Genealogy Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2016-12-17

The State of Sweden

Sweden is located in northern Europe and its capital is Stockholm. The Population is 9,967,274 (Oct 2016) and in Stockholm City 901,698 (2014) (Greater/metropolitan Stockholm: 2,171,459 - 2014). The total area of Sweden is 449,964 sq. km (173,732 sq. mi). Stockholm is a beautiful city with Lake Mälaren on it’s West Side and the Baltic Sea on it’s East Side. See image to the right. Sweden is a member of the European Union (EU). Sweden is also called "The land of the midnight sun" or "The land of the Vikings". Anthem: Du Gamla Du Fria (Thou Ancient, Thou Free). National Day: June 6. The flag of Sweden is based on the Scandinavian Cross design first adopted by Denmark about 800 years ago.

The Swedish Parliament & Government

The Swedish Parliament is called Riksdag and is located in Stockholm. The Parliament House is called Riksdagshuset. There are 349 Members of the Parliament. The Prime Minister is titled Statsminister in Sweden. Elections to the Riksdag are held regularly on the third Sunday of September every four years. All Swedish citizens domiciled in Sweden and who have reached the age of 18 by Election Day may take part in the election to the Riksdag. Read more about The Parliamentary System of Sweden.

Monarchy

Sweden is a monarchy. The present regent is King Carl XVI Gustaf, who acceded to the throne in 1973, as the 74th King of Sweden and belongs to the Bernadotte dynasty, which has ruled Sweden since 1818. The monarch is the Head of State and his functions and duties are defined in the 1974 Constitution Act. Stockholm Palace / the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Swedish monarch. Free image Wikipedia.

Local and Regional Governments

There are three levels of governments; national level, the counties (Län) and the municipalities (Kommun). Sweden is divided into a number of Län (counties) for regional administration. The Counties of Sweden are the first level administrative and political administration.

County Administrativ Board

In each county there is a County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelse) headed by a County Governor (Landshövding) as well as a regional municipality (Landsting) and several other government organizations. The term for the County Governors is six years. The County Administrative Board (Länstyrelse) is appointed by the Government to coordinate administration with national political goals for the county. The Landsting on the other hand is a regional government, elected to deliberate on the municipal affairs of the county.

County Council - Landsting

A Landsting is run by a County Council, in Swedish Landstingsfullmäktige, which is an elected assembly of a regional municipality (Landsting or Region). Landsting’s have the same borders as the government run county (Län) in Sweden. Constitutionally the county councils exercise a degree of municipal self-government provided for in the Constitution of Sweden. This does not constitute any degree of federalism, which is consistent with Sweden's status as a unitary state. The County Council is a democratic institution meaning that elected representatives establish the guidelines for Council activities and ensure that Council resources are fairly distributed to the various parts of the county. The County Council Assembly is the county council’s supreme decision-making body. The members of the Assembly are the public’s representatives and Assembly meetings (5-6 annually) are open to the general public. Within the Assembly there are three standing committees each of which is responsible for scrutinizing and supervising Council undertakings and serving as links between the Assembly and the county’s residents. The major responsibilities for the County Council are health and medical care, dental care and public transportation.

The municipalities (Kommun)

In each county there are also several smaller entities for the local government and administration that constitute municipal self- government, which are independent of the county councils. It is called a "primary municipality" or more plainly "Municipality" or Kommun, whereas the regional Landsting are secondary municipalities.  In each municipality (kommun) there is a legislative Municipal Assembly, Kommunfullmäktige. The assembly in turn appoints a municipal executive committee (Kommunstyrelse) from its members. The executive committee is headed by its chairman, (Swedish: Kommunstyrelsens ordförande). As the title Borgmästare (Mayor or Burgomaster) is not officially used in Swedish municipalities anymore, municipal commissioner is often translated as mayor when referring to the chair of the executive committee. The municipalities of Sweden (Kommun) are its lower-level local government entities. The municipal governments are responsible for a large proportion of local services, including schools, emergency services and physical planning, water and sewer systems, local roads, local distribution of power etc. Police protection, highways and major roads, power plants etc. are matters handled by the federal government.

Counties – Provinces

Sweden is divided into of a number of counties (län). The sole purpose of the counties is local administration. Sweden also consists of a number of provinces (landskap). The counties are from the constitution of 1634 but the provinces are much older, from medieval times. In one county there can be more than one province. On the other hand, in a province there can be two or more counties. For example in the county of Västernorrland there are two provinces, Medelpad and Ångermanland. The provinces are historical divisions of Sweden and its border lines are static. Both the border lines of the counties and the number of counties have changed over time. In 1998 Sweden was divided into 21 counties, so a county covers quite a large geographical area. What’s in the peoples heart are the provinces. If you ask a Swede were he lives he most likely would say the name of "his" province rather than the county name. A map of the Swedish counties.  A map of the Swedish provinces. The subdivisions of Sweden into regions, provinces and counties.

