• Sweden's news in English

Indonesian-born twins reunite in Sweden after 30 years

Oliver Gee · 25 Jan 2012, 15:12

Published: 25 Jan 2012 15:12 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

On top of this, they both work as teachers and were both married on the same day... but the coincidences don’t stop there.

Lin Backlund, 28, was more than a little sceptical when she received a Facebook message from a woman claiming to be her twin sister.

“I thought, ‘What crazy person is this’,” she tells The Local, adding that she ignored the message.

However, her curiosity aroused, Backlund approached her adoptive mother about the possibility of there being any truth in the unusual message, and was shocked to learn of a strange set of events that had been almost forgotten.

“My Swedish parents’ taxi driver was the key to everything,” Backlund explains.

When her parents were taking her to Sweden from the orphanage in Indonesia, when she was just 8 months old, the taxi driver asked the parents what had happened to Nur Kasanah (the name of her sister).

“He somehow knew that my [birth] parents had a girl named Nur Hidayah, which was me, and he was enquiring about my sister who had left the orphanage in Jakarta four weeks previously. Some think he was our birth father, but we don’t know,” she says.

The driver wrote the Indonesian names of the two girls down for Backlund's parents, who two years later arranged a meeting with other the adopting family who were also living in Sweden.

However, at the meeting, discrepancies were found in the adoption papers, and it wasn’t clear whether the girls were actually sisters or just born on the same day.

“No one thought we looked at all alike, even back then,” Backlund chuckles, adding that the connection was forgotten and that the families lost contact.

That was 26 years ago.

But upon learning about this forgotten family history last year, Backlund decided to respond to the Facebook message, saying she was interested in meeting the sender.

Backlund wanted to see for herself if this woman, calling herself Emilie Falk of Helsingborg, was really her twin.

The women organized a meeting at Backlund’s parents' home in Höör, with the aim of getting to the bottom of their sisterly mystery and to see where things led from there.

According to Backlund, she and Falk clicked immediately.

“It felt like we were sisters already,” she recalls.

“It felt like we’d known each other for a long, long time – even though we hadn’t. I have two other sisters, but the bond here was a lot different. Of course, the bond with my sisters is a lot stronger as we were brought up together, but it felt like I had known Emilie for a lifetime.”

The sisters' unlikely story was highlighted earlier in the week by the local Sydsvenskan newspaper, which marvelled over the fact that Backlund and Falk, who were born on March 18th, 1983, in Semarang, Indonesia, had been living so close to one another for decades in southern Sweden.

The pair met several times since their first encounter, and eventually agreed to undertake a DNA test to find out once and for all if they were indeed biological sisters.

And when the DNA tests came in, Backlund and Falk were elated to discover that they were indeed twin sisters.

“It wouldn’t have mattered to me what the result was, but I was so happy to know for certain,” Backlund says.

As the sisters talked more about the astonishing coincidence of their Swedish reunion, they slowly began to find more similarities.

They both work as teachers, both speak the same dialect of Swedish (Skånska), and even have similar tastes in wedding planning.

Story continues below…

“When we started comparing photos and papers, we found out that we both got married on exactly the same day. Emilie’s wedding was exactly one year before mine – to the day!”

But the final surprise was still to come.

“We even had the same wedding song – ‘You and Me’ by Lifehouse. Not many people seem to have heard of it; it’s not that common I think," Backlund explains.

"We were amazed.”

In terms of the future, the sisters are keen to dig deeper into their past, and hope to eventually determine the identity of the taxi driver back in Indonesia who provided the initial clues leading to the sisters re-uniting in Sweden nearly three decades later.

“We want to find out if we have any family left in Indonesia, that’s our next step,” says Backlund.

“But we don’t really mind what we find now that we’ve found each other again.”

