Victoria's foreword at the book "Upptäck Sverige med kronprinsessan Victoria", a book of her hikes at Sweden's all 25 provinces in 2017-2019. From Svensk Damtidning's article.
My fantastic journey through Sweden began with my 40th birthday, when I wanted to hike in all Swedish provinces. But the idea existed much earlier. In my role, I get to visit many exciting and beautiful places, but in Sweden the trips usually go to the larger cities. I wanted to see other parts of the country. I longed to see more of nature.
As a child, I read in school about Nils Holgersson who flew on a goose all over Sweden and it felt like I was on his journey. I have the book at home on the bookshelf and have read it to my children several times. I got the strongest feeling from Nils Holgersson's journey before the children were born. It was the spring of 2010, a few weeks before Daniel and I got married.
Benny Andersson had written the music for what would be the song ”Vilar glad. I din famn” (Resting happily. In your arms), and which was to be performed at our wedding with Kristina Lugn's text. We first heard the melody in Benny's studio on Skeppsholmen. The music gave me such a strong experience that I traveled through Sweden - I saw for my inner forests, fields, lakes, sparkling sea and large mountains. When Benny played, I thought of Nils Holgersson's journey across Sweden. And that melody has been in the back of my mind during all the province hikes.
For me, it was obvious that I wanted to walk through the provinces. I really like to hike, to discover the world at just the right speed so that the eye and the soul have time. Then the hikes also fit in with Daniel's and my commitment to break the sedentary lifestyle and highlight the importance of movement. It doesn't cost that much to get out, you just need a good pair of shoes. And of course it helps if you have a thermos!
With these hikes, I wanted to emphasize the value of outdoor life and at the same time show what an incredible treasure nature offers each of us. What makes Swedish nature extra special is that it is accessible to everyone, thanks to our ancient right of everyman's right.
My own interest in nature was aroused when I was little. I was with Mulle and studied anthills, cones and other exciting things. But above all, my fascination with nature has been founded by my interested and knowledgeable parents, who both have a special ability to see both the big and the small in nature and impart the knowledge. They have given me a deep respect and an understanding of how everything is connected.
Dad was interested in forest management and environmental issues long before it became trendy. Both my dad and mom can read nature, but while my dad often walks around and reflects, my mom has been more educational and teaching. Just a few generations ago, it was a matter of course that parents passed on their knowledge of nature to their children, but now it is not as common. That's why I feel so grateful to have grown up with this joy of discovery.
During the two years that the hikes took place, I got to experience a lot of new, beautiful, exciting and educational. After each hike, I felt like I wanted to come back there with my children and show all the nice things. I would also like them to experience Sweden and everything that has given me so much.
In addition, I think that it is often enriching experience of nature for us adults to be out and about with children. They see things in a completely different way. They make us aware of things we have missed or don't remember - I will never forget the first time Estelle noticed her own shadow. It was incredibly special! Or when she first tasted snow. You yourself have forgotten these experiences. But with children, you get a second chance to discover such things again.
The experiences outdoors are of course dependent on the weather, nature is unpredictable. During a hike it can sometimes be a bit tough, but it can not be sunny all the time. Just keep going - and enjoy everything that happens when it rains or blows. During my hikes, it also became clear that Sweden is a long country. One early summer we managed to spot the flowering of lilacs in several different places, as the heat crept north. I was extra happy, because I had had such a hectic spring that I completely missed the lilacs in Stockholm!
In addition to these great nature experiences, this has also been something of an inner journey. I really came to appreciate the quiet moments and the peace that can occur in nature. They could occur on a beach on Gotland, on a cliff in Bohuslän or on a mountain in Ångermanland. Before the very first hike in Västergötland, I met the dean in a chapel; he blessed the hikes and gave me a note with words to think about during the journey that actually began on a pilgrimage route. I had the little note in my pocket on all the hikes and often thought of the words that were written there: Freedom. Slowness. Simplicity. Ease. Silence. Sharing. Spirituality.
There are many I would like to thank in this book - so many that the book would probably be twice as thick if I mentioned them all. I would still like to especially thank all the county administrative boards, led by our governors. Within the county administrative boards, there is an incredible amount of expertise in both nature, culture and the environment - and I have learned so much from them. Then I would also like to thank the representatives of all associations and organizations who in various ways contributed to the hikes. A big thank you to you and to all the other fellow hikers - by the way, a nice word that we should perhaps use more often: fellow hikers.
Now I hope that this book will inspire even more people to discover Sweden's rich and varied nature. And even if there are many opportunities to travel in the country, you can always experience something new right where you live. It doesn't have to be expensive or cumbersome. It is often enough to just open the door and go out.
Victorias egna ord om gemensamma målet med Daniel _ Svensk Dam
Some photos from the book (by 1: Pelle T Nilsson (Södermanland), 2: Hans Strand (Rapaselet, Sarek), 3: Jeppe Wikström (Gotland), 4: Pelle T Nilsson (Ångermanland), 5: Roine Magnusson (Höga kusten-bron), 6: Conny Lundström, 7: Peter Nerström (Huvudskär))