Among foreigners it is a matter of common knowledge that you need a Swedish name if you want a Swedish job. Even though this country is basically bilingual and about half of Sweden moves to London to lead the life of a banker for a couple of years, foreign last names still a menace to society. I got lucky. My last name sounds foreign but not dangerous. “Emmerich” has a quite clumsy, dull tone to German ears, but Swedes find it is “lagom främmande” (just the right amount of foreign). It is also my ex husbands name, but that is an entirely different story.
I have discussed this subject with Americans, Iranians, French and Russians with PhD in their pockets and last names ending with “-kovic” “-maghani”. Most of them had fallen in love with a stunning Swedish citizen and finally found jobs after having married into the Svensson, Olofsson, Lindgren, Lindberg or Lindström family.
Changing last names is rather common in Sweden. Many don’t want to be “Anders Johansson” or “Johan Andersson” because there are about 43.000 of them in Sweden. To be precise, there were 262.473 people named Johansson in 2009. I just added up the number of people with the ten most common last names (2009) and ended up with 1.650.970. That is a lot in a country with a total of 9 million inhabitants.
Swedes like names ending with “-skjöld” “-stam” or “swärd” – these sound exclusive, a bit viking, a bit royal. You can make up a completely new name too, just as long as noone else owns it in some way.
Sameh joined the movement and got himself a job. I like.