• Sweden's news in English
Swedes rush to ditch classic Nordic names
More and more Swedes ditch the old Nordic names like Erik and Johan. Photo: Emma Larsson/TT

Swedes rush to ditch classic Nordic names

The Local · 29 Dec 2015, 13:02

Published: 29 Dec 2015 13:02 GMT+01:00

Global celebrity names such as Jay Z, Lana Del Ray or Snoop Dogg, no longer seem quite so strange in Sweden where a record number of people are signing up to give themselves a more unique title.

In 2015, the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (known as PVR) which approves name changes, recieved 1942 applications, up 600 on last year and resulting in a new record.

Some of the most bizarre moves requested include switches to Znövit (Snow White) and Grön (the Swedish word for green), Lejontass (which means Lion paw) and Bobby Lee. 

“There are many people changing to newly formed names. They want to be unique,” Stina Lilja, a press officer for PVR told The Local.

She explained that one reason rising numbers of Swedes want to have an unusual title these days is linked to the growth of the internet, where people are increasingly seeking to make a name for themselves.

“Think for example 'Blondinbella'," she said.

"We use our names more and more as a brand,” she continued, noting that unique names are often easier to remember than others.

Another reason for the increased number of name changes is people wanting to pass on an old family name that is about to become extinct, either because they have not had children or because they have taken their partners' name instead.

“They want to honour their family,” Stina Lilja explained, adding that it is becoming less common for women to switch to their husbands' surnames in gender-equal Sweden, where some men opt for their new wives' names while other couples don't change their names at all.

“This thing about women taking the man's name is about to go away,” she predicted.

Story continues below…

Baby names are famously regulated in Sweden, where parents have to submit their choice to the country's tax authority, which can question any unusual selections thanks to regulations partly designed to prevent bullying and embarassment for children.

However, PVR only rejects around one percent of applications for name changes made by adults.

Data released by Statistics Sweden revealed that Lucas was the favourite name for boys in 2014, for the second year in a row, with Elsa representing girls in first place. The figures for 2015 are due out in January.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
'If Sweden really wants startups, drop the red tape'
Tech star Tayyab Shabab, who is being threatened with deportation. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Swedish politicians are keen to talk up the country's startups – but their migration rules threaten to strangle them, argues The Local's managing editor James Savage.

Startup heavyweights back tech ace told to leave Sweden
Spotify founder Daniel Ek is one of the big tech names backing Tayyab Shabab (right). Photo: Ingvar Karmhed/SvD/TT & personal

Major names in the tech community have rallied behind a developer who was told he must leave Sweden within a month due to an admin error made by his former employer.

Why Sweden could deport hundreds of refugee children
A home for lone refugee children in Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Several hundred lone refugee children could now be sent home from Sweden due to a change in how the rule on exceptional circumstances is applied when making asylum decisions.

Rare and horny ox spotted looking for ladies in Sweden
The ox in question. Photo: Pia Jäderberg

Unfortunately he isn't likely to be successful.

Russian bombers spook Sweden-bound flight
A Russian Tupolev bomber not related to the story. Photo: STR/TT

A flight bound for Stockholm from Reykjavik got a nasty surprise last week when its pilot spotted two Russian bombers from his window.

One dead after Malmö drive-by shooting
Police cars outside the hospital where some of the people shot were taken. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

UPDATED: One of the four men injured in a drive-by shooting in Malmö has died, police confirmed on Monday.

In pictures
How a Swedish hotel reunited this bear with his best friend
The bear having a croissant for breakfast. Photo: Kristoffer Kinnunen/Hotel Avalon

A Gothenburg hotel's attempt to track down the owner of this lost teddy bear turned into something much bigger.

World Cup of Hockey
Europe sends Sweden home from World Cup
Tomas Tatar scores a winning goal against Sweden's Henrik Lundqvist. Photo: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP

Sweden was kicked out of the World Cup of Hockey after losing to Team Europe in overtime.

Poetry can 'save Arab world' says Nobel Prize hopeful
The Gothenburg Book Fair. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Speaking at the Gothenburg Book Fair, Syrian poet and possible Nobel Prize contender Adonis said that religious fanaticism is 'destroying the heart of the Arab world', but sees salvation in poetry.

My Swedish Career
'As long as you hook Swedes on the first try, they'll be back'
Kerryn Beattie (left) and Craig Donovan (right), founders of the Nordic Kiwi Brewers. Photo: Nordic Kiwi Brewers

The Local speaks to a Kiwi expat who took on the tricky world of microbreweries in Stockholm and won.

Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
People-watching: September 23rd-25th
Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
Blog updates

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »


23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
People-watching: September 21st
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: September 14th
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
People-watching: September 9th-11th
The Local Voices
Shakib, 23, works and pays taxes — but will Sweden let him stay?
Watch this Swede roll his kayak without spilling his beer. Respect.
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
jobs available