Almedalsveckan (Almedalen Week) is a democratic meeting place that everyone can join and co-create. The atmosphere is informal and relaxed, creating the feeling that everyone who matters is there. Chance meetings can lead to unexpected effects. Admission is free.
Almedalsveckan has become a phenomenon among political festivals and multiple countries have created similar venues throughout the years.
Purpose and vision
“Almedalsveckan is Sweden’s, perhaps even the world's, largest open political venue. Through democracy and openness, the week aims to give everyone who wants to debate social issues the opportunity to participate.”
Founder and year of establishment
It started in 1968 when Olof Palme, minister of education at the time, spoke from the back of a lorry at Kruttornet in Visby. Gradually it became a tradition for Olof Palme and the Social Democratic Party to make speeches at the central park “Almedalen” and he was the only speaker until 1974. In 1991 Almedalsveckan became completely disassociated from the Social Democratic Party and all parliamentary parties have participated in the festival ever since.
Almedalsveckan is a result of cooperation between the main organisers, the host and other co-organisers. The main organisers are the parliamentary political parties, via their local representatives in Gotland. The Municipality of Gotland is the formal host running a project office within the Municipality.
Location and length
The 8-day festival is located in Visby, on the island Gotland, and takes place in the beginning of July. It lasts 8 days because each parliamentary party has one day at their disposal during the week. Visby is located 60 km and a boat-trip from Stockholm and has approximately 24.000 inhabitants.
Size – number of participants and events
The festival’s own estimate of participants is approximately 40.000 unique visitors and 1900 unique organisers. The estimated numbers are based on ferry and airport tickets to the island during the festival. In 2017, there were 4062 official events and approximately 2500 unofficial events. It is only the official events, which are open to everyone, that are presented in the festival programme.
People attending the festival
The festival’s target group is people interested in social issues. The festival defines the visitors as politicians, organisers, professional visitors and ordinary participants. Many of the visitors attend the week as a part of their holiday.
Involvement of the political parties
All eight parliamentary political parties have Almedalen, the central Park in Visby, at their disposal for a whole day during the week. In many years, the parliamentary parties have been - and still are - the main focus. Since 1996, organisations and businesses have been allowed into the political arena. Almedalsveckan is highly prioritized by the parliamentary parties and they use the platform to promote new policy proposals. During the week, politicians attended 1245 events. 30% of the 4062 events were arranged by the parties or other organisers.
Anyone can apply to organise an event at the festival as long as they adhere to criteria set by the main organisers of Almedalsveckan. The project group reviews all the applications and, if an application meets the criteria, it will be approved and published on Almedalsveckan’s webpage, in the programme book and in their App. Almedalsveckan has no cultural programme and does not host any activities during the year. The festival is not responsible for the informal programme.