If you are thinking about a possible move, let us talk about the pros and cons of living in Sweden.There are good job opportunities. People are well paid and have a reasonable work-life balance and good union protection.
It is possible to work and live in Sweden for years even if you only speak English because everyone knows English, but that means losing many job opportunities because most companies require knowledge of Swedish. Many large companies of global importance were founded in Sweden: IKEA, Spotify, Volvo, IBM, etc. The government supports and encourages the creation of new companies through support programs and grants. Easy access to funding, the absence of bureaucracy and the fastest internet connections in the world provide an ideal foundation for starting new businesses. Taxes are high. Although the taxes paid are high, the system works well and the money paid is repaid through the social system.
It’s hard to break the ice with the people of Sweden. People are very close, and it takes a lot of effort to make deep friendships. People like their privacy, and it’s not easy to fit into long-established social groups without feeling like an outsider. Unlike in Latin countries, the concept of personal space is fundamental in Sweden. People are generally honest, foreigners are not considered an easy target and it is rare to get cheated. Swedes are generally tolerant, each minding his own business. They do not care much about foreigners who are in their country. Although latent forms of racism have been on the rise recently.
Stockholm is known as one of the loneliest cities in the world. People are reserved and don’t have many friends. If you try to talk to someone on public transportation, they immediately think you’re a weirdo. There is no social life except on weekends or in the summer months (when people live outdoors a lot). People almost always stay at home. Lately, things are starting to change: people aren’t as closed off as they were in the past. In recent years, they have become more open and multicultural, which is due to massive immigration and contact with new cultures (by traveling abroad). There are also regional differences: People from the north of the country are more reserved than those from the south. But, i general, life in Sweden is quite solitary. It is ideal for those who love their privacy, want to live a domestic life and have a family where they can spend most of their time.
Sweden is a beautiful country with large forests, clear water and clean air. Pollution is very low, and there is a state-of-the-art waste recycling system. It is one of the cleanest countries in the world to live in. The quality of life is very high, you can drink pristine water, breathe fresh air, the streets are clean and public transportation is efficient. It is a sparsely populated but high-tech country where most services work well: free education, free healthcare, childcare programmes, etc. Sweden has some of the best universities in the world. Tuition is free. The school is informal, and the atmosphere is as relaxed as possible. The health care system is generally free. Dental care is currently completely free until the age of 23. As for the quality of services, there are glitches and breakdowns here as well.
Like all Scandinavian countries, Sweden has a highly developed welfare system. In addition to grants for students and the unemployed, there is a well-structured family assistance programme. Parents receive almost a year and half of parental leave in case of birth or adoption and 80% of salary for one year. They are also entitled to a reduction in working hours until the child reaches the age of eight. Parents with strollers ride the bus for free.
Since most of the territory consists of rivers and forests. People are concentrated in the big cities, where there is a great shortage of housing. Prices are very high and Stockholm is perhaps the most difficult city in the world to find a rental flat.
The climate is characterized by extremely long, cold and dark winters, and the further north you go, the worse it gets. Bad weather and the absence of sun for most of the year are often the cause of depression. On the contrary, in summer the days are very long.
Living and working in Sweden pros and cons
Living in Sweden, pros
- Good work opportunities
- Good work-life balance
- Ease of starting a business
- Excellent services (public transport, health, etc.)
- Good social system
- Low corruption
- Ability to relocate with English language skills only
- Beautiful nature
Living in Sweden, cons
- Difficulties with integration
- Expensive real estate market
- High taxes
- Bad weather
Living and working in Sweden, conclusion
Moving to Sweden can be an interesting option, but it depends on what kind of person you are and what things are most important to you in life. In Sweden life is quiet, there is a lot of nature, little stress, people love their privacy and lack of spontaneity.
The Swedes are neither the Italian nor the Spaniards. Basically, they like to be alone, unlike Latinos who like to be in company, but if the weather and social conditions are not a problem for you, Sweden could be an interesting destination for you.
If you are interested in moving to other Swedish cities, read the article: How to move to Sweden
If you are interested in working in Sweden, read the article: Working in Sweden