Regions or “Lands”

Sweden is divided into three major regions or lands; from south to north; Götaland, Svealand and Norrland. These regions are called “landsdelar” (pl.) in Swedish and simply means “parts of the  country” or “lands”. Each name of the parts of Sweden ends with “land”, thereof “lands”. Norrland is the biggest region by area, 58% of Sweden and covers the land from the city of Gävle and north. Svealand consists of the provinces of Uppland, Södermanland, Västmanland, Närke, Värmland and the sothern parts of Dalarna (south of river Dalälven). North of those provinces is Norrland and south of those is Götaland. The regions are often mentioned in the weather reports.

Religion

About 88 % of the population in Sweden belong to the Church of Sweden, which is a Lutheran Church. The Church of Sweden can also be described as a national church, since it has long played the dominant role in Swedish religious life. Before the 1520’s Sweden was a Roman Catholic country. But in the 1520’s with Martin Luther and the Reformation the Swedish king Gustav Vasa transformed Sweden into a protestant nation with a Lutheran Church and made him self, head of church. The Swedish reformers were cautious. Much of the old order was retained unless judged to be superstition or false belief. At the parliament (riksdag) in Västerås in 1544, Sweden was proclaimed an evangelical kingdom. The king became the church's most prominent member. Sweden was a monolithic religious state, allowing only the Swedish version of the evangelical faith. It defined Sweden as an evangelical nation and required Swedes to confess the evangelical faith. In the 1800’s, greater freedom of religion was allowed in Sweden, but not until 1951 was full religious freedom guaranteed everyone by law. Up until 1996 it has been possible for children automatically to become members of the Church of Sweden at birth, provided that one of the parents was a member. Baptism was not required, although about 90 % of the children were baptized. After 1995 baptism is the normal requirement for a person to become member of the Church of Sweden. Sweden is divided into 13 Lutheran dioceses; each one headed by a bishop.

The Church-State relation

The church of Sweden was linked to the state until 1998 when a proposal on a new Church Ordinance was approved. The new Church Ordinance replaced the Church Code and other state regulation governing the Church of Sweden. The new Ordinance came into force on January 1, 2000. The change of Church-State relations means that the Church of Sweden after 2000 can make decisions about the church structures and organization different from those controlling State legalization, apply. The reform of the Church-State relations are a constitutional solution, the Church of Sweden Act.

The Nordic countries and Scandinavia

Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland belong to what is called the Nordic Countries. Scandinavia is Sweden and Norway. Only these two countries are on the Scandinavian Peninsula.

The Nordic border lines

The Nordic borders have changed through out the centuries. Finland has been a part of Sweden from 1323 until 1809 and Norway has been a part of Denmark from 1397 to 1814. In 1814 Norway became Swedish and in 1905 Norway got its independence. The Swedish provinces on the south and west coast, Blekinge, Skåne, Halland and Bohuslän once belonged to Denmark but became Swedish after a war with Denmark that ended 1658 (one of the many Danish - Swedish wars). More about the many Swedish wars

The Swedish Language

The Swedish alphabet is similar to the English alphabet, but has three more letters: å, ä and ö. (In alphabetical order, these are at the end of the alphabet, in that order).

Å, Ä and Ö

Å: A with a ring. Pronounced as the English "o" as in "for". Ä: A with two dots. Pronounced as the English "ai" as in "fair. Ö: O with two dots. Pronounced roughly like the English "u" as in "turn".

On the keyboard - PC:

Hold down Alt and press nnn or nnnn on the numeric keypad (NumLock enabled) as shown below. å:  Alt key + 134 or Alt + 0229 Å:  Alt key + 143 or Alt + 0197 ä:  Alt key + 132 or Alt + 0228 Ä:  Alt key + 142 or Alt + 0196 ö:  Alt key + 148 or Alt + 0246 Ö:  Alt key + 153 or Alt + 0214 The inhabitants of Sweden, as well as another 300,000 people in Finland speak the Swedish language. Swedish belongs to the North Germanic sub-group of the Indo-European language family (English is in the West Germanic sub-group), which also includes the languages of the other Nordic countries; Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese. Swedish is very similar to Danish and Norwegian (more to Norwegian than Danish), especially in written form. If you don’t have a Swedish keyboard, the three Swedish national characters (å, ä and ö) can be spelled phonetically. Å = AA, Ä=AE and Ö=OE. For more information, see How to type Swedish characters

Terms for Relatiionships

When you say "Grandfather" in English you don’t know if it’s your paternal grandfather or your maternal grandfather you refer to. In the Swedish language we can tell from the word if the "Grandfather" is on your father’s side or your mother’s. The Swedish word for father is far and mother mor. These two words can be combind to make new words for this type of relationships, for example farfar, morfar, farmor, mormor etc. Farfar means father’s father and morfar mother’s father.

