The 10 best reasons to move to Sweden

The Swedish flag at the end of the rainbow

This post will convince you to move to Sweden, even if you fear high taxes, hate the cold and dark, detest Abba and herring, and tremble with the thought of “Swedish socialism“.

10 reasons why you should move to Sweden.

1. Swedish benefits are the best in the world.

Five weeks paid vacation to start. More if you’re older or work for the government.

480 days of paid parental leave = Happy Kids = Good society

Parents get a total of 480 parental days for each child. For most of those days you’ll earn 80% of a salary of up to roughly $45,000 per year, which in Sweden is very good money. Parents have time to bond with their children — one reason why Sweden was recently ranked the best place in the world to grow up.

Cheap daycare, unlimited sick days and free healthcare, need I go on?

2. High taxes aren’t high if you are getting your money’s worth.

I don’t think taxes are too high in Sweden. Yes, if you are a billionaire, like IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, then you are going to pay a lot of taxes, which is why he moved to Switzerland in 1976.

Even Americans agree the progressive tax system in Sweden is just. A recent poll shows Americans prefer the Swedish system, they just don’t know it.

My income tax is 30%, which is normal by Swedish standards.

Sweden does have a 25% value added tax or consumption tax. That’s high, which is why Swedes go shopping like crazy when they are in the US.

But look at how much I get.

There is universal healthcare in Sweden. You don’t pay anything unless you have to go to the doctor. In that case, you pay a small amount per visit. Last year, I went to see a back surgeon and I paid around $40. For a normal visit to a clinic if you get sick, you’ll pay around $20. For kids under 18, you pay nothing. That’s right, nothing!

Daycare is heavily subsidized. It costs about $120 a month, but you get a monthly child benefit from the government which covers those costs. So basically daycare is free.

And, oh yeah, University is free.

Overall, I am happy with the taxes I pay in Sweden because I get a lot back. I’d rather skip paying the middle man for the essential services, which in the US tends to be huge corporations like insurance and pharmaceutical companies. No thanks, leave them out, I’d rather pay direct to the government.

Want more details on all the Swedish benefits? Check out Sweden.se, an invaluable website that describes all the Swedish benefits in detail.

3. It is cold and dark and then sunny and perfect

Honestly, I didn’t like the cold and dark when I moved here, and I’m not sure I like it now. But the extreme weather doesn’t slow Swedes down at all.

They’re out and about all winter long. They cross-country and downhill ski, ice skate, play hockey, take walks, run, sled, drink coffee, and even put their babies outside to sleep in their carriages. I was amazed the first time I saw it, but it’s true. They say it’s good for them. My kids do it too.

The summer is incredible.

The sun rises before you wake up and sets after you go to bed. If you work until 5 pm, you’ll have 5-6 hours of sun after work. That’s quality time for swimming, kayaking, walking, or picknicking — practically a professional sport here.

Celebrations like Midsummer’s Eve and the August Crayfish party (Even Will Ferrell loves crayfish parties…and Swedish sex habits) are the perfect way to salute the sun.

4. The people are beautiful and they dress well.

OK, this statement is subjective, but I’ve yet to hear anyone challenge it. Do you dare?

5. Sweden is a great place for women

If it’s good for women, it’s good for everyone. This Marie Claire article, reports that women thrive in Sweden, citing a 2005 report from the World Economic Forum that named Sweden the “most advanced country” for women.

6. Get green

If one of the most comprehensive public transportation systems in the world sound good to you, move to Sweden. Trains and buses go everywhere, from the big cities to small skiing villages like Åre in the Swedish mountains.

Take my family as an example. We are a family of four, with two children, and we don’t have a car, even though we live in a suburb. Can you do that where you live?

Stockholm was named Europe’s first Green Capital in 2010. Among the reasons cited by the European Union are the city’s successful 25% cut in emissions since 1990, large number of green areas, and the city’s ambitious goal to be independent of fossil fuels by 2050.

