Civil society

Last updated: 7/12-2022

Sweden has a thriving civil society. Many people who live in Sweden are members of one or more associations. If you have a particular interest or need, you can join an association dedicated to it.

Being part of an association together with other people can be a way promoting you interests in different groups. As a member of an association you can become involved with social issues that interest you. Civil society also offers opportunities to develop your interests and knowledge, to create a bigger network and get to know new people. Associations of various kinds can also provide help and support with things that may be difficult for you, or if someone in your family is not feeling well.

Freedom of association is enshrined in Swedish law, which is an important part of a democratic society. Freedom of association means that everyone has the right to start or join an association. A group of people with a shared interest or a shared background can start an association.

You can choose to join the association as a board member, a leader, or a member/volunteer in its activities. Joining an association is sometimes described as a schooling in democracy. Members learn to act through democratic processes and reach decisions in accordance with democratic principles. Civil society as a whole has played an important role in the democratisation of Swedish society. Many people are members of associations without being actively involved in what they do.

If you want to join an association, start one, or apply for funds for your association, contact your municipality. Often it is the municipality's leisure and recreation services department that helps associations.