Friday, July 17, 2009


The Personnummer is, basically, like your social security number. In Sweden everyone who resides here for a year or more gets one. It is issued by the tax agency and it's needed to get pretty much anything done. Bank accounts, library cards, grocery store discount cards--they all want your personnummer.

Apparently it opens one to the world of highly coveted "social benefits". Social benefits -- it conjures up visuals of invitations to parties where the beautiful people hang out or special tables at select restaurants. However, social benefits to a European means something else entirely.

People's eyes light up when they question whether you've received your personnumer? They love to remind you that you won't have to worry about healthcare anymore. Mmmmkay. Just yesterday, I read on a chart that Swedish doctors are among the lowest paid in the industrialized world. Somewhere around an average of $66k per year.

That's a little concerning.

In any case,  apparently I can not get a personnummer as I am only slated to be here for 50 weeks and not the minimum 52 required to qualify. I don't get to snuff my nose in the trough of social benefits. I, instead, get to pay $2 for a can of coke and $90 for a pair of Levis. A direct result of all those free social benefits.

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