Have you been thinking about living or retiring in Sweden? It has everything you need such as being extremely safe, a vibrant lifestyle, great food, and above all some of the best healthcare in the world. But there are a few things you should know before moving into Sweden.
Here are the Pros and Cons of retiring to Sweden:
- Friendly & Helpful People
- Vibrant Lifestyle
- Great Food
- Very Safe And Secure
- Fantastic Public and Private Health Care
- English Is Widely Spoken
- Equality For All
- Clean Environment
- Harsh Weather
- Expensive Cost of Living
Now that you can see the overview of why you should and should not retire in Sweden, let’s take a deeper look at some of the pros and cons of living in Sweden.
Introduction To Sweden
Sweden is a Nordic country with tens of thousands of coastline islands and inland lakes, as well as vast open woodlands and glaciated hills. Stockholm is the capital in the east and Gothenburg and Malmö in the west which are all seaside cities. Stockholm is a city made up of 14 islands. It features almost 50 bridges and features the historic town center, Gamla Stan, royal palaces, and open-air museums like Skansen.
Sweden is among the world’s most sought-after destinations. It provides retirees with a high quality of life with gorgeous scenery and beautiful walkable cities to explore. The nation’s East and West coast archipelagos as well as huge unspoilt forests have something to offer the nature loving retiree. The vast food scene including the legendary smoked herring and traditional meatballs is also there for the foodies.
What are the Pros of Living in Sweden
Friendly and Helpful People
Swedes are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet and they are also among the most polite. They are also modern thinking and open-minded as a whole. They are generally friendly and welcoming of all travelers and expats.
They are courteous and in most cases and incredibly helpful if asked. Swedish politeness places such a high value on private boundaries and not bothering others. They prefer you to ask for help but are more than happy to help after that. They value long term friendships and once you get to know them will be friends for life.
In the annual World Happiness Report for 2020, Sweden was named among the top ten happiest countries in the world. The survey is based on how satisfied locals in each country believe they are, and the Swedes are undoubtedly pleased. Sweden consistently ranks towards the top of the list year after year.
Swedes place a strong emphasis on a healthy and happy lifestyle. Stress reduction, enjoying spending time with family and friends, and personal development are all important to them as a people.
Sweden is well-known for its passion for sports, particularly winter sports. Even if you don’t consider yourself a big sports fan, living in Sweden can alter your mind. Professional handball, soccer and hockey leagues can be found all around the country. Many of the hockey players who begin their careers with Swedish teams will go on to play in the American National Hockey League. Handball is a great game to play socially and requires very little space to play. Soccer is also another national sport of Sweden.
And if you’re looking for some natural beauty the archipelago of Sweden could be one of them. It is without a doubt among the most gorgeous sites on Earth. It’s a location that’s very easy to get to from Stockholm, letting you see the region’s over 30,000 islands each with its own town and unique features.
You can start appreciating the calmer lifestyle outside of the city by taking a 45-minute boat ride around the islands. There are floating restaurants where you can sometimes get dinner right outside your front door.
If you live in Sweden you can witness the amazing Northern Lights which are a well-known natural phenomena. Because the region is far enough north and the weather is ideal, there are many places to see the Aurora Borealis which draws visitors from all over the world.
Here are a few places you can visit on your day off in the capital of Stockholm:
- Vasa Museum
- Gilded Crown on Skeppsholmsbron
- Royal Djurgården
- Snösätragränd Hall Of Fame
- Tyresta National Park
- The Royal Armoury
- Museum of Natural History
NOTE: Some of these websites are in Swedish. Use your built-in auto translation feature in your browsers to get results in English.
Very Safe and Secure
If you’re looking for a safe spot to settle down, this welcoming country checks all the boxes. Sweden is considered to be one of the safest places in the world. No matter where you are in the world you need to follow the basic rules of personal safety but most visitors say they feel extremely safe in Sweden.
Sweden has some of the world’s lowest crime rates. Serious crime is one fifth of the USA and there are fewer guns. You will feel very safe regardless of where you are and what time of day it is.
If there’s one thing you should be concerned about in Sweden it is petty crime. Pickpockets are common in touristy places like the rest of the world. Also you should be wary of taxi drivers that run up the meter by driving around tourists. Uber is also available in the three biggest cities as well if you want to know the fare before riding.
Sweden has everything when it comes to food: meatballs, Sil, Lördagsgodis, and Snaps. Sweden also boasts a great variety of foods spanning Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia, and the Middle East as a result of so much migration in the last 50 years.
The cuisine in the archipelago is a lot of fish and seafood. To take a break from your day, grab a coffee and a pastry laced with cardamom or cinnamon and it is Fika. Fika is also an important concept that basically means making time for friends and colleagues to share coffee and a small snack.
