Friday the 14th of September will go down in the annals of history as the day a new Swedish Consulate was officially established in the renowned Thai resort of Hua Hin. This is a great credit to the relationship that has grown and flourished between the local Thai community and the people of Sweden, who for generations have favored this picturesque and tropically inviting location to enjoy their vacations and even to settle with their families.
Whether as a second home or by intermarriage, the cultural amalgamation between the Thai and Swedish people is a resounding success of mutual appreciation and respect. A once in a lifetime occasion, this event has also illustrated the extent to which Dusit Thani Hua Hin has supported and earned esteem within the local community, especially from the expats of Sweden.
The opening ceremony and cocktail reception proved to be a triumphal celebration adorned with spectacular award winning ice carvings that have a lot in common with the winter climate of Sweden, in that they are both chillingly beautiful. Officially opened by the Swedish Ambassador to Thailand, His Excellency Mr. Klas Molin, the ceremony was also attended by the Governor of Petchaburi, Khun Vinai Buapradit, senior police officials and almost one-hundred Swedish nationals residing in Thailand.
The Ambassador spoke of the closeness of the two nations and that Thailand has between 350,000 and 450,000 Swedes entering the country every year, a number that continues to rise with the largest concentration of Swedish nationals being located in Hua Hin. He also referred to the strong relationship between the royal households of each country plus the favourable business and governmental exchanges. The Ambassador went on to congratulate Khun Victor on his appointment, stating that, “This consulate in Hua Hin has the most attractive office he has ever seen” and “Many things we used to take care of in Bangkok will be taken care of locally through expert hands and experienced people working for you and working for us in servicing this area and community.”
He told the audience how Swedes living in Hua Hin can now turn to Khun Victor and his staff, who know a lot about Sweden and its customs, for assistance. Before the ribbon cutting that officially opened the new consulate, linking the two nations that are 5,014 miles apart, Khun Victor responded to the Ambassador and addressed the audience with an enthusiastic speech during which he said “Your Excellency, Dignitaries, Honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen, and the people of Sweden may I thank you for entrusting me with the position of Honourary Consul for The Consulate of Sweden in Hua Hin.
It is indeed an honour and privilege to be appointed to this honourable position, but more importantly it is a great pleasure for me to be of service to the local Swedish community. Over the years since opening and managing Dusit here in Hua Hin, I have come to know personally, and forged many good friendships with people from your beautiful country who have visited for vacation or chosen Hua Hin as their home from home.” He went on to say: “Many Swedish visit regularly or settle here because of the Thai climate, cultural characteristics such as a friendly easygoing approach to day to day living and for our wonderful beaches and colourfully entertainingly social opportunities and festivities. For Thai’s, Sweden holds a special fascination because of its spectacular landscapes, magnificent architecture and variable climate that has something we cannot import, copy or package in Thailand…
“A White Christmas”, with that magical ambience of gathering close to a roaring log fire while nestling in thick comforting pullovers and sipping hot, spiced, mulled wine. Somehow, Glogg is just not the same when you have almost nothing on and sand between your toes at a sweltering 32 degrees centigrade. However, we have stolen your Christmas ham, Swedish meat balls, Crayfish, Toast Skagen, Gravlax and my childhood favourite, Kalles Kaviar and we are not giving them back as they are just as good when eaten here as when eaten in Sweden.
Swedish people have long befriended Thais and with the opening of this consular in Hua Hin, I hope that in some small way, this will give us the opportunity to show our appreciation to our wonderful European friends whilst also assisting Thais to have the opportunity to visit such a wonderful country as Sweden to experience the rich culture and geographic splendours for themselves.” Khun Victor wound up his well accepted response by saying: “With the opening of this new consulate, we are not only providing a much needed service in Hua Hin, but we are also illustrating how far we have come in embracing and respecting each other’s cultures, laws and the extent to which our two countries have formed a bond of trust and affection.
This achievement is something for which we can all feel very proud. Your Excellency Dignitaries, Honoured guest Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all so very much.” With the ribbon cut, a new era begins and the people of Hua Hin now have an indelible link with their Swedish friends.