In the darkest months of the year, it has become tradition that the Swedish Embassy in The Netherlands, together with Buurtschap Centrum 2005, Denneweg & Museum Escher in Het Paleis donate a Christmas Tree to the city of The Hague and the people in The Netherlands as a token of the excellent Swedish-Dutch relations.
The tradition of a Swedish Christmas Tree in The Hague dates back to 1957 according to some. This has been difficult to proof, but we know that well over twenty years in a row, the Swedish Embassy and partners together donate a big Christmas Tree that is placed in front of Escher in Het Paleis. It is also a cherished tradition to light the Christmas lights in the tree during a Lucia-celebration.
The Christmas tree is the centrepiece in most Swedish homes, which also are decorated with advent lights and stars in the windows. On Christmas eve, children dance and sing traditional songs around the tree before gathering for a festive meal.
But Christmas starts already on Lucia. In the early morning of the 13 December, Lucia songs are sung and saffronbuns are handed out in many homes, schools and offices.
In 2023, we have made a special addition to this tradition. This year, for the first time in its modern history, Ukraine will celebrate Christmas on December 25, instead of following the Russian orthodox tradition. To show our unwavering support for Ukraine, the Swedish Christmas Tree will feature a Ukrainian Christmas ornament, handed over by the Ukrainian ambassador Karasevych during the Lighting Ceremony. This Christmas hanger is symbolizing the resilience of the people of Ukraine.
Forests cover 70% of Sweden’s surface. Wood is part of all moments of life and contributes to people’s well-being. The use of wood is also deeply rooted in Swedish culture, having inspired many artists, writers and craftsmen through the centuries.
Forests are a renewable and living resource. In Sweden it is mandatory to plant at least two new trees for each tree that is taken down. As a result, Sweden’s forests continue to increase in size, even though Sweden is a major supplier of wood products. This Christmas tree comes from responsibly managed forests and will be taken care of in a responsible way.
Sweden was the first country in the world to pass an environmental protection act in 1967, Sweden also hosted the first UN conference on the global environment in 1972. The Swedish green model means integrating business and sustainability. Innovations comprise safeguarding our environment.