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NATIONAL DAY

Swedish citizenship applications on the rise

The number of people applying to be Swedish citizens is expected to rise in 2011, according to forecasts from the Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket).

Swedish citizenship applications on the rise

Monday, June 6th was Sweden’s National Day, a day when thousands of newly naturalised Swedish citizens attended receptions and ceremonies across the country in honour of their decision to take Swedish citizenship.

Since June 6th was declared an official public holiday in 2005, 145,291 people have been granted Swedish citizenship, according to Migration Board statistics.

Among the largest groups represented among the newly minted Swedes are immigrants from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Russia, Serbia, Iraq, Turkey, Poland, the United States, Syria and Somalia, according to the agency.

In 2010, the Migration Board received a total of 32,891 applications for Swedish citizenship, and so far this year, nearly 15,000 applications have come in.

By the end of 2011, the agency expects to have received a total of 37,000 citizenship applications, marking nearly a 13 percent increase compared to 2010.

The figure is expected to climb further in 2012, when the Migration Board expects 40,000 people to seek Swedish citizenship.

One of the explanations for the rise in citizenship applications is the introduction in April 2010 of an online application form, allowing prospective citizens to submit an application via the Migration Board’s website.

“So far, the system has worked well, but with the increase in applications, the service will eventually need to be further developed,” Jonas Lindgren, a department head with the agency, said in a statement.

“Electronic applications are the future and I’m happy we’ve had a positive response from our applicants.”

Between June 6th, 2010 and May 30th, 2011, a total of 20,864 people were granted Swedish citizenship, according to Migration Board statistics.

Stockholm County welcomed the highest number of new citizens in the past year, registering 6,638 new Swedes.

The countywith the next highest number of newly naturalised Swedes is Västra Götaland (3,285), home to Sweden’s second largest city of Gothenburg.

Skåne, home to Malmö in southern Sweden registered 3,014 new Swedish citizens in the last year.

Meanwhile, Gotland County, which consists of the Baltic island of Gotland, saw a mere 42 people take citizenship in the last 12 months, while Jämtland County in northwestern Sweden welcomed 97 new citizens.

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SWEDISH CITIZENSHIP

EXPLAINED: How are Sweden’s cities celebrating new citizens this year?

After two years of virtual celebrations, this year Sweden's cities will once again celebrate the new citizens with a ceremony. Here's what different cities have got planned.

EXPLAINED: How are Sweden's cities celebrating new citizens this year?

Under a 2015 law, all municipalities in Sweden are required to hold a ceremony to welcome new citizens. 

The ceremony is intended to convey to new Swedish citizens that their citizenship is “the most important legal link between the citizen and the state”, that citizenship brings “freedom, rights, and responsibilities”, and that citizenship is one of the grounds of folkstyrelsen, or “government by the peoplein Sweden, and stands for samhörighet, or “belonging” in Sweden. 

Municipalities are reimbursed for part of the cost of hosting the ceremonies. 

Stockholm

Stockholm is once again celebrating new citizens in a ceremony in the Stadshuset building. Around 1,300 of the 6,701 new citizens invited to the ceremony have said they will attend, and they have invited a total of 900 guests to accompany them. All citizens over the age of 18 are allowed to bring one guest and all under the age of 18 two guests. 

The 30-minute ceremony will start with a short musical concert, followed by a speech from the city’s mayor Anna König Jerlmyr and city council chair Cecilia Brinck. 

The ceremony will end with a rendition of Sweden’s national anthem, after which all invitees are invited for fika (coffee and a cinnamon bun) in the building’s Golden Hall or Gyllene sal. 

Only those who became citizens during 2021 are invited to the ceremony, as those who became citizens in 2020 and 2019 were celebrated with a digital ceremony. 

Gothenburg 

Gothenburg is pulling out all the stops, inviting 6,063 new citizens to a ceremony in the Slottsskogen park, on the grass in front of the Björngårdsvillan pavilion in the park. 

The ceremony will involve a performance by the multicultural Dream Orchestra, a group rendition of Sweden’s national anthem, a speech by Gothenburg’s mayor Axel Josefsson, and a concert by the Gothenburg symphony orchestra. 

Malmö 

Malmö has decided to hold a shorter ceremony in 2022 than those it held before the pandemic struck, with a two-hour ceremony outside in the city’s Stortorget Square which are part and parcel of the city’s larger National Day celebrations. 

Some 4,000 new citizens have been invited to the ceremony, but the organisers expect only a few hundred to attend. 

The event will start at 12am, and will start with a speech by Anneli Hultén, Governor of Skåne. The Malmöflickorna dance gymnastics group will march in holding Swedish flags, and a choir will perform. 

At 12.40, Carina Nilsson, chair of Malmö’s city council, will give a speech directly to the city’s new citizens. 

Only those who became citizens in 2021 are invited to the ceremony. Those who became citizens in 2020 were invited to a symbolic planting of flower bulbs at the Ribersborg beach on October 3rd to celebrate Malmö gaining its 350,000th resident. 

Uppsala 

Uppsala is holding a citizenship ceremony in the Uppsala Slott, the castle in the city centre, for everyone in the city who became a citizen in 2021.  Around 2,050 people have been invited, of whom 415 are children, and the city expects around 580 new citizens to attend the ceremony. 

Sweden’s Social Security minister Ardalan Shekarabi will give a speech, as will Eva Edwardsson, chair of the city council, Linda Eskilsson, chair of the city’s cultural committee, and Kholod Saghir, the editor of the freedom of expression organisation Svenska Pen. 

The city’s La Cappella women’s choir will perform. 

Västerås 

Våsterås is holding a ceremony for those who became citizens in 2021, with the chair of the municipality’s council, Anders Teljebäck, holding a speech, and a “flag parade” to the Djäkneberget park where the city is holding its National Day celebrations.

Södertälje 

Södertälje, the satellite town outside Stockholm, has decided to invite everyone who has become a citizen in 2019, 2020 or 2021 to a ceremony at the city’s Torekällberget open air museum and the Råby stage. 

They will get speeches from the mayor Boel Godner, and from the chair of the city council Peter Friström. 

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