Johannes Bureus (1568–1652) was Sweden’s first National Antiquarian and National Librarian. He was also the first person to write down the runic alphabet and is sometimes called the father of Swedish grammar. 

The most distinguished prize of the Royal Gustavus Adolphus Academy bears Bureus’s name as a reminder of his great significance for research into Swedish folk culture, not least on account of the memorandum for antiquarians and collectors of traditions which he drew up in 1630 at the request of Gustavus Adolphus, and which called for an inventory to be made of everything that could provide knowledge about the past – including archaeological remains and manuscripts, customs, legends and songs, words and names – and also about contemporary folklife. 

The Bureus Prize was instituted in 2012 and has so far been awarded four times: 

Elsie Johansson – 2019 prizewinner
Elsie Johansson was awarded the 2019 Bureus Prize for her writing. She is one of Sweden’s leading working-class authors and modern portrayers of folklife. Her great vitality and productivity have resulted in no fewer than 23 books to date. 

Bo G. Eriksson – 2016 prizewinner
The academic journalist Bo G. Eriksson, who holds an honorary doctorate from Uppsala University, was awarded the 2016 Bureus Prize for his outstanding life’s work as a communicator of cultural historical research in a variety of media, most recently through his impressive book on the archaeologist and ethnographer Hjalmar Stolpe. Following the presentation of the award at the Uppland Museum on 19 May 2016, the prizewinner gave a lecture on the subject of ‘The King of Birka’. 

Sven Bertil Jansson – 2014 prizewinner
Associate Professor Sven-Bertil Jansson was awarded the 2014 Bureus Prize for his exemplary scholarly editions of medieval rhyming chronicles and ballad texts and for the very high standard of his writing on subjects such as the folk ballad tradition, Swedish dialect poems, and dedicated local historians such as Johan Saxon and Gustaf Ericsson. Following the award ceremony on 21 May 2014, the prizewinner gave a lecture titled ‘Among female poisoners in Uppsala and maids in Härad – on the adventures and labours of collecting’. 

Kerstin Ekman – 2012 prizewinner
The author Kerstin Ekman was awarded the Academy’s first Bureus Prize for her writing, in which she has documented, depicted in depth and informed a wide readership about working and living conditions, not least for women, during the complex historical process that led to the emergence of modern Sweden. In conjunction with the presentation of the prize, Kerstin Ekman gave the lecture ‘Good and useful reading? The novel as a source of knowledge’.