- Vehicle registration plates of Sweden
Vehicle registration plates of Sweden are used for most types of vehicles and have three letters first and three digits after, if read from the left. The combination has no connection with a geographic location, although the last digit shows what month the car has to undergo
vehicle inspection. Vehicles like police cars, fire trucks, public buses and trolley buses use the same type of plate as normal private cars and can't be directly distinguished by the plate. Military vehicles have special plates.
The registration number is tied to the vehicle and remains unchanged, even after change of ownership, until the vehicle is scrapped or exported. It is possible to decommision a registered vehicle for any length of period. A decommisioned registered vehicle does not require road taxes or a valid insurance. The registration plate remains on the vehicle while decommisioned, and the taxation sticker is scratched off to show that the vehicle must not be used. Registration numbers of scrapped, exported and de-registred vehicles are put in quarantine before they are re-used with new registered vehicles.
All letters in the Swedish alphabet are used, except the letters I, Q, V, Å, Ä and Ö.
About 150 letter combinations are not used, since they may be offensive, political or otherwise unsuitable. Examples: APA (
monkey), DUM (stupid), DYR (expensive), FAN (devil, damn), FEG (cowardly), FEL (error/wrong), FUL (ugly), GAY, GLO (stare), HOT (threat), LAT (lazy), NEJ (no), NRP (Nordiska Rikspartiet), OND (evil), SAP (Sveriges socialdemokratiska arbetareparti (Swedish Social Democratic Party)), SEX, SUP ( snaps), TOA (toilet), UFO, USA, XXL(extra extra large) and many others. Also "WTC 911" was disallowed due to the disaster in World Trade Center (WTC) on 9/11 2001 (911). Also "WTC 119" is disallowed (dates are pronounced day/month in Sweden). The road authority has made the list, which is larger than those in most other countries, to avoid requests to replace issued plate numbers once they are read as unacceptable, which would cause administrative problems.
The standard size is 520×111 millimetres, or 480×111 millimetres without the EU-stripe.
Starting in the mid 1990s, smaller plates of 30×11 cm were offered for special applications where standard plates would not typically fit, e.g. American domestic market vehicles. These plates are made in a narrower typeface and without the EU-stripe. Up until then large, square plates were used for these applications; however these where sometimes too large hight-wise for some American cars, in which case motorcycle plates were issued instead.
The blue EU stripe has been used since 2002, but it is up to the owner to decide whether or not they want it. This decision is usually made when buying a new car, but some very EU-positive people have changed plates on their present car. Motorcycle owners have often changed plates since it's often hard to find a place for the oval "S"-sticker otherwise needed abroad.
In the middle of the rear plate, a sticker must be attached to allow driving. This sticker is sent to the owner when the tax and the liability insurance have been paid, and the vehicle has been approved by the car test authority. It has one-year validity. Its colour varies with the year, and the month number of expiry is clearly visible, making it easy for the police to see the expiry month.
In addition to the standard registration number of three letters and three digits, you may have personal registration plates. The personal registration number works as an alias to the standard number, and can have (almost) any text or number combination with up to seven letters, if that isn't used already. It costs 6000 kr (about 640 €) to get personal number for a vehicle. It is valid for ten years and may be moved to another vehicle. The approval sticker is placed on the left, not in the middle. Too offensive or illegal text isn't allowed. For instance, the 64SALE number was not allowed, as the number 6 and the word "sex" are
homonyms in Swedish. A sticker declaring the alias relationship between the standard number and the personal number must be attached in one of the vehicle's windows.
Black text on green background. These plates are used on vehicles without registration, insurance and vehicles which have failed inspection. The dealers have reported their car not to be driven, meaning they don't have to pay tax. Cars can be parked for months awaiting sale. The cars can be used for short test drives, with this licence plate. Unlike normal Swedish license plates the dealer plate is not tied to any vehicle but to the plate owner. These plates can also be used by car manufacturers for test vehicles. The plate has a sticker indicating if the plate is for cars, trucks or trailers. The plate shows that the owner has a special insurance to cover for test drives.
Black text on blue background. It consists of two letters, three serial digits and a last letter. The two letters shows which country the car is from. The letters don't correspond to any country acronym e.g. American cars don't have US as their first two letters. The three digits is just a serial number. The last letter show what kind of task the diplomat who's driving it has. The approval sticker is placed last. Just like the personal plates these vehicles have a standard format registration as well. Which means a re-registration is not needed if the vehicle changes owner.
Black text on yellow background. Taxis get yellow plates after they are approved. The plates has the same registration as the car had before it was a taxi. Thus if it's not used as taxi anymore or if the car fails inspection the normal plates are put back on and the yellow ones are confiscated. The plates does not have an approval sticker but a smaller T indicating taxi in the right corner. If a car has personal plates and is going to be used as a taxi it will get personal yellow plates but without the little T in the right corner.
White text on red background. Used as temporary registration for import and export. Like the standard plates, it has three letters and three digits, but with expiry day and month to the left and year to the right.
Yellow digits on black background. The 1906 series is still used. The licence plates consists of four to six digits and may be used for all kinds of vehicles, such as ordinary automobiles and
Until 1973 the plates contained one or two letters and up to five digits.The letters are standardised codes for the
counties of Sweden.A second letter (A or B) was used for some counties for which the 5 digits were not enough to cover all vehicles.
The typeface used was not consistent as the vehicle owner bought either a plate or a kit from various dealers, such as petrol stations.
* A, AA, AB - City of
* B, BA, BB -
* C -
* D -
* E, EA -
* F, FA -
* G -
* H -
* I -
* K -
* L, LA -
Kristianstads län(today part of Skåne län)
* M, MA, MB -
Malmöhus län(today part of Skåne län)
* N -
* O, OA, OB -
Göteborgs och Bohus län(today part of Västra Götalands län)
* P, PA -
Älvsborgs län(today part of Västra Götalands län)
* R -
Skaraborgs län(today part of Västra Götalands län)
* S, SA -
* T, TA -
* U, UA -
* W, WA -
Kopparbergs län(today Dalarnas län)
* X, XA -
* Y -
* Z -
* AC -
* BD -
* no letter - military vehicles
Opposite to many other countries, there were no special codes for police or post or other national services apart from the militaries. One tradition though was that the official vehicle of the
governorhad the number 1 after the county code. "A 1" however belonged to the king.
These plates have not been used after 1974. All vehicles had to replace the plates. There are no historic plates in Sweden and historic cars have to use modern (past-1973) plates. All vehicles older than 30 years are regarded veteran by the road authority. As soon a vehicle turn 30 it becomes tax-exempt and only needs to pass
vehicle inspectionevery second year. These vehicles use ordinary plates and approval stickers.
After 1973 the format changed to three letters followed by three digits. The typeface was custom made to increase readability. The plates were made in embossed sheet steel. Later the plates were changed to plastic with reflective tape on them, still embossed. This caused problems since the tape would wear off and decrease the readability of the plate. A new plate was introduced that was a solid piece of plastic. The typeface was a customised
Helvetica. These flat plates stopped being issued (quickly!) when Photoblocker spray paint became popular and they were replaced with embossed aluminium plates clad in 3M reflective film.
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