On December 25, 2012, His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden delivered his Christmas speech. Here is a rough translation:
“Dear Swedes at home and abroad!
My family and I want to wish you all a happy Christmas.
We live in a time of rapid change. A time where the pace may seem high. As expectations on us continually seems to grow. And, where information and communication crosses our land and our lives at a rate unparalleled in history. Maybe this is a festival that Christmas is even more important for all of us.
This time of year we get a chance to stop for a moment. We get a chance to socializing and reflection. In our country, Christmas is also a bright spot in the beautiful, but also sometimes, so dark and cold Swedish winter.
I hope that the Christmas light reaches even to you who do not have someone to share Christmas with. As to all of you that this festival has not been available, but work to our country to work.
I am thinking of you who work in health care, elderly care, police, fire department or other parts of the Swedish society. I also think of you as volunteers for other people. Your work means so much to so many. Especially now during the Christmas and New Year.
This fall and winter, the economic turmoil in our world has made itself felt even in Sweden. Behind reports of an economic slowdown are many people who think about the future. Some may risk losing their jobs. Others believe they have difficulty finding a new one. Their challenge is also Sweden. The turbulence in the world economy is one of many expressions of a larger shift. A shift that our whole society is facing.
In our global world, competition. This places new demands on us. Just as when we took the step from agricultural to an industrial society, we have now taken the step to service society and the information society.
This means that we need to equip ourselves with knowledge, new ideas and innovations. All that allows us to stand strong in a changing world. In this challenge, we can also get great inspiration in our own history.
Sweden is a great country. Despite this, we have been able to stand strong. We have demonstrated the value of cooperation, hard work and openness to the world around us. Along with high aspirations for education and welfare, it has allowed us to switch when the change stood at the door. We have been able to emerge from turbulent times.
Sweden has many riches. I am thinking primarily of all people. Women and men. Young and older. New and old Swedes. Each of which contributes to shaping Sweden and our future.
In addition, I think of what we have in terms of natural resources. In addition to our knowledge, research and technological development, these are important to take advantage.
Two of the many places I visited during the year Gällivare and Kiruna. In these and other old mining towns sprouting today optimism. It is invested, new recruits, and made major investments in research and development. It is also gratifying that the mining permit work for many young people.
The mining industry renaissance is just one example of the fact that Sweden has much to offer the world. We as a country both know-how, industry, services and commodities. We have research and innovation. All this provides a good basis to meet tomorrow.
Sweden is the country also good reputation in our business environment. It is something that the Queen and I have often noted during our state visit. One manifestation of this was our trip to South Korea in May this year. During our visit, we saw, as so often, how Sweden and our Swedish company is well seen in the world. Both the country and the people are perceived very positively. And our services and products is something we should be proud of.
Do we take advantage of all of this is Sweden. All this constitutes our opportunities. All that I meet during my travels around the country and look in my meetings with the Swedes, both at home and abroad. Then I am confident that our country will not only have a rich history, but also a promising future.
In this future, we also have an important task. I am thinking of our environment and our climate. We want future generations to be able to breathe fresh air and drink clean water! Then we must find ways of our world. Roads that allows the earth to work again tomorrow.
In 1972, Sweden hosted the UN’s first global environmental conference. This year we were treated to the “Stockholm +40 – Partnership Forum for Sustainable Development”. I participated in the first meeting 40 years ago. This year I inaugurated this reunion.
That much has happened since 1972 was evident at the meeting. At the same time, I think it was clear to all that more must be done. Otherwise we will never deal with this challenge. We will not achieve sustainable development of our oceans, lakes, forests, and ultimately life on Earth.
The meeting provided an opportunity to gather for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio +20, held in Rio de Janeiro in June. Along with the Queen, I participated in this meeting. Later in december were also UN climate summit in Doha.
If the success of these meetings may seem small, it is still important to the world gather in this way. It emphasizes that global challenges require global responses. Therefore, work must continue. More in our world must be persuaded to move from words to action in environmental and climate issues. And in this task, Sweden has a continuing role to play.
Now we will call you soon in 2012. I would therefore like to thank all of you for years past. I want to thank everyone who helps to make Sweden the country it is.
I would also take this opportunity to thank all congratulations to Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel in connection with Princess Estelle came into the world. It is a great event for the whole family, the Queen and me to become grandparents and Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine got her first niece. To Sweden with such love received his new princess warmed us all.
Now, I hope that together we will be sure to make the coming year a good year. A year full of new opportunities. And we are particularly pleased with the Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill for their upcoming wedding.
For me, 2013 is also a bit of an anniversary. Then it’s 40 years since I became Sweden’s king and head of state. I want to celebrate. Therefore, the Queen and I visit every county in the year. We begin in Kalmar in early March. And we hope during these visits get to meet so many of you as possible all around Sweden, which meant so much to us over the years.
With these words, I conclude, and together with my family, to wish all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2013!”