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Moving to Sweden

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Last updated on Feb 03, 2023

Summary: Many expats and digital nomads move to Sweden for its high quality of life, excellent healthcare system, and strong economy. Additionally, Sweden is known for its beautiful landscapes, vibrant culture, and welcoming people. People looking for a place to live in Sweden can search online for rental properties, or contact a real estate agent for assistance. The most popular cities for expats and digital nomads in Sweden are Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. These cities offer a wide range of activities, attractions, and amenities, making them ideal for expats and digital nomads.

What do I need to know before moving to Sweden?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Sweden, they said:

"It is a good idea to research the area you plan to move to before travelling to Sweden; think about what type of lifestyle you would like and the cost of living for that area. Sweden has a strong economy and many job opportunities, so make sure to research any potential employers. Make sure to familiarize yourself with Swedish culture and language as well. You will need to apply for a residence permit before you settle in Sweden, as well as make sure you register with the Swedish Migration Agency. Additionally, you may need to pay taxes in Sweden and can apply for social insurance. It is important to get an insurance policy to cover any healthcare costs. Finally, make sure to familiarize yourself the transport system and other modes of getting around in Sweden," remarked another expat who made the move to Sweden.

"Research! That is the key to moving. Find your clan and glean as much information as possible from people who have crossed the pond. Most of the websites for newcomers have links and resource. Another important thing is talking to people already there," explained one expat living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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How do I find a place to live in Sweden?

We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:

"Finding a place to live in Sweden could be done by searching rental website listings such as Blocket, Bostad Direkt, or Bostadsportalen. Additionally, it may be useful to look for new builds or properties being managed by municipal housing agencies in your region. Additionally, asking friends or colleagues in the area may prove to be helpful when looking for accommodation," said another expat in Sweden.

"My husband was very particular on where we would live. Believe it or not, there are slumps in Sweden and Swedes are so careful about where and how they live that "addresses" are important statements of their "class". We got a tip through some friends," remarked another expat who made the move to Stockholm.

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What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Sweden?

"A typical expat home or apartment in Sweden typically has modern décor and furnishing, with a mix of traditional and contemporary styles. Most apartments tend to be quite spacious and often contain balconies or terraces, with larger dwellings sometimes having a garden. Provinces outside of Stockholm often offer more spacious apartments and houses with their own yards. In some parts of the country, particularly in the cities, parking can be limited or restricted which is something to bear in mind when searching. Rental prices vary depending on the location, size and standard of accommodation, with cities such as Stockholm being more expensive," explained one expat living in Sweden.

"We live in a second hand rental apartment which came unfurnished, with a fridge, oven and an electric stove. The rental includes heating and a car park bay. The apartment is about 3mins to the train stop, 2 mins to the Lake Malaren, 8-10mins on train to Stockholm city and close the the forest. Most expats live in apartments. If they are career expats, they might be in paid for villas with 3-5 rooms, fully furnished," said another expat in Stockholm.

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What is the average cost of housing in Sweden?

If you are thinking about moving to Sweden, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:

"The average cost of housing in Sweden varies depending on the area, with prices ranging from moderately expensive to very expensive. Most large cities in Sweden tend to be particularly expensive, while small towns and remote areas are often more affordable," said another expat in Sweden.

"Higher than where I'm from in the US. We paid like 7000 sek for our flat and it was TINY," remarked another expat who made the move to Goteborg.

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William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.
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Should I buy or rent a home in Sweden?

If you have not spent a lot of time in Sweden, you should rent before even thinking about buying. We asked expats there about the buy vs. rent decision:

"Buying a home in Sweden can be a great long-term investment, and it often makes more financial sense than renting when you plan to stay for a long period of time. On the other hand, renting can be beneficial if you are looking for flexibility or do not have the funds to cover a down payment or the costs associated with buying. Additionally, if property values are expected to decrease in the short term, then renting may be preferable. In any case, it is a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of both buying and renting in order to decide which option is right for your individual situation," added another expat who made the move to Sweden.

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What should I pack when moving to Sweden?

We asked people living in Sweden to list three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They responded:

"Essentials: Clothing suitable for different weather conditions, comfortable shoes, toiletries, passport and visa, laptop, important documents and money. Optional: Food that is easy to transport, favourite items from home, kitchen supplies, towels, blankets and linens, phone and internet line, furniture, books and entertainment to keep busy during the move," added another expat who made the move to Sweden.

"I wish I had brought some American measuring cups/tablespoons. It was too much trouble to have to convert all my American recipes to metric. Wish I had also brought cold/flu medicines, because you can't find the strength you're used to in the US, except in prescription form. I wish I had left all my dress clothes, because I wasn't working in an office setting, and so they were very impractical to have and not used. Also wish I had left most of my shoes (especially the ones with heels), because those are impractical as well. Goteborg was very rainy and snowy, so some of my shoes were just ruined," explained one expat living in Goteborg, Sweden.

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What cultural faux pas should I try to avoid making in Sweden?

We asked people in Sweden if they could share any humorous cultural blunders they commited. For new expats, keep in mind that these incidents are an inevitable part of expat life. Learning to laugh about them is the key!:

"It is important to be aware of some common cultural faux pas, such as not shaking hands with someone of the opposite gender, holding eye contact too long, making small talk at inappropriate times, and not respecting personal space. Other behaviors that can be seen as culturally insensitive in Sweden include discussing salary and being late to appointments or meetings, making loud noises in public, dressing too casually, and being overly intrusive when asking personal questions," remarked another expat who made the move to Sweden.

"Lots and lots everyday. From behaving the wrong way to inviting people at the wrong time of the day (and being surprised when they were not happy about being woken on a Saturday morning) to being too friendly with my wife's friends," explained one expat living in Lund, Sweden.

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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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