All throughout Sweden the air is clean, there is tons of nature and the water is perfect for drinking and swimming.

7. Transparent politics

Sweden always ranks among the top countries in the world in transparency with low levels of corruption. Yes, politicians are still politicians, but in Sweden they are less shady.

8. Strong, independent media

This is the main factor ensuring reason #7 remains on the list. I’ve seen TV shows, both investigative reporting and documentaries, on Swedish public TV that never in a million years would be shown on American public or network TV — maybe not even on cable.

The Swedish media does its job. Journalists cover the important stories, know they should and aren’t afraid to. This, in turn, creates an educated population and a transparent government.

9. You are in Europe

Close to all the other European countries. That means weekend trips, skiing in the Alps, drinking Pinot Noir and savoring fresh mozzarella in Italy, touring the museums of Paris, and anything else you can think of.

10. Will Ferrell is practically a Swede

He is married to one and comes to Sweden for a good part of the summer. Watch the film.

Did I miss any?

Updated: May 15, 2015

154 Replies to “The 10 best reasons to move to Sweden”

  1. I would like to add that yes, Sweden has the benefits stated however, living in Sweden is very difficult and lonely. As far as the benefits go be careful. Yes, dentists and doctors are free for children but if you’re not already in the system expect to wait 9 months for an appointment. As I was an adult and paying for my health care I received an appointment within a month. I lived in Sweden and the people were and are as cold as ice. I could be dead on the sidewalk and they would step over me rather than lend a hand. I was told my dog was not well bred enough to get the name of my neighbour’s groomer. The people are so passive aggressive that they feel they can ignore you or be outright mean and rude to you and not expect you to say anything back. This is EVERYBODY. Sweden to me was like a long prison sentence. Even the other ex-pats I met all couldn’t wait to be transferred out of Sweden. These are people who had lived all over the world and considered Sweden the worst transfer of all and even rated third world countries a better quality of life than Sweden. It was the worst time of my life. I would NEVER go back.

    1. Spend two years in Gothenburg and yes – besides the fact that I had a few wonderful people around me – I made the exactly the same experience and can confirm every single statement you made above. The best about sweden is its reputation.

    2. I have to say… U r on point wit that!
      I wasn’t born here but I was raised here. I often recognize myself in being a swed and sometimes I don’t, so I cn see the difference and ur totally right on all that!
      Sweden is really boring, pepole are lonely here mostly bcos they don’t want to feel any burden of other people but also because we are efficient and don’t like to spend, of different reasons.. In overall swedes are very interesting pepo. But wat makes sweden so good is the comfortable wellfair which causes all the bad manners bcos it makes us feel too proud and comfortable.

    3. I totally agree I have seen that people are quite or they’re just anti social and mean. The other day four boys were beating up this other boy and nobody said or did anything, the just walked on like nothing was happening

    4. Wow – as a brit who has lived happily in Sweden for nearly ten years I don’t at all identify with the negative comments here! Sure Sweden has its problems, what county doesn’t? But I totally agree with the article this is a great best places to live for a lot of good reasons. Here’s some news for anyone thinking of moving to any foriegn country: yes, it can be difficult and lonely, yes you will have to adjust to the culture and do the hard work and make new friends, but that will be the same wherever you go.

    5. OMG!!
      This is 100% true.
      I started planning to move out within the first month of moving to Lund for a job as a Software Engineer. Outside, I understand, but my colleagues completely ignore me inside, at the work place. And the HR asks me ‘not’ to term it discrimination. Retards!
      As I didn’t move here overnight, I can’t move out overnight. But plan is underway! Actually I worked in Copenhagen for a year so ‘assumed’, Sweden would be the same. God bless me! Mistake of my life.

    6. We apologize of the rudeness. I honesly don’t know what’s causing it but it could be the lack of vitamin D and sun light wich makes you happy.
      I would say it’s a big spiral as the children is grown up in this community they learn to adapt and becomes a part of it.

      wish you a better stay in some other country.

