Sweden, with its coastal islands and numerous lakes and beautiful mountains, is an inviting place for both expats and visitors. No wonder people from around the world decide to step outside their comfort zone in order to feel the thrill of relocation.
However, moving to a different country may also be stressful. You need to organize your removals and life abroad, such as things connected to your work, car registration and insurance, housing, etc.
Therefore, we decided to take some of the work off your shoulders and prepare some essential information about living in Sweden. We hope you find it useful.
Public holidays in Sweden
Sweden observes 10 public holidays. If it occurs on the weened, it remains on that date, which may limit the number of days off in a year.
Swedish people sometimes name a public holiday röd dag (red day), as it is normally marked in red in calendars. Businesses close on public holidays, and usually, they also close at noon on a day prior to a public holiday.
What is more, if a public holiday falls on Tuesday or Thursday, Swedes commonly take a day off that falls between the weekend and the holiday. This day is called the klämdag which is the equivalent of English “squashed in days”, or “squeeze day”. Swedish public holidays include:
- Nyårsdag (New Year’s Day) 1 January
- Trettondedag Jul (Epiphany) 6 January
- Långfredag, Påsk, Annandag Påsk (Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Monday) March/April
- Första Maj (Labour Day) 1 May
- Kristi Himmelsfärdsdag (Ascension Day) May/June
- Pingst, Annandag Pingst (Whit Sunday and Monday) Late May or early June
- Midsommardag (Midsummer’s Day) Saturday between 19 and 25 June
- Alla Helgons dag (All Saints Day) Saturday, late October or early November
- Juldag (Christmas Day) 25 December
- Annandag Jul (Boxing Day) 26 December
Also, please bear in mind that Midsommarafton (Midsummer’s Eve), Julafton (Christmas Eve; 24 December) and Nyårsafton (New Year’s Eve; 31 December) are not official holidays but are generally nonworking days for most of the population.
School Holidays in Sweden
In addition to Sweden’s public holidays, schools generally close on the following school holidays:
- Winter holidays – a week in February
- Easter – a week at Easter time
- Summer half term – a week in late May/early June
- Summer holidays – approximately six weeks, from early June to mid-August
- Autumn holidays – a few days to a week in late October/early November
- Christmas and New Year – Two weeks
Winter holidays are usually observed on different dates, whereas summer break, autumn holidays and Christmas break are the same across the whole country. Regarding Easter break, only Stockholm and Central Sweden have a full week off. The other regions only have an extended Easter weekend.
Different regions in Sweden
The school holidays named above may inconsiderably differ depending on the region or city. There are four distinct regions in Sweden, which include:
- South-Sweden: Blekinge, Gotland, Halland, Jönköping, Kalmar, Kronoberg, Norrbotten, Östergötland, Skane, Södermanland, Västerbotten, Västernorrland, Västra Götaland
- North Sweden: Jämtland
- Middle-Sweden: Gävleborg, Dalarnes, Örebro, Uppsala, Värmland, Västmanland
Car insurance and taxes in Sweden
If you are considering taking a car with you, or you would like to know what costs you can expect after purchasing a car in Sweden, we prepare some essential information.
The documents you are going to need to ship your car to Sweden are basically legal papers that will show you own the car being imported.
These papers include:
- Valid Driver’s License
- Original Vehicle Title
- Original Vehicle Registration
- Passport with Recent Photo
- Sales Invoice/Bill of Sale or Other Sales Paperwork. The paperwork should include information about the purchased vehicle, address, and price.
- Customs Form for the Vehicle
- Bill of Lading
- Proof of Insurance.
Bear in mind, that you need to obtain a Swedish insurance policy to drive legally.
Vehicle tax must be paid for all vehicles, and it is normally paid in advance for a period of a year. If the tax is more than SEK 3600, it is divided into three periods. You can also pay the tax monthly on the last day of the month. If the last day falls on a weekend or holiday, the payment must be made no later than on the next weekday.
If you do not pay the tax for the next month, the vehicle may not be used. If the police stop you, they are entitled to take possession of the vehicle’s number plates.
Compulsory Road Traffic Insurance
Traffic insurance is obligatory and it provides compensation in the event of certain kinds of road accidents. In case of an accident, both drivers and passengers will receive compensation for personal injury. However, if the driver considerably contributed to the injury, for instance by drink-driving, the compensation may be reduced.
One may receive compensation when the collision causes property damage. If someone else is responsible for the accident, the compensation will be paid from the other person’s traffic insurance. However, one may not receive the compensation if the damage is intentionally made by the owner of the car, or in case of fire or theft.
Supermarkets in Sweden
As soon as you relocate to your final destination in Sweden, you will probably wonder where to buy your groceries. Which supermarket is the cheapest? Where can you find the best food quality? We compiled a list of top supermarkets in Sweden, to help you decide where to do your first shopping in Sweden.
Opening hours differ between the big shopping malls in cities and local shops in the small towns and countryside. Here is a guide to shop opening hours, but we recommend checking it before you decide to go shopping, to avoid disappointment.
Monday-Friday 9.30 am – 6.00 pm
Saturday 9.30 am – 2.00/4.00 pm
In larger towns, department stores remain open until 7.00 pm or longer. Some are also open on Sundays between 12 noon and 4.00 pm. Shops generally close early the day before a public holiday.
Top supermarkets in Sweden
7-Eleven is open from 7 am to 11 pm, and it is a supermarket you can find on every corner in Sweden. You can buy the same product as in every well-stocked petrol station.
Coop specializes in ecological and healthy products, hence it is slightly more expensive than other stores. However, if you opt for a healthy lifestyle, Coop is the “green” alternative.
Hemköp offers everything you need, from groceries to things you need at home. It is one of the most popular supermarkets with a wide range of products and average prices.
ICA is the second most popular supermarket in Sweden after Hemköp. However, in comparison to Hemköp, it offers a better range of foreign and premium foods.
Pressbyrån is the Swedish equivalent of 7-Eleven. You can find small snacks, hot dogs, lottery tickets, newspapers, etc.
Willys offers a great range of products for the lowest price. You can find the top name brands there, yet Willys may not be found in the most convenient locations.
Hopefully, this shortlist will help you make a decision. Nevertheless, we encourage you to visit all of those supermarkets and decide on the most suitable for yourself.