Talk to me about living in Sweden/Stockholm please!

(12 Posts)
MushroomTree Mon 11-Aug-14 09:01:31

DP has got it in his head that there is a far better quality of life in Sweden and has mentioned the idea of emigrating a few times.

I've never been, he has, and obviously I'd go before taking any idea of moving seriously but does anyone live in Sweden/Stockholm?

What's it really like?

Is there an 'expat community'?

Is it easy to find work/housing etc?

And no dc's yet but what are the maternity/nursery/school options like?

Anything else I should know?

Thanks in advance! smile

dyslexicdespot Mon 11-Aug-14 11:10:27

I am as Swede living in the UK. My non-Swedish speaking partner lived with me in Sweden for a few years and he found it very hard. This is of course a generalisation, but I would say that Sweden is not an easy country to move to for non-Swedes (especially if they are non-white)!!

Do either of you speak Swedish? What sort of work would you look for? I would advice you to spend some time talking to other immigrants when you visit Sweden. Being on vacation in Sweden is very, very different from the reality of living there, especially living through the winters!

MushroomTree Mon 11-Aug-14 11:29:58

Thanks for the reply.

Neither myself or my partner speak Swedish so that would be something we would both need to learn.

I'm a copywriter so would be looking for work in that sector. My partner is currently a builder but is moving into design/graphics work so would hopefully be qualified by the time we moved.

I've read that it's very difficult to find somewhere to rent in Stockholm, is this true?

dyslexicdespot Mon 11-Aug-14 12:04:48

The rental situation in Sweden is a bit complicated. The local kommun (similar to a council) usually owns most of the rental flats in it's jurisdiction. You would have to sign up on a list to be able to rent a flat from the kommun. The lists are usually very long and it can be hard to get a place.

You could also rent a flat 'second hand' or 'third hand,' either legally or not. I would avoid renting illegally- which basically means that the contract holder is not allowed to rent out the flat.

I think you would find it very hard to find work unless you speak Swedish very well. However, you would get paid to take Swedish classes.

Sweden is a small place. People tend to keep the same friendship groups for life and it is not easy to be accepted if you are an outsider. The UK is an incredibly welcoming and friendly country in comparison!

My posts sound so negative, which I apologise for. Sweden can be a great place, but I really think it's a good idea to spend some non-vacation time there before you make a permanent move.

Here is a post that you might find helpful. Good luck!

www.thelocal.se/discuss/index.php?showtopic=51498

MushroomTree Mon 11-Aug-14 13:56:08

Thanks! And don't worry about sounding negative, DP sounds so positive at the moment I could do with something to show him that doesn't make Sweden sound like the promised land.

He went there on holiday last year, had a great time and recently a friend of his has gotten some well paid work in my industry with a Swedish company so I think this is clouding his judgement.

Thanks for the information and the link smile

pippibuzzmarten Mon 11-Aug-14 14:37:00

I live in Sweden. It's fab, lovely pace of life, and beautiful. I don't live in Stockholm but another small city, and I would second what has been said about finding accommodation. It is exceptionally difficult, and you will wait on lists for literally years. But it is possible, just. Try Blocket.se as a starting point. Maternity wise parents get a very good deal and it is very common for fathers to take a chunk of the leave. Children can attend preschool from age 1 and there are loads of Öppna Förskola (open preschools) - free drop in playgroups. We have found Swedish people friendly and sociable, and also connect and meet up with other international families here via FB groups. I would say your husband does have a point about it being a positive move - we absolutely love it and feel privileged to live here. But do consider the accommodation issue carefully - of course, it's possible to buy - that tends to be done via a bidding process - but if you are renting it can be uncertain and stressful. Worth it tho smile

MushroomTree Mon 11-Aug-14 15:44:46

Thanks Pippi.

It's not a bad thing that DP is being so positive, I just don't think he's stopped to consider that there might actually be something negative about Sweden...

We won't be moving for a good few years but I think you can never do too much research when it comes to moving your whole lives to another country!

