Life in Sweden

Sweden Removals | Move to Sweden from UK

Life in Sweden

5 Unwritten Rules that Define Life in Sweden

Located in northern Europe, Sweden has established itself as a beacon of innovation, sustainability, and quality of life, earning its reputation as one of the most desirable places to live and work in the world.

Schepens is a UK based company and a Scandinavian removals specialist. We have been helping movers relocate to Sweden for over a century; we even have a base in Sweden to support our logistics there. It’s a great pleasure, therefore, to offer some insights into what life in Sweden is like. This guide will provide an overview of the country, the unwritten rules that define the culture, and some insights into the major cities.

What’s Special About Sweden?

There are numerous reasons for UK professionals to think about relocating to Sweden for work, so we’ve picked out just 5 of them:

1. A Centre For Innovation

With a staggering 10.5% higher rate of innovation compared to the EU average, Sweden is a hotbed for groundbreaking ideas and cutting-edge technologies. This innovative spirit is fuelled by a strong emphasis on research and development, a thriving startup culture, and a supportive ecosystem for entrepreneurs.

2. Global Hub for Talent and Brands

Sweden’s reputation as an innovation powerhouse has attracted a wealth of global talent and brands. Renowned companies like Ericsson, Volvo, and Spotify call Sweden home, while a growing number of startups are choosing to establish their roots in the country’s entrepreneurial landscape. This influx of talent and expertise has further cemented Sweden’s position as a leading force in the global economy.

3. A Society Built on Equality and Well-being

Sweden’s commitment to social equality and well-being is evident in its policies and practices. Workplace gender equality is deeply ingrained in Swedish culture, with generous parental leave policies and extensive support for families. Additionally, the Swedish healthcare system provides universal access to high-quality care, ensuring that the well-being of its citizens remains a top priority.

4. Embracing a Multilingual Future

Sweden recognises the importance of English as a global language and actively promotes its teaching in schools from an early age. This ensures that English proficiency is widespread among the Swedish population, making it easier for newcomers to integrate into the society.


5. A Land of Natural Beauty and Outdoor Adventures

Beyond its professional allure, Sweden is a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Majestic forests, pristine lakes, and stunning coastlines provide endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. Whether you’re hiking through the Scandinavian Mountains, kayaking along the archipelago, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll through a picturesque park, Sweden’s natural beauty will leave you breathless.

Sweden’s Unwritten Rules

When you move to another country it always takes a while to feel like you ‘fit in’ to the culture. But what does fitting in mean? Often, it’s about the unwritten rules that inhabitants know, agree to abide by, and consider important. Not knowing them defines you as an outsider but sorting out exactly what they are can be tricky.

We asked our movers now living in Sweden to give us the low down on the unwritten rules that are key to Swedish culture. This is what they told us:

Keep Your Distance

“Swedes have great respect for each person’s right to privacy and individual space. Those queues at the bus stop that were social distanced before social distancing was a thing – they’re about giving people their own space. Younger Swedes are happy to hug, but it’s not a given; you need to read the signals before lunging!”

Stay Home if You’re Ill

“Back in the UK, in some workplaces it’s considered weak, or soft to take time off work for being ill. Maybe that’s changing now, but in Sweden the opposite is true. Someone staggering into the office, sneezing over colleagues, is seen as inconsiderate and unthinking. The rule is to stay home if you feel ill – and, of course, generous sick pay helps with this.”

Value the Time of Others

“I was going to say ‘punctuality’ but that sounds a bit bureaucratic. Life in Sweden is dependent upon consideration for others, and one of the ways to show this is by turning up at exactly the time you have been invited. And being early is as bad as being late. If you book a restaurant table, but can’t make it, you always ring the restaurant, so business isn’t lost.”

Let People Get Off First

“The tube at rush hour must be hell for Swedish visitors. In Sweden there is a really strong unwritten rule that you wait for people to get off the train or bus before trying to get on. The same rule applies with any doorway, whether it’s a meeting room, café, or public toilets; the people coming out have absolute priority and they shouldn’t be rushed.”

Don’t Boast

“It seems that every culture has a different attitude to showing off your status. In the UK we have a love affair with designer brands that seems to leave Swedes cold. Instead, they lean into a shared aspiration for a nice home, a good car, and a comfortable life that revolves around family and friends. There is a clear avoidance of competition, which removes a good deal of stress in social relations.”

The Cost of Living in Sweden

Many people have heard about the high cost of living in Sweden, but it’s important to put those costs into perspective and compare them to other countries like the UK.

Numbeo is a great website to start your research. It provides a detailed list of prices for rent, groceries, eating out, clothing, and other expenses. What’s particularly helpful is that it allows you to compare a city in Sweden with a city in the UK. This can reveal some surprises.

Despite Sweden’s reputation for high prices, they are generally lower than their London equivalent. For example, the average cost of rent in Stockholm is 50% lower than in London. Groceries are the exception to this trend, being 0.6% higher in Sweden than in the UK.


