- Anthem Title: Du gamla, Du fria (Thou ancient, thou free)
- Composer: Swedish folk song (Arrangement by Edvin Kallstenius )
- Lyricist: Richard Dybec
- Year of Completion: 1844 (lyrics)
- Date of Adoption: 1893
Sweden's national anthem is Du gamla, Du fria ("Thou ancient, Thou free"). The original title of the anthem was "Sång till Norden" ("Song to the North").
Richard Dybeck wrote the original lyrics to the anthem in 1844. The original beginning of the song was actually "Du gamla, Du friska" (Thou ancient, Thou hale). However, in the 1850s, Dybeck revamped the lyrics to turn into "Du gamla, Du fria" (Thou ancient, Thou free). Edvin Kallstenius, a Swedish composer, then arranged a melody that was originally from Västmanland. Even if the song was already printed in a handful of songbooks with the "friska" line, a priest that was friend's with Dybeck, told Carl Fredrik Lundqvist, an opera singer that's commonly associated with the anthem, about the lyrical change. From then on, songbooks with the "friska" lyrics weren't printed any longer.
The Swedish constitution doesn't make any mention of an official national anthem for the country, but Du gamla, Du fria is the widely accepted anthem that is used during ceremonial events. It was first recognized as a patriotic song during the 1890s, with its official status as Sweden's anthem being argued until the 1930s. A public radio company in Sweden, Sveriges Radio, started playing the anthem as their closer during the evenings, sparking its default recognition as the country's national anthem.
Even if it was believed that Du gamla, Du fria was adopted as the Swedish national anthem in 1866, no records of it being officially recognized is recorded. However, in 1893, King Oscar II stood up when the song was played, being a de facto recognition for the song. A committee in Riksdag rejected a proposal to finally make Du gamla, Du fria the official anthem of Sweden, dubbing it as "unnecessary". The committee then proclaimed that the song is already recognized by the Swedish to be the country's anthem, and that it is preferable if it remained that way instead.
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