The Nordic Africa Institute

Archives and Library of the Swedish Labour Movement, ARAB


The Labour Movement started in the 18th century and "Arbetarrörelsens Arkiv och Bibliotek" - ARAB (Labour Movement Archives and Library) was founded in 1902 with an international outset already from start. The movement had close collaborations with the labour movements in other countries and with international organizations with a common ideology. There is a large quantity of documents that shed light on Swedish involvement in Scandinavian and international collaboration, disarmament and peace, union rights and vocational education. The majority of the material on Africa in ARAB is mainly about the period following the liberation. The 1970s and 80s are strongly represented due to the extensive involvement with South Africa and against the policy of apartheid. Material on Africa before the 60s consists mainly of newspaper pictures of events. The institution has taken over many newspapers photo-archives containing, on the one hand portraits of various African leaders and, on the other, extensive and often very good pictorial material from journalistic trips.

There is material from Southern Africa in many of the archives from the Swedish Labour Movement, most of them placed in the Labour Movement Archives and Library (ARAB): material concerning – more or less – support and solidarity with the peoples and countries of Southern Africa. Some of these archives and collections consist of up to three thousand volumes, especially the archives of the Trade Union Movement. In this vast material one can find Southern Africa related correspondence, reports, campaign material etc from different periods. In order to located the material one can in some cases use the register and list of contents of the archive, but more often interesting material is “hidden” under more general headings. The archives are not registered at document level. Instead, the process of locating interesting material might involve some detective work and studies of recent history. One way is to interview those who were active at the time to identify periods and types of material to look for. See also the article written by Ulf Jönson: “Africa in the collections”, in The World in the Basement. International Material in Archives and Collections, labor Movement Archives and Library, Stockholm, 2002, pp. 66-72.


The following archives from the Archives of the Swedish Trade Union Movement can be found in ARAB:
- The Swedish Trade Union Confederation (LO)
- The Trade Union Federations
- Local and Regional Trade Union Branches
- Other Unions/Organizations
- The LO-TCO Secretariat of International Trade Union Development Cooperation
- The Council of Nordic Trade Unions (NFS)

The following archives of Swedish political Parties and political organizations can be found in ARAB:
- The Social Democratic Party (SDP)/International department
- The Left Party (v), i.e. the former Communist Party (SKP/vpk)
- The Social Democratic Women Confederation (SSKF)
- The Social Democratic Youth Confederation (SSU)
- The Falcon Movement [Unga Örnar]

The following archives of Swedish politicians can be found in ARAB:
- The former Prime Minister Olof Palme
- The former Prime Minister Tage Erlander
- Alva & Gunnar Myrdal
- Thorsten Nilsson (SIDA)
- Agda Rössel
- Pierre Schori
and others.

Other relevant archives at ARAB are:
- Archives of the International Center of the Swedish Labor Movement (AIC)
- Archives of ISAC, ARO and AGS
- Archives of the Workers' Educational Association (ABF)


Archives and Library of the Swedish Labour Movement, ARAB
[Arbetarrörelsens arkiv och bibliotek]
Postal and visiting address: Elektronvägen 2, 141 49 HUDDINGE, Sweden
Telephone: +46 8 4123929
Fax: +46 8 4123990 External link.

Archive extent, ref. code, country, period and keywords.

Approx. 275 vol.

Ref. code:







Swedish Labor Movement Arbetarrörelsens Arkiv och Bibliotek ARAB Labor Movement Archives and Library Angola Mozambique Namibia South Africa Zimbabwe International collaboration Scandinavia Southern Africa Landsorganisationen i Sverige LO LO-TCO NFS SDP SKP vpk SSKF SSU Unga Örnar Olof Palme Tage Erlander Alva och Gunnar Myrdal Thorsten Nilsson SIDA Agda Rössel Pierre Schori International Centre of the Swedish Labor Movement AIC Isolate South Africa Committee ISAC Isolera Sydafrika Kommitteen ISAK ARO Africa Groups of Sweden AGS ABF History Anti-apartheid movements Solidarity movements Liberation organizations Anti-racism movements