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Du gamla, du fria

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Du gamla, du fria
English: Thou old, Thou free

National anthem of Sweden
Also known asSång till Norden (English: Song to the North)
LyricsRichard Dybeck, 1844
MusicOld Swedish folk music[1] (arranged for orchestra by Edvin Kallstenius, 1933)[2]
Audio sample
U.S. Navy Band instrumental version (two verses)

"Du gamla, du fria" (Swedish pronunciation: [dʉː ˈɡâmːla dʉː ˈfrîːa], English: "Thou old, Thou free") is the de facto national anthem of Sweden. It was originally named "Sång till Norden" (pronounced [ˈsɔŋː tɪl ˈnǔːɖɛn], "Song to the North"), but the incipit has since been adopted as the title.


Although the Swedish constitution makes no mention of a national anthem, "Du gamla, du fria" enjoys universal recognition and is used, for example, at government ceremonies as well as sporting events. It first began to win recognition as a song in the 1890s, and the issue of its status was debated back and forth up until the 1930s. In 1938, the Swedish public service radio company Sveriges Radio started playing it in the evenings at the end of transmission, which marked the beginning of the de facto status as national anthem the song has had since.[3]

Despite the belief that it was adopted as the national anthem in 1866, no such recognition has ever been officially accorded. A kind of official recognition came in 1893, when King Oscar II rose in honor when the song was played. In 2000, a Riksdag committee rejected a proposal to give the song official status as "unnecessary". The committee concluded that the song has been established as the national anthem by the people, not by the political system, and that it is preferable to keep it that way.

The original lyrics were written by Richard Dybeck in 1844, to the melody of a variant of the ballad "Kärestans död" (Death of the beloved). The ballad type is classified as D 280 in The Types of the Scandinavian Medieval Ballad; the variant from Västmanland that Dybeck reproduced is classified as SMB 133 G.[4] It was recorded by Rosa Wretman at the beginning of the 1840s. Dybeck published the traditional text in Folk-lore I, and the melody in 1845 in his Runa, where he also published his new text "Sång till Norden" (Song for/to the North).

Dybeck himself originally wrote the beginning as "Du gamla, du friska" ("Thou old, Thou hale"), but in the late 1850s changed the lyrics to "Du gamla, du fria" ("Thou old, Thou free"). The song was already published in several song books and sung with "Du gamla, du friska", but a priest who had known Dybeck took the opportunity to inform the singer most associated with the song, opera singer Carl Fredrik Lundqvist [sv], about the change in the year 1900. From that point on, printings of the "friska" version ceased to be seen in song books, but a recording from 1905 where it is sung with "friska" still exists.[5] The Swedish composer Edvin Kallstenius made an orchestral arrangement of the song in 1933.[2]

By the early 20th century, many regarded the song unsuitable as a national anthem. From the 1890s, it was included in the "patriotic songs" section of song books, but up to the 1920s it was occasionally published just as "folk music". In 1899, a contest to produce a national anthem was held. It led to Verner von Heidenstam writing "Sverige", but did not lead to a new national anthem.[6]

Patriotic sentiment is notably absent from the text of the original two verses,[dubiousdiscuss] due to their being written in the spirit of Scandinavism popular at the time (Norden in general refers to the Nordic countries in Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish). After the song started to acquire its informal status as the national anthem, various people wrote additional verses to increase the "Swedish-ness" of the song. The aforementioned Lundqvist wrote his own third verse beginning with "Jag älskar dig Sverige" (I love thee, Sweden), Frans Österblom [sv] wrote four verses beginning with "Jag älskar min hembygd" ("I love my native area") and Louise Ahlén wrote two verses in 1910,[citation needed] which however, are not accepted as part of the anthem, and are not normally published or sung.


\new Staff <<
\set Score.tempoHideNote = ##t
\override Score.BarNumber #'transparent = ##t
\clef treble \key bes \major \tempo 4=76
\relative c'' {
  \key bes \major
  \partial 8 d8 |
  d4 bes8 bes bes4 c8 d |
  d4 c8 bes a4 r8 c8 | \break
  c4 a8 bes c a d8. bes16 |
  g2 f4 r8 f8 | \break
  bes4 bes8 c a4 a8 bes |
  g8. f16 g8 a f4 r8
  \repeat volta 2 { f8 | \break % \repeat unfold 2 { f8 | \break
  bes8. a16 bes8 c d bes es d |
  c2 bes4 r8
  } \bar ":|."
\addlyrics {
  Du gam -- la, Du fri -- a, Du fjäll -- hö -- ga nord
  Du tys -- ta, Du gläd -- je -- ri -- ka skö -- na!
  Jag häl -- sar Dig, vä -- nas -- te land __ _ up -- på jord,
  Din sol, Din him -- mel, Di -- na äng -- der grö -- na.
  Din sol, Din him -- mel, Di -- na äng -- der grö -- na.
\addlyrics {
  Du tro -- nar på min -- nen från forn -- sto -- ra da'r,
  då ä -- rat Ditt namn flög ö -- ver jor -- den.
  Jag vet att Du är och Du blir __ _ vad Du var.
  Ja, jag vill le -- va jag vill dö i Nor -- den!
  Ja, jag vill le -- va jag vill dö i Nor -- den!


