New Swedish names go back to nature

More and more Swedes are unsatisfied with their surnames and are choosing to either change to another or make one up.

The Swedish Patent and Registration Office (PRV) has seen the number of name change applications increase by 38 percent since 2000.

The proportion of people applying for newly created names was even higher, up 63 percent in the same period. In 2006, 1,420 people applied for names of their own design, compared to 869 individuals in 2000.

There are strict regulations governing names in Sweden. PRV will not for example authorise the use of a registered place name, while railway stations and post offices are definite no-nos.

Small villages however may be lucky enough to slip under the red tape. The old yellow signs still to be found dotted around the countryside have proved a source of inspiration for many, according to PRV.

“The fact that an increasing number of Swedes want to create their own names may be related to the strong individualistic trend in today’s society. People want to stick out from the crowd and create their own identities.

“People also often want to use a surname that has some sort of connection to where they come from,” said PRV’s Jan Ekengren in a statement.

Not all of the new names sounded Swedish. In 2006 PRV approved the names Sitheropoulos, Neryan and Shantiman.

Of the Swedish-sounding names many remained close to nature. PRV gave the go-ahead to Solskogen (Sunforest), Stormvinter (Stormwinter), Månlycke (Moonhappiness) and Fridfalk (Peacefalcon).

Most name changes however are marriage-related.

“During the summer people were ringing and wondering how quickly they could push through their name changes because they were getting married.

“The processing time usually ranges from a few weeks to two months, depending on the type of case,” said Jan Ekengren (Oakbranch).