Henrik Hammargren interviewed by the Swedish Radio: “We have noticed a greater interest”

The movie Hammarskjöld premiered in cinema on the 25th of December 2023 and has created a newfound interest about Dag Hammarskjöld. The Foundation’s Director Henrik Hammargren met with the journalist Åsa Widstedt from the Swedish Radio P4 Uppland, to talk more about this.

The full interview (in Swedish) can be heard here from 3:48:18 below:

Read the full translated interview here:

Henrik Hammargren: For us it is important that Hammarskjöld’s memory is highlighted, and I think there is a benefit in the film as such. There is always a risk that great statesmen or diplomats are forgotten, and it is not always easy for others to understand their deeds. I think the film has value in the way it highlights the complexity of the world at the time, and the role of the UN.

Åsa Widstedt: Have you noticed an increased interest since the film premiered as more people became aware of Dag Hammarskjöld?

We have noticed a greater interest where more people go to our website to find out more about him. I also think it is interesting for the public to know how we work with his memory today.

Before the interview, I was talking to your colleagues who mentioned that sometimes when the Foundation meet people from other countries, they have a better understanding of Dag Hammarskjöld than us Swedes?

I can agree with that. I think that we in Sweden are probably not always good at commemorating or working in the memory of people. It’s not just about Hammarskjöld, there are several international Swedish people that we could have a completely different commitment to. However, I feel that there is great international interest in Hammarskjöld, as he is very well known. His posthumously published autobiographical text, Markings, is very well-known and has inspired many in leading positions. That is a recognition weoften come across. We also have a good understanding of what he did as Secretary-General of the United Nations.

In this film about Hammarskjöld, Mikael Persbrandt interprets Dag Hammarskjöld. What do you think of his interpretation?

Mikael Persbrandt is an incredible actor who lives up to the role with all honour. Still, it is an artistic portrayal of a person’s life, so it also narrows in some respects, and the portrayal is determined by the short time perspective that a film entails. I would love to see a longer series about the different parts of his life. A new book was recently published which describes Hammarskjöld’s work in Sweden during the Second World War and his time in the Swedish government.

There are so many dimensions to his life, including his close work with artists and poets where he was very involved. He had a wide range of interests.

Then, let’s hope that someone makes a series about him,

I hope so too, and I would love to see it. There is a lot to build on, even from a historical perspective. There is a lot to learn from Dag Hammarskjöld.