International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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History of the Swedish Vegetarian Societies

From the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester), January 1896, p.24:

SWEDEN.- A vegetarian society has been formed at Stockholm, to which 40 members subscribed on the first evening.

The report of the 1938 IVU Congress, held in Hurdals Verk, Norway, gives a slightly different account:

. . . The first Scandinavian Vegetarian Society was founded on the 29th March, 1895, in Ostersund, Sweden, by the late J. L. Saxon. The Danish Vegetarian Society was founded in Copenhagen on the 1st January, 1896, by Dr. Michael Larsen, and on the 13th February, 1903, the Swedish Vegetarian Society was founded at Stockholm. In the same year Mr. Saxon came to Christiania (Oslo) to assist in the formation of a vegetarian society in Norway, which was founded on the 22nd August, 1903.

The following item was contributed by the Soyfoods Center:

Svenska Vegetariska Föreningen [Swedish Vegetarian Society]. 1903. New vegetarian society. Stockholm, Sweden.
Summary: Source: Vegetarian Messenger and Health Review (Manchester, England). 1904. "News: Scandinavia." Feb. p. 52. "Mr. G. Liedbeck, of Finsping... informs us that a Swedish Vegetarian Society, called 'Svenska Vegetariska Föreningen,' was formed on the 13th February, 1903, its president being Mr. Johan Lindstrom-Saxon, of Ostersund, an ardent advocate of the vegetarian and natural mode of living. The society has as its organ Vegetarianen ('The Vegetarian'), a quarterly paper of very varying and interesting contents. Each number contains the portraits of some prominent vegetarian or humanitarian. A special feature is that the paper contains medical advice by a vegetarian physician, every subscriber being entitled to send in questions."

In 1908 the society sent a letter of support to the first IVU Congress in Dresden, Germany.

An extract from the 1909 Congress, held in Manchester, England:

Mdme. Lombard spoke in a spirited way for Sweden and Norway, and also read the Danish report for Dr. Larsen. The Swedish Society numbers over 1000 members, does much good work by lecturing and travelling, cookery schools, and propagandist lierature. Mr. Saxon unfurled their banner, which is of the colour of the sun, spreading light, also handed round their pretty badges for inspection, and soe of their books.

- and from the 1910 Congress in Brussels, Belgium:

Membres d'honneur [of the congress committee] :- ... J. S. Saxon, Stockholm ; ...

Mme. Lombard spoke of the work in Sweden and specially alluded to the very handsome gift made by Captain Jedda, which is being applied to found scholarships for students, to run from three to four years for the study of vegetarianism. Captain Jedda wanted to found a Chair, but the University would not consent to this.

- from the 1913 Congress at The Hague, Holland:

On Monday morning we proceeded to Hotel Zeerust at Scheveningen for the business part of our Congress. ... Messrs. J. Morand, of Paris, and Saxon, of Stockholm, were appointed presidents. ...

The following is a list of the papers:- Those marked with an * were read. ... J. L. Saxon, of Sweden, *"The Bloodguiltiness of Boäs and Muffs." ...

- extracts from reports of the 1926 Congress in London, England:

After Mr. J. L. SAXON (Sweden), and Professor H. NOLTHENIUS (Holland), had responded, the delegates were introduced to the assembly, and the following is the order in which they responded to the roll call ...Mr. J. L. Saxon and Rev. Gustay Lindström (Sweden)....

... A "National Day," on which meetings were held throughout each country, had been observed yearly in Denmark, Holland and Sweden. ...

... Grace was said by the Rev. GUSTAV LINDSTROM (Sweden) and after the banquet. the loyal toast having been duly honoured, the Chairman, Mr. R. LAWSON COAD, proposed the toast of "The International Vegetarian Union". ...

.. The Rev. GUSTAV LINDSTROM (Sweden) said that in Sweden they were fortunate in having such a leader as Mr. J. L. Saxon. In Sweden they had one Society with a membership of 1,500, and there were probably about 10,000 vegetarians throughout the land. They were fortunate in having vegetarian restaurants in all their chief cities. Every month they sent to fifty papers throughout the country a note of the very latest scientific researches relating to the value of vegetarianism In addition, they arranged dinners, and also meetings to discuss vegetarian problems, when they urged people to eat fruit and wholemeal bread. Mr. J. L. Saxon had com-piled a recipe for the making of bread which was now being put on the market, and this had already obtained a large sale. It was cheaper than the white bread and thereby effected a considerable saving in national expenditure, and it was also acceptable to the weakest digestion. ...

