Assyrians/Syriacs in Sweden

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Assyrians/Syriacs Arameans in Sweden
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Södertälje, Stockholm, Gothenburg, Örebro, Västerås, Norrköping, Linköping
Neo-Aramaic, Arabic, Swedish
Assyrian Church of the East, Ancient Church of the East, Chaldean Catholic Church, Syriac Orthodox Church and Syriac Catholic Church

Assyrians/Syriacs in Sweden (Swedish: Assyrier/Syrianer) are Swedish people of Mesopotamia descent or Aramean, Assyrians who have Swedish citizenship. According to different estimates the Swedish Aramean,Assyrians,Chaldean are numbering approximately 150,000 people.[2]

The Assyrians,Aramean,Chaldean in Sweden mainly came due to ethnic and religious conflicts from Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran that largely corresponds with the Mesopotamia, including parts of what is now primarily northern Iraq, northeastern Syria, northwestern Iran, and southeastern Turkey.[3] Also, some of the first Arameans,Assyrians,Chaldeans came from other Western Asian countries outside of Mesopotamia like Lebanon, Jordan, and Armenia. Those who had already lived in Sweden for a longer period were finally granted residence permit for humanitarian reasons.[4]


The Assyrian/Syriac community in Sweden numbers an estimated 30–40,000 people (2016). An estimated 18,000 live in Södertälje,[5] which is seen as the unofficial Assyrian/Syriac capital of Europe due to the city's high percentage of Assyrians/Syriacs.

According to Statistics Sweden, as of 2016, there 22,663 are citizens of Iraq (12,705 men, 9,958 women) and 116,384 citizens of Syria (70,060 men, 46,324 women) residing in Sweden.[6]

According to the Institute of Labor Economics, as of 2014, the labour force participation rate of foreign-born individuals in Sweden is approximately 34% for the Iraq-born and 48% for the Syria-born. The employment population ratio is about 28% for the Iraq-born and 40% for the Syria-born. The unemployment rate is around 14% for immigrants born in Syria and 19% for the Iraq-born.[7]

As of 2016, according to Statistics Sweden, 35% of Syria-born individuals aged 25 to 64 have attained a primary and lower secondary education level (37% men, 34% women), 22% have attained an upper secondary education level (21% men, 23% women), 21% have attained a post-secondary education level of less than 3 years (21% men, 22% women), 15% have attained a post-secondary education of 3 years or more (16% men, 14% women), and 6% have attained an unknown education level (6% men, 7% women).[8]


There is an ideological division of this group in Sweden between[9]

In order to keep alive their religious identities, they built new churches.[10]

To account for this division, official Swedish sources refer to the group as "Assyrier/Syrianer", with a slash (similar to the US census, which opted for "Assyrian/Chaldean/Syriac").


The first Assyrians/Syriacs arrived in 1967 as refugees from Lebanon (see Lebanese Civil War), numbering some 200 people.[11]

The migration to Sweden may be broken up into a number of distinct periods: early settlement and the subsequent waves of migration sparked by the Assyrian genocide in present-day Turkey, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and, more recently, during the 2000s, an unprecedented immigration wave from Iraq and Syria reached Sweden as a result of the Iraq Wars (Gulf War in 1991, Iraq War in 2003, Iraqi Civil War in 2014–present) and the Syrian Civil War in 2011–present.

Sports and media activities[edit]

The Swedish authorities have granted many rights for Assyrian/Syriacs including their own professional football (soccer) teams like Assyriska FF and Syrianska FC. Also, the Swedish authorities have granted the right of Assyrians to broadcast international TV-channels like Suryoyo Sat and Suroyo TV from the Swedish territory.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ Sargon Donabed (1 February 2015). Reforging a Forgotten History: Iraq and the Assyrians in the Twentieth Century. Edinburgh University Press. pp. 18–. ISBN 978-0-7486-8605-6. 
  4. ^ Swedish Minister for Development Co-operation, Migration and Asylum Policy, Migration 2002, June 2002 Archived September 26, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Prakash Shah; Marie-Claire Foblets (15 April 2016). Family, Religion and Law: Cultural Encounters in Europe. Routledge. p. 183. ISBN 978-1-317-13648-4. 
  6. ^ "Foreign citizens by country of citizenship, sex and year". Statistics Sweden. Retrieved 15 November 2017. 
  7. ^ "Mapping Diasporas in the European Union and the United States - Comparative analysis and recommendations for engagement" (PDF). Institute of Labor Economics. Retrieved 15 November 2017.  - cf. Appendix 4: Diaspora characteristics - labour force indicators by sending countries
  8. ^ "The population 2016 by level of education, country of birth and sex. Age 25-64". Statistics Sweden. Retrieved 13 November 2017. 
  9. ^ Dan Lundberg, Christians from the Middle East[year needed][page needed]
  10. ^
  11. ^ Tore Wizelius; Lars-Sune Hansson; Sweden. Referensgruppen för folkrörelsefrågor; Sweden. Statens invandrarverk (1984). Föreningar bland invandrare och minoriteter i Sverige. Statens invandrarverk. p. 53. 


  • Svenska kommunförbundet (1982). Assyrier/syrianer: tipskatalog : några fakta om gruppen och några exempel från kommunal verksamhet. Kommunförb. 
  • Knutsson, Bengt (1982). Assur eller Aram: språklig, religiös och nationell identifikation hos Sveriges assyrier och syrianer. Statens invandrarverk (SIV).
  • Klich, I., and Ingvar Svanberg. "Assyrier/syrianer" i." Det mångkulturella Sverige (1988).
  • Yalcin, Zeki. "Svenskar och assyrier/syrianer kring sekelskiftet 1900." Multiethnica. Meddelande från Centrum för multietnisk forskning, Uppsala universitet 29 (2003): 24-28.
  • Björklund, Ulf. North to another country: the formation of a Suryoyo community in Sweden. Vol. 9. Dept. of Social Anthropology, University of Stockholm, 1981.
  • Atman, Sabri. Assyrier-Syrianer. Mesopotamien, 1996.
  • Barsom, Gabriella. "En studie om assyriska/syrianska ungdomars språkbruk och språkidentiteter." (2006).
  • Berntson, Martin. "Assyrier eller syrianer? Om fotboll, identitet och kyrkohistoria." rapport nr.: Humanistdag-boken 16 (2003).