MediCarrera
Waterside village Sweden, Läckö Castle Kayaking Cycling in Norway Sunny winter scenery in Scandinavia Winter shopping Kayaking at sunset
   

Living and working in Sweden

map of Scandinavia showing country of Sweden

Find information and insights about Sweden at the official sweden.se and visitsweden.com

video, 10 youtube clips about swedishness

Some more useful links:
The Swedish Medical Association
Socialstyrelsen, National Board of Health & Welfare
Emigrantes en Suecia, blog of a Spanish doctor couple who emigrated to Sweden through MediCarrera (in Spanish).


SWEDEN, officially the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe.

At 450,295 square kilometres, Sweden is the third largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of about 9.4 million. About 85% of the population live in urban areas. Sweden’s capital city is Stockholm, which is also the largest city.

Sweden has been a member of the European Union since 1 January 1995 and is a member of the OECD. Today, Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary democracy form of government and a highly developed economy. Sweden has the world’s eighth highest per capita income. In 2011, it ranked fourth in the world in The Economist’s Democracy Index and tenth in the United Nations’ Human Development Index. In 2010 the World Economic Forum ranked Sweden as the second most competitive country in the world.

Climate

Most of Sweden has a temperate climate, despite its northern latitude, with four distinct seasons and mild temperatures throughout the year. The country can be divided into three types of climate; the southernmost part has an oceanic climate, the central part has a humid continental climate and the northernmost part has a subarctic climate.

Temperatures vary greatly from north to south. Southern and central parts of the country have warm summers and cold winters, with average high temperatures of 20 to 25°C and lows of 12 to 15°C in the summer, and average temperatures of -4 to 2°C in the winter, while the northern part of the country has shorter, cooler summers and longer, colder and snowier winters, with temperatures that often drop below freezing from September through May.

Economy

Swedish truck Sweden is an export-oriented mixed economy. Timber, hydropower and iron ore constitute the resource base of an economy heavily oriented toward foreign trade. Telecommunications, the automotive industry and the pharmaceutical industries are also of great importance. Agriculture accounts for 2% of GDP and employment. The country ranks among the highest in telephone and internet access penetration. Income is relatively flatly distributed: Sweden has the lowest Gini coefficient of any country, at 0.23.

The 20 largest companies registered in Sweden (by turnover, 2007) are Volvo, Ericsson, Vattenfall, Skanska, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget, Electrolux, Volvo Personvagnar, TeliaSonera, Sandvik, Scania, ICA, Hennes & Mauritz, IKEA, Nordea, Preem, Atlas Copco, Securitas, Nordstjernan and SKF.

Education

Education in Sweden is mandatory for all children between the age of 7 and age of 16. The school year in Sweden runs from mid/late August to early/mid June. The Christmas holiday from mid December to early January divides the Swedish school year into two terms. Homeschooling is closely supervised by the government and very limited.

Swedish primary schools are required to provide free lunch From the age of one, children can be admitted to pre-school (förskola). Pre-schools help provide an environment that stimulates children’s development and learning and enable parents to combine parenthood with work or studies. During the year before children start compulsory school, all children are offered a place in a pre-school class (förskoleklass), which combines the pedagogical methods of the pre-school with those of compulsory school. Between ages 6/7 and 15/16, children attend compulsory comprehensive school (grundskola), divided in three stages.

The vast majority of schools in Sweden are municipally run, but there are also autonomous and publicly funded schools, known as “independent schools”. The education in independent schools has many objectives in common with the municipal school, but it can have an orientation that differs from that of the municipal schools. A handful of boarding schools, known as “private schools”, are funded by privately paid tuition.

Both upper secondary school and university studies are financed by taxes. Some Swedes go straight to work after secondary school.

Culture

Relatively isolated from the main currents of continental European cultural change, many of Sweden’s artistic traditions developed their own rich and distinctive character. Drawing inspiration from folk culture, as well as from the stunning beauty of the land itself, these traditions have maintained a vitality and a bold simplicity that are now appreciated all over the world.

The cultural history of Sweden is specifically remarkable because of its rich heritage in fields of literature, fine arts, sculpture, and cinema. Sweden has several authors of universal appreciation. The most popular and highly acclaimed Swedish authors having their own place in history include Astrid Lindgren, Harry Martinson, Selma Lagerlof, and August Strindberg.

Abba commemorative postal stamp 20th century Swedish culture is renowned for the revolutionary works of Victor Sjostrom and Mauritz Stiller in the field of cinema. Another major development in Sweden’s cultural history is the aggressive promotion of gender equality, as part of the ‘sexual revolution’ of the 1960s and 70s. In fact, today Sweden is home to the world’s highest number of singles.

ABBA was one of the first internationally famous popular music bands from Sweden, and still ranks among the most prominent bands in the world, with about 370 million records sold. With ABBA, Sweden entered into a new era in which Swedish pop music gained international prominence.