Swedish original[7] IPA transcription[a] English translation Sámi original[8]

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 da'r,
då ärat Ditt namn flög över jorden.
Jag vet att Du är och Du blir vad Du var.[b]
𝄆 Ja, jag vill leva, jag vill dö i Norden. 𝄇[14]

[dʉː ˈɡâmː.la dʉː ˈfrîː.a dʉː ˈfjɛ̂lː.ˌhøː.ɡa nǔːɖ]
[dʉː ˈtʏ̂sː.ta dʉː ˈɡlɛ̂ːd.jɛ̠.ˌriː.ka ˈɧø̂ː.na]
[jɑː(ɡ) ˈhɛ̂lː.sa‿ɖɛj ˈvɛ̂ː.nas.tɛ̠ lanːd ˈɵ̌p.poː juːɖ]
𝄆 [dɪnː suːl dɪnː ˈhɪ̂m.mɛ̠l ˈdîː.na ˈɛ̂ŋː.dɛ̠r ˈɡrø̂ː.na] 𝄇

[dʉː ˈtrûː.nar poː ˈmɪ̂n.nɛ̠n froːn ˈfûːɳ.ˌʂtuː.ra dɑːr]
[dǒː ˈæ̂ː.rat dɪtː namːn fløːɡ ˈøː.vɛ̠r ˈjǔː.ɖɛ̠n]
[jɑː(ɡ) věːt atː dʉː æːr ɔ(kː) dʉː bliːr vɑː(d) dʉː vɑːr][b]
𝄆 [jɑː jɑː(ɡ) vɪlː ˈlêː.va jɑː(ɡ) vɪlː døː iː ˈnǔː.ɖɛ̠n] 𝄇

You old, you free, you mountainous north
You quiet, you joyful beauty!
I greet you, loveliest land upon Earth,
𝄆 Your sun, your sky, your green landscapes.[15] 𝄇

You are enthroned upon memories of great olden days,
When honoured your name flew across the Earth,
I know that you are and remain what you were,
𝄆 Yes, I want to live, I want to die in Norden. 𝄇

Tån aiteki lanta tu all vari kum,
tån tjappa tån avost tievas ätnam.
Mån ätsav tu fapmokis ruodnis mietsi kum
𝄆 tu almev, tu jaurit, tu änoit. 𝄇

Tu namma li allak tu fapmo vil aj,
tu kudne kitt alme radjai kulloi.
Mån tietav att nåu tat kalka sjaddat aj.
𝄆 Mån sitav viessot, japmet ietjat lunne. 𝄇

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Eva Danielson; Märta Ramsten (30 May 2013). "Du gamla, du friska – från folkvisa till nationalsång". musikverket.se (in Swedish). Svenskt visarkiv / Musikverket. Archived from the original on 26 December 2018. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b Holm, Anna Lena (August 1991). "Edvin Kallstenius". musikverket.se (in Swedish). Musik- och teaterbiblioteket / Musikverket. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Sweden: Du gamla, Du fria". NationalAnthems.me. Archived from the original on 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2011-08-08.
  4. ^ Sveriges Medeltida Ballader, vol. 4:1, pp. 16–17
  5. ^ Collections., University of California, Santa Barbara. Library. Department of Special (2005-11-16). "Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project". cylinders.library.ucsb.edu. Archived from the original on 2017-10-20. Retrieved 2017-06-03.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Reinhammar 2013, p. 152.
  7. ^ Riksdagsförvaltningen. "Sveriges nationalsång Motion 2009/10:K263 av Lennart Sacrédeus (kd) - Riksdagen". www.riksdagen.se (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 2022-03-17. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  8. ^ "Sweden anthem - Saami version [CC]". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2022-10-30. Retrieved 2022-10-30.
  9. ^ "This is why Sweden doesn't have an official national anthem". Classic FM. Archived from the original on 2022-06-29. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  10. ^ Byström, Jakob Jakobsson (1950). Sånger och sångare (in Swedish). B[aptist]-m[issionen]s bokförlag.
  11. ^ "Du gamla du fria - Lyrics, låttext, låttexter - Felsjunget.se". Archived from the original on 2022-05-16. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  12. ^ Jonathan Nilsson (2010-02-11). "Svenska Nationalsången - Du Gamla Du Fria [Med Text]". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2022-03-17. Retrieved 2022-03-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  13. ^ PsychedelicMindGarage (2010-06-06). "Du Gamla Du Fria (Alla 4 verserna Ultima Thule)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2022-03-17. Retrieved 2022-03-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  14. ^ "Nationalsången". Sveriges Kungahus. Archived from the original on 2021-01-14. Retrieved 2020-04-20.
  15. ^ "Sweden national anthem lyrics in English". Classical Music.com. Archived from the original on 25 April 2023. Retrieved 25 April 2023.


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