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Expats moving to Stockholm can look forward to an eminently modern city that is at the same time sophisticated and funky, traditional and modern, and worldly yet undeniably Scandinavian. Spread out over a number of picturesque islets, there's no end to Stockholm's charm: from the enchanting medieval streets of Gamla Stan – the old town dating back to at least 1250 – to the sleek, bright Swedish design that characterises so many apartments, stores and museums.
Living in Stockholm as an expat
Stockholm is a major draw for expats from all over the world looking to relocate to Sweden. This uber cosmopolitan city serves as the cultural, media, political and economic hub of the country, with over 20 percent of the national population residing in its districts.
The city rests upon 14 islands which connect with the Stockholm archipelago and reach into the Baltic Sea. This unique geographical location was not only historically important as a measure of defending the city, but lends a shimmering watery beauty to the "Venice of the North", as the city is often referred to. Expats and locals delight in and take full advantage of a city that is one third waterways and one third greenery.
Expats moving to Stockholm for work will discover an economy that is flourishing. The last decade has seen significant growth in many areas, including high technology, finance and entrepreneurship, and many international companies have offices here. Stockholm consistently finds itself high on the lists of global and European rankings of innovation and competitiveness, while also coming in near the top for the greenest and most liveable cities.
Cost of living in Stockholm
The cost of living in Stockholm is undeniably high. The relatively high cost of housing matched with the very tricky rental market in the city can make finding a place to live difficult even for those born and raised in Stockholm. Finding a home in the leafy suburbs is far easier and cheaper, and with a well-planned and generally reliable – if a little expensive – transportation network, the inner city is quite accessible for those living in and around it.
Families and children in Stockholm
The family-friendly lifestyle of Stockholm means that the city is a great place to bring up children. With plenty of activities – both outdoor and indoor – to keep the little ones busy, parents can be sure weekends won't be boring. Excellent healthcare and schooling are also major draws, although expat families who won't be staying for the long term should be aware that local public schools teach in Swedish. The best alternative is usually one of Stockholm's often-pricey but high-quality international schools.
Climate in Stockholm
While long and cold winters can be a difficult adjustment for those unaccustomed to such a climate, many remark that Stockholm is well equipped for this time of year with decidedly cosy cafés and restaurants that invite one in with romantic lighting and toasty atmospheres. The winters also bring snow, which bring with it ample opportunities for snow sports such as skiing and boarding. On the other hand, the summers more than make up for winter’s difficulties, with an abundance of daylight, music festivals, the glorious midsummer holiday, and a population that revels in every chance there is to get outdoors.
Some, including many Swedes, say that Stockholm is an overly proud city in the context of Scandinavia's prevailing modesty. But with a city so abundant in culture and that keeps a well-preserved sense of history while taking innovative strides forward in technology, fashion and design, one cannot help but see the attraction for expats from all over the globe.
►Learn more about expat life in Stockholm by checking out our Lifestyle page
"I would say what I enjoy most about Stockholm is the fact that you don't need a car to get around and can cycle everywhere with easy access to nature (walks in the forest, skating on lakes and of course some cross country skiing)" Read more of Steve's thoughts on expat life in Stockholm.
"Sweden has become my homeland and I love living in Stockholm." Gregor Stalinski is a Polish expat who has over 20 years' experience of expat life in Stockholm. Find out more about his experiences by reading his interview.
Are you an expat living in Stockholm?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Stockholm. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
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