Sweden is a popular destination for expats due to its high quality of life, beautiful landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Before relocating, there are some key things you should know about living in Sweden:
Sweden is known for its emphasis on work-life balance. Many businesses adhere to a 40-hour workweek with flexible hours and must provide a minimum of 25 days of annual leave each year. This is in addition to the usual 13 ‘red days’ (röda dagar) in Sweden, which are public holidays when most employees have the day off work.
Employees in Sweden are also offered generous parental leave. Parents are entitled to a total of 480 days of parental leave per child, which can be taken at any time, consecutively or spread out, until the child turns 12 years old. Each parent much use at least 90 days, and the remaining 300 days can be divided between parents. Leave can also be taken part time to extend the duration of the leave and help them to transition gradually back into the workforce. During parental leave, parents typically receive around 80% of their salary for the first 390 days, after which a reduced benefit is available.
The climate of Sweden is characterised by distinct seasons. Winters are often cold, with limited daylight, and snow usually begins in November or December and can last as long as April in some northern areas. In December, the average temperature in Stockholm is around -1 degree Celsius, while the sun rises between 8:15 and 8:45am and sets between 2:45 and 3:00pm. Further north, however, there will only be a couple of hours of sun — if any at all — and temperatures often reach -30 degrees Celsius.
In June, the average temperature in Stockholm is around 16 degrees Celsius, with the sun rising between 3:30 and 3:45am and setting around 10pm, giving over 18 hours of daylight. In northern parts of Sweden, the sun does not set at all in June.
Sweden is famous for its healthcare system. Residents have access to affordable and high-quality healthcare services which are publicly funded through taxes. It is also relatively common for employers to offer supplementary health insurance to their employees. To access healthcare, you will need to register with the local authorities and obtain a personal identification number (personnummer).
Cost of living
Sweden is often considered a comparatively expensive place to live, especially in major cities like Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmo. Rental properties can be competitive and expensive; housing is one of the most significant expenses in Sweden. You will need to start your housing search well in advance. Many aim to save money on rent by sharing properties. Taxes are also relatively high in Sweden, and are used to fund the country’s social welfare system, including healthcare and education.
Relocating to Sweden is an exciting experience, but it’s important to prepare for the challenges and embrace the opportunities. By familiarising yourself with key aspects of the country, you’ll be better equipped to handle your relocation. If you want further advice or support, feel free to contact Icon and a member of the team would be happy to assist.