Conscription in Sweden

Sweden has had mandatory military service (Swedish: värnplikt) for men since 1901 although peacetime conscription was deactivated between 2010 and 2017. When peacetime conscription was mothballed in 2010, the law on conscription was simultaneously made gender-neutral.[1]

In 2017, the Swedish government decided to reactivate military conscription, referencing increased threats to national security. Beginning in 2018, 4000+ women and men were called up for service.[1] The conscripts were chosen from a pool of about 13,000 young people born in 1999, and will serve for 12 months.[2]

The Swedish Armed Forces is reportedly planning for 4,000 recruits annually in basic military training in 2018 and 2019.[3] As the relevant age cohort is about 100,000 this means that roughly 4% will be enlisted.[4] During the height of the Cold War, about 85% of Swedish men were enlisted.[5]

Non-military service

Conscientious objectors in Sweden have the right to choose alternative service (called vapenfri tjänst). After completing the alternative service the conscript is in the civilian reserve.[6]


  1. Persson, Alma; Sundevall, Fia (2019-03-22). "Conscripting women: gender, soldiering, and military service in Sweden 1965–2018". Women's History Review. 0: 1–18. doi:10.1080/09612025.2019.1596542. ISSN 0961-2025.
  2. "Sweden brings back military conscription amid Baltic tensions". BBC. 2 March 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  3. "Sweden re-activates conscription". Government Offices of Sweden. Government of Sweden. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  4. "Population statistics". Statistics Sweden.
  5. "Sweden reintroduces military draft, this time including women". Defense News. March 2, 2017.
  6. (in Swedish)
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