Here are a few notable restaurants in Stockholm:
Excellent Public and Private Health Care
Sweden boasts some of the world’s healthiest seniors. This is due in part to a society that encourages people of all ages to enjoy the outdoors throughout the year. When possible, people are urged to walk and cycle, and also ski & skate in the winter.
Another factor for Swedes’ and Swedish residents’ good health is the country’s world-class healthcare system, which includes preventative care. Everyone in Sweden has access to public healthcare. Taxpayers support the public healthcare system through their taxes. Sweden offers some of the best universal healthcare in the world with healthcare accounting for about 10% of the country’s GDP. The Karolinska Institute and its affiliated hospital are internationally famous.
Because Sweden’s public healthcare system is strong and accessible to all inhabitants, health insurance is uncommon. Expats who wish to use the national healthcare system must first obtain a personal identification number (PIN) from their local tax office. They will then be given a healthcare card. But if you are planning to use a private healthcare provider to skip the lines of certain procedures, there are some providers you can look into below.
Here are some private healthcare provider you might want to look into:
English Is Widely Spoken
The majority of individuals in Sweden are multilingual. They study English as a second language at school from grade 1 alongside Swedish. While they will often use Swedish at home this means since 1995 the younger generation is at least bilingual.
Although English is not the official language of Sweden, practically everyone in the country is fluent in it. Sweden was placed 2nd out of 80 nations in the EF English Skills Index in 2017. This is an index of countries where English is not their native language. Sweden has finished in the top three every year since 2012.
A large percentage of the Swedish population (almost 90%) can speak in English. As a result, travellers visiting Sweden need not be concerned about their ability to communicate in Swedish. You’ll be okay in restaurants, pubs, and other public places throughout Sweden and not just in Stockholm.
Equality For All
When relocating to Sweden to retire it is good to know that there is equality for all and ranks as one of the highest in the world. Sweden is a world leader in practically every metric of personal liberty.
Once you’ve lived in Sweden for a while you’ll notice that any sort of discriminatory behaviors and attitudes are not only forbidden in the workplace and government facilities, but they’re also frowned upon and rejected by the majority of people.
There are equal rights for everyone no matter their religion, sexual preference, gender, culture or race. This has all been built into not only the law but is widely accepted in society as the natural norms. If you discriminate, you will be pulled up for it.
The Swedish government claims that Sweden is one of the world’s greenest countries. The country has previously been named as the world’s most sustainable nation. Sweden is substituting gasoline with biofuels in an effort to address climate change.
Sweden’s severe sustainability has resulted in significant reductions in pollution across the country, due to its air quality standards initiatives. Swedes also enjoy one of the world’s longest life expectancies. This alone is a great reason to retire there for a better quality life.
Sweden has set a lofty aim of obtaining 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, and a whopping 100% by 2040. If you decide to relocate to Sweden, you will be able to enjoy the clean air and clean environment that you desire.
What are the Cons of Living in Sweden?
The weather in Sweden is described by most people as “generally terrible” throughout the year. During the summer there are a few weeks when the sun shines continuously and you may wear shorts and t-shirts. The weather is chilly, rainy, and drizzly for the majority of the year, then snowy in the winter.
If you’re experienced with the weather systems of the Pacific Northwest, particularly in the Seattle area, you’ll have a good understanding of what it’s like to live in Sweden — except with a lot more snow. Although it is not as freezing or frosty in the south as it is in the north, there is never a guarantee of sunshine.
This is great for the snow bunnies that like nothing better than having heaps of hot meals next to a log fire. There are many people that retire to two countries and spend the winter in a warmer country and come back for the summer in the colder country.
Getting a permanent residency visa in a country means you have to generally spend 6 months and 1 day in that country but can spend the rest of the time somewhere else. So warmer months in Sweden and the colder ones in southern Spain are a popular choice.
Expensive Cost of Living
Sweden is a high-cost country. Swedish consumer prices excluding rent, are approximately 8.5 percent higher than those in the United States.The greater cost of living is not due to rising housing costs. Rather it stems from higher grocery and transportation costs which are due to particularly higher gasoline prices.
In Sweden, rental money will stretch further in retirement than they will in the United States. Rent for example is 32% lower on average than in the United States. A one-bedroom apartment in New York City outskirts will likely cost around $3,415 per month to rent whereas In Stockholm the same apartment would cost $1,507 per month in a more central location.
If you want to buy an apartment in the heart of Manhattan you can expect to pay around $1,319 per square foot. If you buy in the heart of Stockholm, you can expect to pay only about $1,000 per square foot.
NOTE: You can get much cheaper in Sweden the further you are from the center of town or if you choose to live in a smaller town in a more rural setting.
TIP: Check the Retiring to Sweden: 6 Must Know Common Questions to know more about this county.