Capital City: Stockholm
Population: 10 Million
Official Language(s): Swedish
Currency: Swedish Krone (SEK)
GDP per capita: USD 49,700 (2015)
Time: GMT +1
Internet domain: .se
International dialing code: +46
We are pleased to provide you with our guide on moving to Sweden from Dubai, UAE. Please make note of the special links at the foot of this page.
Sweden is a large Scandinavian country covering 450,000 square km with a low population density of 22 people per square km. Over 60% of the country is woodland and forests, with the vast majority of Swedes live in the southern part of the country and 85% of the populous living in urban areas. The country has low mountain regions to the west and also has close to 100,000 lakes.
Sweden arose as a unified and independent nation during the middle ages. The empire grew during the 17th century as Sweden expanded its borders to include part of Russia, Poland and Lithuania, and in turn became one of the leading powers in Europe. In the 18th century the loss of territories due to the annexation of the border between Finland and Russia and eventually the end of the personal union with Norway in 1905, leaving Swedish borders pretty much as we know them today.
Modern Sweden is liberal and prosperous, (7th richest country in GDP). The economy is largely export manufactured and knowledge intensive sectors, and Sweden has one of the world’s most highly developed welfare systems. The country offers one of the highest standards of living, but is certainly an expensive countries in which to live.
Expats in Sweden
New arrivals will generally feel quite comfortable upon arrival. Some Swedes may be initially viewed as being quiet, reserved or even introverted, but this is quite normal and is simply a way of providing you with some personal space and minding one’s own business. It is common for people to be quite formal and private individuals. Punctuality is very much the norm.
Living a healthy family life is very popular in Swedish society, maternal/paternal benefits around the time of pregnancy are the most flexible and generous in the world, and whilst people definitely apply themselves to work there is genuine focus on personal time, vacation and family time which are given tremendous importance.
If you move to a major city, many people will understand English however it is possible to learn Swedish and normally this can be done for free at one of many SFI courses which are run throughout the country. Unless you are employed by an international company, it is pretty much a prerequisite to speak Swedish.
Bureaucracy can be an issue in Sweden. People may find things take longer and occasionally the amount of red tape seems a little unnecessary. Also ID is required for most aspects when dealing with authority. The first stop you need to make is to the local tax office to obtain your personal identity number, and then obtain your National identification card. This will be required for many areas after your arrival.
Honesty and transparency are also traits which are very much ingrained in locals especially in business. Sweden is one of the least corrupt countries in the world.
Cost of living (Stockholm)
Sweden is generally fairly expensive, and Stockholm is the most expensive city – please treat the following prices accordingly.
A meal at the standard restaurant is likely to cost roughly SEK 100 per person with a beer priced around SEK 60 and soft drinks around SEK 19 per can. A reasonable bottle of wine costs approximately SEK 90 and a coffee typically sets you back around SEK 35
At the local supermarkets a loaf of bread is priced around SEK 22, a liter of milk approximately SEK 11 and a dozen eggs roughly SEK 27.
Public transport in Stockholm (and Sweden in general) is very good. A monthly pass in Stockholm is likely to cost around SEK 800. Taxis start around is SEK 45 and then around SEK 13 per kilometer thereafter. Petrol is relatively expensive at around SEK 14 per liter.
Accommodation is reasonable, although considerably higher in Stockholm. A typical 1-2 bedroom apartment in a prestigious area of the city would be approximately SEK 13-15,000 per month. Less desirable areas would reduce monthly rent to around SEK 9-11,000
Basic utilities for an average two-bedroom apartment will be around SEK 700. Prepaid mobile phone charges are approximately SEK 0.60 per minutes and broadband Internet us roughly SEK 250 per month.
Whilst education standards in Sweden are excellent there has been criticism recently that standards are slipping slightly with the blame being laid on insufficient pay for teachers. Home-schooling is uncommon and is monitored by the Swedish authorities.
School timings are basically mornings for pre-schoolers, 08:15-14:30 at primary level and 08:15-16:00 for secondary.
Pre-school is attended by young children aged 1-5 and is not compulsory. It is provided free and a preference is given to children who’s parents work/study. 8 out of 10 families take advantage of pre-schooling their children.
Primary / Secondary school – There are 9 years of compulsory education and public schools are free in Sweden. There are childcare services made available before and after school to aid working parents. At 16 years old and in the final year (year 9), grades determine how the student will progress at upper secondary education.
Upper Secondary School is not compulsory but is attended by most students. Those who failed their year 9 exam can participate in one of five courses to prepare them for work or a trade. For those who passed the exam in year 9, there are a wide range of courses including vocational and athletic programs which prepare students for university. Successful students receive a diploma.
University is free for all EU students. Recently non-EU students are subject to fees.
Private / Boarding Schools There are a few private schools which function separately from the public schooling system. Standards of tuition and board are very high, as are the fees. These institutions are very well-regarded and placements are sought after.
International Schools are generally reserved for foreign students whose families are planning to stay temporarily in the country. They are part funded by the government and partly by annual school fees paid by parents. Once more, standards are first-rate, demand is high and waiting lists can be long.
The national health care system in Sweden is regarded as one of the best in the world. Hospitals are very well equipped with highly trained staff. The government contributes around 9% of the annual GDP into the health system which means every person who is legally resident in Sweden is entitled to free medical care.
Dental care is not free for adults, but is subsidised by the government. Children under 20 years old receive dental care for free.
When moving to Sweden from Dubai, importation of Household Goods and Personal Effects
- Copy of passport
- Residence Permit
- Lease agreement / Letter of employment
- Detailed Packing list in English or Swedish
- Swedish customs form
- Bill of lading / AWB
Note: This document is provided as a guide for people moving to Sweden from Dubai, UAE and for information purposes only. Customs regulations can and do change at any time, usually without notice. Your mover will provide you with more information.