Halloween is becoming a more and more popular event here - Swedes do love a chance to get dressed up and play/party! 10 years ago, there was nothing!
According to Wikipedia, around 40% of Swedes now celebrate it. Each year, we see more trick-o-treating going on and children's parties organised. So far, we've only seen the good side - no nasty treats given out, no tricking or misuse of costumes for vandalism or burglary.
However, if you want trick o'treaters, you better make it very clear. Don't expect visitors unless you have lights and decorations outside and even then, they may not come unless they know you. We put out a lit pumpkin and balloons.
Alla Helgons Dag is always the Saturday following the 31st October and is a holiday day so many small shops will be closed and shopping centres limited hours. It is easy to confuse it with 'Allhelgonadagen' which is the 1st November and is not a holiday.
All Saints' Weekend
This weekend, we remember those who have died. Graves are decorated with flowers and lit candles to light up the dark between All Saints' Day (Saturday) and All Souls' Day (Sunday). It is usual to walk around the church graveyards and cemeteries, which look spectacular, all lit up. There are special services to remember those who have died in the past year.
Do you plan to celebrate Halloween this year? Or have an special traditions to bring with you? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook or tag us in your photos!
Living in Sweden, you quickly get used to a quiet sense of calm in day-to-day life. Just occasionally though, real passion shows through and ice hockey games are really, really loud! Check out this short clip of fans of the Stockholm team called Djurgården playing at home against the town of Karlstad's team, Färjestad.
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
Apartments by Ligula is a hotel concept for longer-term accommodation – when a standard hotel room is a bit too small and you want to feel at home while you are away. They provide modern studio apartments of different sizes containing a kitchenette and everything you need for a relaxing stay.
Apartments by Ligula, Hammarby Sjöstad, offer modern rental apartments which are located opposite the Mårtensdal tram stop in Hammarby Sjöstad, 17 minutes from Stockholm city. Here, you will find everything you need to enjoy a relaxed stay, such as a kitchenette and kitchenware, Carpe Diem beds, TV, free WiFi and rainshowers in the bathrooms. Weekly cleaning is included for all apartments and they also offer a laundry self-service and gym in the building. Rental is primarily on monthly basis.
Medium 24 – 31 m2: 1 – 2 persons Price: SEK 18 900 per month*
Large 32 – 40 m2: 1 – 4 persons Price: SEK 21 700 per month*
XL approximately 45 m2: 1 – 2 persons
* All stated prices are inclusive of 12% VAT. The weekly cleaning service and a final cleaning on the departure day is included in the rental fee.
Both check-in and check-out is done at the reception at Motel L, street address Hammarby Allé 41. The reception at Motel L is open 24/7. Check-in takes place from 2 pm on the day of arrival and check-out no later than 12 pm on the day of departure, unless otherwise agreed. Apartments by Ligula has its entrance at No. 47, on the same street as Motel L.
For more information, contact Chris Jolly firstname.lastname@example.org +46 (0)707-25 21 34
Apartments by Ligula, Hammarby Sjöstad
Hammarby Allé 47
120 30 Stockholm, Sweden
In case you are wondering, this isn't a sponsored post. So many of our members spend their energy looking for accommodation that we share anything we think might help speed up that process!
However, Sweden has almost the lowest number of unskilled jobs in the EU, with only Switzerland and Norway having less.
What does all this mean? It isn’t easy for Swedes or expats to get jobs, the job market isn’t as open as in other countries, the population (and therefore available jobs) is much smaller and the whole system works in a different way. Understanding how the job market and recruitment processes work will make a huge difference in the success of any job hunt and here are some tips from us:
- Visit employment fairs
Big Swedish companies, such as IKEA, Volvo and Skanska regularly tour employment fairs to meet potential new employees. Employment fairs are great places to network with potential employers in your field, to take part in interviews and go to useful seminars. Make sure you go to the fairs prepared with a stack of CVs and cover letters. Decide which companies you want to talk to and what they might be impressed by before you go. After the fair, send follow-up emails to the people you spoke to – this is often the crucial step.
- Make sure that your employer is the real deal
This might not seem like a big deal. As long as someone says you've a job waiting, you're in the clear... right? Well, the situation is unfortunately a bit more complicated. Before jumping to the next step of actually obtaining a work permit, you should make sure that your employer is registered as such. If this is not the case, your supposed employer doesn't even have ability to pay you a formal salary. This could jeopardise your ability to receive a permit and also cause you to put a lot of energy into something that will turn out to be fruitless.
