This book is not exactly light reading. It’s more than 600 pages of laws, rights, and rules. Thirty-one chapters on education, healthcare, culture, taxes, work, pension, elections, and so on — I don’t think there’s anything it does not cover. Due to the number of topics though it does not go deep; it’s more about informing the reader that something exists and pointing in the right direction. There are no pro-tips, gotchas or layman explanations.
Most of the book is legalese — not hardcore, kidnap-a-lawyer-if-you-want-to-grok-it sort of legalese, but still legalese. Which is a pity, since people who would benefit the most from this “guide to Swedish society” are also the ones it would be the least approachable for.
Random bits and pieces I learned from Samhällsguiden:
sambor (cohabiting partners) and married people are the same before law, except when they want to adopt (only married couples can) or inherit from each other (that includes a rental contract)
at least once per school semester every pupil has a talk with their teacher and parents about the best way their knowledge and social development can be supported; it’s called utvecklingssamtal — same as the yearly performance review talk people get at work
if a parent needs to learn the sign language to communicate with their child and misses work because of this, they can get money from CSN, the Swedish Board of Student Finance
Arbetsförmedlingen, the unemployment office, has webinars (e.g. about writing a CV) and a podcast
if a company employs 10 people or less and needs to do a lay-off, it gets to choose maximum two of them to be exempted from the “last in — first out” rule
if a rental contract specifies a longer notice period than three full months, the tenant is not bound by this condition, but the landlord is
it’s not necessary to have a digital postbox (like Kivra) to get the tax return already in April
if someone was caught driving drunk, they can apply to get a special condition on their driving license instead of having it taken away. The condition is that they only get to drive cars equipped with alcolock manufactured by a company approved by Transportstyrelsen. This condition’s code is 69, and a driving license with this condition is only valid within Sweden
if a letter can’t be delivered and doesn’t have the sender’s address on it, a special office in Kiruna will open the letter and try to investigate who the sender is to return the letter
61% of Swedes are members of the Swedish church
a Swede can’t get more than three passports within the same five-year period
a Swedish flag shall not be used if it’s dirty or worn out. If it’s worn out, it’s forbidden to use it in a non-flag way: it should be burned or disposed of in another dignified fashion
citizens of the EU, Norway, and Iceland get to vote in the local elections of Sweden if they reside there; citizens of other countries get to vote in the local elections after three years of residence
there’s a website which aims to explain things about being subjected to crime to kids of different ages; there are also brochures in languages other than Swedish (e.g. “What happens at a trial” in English)
home insurance usually has legal costs insurance included.
I got my hands on the 31st edition of the book. It was printed in 2019. Some rules have already changed since then, so I think it would make no sense to read an older version. I also can’t recommend reading this formidable brick of a book from cover to cover — there are few people on this planet to whom all of it would apply — but walking up to it in a library and checking out the links and references in a particular chapter might work well.
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