Everything in this post is true. If you are thinking of moving here or want to know why so many people do, here are 15 reasons why people love to Sweden. Being a socialist country, Sweden has some amazing benefits for workers, citizens, and foreigners alike.
15 reasons why you should move to Sweden.
1. Swedish benefits are the best in the world
Working in Sweden gives you a boat load of holidays. Most start with around five weeks of paid vacation and more as you go. Plus, if you are planning on having children here, parents here get 480 days of paid parental leave so share between them! No 2 weeks for guys and 6 months for women. 480 to do as you please. Most parents take a month or so off and then work 70-80% to make some extra cash. Healthcare is semi-free here as well. You will pay around 100-250kr. per visit up to a max of 1000kr. Then all visits are free. This makes standard healthcare affordable to all. I say standard as this does not cover dental care or mental health.
2. High taxes but with visible rewards
Taxes in Sweden are higher than other places in Europe and the world, but you see the benefits. Healthcare, education, benefits, and more. Money in, money out. We have written about tax in Sweden before. Standard income tax is 30% and around 25% VAT. If you earn less than 18,800kr per year, you pay no tax, and over 433,000kr you will pay 31% tax plus another 20/25%. There are a few tools to help understand how much you will pay in tax and where the moment goes, but overall, most people are ok with the tax scheme. Of course, no-one likes to pay tax, but at least you see the benefits here.
3. Fresh Winters and Amazing Summers
Most people say the winter is cold and dark. True, but Sweden has so much to offer during the winter and nature makes winter fresh and beautiful. Just look at this winter picture from 2012:
Go skiing just 20 mins from Stockholm, cross country skiing in nature, ice skating with the SHL hockey season and more:
- SHL Season – http://www.shl.se/
- Skiing in Stockholm – http://www.skistar.com/sv/hammarbybacken/
- Hellasgården – http://www.hellasgarden.se/en/ski-tracks-ski-rentals
And sure the temperature drops to minus 20 degrees. But as the Swedes say “there is no such thing as bad weather; just bad clothes”. Invest in a good Fjällräven winter jacket and some essentials, and you will be able to enjoy the crisp Swedish winters.
And the summer is even better. Temperatures can high 30 degrees, warm water, and city beaches, Sweden becomes an amazing place to spend the summer. Stockholm sets up free areas to swim in and even temporary beaches so you are never far away from the summer lifestyle. In the north, you even have the chance for 24 hours of sunlight.
4. Fika and cakes
Fika is a key part of daily Swedish life/weekends. Fika is taking a little coffee break and eating a small bun like a kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) or kardemummabullar (cardamom buns – even better!). Taking this small pause or inviting someone to do so is a great way to socialise.
5. The Archipelago
The Swedish archipelago is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Easily accessible from Stockholm and just stunning, this set of 30,000 islands has very frequent boat trips and tours, letting you get out of the city and into nature at a moments notice. The furthest islands are 3 hours away from Stockholm, but just taking a 45-minute boat journey can give a sense of peace and tranquillity like nowhere else.
6. The Internet
Sweden has one of the fastest internet connections in the world (number 5 in 2014). Plus, the internet here is super affordable, unlike some countries. Mobile internet here is also great. 4G in the underground and even out into the archipelago shows that Sweden is serious about its technology and being ahead of the game compared to the rest of Europe.
So these are just some of the reasons that make Sweden such a great place to live. It’s not surprising that more and more people from across the world are moving here to enjoy the fantastic society, and I think over the next 10 years, this country is going to become much more diverse.
7. Public Transport
SL, the transport network on Stockholm, is so good and widespread, that you don’t need a car of your own. The SL transport network is huge and covers a vast amount of Stockholm. On weekends, the public transport here runs 24/7, and through the weeks, it starts around 5:30 and stops around midnight. Just like London, SL has a travel card system where travellers can either add credit and pay per trip, or add an unlimited period pass that covers 7/30/90 days across the whole network. It’s adorable for most people.
P.s. if you do, you can sign-up for a company called Car2Go which lets you rent a small Smart Car by the minute for the odd times you need to drive somewhere.
P.p.s. The national trains suck here.
8. Relaxed Everyday Life
Swedes place a huge focus on a relaxed and comfortable lifestyle. Stressing less, spending quality time with friends and family, and developing personal skills are important values here and help make this such a vibrant community.
9. Food and Snacks
Meatballs, Sil, Lördagsgodis and Snaps, Sweden has got it made when it comes to food. Plus, with so much migration to Sweden over the past 50 years, Sweden has a great food culture from Europe, the Mediterranean, Asian, and the Middle East.
10. Free education (for almost everyone)
Whether you want to start learning Swedish at school, or study a masters in international business, Swedish schools and universities are free for EU citizens. If you are from outside the EU, there is a cost and fees so check before planning your move here.
Cringe if you want but Eurovision here is a big deal (and so is their pre-run up festival called Melodifestivalen where they pick the Swedish entry). There is a huge following here of the whole run up, almost everyone gets behind the national song.
I was never into sports as a kid, but Sweden changed me. I’m now watching ice hockey when I can and following the handball and football leagues like never before. Ice Hockey here is really good and many of the players for Swedish teams are picked up my top NHL teams. The rink is bigger (fun fact) and the games are as a good as any. Football is different here too. Bring from the UK where the rough just is “team with most money = wins”, the Allsvenskan league here is full of passionate teams that want to win, move up the league, and make it big.
13. Working Conditions and Experimentation
There is a rule amongst most Swedes called “Jantelagen”, which is the idea that you are not any better than anyone else. This totally goes against some other cultures like America and tried to promote an equal society. Some people think this is good but others (especially non-Swedes here) think this limits creative and drive to be the very vest.
There are also lots of cities in Sweden (like Kiruna and Gothenburg) that have been experimenting with a 6 hour work week.
Some people love it and others hate it. For years, Sweden has had a problem with alcoholism, and in a method to crack down on this, they introduced Systembolaget in 1955. Systembolaget is the government controlled alcohol store and the only place you can buy alcohol over 3.5%. Some people hate it since it:
- Closes at 6-7 through the week and 2 on the weekends
- Is the only place to buy decent alcohol
- Closed on Sundays
But I really like it. Sure, it’s a long way away from the good old cheap off-licences in the UK when are you can get 20 cans of beer for £9, but I like Systembolaget because you get a much better selection than most other places. Yes, it sucks that the opening hours are short, but you get used to it.
15. Relaxed Swearing
Sweden is very relaxed when it comes to hearing swear words like “fuck” on TV. Coming from the UK, we have such a conservative rule on swearing on TV and radio before 9pm. Sweden does not have this rule, which makes for a really relaxed, casual talk style on some TV shows. Of course, you’re not going to news reporters and presenters swearing during their broadcast
So there we have it. 15 reasons why Sweden is a great place to move to. Did I miss some or do you have some suggestions of your own? Let me know in the comments!