Swedish / English Dictionary - Terms for relationships

Some facts about Sweden

•	Swedish			English •	Far 				Father •	Mor				Mother •	Farfar			Paternal grandfather  •	Morfar 			Maternal grandfather  •	Farmor			Paternal grandmother  •	Mormor 			Maternal grandmother  •	Bror 				Brother •	Syskon			Siblings •	Syster			Sister •	Farbror 			Uncle (father’s brother) •	Faster 			Aunt (father’s sister) •	Morbror 			Uncle (mother’s brother) •	Moster			Aunt (mother’s sister) •	Son				Son •	Dotter 			Daughter •	Brosdotter		Niece (Brother’s daughter) •	Brorson 			Nephew (Brother’s son) •	Systerdotter 		Niece (Sister’s daughter) •	Systerson			Nephew (Sister’s son) •	Sonson			Grandson (son’s son) •	Sondotter			Granddaughter (son’s daughter) •	Dotterson 		Grandson (daughter’s son) •	Dotterdotter 		Granddaughter (daughter’s daughter) •	Barn				Child •	Barnbarn			Grandchild •	Barnbarnsbarn		Great grandchild •	Kusin			First Cousin •	Syssling or tremänning		Second cousin •	Släkting			Relative / Cousin

Patronymic Names - Surnames

In Sweden we started to use family names at the end of the 1800-hundreds, that is the children inherited the same surname as their father. In the year 1901 a law was passed stating that we had to use family names. Before that we used patronymic names. That means that the children were given a last name ending with -son or -dotter (daughter) and started with the father’s first name. For example, if a man called Anders Nilsson had a son named Peter and a daughter named Anna, the children’s full name would be: Peter Andersson and Anna Anderssdotter. That is Peter son of Anders and Anna daughter of Anders. If Peter had a son called Nils, then Nils’s full name would be Nils Petersson. The women did not change their last name when they married. Surnamnes ending in "son" were normally spelled with two "s". Example: Andersson, Johnsson, Pettersson, Olsson etc. These ways of giving surnames (patronymic) are still used on Iceland. At the end of the 1800's when people started to change their patronymic surnames to family names they often adopted a family name with a local association to nature, farm name, village name etc. But most people kept their "-son" name as a family name. The patronymics were mostly used in the rural areas. Among nobility, clergy, the military, etc they started much earlier with family names. Priests often spelled their names in Latin way, for example Laurentius Hornaues (Lars from Horn). The different groups had different patterns of names. More about the Swedish naming practices.

The Term Century

If you refer to a certain period in time, for example the period between 1700 and 1799 that would be the 18th century in English. In the Swedish language we do have a word for century, "århundrade", but it’s seldom used. The period between 1700 and 1799 would be refereed to as "1700-talet" in Swedish. In English that would be the 1700’s. So if you have a contact with Swedes and they are talking about the 17th century make sure that they really mean the period between 1600 – 1699 and not the period between 1700 and 1799. It is a very common mistake among Swedes to translate, for example the period between 1700 and 1799 to the 17th century. If you use the expression the 1700’s instead of the 18th century you will avoid such mistakes.

Date & Time Format

In Sweden we write a date on the form YYYY-MM-DD, for example 1999-04-03. We also could write 3/4 1999. So 3/4 1999 means April 3, 1999. In the US you use MM/DD/YY, for example 4/3/99. Swedish people will interpret that to March 4, 1999. In Sweden we use the 24-hour clock. The time 9.00 means 9 o’clock in the morning but 21.00 means 9 o’clock in the evening. The expressions with AM or PM would not mean much for us. So if you write 9 PM most people would be confused and wonder if you mean 9 o’clock in the morning or in the evening. In the Swedish language we have a word for a 24-hour period called dygn. There are 7 "dygn" in a week. In English you would say "day and night".

The Metric System

As most countries in the world we use the metric system. The metric system is a decimal system. For distance we use kilometers (km), meters (m), decimeters (dm), centimeters (cm) and millimeters (mm). 1 km = 10,000 m. 1 m = 10 dm = 100 cm = 1000 mm. 1 inch  = 2.54 cm 1 foot  = 0.3048 m 1 yard = 0.9144 m 1 mile  = 1.609 m (Decimal point is used above)

Decimal point / decimal comma

In Sweden we use decimal comma, not decimal point. So 13,457 m means in 13 meters and 457 millimeters. 13.457 m means 13457 meters. That could be confusing for US people.

