Sweden is said to be among the most open-minded countries in the world – find out why.

The countdown to Europride 2018 has begun, with the landmark event kicking off in Stockholm this Friday 27th July, extending for over 2 weeks before a grand finale in Gothenburg on Sunday 19th August.

The third Europride celebration in 3 decades (Stockholm was proud hosts in 1998 and 2008), sees 15 consecutive days with an outstanding total of over 800 individual programmes available to attendees. Revelers can expect everything from international artists to important seminar and workshops across all the Europride Houses.

Sweden is said to be among the most open-minded countries in the world, with the decriminalization of homosexuality happening nearly 75 years ago. It is often said Sweden has been “gay since 1944.” Beyond the weeks of Europride itself, this makes Sweden a destination of choice for gay and lesbian travellers all year round, especially the cities of Stockholm and Gothenburg, who have for many years been proactively welcoming LGBT+ travellers to experience its stunning culture and sense of community, not to mention its innovative food scene and unparalleled approach to design.

But in the coming weeks, both cities will enjoy being both under and over the rainbow in the eyes of LGBT+ Europe and the rest of the world. Stockholm’s opening gala (the largest Pride festival in Scandinavia) will showcase Eurovision stars Eleni Fourerira and Conchita as well as much-loved, renowned Swedish music acts. And that’s just what’s on the official programme.

The city’s local community and businesses promise to throw some outstanding parties – including a live performance with the latest Eurovision champion Netta and a residency by Spanish superclub Matinee. The annual Human Rights Conference is also being amplified this year, with leading international speakers and thought leadership programmes.

Gothenburg promises a celebration that’ll reach out across Europe and the globe. It is proud to present Bananarama, Boy George and Culture Club, Ru Paul’s Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon and international art collective Rainbow Riots. At the same time, Gothenburg also plays host to the Goteborgs Kulturkalas, Scandinavia’s biggest free culture festival, offering up opera, art, music, carnival, theatre and film. That’s two celebrations in one – double the bang for your buck.

Just in time for these celebrations, VisitSweden is proud to launch its new global, online platform to inspire LGBT+ travellers to visit the country at www.visitsweden.lgbt. The microsite, running under the campaign banner “Open to everyone” aims to demonstrate the country’s approach to LGBT+ diversity and inclusion when welcoming travellers from all around the world, through interesting stories from a series of world-class writers and content creators.