• Sweden edition

Woman barred from getting coat of arms tattoo

Published: 09 Sep 2009 08:02 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Sep 2009 08:02 GMT+02:00

A 19-year-old woman from Sölvesborg in southern Sweden has had her request for permission to get a tattoo of the national coat of arms turned down by a chief heraldist at the National Archives, local newspaper Blekinge Läns Tidning reports.

The 19-year-old explained in a letter to the public agency that she was "not a racist" and had no intention of abusing any national symbols. She was just a proud Sweden who wished to mark her patriotism with a tattoo on her wrist of the Greater National Coat of Arms or, failing that, the Swedish flag.

But in a written response to the woman, chief heraldist Henrik Klackenberg explained that the Greater National Coat of Arms was the head of state's personal crest. Only in exceptional cases could be used by anybody other than the King, the Riksdag, the government, government ministries, foreign service representatives or the Armed Forces.

Kalckenberg added that she was free to get a tattoo of the Swedish flag, a symbol that belongs to everybody in the country.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

09:25 September 9, 2009 by davidmc
What would happen if she got the tatoo anyway. I am not trying to be a troll. I really have no idea what would happen and am honestly interested.
09:37 September 9, 2009 by svenskdod
A little bit of patriotism could go a long way.
10:31 September 9, 2009 by DreEstwd
Funny how she has to point out that she is, "not a racist." Only in Sweden is it a crime to love your country.
10:31 September 9, 2009 by foxpur
I agree with davidmc, I mean, she could go to any country and have it done and I don't think artwork can be protected as a reapplied work of art.
10:46 September 9, 2009 by Xavid
Guess the Swedish Coat of arms does not belong to Swedish People.

Didnt want it anyway.


Oh my gosh. Wikipedia is using it. Thats illigal only in exceptional cases could be used by anybody other than the King, the Riksdag, the government, government ministries, foreign service representatives or the Armed Forces.

No seriously. I think if you wanna tatoo something on your body you should not go asking permission. Just to it man. Its your body.
11:11 September 9, 2009 by peropaco
As aforesaid, she should just go ahead and get the tattoo.What can they do? send out the royal tattoo patrol and burn it of her flesh?
11:42 September 9, 2009 by hpunlimited
It is correct that you are not allowed to use the coat of arms "officially". But if you want to spray paint your inside of your home or your body, then it is your right. I agree that you can not start a toilet paper brand with the coat of arms on it or any other business, but that is a whole different thing. This girl should appeal and wear this tatoo with pride! I think that the harmful attitude towards Swedish symbols as being racist is just sick. I think that as a public protest, everyone should walk around with flags and Swedish symbols until people get used to it. It is not a crime to love your own country. In fact it should be a crime to violate a nations flag or symbols.
11:56 September 9, 2009 by BrittInSweden
@ DreEstwd

Actually its a big problem back in England too. During the last World Cup some councils even banned people from displaying the St George Cross from their houses and cars as it was deemed "racist".

Being proud of being English first and British second is often seen as being racist rather than patriotic. Especially by some of the media.
12:42 September 9, 2009 by DreEstwd

Man, I really feel for you guys. I don't know what it is called in Sweden, but in the US we call it the "pledge of allegiance" and we would recite it together in the morning at the start of school. I heard that about 10 years after Sweden started taking in all of the immigrants/asylum seekers/etc. that Sweden made it illegal to do this anymore. What a joke. A country with no national pride ceases to exist as a country, in my opinion.
12:42 September 9, 2009 by Britswedeguy
I was in a pub in London wearing a jacket with a Swedish flag on it when someone (not English or Swedish) asked me if I was a Swedish racist. I explained to him that no, I just loved Sweden and my politics were more of the Olof Palme persuasion than Sweden Democrat.

I wonder if he even knew who Olof Palme was...
12:54 September 9, 2009 by karex
Actually, the problem is bearing the Arms itself, not a matter of nationalism or anything like that.There are very strict rules applying to using Arms. Each country has a "College" determining their national rules, some not as strict (such as France where they recognize "Family Arms" which can be ingerited from father to son, the most strict I have seen so far is Scotland. There is no such thing there as a "Family Coat of Arms". Each generation has to apply for a completely new and individual one. In many places it is considered a personal identification (like the SSN number in the US or personal number in Sweden). It belongs to a specific individual. People can't just take it and use themselves. In Scotland you can be criminally prosecuted for this, it is akin to identity theft. That's what the problem is. It seems in Sweden it belongs to the head of state. The flag belongs to the people so she could use that.
14:48 September 9, 2009 by eZee.se
Serves her right... asking for "permission",she should have just gone and gotten the design tattooed.
15:05 September 9, 2009 by Åskar
The only people in Sweden going around calling themselves "patriots" are neo-nazis anyway.
18:03 September 9, 2009 by johnnieBgood
Who wants the same tatoo that the king has on his butt?
19:03 September 9, 2009 by Kaethar
@eZee.se: ... It was the tattoo artist who refused to do the tattoo and told her to ask for permission.

@Åskar: Wrong. And it's that type of attitude in society which lead to her comment that she's not a racist.
20:21 September 9, 2009 by mkvgtired

Funny how she has to point out that she is, "not a racist." Only in Sweden is it a crime to love your country."

No it is pretty much the entire EU now. I was talking to someone in Germany who was constantly asked if he was a Nazi for flying the German flag instead of the EU flag.