  • Consumer Prices in Stockholm are 15.6% lower than in London (without rent)
  • Consumer Prices Including Rent in Stockholm are 31.5% lower than in London
  • Rent Prices in Stockholm are 52% lower than in London
  • Restaurant Prices in Stockholm are 22.9% lower than in London
  • Groceries Prices in Stockholm are 0.6% higher than in London
  • Local Purchasing Power in Stockholm is 11.5% higher than in London

Source: Numbeo

Navigating Healthcare in Sweden

Sweden’s healthcare system is recognised for its high quality, accessibility, and universal coverage. It is a taxpayer-funded system, ensuring that everyone has access to necessary medical care regardless of their income or employment status.

Patient Costs: A Breakdown

While the Swedish healthcare system is predominantly funded by taxes, patients are expected to contribute a small portion of the costs.

  • Doctor Visits. A fee of 100 to 300 Swedish kronor (SEK) is charged for visits to general practitioners and specialists.
  • A&E Visits. A flat fee of 300 SEK is charged for emergency room visits.
  • Hospital Stays. For hospital stays, a daily charge of 120 SEK is applied for the first ten days, and 60 SEK for subsequent days.
  • Annual Cost Ceiling. The total amount paid by individuals for healthcare services in a year is capped at 1,100 SEK. This means that once you reach this threshold, you will not incur any further out-of-pocket expenses for the remainder of the year.
  • Exemptions. Young people under the age of 16 are exempt from all patient fees.

Prescription Drugs: A Manageable Expense

Prescription drugs are not entirely free in Sweden, but their costs are regulated and capped. Once you reach an annual threshold of 2,200 SEK, you will not have to pay any further out-of-pocket expenses for prescription medications for the rest of the year.

The Education System in Sweden

The Swedish education system is a comprehensive and globally respected system that provides free, high-quality education for all children, regardless of their background or ability. Education is compulsory in Sweden for children between the ages of 6 and 16. The school system is divided into three levels:

The Education System in Sweden
  • Preschool (Förskoleklass). This is an optional year of education for children aged 6. It is not compulsory, but it is highly recommended as it provides a valuable introduction to school life.
  • Primary school (Grundskola). This is compulsory for children aged 7-16. Primary school is divided into three stages: lower primary (years 1-3), middle primary (years 4-6), and upper primary (years 7-9).
  • Secondary school (Gymnasieskola). This is not compulsory, but it is attended by most young people in Sweden. Secondary school is divided into three programs: academic programs, vocational programs, and special programs.

International Schools in Sweden

There are a number of international schools in Sweden, both public and private. These schools offer a curriculum that is based on an international framework, such as the British curriculum or the International Baccalaureate. International schools provide a number of benefits for children from overseas, including:

  • Teaching in English. This can make it easier for expat children to adjust to life in Sweden and to continue their education in their home countries or in other international schools around the world.
  • A multicultural and international environment. International schools provide an opportunity for children to meet and learn from children from all over the world. This can help them to develop a global perspective and to become more culturally aware.
  • A focus on academic achievement. International schools are known for their rigorous academic programs. This can help children to reach their full potential and to prepare for higher education.

Where to Live in Sweden?

Sweden is a beautiful country with a lot to offer overseas professionals. The three largest cities tend to be particularly popular because they offer the best work opportunities:



Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and is home to a large international community. The city is spread across 14 islands, and it’s bordered by the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälaren. It’s known for its vibrant culture, its excellent public transportation system, and its many parks and green spaces. Stockholm is also a major centre for business and finance, making it a great place for overseas professionals to find work in Sweden.


The second-largest city in Sweden, Gothenburg is situated on the west coast, so if you’re a lover of spectacular seas, this could be the place for you. It’s known for its friendly atmosphere and its many cultural attractions. The city is also home to a number of universities and research institutes, making it a great place to live and work.



Malmö is located in the south of the country. It’s a young city, a bit hipsterish, diverse, and welcoming. This coastal city is defined by the stunning Oresund bridge which connects Sweden with Copenhagen in Denmark. Malmö is also a major centre for innovation and technology, and there are plenty of job opportunities for overseas professionals.

Stress Free Removals to Sweden From Schepens

We hope that the Schepens team has whetted your appetite for life in Sweden! If you do decide to relocate, Schepens is an experienced and knowledgeable Scandinavian specialist you can depend on. Our removals teams know the country well, and we’re used to driving on the roads in both summer and winter conditions. Schepens makes weekly runs to Sweden, which means we can offer flexible scheduling at surprisingly affordable prices.

A Removals Team That Goes the Extra Mile

“We moved out of our house in Surrey and had two different destinations for our furniture and belongings – one to our house in Sweden and one for storage that is going to London when we’re ready to move in there.

Nothing was ever a problem for Schepens, they did a survey via FaceTime with us to see what was going where and quickly came back with a quote for everything. They advised us on the various forms we needed and handled all the complexity of insurance and EU/Sweden customs.

The teams moving our things were professional, friendly and efficient. They kept all timings as promised and the quote held all the way. We are very happy with Schepens and would use them again.”

Johan and Melanie

Are you going to be experiencing life in Sweden anytime soon? If so, call Schepens and find out about the range of ways we can support your move – 01794 323558