    7. My American daughter has spent 5 summers in Sweden. She is fluent in German and Swedish. This year she did a school year abroad and would agree that Swedes are pretty insular. She was lonely till I told her to find other non Swedes to make friends with. She loves the country and the people however.

    8. JMC, I’m sorry you had to experience that. My whole fathers side is from Sweden. And they’ve been nothing but sweet, always. But I can imagine a few idiots among the way. My dad talked about it. There are a good number of them that can be anti-social. But when my dad had a stroke and was laying on the side walk people came to his side right away. There are definitly good sides to Sweden. I’ve talked to nice strangers but I have seen some that thought too much of them selves. I’m not sure what that’s about but. Again, JMC, I’m sorry you had to go through that.

    9. I have lived in Sweden for more than 8 Years, I worked as an expat on a 28/28 rotation. Which means I actually live in Sweden for 6 months in the year.
      So I am going to give you a truthful account of this beautiful country as I experienced it.
      First most important factor is people, The Swedes are polite people but Incredibly boring.
      The job opportunities are very poor if you are not Swede, Even if you have 20 years experience and have a Masters Degree the Swedes take care of their own. So its not an equal opportunity country.
      The Police protection system is crap. My house was ransacked by Swedish thieves who were drug addicts in the small village where I lived. The Police were useless.
      My Swedish neighbour’s 13 year old daughter was sexually abused by a Dutch boy aged 18. The Police informed the Parents they don’t have enough evidence to bring about a prosecution. In my conventional wisdom Its a court who decides this. Not the prosecution office, Who made no attempt to even put the criminal through a lie test.
      You must know if a country takes so much of tax , cannot offer your children protection, Rapes are many among young teenagers and not all of it gets reported.
      So Please don’t be misled when people say a country is great. You have to live in to for a long time to know the truth.

  2. I’ve dreamt about moving to sweden for years now. I’d like some more information about the weather, id like to move to the warmest part. Also the music scene, is there many bars and concerts there? And one more thing, how do people in Sweden feel about tattoos? Is there many tattoo shops or alternative places to shop?

    1. I live in sweden, born and raised. i love it, but I hate it… Right now we’ve had no snow for thhe whole of winter, we’ve had Slask… (Slush) and rain pouring down mixed with ice and snow… In winter we get sun at about 7am and it sets at 4pm, i live on the southwest coast, Halland, the california of sweden, and we are Monterey to San fransisco, but with a closer distance. Like…Antioch, IL to Chicago, IL. And it’s misty, raw, fresh cold air, that will bite your fingers off if you don’t protect them. (I wore a tshirt in January in Chicago, they thought I was mad…) but the cold is similars though they got the lakefront and we live on the coast. We got a messed up politics now, new reigm, and jobs are slim. We have A poverty problem, and too many immigrants to fit in anywhere, no room for them to live… So.. They get to live in the campground cottages and bunk or floor it… We send children home to a sure death, bu the criminals and psychologically unstable can stay… And well… Winter just sucks when there’s no Snow so half the population goes into a depression and some idjits have been brutalizing cats… Come summer we thrive… And tourists occupy our beaches so we stay on our porches and drink and sunbathe, and we live life for te other weeks of the year where we bust our asses to pay taxes to be able to do absolutely nothing for five weeks with full pay… 🙂 but yeah. We have some good sides to. Like chip a tooth, barely pay anything, and going to the doctor you pay $25 or something… I won’t complain much, just don’t put this country up on no pedistal.

    2. The weather here is unreliable, one winter can be freezing and you get a ton of snow from october-march and the next winter it might be no snow at all and one summer can be absolutely gorgeous and the year after its just rain rain rain.
      The warmest part of sweden is the south part.
      We have some music festivals during the summer and in regards of tattoos….EVERYBODY has at least one!

    3. The warmest part would of course be the southern part of sweden, the state of Skåne, or Blekinge, but also the state of Gotland which is the big Island in the middle of the baltic sea.

