Arriving, setting yourself up and living in Sweden can be daunting. It’s a cool enigma, a challenge, unique, amazingly unknown – and now your home! How are you going to manage this riddle?
Alison Alfry writes:
"I arrived in Stockholm with my husband and two young boys in July 2012 with little or no knowledge of Sweden. I had lived abroad in France before as part of my degree, but never in Scandinavia. This was a journey of discovery, challenges, revelations and one which changed our outlook and sphere of experience.
Being in Sweden was tough to start with, the umbilical cord with the UK seemingly cut, the inevitability of months of cold winter beckoning and a sense of bewilderment with so much change to assimilate. The boys were all at sea, my husband had to get used to office politics Swedish style, I was juggling all this plus working freelance.
For a while it seemed uphill work, but having formulated an attitude of trying to adventure and make the most of all the opportunities our ex-pat posting presented, we began to peel back the layers of what Sweden and friendships with people from across Europe and the world had to offer. It was hugely invigorating, liberating and exciting. In the end, we really didn’t want to leave.
An experience that has remained with us, three pivotal years where we somehow transitioned from nervous ex-pats to lovers of the Swedish way of life.
Still inspired by Sweden, I am currently completing Stockholm – Sweden at your Fingertips in conjunction with specialist ex-pat guide to Stockholm, Jessica Dolling Gripberg. At once insightful, inspirational, practical and humorous, this is what every newcomer to Sweden needs to get started, understand how to fit in and discover special places that will begin to make Sweden feel like home. It has a wealth of insight and detail, from key tips about working practices, winter tyres and how best to amuse children on dark winter days, to monthly ideas for making the most of the highlights of the year in Sweden, recipes so you can conjure up Swedish specialities, and ideas for discovering the archipelago, beautiful castles, the exhilaration of skating on open ice and thrill of dog sledding. Look out for it on Amazon this spring!
Synopsis of So Sweden – Living Differently
In 2012 an adventurer, a linguist and their two small boys left the hedged
cosiness of rural England for the mysterious, watery expanses of Sweden and
magnetic draw of ravishing Stockholm. Out of the comfort zone and into a
vast, detached, pristine country with a different DNA - unflinching pride,
egalitarianism, hair-shirt doggedness and immersion in nature. A challenging
conundrum and life abroad with a difference - red wooden houses, tortuous
vowels, feet of snow, studded tyres, ABBA and a constant seasonal symbiosis
between water in every form and light of astonishing clarity.
Grappling with a people wrapped in a cloak of silence until the awakening
call of spring, a fierce climate and a sense of isolation was baffling. But
liberation from England’s strictures, adventure and the chance to embrace
Sweden’s calm otherness and families from across the world brought new
imperatives – open-mindedness, perseverance and living for the moment.
After 18 months they didn’t want to leave.
So Sweden is the intrepid, wry and enlightening story of the life-changing
posting to Stockholm of a family from a ‘non-skiing nation’. A journey
from apprehension to almost unconditional adoration of a cool, distinct
country, admired from afar, little known. Sweden.
"Fantastically witty tale about living in the cold country of ’lagom’.
Such a hilarious, but at the same to very accurate, description of the
challenges of adapting to the Scandinavian way of living. Wonderful language.
A must read for anyone visiting or moving to Sweden". (Helena Wigart, Amazon
"This book is a delight. An easy read with a loving and accurate description
of embracing Swedish life in all the brilliant moments and some of the
frustrating ones too. It is a real family memoir and beautifully written".
"So Sweden' is a charming memoir of a family's three-year posting to Sweden.
Allfrey's is a fresh, authentic voice behind writing that is both clean and
descriptive. Images of snow - 40 different kinds of wax for skis and the
first sightings of spring - are beautifully described as is the author's love
of good food. The challenges that face not only young mothers but any family
in a foreign land are met with humour and courage. Ultimately the love for
their adoptive country shines through". (Susana Ingram, Amazon customer).