- Learn Swedish
While it’s true that nearly everyone in Sweden speaks English and many large companies – even Swedish ones – have English as their corporate language, being proficient at Swedish will open up lots of doors when it comes to finding work and building work relationships. Even if you apply for a job that specifically demands fluent English or where a native English speaker is preferred, your ability to speak even conversational Swedish will make you better qualified.
- Apply for a work permit
If you will need a permit to work in Sweden, collect together all the relevant information before you start the process, such as your correspondence with your employer, a copy of the job advertisement and your passport. Take everything to the immigration office, Migrationsverket.
- Take an internship
Internships can be a great way to gain relevant experience and build your professional network. Even if they don’t lead directly to a job offer, you’ll have a reference from a Swedish company and a notable update for your CV. Look out for advertisements – there are often plenty around - or contact a company you’d like to do an internship at directly.
- Register yourself at Skatteverket
Once you have a valid work permit, you will also receive a residence permit card. This enables you to obtain a personal identity number. This number is your key to being a part of the formal society. It enables you to open a bank account, pay taxes and deal with all administrative issues. Read more about personal numbers in our post here.
Register yourself at the tax office (which also handles anything to do with the population of Sweden, including personal numbers) – Skatteverket – as soon as possible. Pretty much everything in Sweden revolves around a personal identity number and not having one will act as a barrier between you and an easy life!
- Contact employers directly and network to build connections
When you look at Swedish job ads you may notice they include contact details for an employee who can answer questions about the post. That person is often involved in deciding who gets the position, so it can be worth your while to call them up, ask a few relevant questions and engage them in conversion. Hopefully you’ll impress them enough to remember your name when your application lands on their desk. If that isn’t possible, try to go to events in your field to make connections that can help you get in touch with the people that are hiring.
Job hunting in Sweden isn’t always easy so to help in making the process a bit simpler, use these tips. They might not all work for you but they should give you a head-start at least.
Though language learning is mentioned, many expats told us that they perceived they were excluded from job opportunities not for lack of language ability because they were foreign – on the surface, clear discrimination – but when we dug down deep, we could see another cause, one you can read about in our guide to the State of Expat Life in Sweden 2018!
“Sometimes all the planning in the world won't prepare you for it, but as long as you know where your nearest coffee house is everything falls into place!”
We at New in Sweden (NiDS) worked with news and analysis provider Mundus International and Swedish language tuition provider Swedish for Professionals to uncover the details of expat life in Sweden. We have quizzed expats that are here, the HR staff that organised their move and the Relocation Agents that supported them during the process. We dug deep to find out the full story about emigrating here and hope that new arrivals can then make much more informed decisions about their move to Sweden.
Our guide to the state of expat life in Sweden is out now. It covers the main challenges expats are experiencing right now and the reasons for them, the support that is and isn’t provided at a personal level and what help is out there. We have a separate report that looks at what expats told us in comparison with other surveys, the political environment and what needs to change for expat life to improve. Get your copies of both here.
Are you planning to move to Sweden or are already an expat in Sweden? Would you like to find exactly what a ‘personnummer’ is, what the numbers mean, how to get one and how to use it? Read on to find out!
What is a ‘personnummer’?
Personnummer – or a personal identification number (also known as a 'personal number'). Everyone registered in Sweden is identified with a personal identification number. It consists of 10 digits and it is unique to each individual. It is primarily used by Swedish authorities and organisations to identify people.
When did Sweden introduce the ‘personnummer’?
This system, which was the first in the world to include a nation’s entire population, was introduced in 1947 and has been used ever since, with minor improvements throughout the years.
What do the numbers indicate?
The personal number consists of the person's birth date and three birth numbers. The only information that can be gathered from looking at a personal identification number is a person’s birth date and their gender.
The birth date consists of six digits and makes up the first part of the personal identification number. The order of the numbers is: birth year, birth month and birth day (YYMMDD).For example, a person whose first 6 digits in the personal identification number is 640823 was born on 23rd August 1964. A person whose first 6 digits in the personal identification number is 930411 was born on 11th April 1993.
The birth number consists of three numbers. The second to last digit provides information concerning the gender of the person - where the digit is odd for men and even for women. The birth date and birth number are connected with a hyphen (-). This sign is replaced by a plus sign (+) the year a person turns 100 years old!
The last digit of the personal number is a control digit. It is calculated mechanically by the birth date and birth number.
How do you obtain a ‘personnummer’?
If you are planning to move to Sweden or are already living in Sweden and are planning to live here for a year or more, then you should in most cases be registered as a resident in Sweden. To be registered in Sweden simply visit the Swedish Tax Agency (Skatteverket) and apply. Make sure your spouse, children or anyone else that is also applying to be registered in Sweden are also there!
You will need the following documents when you visit the Swedish Tax Agency
Once you are registered in Sweden:
When do I use my ‘personnummer’?
