing exchanges in education and research. Cooperation in these areas will be beneficial for both parties, and I look forward to discussing the current and possible future exchanges.”
The delegations then attended a state banquet in the Bogor Presidential Palace.
His Majesty also spoke during the dinner saying, “It is with great pleasure that the Queen and I have begun our visit to Indonesia. This is a historic state visit, the very first between our two nations. Over the coming days, I hope that we will lay the foundations for even stronger relations for many years to come.”
He continued to talk about the great economic connections between the two countries saying, “Swedish businesses have a long history in Indonesia. Today, Swedish companies here employ about 200,000 people, and back at home, in Sweden, we have the privilege of welcoming a small but growing number of Indonesian students to our universities.”
Later on in the day, the King and Queen, alongside the delegations from Sweden and Indonesia, participated in a seminar about forests and sustainability at the International Center For Forestry Reach, CIFOR.
The delegations were welcomed by the Director General of CIFOR, Peter Holmgren. CIFOR is a non-profit institution that conducts research into the challenges facing the forests and is based in the Indonesian city of Bogor. Their main work is in forest preservation and management. Sweden is one of the institutions four founding members.
During the seminar, members of the academia, industry, and public sector from both Sweden and Indonesia exchanged their experiences and views with sustainable forestry.
The royal visit’s first day ended with a reception at the Swedish Embassy for Swedes living in Indonesia.
The second day of the royal state visit began with a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument to National Heroes at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery; the Heroes Cemetery is a military cemetery built in 1954. It covers 8000 graves; the majority of these belong to Indonesian soldiers who died during the country’s war of independence from 1945 to 1949.
The King’s visit then continued with the conclusion of the Hackathon. The Hackathon is a way to generate solutions and ideas to problems facing the country. Students from four major Indonesian universities were divided into eight teams. They then developed a concept for a Jakarta Smart City to improve the traffic. King Carl XVI Gustaf, alongside Swedish Infrastructure Minister Anna Johansson, representatives from companies, and Indonesian government members attended the presentations.
While this was happening, the Queen visited the Jakarta Creative Hub. The Hub was launched at the start of March and aims to create a place for creatively minded people to share ideas and concepts in design, fashion and textiles. The Hub also has space for startup companies and charges no or very little rent.
During the tour, the Queen Silvia met young apprentices and creators to hear about the Hub’s different areas of activity. The Queen spoke hoped that the visit to the Hub would promote further cooperation between the countries in term of research and entrepreneurship.
Later on in the day, the King and the Swedish Infrastructure Minister visited Jakarta’s Tanjung Priok port, which is Indonesia’s biggest port. The delegation got to see firsthand how Swedish tech is used to ensure that the harbour runs smoothly.
At the same time, Queen Silvia visited a neighbourhood library in Manggarai. She met young people from the Indonesian Youth Network on Violence Against Children. The organisation works with children to give them basic life skills and to encourage further education.
Her Majesty then took part in discussions with policy makers from Indonesia and Sweden, as well as youth representatives from Indonesia. They discussed ways in which the two countries can help to stop violence against children. Queen Silvia is passionate about ending violence and abuse against children.
The Queen said, “The library in Manggarai is very small, but let me assure you: there is nothing small about the dreams and aspirations of children and young people I met there today. It was a very inspiring visit – a visit that I will long remember. But it also reminded me of the challenges many children face today.”
The day concluded with the King and Queen’s reception at the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski. Among the guests were representatives from both Swedish and Indonesian government and business leaders, as well as academic figures.
The final day of the state visit concluded in Bandung, Indonesia’s second largest urban area with 8.5 million residents. The city serves as a centre for technology, research and innovation. Additionally, it is known for its fashion and creative industries.
While travelling to the city via train, the royal couple and the delegation were given a presentation on Indonesia’s economic and political outlooks.
Java is famous for its iconic rice terraces – a farming technique developed in Indonesia. During the train ride, the delegation passed these iconic rice terraces.
Upon reaching the city, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia were welcomed by Mayor Ridwan Kamil who held a lunch at the official mayoral residence.
They then went on to visit the Institute of Technology Bandung; it is one of Indonesia’s leading education institutions with other 20,000 students.
The royal couple and Minister Anna Johansson then met members of Alumni Swedia, which is an alumni association for Indonesian students who have studied in Sweden.
Next, they attended a seminar on the Triple Helix Model. The Swedish Triple Helix Model promotes research and innovation by encouraging cooperation between the government, academia and industry. This is said to be one of the reasons for why Sweden is one of the world’s most innovative nations. There is keen interest in Indonesia and this model. The day in Bandung marked the end of the Swedish royal visit.
It is clear that the aims of the state visit have been achieved. The representatives from Sweden and Indonesia made great strides forward in boosting the political, economic and cultural relations between the two. The two countries shared much knowledge on environmental sustainability, trade, and industry.