The suggestion is that permanent resident permit should only be granted to those foreigners who can fulfil the specific requirements of Swedish language and civics test.
A new proposal is under the consideration of the Swedish migration department. The proposal is a part of a major report by a parliamentary migration committee. The committee was assigned to suggest new migration laws, to replace the temporary migration laws which are going to expire next summer.
To clarify - it has been proposed but has not yet been accepted by the government.
There are many obstacles in the way to make it replace the current laws, such as other parties which are against or do not support this proposal. If it gets the green signal to be approved and come in action from next summer, it would be a major change for many foreign residents who would like to have a permanent resident permit. As of now, in Sweden there is no language test is required so it would be a major change for those foreigners who are supposed to get their permanent resident in coming year.
There will be be some exemptions
It is proposed that children and people who are entitled to have national pension or any other pension should be exempted from the new requirements. There are other options for exemptions too.
How would the knowledge of language and civics be tested?
It is not yet clear how an applicant will be tested for the requirements. A possibility is, given organising tests may be too resource-intensive, a link to the applicant passing a Swedish For Immigrants (SFI) level C course.
A separate inquiry into introducing language and civic tests for citizenship applicants is on its way too. The Migration Committee would wait for that and then come up with detailed idea of how language and civics knowledge could be assessed.
The Migration Committee`s report contains several sub-proposals, so we might see some of them in place next summer but not all. As the language requirement is a completely new measure, there may be separate investigations into the suitability of language and civic tests.
If you are already here or considing moving to Sweden, this is something to keep an eye on.
What do you think about the new Migration law proposals? Comment below to tell us your views.
Don't forget to join www.newinsweden.com for more information about moving and living in Sweden.
Winter is coming! Don't let the coldness or darkness get in between you and your good times in Sweden. Here are some of the best tips and facts about Swedish winter.
Swedish winter – the word itself might sound cold and dark to anyone with an idea about Sweden’s geographical location. It is quite true that it can be cold here but if you wear the right clothing and know what fun things you can do during winter, you surely get to enjoy the days just as much as you enjoy the warm and sunny days.
There's no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing
The quote is very famous in Sweden - as well as it is in many countries that experience a cold winter - but for anyone who are not used to a cold weather, the advice for right clothing is 'Dress to keep you warm'! Dress in layers – undershirts and pants, your regular clothes and warm outer jackets, keep your body warm and comfy.
Make sure to wear the right hats, scarves and gloves too. If you think you need more layers, do not hesitate to add another layer of clothing because not everyone feels the coldness the same way and only you know it when you’re comfortably warm.
Be visible on the streets
Make sure to wear high visibility clothes or add a few reflective stripes, especially when walking and cycling on the streets during the winter. The days can be dark and it is very important to be visible when on the streets to avoid accidents and to make it easy for drivers to see you.
Winter is beautiful – enjoy it!
During winter, Sweden is a magical place. Your everyday view from your little window facing the street will change into a beautiful landscape within a couple of hours of snowing.
Enjoy these landscapes despite the coldness to create picturesque memories. Try skiing, sledding, snowball fights, learning to skateboard, building a snowman or snow fort, making snow angels and many other winter activities.
The best thing about winter is the snow and you have plenty of it everywhere to do whatever snow activities you think is fun. Make sure to wear the right shoes to avoid slipping and getting injured.
Winter walks among the beautiful landscapes will definitely help you fill yourself up with happy thoughts and positive energy. Some winter days are sunny and these days are the best! Make sure to get as much as sunlight possible and enjoy the best of winter.
Fika - coffee/tea and something small to eat - is always a good way of keeping yourself social. A simple Fika with some baked goodies and a cup of coffee could works wonders for putting you in a good mood.
Talking to someone, laughing and spending time with company will help you avoid being stressed by the weather. It is very necessary to be social especially during cold days to avoid depression and keep up your mental health.
Lights, lights, lights!
