Key points: What changes in Sweden in August 2023

Richard Orange
Richard Orange - [email protected]
Key points: What changes in Sweden in August 2023
A crowd watches Little Simz at Way Out West last year. The 2023 festival will take place this month. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Swedes get back to work, increased police powers in border areas, and not one, but two supermoons. Here's what's happening in Sweden in August 2023.


Swedes return to work - and the school and university year starts

In August, Swedes start heading back to the office after their summer holidays, where the majority of workers take at least a couple of weeks off during July. This means that replies to all those unanswered emails you've sent over the last few weeks will start ticking into your inbox as Sweden's workers return to their desks.

In a similar vein, kids will go back to school in August. 

Primary schools are back for the autumn term in Gothenburg and Lund on August 16th, in Malmö and Uppsala on August 17th and in Stockholm on August 19th. 

Lund University, Uppsala University, Malmö University, Luleå University and Stockholm University all start their autumn semesters on August 28th. 

Sweden's Riksdag committees begin to meet again

While parliament doesn't have its official opening until September 12th, there are a series of debates where ministers answer MPs' questions starting from August 22nd, with some parliamentary committees also starting to meet that week. 


Increased police powers in border areas

The new "law on police powers on areas near the border" comes into force on August 1st, giving Swedish police, and in certain cases also the coast guard, Säpo security police and customs authority, extra powers at airports, ports and railway stations, on road bridges to another country, and at border posts on normal roads. 

The new powers include a greater right to stop and search people at borders with other Schengen countries, such as Norway, Denmark and Finland and a greater right to seize people with the aim of stopping smuggling of the export of stolen goods.

Police and customs authorities will also gain an increased right to use new technologies, such as surveillance cameras which can read numberplates, in border areas. 

The new law also empowers police to seize passports and other ID documents from those deemed to have no right to be in Sweden, and gives police the power to forcibly photograph and take fingerprints of foreigners. 


New law gives tougher punishments for threats to social workers, care workers and journalists 

A new law comes into force on August 1st which brings in a new ground to impose stricter punishments for crimes carried out against a person because they, or someone close to them, is involved in news reporting or other sorts of journalism. 

The new law will also expand the crime of "violence or threats against a public official", so that it includes people, such as healthcare, care workers, or social workers, carrying out an important social function. 

Tighter oversight of so-called A tractors 

A new law comes into force on August 31st, which will tighten the rules governing A-tractors or EPA-traktors, the cars fitted with tractor engines driven by teens at frustratingly slow speeds on rural roads across Sweden. 

Among other new rules, the new law sets the highest allowed speed at 30km/h, requires drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts, and only allows people to travel in them if they sit in actual seats. 

Sadly, the law stops far short of a ban on the maddening machines. 

Investigation into revolving-door corruption to report 

An inquiry will make its recommendations in August on how to tighten rules on how quickly ministers, their chief of staffs, and other senior public officials can take positions in private sector organisations related to the field they formerly had control over. 

The inquiry's chair, Karin Almgren, was tasked by the former Social Democrat government with proposing changes to the law to increase public confidence by reducing the risk of conflicts of interest. 


Look out for the supermoons! 

People in Sweden will have a chance to observe a so-called "supermoon" twice in August, first on August 1st and again on August 31st. A supermoon occurs when a full moon coincides with the moon's closest passage to the earth, making the moon look much bigger than normal. 

August 1st will mark Sweden's first supermoon for more than a year, with the last one taking place on June 13th 2022. 


Crayfish parties

Unfortunately there are no public holidays in August, although this doesn't mean there's nothing to celebrate. The crayfish season officially starts on August 8th this year, so be prepared for crayfish-themed decorations to start popping up in your local supermarket, and find some friends (preferably with access to a summer house) to hold your very own kräftskiva (crayfish party).

As with most Swedish celebrations, expect drinking songs, lots of snaps, crispbread, cheese, and most likely some sort of västerbottenpaj - a quiche featuring Sweden's favourite cheese, västerbottensost.

Here's our guide to six essential Swedish drinking songs for crayfish party season.


Stockholm Pride

Pride is also kicking off in Stockholm this month. Celebrations began on July 31st and end on August 5th. This year the festival is celebrating its 25th year with the theme of mångfåld, or "diversity", with the main parade taking place on Saturday August 5th, as well as events, music and parties in Pride Park (Östermalms IP) from Wednesday July 31st.

Here's a link to the programme (in Swedish).


For those based in the south of the country, Malmöfestivalen will be taking place from August 11th-18th. The festival will include music, activities for children, dance and art, as well as food stalls.

Way Out West

Not to leave Gothenburg off the list, Way Out West music festival will also be taking place in August, between the 10th and 12th. Unlike Pride and Malmöfestivalen, this festival isn't free, but at the time of writing there are still tickets available.

Artists performing at the festival this year include Gothenburg singer Håkan Hellström, Tove Lo, Blur, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Viagra Boys, and Christine and the Queens. See the full line-up here. 


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