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Living in Sweden

(18 Posts)
SunnyLikeThursday Sun 03-Sep-17 06:50:03


I wondered if I might ask what it's like living as a British family in Sweden? My husband is looking around at jobs at the moment and there are a couple available in Stockholm.

We live in the south of England at the moment but we find the education system very fast-paced and problematic in lots of ways and the houses are very expensive. I wondered if Stockholm might be better?


scottswede Wed 06-Sep-17 08:45:48

Don't want to leave you unanswered but I don't live near Stockholm so can't be of much use I'm afraid.
I suppose it depends on what your expectations are, how long you would be here, schools or daycare etc. Would company be relocation you (accommodation is not abundant in Stockholm)
A 2-5 year posting with young children that the company were organising would be ideal (That's just me thoughgrin)

AlphaStation Fri 08-Sep-17 12:16:49

You will have to be able to cough up about minimum £479,000 for accomodation, that's my guess. I've got an American neighbour, and by now he seems totally acclimatized, totally into open air activities, running, biking, hiking, and suchlike and you wouldn't know he's American hadn't he had this quite weak accent when he speaks.

You could perhaps contact the English schools and check them out beforehand. I've seen people writing a lot of praise here on Mumsnet for the Finnish school system, but that's a totally different system.

tilda0 Mon 11-Sep-17 09:25:26

Hi there, I have the opposite wish! I'd like to move back to England (although I am not from there).
It makes a big difference if you are able to buy a flat (assuming that you both will have jobs too) or if you want to rent. The rental market is a nightmare. If you can buy and if you have more than one kid it will be easier. Do you want to live in the center? Then it's going to be very expensive. If you move a few stations outside of the center then you get more space but you will be isolated.

Anatidae Sun 17-Sep-17 12:53:39

Renting is nigh on impossible. Housing in Stockholm is very expensive. Schooling is better at the preschool level but not as good as the uk when formal schooling starts.
Health and other services really creaking at the moment with massive influxes of people.
It's not easy to get a kid into an English school - most have queues of a couple of years long.
Sweden is not paradise, as its often portrayed in the UK media. It's a very isolating place to live. You're expected to assimilate, not integrate, and it's very difficult to get any kind of social life going.

caffelatte100 Wed 20-Sep-17 18:57:23

Some family members live in Stockholm. They speak swedish and have assimilated quite well. Despite this, they don't really like the Swedes and particularly their manners or sense of humour (or lack of). Kids are raised by the state, almost all women work and are expected to or you have no status. The economic system relies on it.

Benefits for young families such as maternity leave are amazing. They really dislike the schooling system but because they say it;s not fast paced enough (e.g. no tests or assessment). There's this real thing that everyone is equal but it;s just not true . Maybe this would suit you better though?

It's crazy when people say housing is expensive. Only if it's relative to salaries. Of course the taxes are high too of course. My family would not live in a house their size if they did similar jobs (corporate jobs, both high earners) in the south of England. It's true that rental properties are hard to come by. English schools do have a waiting list but maybe if you don't speak Swedish you might be prioritised?

stirling Thu 21-Sep-17 21:29:16

I'm British and I lived in Sweden for just over a year. Sadly, despite my initial first impressions - friendly citizens, great organisation, ethical living, living there was very different. I hated folding up my recycling (!), the people were not so friendly once you were a resident, and many other frustrations. I was very much homesick and glad I'm back in the UK.

I'm also a teacher, I wasn't impressed by the attitude of the students in Sweden.


tilda0 Sat 23-Sep-17 13:03:22

I wouldn't say that people aren't friendly, they have a different culture, they don't like to talk big ideas, they don't like to extend their network and they comfort in their everyday life without curiosity. It does appear unfriendly to us but it's actually a type of respect...It does make the expats feel very lonely. @stirling

The lack of humour is killing me...some people told me that I just don't understand Swedish humour but I can't really spot any. There are rules to be followed which makes Sweden a very well organised country but very boring too....Once you live here, it's hard to leave despite the loneliness because things work well and it's so clean...*@caffelatte100*

You're expected to assimilate, not integrate, and it's very difficult to get any kind of social life going. 100% agreed @Anatidae

AlphaStation Sun 24-Sep-17 14:18:20

I love Stockholm but that's because I'm born there, so I'm biased. I don't know how it's to not to be able to be fluent in Swedish and it might be that it's hard to take part of cultural life if you don't understand the main language spoken in the country. If you on top of that take a negative stance and make clear you hate Swedes and find them dim and boring, it's probably difficult to get any social life going - with the Swedes at least.

tilda0 Sun 24-Sep-17 15:42:00

@AlphaStation I think Stockholm is nice for people born and bred there. The language is one aspect. For me it's more of a cultural clash. People are happy with their lifelong friends, they seek for the same lifestyle. I think there is a reciprocity in not wanting to hang out together.