The short day time can be quite hard as there is not enough light so use many ways of adding light to your daily routine. If the light in your house is not bright enough, candles are a solution. Candles give you light as well as a bit of warmth. And who doesn’t love it when you have candles lit up around you? Candles create happiness so make sure to try your favourite candles during this winter!
If you are a cycling, make sure you have lights in your bike as the streets can be quite darker even with the street lights on.
Be happy and smile a lot
Some days you just have to create your own sunshine
There can be times when the coldness and darkes really gets to you. Try not to let it happen!
Make sure you stay happy and social despite how cold and dark it is. Keep yourself active and occupied that you don’t have to think about the weather. Take your vitamins, eat healthy and exercise to keep up a positive mind.
Gather up your friends and celebrate everyday as it is a special day to keep yourself in good company. Always remember that, if you are happy, the day is happy as well.
Need some extra support to settle in here?
Get our membership to find out much more tips on surviving Swedish winter and personal support for your special questions. Our support team will always be just by your side to answer any questions and guide you through life in Sweden. Check out our clothing guide here or find out more about membership here:
This year has been a tough year for a lot of people. Many jobs in Sweden have been directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus crisis. A lot of people lost their jobs and finding new job became harder.
If you are planning to work here, you don't want to waste time job-hunting in the wrong way.
Many jobs here are filled through network or referrals. People want to know who you are before they interview you.
One of the major reasons that networking is such an effective way to get a job is that there is something of a hidden job market out there. Some estimate that as much as 80% percent of new jobs are never listed but are instead filled internally or via networking.
Here are our tips for reaching your job-hunting goal
Expanding your network: Ask amongst your own network - you might know professional mentors and recruitment agents, they mostly have wide connections with companies.
Seek and join professional groups online (Facebook and LinkedIn or an unemployment programme) to expand your job search and network. During this downtime, it’s the perfect opportunity to make new connections and revive old ones.
Mentorship Programmes: A mentor programme is an answer to several different aspects of job-hunting, from personal support to tapping into the programme’s own network, which are often large.
Apprenticeships: They are a great way of handling the handover between generations and of working in an efficient and cost-conscious way while developing competence in the role.
Get a Mentor or Coach: Mentors and coaches are usually individuals who have some experience in their fields and can give advice to help you advance in your career. Mentors and coaches can offer unique perspectives and have often been through similar experiences that they can share to help push you closer towards your goals. Mentors or coaches can be within your networks; a former manager, teacher, or a co-worker can all be people to consider to help mentor you.
Recruitment Agencies: Such as Undutchables Recruitment Agency the international business recruitment pioneer helps both starters and executive candidates, fluent in languages, advance their careers in Sweden and the Netherlands. If you want to further your career in Sweden, Undutchables can help you find the perfect match. Below you can find the link to the Recruitment Agency: https://undutchables.se/
Learning new skills is one of the best ways to become more successful in your career. Whether you are looking for a new career opportunity or would like to move into a more senior role, upgrading your skills can increase your chances of reaching your career goals.
Professional development training: This kind of training can range from short (a few hours or a couple of days) to longer training that may be ongoing. Professional development training can be specific to your industry or may focus on the development of soft skills, such as communication, leadership, or working with others.
The benefits of upgrading your skills include: Increased self-confidence, Improved marketability and competitiveness, Greater resourcefulness, Better career opportunities
A great place to start is to look at current job postings to assess the specific job tasks and qualifications that are required of the kind of jobs you want. Also, expand your search to include roles you may not yet be qualified for but you could pursue with additional training. This involves exploring the possibilities and keeping an open mind. Look for the most available opportunities.
Most importantly, keep yourself positive and motivated. Good luck!
There are a million (at least...we haven't actually counted...) places on the web right now that have instructions on how to behave to protect yourself and others from covid-19. It varies so much from country to country and, as you may have noticed, Sweden is getting a way bigger share of the media attention for its pandemic strategy.
