History of Odd Fellowship in Sweden
From Kjell Montin
According to original sources, the first Odd Fellow Order in Scandinavia was initiated by the Danish Tradesman Julius Meyer who returned to Denmark in 1876 after an 11 year long stay in America. Julius Meyer was 29 years old at the time and had already been a member in 4 Odd Fellow lodges in the United States. Together with friend and lodge brother Karl Fratz, he started his work to get a lodge started in Copenhagen. On June 29, 1878 the first Danish Odd Fellow Lodge was instituted by the German Grand Sire. The next day, June 30, 1878, the rented premises were inaugurated and it was decided that this day would be the official date for the opening of Danish Lodge # 1. By the time the Grand Lodge for the Kingdom of Denmark was instituted on April 24th, 1884, the Order had some 1200 members!
How the Odd Fellow Order came to Sweden
Geographically, the southern parts of Sweden are very close to Denmark. As in the case of Denmark, two businessmen and Odd Fellows from Copenhagen took the initiative to open the first lodge in Skane Sweden.
On October 29th, 1884, the Scanialodge #1 of Sweden was instituted in Malmo. The second one was to become Lodge #2 Veritas in Trelleborg, also in Skane, Sweden. Both lodges were under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Denmark. On August 1st, 1888, Lodge #3 Amicitia was instituted in Malmo under the jurisdiction of the Sovereign Grand Lodge in the United States. From Lodge #3 Amicitia, other lodges were esablished; Lodge #4 John Ericsson in Stockholm on July 20, 1892, Lodge #5 Concordia in Eslov on November 4 1893, and Lodge #8 Linnea in Ystad on November 18, 1894. From Lodge #4 John Ericsson were derived Lodge #6 Holmia in Stockholm during March of 1894 and Lodge #7 Westmania in Vasteras on October 27, 1894.
For some years the lodges Amicitia and Scania in Malmo City were under different jurisdictions. This peculiar situation was a good reason to establish a Swedish Grand Lodge. After intensive negotiations, the Grand Lodge for the Kingdom of Sweden was instituted on July 8, 1895. The first “Storsire” installed was Wilhelm Laurentz, a member of Lodge #4 John Ericsson. In fact, 5 of the 10 officers came from Lodge #4 John Ericsson. Brother Wilhelm Laurentz stayed in his position until his death September 23, 1924.
Today there are about 170 Odd Fellow Lodges with roughly 28,000 brothers and 90 Rebekah Lodges with 12,000 sisters. The encampment movement is very strong in Sweden with 22 Odd Fellow and 12 Rebekah encampments totaling 19,000 members. There are no mixed lodges and Patriarchs Militant do not exist. There is also a great number of clubs and associations within the framework of the IOOF of Sweden with all kinds of objects from socialization to providing poor children with summer homes.
Sweden was entrusted to reintroduce Odd Fellowship in Poland and 2 Odd Fellows Lodges and 1 Rebekah lodge were quickly established. The Rebekah movement is fast growing in members.