Though language learning is mentioned, many expats told us that they perceived they were excluded from job opportunities not for lack of language ability because they were foreign – on the surface, clear discrimination – but when we dug down deep, we could see another cause, one you can read about in our guide to the State of Expat Life in Sweden 2018!
“Sometimes all the planning in the world won't prepare you for it, but as long as you know where your nearest coffee house is everything falls into place!”
We at New in Sweden (NiDS) worked with news and analysis provider Mundus International and Swedish language tuition provider Swedish for Professionals to uncover the details of expat life in Sweden. We have quizzed expats that are here, the HR staff that organised their move and the Relocation Agents that supported them during the process. We dug deep to find out the full story about emigrating here and hope that new arrivals can then make much more informed decisions about their move to Sweden.
Our guide to the state of expat life in Sweden is out now. It covers the main challenges expats are experiencing right now and the reasons for them, the support that is and isn’t provided at a personal level and what help is out there. We have a separate report that looks at what expats told us in comparison with other surveys, the political environment and what needs to change for expat life to improve. Get your copies of both here.
Are you planning to move to Sweden or are already an expat in Sweden? Would you like to find exactly what a ‘personnummer’ is, what the numbers mean, how to get one and how to use it? Read on to find out!
What is a ‘personnummer’?
Personnummer – or a personal identification number (also known as a 'personal number'). Everyone registered in Sweden is identified with a personal identification number. It consists of 10 digits and it is unique to each individual. It is primarily used by Swedish authorities and organisations to identify people.
When did Sweden introduce the ‘personnummer’?
This system, which was the first in the world to include a nation’s entire population, was introduced in 1947 and has been used ever since, with minor improvements throughout the years.
What do the numbers indicate?
The personal number consists of the person's birth date and three birth numbers. The only information that can be gathered from looking at a personal identification number is a person’s birth date and their gender.
The birth date consists of six digits and makes up the first part of the personal identification number. The order of the numbers is: birth year, birth month and birth day (YYMMDD).For example, a person whose first 6 digits in the personal identification number is 640823 was born on 23rd August 1964. A person whose first 6 digits in the personal identification number is 930411 was born on 11th April 1993.
The birth number consists of three numbers. The second to last digit provides information concerning the gender of the person - where the digit is odd for men and even for women. The birth date and birth number are connected with a hyphen (-). This sign is replaced by a plus sign (+) the year a person turns 100 years old!
The last digit of the personal number is a control digit. It is calculated mechanically by the birth date and birth number.
How do you obtain a ‘personnummer’?
If you are planning to move to Sweden or are already living in Sweden and are planning to live here for a year or more, then you should in most cases be registered as a resident in Sweden. To be registered in Sweden simply visit the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) and apply. Make sure your spouse, children or anyone else that is also applying to be registered in Sweden are also there!
You will need the following documents when you visit the Swedish Tax Agency
Once you are registered in Sweden:
When do I use my ‘personnummer’?
Swede’s use their personal identification number on a daily basis! Life in Sweden is made easier by being able to do a variety of things by having a personal identification number. The biggest advantage is that it is a unique identity for each person – this prevents confusion of data about people as well as ensures certain safety and protection of personal integrity. A personal identification number also ensures that each individual gets what they are entitled to, such as pension and housing allowances as well as ensuring that each individual is charged the correct tax.
Some examples of when you can use your personal identification number:
And many more! Join New in Sweden to find out more about personal numbers, get help applying and settle in fast to life here.
Now that we only have a couple of weeks left until Fettisdagen (Shrove Tuesday), this seems to be just the perfect time to share with you a recipe and instructions on how to bake your own semlor!
If you live in Sweden, surely you must have noticed these magnificent creamy buns on display at your local bakery or grocery store already, (the Swedish population of 10 million buys and eats around six million semlor every Shrove Tuesday!).
If you don’t yet live in Sweden, you will have to try this special treat at home. In fact, no matter where you live, if you have not made your own semlor before, take this chance to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself, because even though the bakery made buns are to die for, they will most certainly never be as fun as homemade semlor.
This recipe that we have found for you, will teach you how to perfectly bake the traditional Swedish cardamom bun, how to mix together the sweet almond paste filling and last but not least, top it all with fluffy whipped cream and dusty icing sugar.
Once you have mastered the traditional semla, you can allow yourself to get more creative and inventive with your pastries. Try to play around with different fillings, flavours and shapes. We have over the past few years seen out-of-the-box ideas such as semmelwraps, semlor with Nutella filling or licorice-flavoured marzipan.
