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King Carl XVI Gustaf unveils new bust of poet August Strindberg

On Wednesday of this week, His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden unveiled a brand new bust depicting the Swedish poet August Strindberg in the Bernadotte Library at the Royal Palace. Her Majesty Queen Silvia also attended the ceremony.

The Librarian of the Bernadotte Library at the Royal Palace, Arvid Jakobsson welcomed the guests before Erik Höök, Museum Director at the Strindberg Museum, gave a lecture about Strindberg and his work in the Bernadotte Library.

The portrait bust is a gift to the Bernadotte library from Karl-Magnus Fredriksson. At the event, Karl-Magnus Fredriksson told about the sculpture and his work with it. During the ceremony, he also performed three songs together with pianist, Mattias Böhm.

Before unveiling the new bust, His Majesty addressed those in attendance. His Majesty said: “In recent years, the Bernadotte Library has begun to be used more and more, for example, for seminars and various meetings. Nowadays, we have many hundred visitors here every year in addition to the special shows that are sometimes organised. It is a positive development, I think, that we can have an open and living palace!”

Photo of August Strindberg. Photo: Herman Anderson via Wikimedia Commons.

The King ended the ceremony with the well-chosen words: “I hope this bust will serve as a reminder to all our visitors; both about the library’s exciting history and about the rich Swedish heritage that it is part of.”

Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. Strindberg’s career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over sixty plays and more than thirty works of fiction, an autobiography, as well as many works of history, cultural analysis, and politics. His book “The Red Room” has frequently been described as the first modern Swedish novel.

His play “The Outlaw” opened at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm in 1871. Despite hostile reviews, the play earned him an audience with King Charles XV, who supported his studies with a payment of 200 riksdaler. His death in 1912 was a great loss for Sweden. The funeral procession was followed by groups of students, workers, and members of Parliament, and it was estimated that up to 60,000 people lined the streets.

The reigning King Gustaf V sent a wreath for the funeral.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.