Top 10 reasons for emigrating from UK to Sweden Bookmark and Share

Sunday, November 29, 2009

After living in Sweden for several weeks now, I thought I’d make a couple of lists. The first being, my top ten reasons for why one should emigrate from the UK to Sweden. Which will naturally be followed by, my top ten reasons NOT to… just to keep things balanced.

So here goes, my top ten reasons why emigrating to the land of the Moose, Herring and Smorgasbord is a good idea!

1. Cheaper Houses

If you want a four bedroom large house with a few acres of land in the countryside in the UK then you need to either have rich parents, or be loaded yourself, or commit some form of money making crime.  Otherwise, you can pretty much forget the idea. Bring your money to Sweden, and you’ll find the cash from your old Victorian terrace house will probably buy you something along the lines of your dream home.

chesterfield houseThis house was found in Chesterfield, Derbyshire on www.rightmove.co.uk today… A typical town house which will set you back £175,000 in the middle of a housing recession. Look further down south, and you can add tens of thousands to that price. No land, in fact no real garden to speak of. Not particularly pretty, and I would imagine it’s not really someone’s dream home… perhaps just the fact that it’s in the right area for someone who wants to live in Chesterfield.

So imagine now that you have £175,000 for a house in Sweden. What would it buy you?

I found this pad today on www.hemnet.se after just a couple of minutes searching. I’m guessing there are other places if you hunt, but, this just shows you what kind of thing you’re going to get for your money on average here in Sweden if you choose to live in the countryside.

swedish-house

Okay, so it’s not quite true that all houses in Sweden are cheaper than in the UK. For example, if you want to live in the city in some swanky apartment, then you’ll pay a hansom price for it.  But then I the same goes for the UK, where we’re talking about six figure sums for a decent apartment in the centre.

2. Living in the countryside

Similar to point one, but, we’re not just talking about size of houses here. Living in the countryside is a real option in Sweden, for pretty much anyone who wants to. In the UK if you want to live in a few acres of land in the countryside, with maybe a pig and some chickens and a couple of horse boxes, you’re going to be lucky to find something for sale in the first place, and even luckier if you can afford to buy it. In Sweden, countryside small farms are almost two-a-penny. If you want that lifestyle, it’s just a matter of picking your location and your budget and it’s within reach of the average working person.

Travel to the nearest large town will generally be about 20 or 30 minutes, and most small villages have a local shop so you’re not totally out in the sticks.

It’s common here that if you have enough land, you will probably farm it, as a part time hobby / job to make money from. Have a few animals, a modest crop, and you’ve got your own little farm in the countryside.

3. The weather

Okay, so I’m pushing it here, I’ve only lived in Sweden for a few weeks, so I’m not really in a great position to be talking about the weather as I’m sure I’ve not seen the worst of it yet. But, I’ve visited Sweden most seasons over the past few years, and I’ve spoken to people about it frequently (it appears like the English, the Swedes love to talk about the weather in daily conversation).

For some people the Swedish weather could be perfect. It varies hugely from which part of Sweden you live. For example in the north of Sweden you get days in winter where it never gets light, and days in summer where it never goes dark! But further down south, you get day and night just like the UK… but, the weather doesn’t seem to be quite so unsettled. What I mean by this is that, if it’s going to rain, you get a good soaking, which will continue for some time. But then it’s dry, you can pretty much say it’ll be dry for several hours/days. Compared to the  UK, where really you never know where you are with it. It can be sunny and 21C one minute, yet blink, and it’s raining and 14c!! Snooze, and it could be sunny again… or snowing.

In the south of Sweden temperatures appear to be quite similar to the UK. I used to live in Chesterfield, near Sheffield. Now I live near Eslöv in the south of Sweden. Comparing the yearly weather conditions shows how similar weather actually is… the main difference being that on average in winter it’s colder in Sweden, and in summer it’s actually a little warmer!

