Mohammedsson

When I was in Denmark years ago, I found out the -sen name ending is more prestigious than the -son ending. In fact, one of my relative who does business in Norway added his maternal surname to his business card along with his father’s -son name because it ended in -sen. Also, he wanted to distance himself from the Swedes.

Now it seems even the Swedes want to distance themselves from traditional Swedish names. For the last century, Swedes have been getting rid of names that end in -son, which comes from the old Nordic practice of using the father’s name plus -son or -datter. Under the old laws, only those with names ending in -son could change their names, but now anyone can do it with approval from the patent office.

In recent decades, successive waves of immigrants have been coming to Sweden, and many avail themselves of the laws and take Swedish-sounding names to hasten their integration.

Mr. Ekengren [director of the Patent and Registration Office] recalled a case a few years ago in which an immigrant family requested permission to be called Mohammedsson.

“Permission was granted,” he said.

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