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Sweden/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.2 Heritage issues and policies

The Swedish National Heritage Board is the government agency responsible for matters concerning cultural environment preservation, cultural heritage and museums. The objectives of the Board include taking a proactive and inspirational role in cultural heritage efforts, as well as promoting a society that is sustainable in the long term and everyone's ability to understand, participate in and take responsibility for their own cultural environment.

The National Heritage Board and many of the museums and other heritage institutions in Sweden are currently working on increasing its emphasis on proactive work, encouraging discussions on the use of narratives as a focus for organising heritage presentation. Much of this work focuses on making both exhibitions and the national heritage more inclusive to all parts of the population. Main themes in this work has included civil society and the inclusion of minority perspectives in the heritage preserved and presented by government supported agencies and institutions.

In 2015, the archaeological activities of the National Heritage Board were transferred to the National Museums of History. In 2016, it was announced that the National Touring Exhibitions will be merged with the National Heritage Board, which will be given increased responsibility in the area of museum policy. The government has announced that a government bill on cultural heritage is under preparation. In a previous government report, a special government commission proposed that a Museum Law would be introduced, guaranteeing the independence of public museums and regulating their main roles.

In the fall of 2016, issues relating to museums have also been the topic of significant debate in the media, mostly focusing on allegations against the government of politicizing and instrumentalizing museums, and cultural heritage in general, through increased ideological regulation. The suggested merger of the Mediterranean Museum, the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, and the Museum of Ethnography, has been used as an example of this tendency.

For more information, see
European Heritage Network: Country profile Sweden

Chapter published: 16-05-2017

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