Delimiters for thousands:

Delimiters for thousands are also different in Sweden compared to the USA. For example: Sweden Equals to USA 1.200.000 = 1,200,000 1 200 000 = 1,200,000 2,54 = 2.54 The convention for digit group separators varies but usually seeks to distinguish the delimiter from the decimal mark. Typically, English- speaking countries employ commas as the delimiter and other European countries employ periods or spaces. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thousands_separator See also Old Swedish measurements and weights

The Swedish Currency

The currency of Sweden is called krona (crown). The currency code is: SEK. There are 100 öre in one krona. (1 krona and 2 kronor.) The central bank of Sweden is the Sveriges Riksbank, or Bank of Sweden (founded in 1668). More about the Swedish monetary system in earlier times. 

The Swedish Police

We have a national police force in Sweden. Before 1965 the policemen were employed locally by the municipalities. There was a smaller national police force as well. In 1965 the police was reorganized into a national police and they all became employed by the government. All members of the police force are employed by the government, none is politically appointed except for the National Police Commissioner (Rikspolischefen). The National Police Commissioner is politically appointed by the Government. The National Police Commissioner reports to the Department of Justice.

The Right of Public Access

In Sweden we have a medieval right, The Right of Public Access ("Allemansrätten"). The Right of Public Access allows you to roam about freely in the countryside, forests and fields or to go camping by a lake etc. There is no need to go to special nature reserve. This means that you can walk and camp for a day or two on land which is not used for farming, and which is not close to a dwelling. This means you are perfectly entitled to walk, jog, cycle, ride or ski across other people's land without permission - provided you do not cause any damage to crops, forest plantations or fences. Futher pick berries, mushrooms, swim and boat on private land or water. There is off course exceptions to this right, exceptions that carefully should be observed. The important thing is: Not to disturb, Not to destroy. A sign stating "Private land" or "No trespassing" has no meaning other to inform that you are on private land. This is a right the Swedes have taken to their hearts and every one respects it, landowner or no landowner. All the land, all the nature is opened to everyone. This right is quite unique. The Right might sound strange to foreigner that comes to Sweden but to us this right is very important. If you are interested to learn more about the Right of Public Access and to get information about the exceptions there will be more information at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency site.  (English).

Swedish Traditions  

Christmas - Jul

Christmas traditions in Sweden (Swedish). Christmas traditions in Sweden and other countries - Wikipedia  (Swedish).  Christmas traditions in different countries - Wikipedia  (English).  The Lucia tradition in Sweden (Swedish)  The Lucia tradition in Sweden - Wikipedia (Swedish)  The Lucia tradition in Sweden - Wikipedia (English)  Santaworld, Mora, Sweden  (English). The name of Santa Claus in different languages - Jultomte in Swedish (English). In Sweden, most Christmas celebrations take place on Christmas Eve, including Santa Claus's distribution of Christmas presents. Santa (Jultomten) doesn’t come down the chimney at night, but through the front door, delivering the presents in person directly to the children at Christmas Eve. Sweden is not the only country that celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. In Argentina, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, Romania, Uruguay, Sweden and parts of Austria, Switzerland and Germany, Christmas presents are opened mostly on the evening of the 24th, - this is also the tradition among the British Royal Family, due to their mainly German ancestry - while in Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, English Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, this occurs mostly on the morning of Christmas Day.

Easter

Easter traditions in different countries - Wikipedia  (English).  Easter traditions in Sweden - Nordiska Museet (Swedish).

Midsummer

Midsommer traditions in Sweden - Wikipedia (Swedish).   Midsommer traditions in different countries - Wikipedia  (English). 

Swedish food

SVT, Mat och dryck (food and drinks - recipes) (Swedish) Kokboken, Swedish recipes from Arla   (Swedish) Swedish Christmas pastry and dishes (Swedish) Mera mat, Swedish dishes (Swedish) TV4, mat & dryck (food and drinks - recipes) (Swedish) SVD, mat recipes (Swedish) Recept.nu,  recipes (Swedish) Tasteline,  recipes (Swedish) Hittarecept.se,  recipes (Swedish) Recept.com, recipes (Swedish)  

Others

Swedish kicksleds (sparkstötting) Long-distance skating (Långfärdsskridsko), site 2 Ice fishing (pimpelfiske), more images, site 2  Swedish Folk Songs, melodies and lyrics (unfortunately some of the songs are in the wrong tempo)  

Sweden Links

Swedish municipalities (kommun) The subdivisions of Sweden into regions, provinces and counties. The county of Västernorrland The city of Sundsvall Svenska sidor (Swedish pages) The Swedish Parliament The Royal Court of Sweden Church of Sweden A Swedish/English web dictionary (Skolverket) A Swedish/English dictionary, genealogy terms Swedish Environmental Protection Agency   (Naturvårdsverket) The Swedish Citizen's Codes (Personnummer)  The Swedish National Day (Stiftelsen Sveriges nationaldag)  (Swedish) Sweden.se, the gateway to Sweden The Local, Sweden’s News in English About Sweden, by Rolf Ström Top of page
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Släktforskning Hans Högman
Copyright © Hans Högman 2016-11-05