Oliver Gee (oliver.gee@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:38 January 25, 2012 by JulieLou40
Nice story. Shame the adoptive parents didn't do a thorough investigation though in the first place.
16:56 January 25, 2012 by StockholmSam

Why is that a shame? What would it have accomplished? And how do you know the parents did not investigate thoroughly enough? We did not have DNA testing back then and probably the adoption system in Indonesia would not have kept adequate records to aid the parents with such a question. Furthermore, the story says that the parents did investigate and even met the parents of the other girl, only to find that the papers were of no help and the girls looked nothing alike. What more do you want?
19:52 January 25, 2012 by tgolan
fantastic to read a happy story
23:32 January 25, 2012 by Sheila Craig
How lovely and what a lot of strange coincidences.
23:53 January 25, 2012 by star10
Adopting families should keep name list of kinship trees for adopted kids. And also keep contact of kinship as much as possible. It is human nature to be curious to know one's root. Adoptive parents shouldn't expect the kids to forget everything and just take the adoptive parents as their root.
08:49 January 26, 2012 by karex
@star10, I agree with you, partly. Some parents are terrified that they will lose the kids. It's human nature. However, I think that it's a good idea for the adoptive parents to know as much as possible about the origin and family of their adoptive children. There could always be cases of inherited conditions or diseases which if known ahead of time, and depending on what it is, could help them to take proactive action and perhaps even avoid their kids getting sick altogether.
09:10 January 26, 2012 by caradoc
What?. No right wing racist bigot postings on this story today?
12:41 January 26, 2012 by gabeltoon
I wish these ladies every success in finding out there family tree.It is important to know where you belong.I'm lucky i have always been aware of my family tree and have met distant cousins in CANADA and the UK. GOOD LUCK.
09:32 January 27, 2012 by seekingthetruth
@caradoc, I like to read this nice story without your negative commentary, did you have to blemish this page??
13:10 January 27, 2012 by caradoc
@ seekingthetruth.

I was just pointing out that the bigots manage to turn almost every news item on this site into one concerning imigration or race. Perhaps you need to be a little less sensitive and offended.

I also think that this was a great story , reall human intrest.
22:47 February 3, 2012 by Chickybee
@ caradoc very interesting comment which says a lot about your state of mind.

People make comments which they feel are constructive because a lot of damage is being done by a minority and people care about their country and there are many immigrants who want Sweden to stay as it was too.

I suggest you look a little closer at the Islamist agenda which is blatant about it's 'plans' for Sweden before you put your comments down.

But of course, as it's free Sweden - you can of course give your opinion whatever.
06:38 February 6, 2012 by Asep
I'm a journalist of Suara Merdeka, the biggest newspaper in a city where Lin Backlund and Emilie Falk were born, Semarang, Indonesia. We have run three stories about them. Even, we khow who their biological mother. Her name is Maryati and she really wants to meet her twin daughters who've been separate about 29 years ago. Can anybody help me to meet Lin and Emilie?
10:03 February 6, 2012 by kangsyukron
1. http://suaramerdeka.com/v1/index.php/read/cetak/2012/02/06/176176/Melacak-dari-Kakak-Ipar

2. http://suaramerdeka.com/v1/index.php/read/cetak/2012/02/06/176175/Nduk-Suk-Gede-Eling-Mak-Ya
Today's headlines
How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission- free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Hundreds protest Swedish asylum laws
Around 1,000 people protested in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Persson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday demonstrated in Stockholm and in many other parts of the country to protest Sweden’s tough new laws on asylum-seekers.

Dylan removes Nobel-mention from website
The American musician has more or less responded to the news with silence. Photo: Per Wahlberg

American singer-song writer Bob Dylan has removed any mention of him being named one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates on his official website.

Refugee crisis
Asylum requests in Sweden down by 70 percent
Sweden's migration minister Morgan Johansson. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Sweden received 70 percent fewer requests for asylum in the period between January and September 2016 than it did during the same time last year, the country’s justice and migration minister Morgan Johansson has revealed.

The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available