Want2bSupermum Wed 27-Sep-17 01:52:17

I'm married to a Dane. The law of Jante applies to Sweden and well as Denmark.

1. Don’t think that you are special.
2. Don’t think that you are of the same standing as us.
3. Don’t think that you are smarter than us.
4. Don’t fancy yourself as being better than us.
5. Don’t think that you know more than us.
6. Don’t think that you are more important than us.
7. Don’t think that you are good at anything.
8. Don’t laugh at us.
9. Don’t think that anyone of us cares about you.
10. Don’t think that you can teach us anything.

Do you really want your DC growing up with that as their framework?

Flossy1978 Wed 27-Sep-17 02:01:37

Yeah..... wouldn't live in Sweden if you paid me to these days. Massive migration problems going on. Crime on the rise really quickly. Swedes burying their heads in the sand, because Sweden can't be anything less than perfect. Blah. Find another country to move to. Sweden is dying and won't exist as we know it in the coming years.

Postagestamppat Wed 27-Sep-17 03:31:25

You should think very carefully about moving to sweden. My husband is swedish, I live there for several years and our son is swedish.

1. It is very hard to find somewhere to live. The rental market is completely different to most other countries and you could be competing against over 100 other applicants to live in a 2-bedroom flat with a one-year lease that costs a fortune and is an hour away from the centre. I don't know about buying, we only rented there. Stockholm is not like the large cities in the uk, in that there are no little centres in the suburbs. There is a beautiful centre, but the suburbs can at best boring and at worse dangerous ghettos.

2. What would you do for a job? If your husband can support you, great but socially you may find it tough as swedes (especially stockholmers) are more insular and it can be harder to make friends. Finding work can be almost impossible without swedish, unless you are a teacher or in some other industry in which english is the accepted language.

3. The schools are behind the uk and the teacher is responsible for setting the grades. There are no formal national exams (nationella provet is only informs the grades and is only in a few subjects). If you find the uk syllabus too fast paced, then the swedish may be more suitable (but you may be surprised at the drop). As another pp said, the queues for the english school are long and they are bilingual. Some subjects are taught in swedish, e.g., geography, history, while others (maths, science) are taught in english. There are very few true international schools and they cost a lot.

I loved living in sweden. I found that while certain things were more expensive, I actually had more money than in the uk as the utilities and rent were cheaper. Also I had my husband's family and network of friends. On the other hand, my husband doesn't want to move back because of the social problems caused by immigration. I also know of other people who have had a tough time there, such as difficulty making friends, no job and rental problems.

ConciseandNice Wed 27-Sep-17 19:12:07

I lived in Sweden albeit years ago, but in the north and absolutely loved my time there. I miss it still. I now work for a Danish company and am considering returning to Sweden and commuting. Swedish is not a difficult language to learn for a native English speaker but yes, swedes are more insular. I wasn't keen on Stockholm and think it probably is different culturally from the north.

tilda0 Mon 02-Oct-17 12:32:41

@Flossy1978 *@Postagestamppat *In central Stockholm it's not really possible to feel any massive migration problems...

user1497357411 Thu 19-Oct-17 11:49:31

I think Swedish humour is hilarious and I bloody love Swedish produced televison programmes for children. Both the new and the old. Some of the old stuff is written by Astrid Lindgren!

tilda0 Sun 22-Oct-17 12:20:51

@user1497357411 Swedish humour does not exist.

misscph1973 Sun 22-Oct-17 13:01:31

I think it will be hard to move to a new country and get used to a new culture no matter what country you move to. While I understand some of the poster's warnings, I think it's important to remember that nowhere is perfect. I'm Danish, and moving to England 9 years ago was by no means easy. I was shocked at the cost of child care, how much junk food people eat and the low wages. I still find it hard to socialise in England, I have yet to be invited to someone's house, it seems a sanctuary you can only enter if you are family (and even then it's hard!) or have known the person since childhood. Friends are acquaintances and it's almost impossible to become real friends. But I am still here, and I have found many things to love about life in England.

There are pros and cons to both the Scandinavian and English school systems. The main point is that the systems are very different, so it would be hard for any child to transition from one to the other.

I guess my advice to the OP is to go and visit Sweden and the schools.

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