You are here

Sweden

(last updated: March 2017)

The Kingdom of Sweden re-recognised the Republic of Estonia on 27 August 1991and was the first country to appoint its ambassador to Estonia. Swedish Ambassador Lars Arne Grundberg commenced his assignment in Tallinn on 29 August 1991. Sweden's current ambassador, Anders Ljunggren, presented his credential to the President of the Republic on 17 September 2013. Since 30 January 2015 the Estonian Ambassador to Sweden is Merle Pajula.

Estonia also has eight honorary consuls in Sweden: Lars-Åke Brännström in Karlstad, Lars Johan Söderström in Malmö, Lars Werner in Karlskrona, Harriet Lagebo Eskilstuna,  Lars-Eric Boreström in Gothenburg, Riina Mai Noodapera in Gotland, Jan Erling Lennart Gunnesson in Halmstad, and Michael Albin Xaver Pääbo in Norrköping. Sweden has two honorary consuls in Estonia – Ahti Puur in Narva and Madis Kanarbik in Tartu.

Bilateral relations

Estonian-Swedish bilateral relations have traditionally been very good and close in the areas of economic affairs, defence and culture. Openness, mutual understanding, trust and goodwill characterise these relations.
Sweden was  one of Estonia’s biggest supporters in its integration process with the EU. Development co-operation projects with Sweden have primarily taken place through the projects of the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), the Council of the Baltic Sea States, or the EU. The  focus has mainly been on new democracies like Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Armenia.
Defence co-operation between the two countries has been good in the areas of counselling, logistics, training, and the environment. An arms purchase agreement that outlines the co-operation format and procedures and foresees the creation of a working group was signed on 10 August 2010. Close co-operation is also conducted in the framework of the European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).
As nations located on the Baltic Sea, Estonia and Sweden also co-operate in the environmental protection and rescue sectors. A general security agreement for the protection of classified information, a co-operation agreement for emergency prevention, preparedness and response, and a sea and air search and rescue (SAR) co-operation agreement have been concluded between the two countries.
In the XIII Parliament  the chairman for the Estonian-Swedish parliamentary group is Valdo Randpere and the  deputy chairman is Yoko Alender.

Visits

To Sweden
February 2017 Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
January 2017 President Kersti Kaljulaid
October 2016 Prime Minister  Taavi Rõivas
October 2015 Minister of Defence Hannes Hanso
June 2015 Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus
May 2015 Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas
November 2014 Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus
June 2014 Minister of Defence Sven Mikser
May 2014 Prime Minister  Taavi Rõivas
January 2013 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves
January 2013 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet
January 2012 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a working visit
February 2011 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet
January 2011 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on a state visit
November 2010 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet
September 2009 President Toomas Hendrik Ilves at the Baltic Sea Region Strategy ministers’ meeting
June 2009 Prime Minister Andrus Ansip

 

To Estonia
October 2016 Minister for EU Affairs and trade Ann Linde
May 2016 Minister of Defence Peter Hultqvist at the Lennart Meri Conference
October 2014 Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel
October 2014 Prime Minister Stefan Löfven
October 2014 Foreign Minister Margot Wallström
January 2013 Foreign Minister Frederik Reinfeldt
May 2012 Foreign Minister Carl Bildt at the Lennart Meri Conference
June 2011 Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt at a working visit
May 2011 Foreign Minister Carl Bildt at the Lennart Meri Conference
March 2010 EU Minister Birgitta Ohlsson
March 2009 Foreign Minister Carl Bildt
June 2008 Minister of European Union Affairs Cecilia Malmström
November 2007 Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt at the Baltic Sea Development Forum
February 2007 Speaker Per Westerberg
November 2006 Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt
February 2006 Minister of Foreign Affairs Laila Freivalds

 

In April 1992, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia visited Estonia. This was the first royal visit to the restored Republic of Estonia. In May 2002, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia paid a private visit to Estonia In October 2016 Queen Silvia paid a visit to at the University of Tartu 375.th anniversary celebrations and in October 2014 Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel visited Estonia to tighten the cultural, economic and environmental relationships between the two countries.

Agreements

After accession to the European Union, Estonia’s free trade agreements with EU member states were terminated. The economic relations are governed by the regulations of the EU's internal market.

All the important bilateral economic agreements have been signed:

  • Agreement on the Promotion and Mutual Protection of Investments (came into force 20.05.1992);
  • Agreement on the Organizing of International Highway Transportation of Passengers and Goods (came into force 30.07.1992);
  • Agreement on Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters (came into force 30.10.1993);
  • Agreement on Rendering Medical Aid to Temporary Visitors (came into force 01.11.1993);
  • Aviation Agreement (came into force 30.11.1993);
  • Convention on the Avoidance of Double Taxation of Income and Capital and on the Prevention of Tax Evasion (came into force 31.12.1993);
  • Co-operation agreement in the field of maritime and air search and rescue (came into force 06.03.2007).

Economic relations

TRADE

Sweden is  one of  the most important trade partners for Estonia.
The trade turnover between the two countries has consistently been 3,2 – 3,4 billion euros for the past five years, putting Sweden on second place among Estonia’s trade partners. In 2016, the trade turnover was 3,2 billion euros that represents 12,8% of Estonia’s total trade.
The trade balance is positive for Estonia as in the recent years the exports have exceeded imports. During the last five years Sweden have remained the biggest export partner with 2,2 billion euros that represents 18% of the total exports. The imports from Sweden reached 1,1 billion euros (9,6% of total imports) that makes it the 5th largest importer to Estonia.