The NL banned school children from wearing their Dutch flag anywhere in school because it "could be offensive" to the new immigrants. If it is offensive to immigrants living in the NL it is clear where their loyalties lie. Other countries have similar laws like this limiting nationalism. Very sad. I guess if people dont care about their country they wont mind if these social engineering experiments ruin them.
04:11 September 10, 2009 by iia
wow what in the world am i gonna do,i have to coat of arms and swedish flag tattoo on me
05:27 September 10, 2009 by CaConi

Welcome to the world of the "Politically Correct". Limiting nationalism? My utility bill comes in 10 different languages!! There has to be a limit somewhere, in our effort to not offend anyone - I'm becoming offended.
07:47 September 10, 2009 by hilt_m
"@ DreEstwd

Actually its a big problem back in England too. During the last World Cup some councils even banned people from displaying the St George Cross from their houses and cars as it was deemed "racist"."

yeah it waqs like this in australia too, with the flags at music festivals. They were banned by the government, so the next day 80% of people came with flags and painted faces lol.

She should have just gone to another tattoo place and got it done.
16:45 September 10, 2009 by mkvgtired
Caconi and hilt_m, Very sad what this world is coming too. Everyone should be proud of where they came from. This does not make them a racist.
06:37 September 11, 2009 by DaTraveler
What has become of proud respect and honor for your home country? Througout the Cariibbean and South America and Asia/Africa, it's alright to love your country and be patriotic? And yet no one calls them "racist"?

The very notion of not displaying national symbols or flags in order "to not offend immigrants" seem to note that immigrants are not citizens or part of the society of the country. Immigrants need to integrate and feel like they can become part of the society. If they don't, that is a major failure.

Come on Sweden. Love yourself
16:49 September 11, 2009 by hpunlimited
Everyone is allowed to love their country except swedes! Because only swedes that love their country are racists, we all know that, right?

It is extremely easy, if you do not like Sweden, the swedish flag, the swedish symbols, the national day, national anthem.

Then get out of this country and engage in treason somewhere else.
22:38 September 11, 2009 by Wiltshireman
I would do it as you Swedes seem very Patriotic.The ones ive met any way.Plus your flag seems to fly every where even in peoples gardens.Here under the labour rightwing goverment.THAT IS NOT ALLOWED.

Though you go to Wales flags flying every where yes mostly Welsh ones but you get the odd English one flying there.Though Mr Brown has said that the Union Flag has to be flown at places of local goverment ie town halls(Union Jack)

Though we did have a German gent fly the German flag in his garden near here.Dont think any one minded.

Though one of my sons friends got pulled by a policeman for having the St Georges flag on his car parcel shelf and orderd to take it down.

The policemen claimed it could cause offence to other nationalities.Made the paper and news but no one would comment on it not the police any way.

The Scotts are very proud of their flag,so the Welsh. Not so us English shame to say its used by the far right(national front and football hooligans)Though more people seem to say they feel English or Scottish or Welsh or indeed Irish(Northon Ireland)first than British.

So yes get that tattoo get covered!!!!!

Dont be ashamed of being from a proud nation of being a Swede of being Swedish or of being from Skane or where ever.

Your country, culture, history is some thing to be proud of so is the present and more importantly the Future.BE YOURSELVES.You traded and explored the world long before other nations.
05:35 September 12, 2009 by mieoux
She should go ahead and get the tattoo, they are not going to do anything, I think they just wanted to go on record as having denied it. That greater coat of arms is beautiful.
Today's headlines
Police seeking missing Swede in London
Sofie Marie Jansson, who is currently missing in London. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag visits a school in Tensta, one of the neighbourhoods mentioned when he and his colleagues first floated the new start zone proposal. File: TT

Sweden scraps 'new start zones' after EU input

Sweden has abandoned a plan to ease taxes for small companies in blighted areas after the European Commission challenged its legality. READ () »

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'
A typical Swedish Easter egg. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

'Easter eggs an invitation to spread germs'

A Swedish microbiologist has warned that traditional Swedish Easter eggs laden with candy are an open invitation to the spread of bacteria and viruses. "Is this really a good idea?" he asked. READ () »

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour
Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Jammed truck snarls Stockholm rush hour

PICTURES: A truck got wedged inside a tunnel in central Stockholm on Thursday, with authorities concerned the accident may have damaged cables in the tunnel's ceiling. READ () »

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
A Swedish Easter witch holding daffodils. File photo: TT

Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter

In India, I'd notice Easter only from the traffic jam outside the churches, but here witches, egg hunts, and feathers mark the Christian holiday. The Local's Deepti Vashisht brings you the various shades of Swedish Easter. READ () »

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Chemtrails?: Shutterstock.

Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe

A Swedish MP who launched an official government investigation into the existence of chemtrails tells The Local why he thinks Swedes deserve the truth, even if it may leave some conspiracy theorists unsatisfied. READ () »

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid
Fredrik Reinfeldt answers the constitutional affairs committee's questions. Photo: TT

PM pleads ignorance of Vattenfall's Nuon bid

Sweden's prime minister on Thursday said Vattenfall itself, not its owners the Swedish state, had responsibility for the loss-making Nuon deal. READ () »

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer
Photo: TT

'Kockums submarine raid may be illegal': lawyer

A Swedish lawyer says the Swedish military may have broken the law when it raided the Malmö premises of German defence giant Thyssen Krupp. READ () »

Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
People-watching April 16
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
Abba duo hints at reunion
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
People-watching April 11-13
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
Jimi Fritze heard every word when doctors discussed taking his organs
A Swedish farmer explains why the new bestiality ban is 'pointless'
Sponsored Article
Learning Swedish the easy way
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit: