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.
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.
We met German journalist Axel Halbhuber earlier in the year who was staying at Abisko Guesthouse in Swedish Lapland (250km inside the arctic circle) with his two really small children. He is the author of Reisen ist ein Kinderspiel - travelling (with children) is mere child's play. They had driven all the way up from Germany and were spending six weeks travelling around Sweden, Norway and Denmark before heading home again.
We thought - well, if he can do it, we could manage a four-night trip :D Armed with advice from him and two small researchers of our own (age 2 and 7), we tried, tested, climbed, investigated, opened everything and here are the tips we came up with:
- Book an apartment
We stayed in the 2-bedroom Fjällstugan at Abisko Guesthouse and it was perfect for the four of us (and would have been good with two more children). The flat is also tough enough for us parents to be able to relax - no amount of prodding and investigating caused any concern (though keep little kids out of the kitchen as it isn't toddler-proof).
There is space to eat in the living room and a proper table in the fully-equipped kitchen. The great big hallway is a perfect playroom and the shower and loo were just fine for us.
The Fjällstuga has two triple-bed rooms, meaning a double bed in each with single bunk over the top. Both rooms had plenty of space for a travel cot which we booked in advance from the Guesthouse. It came with baby bed covers and we took with us the littliest one's pillow and duvet.
As we talking about travelling with children, the TV works well and even had YouTube on it, should you 'need' endless episodes of Peppa Pig (or in Swedish, Greta Gris...).
The rest of the accommodation was also suitable for children, except for the top-floor 3-bed flat which you want children old enough not to need a stair gate. However, if you have children that won't throw themselves down the staircase, that top floor flat is fab, with three 2-bed rooms and the most spectacular views across the lake.
- Give the kids a camera. Each.
By having their own cameras (albeit cheap kiddy ones!), they looked at the landscape in a great way - in detail. We did end up with a huge number of photos of stones but there are some great shots among them!
- Exploring outdoors
* Walk to the lake: Lake Torenträsk is 700m gently downhill from the Guesthouse and is a wonderful place to explore. In the summer, take a fishing net with you or if you have old-enough children, take fishing rods with you. The lake has trout and arctic char as well as plenty of things to catch. Arctic char is yummy so if you catch one, take it back and cook it for dinner. You can fish all year round but will need help drilling holes in the ice in the winter so then take a guide with you! Guests at the Guesthouse can borrow sensible clothing for free.
In the winter (8 months of it...), you can walk on the frozen lake, despite how deep it is (very). The view is indescribably spectacular. Frozen lake opens all around you and is surrounded by low mountains, making it look like something out of Lord of the Rings (think Rivendell in winter). The mountains sparkle. The lake sparkles. There is certain to be someone walking a dog across it at some point, though they may be a long way away, as you can see the whole length.
If the lake isn't frozen, then look for fish, for bugs (not big ones, just ones small kids like to investigate) and there may even be a digger around, as repairs and building work to the small pontoons and houses there taken place in the few months with no snow. When we pottered down, a new pontoon was being built by a small digger.
* Chairlift up Mount Nuolja.
We took our 2-year-old up on the lift after asking around but would only recommend it if you are sure that they will sit absolutely still for the 20 min journey up and the same down. We used a BabaSling tightly around ours and it worked well but wasn't the most relaxing journey. However...the view is absolutely beautiful, very definitely worth it and is even better on the way down. Our 7-year-old thought it was amazing and took many, many video clips on the journey up and down and from the top. Check that it is open, it closes in the spring and autumn.
If you can and want to hike or ski down from the top, do. The hiking paths are well marked. If you don't, you can take the lift, just buy a return ticket.
There is a cafe at the top chairlift station that served a small selection of yummy food. We had tomato soup and waffles (not together!). Then we went out onto the viewing platform and filmed and photographed the amazing scenery.
* A bit of a walk:
There are all manner of hikes through Abisko National Park and with kids that are old enough, we would head to Trollsjön, a 'magical' lake that is entirely frozen most of the year so has no life in it at all. It is beautiful.
But...our kids aren't nearly up to that (yet...?) so Stornabben is a much better bet. A 1,5km trek up to the mound gets you great views of the lake and the landscape all around you and, best of all, it is only a 20 minute walk. It is magical to look across the lake and also see Lapporten - the gap between the mountains that is called the 'Gate to Lapland'. Visitors have reported it as one of the most amazing places to see the northern lights, if you fancy staying up late enough to see them (not in the summer!).
* Short hike:
If you have kids that might be interested in a busy beach full of bird-life, then head to the beach and delta where the river Abeskoeatnu meets the lake, 3-4km from the Guesthouse. Blue throats hang out there, sometimes singing a wide variety of songs, so listen out for them. Do check the time of year though - entrance to the area is restricted May-July to allow the birds some peace.
- Entertainment indoors (for when the weather isn't perfect)
* Naturum nature centre at the tourist station in Abisko
About 2.5km from the Guesthouse is a group of buildings that includes the Swedish Tourist Association hostel and the local nature centre, called Naturum. On one side of the nature centre, you can find out all about the history and wildlife of the area. On the other is a shop and a place to sit and rummage through the books they have. More importantly are there things to colour in and with, dough to make things out of, a microscope to thoroughly investigate (including trying to take it apart...) and lots to look at, touch and press. The bird-song buttons were, of course, great entertainment. Sometimes, there are organised activities for children at a very simple level but ours loved investigating the hides of local wild animals that the guide assured them had all been killed by natural causes or by getting in the way of a train.
Every day, they show a couple of films in English and one in German, about the national parks and about reindeer herding. The one we saw seemed to have been filmed an extremely long time ago but it included showing the arrival of huskie puppies and our 7-year-old was fascinated The room where the films are shown has a model of the area which was a) very useful to see and b) had a million buttons that kept our 2-year-old busy right through the 15 minute film. The films are free to see and you can ask them if they'll put them on at other times too.
If you are in need of refreshments, the centre itself doesn't have any but the really big hotel next door (STF Mountain Station) certainly does. A rather fancy restaurant is there but the shop, equipped with everything from very expensive hiking gear to tins of food, has tea and coffee and snacks. You can sit in the lobby with them, together with a fair few others in varying degrees of hiking attire.
- Where to eat
* The Guesthouse is self-catering so the most important place to start is the supermarket. Sited inside an enormous sweet shop, do not take the kids in with you unless you can keep them from putting their hands in the huge barrels of sweets or you have managed to bribe them to behave with something else. I'd even recommend giving them something to eat right before you go in! Apart from that, it is a perfectly well stocked little supermarket (the sweets have more space than everything else) and we managed to find all that we needed but don't expect much choice or that they'll have baby things. However, you can get frozen reindeer meat and we highly recommend trying it. The kitchen we had (and the others we investigated) were fully equipped and we didn't need to ask for anything.
* As we mentioned, the hotel at Björkliden (about 10km from Abisko), Hotell Fjället, has a restaurant that serves a really great lunch buffet. There seemed to be just one thing on the menu but the days we tried it out, there was a vegan option too (meaning allergies were easy to deal with) and then small hotdogs and meatballs for the children - who eat for free...! Seriously, that is unheard of in Sweden! The Restaurang Lapporten has windows that look out right across the lake, back towards Abisko. The 'app on an ipad' you use to get tap water or squash from the machine was a big hit with our little travellers.
* The restaurant at STF Mountain Station looked very smart and we didn't try it but will another time. It also lists a playroom which we didn't find and forgot to ask about!
* If you head up on the chairlift, the cafe at the top is very nice and, although not a huge selection, had very nice food. Think warming soup and sticky buns.
- Do you need a car?
We wondered how we would manage without a car. You can book tours and transfers with the Guesthouse, they have a mass of minibuses. We arrived on one occasion by bus but there is only one bus a day from Kiruna airport and you'd be stuck if you missed it. On reflection, we think it would be tough there with little kids and no car, especially if it isn't warm and sunny all the time. We hired a car from Kiruna airport and that worked well.
- Have you been to Lapland with small children? -
Let us know if you've been up north into the arctic circle with children or if you'd like to go. We'll be going again so let us know if you want to know about anything!
Nursery school places are sometimes hard to come by in the Danderyd area but, after a few families have moved on to other countries, the wonderful English-speaking Lilla Montessori has space for this autumn. It is a tiny nursery school and wonderful in many ways (we know from personal experience!). Here is the info:
Lilla Montessori Djursholm International Preschool
We are a small private nursery and preschool for
one to five year olds that caters for families
who appreciate the benefits of a small group.
We offer a homely and peaceful setting,
experienced staff and a Montessori influenced
English speaking environment.
Our premises are on Danavägen 3 only a few
minutes from Djursholm Center.
For more information please call
0708-52 55 55. International 0046-708 52 55 55.
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About the blog
Interesting bits and pieces about life in Sweden, including all-important song words.