(1905–1961) was a world citizen. During his period as Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1953 until his death in 1961 he became known as an extremely efficient and dedicated international civil servant.Dag Hammarskjöld emphasised that a major task of the UN is to assert the interests of small countries in relation to the major powers. He also shaped the UN’s mandate to establish peace-keeping forces. Before he was appointed UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld held high positions as a civil servant in the Swedish government.
Dag Hammarskjöld also had strong cultural interests and was a member of the Swedish Academy. His book Markings, published after his death, has become a classic.
Most of Dag Hammarskjöld’s childhood and adolescence were spent in Uppsala where his father was the provincial governor. The city’s importance in the formative stages of Hammarskjöld’s life is easily discernible in his writings, among them the moving essay Castle Hill, which was written in New York shortly before his death.
On the night of 17-18 September 1961, in the course of a UN mission to try to bring peace to the Congo, Hammarskjöld’s plane crashed near Ndola airport in the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). All the passengers and crew died. Read more about the death of Dag Hammarskjöld.