Nationaldagen: Sweden’s national day explained

Mark your calendars because June 6th is the day when Swedes celebrate their country – normally with a sea of blue and yellow flags!

On Sweden's National Day, the Swedes wave flags
Bengt Nyman (CC)

Nationaldagen is significant for some (but not all) Swedes, and seeing the celebrations can be a nice experience for visitors interested in Swedish culture.

The Swedish National Day is not to be confused with Midsummer or Cinnamon Bun Day (both important events for Swedes!), but it does offer a fun opportunity to learn about Swedish history, traditions and values.

And let’s not forget that the weather in June is normally great too, giving a nice excuse to get outside and meet some happy Swedes.

But why care about this holiday in the first place? For starters, National Day can be a great chance to immerse yourself in some unique cultural traditions. 

But perhaps more importantly, it can be a time to celebrate the values that make Sweden such a special place. 

Why is there a national day in Sweden?

Nationaldagen commemorates the adoption of a new constitution in 1809, which transformed Sweden into a constitutional monarchy. 

It also marks the election of Gustav Vasa as King of Sweden in 1523. This was a significant step for consolidating the country’s status as an independent state. 

Sweden's National Day is on June 6th
Bengt Nyman (CC)

For many years, National Day was celebrated as ‘flag day,’ a time for Swedes to show their national pride by hoisting the blue and yellow flag outside their homes and businesses.

However, it wasn’t until 2005 that National Day became an official public holiday in Sweden.

When is Sweden’s national day?

Sweden’s national day is always celebrated on June 6th. Here are the dates for the next three years of celebrations:

2023Tuesday, June 6th
2024Thursday, June 6th
2025Friday, June 6th

Although National Day is always on June 6th, the day of the week changes from year to year. Swedes will typically get to take the day off if it falls on a weekday, but if it falls on a weekend, they don’t get an extra day off.

What happens on Nationaldagen?

So, Nationaldagen must be a big deal, right? Well, for some, yes! But for most, not really.

Sweden's National Day used to be called Flag day.
Bengt Nyman (CC)

Don’t get us wrong, Nationaldagen is an important day for Swedes. However, it doesn’t have quite the same level of hype as Midsummer, which also takes place in June. 

(For more on the Midsummer celebrations in Sweden, see our guide.)

Still, if you’re lucky enough to be in Sweden on June 6th, you might come across some special celebrations.

What kind of special celebrations take place, you ask? Many cities across the country raise the Swedish flag in a ceremony. 

You might hear also the country’s anthem being sung. Here are the opening lines, which roughly translate as: “Thou old, Thou free, Thou mountainous north
Thou quiet, Thou joyful and fair”.

Du gamla, Du fria, Du fjällhöga nord. Du tysta, Du glädjerika sköna!

Swedish national anthem

If you’re in Stockholm or one of the larger Swedish cities, you might be able to catch a parade or a concert in one of the local parks.

The Swedish royal family visit Skansen on National Day
The Swedish royal family at Skansen / Bengt Nyman (CC)

What about the royals? Well, at least some members of the Swedish royal family usually take part in a ceremony held at Skansen, which is Stockholm’s open-air museum. To join the celebrations at Skansen on National Day, buy tickets here.

Of course, the Swedish flags are displayed all around the Royal Palace in Stockholm as well.

There have been many traditions throughout the years, including releasing balloons. However, concerns over the environmental impact of the balloons have led to the practice being banned.

What do Swedes eat on National Day?

You may be wondering what kind of delicious Swedish delicacies are traditionally served up.

Well, here’s the thing: unlike at Midsummer, Christmas or Easter, there aren’t really any specific dishes that are a must-eat on 6th June. 

This could be because the day only became a proper holiday in 2005, so there hasn’t been much time to develop any specific food traditions around it.

But don’t worry, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of delicious food to be enjoyed!

Classic Swedish dishes like meatballs and pickled herring still get wheeled out. And in recent years, more modern takes on Swedish cuisine have been popping up too. 

How to get involved

If you plan to visit Sweden during Nationaldagen or just want to know more about how to get involved, we’ve got tips and tricks on how to make the most out of the holiday.

Everyone is welcome to join in public celebrations, and lots of Swedes are happy to chat with you about how things work. 

If you’re not sure where to go, parks are always a good bet for National Day festivities. Many cities have outdoor events and activities in their main parks, so be sure to check out what’s happening near you.


In Stockholm, there are many National Day celebrations throughout the city. But the biggest one takes place at Skansen, with ceremonies, musical performances, and other festivities throughout the day.

Sometimes Swedes dress in traditional clothes on Nation Day
Swedish royals at Skansen on National Day / Bengt Nyman (CC)


In Gothenburg, head down to Slottskogen, a large park in the city centre. Here, you can listen to the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra play as you relax in the greenery. 

The park is bustling with activity on National Day with Swedes chilling on the grass, enjoying picnics and listening to the music.


In Malmö, Folkets Park is the place to be on National Day, with a packed schedule of events starting from 11am. The activities include flag parades, speeches from politicians and a main stage featuring plenty of musical performances.

Whether you’re in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, or any other part of Sweden, you’re sure to find something fun to do on Nationaldagen.

We encourage you to join in with some of the activities to have a truly unique National Day experience!

See also:
A quick guide to Swedish holidays and traditions
Sweden’s summer festivals
What is Sweden famous for?

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