Historical overview

HISTORY OF ARMENIAN COMMUNITY IN SWEDEN

Prior to the 1960s, there was spontaneous immigration of Armenians to Sweden from Russia, Turkey and the Middle East. Then, in the 1970s, Armenians emigrated from Lebanon, Palestine and Iran as a result of the unstable political situation in the Middle East. When emigrating to Sweden, a country that had the image of high level social security, the Armenian community in Sweden was slowly being formed.

In the 1980s, there were approximately 500 Armenians living in Sweden. Later on, the immigration of Armenians continued, particularly from Iran. Around the 1990s, roughly 400 Armenians moved to Sweden from Armenia, contributing to the growth of the Armenian community.

Currently, there are around 13000 Armenians living in Sweden. Approximately 4000 of them live in Stockholm; the rest live in Uppsala, Västerås, Örebro, Södertälje, Göteborg and Malmö. Armenians in Sweden are employed in factories, public and private sectors; some are craftsmen, others are involved in trade and there is a large number of intellectuals as well.  

Parallel to the increase in the number of Armenians in Sweden, the national life also started to develop. In 1974, the first Armenian organisation in Sweden was founded – the Armenian Cultural Union of Stockholm.

In 1989, a conference of Armenian organisations was held in Sandviken, where the Union of Armenian Associations of Sweden (Armeniska Riksförbundet i Sverige) was founded. Their office is located in Stockholm. In 1991, the second conference was held in Uppsala which adopted the charter of the UAAS and chose a head. Uppsala was, at the moment, selected as a temporary residence for the Union. Later on, various Armenian organisations were founded in different cities of Sweden with the main aim to preserve the Armenian culture. At the same period, the activities of the Armenian Apostolic Church had become more vitalized.

On December 9th 1988, an Earthquake Relief Committee was created in Sweden, which consisted of the representatives of Stockholm Church Council, Armenian-Swedish Cultural Center, Armenian Cultural Association, Uppsala Church Council, the Raffi Association of Uppsala, the Ararat Center of Västerås, and the Armenian Cultural Center in Södertälje. The Earthquake Relief Committee in cooperation with the Swedish State Institutions and the Swedish church provided food, medical equipment, medicine, clothes, and other aid to Armenia.

Since 1988, the Armenian community of Sweden has been organising assistance to Artsakh by sending medical equipment to Martakert and covering the rebuilding works of the Karintak village school.

Currently, around 13000 Armenians live in Sweden. Approximately 4000 of them live in Stockholm and conglomerate; the rest in Uppsala, Västerås, Örebro, Södertälje, Göteborg and Malmö. Armenians in Sweden are employed in factories, public and private sectors, some of them are craftsmen, some are involved in trade and there is a large number of intellectuals.

The main associations of Stockholm are the Ararat Union, Stockholm Church Council, and Stockholm Branch of Hayastan All Armenian Fund. Throughout the years 1989-95, the Armenian-Swedish Cultural Center had its radio.

In Uppsala, there are around 1500 Armenians, the majority of whom emigrated from Iran. The main Armenian institutions are the Uppsala Church Council and the Raffi Association. The active figures of the community are Vahagn Avedian, Garlen Mansourian, Karo Hakobian, Rafik Boroian, Hrant Galstian, Mr. Karen Ohanjanian, among others.  

There are also few Armenian communities and cultural unions in Västerås, Södertälje, Örebro, Sandviken, Göteborg, Trollhättan, Jönköping, Linköping, and Malmö such as Homenetmen, Ararat Armenian Association, and Armenian Cultural Association.

The main aim of the cultural associations and unions of Swedish Armenian community is the maintenance of Armenian language, culture and national traditions, as well as close ties with Armenia. The community celebrates the national and state holidays of Armenia, and arranges annual events in commemoration of the Armenian Genocide.


Updated: 21.06.16

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