Whether you think the strategy is right or wrong...and will we ever really know?... here is a summary of what we think is the advice we should all be following if we live in Sweden:
Will you be buying a Christmas tree in Sweden this year? Do you know your Kungsgran from a Blågran? Get our free guide to Swedish Christmas trees: https://www.newinsweden.com/christmas-tree.html
Are you new to Sweden? Get all the info and forms you need to get settled in (in English...) and access to our support team, so you can email us any questions, any time, by joining our membership group. Sign up at www.NewinSweden.com
If you haven't yet arrived, here is our ultimate checklist for moving over (it is free!): https://www.newinsweden.com/ultimate-checklist.html
We didn't start out planning to be 'expat experts'. Actually, all three of us who founded New in Sweden have other careers too.
But. We are all expats and we moved to Sweden. One of us is somewhat (very) nomadic, ending up here via Tanzania, Canada and the UK. Another was born an expat and 'third-culture' child. We're even quite different in age.
We have three different reasons for being here and for staying here.
We all love meeting people who arrive here and come from all walks of life, all over the globe and are here for all manner of reasons (though work and love are the most common ones!). We listen to the challenges and the adventures and always learn something new about other cultures and, of course, Sweden. We answer questions and discuss options.
We provide support, answers, a helping hand when it is needed. It has become part of who we are, what we do.
We still aren't 'expat experts' but we've learnt a thing or two about moving to Sweden and we've been through that same move over and over again with our members.
Find out more about our team here and about how NewinSweden.com works here. Ready to join up? Click here for the options.
Life doesn't always give us time for regular language classes and signing up for a course only to miss some of the lessons can be really demotivating. So, instead of holding weekly lessons, New in Sweden has one-off workshops so you can come when you want to and not pay for sessions you can't make.
Our workshops are packed full of language all around just one topic, so you learn as much as possible in each and every workshop.
8th October 2019 - All about food
15th October 2019 - All about conversations
22nd October 2019 - All around Sweden
Each workshop is in three levels at the following times:
A: 09:00 - 10:30
B: 11:00 - 12:30
C: 13:30 - 15:00
Read more about the workshops and book them here:
Word order and the Swedish education system - Swedish language workshop
21st January 2020
Learn how to get your words in the right order while getting to grips with how education operates in Sweden.
Verbs and Swedish community - Swedish language workshop
28th January 2020
Learn how to use verbs and a bit about community life in Sweden.
Practice your speaking! - Swedish language workshop
4th February 2020
Spend this workshop speaking and speaking, getting a lot of practice and improving both what you say and how you say it. This is a great workshop for improving your confidence in using Swedish when talking with Swedes.
Word formation and a bit about politics - Swedish language workshop
11th February 2020
Understand how to form your words while getting an idea of the basics of Swedish politics in this workshop.
Adjectives and describing things - Swedish language workshop
18th February 2020
Learn how to use adjectives to help you describe things and explain events.
There are three levels of each workshop so choose the one that suits you best. You can check your own level using this chart - click here to open the PDF.
Level A - Total beginners and those with a basic understanding
Level B - Improvers and Intermediate
Level C - Intermediate and Advanced
Unfortunately, they don't provide compensation for damage caused by other things, such as bicycles, shopping trolleys or human beings.
How to apply for compensation
You need to prove:
The first step in the process is to contact your own insurance company. They should settle the claim for you and usually you won't need to contact TFF directly. If you aren't happy with the settlement, you can ask TFF to review the claim. TFF does deduct an excess of between 2000kr-3000kr from the claim.
As with any crime, you should also report the damage to the police.
TFF has an English version of the their website which you can find here:
There is a great long list of countries for which their citizens need a visa before moving to Sweden. Thankfully it is in English!
If you need to find out, start here:
List of foreign citizens who require Via for entry into Sweden
Subscribe to the blog here:
About the blog
Interesting bits and pieces about life in Sweden, including all-important song words.