The monarch is prepared to offer royal land to help with the migrant crisis

By Caris Davis
Updated November 11, 2015 02:25 PM
Nigel Waldron/Getty; Pascal Le Segretain/Getty

Sweden s King Carl Gustaf says he’s prepared to let migrants who want to make their home in his country utilize royal land.

And despite requests and applications for migrants to stay overnight at Stockholm’s Royal Palace, the monarch has no plans to open the palace doors, according to Swedish Royal Court spokesman Margareta Thorgren.

The palace is a museum, a work place and “one of Sweden’s most important tourist destinations,” so turning it into a refugee camp just isn’t practical, she said.

But the king is ready to listen to “other creative suggestions,” Thorgren told the Danish journal, Dagens Nyheter.

“The royal family is following – and is incredibly committed – to this issue,” she said.

The king’s daughter-in-law, Princess Sofia, made the refugee crisis the topic of her first-ever solo public speech earlier this year.

“I think that everyone can contribute in their own way and do something. I have a great belief that every individual can make a difference and help a fellow human being, said the princess, who is expecting her first child with husband Prince Carl Philip in April 2016.

The royal family’s already supporting established organizations specifically working with refugees, according to Thorgren, who said they’ve also contributed aid to migrants through their own charitable foundation, which currently manages funds totaling more than two billion krona (around $230 million).

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And when the National Property Board (Statens fastighetsverk), which manages the properties on the royal family’s behalf, finds a suitable property, the royal court will pick up the proposal for discussion.

“Our attitude is very positive. Overall, it’s a great idea to make use of premises that are never used,” Johan Zetterberg, the agency’s property director, told the Swedish newspaper Expressen.

In addition to Stockholm’s 600-room Royal Palace, the royal family also owns the slightly smaller Drottningholm Palace, Solliden Palace, an official summer residence on the Baltic island of Oland and more than 10 other significant properties dotted around the nation. They are also thought to own substantial areas of the country’s farmland.

Ski resorts, holiday parks, theatres and sports halls are already used to house those seeking asylum, with tent accommodation scheduled to open later this month.

Sweden’s liberal social policies, generous welfare benefits and reputation for welcoming refugees and political asylum seekers are well-established – having previously taken in U.S. draft-dodgers during the Vietnam War.

But the small nation of 9.8 million now hosts more asylum seekers per head than almost anywhere else in Europe.