Moving to Sweden may include weather considerations due to the latitude of the country. The climate of Sweden can make the practicalities of a move quite challenging, especially if you travel during the colder months, so it’s helpful to use an experienced European moving company. The road conditions can be more difficult than a move to southern and warmer areas, and the temperatures much colder so you’ll need to bear this in mind when you’re packaging your items. This makes moving to Sweden a bit more daunting than to the Costa del Sol.
A move to another country always takes some getting used to, and Scandinavian countries, in particular, have a unique way of life. Along with the weather, the etiquette, food and whole way of life may be very different than what you’ve experienced in your home country, so it’s always a good idea to do a bit of research before you decide to leave.
This guide to Sweden covers some of the most critical information you’ll need before setting off on your adventure.
Moving to Sweden: About Sweden
Sweden lies on the northern peninsula in Europe and has the largest population of the Scandinavian countries. It shares its borders with Finland and Norway and links to Denmark via the Öresund Bridge.
The climate in Sweden is one of the biggest culture shocks for new arrivals; the winters are freezing, long and harsh. However, despite its northern position, the country has a temperate climate and experiences all four seasons, but in unequal lengths. Winter lasts around seven months, and there are approximately 20 hours of darkness every day. In direct contrast, summers are the opposite, with long and hot sunny days.
15% of its landmass lies within the Arctic Circle while further south there is extensive agricultural land.
Moving to Sweden: Things to Consider
If you’re thinking about moving to Sweden, here are some facts you should consider before you make a permanent switch:
Equality is a fundamental part of its society. Laws protect against everything from gender and ethnicity to disabilities and religious beliefs discriminations.
Children are an essential part of Swedish society, and family life is precious; when working, employers offer as standard 18 months parental leave.
There is a list of occupations which are in high demand in Sweden; these can be found on The Swedish Migration Agency website or via the Public Employment Agency for the country
The summer is very short, and winters are long and dark. A factor you need to consider if you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Sweden is serious about the environment and only send 1% of rubbish to landfill.
Moving to Sweden: Transport System
If you decide to drive in Sweden, you will find a very good road network. Driving is not on the right-hand side, and you must use dipped headlights at all times. Fail to do so and you will receive an on-the-spot fine, like for any minor infraction.
Trams have right of way over cars. You must also give way to the right unless signs tell you otherwise. Swedish police are quite strict with speed limits too.
You will find further information about driving in Sweden in the guides provided by the AA, RAC and European Commission
Swedes use their extensive public transport system frequently. While only Stockholm has an underground (Stockholms Tunnelbana, or Tbana), many towns have a tram network and a good bus service. Most cities in Sweden have their own local bus and train services which are often operated under the same ticket system called Lanstrafiken. Just as Stockholm has the Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL), the operator for the bus and rail systems, Gothenburg has the Vasttrafik, and Malmo and Skane have the Skanetrafiken.
For Stockholm, you can purchase an SL Access card that you can use for the metro, rail and bus services. The card can be bought from a “pressbyran”(newsstand), inside commuter train stations, or at the Arlanda airport upon arrival for 20 SEK. Like London’s Oyster card, you can re-use it and top it up from the various metro and train stations. Remember to top up your card travelling by bus since you can not buy a ticket once on board.
You can book taxis by phone, or take one from a taxi rank or even hail it in the street. Swedish taxis often run at fixed prices rather than using a meter, Therefore, you should check with your driver how much the journey will cost before you get into the vehicle. Taxis taken from Stockholm Arlanda airport to Stockholm centre are fixed at 520 SEK (around €57).
Moving to Sweden: Language
Swedish became Sweden’s official language on 1 July 2009. It is very similar to Danish and Norwegian but differs in pronunciation and orthography. For multiple reasons linked to culture (Movies are subtitled, not dubbed), the economy (most of the trade is in English) and education (English is compulsory from year 1 to year 9, and most students continue to take English in the following years), most Swedes born after WW2 will speak English.
In fact, in a 2005 survey by Eurobarometer, 89% of Swedes reported the ability to speak English. However, learning Swedish is relatively easy for an English speaker and will facilitate your integration.
You will find detailed information for British expats in Sweden on the UK Govt website.
Moving to Sweden: Where to Live
There is a very diverse landscape in Sweden with stunning scenery and many rural areas. However, most people moving to Sweden opt to live in one of the main cities, or close by.
As the capital city of Sweden, Stockholm is one of the most popular areas for people to move to. If you don’t have a job that you’re moving to, Stockholm is the place where you are the most likely to find a job quickly. The employment and housing market are buoyant here, and there are plenty of opportunities for newcomers.
The set-up of Stockholm is extremely unusual as it spreads over 14 smaller islands which lie within the Baltic Sea. The architecture in this city is stunning. There is always something to see or do, with museums, restaurants and bars aplenty.
Malmo lies on the southernmost tip of Sweden. It offers an exciting alternative to those who don’t want to move to the capital. Lying just 30 minutes from the Danish capital of Copenhagen, it’s more accessible and has a diverse culture and very welcoming ambience. This city has a very hip vibe and is the place to go if you like music concerts. For this reason, it’s often very popular with younger visitors and students.
Gothenburg lies slightly north of Malmo, once again in the southern area of Sweden. Often described as a progressive city, it offers a range of experiences and landscapes including the west coastline, green open spaces and cosmopolitan city life.
It’s also an area of many cultures, with big film festivals taking place here plus other art and music events. Around 20% of the population is from overseas, making this a very welcoming place for newcomers to Sweden.
Back in the north of the country, Umeå lies on the Gulf of Bothnia and is a particularly picturesque spot. With a top university and considered to be the regional centre in the north of the country, it’s a famous city for students and locals alike.
Moving to Sweden: Removals to Sweden
If you’re going to be moving to Sweden, it’s highly advisable to use an experienced European removals firm. With very long, harsh winters and short summers, you might find it easier to plan to move during the warmer months. The winter is not just cold, but the road conditions can be challenging, making international removals more difficult.
Removals to Sweden must keep customs in mind as this could influence what you decide to take with you. As a member of the EU, there are minimal customs restrictions on nationals from inside the EU, just the typical restrictions on hazardous items.
International moving is a different matter, and there are some customs requirements to be aware of.
It is possible to take in alcohol, but it will be subject to VAT and duty. Therefore, it can significantly slow down the processing time and delay the onward journey for the rest of your goods. There are also additional handling charges that may apply.
Any new furniture or household items will be subject to duty and requires specific certification upon arrival. A reputable international removals companies will be able to provide you with more information about this, and also about any other items which need certification such as plants.
Whether you choose our Load & Go or our EasyMoves solution, European Moving can help you with your removal. We shall be able to help you with the full list of restrictions that apply to removals to Sweden and also provide advice on a whole range of removal issues you may not have encountered before.