Today, on Sweden’s national day, I want to reflect on Sweden’s journey towards progress, both in the past and present, and our aspirations for the future, including our relations with Vietnam.

Sweden has been shaped by its unique geography, history, and culture. From the forests to the cities, from the Arctic Circle to the Baltic Sea, from football to music, Sweden has always been a country of contrasts and diversity. We have made significant contributions in various fields, from cutting-edge industries and technologies to music and fashion.

Here are a few lessons we have learned along the way:

First, Sweden has a long tradition of investing in education and research. From the establishment of the first university in Uppsala in 1477 to the many modern universities and research institutes that rank among the top 100 in the world today, Sweden has always valued knowledge and learning. This has created a highly skilled workforce and a culture of innovation.

An innovation hub.
An innovation hub.

Second, we have a strong tradition of social welfare and equality, which has contributed to a more equal distribution of wealth and opportunities. This has created a more stable and inclusive society, fostering entrepreneurship and risk-taking, while also promoting the active participation of women in the labor market.

Third, the culture of collaboration and cooperation is deeply ingrained in Swedish society. The Swedish model of social partnership exemplifies this approach, with close collaboration between labor unions, employers, and the government. This has fostered a more productive, harmonious, and trusting working environment, enabling many Swedish multinational companies to thrive internationally.

Last, Sweden has a strong commitment to sustainability and environmental protection. This has driven the development of innovative solutions and technologies, creating new business opportunities, particularly in the clean tech and green business.

These factors, combined with a strong work ethic and an environment nurturing creativity and innovation, have made Sweden a global leader in many fields. We have made significant contributions to the world in companies like Atlas Copco, IKEA, Ericsson, Polarium, and Volvo, as well as inventions like the 3-point seatbelt, pacemaker, and Spotify.

During my visit to Europe Village last month, I met many bright young Vietnamese people who were curious about Sweden as an interesting destination and our shared future.

First fossil free steel.
First fossil free steel.

One of our ambitions is to become the world’s first fossil-free nation by 2045, and we are making significant progress towards this goal. We have invested heavily in renewable energy sources, such as wind and hydroelectric power, and implemented policies to encourage energy-efficient buildings and greener transportation. Sweden consistently ranks as one of the most sustainable countries in the world.

Sweden’s circular economy is a role model for others. We have successfully turned waste into a resource and implemented policies to encourage recycling and waste reduction. In fact, we now import waste from other countries to use as fuel in our waste-to-energy plants.

Vietnam has identified the green transition as a critical long-term goal and is actively implementing a roadmap to achieve it by 2050. Vietnam has also demonstrated strong economic performance and is striving to improve its position in the global innovation index. Sweden and Vietnam can expand our cooperation in green growth, innovation, and sustainable development, leveraging each other’s strengths and competitiveness in these fields.

Sweden is a top destination for talent, thanks to our high standard of living and emphasis on work-life balance. We have one of the highest numbers of international students per capita in the world. Our progressive values and welcoming attitude towards diversity make it easy for newcomers to integrate into Swedish society. Additionally, Sweden has a high level of English proficiency, making it easy for non-Swedish speakers to study and work in the country.