      There are a LOT of bars and festivals in sweden, so no worries. Allthough the biggest festivals are in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Britain. But its easy to travel.

      Tattoos are widely accepted and almost everyone have atleast one, and you can find a
      tattoo shop in almost every town. Its kända part of the Nordic culture to have tattoos, so no worries.

      Welcome!

      1. my dream to live and work in sweedan,I have permanet residant in italy.i have worked as a italian restaurant cook for 15 years,also i have diplomain hotel school in rome italy.pls help me
        thanks

    4. Hi.
      I live in a town called Norrköping. It’s like in the middle of Sweden. but abt the weather.. There is no warmest part. Ok, the north is colder during winter(nov-mars) but it’s warmest during the summers.. so u can basically move to any part of Sweden. The weather is not that different.
      In Scandinavia the weather is all the same.

      1. Hi..
        I cn answer ur other questions..
        sweden is a very free country, compared to the rest of Europe. Here u hav the right to do wateva u want(by that I mean good things!). Tatoos are very VERY common here.
        abt the music….. um.. We have a very gd swedish music culture but finding the places is the difficult part. Bars are there too but as u kno sweden, theres not alot of life there. Most pepo prefer to drink at home.
        oh!, and one thing I dont like abt drunk sweeds is that they act irresponsibly and foolish, lik.. excessively! And they hav to drink to get comfortable and hav fun, it’s jst that smetyms it gets too much.
        The tatoo artwork is real here! And the shops are many, and so are the concerts

  3. i’ve always wanted to move to Sweden and my brother has always wanted to move to Canada. I just don’t like England you cant do anything here plus i would never want to raise my kids up in England.

  4. Well , JMC , having been to Sweden,in the last month,WE have NOT found your problems ! We are moving to Kalmar in two months time,AND,ALL, we have found is a COMMUNITY SPIRIT !! (Not in Kalmar) (15 KM) But we are UK Oldies,on the the NORMAL state (UK) pension,maybe a younger person would not be SO content ??

    1. Hello, I was interested in moving to Kalmar, what do you think so far? I have friends who are sweedes and they are very kind and hospitable. I live in Florida now but it’s too hot. I know sweden is very cold. Please give me your comments if you get this message. Thank you. Cindy Clark

  5. I’m marrying a sweedish guy and once i graduate i’ll move to sweden. I’m exited and scared alot of new experiences. But i guess its a great place for the kids since he can stay home with me for 480 days hehe paied.

  6. I am an American expat. I moved to Sweden 20 years ago when my Swedish wife was pregnant. I never wanted kids if I had to raise them in the states. When I went to Sweden a few years before our kids, I found the country to be like the one I grew up in, before it went into the crapper. I will not move back to the US, a third world country with first world prices, and third world corruption. Under Clinton I got 11 kronor to the dollar, W made it 6 kronor to the dollar and I was paid in dollars. Our house was 435,000 kronor or about 60K when we bought and then it got cheaper under Clinton, or about 40K. 4 bedrooms, 2 baths and a sauna. Family room, living room, kitchen dining area, but only 1 car garage, with a friggebod (guest cottage wing). Bus stop at 100 meters, the Baltic sea with a beach about 300 meters. A campground one street over from our back yard. Parabola tv rather than cable. 100 mbs broadband for about 30 bucks a month. My oldest daughter had orthodontic work, for free. Our little elementary school once took 1st place in the country, and has stayed in the top ten since, even though our house was 40K. My daughter took a part time McDonalds job for 15 bucks an hour. Sweden does not allow marketing to kids, they are not raised to be consumers. My youngest is in scouts, which is co-ed. She played futball, or soccer, and was recruited by the boys team, no one batted an eye. The prices displayed are what you pay, no added on taxes, fees, or the typical bait and switch America is known for. My MRI came with headphones and a music selection, I chose Sinatra. In the US all I heard was the constant clanging. In Sweden we had a panic button, in the states a patient died after puking and choking on her own vomit, it was a right to work state so no nurses union, and the nurse running the machine was the cheapest the facility could pay. Swedish is a germanic language, english is a germanic language. I flew to the US recently, Stockholm to Fort Lauderdale, nonstop direct flight on Norwegian Air. My kids don’t need kevlar vests at their schools. I took my youngest to target shooting with pellet rifles, she hit one bullseye. I chaperoned at her school’s disco night, and volunteer when I can. Swedes were among the earliest US settlers in 1635 up the Delaware river and New Sweden by way of Kalmar and Gothenburg on the ship Kalmar Nickel (Kalmar Key) I give a talk to school classes when they cover America. . They introduced the log cabin, that supposed American unit. The English froze to death with their clapboard housing, the Swedes had no problem. They also came for furs, gold, and silver. No religious motivation, just business.

