Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Stockholm: City in Review

Located in Southern Sweden, Stockholm is increasingly becoming a hotspot destination for expats relocating to Europe.  Stockholm is certainly a unique place to live; the city is built upon an archipelago of over 20,000 islands connected by waterways and bridges, and the city’s oldest town, Gamla Stan, dates back to 1250.  The 14 islands that make up the centre of the city vary in character, opportunity, and atmosphere.  Its picturesque setting has landed the city with the nickname ‘Venice of the North’.   

Image Source: Creative Commons / Google Images
For expats, the city offers culture, community, as well as high quality healthcare facilities.  The cost of living in Stockholm is pretty high in comparison to other European cities, however the city does rank very highly in Europe for innovation and economic competitiveness.  As well as this, Sweden’s education institutions are amongst the best in Europe; the quality of universities and international schools alone are enough to attract expats to the city. 

Given the success of Sweden’s economy and job market, employment opportunities for expats are very competitive.  Considering the strength of the iron and steel industries in Sweden, Stockholm is a popular choice for expats looking to pursue career opportunities within the engineering sector.  However, many expats relocate to Stockholm with the venture of starting their own business in mind; the city has a reputation of having an effective system of supporting sole traders. 

Image Source: Creative Commons / Pixabay

The Swedish culture is renowned for being sociable, and in the summer very much revolves around the longest day of the year, and Maypole dancing.  ‘Fika’, the practice of drinking coffee with friends, is engrained into the workplace culture, with Fika breaks often taking place up to 5 times a day!  Other aspects of the Swedish social culture is not so relaxed; the Swedes are also renowned for keeping their opinions to themselves.  If you are at a dinner party, however tempted you may be to disagree, it is best to keep this to yourself!

As with most European cities, the majority of residents do speak good English.  However, as with any place, locals will really appreciate efforts to use their language – this is particularly important if you are living on the outskirts of the city.  The Swedish language does tend to combine words, and often writing is without spaces, which can make things a little confusing for those trying to learn the language!

The climate of Stockholm can take some getting used to. The city is known for its very cold winters but the summers in Stockholm are mild with more hours of sunshine and daylight than the UK.

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