Anna Lindh (1957-2003)

Anna Lindh was a Swedish Social Democratic politician and a rising star within the party. She took an active part in shaping policy regarding the Balkans and EU enlargement, for example, before she was fatally stabbed in 2003.

2020.08.20 | Byron J. Nordstrom

Anna Lindh signing

Anna Lindh acting as Swedish minister of foreign affairs at an EU signing ceremony in 2003. This treaty welcomed ten new EU members including Cyprus and Estonia. Photo: Jan van de Vel, EC - Audiovisual Service.

Anna Lindh was a gifted Swedish politician, heir apparent to the chairmanship of Sweden´s Social Democratic Party, and a potential future prime minister of Sweden. She was elected to parliament in 1982 and appointed Minister for the Environment in Göran Persson’s government in 1994. As Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1998 to 2003, Lindh quickly won the respect of her colleagues in Sweden and beyond, and took an active part in shaping national and EU policies regarding the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, Palestine, Iraq, and EU enlargement. In 2003, she became the government’s leading spokesperson in Sweden’s referendum campaign regarding the adoption of the euro.

On 10 September 2003, four days before the referendum, Lindh was fatally stabbed in the centre of Stockholm. Her murder, like that of Olof Palme in 1986, horrified the country and ended a life of great promise.

Among the many ways in which her legacy has been honored and continued are:

  • the Anna Lindh Memorial Fund Foundation in Sweden;
  • the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures, based in Egypt;
  • Stanford University’s Anna Lindh Fellowships; and,
  • Harvard University’s Anna Lindh Professorship of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy.

Further reading:

  • Leif Jennekvist, Mordet på Anna Lindh [The murder on Anna Lindh] (Stockholm: Bonnier, 2005).
  • Olle Svenning, Anna Lindh: en minnesbok [Anna Lindh: a memory book] (Stockholm: Norstedts, 2003).