The purpose of the Royal Society of Naval Sciences is to follow and promote the development of the naval sciences and of maritime matters in general, and thereby further that which is of benefit to the Nation. It is the oldest Society in Sweden and one of the oldest in the world devoted to naval or military sciences. Founded in 1771, the Society is looking forward to celebrating 250 years of activity in the field.

The Society was first established in Stockholm in 1771 and remained there until 1784. In 1777 the Galley Fleet was reorganised, after which it came under the command of the Army with the consequence that the next few years saw the dispersal of the Society’s fellows either to the fortress of Sveaborg in Swedish Finland or to the naval base in Karlskrona. During this period the activities of the newly founded Society dwindled, but was saved from being dissolved  by captain (later vice-admiral)  Otto Henrik Nordenskiöld, who succeed in convincing the Society to stand by its decision to move to Karlskrona. The last meeting in Stockholm was held on April 21st 1784, when Nordenskiöld was elected president of the Society.

On June 5th 1784 the first session convened in Karlskrona. At the meeting of June 26th 1805, the following message from King Gustav IV Adolf was presented, granting the Society the formal status of a Royal Academy:

Inasmuch as ye have respectfully placed in our hands this account of this Society for the Naval Sciences and the manner in which it came into being and thereafter thrived and flourished, and that for the future prosperity of the said Society, ye do now humbly request our most gracious protection of the aforementioned, and that as a dear token of this our protection and favour do entreat us to lend to this Society the high dignity of a Royal Society, and that furthermore ye do so entrust to us those in the year 1771 confirmed Rules and Regulations, and that ye likewise earnestly beg of us that after we have of necessity these Rules and Regulations so considered and understood that they will be diligently upheld, that we may please to bestow our most gracious consent to the aforesaid Rules and Regulations. Let it be known therefore that we do hereby extend to this learned Society our gracious favour and protection, and that it is our gracious wish and command that ye hereafter be known as the Royal Society for Naval Sciences; furthermore that we will graciously accept these very same Rules and Regulations for our consideration when so presented to us by the aforesaid Society.

The Royal Palace of Stockholm on this 9th day of May, 1805.

On November 15th 1821, 50 years after the foundation, the Society could celebrate that the library had moved into the Societies premises in Karlskrona. The library remains in the same building, which until the mid 1950’s was also the official address of the Society. The Rules of Association have gradually been revised. The maximum number of fellows of the Society were increased from 50 in 1876 to 75 in 1912 and to 100 in 1952.

The Royal Society of Naval Sciences was very active in Karlskrona during the 19th century even if certain periods was characterised by various difficulties. The Society several times initiated the development of the Royal Swedish Navy and wrote many regulations, which were delivered to the authorities in Stockholm. The authorities in Stockholm regurarly refered to the Society for consideration. At the end of the 19th century the administration of the admirality was renewed and the referendum to the Society came to an end as well as public affairs with the Minister of the Navy.

After lengthy discussions, it was decided that at least a part of the Society’s business should be conducted in Stockholm, and in the early 1950’s, these plans could begin to be realised. The principal reason behind this decision was that the move would enable more fellows to participate in the meetings and activities of the Society. The first meeting in Stockholm was held on February 9th 1956 in the presence of King Gustav VI Adolf (1882 – 1973, King of Sweden 1950 – 1973) and since then Stockholm is where the Society’s business is administered and most of its meetings held. However, the Society does, as far as possible, try to have at least one meeting in Göteborg and two in Karlskrona each year.