The State of Sweden

Sweden is located in northern Europe and its capital is Stockholm. The Population is 9,967,274 (Oct 2016) and in Stockholm City 901,698 (2014) (Greater/metropolitan Stockholm: 2,171,459 - 2014). The total area of Sweden is 449,964 sq. km (173,732 sq. mi). Stockholm is a beautiful city with Lake Mälaren on it’s West Side and the Baltic Sea on it’s East Side. See image to the right. Sweden is a member of the European Union (EU). Sweden is also called "The land of the midnight sun" or "The land of the Vikings". Anthem: Du Gamla Du Fria (Thou Ancient, Thou Free). National Day: June 6. The flag of Sweden is based on the Scandinavian Cross design first adopted by Denmark about 800 years ago.

The Swedish Parliament & Government

The Swedish Parliament is called Riksdag and is located in Stockholm. The Parliament House is called Riksdagshuset. There are 349 Members of the Parliament. The Prime Minister is titled Statsminister in Sweden. Elections to the Riksdag are held regularly on the third Sunday of September every four years. All Swedish citizens domiciled in Sweden and who have reached the age of 18 by Election Day may take part in the election to the Riksdag. Read more about The Parliamentary System of Sweden.

Monarchy

Sweden is a monarchy. The present regent is King Carl XVI Gustaf, who acceded to the throne in 1973, as the 74th King of Sweden and belongs to the Bernadotte dynasty, which has ruled Sweden since 1818. The monarch is the Head of State and his functions and duties are defined in the 1974 Constitution Act. Stockholm Palace / the Royal Palace, the official residence of the Swedish monarch. Free image Wikipedia.

Local and Regional Governments

There are three levels of governments; national level, the counties (Län) and the municipalities (Kommun). Sweden is divided into a number of Län (counties) for regional administration. The Counties of Sweden are the first level administrative and political administration.

County

Administrativ

Board

In each county there is a County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelse) headed by a County Governor (Landshövding) as well as a regional municipality (Landsting) and several other government organizations. The term for the County Governors is six years. The County Administrative Board (Länstyrelse) is appointed by the Government to coordinate administration with national political goals for the county. The Landsting on the other hand is a regional government, elected to deliberate on the municipal affairs of the county.

County Council - Landsting

A Landsting is run by a County Council, in Swedish Landstingsfullmäktige, which is an elected assembly of a regional municipality (Landsting or Region). Landsting’s have the same borders as the government run county (Län) in Sweden. Constitutionally the county councils exercise a degree of municipal self-government provided for in the Constitution of Sweden. This does not constitute any degree of federalism, which is consistent with Sweden's status as a unitary state. The County Council is a democratic institution meaning that elected representatives establish the guidelines for Council activities and ensure that Council resources are fairly distributed to the various parts of the county. The County Council Assembly is the county council’s supreme decision-making body. The members of the Assembly are the public’s representatives and Assembly meetings (5-6 annually) are open to the general public. Within the Assembly there are three standing committees each of which is responsible for scrutinizing and supervising Council undertakings and serving as links between the Assembly and the county’s residents. The major responsibilities for the County Council are health and medical care, dental care and public transportation.

The municipalities (Kommun)

In each county there are also several smaller entities for the local government and administration that constitute municipal self-government, which are independent of the county councils. It is called a "primary municipality" or more plainly "Municipality" or Kommun, whereas the regional Landsting are secondary municipalities.  In each municipality (kommun) there is a legislative Municipal Assembly, Kommunfullmäktige. The assembly in turn appoints a municipal executive committee (Kommunstyrelse) from its members. The executive committee is headed by its chairman, (Swedish: Kommunstyrelsens ordförande). As the title Borgmästare (Mayor or Burgomaster) is not officially used in Swedish municipalities anymore, municipal commissioner is often translated as mayor when referring to the chair of the executive committee. The municipalities of Sweden (Kommun) are its lower-level local government entities. The municipal governments are responsible for a large proportion of local services, including schools, emergency services and physical planning, water and sewer systems, local roads, local distribution of power etc. Police protection, highways and major roads, power plants etc. are matters handled by the federal government.

Counties – Provinces

Sweden is divided into of a number of counties (län). The sole purpose of the counties is local administration. Sweden also consists of a number of provinces (landskap). The counties are from the constitution of 1634 but the provinces are much older, from medieval times. In one county there can be more than one province. On the other hand, in a province there can be two or more counties. For example in the county of Västernorrland there are two provinces, Medelpad and Ångermanland. The provinces are historical divisions of Sweden and its border lines are static. Both the border lines of the counties and the number of counties have changed over time. In 1998 Sweden was divided into 21 counties, so a county covers quite a large geographical area. What’s in the peoples heart are the provinces. If you ask a Swede were he lives he most likely would say the name of "his" province rather than the county name. A map of the Swedish counties.  A map of the Swedish provinces. The subdivisions of Sweden into regions, provinces and counties.

