First Articles established by King Gustav III in 1772
The Society’s history extends more than 250 years into the past. It is in the 1760s, in the closing stages of the Age of Freedom, that the name ”Swedish Patriotic Society for Encouragement of the Arts, Crafts and the Country’s Industries” (Svenska Patriotiska Sällskapet till konsters, slöjders och rikets näringars uppmuntran) is first encountered. In 1772 Royal confirmation of the Society’s Articles was issued, and thereafter the Society was called the Royal (Swedish) Patriotic Society.
Every year the Swedish Royal Patriotic Society Business Medal awarded for outstanding entrepreneurship are given to 10 individuals.
The Society became a gathering point for leading individuals in national government, science and industry, and in these circles there were discussions of new discoveries, findings and projects that might strengthen the national economy. Great interest was, for instance, shown in action intended to raise production in agriculture, forestry, mining and the textile industry. Valuable essays on subjects of importance for society were awarded cash prizes or memorial gifts. From 1766 the Society published the Agricultural Journal (Hushållningsjournalen) each month in order to spread knowledge of new discoveries and findings, etc. more broadly among the public. Publication ended in 1813 when the Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry was set up and began publishing its Records.
The Society’s distribution of awards builds on traditions from the Age of Freedom. In the 18th century the Society mainly distributed medals, goblets, spoons, chains and hatbands of silver. In 1802 the Society received the permission of the King in Council to distribute medals intended for wear. The Society decided that the medals would be worn in a ribbon, half straw-coloured and half grass-green, a symbolic reminder of the interest of the Society in the development of agriculture.
Therefore the medals that the Society distributes today as awards for purposes like lasting service and long and appreciated work have a considerable tradition. Nowadays a wristwatch or a bracelet is distributed as an alternative to a medal. The bracelet is of the same design as an 18th century hatband and it has a miniature medal as a charm.
In addition to the medals mentioned above, the Society also distributes medals for other purposes, as indicated below.
In the 18th century gifts of money were already presented to the Society to encourage industry, faithful retainers, etc. Benevolent donors have since contributed additional funding, enabling the Society to fulfil its tradition of supporting public and charitable ends. This funding forms part of the foundation known as the Royal Patriotic Society’s Benevolent Fund, whose proceeds are mainly used to support research, education and social causes.
One major donation, Fredrik Björn’s Donation Fund, is now a separate foundation. It was originally intended for faithful female retainers who had served in the same family for a long time. A significant portion of the proceeds are now also distributed among women who have worked for a long time in health and social care in the Stockholm area.
In 1830 the Society decided to establish a silver cross to be distributed to women as an award. Now this silver cross can be distributed for commendable contributions to the education and upbringing of children and young people.