  7. One other thing, my prescription when I ran out in the states, was a hundred times the price I paid in Sweden. 100 tabs for 3 bucks in Sweden, in the US it was 100 bucks for 30 tablets. You track your scripts annually, and once a threshold is reached, the medicine is free for the rest of the year. Skype was invented in Sweden, Spotify too. The fastest broadband in the world is in Sweden. A 2 hour movie downloads in two seconds.

    1. My son just moved there, an American. His prescription that he needs will run out soon and he doesn’t have insurance. How does he go about getting his prescription filled. He went to a hospital a month ago there, it was an emergency by ambulance cause he had run out of his medicine and had a bad reaction and the doctor at the hospital would only give him enough pills to last him for the remainder of his 3 months visa. Should he just visit a private doctor? He is in Gotenburg. Thank you for any helpful suggestions!

  8. NOOOO WAY. Skane maybe if I had to go. they are jerks..and full of themselves.. I am Swedish ancestry but am glad they left the socialist shit hole known as Sverige!

  9. Firstly let me convey my compliments for the well covered article. Each and every input i of great importance for decision making. These decisions are not easy so inputs have to be reliable. I am 52 years old having engineering background with 25 years of experience in aviation maintenance industry and HR management. what are my chances of immigration to Sweden. Please mail me your comments if possible.
    Regards

  10. it is mine dream to be in sweden. Am a 24 year boy from Ghana and now in lithuania. i would like to come to sweden. can i get a contact so that if i come, i can call for help. God bless you

  11. I am a lawyer from and a writer from UK but living in Nigeria. I studied law in UK, though I never practised there nor practised in Nigeria but I have a first degree in law from the university of London and a masters degree from Metropolitan university London.

    I want to relocate to Sweden with my family. My husband and two children.

    How can I do that?

  12. I wish I could move to Sweden. It sounds to me like they have a good idea how to care about the people of their country. Political transparency is something we need in the United States. Not sure it will ever happen. Great article by the way.

  13. The person who wrote the first comment here, about the Swedes being passive aggressive is spot on. Being a Swede I can tell you we don’t like foreigners, or each other for that matter. Personally I don’t like Americans, Britts, French ot any other people except for the Norwegians. This silent anger is not something typically swedish but can be found in all Nordic countries, especially Finland.

    I guess the reason for this behaviour goes back many hundred years if not even more. Scandinavian societies hav been ordered societies for many hundred years and people have gradually transferred their responsibilities for their fellow man to the government or the King.

    If you think you are a wonderful person and you want other people to enjoy you presence and your wonderful personality, don’t came to Sweden. If you have a need for other people to talk to you, to look at you, to confirm.your being, you better stay where you are.. Going to Sweden will absolutly break you if you have that mindset.

    1. I’m a Swede who has lived in North America for over 40 years. But I still spend months in Sweden each year with my family.
      In a rural setting in Smaland. I never thought Swedes were
      passive aggressive, on the contrary, I’ve always felt we speak our minds freely. Sometimes too much so. But then this could be a class thing. I’m from a working class background who has made a class journey. Still, to this day I find Swedes very friendly and helpful, as does my Greek born husband and our children. We love it so much that we are thinking of spending our last 10-15 last year in my country of origin.