Regions or “Lands”

Sweden is divided into three major regions or lands; from south to north; Götaland, Svealand and Norrland. These regions are called “landsdelar” (pl.) in Swedish and simply means “parts of the  country” or “lands”. Each name of the parts of Sweden ends with “land”, thereof “lands”. Norrland is the biggest region by area, 58% of Sweden and covers the land from the city of Gävle and north. Svealand consists of the provinces of Uppland, Södermanland, Västmanland, Närke, Värmland and the sothern parts of Dalarna (south of river Dalälven). North of those provinces is Norrland and south of those is Götaland. The regions are often mentioned in the weather reports.

Religion

About 88 % of the population in Sweden belong to the Church of Sweden, which is a Lutheran Church.  The Church of Sweden can also be described as a national church, since it has long played the dominant role in Swedish religious life. Before the 1520’s Sweden was a Roman Catholic country. But in the 1520’s with Martin Luther and the Reformation the Swedish king Gustav Vasa transformed Sweden into a protestant nation with a Lutheran Church and made him self, head of church. The Swedish reformers were cautious. Much of the old order was retained unless judged to be superstition or false belief. At the parliament (riksdag) in Västerås in 1544, Sweden was proclaimed an evangelical kingdom. The king became the church's most prominent member. Sweden was a monolithic religious state, allowing only the Swedish version of the evangelical faith. It defined Sweden as an evangelical nation and required Swedes to confess the evangelical faith. In the 1800’s, greater freedom of religion was allowed in Sweden, but not until 1951 was full religious freedom guaranteed everyone by law. Up until 1996 it has been possible for children automatically to become members of the Church of Sweden at birth, provided that one of the parents was a member. Baptism was not required, although about 90 % of the children were baptized. After 1995 baptism is the normal requirement for a person to become member of the Church of Sweden. Sweden is divided into 13 Lutheran dioceses; each one headed by a bishop.

The Church-State relation

The church of Sweden was linked to the state until 1998 when a proposal on a new Church Ordinance was approved. The new Church Ordinance replaced the Church Code and other state regulation governing the Church of Sweden. The new Ordinance came into force on January 1, 2000. The change of Church-State relations means that the Church of Sweden after 2000 can make decisions about the church structures and organization different from those controlling State legalization, apply. The reform of the Church-State relations are a constitutional solution, the Church of Sweden Act.

The Nordic countries and

Scandinavia

Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland belong to what is called the Nordic Countries. Scandinavia is Sweden and Norway. Only these two countries are on the Scandinavian Peninsula.

The Nordic border lines

The Nordic borders have changed through out the centuries. Finland has been a part of Sweden from 1323 until 1809 and Norway has been a part of Denmark from 1397 to 1814. In 1814 Norway became Swedish and in 1905 Norway got its independence. The Swedish provinces on the south and west coast, Blekinge, Skåne, Halland and Bohuslän once belonged to Denmark but became Swedish after a war with Denmark that ended 1658 (one of the many Danish - Swedish wars). More about the many Swedish wars

The Swedish Language

The Swedish alphabet is similar to the English alphabet, but has three more letters: å, ä and ö. (In alphabetical order, these are at the end of the alphabet, in that order).

Å, Ä and Ö

Å: A with a ring. Pronounced as the English "o" as in "for". Ä: A with two dots. Pronounced as the English "ai" as in "fair. Ö: O with two dots. Pronounced roughly like the English "u" as in "turn".

On the keyboard - PC:

Hold down Alt and press nnn or nnnn on the numeric keypad (NumLock enabled) as shown below. å:  Alt key + 134 or Alt + 0229 Å:  Alt key + 143 or Alt + 0197 ä:  Alt key + 132 or Alt + 0228 Ä:  Alt key + 142 or Alt + 0196 ö:  Alt key + 148 or Alt + 0246 Ö:  Alt key + 153 or Alt + 0214 The inhabitants of Sweden, as well as another 300,000 people in Finland speak the Swedish language. Swedish belongs to the North Germanic sub-group of the Indo-European language family (English is in the West Germanic sub-group), which also includes the languages of the other Nordic countries; Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic, and Faroese. Swedish is very similar to Danish and Norwegian (more to Norwegian than Danish), especially in written form. If you don’t have a Swedish keyboard, the three Swedish national characters (å, ä and ö) can be spelled phonetically. Å = AA, Ä=AE and Ö=OE. For more information, see How to type Swedish characters

Terms for Relatiionships

When you say "Grandfather" in English you don’t know if it’s your paternal grandfather or your maternal grandfather you refer to. In the Swedish language we can tell from the word if the "Grandfather" is on your father’s side or your mother’s. The Swedish word for father is far and mother mor. These two words can be combind to make new words for this type of relationships, for example farfar, morfar, farmor, mormor etc. Farfar means father’s father and morfar mother’s father.

