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Meet SWEA Algarve and the new President, Britta Hesse

15 February 2021

CLS welcomes SWEA Algarve to our community and is happy to introduce Britta Hesse, President of SWEA Algarve. Britta has a long experience of living abroad and has been active within SWEA since 1992.

As SWEA Portugal is the largest SWEA chapter outside of Sweden, SWEA Algarve was recently established as a local chapter of SWEA to extend the community and to include participants in other parts of Portugal than Lisbon.

My name is Britta Hesse and I am the President of SWEA Algarve. SWEA is a global network of Swedish speaking women, founded by Agneta Nilsson in Los Angeles in 1979. We have about 6.500 members in 70 chapters in more than 30 countries.

In the year 2016 it became very popular to move to Algarve for Swedish people and since SWEA Lissabon already existed it was decided to begin with a subgroup in Algarve. More and more women joined the SWEA and in 2019 Algarve had more members than Lissabon.

I moved to Algarve at the end of 2017 and since I had been a SWEA member since 1992, I really wanted Algarve to be an independent chapter under SWEA International. I consulted SWEA International and they gave us clear feedback: Now it was time to start the process!

I have to admit it was some struggle to plant this idea in Algarve, but in the end everybody agreed it is better to divide SWEA Portugal into SWEA Lissabon and SWEA Algarve.

In September 2020 the members voted for an Interim board and 1st of January 2021 SWEA Algarve was founded. It is not so easy to start a nonprofit organization here in Portugal but we had good help from a lawyer, an accountant and SWEA Portugal (Lissabon). At our annual board meeting in February 2021 the members voted for a board with 9 members and with me as the president which I´m honored to be.

I have long experience of living abroad and with SWEA. In 1981, I moved to Luzern in Switzerland with my husband who worked for a multinational company. After Switzerland, we moved to Munich, Copenhagen, Milano, New Jersey (USA), and finally back to Luzern. After 24 years abroad, I moved to Sweden. After 12 years in Sweden and with grown-up children, my longing for living abroad again was big so in 2017 I moved to Portugal.

In Milano, New Jersey, and Zurich, I was Vice-President in the local chapters of SWEA and a member of the activities. In Sweden, I was first a member in SWEA Gothenburg and later president of SWEA Stockholm. It is with a responsibility and an honor to be president and I´m looking forward to working hard with the board and meeting all members in person as soon as the pandemic is over.

There is a wide scattering in our members´ places of residence and we try to spread the activities along our long coastline. During this pandemic, we organize outdoor activates such as hiking, golf, and coffee time outside. As soon we can join as a bigger group we will have bird watching, city tours and wine yards visits, and much more.

Last year we had lectures on Portuguese history, Portuguese traditions and food, safety and health. SWEA International has organized many interesting webinars for all members with Zoom and then we have had the abilities to “meet” other SWEA members around the globe.

  • SWEA is the largest organization outside of Sweden promoting the Swedish language, culture and tradition. 
  • SWEA is a non-profit association and each year grants donations and scholarships for approximately 250 000 USD. 
  • SWEA provides a strong and intensive personal network for its members around the world.

Rua do Moinho 25
8100-087 Boliqueime, Portugal 

SWEA Algarve

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