You better think hard before naming your newborn baby in Sweden. So far, you’re not allowed to name your child Superman, Veranda, Metallica, IKEA, or Elvis there. The reason is because of a 1982 law called the “Naming Law.” It was enacted so non-noble families wouldn’t give names of noble families to their children.
This is what the law states about first names:
“First names shall not be approved if they can cause offense or can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it, or names which for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name.”
The Swedish Tax Agency runs the registration of names in Sweden, and parents must submit their proposed names within three months of birth. Of course, the law has caused some controversy.
The parents of a child born in 1991 gave their child the name Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (which they pronounced “Albin”) to protest the law. The parents had been fined for not registering the name of the child, and they responded with the 43-character name. The court subsequently rejected it.
The same thing happened in 2007 when a couple tried to name their daughter Metallica, after the heavy-metal band. The tax authority had rejected the name, but the couple won a case in an administrative court that said there was no reason to block the name. The Swedish Tax Agency at first didn’t recognize the decision but later relented. So I guess you can name your child Metallica in Sweden now, but you probably can expect a battle.
Other names have passed through the registration process without a problem for some reason. In 2005, the name “Google” was accepted, but it may have been because it was the child’s middle name.
Sweden passed revisions to the naming law in 2016 that eased some of the restrictions, and banned names for a baby and naming laws aren’t just limited to Sweden. Denmark has a list of 7,000 approved names, and other names beyond that list have to be approved. Other countries have limits to what a person can name their baby. Mexico, New Zealand, and Saudi Arabia have banned lists, and Germany, China, Japan, and Iceland also have baby-naming laws.