What Is The Official Religion Of Sweden? Guide To Sweden And Religion

What Is The Official Religion Of Sweden? Guide To Sweden And Religion

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Sweden, a Nordic country in northern Europe, is known for its stunning natural beauty and vibrant culture. It is a magical land in the north of Europe.

Sweden used to have a state religion known as the Church of Sweden or Evangelical Lutheran. After 500 years of having a State church, in 2000, Sweden decided to have a state church no longer as the government felt religion was not essential to most Swedes. Sweden does have some very good religious laws that protect religious freedom and all the rights of each individual to worship as they please. Read on to learn more about Sweden and religion in Sweden.

Table of Contents

Sweden No Longer Has An Official State Religion

Since the Middle Ages, the Church of Sweden (Svenska Kyrkan), or the Evangelical Lutheran, was the official church of Sweden. The secretariat for the Evangelical Lutheran Church is based in Uppsala, Sweden.

But since 2000, the Church of Sweden has been separated from the state, meaning Sweden no longer has an official state church. Sweden is the only Nordic country without a state church, as Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland have all retained their state churches.

In the past, almost 100% of all Swedes were members of the Chruch of Sweden, but today that is not the case. Many Swedes may say they are Lutheran, but church attendance has declined over the last decades.

Only 56% of the Swedish population are members of the Church of Sweden. A record number of Swedes have left the church over the last few decades, and further decline is predicted. Many surveys indicate that a declining number of Swedes attend religious services regularly.

Before 2000, Sweden Had A State Church

The Church of Sweden was the official Church of Sweden for over 500 years, so this change in 2000 is significant for Sweden and the Church of Sweden.

The government was also very involved in the Church of Sweden. Until 2000, the Ministry of Culture appointed the archbishop, all bishops and their assistants, and the 13 Lutheran foundation directors. With these changes, the church and not the Ministry of Culture will make these appointments.

The Swedish government has also long collected a type of “church tax” to finance the clergy and to maintain and protect church property. Sweden has more than 3,700 old churches in its cities and countryside, now considered part of the national cultural heritage.

With the new separation between church and state, the government will now help to ensure the upkeep of these historically significant churches.

Many are concerned about whether the Church of Sweden can continue to maintain these historic buildings. These Swedish churches remain a part of Sweden’s culture and traditions.

Listen To Our Podcast About Exploring Sweden’s Religious Identity below or by clicking here.

Freedom Of Religion In Sweden

Sweden’s constitution protects an individual’s right to practice their religion alone or in the company of others. The law in Sweden has mandated that there should be no limits to the rights and freedoms for anyone to worship in Sweden as they choose.

Sweden has excellent laws and protections regarding the freedom of religion for all Swedes and everyone in Sweden. Most Swedes are open-minded regarding religious activity and the rights of each individual to choose their faith.

The Swedes usually do not interfere with anyone’s religious rights. The Swedes allowed others to follow their religious beliefs freely, but they also expected people to do the same with them and their opinions or lack of religious beliefs.

Religion Is Not Important To Most Swedes

A recent Pew Research Poll about how vital God and Religion are for different countries consistently placed Sweden at the bottom. For most Swedes, a belief in religion and God is unimportant.

Just 9% of Sweden’s population feels it necessary to believe in God. Countries that also place religion as unnecessary include the Czech Republic at 14% and France at 15%.

Sweden also has some of the lowest numbers when asked about the importance of religion. In Sweden, only 22% of adults think religion is important. Other countries with low ratings include the Czech Republic at 23%, France at 33%, and the Netherlands and Hungary at 39%.

Sweden is one of the lowest countries in the world where a belief in God is considered necessary. These numbers help to explain in part why, in 2000, Sweden no longer saw a need to have the Church of Sweden as the official religion of Sweden because most Swedes are not very religious.

That does not mean that the Swedes do not respect religion or respect those that believe in religion; many Swedes see no need for faith in their own lives.

Practicing your faith in Sweden should not pose any problems if you decide to live or visit there. The Swedes understand that all religious activities must be respectful and considerate of others.

At A Bus On A Dusty Road, we talk about travel, life, and ex-pat living. We are all about “Living Life As A Global Citizen.” We explore social, cultural, and economic issues and travel.

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Is Swedish Cooking Bland?

Swedes have always embraced foods from other cultures and places. Like most parts of the world, the Swedes used local ingredients to spice up and flavor their food. Swedish food is a northern European food, so if you know how and what to eat, it is rich and full of unique flavors.

You can read our blog on Is Swedish Cooking Bland? by clicking here to learn more.

Differences Between The Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian Vikings

The Danish Vikings were the most political of the three groups of Vikings, as they had a noble family behind them and their expeditions. The Norwegians Vikings were the most violent and traveled the furthest. The Swedish Vikings went through Europe, not westward like the Danish and Norweigan Vikings.

You can discover more by reading our blog, Differences Between The Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian Vikings, by clicking here.

All About Kubb – The Outdoor Swedish Ancient Viking Game

Legend has it that Kubb was an old Viking game, but this rumor has never been confirmed. Kubb is an ancient Nordic outdoor lawn game that continues to take Europe, the United States, and even the world by storm. Kubb is a game that almost anyone of any age can play, but to play it well requires strategy and skill.

By clicking here, you can discover more by reading our blog, All About Kubb – The Outdoor Swedish Ancient Viking Game.

Anita L Hummel
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