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How it started
Friskis&Svettis was founded on the idea that sports associations and health care should be able to benefit more from each other’s knowledge. Friskis&Svettis became an example of how they could work closer to each other under the same roof, whilst gaining experience and enthusiasm. Friskis&Svettis wanted to create a bridge between health care and fitness activities.
The ”&” in the name was crucial
Friskis stood for one part of the activities, Svettis for another. Friskis means activities for those, who for various reasons cannot take part in normal keep fit. Svettis was training for the others. But the symbol ”&” was the crucial element, as it represented the aim of people passing from Friskis to Svettis. Everyone should be able to find a suitable type of training, irrespective of whether they have been injured, are well-trained, out of shape, old or young.
Now one entity
These days we don’t really mention Friskis as one and Svettis as the other, but the aim for everyone to be able to find a suitable type of training is just as strong as ever, which is sometimes manifested by Öppna dörrar and Enkel.
The story in brief
1978 Johan Holmsäter founded Friskis&Svettis in Stockholm. There was only one participant at the first class at Salénshuset, Valter Axelsson. The number of members quickly rose to 1500 and in the autumn the first keep fit instructor training course was held. The following year, Valter became an instructor and a member of Friskis&Svettis Stockholm’s board. The Friskis&Svettis logo was designed by Lars O Laurentii over a weekend.
1979 22 September, a Jympa demonstration was held from Humlegården to Sergels torg. The participants presented their moves at the crossing Kungsgatan/Sveavägen. Traffic chaos ensued. The first edition of the Friskispressen magazine was published.
1981 14 January, Friskis&Svettis opened its first premises, Friskishuset at Gärdet. Summer classes started in Rålambshov park and attracted between 700 and 1000 participants to some of the classes.
1982 Östhammar, Göteborg, Lidingö, Östersund, Helsingborg, Nyköping and Eskilstuna start activities outside Stockholm.
1983 Friskis&Svettis 5th anniversary with 28 associations in Sweden and one in Oslo. 23 000 members in Sweden.
1985 Friskis&Svettis National Council (Riksråd) is established in Malmö. The founder Johan Holmsäter leaves Friskis&Svettis.
1988 Friskis&Svettis 10th anniversary with 64 associations and approx. 70 000 members.
1993 Friskis&Svettis 15th anniversary 97 associations and approx. 131 000 members.
1994 The National Council secretariat moves to Stockholm. The first keep fit video is released.
1997 Friskis&Svettis and Friskispressen conduct a campaign for a more exercise-friendly society. The Home Office fax machine is jammed when the Friskis&Svettis petitions are sent in.
1998 Friskis&Svettis 20th anniversary with 116 associations and approx. 188 000 members.
1999 The second keep fit video is released.
2000 Friskis&Svettis National and Friskispressen start an appeal for the school day to be extended with an activity hour. The General Secretary Anna Iwarsson meets the School Minister.
2001 29 January, Friskis&Svettis along with other keep fit organisations break the world keep fit record as 64 782 people take part in a simultaneous keep fit class. The second keep fit video, with a supplementary CD, is released.
2002 At the end of 2002 there are 137 Friskis&Svettis associations, of which 40 have their own premises. 276 027 training members.
2003 Friskis&Svettis celebrated its 25 year jubilee.
2006 Friskis&Svettis has approximately 376 000 members. Associations can be found in Norway, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Brussels, Paris, Zurich, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, London and Aberdeen.
2007 442 818 members. An increase of 6.1% more members during 2007 and an increase of 91% more members since 2000. 155 non-profit associations, 110 in Sweden, 37 In Norway, Helsinki, Vanda, Copenhagen, Brussels, Paris, Zurich, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, London and Aberdeen.
2008 Friskis&Svettis celebrates its 30th anniversary with a total of 477 665 members in 156 associations.
2009 Friskis&Svettis is comprised of 158 non-profit sports associations and 501 190 members.