Swedish / English Dictionary - Terms for

relationships

•	Swedish			English •	Far 				Father •	Mor				Mother •	Farfar			Paternal grandfather  •	Morfar 			Maternal grandfather  •	Farmor			Paternal grandmother  •	Mormor 			Maternal grandmother  •	Bror 				Brother •	Syskon			Siblings •	Syster			Sister •	Farbror 			Uncle (father’s brother) •	Faster 			Aunt (father’s sister) •	Morbror 			Uncle (mother’s brother) •	Moster			Aunt (mother’s sister) •	Son				Son •	Dotter 			Daughter •	Brosdotter		Niece (Brother’s daughter) •	Brorson 			Nephew (Brother’s son) •	Systerdotter 		Niece (Sister’s daughter) •	Systerson			Nephew (Sister’s son) •	Sonson			Grandson (son’s son) •	Sondotter			Granddaughter (son’s daughter) •	Dotterson 		Grandson (daughter’s son) •	Dotterdotter 		Granddaughter (daughter’s daughter) •	Barn				Child •	Barnbarn			Grandchild •	Barnbarnsbarn		Great grandchild •	Kusin			First Cousin •	Syssling or tremänning		Second cousin •	Släkting			Relative / Cousin

How To Type

Swedish Characters

Patronymic Names - Surnames

In Sweden we started to use family names at the end of the 1800-hundreds, that is the children inherited the same surname as their father. In the year 1901 a law was passed stating that we had to use family names. Before that we used patronymic names. That means that the children were given a last name ending with -son or -dotter (daughter) and started with the father’s first name. For example, if a man called Anders Nilsson had a son named Peter and a daughter named Anna, the children’s full name would be: Peter Andersson and Anna Anderssdotter. That is Peter son of Anders and Anna daughter of Anders. If Peter had a son called Nils, then Nils’s full name would be Nils Petersson. The women did not change their last name when they married. Surnamnes ending in "son" were normally spelled with two "s". Example: Andersson, Johnsson, Pettersson, Olsson etc. These ways of giving surnames (patronymic) are still used on Iceland. At the end of the 1800's when people started to change their patronymic surnames to family names they often adopted a family name with a local association to nature, farm name, village name etc. But most people kept their "-son" name as a family name. The patronymics were mostly used in the rural areas. Among nobility, clergy, the military, etc they started much earlier with family names. Priests often spelled their names in Latin way, for example Laurentius Hornaues (Lars from Horn). The different groups had different patterns of names. More about the Swedish naming practices.

The Term Century

If you refer to a certain period in time, for example the period between 1700 and 1799 that would be the 18th century in English. In the Swedish language we do have a word for century, "århundrade", but it’s seldom used. The period between 1700 and 1799 would be refereed to as "1700-talet" in Swedish. In English that would be the 1700’s. So if you have a contact with Swedes and they are talking about the 17th century make sure that they really mean the period between 1600 – 1699 and not the period between 1700 and 1799. It is a very common mistake among Swedes to translate, for example the period between 1700 and 1799 to the 17th century. If you use the expression the 1700’s instead of the 18th century you will avoid such mistakes.

Date & Time Format

In Sweden we write a date on the form YYYY-MM- DD, for example 1999-04-03. We also could write 3/4 1999. So 3/4 1999 means April 3, 1999. In the US you use MM/DD/YY, for example 4/3/99. Swedish people will interpret that to March 4, 1999. In Sweden we use the 24-hour clock. The time 9.00 means 9 o’clock in the morning but 21.00 means 9 o’clock in the evening. The expressions with AM or PM would not mean much for us. So if you write 9 PM most people would be confused and wonder if you mean 9 o’clock in the morning or in the evening. In the Swedish language we have a word for a 24- hour period called dygn. There are 7 "dygn" in a week. In English you would say "day and night".

The Metric System

As most countries in the world we use the metric system. The metric system is a decimal system. For distance we use kilometers (km), meters (m), decimeters (dm), centimeters (cm) and millimeters (mm). 1 km = 10,000 m. 1 m = 10 dm = 100 cm = 1000 mm. 1 inch  = 2.54 cm 1 foot  = 0.3048 m 1 yard = 0.9144 m 1 mile  = 1.609 m (Decimal point is used above)

Decimal point / decimal comma

In Sweden we use decimal comma, not decimal point. So 13,457 m means in 13 meters and 457 millimeters. 13.457 m means 13457 meters. That could be confusing for US people.