Last year bakeries introduced the Princess semla, a merge between a classic Princess pastry and semla. A truly holy union for all adventurous seeking cream bun munchers out there! This year, the latest Stockholm invention is a Mexican influenced nacho plate, featuring pieces of flat, triangular bread to dip in cream and almond paste.
But before you dive into all that, let’s start with the basics. Time to get ready for the best fika of the year!
Recipe makes 16-24 buns
2/3 cup of melted butter
1 1/2 cups warm milk (70 to 80 degrees F, 20-25 C)
1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk, or as needed
5 ounces marzipan
2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons white sugar
First of all, whisk together eggs with butter and milk in a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow for mix to soften for 5 minutes. While waiting, sift together 5 cups flour with 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and ground cardamom. When the yeast has softened, stir flour mixture into milk mixture until a soft dough forms. Cover bowl with a towel, and allow to rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, sift together flour and baking powder. Stir into risen dough, then knead until smooth. Form into 16 balls (or 24 if you'd like smaller semlor) and place onto greased baking sheets. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, 35 to 40 minutes.
Turn oven on and preheat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Buns should be golden brown and the center should be firm. Let the buns cool down on a wire rack until they reach room temperature.
Make a lid by cutting a slice about 1/2 inch thick off of the top of the bun. Use a spoon to scoop out the center of the buns, leaving a shell about 1/2 inch thick. Crumble the removed bread into small pieces and place into a bowl. Moisten the bread with milk, then mix in marzipan until smooth. Add additional milk if needed until the marzipan filling is nearly as soft as pudding.
Whip cream with 2 tablespoons sugar to stiff peaks. Fill each bun’s shell with a spoonful of marzipan filling. Place whipped cream on top of the filling to 1/2 inch over the top of the bun. Replace the tops onto the buns, and dust with icing sugar before serving.
Serve as is with a cup of coffee, or place the bun in a bowl with warm milk and ground cinnamon (this variant is known as hetvägg).
This recipe was provided by Justin Williams and Allrecipes.com. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/139232/semlor-semla/
To find out all there is to know about semlor, click here for our free guide.
Bakeries at this time of year try to make the best semlor - cream and marzipan buns - but some decide to fiddle with the recipe. Over the years, we have seen semlor covered in real gold, semlor smoothies, semlor wraps.
The Göteborg Post has found a supermarket in Vessigebro (south west Sweden) with a new variety for this year. These delectable-looking treats are filled with Nutella, cream, sliced banana and meringue. Sweet but sound very yummy!
What is your favourite semla? To find out all there is to know about semlor, click here for our free guide.
Not that the date matters - they are in the shops already...!
For those of you who would like to know more about the sticky cream-filled buns that are supposed to be consumed on Shrove Tuesday (Fettisdagen) but now you can get for at least a month in advance, check out our guide to them (and the all-important instructions for how to eat them):
Should you be spending an evening in the company of Swedes and alcohol, they might suddenly demand you sing. This is especially likely if it is midsummer, Easter, new years eve etc. To make sure you are ready and in tune (well, at least know the words), below are the words to 'Helan går' and Will Ferrell not singing it terribly well.
Important point number 1 - you are supposed to drink the whole glass full down in one go
Important point number 2 - if you need to be able to speak and/or stand up at any point afterwards, don't drink the whole glass full down in one go
Important point number 3 - aquavit is extremely strong so you will cough the first few times, even if you sip it.
Will you be buying a Christmas tree in Sweden this year? Do you know your Kungsgran from a Blågran? Get our free guide to Swedish Christmas trees: https://www.newinsweden.com/christmas-tree.html
Are you new to Sweden? Get all the info for forms you need to get settled in (in English...) and access to our support team, so you can email us any questions, any time, by joining out membership group. Sign up at www.NewinSweden.com
If you haven't yet arrived, here is out ultimate checklist for moving over (it is free!): https://www.newinsweden.com/ultimate-checklist.html
Where can you sleep on a bed of ice (and do you really want too??!) or meet some wolves? Sweden has some amazing winter activities that include:
Thursday 9th November at 18:30.
The English Bookshop, Södermannagatan 22, Stockholm.
Merlin – the man, the myth, the legend. Launch of Rhuddem Gwelin’s latest book ”The Wrathful Traveller – the Merlin Chronicles Volume 2”. Reflections by the author on the role of the legendary Merlin in the historical battle between magic and the ever-more powerful church. Presentation of the new novel, in which Merlin is cast into the madness of the Crusades. Reading, signing, drinks and refreshments. In English. Free.
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About the blog
Interesting bits and pieces about life in Sweden, including all-important song words.