31 May, 2018

Schools Out for Sommar! Celebrating the skolavslutning in Sweden.

It’s that time of year again when schools begin to wind down towards the summer break, and students of all ages begin to dream of the long holidays ahead.

Waffles served at a preschool avslutning

In Sweden, there is one important tradition to take part in before children and teens can bid their classes farewell and head for the beach: the skolavslutning.

The skolavslutning is the end of term ceremony which takes place in schools all over Sweden both at Christmas (julavslutning) and in the summer (sommaravslutning). Pupils and staff gather together for speeches, songs and fika (maybe even a bbq or a picnic), dressed in their smartest clothes and accompanied by their parents.

Well known for their love of seasonal songs, the Swedes have several much-loved tunes which are often heard at sommaravslutningar. Den blomstertid nu kommer is an old psalm heralding the arrival of the sun and summer flowers, it remains popular to this day. Amongst younger children, Astrid Lindgren’s summer songs are popular – either Idas sommarvisa or Pippi Longstocking’s Sommaren är min (see text below), which revels in all that summer brings with it, from freckled cheeks to sweet smelling hay.

 Och nu så vill jag sjunga
att sommaren är skön
och träden är så fina
och marken är så grön.
Och blommorna är vackra
och höet luktar gott
och solen är så solig
och vattnet är så vått.
Och lilla fågeln flyger
i boet ut och in
och därför vill jag sjunga
att sommaren är min.

Och jag vill också sjunga
att fjärilar är bra
och alla söta myggor
dom vill jag också ha
och jag är brun om bena
precis som det ska va
och därför vill jag sjunga
att bruna ben är bra.
Och jag har nya fräknar
och prickigt sommarskin
och därför vill jag sjunga
att sommaren är min.

Härligt, vad? But don’t be fooled into thinking that the end of school in Sweden is a serene celebration.


Students drive through Uppsala on their decorated truck

Watch out in early June for the students celebrating their graduation from high school (gymnasiet) – once the avslutning is over, the party starts. Students are unmissable in their suits and white dresses, accompanied by the student cap, and decorated with medals, trinkets and Swedish flags.

In many places students hire and decorate flatbed trucks and are driven around the town, music blaring and champagne corks popping, whilst their adoring parents look on and wave giant commemorative posters with the student’s graduation date and a cute baby picture.

Make no mistake, the Swedes sure know how to mark the end of school, and they certainly know how to make the most of the beautiful summers. Glad sommar!


Featured Image:

Mats Fallqvist, Länsmuseet Gävleborg

Sarah Campbell
Hej! I’m Sarah.  I’m from the UK and I live in Uppsala with my husband and our two children.  I am a language teacher and freelance writer, and my husband is a researcher.  It was his work with moss (yes, moss!) which brought us to this beautiful country, and we absolutely love it here!  Highlights of our life here so far include experiencing the midnight sun in Abisko during an epic Arctic Circle roadtrip, blissful summers in Dalarna, and meeting Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria (along with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge!) in Stockholm’s historic Gamla Stan. 

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