    2. Svante , am all What You said and totally broke down . I live in Sweden for nine years yet no friends , no job , psychologically destroyed, mentally tired , since the first month in Sweden , I wanted to leave . I have a chance to move to USA with my family , but now as a father of 5 and age 45 . I wonder if it will ever heal the wounds I got from Sweden . People here are so beautiful and hard working but so cold and so un social and never value any foreigner. They are just like that . The whole country is like that saved by some swede who lived abroad and changed . Any

    3. Hi Svante,

      I read your comment and thanks for the honest opinion. So… Does it mean Swedish are ignorant and racist? I am thinking of moving there from Australia. Now I have to reconsider my plan. I thought it were a beautiful country with nice people. Is that true that nobody would lend you help if you are in trouble on the street? Thank you. I look forward to your response.

  14. Hello, this has beem a very interesting reading. Im planning to move to Sweden in mid of 2017 for around 3 years. Im a multicultural person, originally from Colombia, spent 10 years in NYC were I’ve got my engineering degree, currently living in São Paulo and doing my MBA. I don’t mean to spend your time reading my background, I just want you to consider it when giving me your opinion. I am 5.10 so not that short, but I do have an latin look. I have been to Sweden twice for very short time, but never experienced any mistreatment from any Swedish, that might also be influenced by the fact that they were business trips. My main concern is, do your all thinks that I could be mistreated due to my look in the day by day in Sweden? any different to NYC, not that I was mistreated in NYC. By the way, Im 32 y/o single and no kids, I am also preparing myself for 3 very lonely years, any advice on that? I dated a Swedish girl back in College, but I have the impression that Swedish are mucho more open abroad. Thanks in advance for taking your time to read me, and please fell free to make any comments.
    Best Regards
    Andres

  15. Almost one year earlier I was in Sweden in Gavle state. All most everything is perfect there without something different.

    My negative opinion about Sweden:
    1. Gavle is a silent state. Sometimes I thought that I was in a death city.
    2. Swedish people are very very helpful to help foreign people. But its almost impossible to make friendship with Swedish people. I want to mention a quotation here that ” Swedish people are talked with others when they are drunk”.
    3. Sometimes sun took me in a wrong way !!! Very short time in winter and long time in summer.

  16. Hi everyone,
    Just came across this thread and just felt really uneasy, in lack of a better word.
    A whole country or its people aren’t just what you decide they are and you can’t determine if it’s better or worse than any other. It’s all personal, your experience doesn’t determine if someone else is gonna feel the same way. Yes of course infrastructure and politics wary and are better in some countries but to say that ALL swedes ( in this case) are passive aggressive, depressing, self absorbed and just well dressed people is just ignorant.
    Yeah swedes might come of as more cold and negative, maybe they’re just shy, working hard and tired from lack of vitiamin D.
    Maybe that’s just the way they appear before you get to know them? Take Americans, they’re usually so nice to each other even if they don’t know one another but it’s just what they are used to, the norms of how they grew up. Same as swedes, except swedes don’t see the point of “putting a fake face on”. Maybe the “always nice face” brings light into society and to some people and maybe it’s just fake and unnecessary to some. Who determines which way is the best way to live? I haven’t decided.

    I’ve lived in a few countries and each one has had ups and downs, and that’s the beauty of it right? If you’re lucky enough you can chose where you fit it, with what people and with what country.
    I just ask of you to try to see the best in everyone and see that most of us are moore than what our society’s norms make us out to be.
    Peace!

  17. Well my dream of leaving the U.S. to live in Sweedon…..not so much anymore!!
    I am a social butterfly and couldn’t handle uncaring and rude people! I am half sweed, my mother being full blooded sweed. Her family family was fun and had quite a sense of humor, more so with a little Vodka lol! Can’t imagine mean or cold. But I wish Americas government would take on the Sweden way!!

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