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Press Release

ASI Presents Gift to Sweden’s King HM Carl XVI Gustaf in Honor of his 50th Anniversary of Ascendancy to the Throne

ASI will launch an annual Earth Day program focusing on humanity’s connection to nature
May 9, 2023 By Darby Johnson

Stockholm, Sweden—May 9, 2023— Marking the 50th anniversary of His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf’s ascendancy to the throne, the American Swedish Institute today presented a special gift to His Majesty – the dedication of IN OUR NATURE, an annual program exploring humanity’s connection to nature.  

This annual program, hosted at the American Swedish Institute’s campus in Minneapolis, MN, USA, will draw upon the expertise of leading scholars, environmental historians, artists, writers, and other practitioners to nurture humanity’s connectedness to our Earth and to inspire meaningful action by people of all ages at the individual, local, and regional levels. Designed in appreciation of the King’s deep commitment to care for the environment, the program will engage ASI’s community through inspiration and education to do the productive work needed to address humanity’s most pressing problems. 

During a special audience with HM Carl XVI Gustaf on May 9, 2023, a delegation from ASI presented His Majesty with a certificate in recognition of this distinctive program and was granted a personal tour of the Royal Castle and Royal Library. This is the second time that Their Majesties have granted the privilege of a Royal Audience for an ASI delegation.   

This ASI delegation visit marked the final appearance of Bruce Karstadt as President and CEO of ASI before his upcoming retirement in July 2023. Bruce is also the current Honorary Consul of Sweden serving North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. He was first appointed to this title in 1994. 

“We at ASI have come to offer our congratulations on this important anniversary year and to share with the King our plans to honor his deep commitment to the care of the environment with an annual community event in his honor starting in 2024,” Bruce Karstadt said.     

The American Swedish Institute is home to the Turnblad Mansion, which was built in 1908 as the home for Swedish immigrants Swan and Christina Turnblad, who earned their fortune by owning the largest Swedish-language newspaper in the U.S., Svenska Amerikanska Posten. Today, ASI is one of the leading museums and cultural centers in Minnesota offering unique programming and events with an award-winning New Nordic restaurant.   

Since its founding in 1929, ASI has remained a key facilitator of relations between Sweden and the United States, particularly in the Upper Midwest, which experienced an influx of Swedish immigrants in the 1800s and remains a vibrant community in Minnesota today. ASI offers transformative arts and culture experiences inspired by Swedish heritage and invites others to explore their own heritage in relation to others. These longstanding relationships and ongoing ties to Sweden with arts and culture organizations abroad are vital to our institutional endeavors.  

ASI also showcases Swedish artists and culture bearers here in Minnesota, including the recent U.S. premieres of Swedish artist Jo Andersson, the upcoming U.S. premiere of Claes Larsson, and hosted the U.S. premiere of a special exhibition highlighting the work of Gudrun Sjöden. Previously, ASI has hosted the exhibitions of Helena Hernmarck, Lars Lerin, Karin Broos, and The Vikings Begin. This June in Minneapolis, ASI will welcome several of Sätergläntan’s current teaching artists to share their knowledge and teach handcraft classes in honor of the school’s 100th anniversary. 

The Turnblad Family was originally encouraged to found ASI when the family received a letter from the then Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, who promised to support the Institute if the Turnblad’s were to create it. Since 1976, Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia have visited the American Swedish Institute six times, most recently in October 2012 during their visit to Minneapolis. His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf agreed to extend his royal patronage to ASI, and Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia have gifted grant support from some of the Royal foundations for various ASI endeavors. Notably, His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf presented President and CEO Bruce Karstadt with the insignia of the Royal Order of the Polar Star in 2003.   

More information can be found here: The royal couple gave a reception for the American Swedish Institute 

Photography credit: Henrik Garlöv/Kungl

American Swedish Institute (ASI), designated to the National Register for Historic Places, home of the Turnblad Mansion, a historic castle-like mansion, museum and cultural center, and a gathering place for all people to explore diverse experiences of migration, identity, belonging, and the environment through arts and culture, informed by enduring links to Sweden. ASI, which received the Best Practices Award from the Association of Midwest Museums, is an organization The Wall Street Journal calls “[a] model of how a small institution can draw visitors through exciting programming,” is located at 2600 Park Avenue in Minneapolis.

Media Contact: Darby Johnson, Public Relations Specialist