January 13, 2015

Relocating to Sweden: What You Need to Know

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Relocating to Sweden: What You Need to Know

Located in northern Europe, Sweden enjoys a quality of life that is one of the highest in the world. As such it attracts many expatriates and is becoming a more frequent destination for international assignees. Our latest Market Watch on Sweden, produced in conjunction with Cartus’ Destination Service Provider, Nordic Relocation Group KB, discusses the potential challenges that assignees may face when moving there.

Challenges for International Assignees


High demand and low stock levels mean that there are limited rental options available, especially in major cities such as Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. As such, rental rates can be high and assignees should be made aware of this prior to relocation.

TIP! Make sure your assignees find suitable accommodation by providing realistic housing allowances in line with current market values.


The country has cool summers and bitterly cold winters, especially in the sub-Arctic northerly region. One key point to remember is that daylight hours vary by season, so summer in the south sees a few hours of semi-darkness around midnight. And northerly regions aren’t dark at all between June and August. Then in winter, there are just a few hours of daylight in the south and none at all in the far north.

TIP! Move assignees during the spring and summer months to avoid harsh conditions upon arrival. That way, assignees will have longer daylight hours to conduct school and house searches, as well as to settle into their new surroundings.

Cultural Issues

• Less is More. Avoid ostentatious behaviour. A reserved and pragmatic people, Swedes as a rule take a ‘less is more’ approach and expect visitors to adopt the same ethos.

• Group vs. Individuals. Focus on the group, not the individual. Organisations are less rigid here, with many implementing a flat and team-oriented structure with few management levels.

• A Problem Halved. Decision making and problem solving are conducted in groups. The aim is to achieve the desired result, not demonstrate one’s own position. However, this consensual approach often makes decision making a lengthy process!

• Cool, Calm, Collected. Heated discussions are not encouraged. The best way to convince your colleagues is to present your thoughts in a calm and logical manner.

• Silence is Golden! The Swedish are comfortable with silence, so expect long pauses during conversations.

View our Resource Page for additional information on moving to other world locations.

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