“Freedom of Trade Day 2018”, 18 June

On 18 June it will be 154 years since all Swedes were given the right to start their own businesses. We celebrate The Freedom of Trade Day 2018 with a packed program at the Museum of Photography, from 9 am to 1 pm. Open for all, free of charge.

Every year we celebrate 18 June as the day Sweden instituted Freedom of Trade. Until then, there were heavy restricitons on who actually could start a business. This year’s program contains talks about the develpment of Swedish business and society, but also about the pivotal entrepreneurs who made it all happen.

The day is free of charge, but please sign up so we know how much food and drink to order.

sign up here.


Part 1: When freedom of trade came and businesses took off
Today, freedom of trade and enterprise is guaranteed in Sweden’s constitution (Regeringsformen, 2. kap, 17§) but it wasn’t until 1864 that “each and every man and woman in Sweden” were allowed to start any business they wanted. Together with several other social reforms of the time, this laid the ground for today’s Sweden. In this part, we’ll journey through Swedish business history, and also look at how business history can be described in classroom settings.

  • 09:00: Swedish business history: 400 years of entrepeneurs
    Anders Johnson, writer and business historian
  • 09:40 All you need for your classroom about business history is on företagskä
    Anahi Davila, head of school activities at the Centre for Business History, about the extensive and free classrom materials that are available on the school site Företagskällan. (Extra interesting for anyone in a teaching capacity.).
  • 10:00 How I work with business history in my classroom
    Anna Lindgren and Liselotte Hemström from Påhlmans gymnasium share how they use questions about entrepeneurship and businesss in their classrooms.
  • 10:10 – Coffee break, chance to visit the exhibition of historical objects from the business archives at the Centre for Business History..

Part 2: The people behind the big companies.
It can be hard to get a grip on large companies. They become more anonymous the larger they are. But they have all been built by people – and people are easier to understand.

  • 10:40: Sofia Gumaelius created the Swedish ad industry – in the 1880s
    Rita Feldman, archivist at the Centre for Business History
  • 11:00 LO Smith, the man on the Absolut-bottle, entrepeneur and politician 
    Lovisa Kragerud, archivist and chief storyteller at The Absolut Company
  • 11:20 Ludvig and Robert Nobel, so much bigger than their brother Alfred
    Thomas Tydén, professor and previous chair of the Nobel Family Foundation
  • 11:40 Hilda and LM Ericsson: the couple who built Ericsson
    Krister Hillerud, corporate historian at the Centre for Business History
  • 12:00 Lunch break, chance to visit the exhibition again.
    Box lunch will be served. (Vegetarian and allergy alternatives availble.)

Part 3: The companies, a part of our social fabric
It is often said the prime minister Per-Albin Hansson built today’s Sweden in the 1950s. If he did, then Ingvar Kampard of IKEA furnished it, Erling Persson of H&M clothed it and Clas Ohlson filled it with gadgets. The history of these companies are a part of Sweden’s fabric, just like all path-breaking political decisions.

  • 12:30 IKEA and Ingvar Kamprad
    Tony Nilsson, archivist at IKEA
  • 12:50 H&M, the retailer who became a fashion giant
    Gustav Svensson, archivist at the Centre for Business History
  • 13:10 Clas Ohlson’s beloved gadgets
    Anders Landén, editor at the Centre for Business History
  • 13:30 Close.

Moderator: Anders Sjöman, head of communications at the Centre for Business History.

Sign up for the Freedom of Trade Day 2018

The day is free of charge, but please sign up so we know how much food and drink to order.

Sign up here: