June 21, 2019

Innovate with us! Sweden at the Hannover Fair in April 2019

By H.E. Mr. Per Thöresson, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden in Germany.

On 1–5 April 2019, Sweden will be the official Partner Country at the Hannover Fair – Hannover Messe – the world’s largest trade fair for smart, connected industry. Sweden is the first Nordic country to have been invited to be Partner Country.

This is of course a great honour, and a reflection of Sweden’s good reputation as an industrial nation. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, Germany could be described as a big country with many successful medium-sized companies, while Sweden – like the Netherlands – is a comparatively small country with many large, global companies.

To the average consumer, IKEA or H&M would perhaps spring to mind, but the fact is that Sweden has long been a breeding ground for successful industrial multinationals, like ABB, SKF and Ericsson, which have laid the foundations for the country’s modern economy.

These three and many more are of course very much involved in preparations for next year’s Hannover Fair. But there is also growth from below. In recent years, Sweden has become a leading “tech hub” of Europe, with a flourishing start-up scene. Or did you know that, per capita, Stockholm has the largest number of “unicorns” – start-up companies valued at over $1 billion – after Silicon Valley? A great many Swedish start-ups will also be at the Hannover Fair, building international networks for the future.

For Swedish companies, the key to success has been a capacity to innovate, combined with a positive approach to change, which has enabled long-established businesses to remain at the cutting edge for many decades.

Sweden has a strongly export-driven economy that has always been dependent on how well our companies perform on world markets and manage to adapt to new global challenges. Swedes, moreover, tend to be forward-looking and keen to try new technology. In a sense, Sweden itself is something of a “test bed” for new, innovative solutions, before they are launched on global markets.

Jasmin Arbabian-Vogel: Swedish Honorary Consul in Lower Saxony
Thomas Ryberg: President Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Germany
Peter Eriksson: Swedish Minister for Housing and Digital Development
Per Thöresson: Swedish Ambassador in Germany
Lisa Tullus: Project Manager Sweden Partner Country at Hannover Fair 2019 BusinessSweden
Marco Siebert: Director of International Relations, Deutsche Messe
Anna Liberg: Trade Commissioner to Germany, Business Sweden
Pia Roed: Deputy Director, Department for Trade Promotion, Nation Branding and CSR, Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dorothee Bär: German State Minister for Digitalisation
Fredrik Fexe: Executive Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Business Sweden
Dr. Jochen Köckler: Chairman of the Managing Board Deutsche Messe-
Hannover Fair


This should be a major advantage in the industrial revolution we are all now in the midst of, in which innovative thinking and the ability to adapt and cooperate globally are more important than ever.

The focus of the Swedish partnership in Hannover will therefore be on the factors crucial to our future as a modern industrial nation: co-creation and innovation. Under the motto of “Sweden Co-Lab”, we will present ourselves as an incubator for co-creation (Co) and innovation (Lab), and we hope to see a wide range of opportunities for collaboration and exchange of expertise among Swedish, German and international businesses and research institutions, as well as at the political level. In Sweden we often talk about the “triple helix” principle: the need for private companies, academia and government agencies to work together to achieve results.

Already last year, in conjunction with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Prime Minister Stefan Löfven in Stockholm, our Governments signed up to a German–Swedish partnership for innovation. It covers four main areas: mobility, digitalisation, test beds and eHealth.

These are four important sectors for the future, in which our countries complement each other well. To generalise a little, I would say that Swedish companies are often world leaders in new, innovative solutions, while their German counterparts are masters of process and quality.

Combining these strengths would ensure new, competitive collaborations and business solutions in a sector that is changing at unprecedented speed. At the Hannover Fair, though, the whole world will be gathered. Of the 6,500 exhibitors, over 60 per cent will be from other countries.

The potential for networking is enormous.

Collaborating with YuMi

The Hannover Fair will provide considerable exposure for Sweden and Swedish companies, and offers a unique chance for Swedish industry to market itself, its products and its capabilities, as well as to find new business partners in Germany and worldwide. Watch out for press conferences organized by the representatives of the Hannover Messe, Swedish Embassies and Business Sweden all over the world during winter 2018/19 ahead of the fair.

But the Hannover Fair will also be an opportunity to showcase Swedish music and culture, not least at the inaugural ceremony, which the German Chancellor and Swedish Prime Minister will be participating in the evening before the fair opens. The following day we look forward to opening, together with the Chancellor, the Sweden Co-Lab Digital Factory”, as the Swedish pavilion will be called, to the estimated 220,000 visitors to the fair. We hope you will be among them!






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