When you’re moving to Sweden from The UK you may find it quite odd to observe a halloween setting during Easter. Folklore states that Easter was the time when witches stole the household brooms and flew to the (imaginary) Blue Mountain (somewhere in Germany) to consort with the devil. Now, children dress up as Easter witches. They paint their cheeks red and wear headscarves, then go from door to door with a copper kettle, asking for treats.
Sweden joined the EU in 1995 and has been a member of the Schengen area since 1986. The capital city is Stockholm and the currency is the krona (SEK) (£1=SEK 11.07 in May 2014).
In the south, the land is agricultural, there being more forests the further north you go. There are at last 17 000 indigenous Samis, who rely on reindeer for an income, in the north.
Moving to Sweden from The UK with Pets
Pets require their own pet passport, microchips, rabies vaccinations within 1 year, but not closer than 21 days from departure, and up-to-date routine vaccinations. You can email the pet’s helpdesk for details:firstname.lastname@example.org(more…)
Before describing the state of health care in Sweden, you should know that, if you plan to retire to Sweden, make sure you have sufficient funds, as it is quite an expensive place to live. High taxes on your income and pension contribute to that state. You also have to budget for private health insurance. You have to have an income at least as great as the Swedish pension (around 6 850 SEK (£620.50)) per month by law.
Sweden has double taxation agreements with the UK so you will not be taxed twice, provided you ensure that the tax offices are aware of your circumstances. You can arrange to have your pension paid directly into your Swedish bank account, and still benefit from the increases as if you still lived in Britain.
Contact HMRC and your pension providers well before you leave the UK, or if you are working in Sweden ensure you know the pension conditions appertaining to your work.
Health Care in Sweden
Swedish healthcare is excellent, with parameters like infant mortality falling faster than in the UK.(more…)
Driving in Sweden is not the preferred way to get around, since public transport is heavily subsidised and very efficient. There are 24 regional networks and an over-system where one ticket is valid on both buses and trains. In the south there are express buses where you do not have to reserve a seat, and there may be discounts for seniors and students. Buses and trains are often well integrated, with little difference in cost. Although the trains are fast and efficient, there are many areas which they cannot reach in the north. And – altough seldomly – it also happens that during the winter the most remote areas are considerably less accessible. In such instances it might be a good idea to try to use a well established pre-booking taxi service, which also comes with a reduced fee. These can be collected at the taxi departure point, and the taxi firm has to have an arrangement with the local council.
Driving in Sweden
Driving in Sweden is a delight. There are some things worth knowing though.(more…)
Learning Swedish might be usefull for establishing a social life in Sweden. It is the official language, spoken by the vast majority of the population. It is similar to both Danish and Norwegian.
There are five minority languages, including Finnish and Sami, which is spoken in the far North. English is widely spoken, followed by German and French. In fact, Sweden has been ranked “best in the World” at speaking English at least two years running, but they will appreciate your efforts at speaking their language. The great thing is that if you have children they do seem able to absorb languages easily, and unless your Swedish is very good, they will soon be translating for you.
Social Life in Sweden
Making new friends can be challenging, and the Swedes have a reputation that they can be hard to get to know, yet they are probably the world’s best non-native speakers of English. However, if you can learn at least some Swedish it will be a lot easier to engage in conversations and discuss topical events. Take a course or find a language partner who wants to learn English, and you have a new friend as well as some Swedish. Join one of the sporting groups. The Swedes have a healthy respect for the coffee break and cake. Ice hockey is very popular, and team sports make friends.(more…)
Cost of living in Sweden is rather simillar to what you’re used to in UK. Except for groceries, which are much more expensive and rent prices which are significantly lower in Sweden.
Buying a house in Sweden
In 2013, Sweden’s housing market recorded its strongest performance in three years, although economic growth was slow. In Sweden there are no legal restrictions for foreigners buying property.
It can be easy and fast to buy in Sweden; the process of registration may take as little as five weeks to complete. Usually a broker’s or an agent’s services suffices. It may not be necessary to involve a lawyer.(more…)
Stockholm is very similar to any major UK city, unless of course you arrive in winter when the temperature is -20°C and a thick layer of snow covers everything. In my article I describe basic facts about Sweden which can be very helpful once you move to this country.
The signs at the central train and bus stations are in English and the streets are packed with familiar branches of H&M, Clas Ohlson and Seven Eleven. If you’re ever in need of help, the locals are friendly and generally quite keen to be useful. I’ve asked for directions from cyclists, bus drivers and shop assistants and they haven’t let me down yet! Stockholm residents speak excellent English, so the usual waving and sign language isn’t necessary (unless you want to for tradition’s sake). (more…)
Stockholm is not that different from any major UK city, unless of course you arrive in winter when the temperature is minus 20°C and everything is covered in a thick layer of snow, but looking for some accommodation for the first time can be very weird experience.