For many Brits hoping to escape the 9-5 drudgery of Middle England, a move to Sweden represents the ideal.
Not too far from home, it has the perfect blend of natural beauty and efficiency — things just work in Sweden.
Socially, it’s one of the most progressive countries in Europe, but not to the point of being off-putting. Rather, egalitarian values are put first and foremost, the welfare state is well developed and one of the best on the continent and, while taxes are comparatively high, it’s clear in the efficiency and modernity of the public services that taxpayers’ money is being spent responsibly and transparently.
Of course, there’s plenty more to Sweden that will appeal to Brits. Let’s find out more…
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1. Incredible Scenery
Scandinavia is often grouped together with New Zealand as being home to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.
From the island capital of Stockholm to the Kosterhavet marine national park and the many mountains and forests… it’s a beautiful world in Sweden that’s just itching to be discovered.
2. Social Communities
One of the first things you’ll notice if you move to Sweden to work is the daily ritual of fika.
Here’s a short video on the ritual of fika:
Fika is the word used for a coffee and snack break, usually with colleagues, friends or family, but is an ingrained part of Swedish society — most companies will have a dedicated fika room.
Social bonds are created and fostered through fika and the ritual is an easy way to characterise the sociability of the Swedish people.
3. There’s Gender Equality…
Sweden is truly one of the most egalitarian countries in the world, where men and women are genuinely viewed and treated as equals at home and at work.
Women are much more visible here in heading up companies and taking on positions in government and parliament than other countries. Maternity leave is also generous: a whopping 69 weeks. As an added bonus, this leave can be shared with the father.
4. … And Much More Equality Besides
Thanks to their well-developed welfare state, Sweden is well equipped to adequately care and provide for those less fortunate like the elderly, disabled and poor.
Healthcare is ‘semi-free’, at a charge of around £10-20 per hospital visit, with an upper ceiling of around £90, after which visits are free.
In the workplace, people following the Jantelagen philosophy, which rules that all are equal and no one person is better than another. This culture nourishes creativity and puts the team effort at the forefront of working.
Another great egalitarian principle you’ll encounter when moving to Sweden from the UK is that access to schools and universities are free for EU citizens.
5. Outdoor Activities
As you’d expect from a country with such open spaces and incredible scenery, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures in Sweden.
Whether it’s football, ice hockey, ice skating, skiing, running, sailing, cycling — whatever you can think of, there’ll be an opportunity to do it in Sweden.
6. “There’s no such thing as bad weather…
… Just bad clothes,” says a popular Swedish saying.
Sure, it gets very cold and dark in Sweden in the Winter, but if you’re prepared to embrace the extreme seasons (and invest in some hardy winter clothing), then there’s no reason for you not to enjoy the country as much as would in the Summer.
Not to mention, the extreme seasons make for some pretty epic light shows in the sky after dark. The Aurora Borealis — the Northern Lights — are on so many people’s bucket lists for a reason.
7. Public Services are Efficient and Helpful
If you’ve ever spent time cursing the various public institutions at home, you’ll likely thrive after a move to Sweden from the UK.
Once you’ve been allocated a personnumber (after registering yourself on the Swedish Population Register), you’ll encounter the famous efficiency that links together all your transactions, tax and governmental matters.
The internet in Sweden is one of the fastest in the world, while public transport in Stockholm is comprehensive and runs 24/7 on weekend — rivalling the famous London Tube.
Public spaces are well-maintained and all services quick and efficient.
While tax rates are comparatively quite high, it’s clear to track how your tax krona are being spent.
8. Delicious Food and Drink
As you’d expect from a Nordic country, fish and seafood are very well represented on Swedish menus. Anyone for fresh lobster and gravlax?
The cuisine bears a fair amount in common with the German cuisine, while smorgasbord buffets are enjoyed by everyone (especially those who like pickled herring).
When it comes to fika, coffee and cakes are the aim of the game. The Swedes love their coffee — while the rest of the EU drank an average 4.83 kilos of the stuff during 2012, the Swedes consumed a whopping 7.32 kilos, according to the International Coffee Organisation.
Popular cakes and pastries include cinnamon and cardamom buns, while smoked salmon and blinis are often served too. Delicious!
Why do you want to move to Sweden?