Delimiters for thousands:

Delimiters for thousands are also different in Sweden compared to the USA. For example: Sweden Equals to USA 1.200.000 = 1,200,000 1 200 000 = 1,200,000 2,54 = 2.54 The convention for digit group separators varies but usually seeks to distinguish the delimiter from the decimal mark. Typically, English-speaking countries employ commas as the delimiter and other European countries employ periods or spaces. See  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thousands_separator See also Old Swedish measurements and weights

The Swedish Currency

The currency of Sweden is called krona (crown). The currency code is: SEK. There are 100 öre in one krona. (1 krona and 2 kronor.) The central bank of Sweden is the Sveriges Riksbank, or Bank of Sweden (founded in 1668). More about the Swedish monetary system in earlier times. 

The Swedish Police

We have a national police force in Sweden. Before 1965 the policemen were employed locally by the municipalities. There was a smaller national police force as well. In 1965 the police was reorganized into a national police and they all became employed by the government. All members of the police force are employed by the government, none is politically appointed except for the National Police Commissioner (Rikspolischefen). The National Police Commissioner is politically appointed by the Government. The National Police Commissioner reports to the Department of Justice.

The Right of Public Access

In Sweden we have a medieval right, The Right of Public Access ("Allemansrätten"). The Right of Public Access allows you to roam about freely in the countryside, forests and fields or to go camping by a lake etc. There is no need to go to special nature reserve. This means that you can walk and camp for a day or two on land which is not used for farming, and which is not close to a dwelling. This means you are perfectly entitled to walk, jog, cycle, ride or ski across other people's land without permission - provided you do not cause any damage to crops, forest plantations or fences. Futher pick berries, mushrooms, swim and boat on private land or water. There is off course exceptions to this right, exceptions that carefully should be observed. The important thing is: Not to disturb, Not to destroy. A sign stating "Private land" or "No trespassing" has no meaning other to inform that you are on private land. This is a right the Swedes have taken to their hearts and every one respects it, landowner or no landowner. All the land, all the nature is opened to everyone. This right is quite unique. The Right might sound strange to foreigner that comes to Sweden but to us this right is very important. If you are interested to learn more about the Right of Public Access and to get information about the exceptions there will be more information at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency site.  (English).

Swedish Traditions  

Christmas - Jul

Christmas traditions in Sweden (Swedish). Christmas traditions in Sweden and other countries - Wikipedia  (Swedish).  Christmas traditions in different countries - Wikipedia  (English).  The Lucia tradition in Sweden (Swedish)  The Lucia tradition in Sweden - Wikipedia (Swedish)  The Lucia tradition in Sweden - Wikipedia (English)  Santaworld, Mora, Sweden  (English). The name of Santa Claus in different languages - Jultomte in Swedish (English). In Sweden, most Christmas celebrations take place on Christmas Eve, including Santa Claus's distribution of Christmas presents. Santa (Jultomten) doesn’t come down the chimney at night, but through the front door, delivering the presents in person directly to the children at Christmas Eve. Sweden is not the only country that celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. In Argentina, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Quebec, Romania, Uruguay, Sweden and parts of Austria, Switzerland and Germany, Christmas presents are opened mostly on the evening of the 24th, - this is also the tradition among the British Royal Family, due to their mainly German ancestry - while in Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, English Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, this occurs mostly on the morning of Christmas Day.

Easter

Easter traditions in different countries - Wikipedia  (English).  Easter traditions in Sweden - Nordiska Museet (Swedish).

Midsummer

Midsommer traditions in Sweden - Wikipedia (Swedish).   Midsommer traditions in different countries - Wikipedia  (English). 

Swedish food

SVT, Mat och dryck (food and drinks - recipes) (Swedish) Kokboken, Swedish recipes from Arla   (Swedish) Swedish Christmas pastry and dishes (Swedish) Mera mat, Swedish dishes (Swedish) TV4, mat & dryck (food and drinks - recipes) (Swedish) SVD, mat recipes (Swedish) Recept.nu,  recipes (Swedish) Tasteline,  recipes (Swedish) Hittarecept.se,  recipes (Swedish) Recept.com, recipes (Swedish)  

Others

Swedish kicksleds (sparkstötting) Long-distance skating (Långfärdsskridsko), site 2 Ice fishing (pimpelfiske), more images, site 2  Swedish Folk Songs, melodies and lyrics (unfortunately some of the songs are in the wrong tempo)  

Sweden Links

Swedish municipalities (kommun) The subdivisions of Sweden into regions, provinces and counties. The county of Västernorrland The city of Sundsvall Svenska sidor (Swedish pages) The Swedish Parliament The Royal Court of Sweden Church of Sweden A Swedish/English web dictionary (Skolverket) A Swedish/English dictionary, genealogy terms Swedish Environmental Protection Agency   (Naturvårdsverket) The Swedish Citizen's Codes (Personnummer)  The Swedish National Day (Stiftelsen Sveriges nationaldag)  (Swedish) Sweden.se, the gateway to Sweden The Local, Sweden’s News in English About Sweden, by Rolf Ström Top of page