The Almedalen Week (Almedalsveckan, sometimes also called Politikerveckan i Almedalen) is an annual event taking place in week 27 in and around Almedalen, a park in the city of Visby on the Swedish island Gotland.
With speeches, seminars and other political activities, it is considered to be the most important forum in Swedish politics. During the week, representatives from the major political parties in Sweden take turns to make speeches in Almedalen. Almost 3,400 activities were scheduled in 2014 and about 700 journalists were accredited with around 25 000 participants and 50 000 visitors.
The origin of the Almedalen Week is the speeches made by Olof Palme every summer in Almedalen in Visby, beginning in 1968. The first official Almedalen Week took place in 1982, when the Social Democrats started to organise economic seminars. As a response, the other political parties started to take a more active part.
In recent years, the event has grown larger, with hordes of journalists, lobbyists, local and national politicians and representatives of non-governmental organisations all coming to Visby to meet, discuss politics and socialize.
Almedalen Week visitor Dennis Kucinich commented:
When you see the kind of internecine conflict that happens in the United States— the partisan divide, the dichotomous thinking, the separation from each other—there is a different thing happening here in Sweden at Almedalen, which is a sense of a common bond as citizens with a common purpose for the nation. And people come together here. And the thing that impresses me is how quickly on the street you can get into the deepest discussions that have consequence. And so, that’s why—you know, having been here only for two days, I’ve had a chance to meet people from every level of society, decision makers as well as citizens, and there’s a sense that things matter in these kind of discussions, which are direct, relatively low-key, nonconfrontational, matter-of-fact. And behind it is— what animates it is a sense of commitment to each other and to the nation.
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- "Almedalen Week: At Sweden’s One-of-a-Kind Festival, All Political Parties Gather in One Place". Democracy Now!. 2014-07-02. Retrieved 2014-07-03.
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