Does Sweden have a national anthem, and what are the lyrics to the country’s song?

4 June 2021, 16:49

Does Sweden have a national anthem, and what are the lyrics to the country’s song?
Does Sweden have a national anthem, and what are the lyrics to the country’s song? Picture: Getty / IMSLP

By Sian Moore

The Swedish ‘national anthem’ isn’t just reserved for stadiums and sporting events. It is also heard across the country during parties and festivities.

‘Du gamla, du fria’ has become Sweden’s de facto national anthem, and is heard at most major events for the country.

But Sweden is actually one of the few countries without its own official national anthem.

The song, which translates as ‘Thou ancient, Thou free’, gained popularity at the end of the 1800s. More than a century later, in 1938, a radio station started featuring it at the end of transmissions.

And so, the start of its de facto status began.

In the year 2000, the country’s governing body, the Riksdag, turned down a proposal to give the song official status, deeming it “unnecessary” as the people had already established it as the country’s anthem.

For the committee, letting the people rather than the political system dictate the national anthem felt like the right approach.

Read more: What are the lyrics to the German national anthem, and did they change after World War II?

The original lyrics were penned by Swedish lyricist Richard Dybeck in 1844, and set to a variation of the melody from the old Swedish ballad ‘Kärestans död’.

So, what are the lyrics? And how do they translate in English?

What are the lyrics to Sweden’s national anthem in English?

Thou ancient, Thou free, Thou mountainous north
Thou quiet, Thou joyful [and] fair!
I greet thee, loveliest land upon earth,
Thy sun, Thy sky, Thy climes green.

Thou thronest on memories of great olden days,
When honoured Thy name flew across the earth,
I know that Thou art and wilt remain what thou werest,
Yes, I want to live, I want to die in the North.

What are the lyrics to Sweden’s national anthem?

Du gamla, Du fria, Du fjällhöga nord
Du tysta, Du glädjerika sköna!
Jag hälsar Dig, vänaste land uppå jord,
Din sol, Din himmel, Dina ängder gröna.

Du tronar på minnen från fornstora dar,
då ärat Ditt namn flög över jorden.
Jag vet att Du är och förblir vad du var.
Ja, jag vill leva jag vill dö i Norden.