CHESTERFIELD, UK I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII
Insolation, kWh/m²/day 0.63 1.17 2.14 3.28 4.29 4.47 4.47 3.78 2.61 1.46 0.72 0.47
Clearness, 0 – 1 0.32 0.34 0.37 0.39 0.41 0.39 0.41 0.41 0.38 0.34 0.30 0.30
Temperature, °C 4.50 4.52 6.08 7.69 11.02 14.29 16.93 17.17 14.63 11.32 7.50 5.44
Wind speed, m/s 7.70 7.31 7.05 6.01 5.49 5.07 5.04 5.36 6.11 6.73 6.97 7.39
Precipitation, mm 71 57 62 59 58 58 52 62 58 60 70 73
Wet days, d 18.7 15.1 16.8 14.7 14.5 13.2 11.9 13.7 13.1 15.6 17.2 17.7
LUND, SWEDEN I II III IV V VI VII VIII IX X XI XII
Insolation, kWh/m²/day 0.49 1.16 2.34 3.85 5.19 5.43 5.31 4.41 2.86 1.47 0.75 0.39
Clearness, 0 – 1 0.33 0.39 0.44 0.48 0.50 0.48 0.49 0.49 0.45 0.38 0.39 0.35
Temperature, °C -0.75 -0.43 2.02 6.35 11.87 15.27 17.57 17.32 12.77 8.49 3.05 0.09
Wind speed, m/s 5.18 4.53 4.51 4.10 3.83 3.72 3.78 3.77 4.41 4.61 4.42 4.63
Precipitation, mm 55 34 45 41 43 56 67 62 66 63 71 66
Wet days, d 17.3 13.0 14.7 12.6 12.5 12.2 14.2 13.5 14.8 15.2 17.3 17.3

(Figures taken from http://www.gaisma.com)

So if you’re the kind of person who likes the changes in the seasons, properly cold winters and warm summers, then the Swedish weather could be a good for you!

4. Fika

The Swedes like to break up the day with coffee breaks, or ‘fika’. In fact it’s pretty much a social institution. You can’t seem to do much for an hour or two without someone suggesting to break for ‘fika’.  Fika is usually accompanied with something sweet on the side, like a biscuit or small fancy.

If you have a job, then a fikapaus (coffee break) is apparently expected every hour or two. This isn’t just a matter of grabbing a quick cuppa at your desk whilst still working hard, but a proper break – possibly down to the canteen for 10 minutes.

Enjoying fika is something that you really find it hard not to like about Sweden…. even if you don’t like coffee, because whilst the strictest meaning of fika is ‘to drink coffee’, nowadays it also includes tea, pop, milk etc. So chillax, enjoy fika…. regularly!

5. Freedom to move

If your idea of having fun isn’t sitting in traffic jams, queuing at checkouts, being crammed in four deep at the bar waiting to be served, and generally feeling a little ‘squashed’ in every day life, then Sweden could be the solution. Here, with such a vast amount of land, and so few people living in it, there’s plenty of room for everyone.

The UK is believed to have around 61 million squeezed on it’s relatively small landscape. Sweden however, has just 9 million and lots more land to house them!

In the UK for every square kilometer of space, we have on average 252 people living and jostling for space.  Where as in Sweden, there’s just 22 people for every square kilometer of land. Stretch your arms out, swing a cat, as you wish… there’s plenty of space to do it in Sweden.

6. Live longer

According to 2009 statistics, the average life expectancy of a Swede is 80.9 years. Almost two years more than that of someone living in the UK. Don’t believe me, see the evidence yourself here

Sweden | 80.9 years\nUnited Kingdom | 79 years | (2009 estimates)

Now then, I moved to Sweden at 34 years of age. So I wonder if this means I’ll get a fraction of that extra time added to my life? Hmmn. Calculator anyone?

7. Car insurance

So how can something like car insurance be on the list?  Well, in the UK, the car insurance market in my opinion takes the pee! If you’re a certain age, work a certain job, live in the wrong area, have family, or eat cheese on Tuesdays, they’re going to find a reason to increase your premiums. If you have an accident, then you’re going to know about it for years to come on your car insurance premium, even with supposed ‘no claims bonus’ protection which just complicates the calculation even further because you pay extra to be protect your no-claims discounts?!!  And if you want to drive someone else’s car, then you have to work out who’s covered for what, when, how etc.

In Sweden it’s much simpler. You insure the car, not the person. So long as everyone who drives it is over 25, then that’s that. If you have an accident, then it’s okay. It’s an accident, that’s why you have insurance, don’t panic. It was the car that was insured and not the person, so there’s no penalty next year if you want to get an insurance quote elsewhere. :D   This takes the ‘fear’ of insurance premiums out of the equation if you do have an accident… as it should be! You should feel safe with insurance, not worried that if you have an accident you’ll pay for it in higher premiums for the next 5 years!

