Sweden will throw a year-long birthday party to mark the 350th anniversary of the first Swedish colony in the United States. Titled ``New Sweden: 1638 to 1988,'' it will begin with a 17-day visit to the US next April by King Carl Gustav XVI and Queen Silvia of Sweden, and include festivals, exhibitions, seminars, and performances designed to provide Americans with a look at Swedish culture, industry, and technology.
The celebration will include a film festival, in conjunction with the American Film Institute, in Washington and Los Angeles; an exhibition of Swedish art titled ``The Royal Treasury, 1500-1700,'' at both the National Gallery in Washington and the Minnesota Art Institute; a Swedish portrait exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington; an exhibit of contemporary Swedish design; a silver exhibit; and opera and symphony performances.
Beate Sydhoff, cultural counselor at the Swedish Embassy here, explains, ``The Swedish first settled in Delaware in 1638, which is not very well known. And there are still Swedish descendants from the 17th-century [settlement] living in that area. Swedish descendants in Minnesota also felt the need of doing something, a joint thing between the US and Sweden. We expect it will be a nice thing in itself, but also a platform in the future to work from for cultural exhibits. It's very important, a kind of door-opener.''
A joint congressional resolution in May proclaimed 1988 ``The Year of New Sweden.'' Among the cities on the royal tour are Wilmington, Del.; Philadelphia; Trenton and Princeton, N.J.; New York; Detroit; Chicago; Atlanta; Dallas; Houston; Minneapolis; and Los Angeles.