Swede’s use their personal identification number on a daily basis! Life in Sweden is made easier by being able to do a variety of things by having a personal identification number. The biggest advantage is that it is a unique identity for each person – this prevents confusion of data about people as well as ensures certain safety and protection of personal integrity. A personal identification number also ensures that each individual gets what they are entitled to, such as pension and housing allowances as well as ensuring that each individual is charged the correct tax.
Some examples of when you can use your personal identification number:
And many more! Join New in Sweden to find out more about personal numbers, get help applying and settle in fast to life here.
Now that we only have a couple of weeks left until Fettisdagen (Shrove Tuesday), this seems to be just the perfect time to share with you a recipe and instructions on how to bake your own semlor!
If you live in Sweden, surely you must have noticed these magnificent creamy buns on display at your local bakery or grocery store already, (the Swedish population of 10 million buys and eats around six million semlor every Shrove Tuesday!).
If you don’t yet live in Sweden, you will have to try this special treat at home. In fact, no matter where you live, if you have not made your own semlor before, take this chance to roll up your sleeves and do it yourself, because even though the bakery made buns are to die for, they will most certainly never be as fun as homemade semlor.
This recipe that we have found for you, will teach you how to perfectly bake the traditional Swedish cardamom bun, how to mix together the sweet almond paste filling and last but not least, top it all with fluffy whipped cream and dusty icing sugar.
Once you have mastered the traditional semla, you can allow yourself to get more creative and inventive with your pastries. Try to play around with different fillings, flavours and shapes. We have over the past few years seen out-of-the-box ideas such as semmelwraps, semlor with Nutella filling or licorice-flavoured marzipan.
Last year bakeries introduced the Princess semla, a merge between a classic Princess pastry and semla. A truly holy union for all adventurous seeking cream bun munchers out there! This year, the latest Stockholm invention is a Mexican influenced nacho plate, featuring pieces of flat, triangular bread to dip in cream and almond paste.
But before you dive into all that, let’s start with the basics. Time to get ready for the best fika of the year!
Recipe makes 16-24 buns
2/3 cup of melted butter
1 1/2 cups warm milk (70 to 80 degrees F, 20-25 C)
1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk, or as needed
5 ounces marzipan
2 cups whipping cream
2 tablespoons white sugar
First of all, whisk together eggs with butter and milk in a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over the top and allow for mix to soften for 5 minutes. While waiting, sift together 5 cups flour with 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and ground cardamom. When the yeast has softened, stir flour mixture into milk mixture until a soft dough forms. Cover bowl with a towel, and allow to rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, sift together flour and baking powder. Stir into risen dough, then knead until smooth. Form into 16 balls (or 24 if you'd like smaller semlor) and place onto greased baking sheets. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, 35 to 40 minutes.
Turn oven on and preheat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Buns should be golden brown and the center should be firm. Let the buns cool down on a wire rack until they reach room temperature.
Make a lid by cutting a slice about 1/2 inch thick off of the top of the bun. Use a spoon to scoop out the center of the buns, leaving a shell about 1/2 inch thick. Crumble the removed bread into small pieces and place into a bowl. Moisten the bread with milk, then mix in marzipan until smooth. Add additional milk if needed until the marzipan filling is nearly as soft as pudding.
Whip cream with 2 tablespoons sugar to stiff peaks. Fill each bun’s shell with a spoonful of marzipan filling. Place whipped cream on top of the filling to 1/2 inch over the top of the bun. Replace the tops onto the buns, and dust with icing sugar before serving.
Serve as is with a cup of coffee, or place the bun in a bowl with warm milk and ground cinnamon (this variant is known as hetvägg).
This recipe was provided by Justin Williams and Allrecipes.com. http://allrecipes.com/recipe/139232/semlor-semla/
To find out all there is to know about semlor, click here for our free guide.
Bakeries at this time of year try to make the best semlor - cream and marzipan buns - but some decide to fiddle with the recipe. Over the years, we have seen semlor covered in real gold, semlor smoothies, semlor wraps.
The Göteborg Post has found a supermarket in Vessigebro (south west Sweden) with a new variety for this year. These delectable-looking treats are filled with Nutella, cream, sliced banana and meringue. Sweet but sound very yummy!
What is your favourite semla? To find out all there is to know about semlor, click here for our free guide.
Not that the date matters - they are in the shops already...!
For those of you who would like to know more about the sticky cream-filled buns that are supposed to be consumed on Shrove Tuesday (Fettisdagen) but now you can get for at least a month in advance, check out our guide to them (and the all-important instructions for how to eat them):
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About the blog
Interesting bits and pieces about life in Sweden, including all-important song words.