Estonian – Swedish trade 

Estonian – Swedish trade (in billions of EUR)

Year Export Percentage % Import Percentage % Balance Turnover Percentage %
2012 2,0 16,0 1,4 10,2 0,6 3,4 12,9
2013 2,1 16,8 1,2 8,5 1,0 3,3 13,3
2014 2,2 18,0 1,2 8,7 1,0 3,4 14,1
2015 2,2 18,8 1,1 8,5 1,1 3,3 13,3
2016 2,1 17,9 1,1 8,3 1,0 3,2 12,8

Main articles of export in 2016 (percentage of exports):

• Machinery and mechanical equipment – 52 %
• Industrial products – 9,8%
Wood and wood products –  9,6%

Main articles of import in 2016 (percentage of imports):

• Machinery and mechanical equipment –  30%
• Transportation vehicles – 27,7%
• Metals and metal products – 9.5%
All economic figures originate from the Statistical Office of Estonia

All economic figures originate from the Statistical Office of Estonia

INVESTMENTS

Over the last 20 years, Sweden has been    the biggest foreign investor in Estonia. According to Bank of Estonia, the  share of Swedish investments in Estonia is 26% of all foreign investments made in Estonia (as of 30.09.2016 it totaks).
Direct investments from Sweden are primarily made in financial and insurance sector (65%) and processing industry (11%) and information and communication sector (8% of investments).
Estonian investments in Sweden (1,4% of all direct investments abroad) are mainly in processing industry (35%), real estate (15%) and financial and insurance sector (13%).

At the beginning of 2016  there were  over 1800  enterprises with Swedish  ownership (partial or whole) registered in Estonia. The biggest companies are  AS Eesti Telekom, AS Kunda Nordic Cement, Arco Vara AS, AS If Eesti Insurance, Rimi Eesti Food AS, AS Norma, and AS Põltsamaa Felix. Swedish investors are drawn to Estonia first and foremost for its qualified, motivated and productive work force and an economic environment that is flexible and open to innovation and change.

TOURISM

Estonia is a  attractive destination for Swedish tourists thanks to proximity, historical and cultural ties, nature, and quality spa services. In terms of the number of foreign tourist coming into Estonia, the Swedish rank in fifth place (3,6% of all foreign tourists) after the Finns, Russians, Germans and Latvians.
After slight decline over last 4 years, the number of tourists from Sweden have grown 5% in 2016. Last year 74 000 swedish tourists were accommodated in Estonia.

Cultural relations

Cultural relations between Estonia and Sweden have always been close because of geographical proximity and well-integrated Estonian community in Sweden.
One of the prominent events for Estonian music in Sweden is the Baltic Sea festival, organized by Swedish Radio in Berwaldhallen in Stockholm - in 2015 the symphonies of Arvo Pärt were performed and conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste, this year Paavo Järvi will conduct the orchestra.
Since 2004 Paul Mägi has been artistic director and conductor of the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra, he has helped to introduce Estonian music in Uppsala as well as organized the orchestra’s concerts in Estonia.
Estonian printing houses as well as writers traditionally participate in annual Gothenburg’s book fair, in 2016 writer Maarja Kangro participated.
In May 2016 first-time exhibition of Estonian designs “Size doesn’t matter” was opened in Stockholm Design Gallery. In 2017 an exhibition of fashion illustrators opened in Swedish Textile Museum in Borås, Estonia is represented by Marju Tammik, Anu Samarüütel, Britt Samson and Kätlin Kaljuvee.
Several Estonian films have been screened in Sweden during last couple of years, like “Clementines”, “1944”, “In the Crosswind” and “The Fencer”.

Estonians in Sweden

While pre-World War II only a few hundred Estonians lived in Sweden, Estonians fleeing the war in 1943-1944 increased the number to some 20 000 after the war. With the birth of new generations in the 1950s and 1960s this figure rose to 30 000. About 7 000 coastal Swedes, who lived on the Estonian islands and on the west coast, fled from Estonia to Sweden.
Presently, more than 10 000 Estonians live in Sweden, with the majority of them living in and around bigger towns.

1994 marked the 50th anniversary of the arrival the thousands of Estonian refugees to Sweden. As a highlight of the year a monument – named a Gate of Freedom – was erected to present gratitude towards the people of Sweden. The monument was blessed and inaugurated on October 7th 1994 and the opening ceremony was also attended by His Majesty, King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Due to a lack of descendants, graves being neglected and other similar reasons, an important topic during the past few years has been the reinterment of famous Estonians to Estonian soil.

So the remains of exiled politicians Jüri Uluots, August Warma amd August Rei and poets Marie Under and Artur Adson among other have been brought back to Estonia and reburied in local cemeteries.
From the post-war years onward, the Estonian community have successfully integrated into the Swedish community. The Estonian community also worked actively to preserve its national heritage and to raise awareness about Estonia through its many associations, societies and unions (the Estonian Committee, the Union of Estonians in Sweden, the Estonian Culture Society etc). During the peak period, some 400-500 Estonian organisations had been active in Sweden, todayapproximately 100 are still active . Also, many Estonian language periodicals are published – as the newspaper Eesti Päevaleht and the journal Rahvuslik Kontakt. In Stockholm, there’s an Estonian nursery school and an Estonian primary school (grades 1-9) with about 200 pupils.
Estonian Houses function as important centres for preserving and developing the Estonian heritage in Sweden.
 

About Estonia

Get closer acquainted with Estonia, coming here for a visit, studies, business or investments!

Official Estonian Gateway

Get closer acquainted with Estonia and see what are the most important facts and main areas of activity here.

Digital Society

Estonia has
transformed itself into
one of Europe’s business success stories of the last decade, mainly thanks to the sophisticated e-solutions available here.