Cuisine

Swedish meatballs with lingonberry sauce Swedish cuisine, like that of the other Scandinavian countries was traditionally simple. Fish (particularly herring), meat, potatoes and dairy products played prominent roles. Swedish traditional dishes, some of which are many hundreds of years old, others perhaps a century or less, are still a very important part of Swedish everyday meals, in spite of the fact that modern day Swedish cuisine adopts many international dishes.

Sport

Ice hockey player The two main spectator sports are football and ice hockey. Second to football, horse sports have the highest number of practitioners, mostly women. Thereafter follow golf, athletics, and the team sports of handball, floorball, basketball and bandy.

The Swedish ice hockey team Tre Kronor is regarded as one of the best in the world. The team has won the World Champion­ships eight times, placing them third in the all-time medal count. Tre Kronor also won Olympic gold medals in 1994 and 2006.

The Swedish national football team has seen some success at the World Cup in the past, finishing second when they hosted the tournament in 1958, and third twice, in 1950 and 1994.

Sweden hosted the 1912 Summer Olympics and the FIFA World Cup in 1958. Other big sports events held here include 1992 UEFA European Football Championship, FIFA Women’s World Cup 1995, and several championships of ice hockey, curling, athletics, skiing, bandy, figure skating and swimming. Successful tennis players include former world No. 1’s Björn Borg, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg.

Cost of living

Food

  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 9.91€
  • A three-course meal for two at a mid-ranged restaurant: 53.08€
  • 1 liter of milk: 0.93€
  • Fresh white bread: 2.18€
  • 1kg of chicken breasts: 8.77€
  • 1kg of oranges: 2.07€
  • 1kg of potatoes: 0.79€

Transport

  • A monthly pass for the local transport system: 70.71€
  • 1 km with a taxi with a normal fare: 1.47€
  • 1 liter of gasoline: 1.55€

Utilities

  • Monthly utilities: 122.65€
  • 1 minute of pre-paid mobile rate: 0.09€
  • Internet access (6Mbps, Flat Rate, Cable/ADSL): 23.54€

Leisure

  • The monthly fee for an adult at a fitness center: 36.47€
  • 1 hour tennis court rent in the weekend: 19.44€
  • 1 seat in the cinema for an international release: 11.88€

Rent

  • The rent for a 1 bedroom apartment ranges from 420 to 620€
  • The rent for a 3 bedroom apartment: 750 – 1000€

(This does not mean that you can’t find a cheaper apartment!)

Taxation

Generally, an individual is considered a resident of Sweden for purposes of Swedish individual income taxation if they have a real home in Sweden. Тhe Swedish Tax Agency’s opinion is that an individual who regularly stays overnight in Sweden in a consecutive six‐month period should be considered resident in Sweden. Swedish banknotes A person that has previously been living in Sweden and keeps essential ties to Sweden, such as e.g. a house, family members, business and/or substantial investments after moving from Sweden is also considered a tax resident of Sweden. Generally, the burden of proof is on the individual to substantiate their non-resident status for the next five years following departure.

Swedish tax residents are liable for income tax on their employment income regardless of where it derives from. The cash principle applies which means that income is generally taxable upon receipt. Generally all earnings, including benefits in kind, from an employer to an employee are reportable and taxable as income from employment. Taxable income is for example: salary, bonus payments, allowances, stock options and housing benefits. The tax rates ranges from 31% and up to approximately 56‐58% (depending on municipality).

Taxable income Income tax rates
0 – 383,000 SEK (51,895 €) 31%
383,001 ‐ 548,300 SEK (51,895 - 74,293 €) 51%
548,301 SEK + (74,293.8 € +) 56%

VAT of 25% is added to many things bought by private citizens, with the exception of food (12% VAT), transportation, and books (6% VAT).

The healthcare system in Sweden

A doctor with patient The Swedish system is mainly government-funded and decentralized, although private health care also exists. Financing is primarily through taxes levied by county councils and municipalities.

Worldwide Sweden ranks in the top five countries with respect to low infant mortality and also ranks high in life expectancy (male, 78.7 years; female, 83.0 years) and in safe drinking water.

A person seeking care first contacts a clinic for a doctors appointment, and may then be referred on to a specialist by the clinic physician, who may in turn recommend either in-patient or out-patient treatment, or an elective care option. Health care is governed by the 21 ‘landsting’ of Sweden and is funded mostly by taxes with nominal fees for patients.

Costs for health and medical care amount to approximately 9% of Sweden’s gross domestic product (GDP), a figure that has remained fairly stable since the early 1980s. 71% of health care is funded through local taxation, and county councils have the right to collect income tax. The state finances the bulk of health care costs, with the patient paying a small nominal fee for examination. The state pays for approximately 97% of medical costs.