Borttagen Mon 11-Aug-14 15:58:02

Hi, can't write too much just now as need to get dinner ready but check out mumsinsweden.com

There are lots of great things about Sweden but there are negatives too. Have you children? Full time childcare for my 3 year old in my kommun, if I were working, would be 790kr which is about £80. Yes you read that right!
I think the best time to live in Sweden is with small children.

You would need a job in advance of coming and should start learning Swedish ASAP anyway. I live in a smaller town and haven't met any expats but have slowly started to make Swedish friends.

There are things here to frustrate you and drive you mad but loads of positives too!

Have you made a big move before to a new place where you knew no one?

Borttagen Mon 11-Aug-14 16:07:52

Oh sorry just saw you said no DCs yet - have them here if you can! 480 days parental leave shared between parents at 80% of salary - capped at about £25k a year but some companies top up. You can use the days up until your child is 7 - can be off work 5 days but take 3 days pay to save them if you can afford it. Can take a month off together when baby is born. No childcare before age 1 and no real choice as everywhere is so similar but for a 1 year old in my kommun it's about £110 a month full time. Taxes look high here but you get a lot for them and everyone seems to have high disposable incomes.

The downsides are I found there's not that much to do while on maternity leave especially compared to the uk. Very few stay at home mums so activities for toddlers tend to be on weekends and evenings.

Best bet would be to buy. You need 15% deposit which I think is going up to 25% soon but banks often lend the deposit too. Everyone has interest only mortgages and you get tax relief on the interest.

I'm not in Stockholm and have no idea what a copywriter does sorry but I think smaller towns can give you more if the Swedish lifestyle...

Oh and you're legally entitled to a 4 week block of holiday in summer if you have the days. Basic holidays here are 25 a year plus red days which are public holidays but don't move to the Monday if they fall on a weekend.

MushroomTree Tue 12-Aug-14 09:22:15

Thanks Borttagen.

From what I can gather buying would be our best option wrt accommodation. The rental situation just sounds like a nightmare!

No DCs yet but they are on the agenda for some point in the future. In fact, they seemed to be the main motivation for DP's desire to move to Sweden. He'd prefer them to have the outdoorsy/snow sports lifestyle rather than find themselves sat in front of the TV like a lot of British kids seem to do now.

It's all a bit pie in the sky at the moment but it's good to start researching as early as possible - especially if we both need to learn a new language!

Borttagen Tue 12-Aug-14 21:01:42

I should point out I didn't plan properly so didn't benefit from the DCs at all!

Renting is a nightmare but you can be lucky and if moving for a job can get help from them maybe for a while.

The kids here are outside more imo. My DD is outside for an hour minimum every day at nursery no matter what the weather as long as it's above minus 20. There's an hour out again in the afternoons for kids who stay. They all have rain gear and snow gear and there are drying cupboards in nursery . Rain never stops play! There are sports for them to do year round.
It's not perfect by any means but for my active three year old who loves being outside it's definitely better here.

We moved here 3,5 years ago with small DC. DH is from here and we had lived abroad before so we had some advantages.
We found renting a nightmare but luckily only had to do it for 6 months. It ate up a huge chunk of money though hmm
DH works in Gothenburg but we didn't like living there. We bought a house in a small seaside town just north of there so commuting is fine. I now work in the local town which is great.
Definately learn the language. It's helped with both jobs and friends. I don't know about being paid to study swedish (i wasn't - think it depends if you are on other benefits) but the classes were certainly free and of a high standard.
Childcare is cheap and of good quality. Same rules for everyone (which you either like or loathe!) but based on good, equal principles. Be prepared to have to buy plenty of outdoor wear for pre-school though, the all-weather outdoor lifestyle is not a myth!
People are friendly but reserved. We chose a new housing development so that we could meet other young families in a similar situation. We also have (still do, maybe) been active at inviting people round, suggesting play-dates, giving neighbours kids lifts etc. Just to get ourselves 'out there'

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