The report of the 1929 Congress in Steinschönau, Czechoslovakia mentions that Sweden was represented but, gives no further details.


The 1932 Congress report mentions that Mr J.L.Saxon (Stockholm) chaired one of the sessions.


The report from the 1935 Congress, in Denmark, mentions:

Mr. John L. Saxon (Sweden) was elected President emeritus for life at the I.V.U. Congress held at Stockholm in 1923 (see photo right from the 1923 Congress.).

Mr. JOHN L. SAXON, the "grand old man" of our Movement, presented Mr. Egerod and Mr. Feix with the silver medallion for meritorious service, awarded by the Swedish Vegetarian Society only to workers of national and outstanding importance.




Extracts from the report of the 1938 Congress in Norway:

The first Scandinavian Vegetarian Society was founded on the 29th March, 1895, in Ostersund, Sweden, by the late J. L. Saxon. ... and on the 13th February, 1903, the Swedish Vegetarian Society was founded at Stockholm. In the same year Mr. Saxon came to Christiania (Oslo) to assist in the formation of a vegetarian society in Norway, ...

... In the afternoon, Professor Dr. JOHAN ALMKVIST (Stockholm), [photo right at the Congress] lectured on "Air, Sun and Clothing." He went into considerable detail regarding the functioning of the skin, the work of the pores and the effect of their contact with the air and the sun. He con-cluded his lecture with a series of lantern slides illustrating his address. ...

... Apologies for absence and expressions of good wishes were read from ... Mrs. Saxon (Sweden), ... Reports of work accomplished during the past three years were presented by the delegates from ... Sweden,

... On Thursday afternoon, Mr. ARE WAERLAND (Stockholm photo right) gave a vigorous address on "My Way from Disease to Health." After a brief interval at the conclusion of Mr. Waerland's speech an interesting discussion followed in which the following speakers took part: Messrs. Spur, Jones, Reid, Semple, Tienes, Durr and Mrs. Jones. A report of Mr. Waerland's address will appear in the September issue of THE VEGETARIAN MESSENGER.

On Thursday evening after supper, Prof. Almkvist (Stockholm) gave a further lecture on the beneficial effects, from a health point of view, of the complete exposure of the body to sunshine and fresh air. ...

Swedish delegates in 1947:

Miss I.Pedersen & Are Waerland

Mr G.Hedfors & Mr J.Pedersen

Mr C.Schelin

From reports of the 1947 IVU Congress, held in Stonehouse, England:

... Brief speeches were made by the overseas delegates ... Mr. G. Hedfors (Sweden), Mr. J. Pedersen (Sweden), ...

... Mementos of the Centenary of The Vegetarian Society [UK] were presented from Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Holland,...

... The business included reports from representatives of Societies affiliated to the I.V.U., and were given by Mr. Carl Schelin (Sweden), ...

... An informal discussion on matters of general interest was held on the College lawn when Mr. G. HEDFORS (Sweden) spoke on the organization of youth movements, ...

From reports of the 1950 IVU Congress, held in The Netherlands:

Fourteen nationalities were present, and except for one speech in French, one in German and one in Swedish, English - though of all varieties - was spoken throughout.

... Brief speeches were made by delegates from the countries represented. ...J. Pedersen (Sweden), ...

... Brief reports of work accomplished in the various countries -given by delegates from ... Sweden.

... Election of Officers. The officers of the I.V.U. were elected as follows-- ...Hon. 'Treasurer: J. Pedersen (Sweden), ...

Farewell Dinner. ... J. Pedersen (Sweden). .... also spoke,

1958 - The Vegetarian World Forum, July 1958, carried a complete list of IVU " Affiliated Societies - and others in association with the I.V.U." These included:
- Forbundet Allnordisk Folkhalsa, Eklunshof, Tuflinge, Sweden (see also Norway)
- Svenska Vegetariska Foreningen, Mrs. E. Mellin, Karlbergavagen 14, Stockholm, Sweden.

World Vegetarian Congresses, members of the International Council and other Swedish Societies:

  • Mr.Josef Pederson, IVU Treasurer 1950 - 63, Vice President until his death in 1977
  • 1953 Sigtuna, Sweden

  • Mr Carl Schelin - Vice-President 1963-5, possibly longer

  • 1973 Ronneby Brunu, organised by Arne Winqvist (1919-2002)

  • 1976 - Veganföreningen i Sverige (Swedish Vegan Society)

  • Anders Kocken 1982-90

Svenska Vegetariska Föreningens today can be found at (in Swedish)


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