Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg – a long-standing tradition

Since 1993, Swedish Radio P4, the newspaper GT and Göteborg & Co name an Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg every year, a prize that is delivered during a grand ceremony and live broadcast in the shopping centre Nordstan. Among the previous Honourable Citizens are sports stars and artists as well as tv hosts, star chefs and writers. In 2020, the award went to doctor and professor Agnes Wold who was celebrated with flowers a diploma and a live broadcast, however it was set in Swedish Radio’s studio due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

So, what does it take to be named an Honurable Citizen? They should:

  • have done something good and positive that meant a lot to many people
  • be a heartfelt, kind and recognized person
  • be born in Gothenburg, or somewhere else
  • be a good ambassador for Gothenburg

This year’s Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg will be announced in December, and on December 17 the winner will be celebrated with a live broadcast from Swedish Radio’s studio.

In 1993, popular tv host Leif “Loket” Olsson was named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg.

1993: Leif “Loket” Olsson, the first awardeee

In 1993, the first Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg is named. The popular tv host Leif “Loket” Olsson, known from the show Bingolotto, is celebrated at a live broadcast in Nordstan where he receives flowers, a Gothenburg cap and a custom-made diploma.

1996: Maria Lundqvist is the first female Honourable Citizen

After three men in a row, it’s finally time for a female awardee in 1996. Actress Maria Lundqvist from the island Hälsö makes her breakthrough in Povel Ramel’s show Kolla klotet at Lorensbergsteatern and is named Honourable Citizen later that year.

Håkan Hellström enters the Swedish pop scene with a bang and is named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg in 2001. Credit: Leif Gustafsson

2001: Håkan Hellström sings his way into Swedish hearts

In 2001, the first pop star is named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg and it’s the one and only Håkan Hellström. In the year 2000, he has his breakthrough with the debut album Känn ingen sorg för mig Göteborg and the year after he reaches an even bigger audience when he appears on the tv show Allsång på Skansen. The jury motivates their choice like this:

“Håkan Hellström has this year sung his way into Swedish hearts and strongly contributed to create Popstad Göteborg. His artistry is filled with joy and the music builds on a local singer/songwriter tradition in a new form.”

Christian Olsson and Yannick Tregaro are named Honourable Citizens of Gothenburg in 2004.

2004: Christian Olsson och Yannick Tregaro share the award

In the early 2000s, Swedish Athletics is at its height and in 2004 the jury names not only one but two Honourable Citizens of Gothenburg – triple jumper Christian Olsson and his coach Yannick Tregaro. The jury says:

“Three gold medals in three years from European Championships, World Championships and Olympic Games have made Christian and Yannick an inseparable duo that outshines everyone when selecting the Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg in 2004.”

2005: Sing-along star Lotta Engberg takes over Liseberg Amusement Park

In the summer of 2004, Liseberg Amusement Park invites the audience to the first Lotta på Liseberg sing-along night. The show is a success and in 2005 the host Lotta Engberg is named Honourable Citizen of the Year. The jury writes that Lotta Engberg from “fermented herring land” is:

“… a heartfelt and kind person who worked with great commitment to make many people happy. Her professionality as an entertainer on numerous stages and on TV is impressive.”

Nigar Ibrahim is celebrated in Nordstan as Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg in 2009, for her work against honour violence.

2009: Nigar Ibrahim highlights integration and equality

Nigar Ibrahim is named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg in 2009, and even though few people know who she is, her work is all the more important. She has worked for children’s rights organisation Bris, as a legal adviser and since 2006 with the organisation Sharaf Hjältar och Hjältinnor – where young people mobilise against honour violence and discrimination. The motivation says:

“Nigar Ibrahim works with Gothenburg’s future generations. For a city where people respect each other. Many have received support and guidance from her to find their path in life.”

In 2012, star chef Leif Mannerström is named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg.

