• Sweden edition
 

What's in a Swedish name?

Published: 06 Oct 2004 14:03 GMT+02:00
Updated: 06 Oct 2004 14:03 GMT+02:00

Tuesday's Göteborgs-Posten met Maria and Olli. Like many others, they changed their names when they got married. Maria didn't want Olli's Finnish surname and Olli thought being a Söderström felt wrong. In the end, they both changed to the unique 'Skogsbryne', or 'edge of the forest'.

"I think your name should reflect who you are as a person," explained Olli. "I like nature, but live in the city. On the edge of the forest, as it were."

Swedes have been able to change their name since 1982, when the so-called 'Name Law' was passed. But it's only in the last few years that people have been doing so in significant numbers. Name researcher Eva Brylla of Uppsala University told the GP:

"The 1990's was the decade of the individual. People wanted to get noticed a little more and some used their name to achieve that. It probably took a few years for people to realise how simple many changes are."

Not that simple, though. There are a number of rules and regulations relating to this solemn matter, and it takes up to five months to process. You're not allowed to change to a name that causes offence or is 'obviously inappropriate', or change to a '-son' surname (although you are allowed to change the spelling of a '-son' name you already have). A new surname has to be unique (there's a list of suggestions and a name creator tool on the PRV web site) and absolutely cannot be the surname of one of Sweden's aristocratic families.

According to GP, citizens are allowed to re-claim surnames which have been in their family for at least two generations during the last hundred years.

Initial name changes and the names of newborn babies are registered at the Tax Authority. If you want to name your child 'Månstråle' ('Moonbeam'), for example, be prepared for a phone call from the local office and a demand to explain yourself.

The Name Law has also introduced flexibility into the naming system with the concept of the 'mellannamn' or 'middle name'. This is an extra surname, which, for example, enables children to incorporate both their parents' surnames if they are different.

PRV official, Runo Swärd, gave GP some juicy examples of the kind of applications his office receives:

"We often get suggestions which raise the eyebrows, like Speciell, Mysko [Weird] and Troende [Believer]... There's always someone who wants to change from Karlsson to Carlsson, or stick in an 'h' or 'z' somewhere."

It's becoming common for immigrants to want to change to a more Swedish name. In these cases, the authorities bend the rule concerning no '-son' names.

"We're usually generous," said Swärd. "We've considered that 'Yul' can be translated as the Swedish 'Joel', which gives the name 'Joelsson'."

Another large group is made up of those wanting a posher sounding name. These names end in classic noble suffixes such as '-crona' and '-swärd' (meaning 'crown' and 'sword').

Speciell, Mysko and Troende, incidentally, were all turned down.

Sources: Göteborgs Posten

Don't miss...X
Left Right
Today's headlines
Police 'powerless' against street racers
Police on E4 highway. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police 'powerless' against street racers

Stockholm police said they were powerless to react when streetracers took over at "insane speeds" on a large highway on Friday night. READ  

Saab carmaker wins receivership
Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Saab carmaker wins receivership

After initial rejection, a Chinese-owned company set up to take over Saab's assets after the troubled Swedish carmaker's bankruptcy said on Friday it had succeeded in being placed in receivership. READ  

Woman suffers cardiac arrest while giving birth
Photo: Tomas Oneborg/TT

Woman suffers cardiac arrest while giving birth

A 30-year-old woman went into cardiac arrest while giving birth at a Stockholm clinic - without hospital staff noticing that anything was wrong. She remains in a critical condition on Friday. READ  

Champions League
History repeats for Malmö fifty years later
Striker Magnus Eriksson during Malmö's 3-0 win over Salzburg in a Champions League qualifier. Photo: Björn Lindgren/TT

History repeats for Malmö fifty years later

Malmö's entry into the Champions League serves as a reminder of times gone by in European football. With Spain's champions bound for Sweden things just couldn't be better, writes contributor Lee Roden. READ  

Elections 2014
Löfven promises jobs to 50,000 young Swedes
Social Democrat leader Stefan Löfven. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Löfven promises jobs to 50,000 young Swedes

Social Democrat party leader Stefan Löfven announced on Friday his "most important election promise", a 90-day job guarantee programme for young Swedes. READ  

 Sweden to buy fighter jets despite Swiss pullout
The Jas Gripen fighter aircraft. File photo: Wikimedia

Sweden to buy fighter jets despite Swiss pullout

Sweden said Friday it would go ahead with the purchase of a new generation of Saab Gripen fighter jets, despite Switzerland pulling out of a major co-financing deal. READ  

Three hurt after northern knife attack

Three hurt after northern knife attack

Three people are in hospital after they were stabbed during what police suspect was a gang-related attack in Umeå. READ  

Stockholm 'thief' turns out to be trainee ninja

Stockholm 'thief' turns out to be trainee ninja

Stockholm police rushed to the scene when a worried Swede reported that their neighbours were the victim of a break-in - but when officers arrived, they found nothing but a ninja in the middle of practice. READ  

Elections 2014
Liberals hint at bringing back conscription
Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Liberals hint at bringing back conscription

With Russia becoming "all the more aggressive", the Liberal Party leader and education minister, Jan Björklund, has suggested that Sweden may have to reintroduce conscription. READ  

Swede mauled in bear hunt gone wrong

Swede mauled in bear hunt gone wrong

Roles were reversed in a bear hunt on Thursday night, when a Swedish hunter was attacked by his prey, leaving the man in hospital in a serious condition. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching August 27
Gallery
Top ten false friends in Swedish
National
Roma advocate scoops Wallenberg prize
Society
Meet the man who made a Swedish store recall its high heels for kids
Business & Money
'How I came to run my own business in Sweden'
Blog updates

25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
Expert explains why Sweden's election oozes uncertainty
National
City plays Schindler's List theme at Nazi rally
Society
For Stockholm Fashion Week, here's the A-Z of Swedish fashion
National
'Amnesiac' man avoids deportation for ten years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Business & Money
Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial
Business & Money
Five golden rules for the Swedish job hunt
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Gallery
People-watching August 22-24
National
Armed royal guards caught (very) drunk on the job
National
Sweden orders textbook on Roma discrimination
Gallery
Violent anti-Nazi demonstrations in Malmö
Society
A closer look at Sweden's five official minority languages
Gallery
See the destruction from the southern Sweden floods
Politics
'Sweden Democrats hold the key to elections'
Society
Swedes celebrate first day of smelly fish season
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching August 20th
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing...Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

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 Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

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

775
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:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se