Swede denied right to call himself ‘black work’

Peter Vinthagen Simpson
Peter Vinthagen Simpson - [email protected]
Swede denied right to call himself ‘black work’

A man from Märsta in northern Stockholm has been denied the right to adopt the word “Svartjobb” (literally: black work) as his name after tax authorities deemed it to have negative connotations and to be indicative of a poor work ethic.


According to Sweden's naming laws, the Tax Agency (Skatteverket) has the power to decide which names are approved for children born in Sweden and for those wishing to change their names.

"First names shall not be approved if they can cause offense or can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it, or names which for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name," the law states.

The tax agency has rejected the man’s request citing the name law and explaining that the word "is used by those unwilling to meet their obligations in the labour market" and thus can not be considered a suitable Christian name.

Furthermore the agency rejected the man’s request to add “Eddie” as a middle name or "mellannamn" - a uniquely Swedish construction that equates to a secondary surname.

According to the law a “mellannamn” can only be adopted if the bearer has some prior connection to the word.

The 1982 name law was originally planned to protect Swedish nobility, preventing the general public from giving their children noble names.

The law in now more commonly applied by the Tax Agency to protect children from the unrestrained imaginations of their parents or to protect established brand names.

The Local has previously reported on disputes surrounding names such as Metallica, Ikea, Google, Dark Knight, Elvis, His Majesty and Q.


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