Queen Lovisa Ulrika founded the learned society Kongl. Swenska Witterhets Academien, the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, on 20 March 1753. Now Kungl. Vitterhets Historie och Antikvitets Akademien, the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities, it always marks the anniversary of its founding. It is usually known by its short name, Vitterhetsakademien.
The first academies to promote science and the arts were founded in Italy in the late fifteenth century. About two centuries later, France and Britain adopted the idea. A Swedish academy was first mooted in the mid-seventeenth century, when Queen Kristina hoped for something like the Académie Française, which would advance the language and culture of the new Swedish Empire. However, it was not until the eighteenth century the academies extant today were founded.
The Royal Society of Sciences at Uppsala, which dates to 1710, ranks among the first, though if we only count the national academies then the oldest are the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts (founded in 1735) and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (founded in 1739 and granted a royal charter in 1741). The Academy of Sciences, which has always concentrated on science and mathematics, was followed by the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters in 1753. The majority of Sweden’s royal academies were founded in the eighteenth century: these are the Swedish Academy (royal in all but name, was founded by Gustav III in 1786 to advance the Swedish language and Swedish literature), the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, the Royal Swedish Society of Naval Sciences, and the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences. The Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry was added in the early nineteenth century; the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the Royal Gustavus Adolphus Academy for Swedish Folk Culture were founded in the twentieth century.
In 2019 it was announced the ten royal academies were the responsible national competent authorities in their respective fields.
© THE ROYAL SWEDISH ACADEMY OF LETTERS, HISTORY AND ANTIQUITIES