NATO flag raised at Riksplan


On the morning of Monday 18 March, a flag-raising ceremony was held at Riksplan in front of the Riksdag to mark Sweden’s NATO accession. During the ceremony, speeches were delivered by H.M. The King, the Speaker Andreas Norlén and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. The NATO flag was raised and the Swedish Royal Army Band performed.

One week after the Swedish flag was raised at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, a ceremony took place in front of the Riksdag in Stockholm. The ceremony was hosted jointly by the Riksdag and the Government. Guests included the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, ambassadors, ministers and members of the Riksdag. The Swedish Royal Army Band played the NATO Hymn and the NATO flag was raised.

H.M. The King described in his speech how Sweden – as a member of NATO – is now entering a new security policy era. The Speaker Andreas Norlén underlined that Sweden has never had so many and such close allies as it has today. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson highlighted that there is broad support for NATO membership both in the Riksdag and in public opinion.

The ceremony can be watched via Government Offices’ Youtube channel.

Flag ceremony outside the Riksdag – the Government Offices’ Youtube channel

The Prime Minister, King and Speaker walk side-by-side as they approach Riksplan. A cameraman stands with the camera directed at them.
Photo: Anders Löwdin

On 18 March 2024, the NATO flag was raised under ceremonial forms at Riksplan outside the East Wing of the Riksdag. Shortly before the ceremony, H.M. The King was received by the Speaker Andreas Norlén and Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (Moderate Party).

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Speech delivered by Speaker Dr Andreas Norlén

Your Majesty,

Prime Minister,


Members of the Riksdag,

Honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Once again, I would like to cordially welcome you to Riksplan in front of the Riksdag Building. Welcome to this ceremony on the occasion of Sweden’s accession to NATO and the confirmation of our membership that this flag raising signals. Last Monday, Sweden’s flag was raised at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Today, we raise the NATO flag at the Riksdag. It gives me particular pleasure to welcome the Ambassadors of the member countries of the Alliance, the Ambassador of Ukraine and other distinguished Ambassadors. Your Excellencies, welcome to the Swedish Riksdag and to this ceremony on the occasion of Sweden’s accession to NATO. I will now continue in Swedish.

Sweden as a nation began to emerge from the fog of history around the year 1000. During the millennium that has passed since then, we have had various allies over the centuries whom we have promised support and who have promised to support us in the event of war. In 2023, we observed the 500th anniversary of Gustav Vasa’s election as king, which began a new chapter in our history. He would not have been able to take power without military support from the Hanseatic City of Lübeck. During the 1600s, Sweden’s allies included France, and in the 1700s Ukrainian Cossacks and the Sultan in Constantinople [sic] were Sweden’s allies. In the 1800s the United Kingdom was one of our allies.

But we have never had so many and such close allies as we have today. We are now part of an Alliance of more than 30 countries that have committed to come to each other’s aid and assistance. This is unique not only in our country’s thousand-year history, but also in our continent’s history. Our Europe – a continent that has been marked over the centuries more by war and conflicts than by peaceful coexistence – is now to a great extent bound together by a defence Alliance and by a European Union. Never before have so many of Europe’s countries collaborated so closely and in so many ways. Furthermore, we have the transatlantic cooperation, which of course forms a central part of the cooperation within NATO, but which is also extensive in many other areas.

Ladies and gentlemen,

After discussions with the parties of the Riksdag and consultation in the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs, the Government led by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson decided in May 2022 that Sweden would apply for membership of NATO.

The current Government, led by Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, took over the process with the change of government in October 2022. On 22 March  2023, the Riksdag voted by broad majority to approve Sweden’s accession  to the North Atlantic Treaty and the Agreement on the status of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO. The ratification process concluded recently and Sweden is now NATO’s 32nd member.

Sweden initiated its membership process in close consultation with Finland. Our countries are not just neighbours, we also have a largely shared history and very close ties at many levels – ties that have been forged even tighter over the past two years.

Not least the dialogue between representatives of our parliaments has been intensive. This is something that the Members of the Riksdag and I value greatly. During the process I have also felt a great deal of support for the Swedish application from fellow Speakers and Members of Parliament in various NATO countries. For this I am very grateful, and I am also grateful for the security guarantees which some countries issued.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As Dag Hammarskjöld wrote in his manuscript Waymarks:

I hear anew, Awake,
The cry that waked me,
One last time Far away
The Cry
From terror’s loneliness, 
In adversity’s fellowship.

Terror’s loneliness. Adversity’s fellowship. I think the words rather keenly reflect the way many people experienced the days following Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s brutal attack on a peaceful neighbour made many feel terror’s loneliness in a very tangible way. Shortly thereafter, a broad majority in the Riksdag and in the public opinion emerged, seeking fellowship in the form of NATO membership.

But I am convinced that the fellowship Sweden seeks in NATO is something much more than adversity’s fellowship. Instead, I see in many places in our country a strong will to contribute to a positive fellowship built on shared values, a strong will to be an active Ally that contributes to the defence of freedom and democracy in the whole of Europe and a strong will to contribute to an Alliance that continues to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.

This is how Sweden chooses to meet the threats and challenges that mark our world.

This is what we emphasise with today’s ceremony.

Thank you.