Until very recently, the Swedish Tax Authority had the power to decide whether the names parents chose for their children were acceptable – and forbid them from using names deemed to be “weird.” As Wikipedia states, the Swedish Tax Authority’s official take on the issue was that:
“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.”
This law has produced several humorous protests over the years, including a parent who named their baby boy “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116″ in 1991 in direct opposition to Swedish policies in 1991. More recently, in 2007, Michael and Karolina Tomato fought aggressively for the right to name their daughter “Metallica.” The Swedish government has evidently loosened up as of late however, with ParentDish.com reporting that parents are pushing the envelope with names like Elvis, Google and Lego. Swedish tax official Lars Tegenfeldt was quoted as saying that “changing times” have induced the Swedish Tax Authority to be less stringent in enforcing the odd name ban. While it isn’t a tax in the purest sense of the word, Sweden is likely the only nation in the world whose tax officials have the final say over what people’s names are. Strange indeed!