8. Celebrate

Swedes like to celebrate things. Anything really it seems, so long as there’s something in the calendar each month to celebrate.

In the UK we like to celebrate Christmas, New Year, Valentines Day and Bonfire night. Then I struggle to think what else really on a national basis do we celebrate with parties, food, and social gatherings?

In Sweden, the list goes on… Swedish National Day, Mid-Summer, Easter, Goose Dinner, Walpurgis Eve, The Crayfish party, Advent, Lucia, etc.

And it that’s not enough, the Swedes also have Name Day’s. Where depending on the name you were given at birth gives you another reason to celebrate, well, your name!  Jon, for example, should be celebrated on 21st August. There you go, you’ve no excuse not to send me well wishes, money, gifts, etc for my name day now.

9. Work less

In Sweden the maximum working week is 40 hours. And generally, it’s expected that you will only work these hours (with regular fika breaks included of course)!  In the UK, there seems to be a culture of working longer and longer hours, and it’s expected you’re likely to do over your paid hours. The maximum legal number of hours per week is 48, but this can be more if individuals consent. In reality, many people work over this regardless of the law, because they don’t claim for the extra hours in terms of pay or time off in lieu.

Not only this, but you get more public holidays in Sweden than in the UK.  In England there are just 8 public holidays, where as in Sweden there are 13!!

Total it up over the year, and the Swedes work about 100 hours less than UK people!

# 1 United Kingdom: 1,673 hours
# 2 Sweden: 1,564 hours

 

10. Final one… learn Swedish for free

OK it’s not like it’s been your life long ambition to understand what the product names are for each of the items in the Ikea catalogue. But, learning a new language for free can’t be bad no matter what your ambitions.

I suspect not many other countries will give you 12 hours per week of free training, plus access to the school computer systems and all the out of hours support you need… for free!

I think it’s a great idea. Get the immigrants speaking the local language and understanding the culture, so they feel integrated and a part of Sweden, and more likely to find it easier to get a job, socialise, and enjoy being here… as opposed to setting up their own minority groups, suffering low or no incomes, and generally feeling like an outcast.

I’ve been two Swedish school for 2 weeks now. And I really enjoy it. Okay I’m probably going to take a long time to understand the Swedish, but, it’ll be worth it in the end.

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So there you have it.  My top ten reasons for emigrating from the UK to Sweden. There are probably many more obvious reasons that could’ve been on the list, such as fantastic nature and scenery that Sweden has to offer, but the UK has much to offer here too, so it’s not really a reason to emigrate… and I wanted to choose things that, to me, seem better in Sweden than the UK. After all, the list was reasons to emigrate from the UK, not just why emigrate to Sweden.

Coming soon.. my top ten reasons NOT to emigrate to Sweden!

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Comments (6)

 

  1. Julian says:

    Very interesting! Sweden has alwaus sort of attracted me, and one day I might emigrate there (from the Netherlands, though). Looking forward to the reasons not to emigrate! Keep up!

  2. admin says:

    Thanks for the comment :-) i will try to get the “reasons not to emigrate” done soon!

  3. Alex says:

    Hey man. you seem to have the same mindset, so what do you do for work over in Sweden and what are the laws on emigrating, I’m also from the UK. also do you find you get on ok at the moment not speaking swedish, with work and day to day life?

  4. Annika says:

    I have family in Sweden and speak a fair bit of Swedish so I am very tempted to leave the UK. The countryside in Sweden is amazing, and the cities are beautiful and not over crowded. It’s such a spacious clean country, I wonder why I am still in the UK? Also Sweden is a neutral country, no affiliation with NATO, which makes me happy because I don’t like the thought of my taxes funding a terrorist organization.

  5. Linnea says:

    Wow, this was really interesting reading. I was linked here from Google+ and I find it amazing to hear what non-swedes think about this country. Especially the part about the weather. Here in Sweden we generally are discontented with the weather. “Everybody” seems to have better weather in every country when swedes talk (complain) about it. It’s good to get someone else’s point of view. :)

  6. Lennart Lundquist says:

    You did not say anything about the Swedish right of public access. It is unique to Sweden.
    No other country has that system.

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