2012: Leif Mannerström puts the spotlight on Gothenburg for foodies

Star chef Leif Mannerström’s cuisine has through the years made a great impact on Swedish gastronomy as well as the Gothenburg food scene. In 2012, he is named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg with the motivation that he:

“… through decades has brought the people of Gothenburg great joy; through his iconic restaurants, his charity for the city’s young and old and through fostering a new generation of Gothenburg chefs.”

Leif Mannerström comments:

– It’s an amazing honour and I’m thrilled for this award. Personally and for my family, but also because it shows that our city really appreciates the food scene here.

One of Sweden’s biggest artists, Laleh, is named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg in 2014.

2014: Laleh Pourkarim’s songs bridges generational and cultural gaps

In 2005, Laleh has her big breaktrough with the self-titled album Laleh, three Grammis awards and two P3 Guld awards. In 2014 she has released more albums and reached a wider audience in the tv shows Så mycket bättre and Allsång på Skansen. She is named Honourable Citizen of the year in November with the motivation:

“Laleh Pourkarim is an artist who touches others and who is in turn touched by others. Her art expresses exuberance and love to a huge audience that bridges generational and cultural gaps.”

Widely loved football coach Pia Sundhage is named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg in 2016. Credit: Frida Winter

2016: Pia Sundhage leads Sweden to an Olympic silver

Pia Sundhage is a true Swedish football icon. With four Swedish Championship golds, four Swedish Cup titles, five World championship medals and one European championship gold she is one of the most succesful players of all times. As a coach and manager she is, if possible, even more succesful and in 2016 she leads the Swedish women’s national team to an Olympic silver in Brazil. The same year she is named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg with this motivation:

“Her contagious enthusiasm and her genuine love of football has taken her from Jitex to the world and back again, to the national arena in Gothenburg. This summer’s Olympic silver was a milestone for a player and leader who has carved a space for women’s football in Swedish minds and hearts.”

In 2018 Beatrice Fihn, Secretary General of ICAN, is named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg. Credit: Peter Kvarnström

2018: Beatrice Fihn receives the Nobel Peace Prize for the work against nuclear weapons

Beatrice Fihn from Gothenburg neighbourhood Angered is the Secretary General for ICAN, a campaign against nuclear weapons that receives the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018. Her episode of the summer show Sommar i P1 on Swedish Radio is one of the most popular this year and in December she is named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg. The jury describes the awardee like this:

“She fights for a safer world with an unshakeable energy. Awarding The Nobel Peace Prize to ICAN unnerves nuclear powers and sparks a call for freedom from the threat of destruction posed to mankind for over 70 years.”

All the Honourable Citizens of Gothenburg

  • 1993: Leif “Loket” Olsson
  • 1994: Thomas Ravelli
  • 1995: Tomas von Brömssen
  • 1996: Maria Lundqvist
  • 1997: Jan Eliasson
  • 1998: Viveca Lärn
  • 1999: Jasenko Selimovic
  • 2000: Mikael Ljungberg
  • 2001: Håkan Hellström
  • 2002: Eva Bergman
  • 2003: Conny Evensson
  • 2004: Christian Olsson och Yannick Tregaro
  • 2005: Lotta Engberg
  • 2006: Ingvar Oldsberg
  • 2007: Håkan Mild
  • 2008: Thomas Johansson
  • 2009: Nigar Ibrahim
  • 2010: Gustavo Dudamel
  • 2011: Mia Skäringer
  • 2012: Leif Mannerström
  • 2013: Lasse Kronér
  • 2014: Laleh Pourkarim
  • 2015: Miriam Bryant
  • 2016: Pia Sundhage
  • 2017: Ruben Östlund
  • 2018: Beatrice Fihn
  • 2019: Joel Lundqvist
  • 2020: Agnes Wold

Now don’t forget to tell us who you think should be named Honourable Citizen of Gothenburg in 2021! Let us know at redaktionen@goteborg.com Facebook or Instagram, before October 31.