What a wonderful place to invite bibliophiles from all over the world, in our case, the presidents of the national antiquarian booksellers' associations, to meet and explore some bibliophile treasures and Swedish culture alongside the ILAB Presidents' Meeting 2023.
The Swedish Antiquarian Booksellers Association (SVAF) had already planned a meeting for September 2021, which was cancelled due to the pandemic and the ongoing travel and meeting restrictions at the time. Fortunately, these times are now well behind us, so the presidents can meet in beautiful Stockholm in September 2023.
Svenska Antikvariatfeningen (SVAF) was founded in 1936 and was a founding member of ILAB in 1947. From Göteborg to Uppsala, from Malmö to Ystad, today, the Swedish association has 40 members.
SVAF organised the first ILAB Presidents' Meeting in Stockholm in 1983 and the legendary 36th ILAB Congress and the 19th International Antiquarian Book Fair together with its Scandinavian neighbours in 2002. To this day, we hear booksellers reminiscing about this congress, who travelled across the Scandinavian countries by boat, exploring treasures and receiving the wonderful hospitality of the North.
Every year in March, SVAF organises an antiquarian book fair at the prestigious Stockholm Konstakademien, also known as the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts, uniting booksellers, librarians, bookbinders and other professions closely linked to the trade and conservation of rare books.
Sweden's book and publishing history is rich and varied, and the many leading international collections and an active collecting scene bear witness to a nation's interest in the printed word, education, literature, and the arts.
Sweden's first printing press was established in 1483 by Archbishop Jacobus Ulvsson in Uppsala, home to one of Scandinavia's oldest and most prestigious universities and closely associated with the renowned Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus.
Famous authors such as August Strindberg, Selma Lagerlöf, and Astrid Lindgren have achieved international acclaim. International Swedish publishing houses such as Bonniers, Albert Bonniers Förlag and Norstedts continue to delight readers with their new releases.
Over the coming weeks, we will be taking the opportunity to introduce our blog readers to some of the bibliophile sights in Stockholm that will be opening their doors to ILAB.
Part 1: The Nobel Library of the Swedish Academy
The Nobel Library, located in the Stockholm City Hall, serves as a repository of knowledge and a testament to the enduring legacy of the Nobel Prize.
Founded in 1901, the year the first Nobel Prizes were awarded, it holds an outstanding collection of works by Nobel laureates in a range of disciplines, including physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace, as well as Nobel lectures and speeches delivered by laureates at the prestigious award ceremonies.
These documents capture groundbreaking discoveries, literary achievements, and visionary insights shaping human progress.
The Nobel Library is funded by the Nobel Foundation and the Swedish Academy, founded in 1786 by King Gustav III, an institution deeply woven into the fabric of Sweden's cultural heritage. The library's main task is to acquire and make available new works of literature, literary criticism and linguistics. It concentrates mainly on contemporary literature, which is often acquired in the original language. With a collection of 200,000 volumes, the Nobel Library is one of the largest libraries specialising in literature in the Nordic countries.
The ILAB delegation will receive a presentation of the archive and be taken on a guided tour in the "Börshuset" and, if lucky, can walk through the door where the Nobel Prize of Literature winner is presented. Not to forget that the library holds a rather fine James Joyce collection.
Twenty-one years have passed since ILAB last held an international meeting in Stockholm, and we are sure that this meeting will be no less interesting and inspiring. It will be wonderful to be back in Sweden.
ILAB's particular thanks go to the organisers of the 2023 ILAB Presidents' Meeting: Mats Petersson, President of SVAF and owner of Stockholm's Centralantikvariatet, Charlotte du Rietz (Charlotte du Rietz Rare Books), Peter Bodén (Antikvariat Hundörat), Mats Rehnström (Antikvariat Mats Rehnström) and Sven Hagströmer.
More information about the Swedish Antiquarian Booksellers' Association can be found on their website: www.svaf.se
Vi ses snart, Stockholm - See you soon, Stockholm!
All images (except stated otherwise) and copy: Angelika Elstner