Swedish history comprises more than 10,000 years and starts after the last glacial period when settlers arrived to the northern parts of the country from the east as well as from the south. Agriculture was introduced during the Stone Age.
The process of creating political unity started about 1100 A.D. Over time, Sweden was influenced by other cultures such as the Germans during the Middle Ages and the French in the 18th century. After winning wars against Denmark-Norway, Russia, and Poland during the 17th century, Sweden emerged as a Great Power. By the treaties of Brömsebro, 1645, and Roskilde, 1658, Sweden acquired important provinces of Denmark and Norway. Russia, Saxony-Poland, and Denmark-Norway pooled their power in 1700 and attacked the Swedish empire. In the subsequent peace treaties, the allied powers, joined by Prussia and by England-Hanover, ended Sweden's reign as a great power.
From 1750 to 1850, agriculture went through a period of modernization, where it shifted gradually from village to private farm-based agriculture during the Industrial Revolution. This led to increased production but also a number of farm laborers without property. Some tried to find jobs in the towns; others left the country, mainly for America.
During and after World War I, in which Sweden remained neutral, the country gained from the world-wide demand for Swedish steel, ball bearings, wood pulp, and matches. Post-war prosperity provided the foundations for the social welfare policies characteristic of modern Sweden.
In 1994, a further step towards internationalism was taken, when the Swedish people decided in a referendum to join the EU, but not the euro.
As the capital and largest city of Sweden, Stockholm represents the perfect combination between historical charm and modern culture. Spread across 14 islands and connected through more than 50 bridges, it is the home to almost a million inhabitants. Its thriving arts scene features many dance, theater, mime and opera performances. The lively city is also host to hundreds of restaurants, shops, and galleries. In fact, Stockholm is increasingly recognized as a rising star on Europe's fine dining and culinary scene. Because of its great location and its closeness to nature, Stockholm also offers numerous outdoor areas to explore, including parks, forests, and ofcourse its islands.
Gamla Stan is the old town of Sweden and one of the best preserved medieval city centers in Europe. A series of cobbled streets, baroque restaurants and beautiful churches, Gamla Stan is where Sweden’s capital was founded in 1252.
With its 564 thousand residents, Sweden’s second-largest city is often overshadowed by the capital, Stockholm. But the popularity of Gothenburg—birthplace of Volvo, home to Michelin-star restaurants, picturesque architecture, sophisticated bar culture, renowned galleries and art museums, and designer shops—has exploded in the last few years. Göteborg truly has it all.
Must see’s and do’s in Göteborg according to Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/sweden/gothenburg/articles/best-things-to-do-in-gothenburg-reasons-to-visit/
Sweden’s third largest – and happiest – city is now a hub for young families and tech start-ups, with almost half of its 333 thousand residents under 35. It’s also very diverse, with around 170 nationalities registered. It's no wonder then, that Malmö is so fabulously worldly – Middle Eastern markets, Italian coffee culture, edgy international eateries and cruisy, chic bars counter its intrinsic Nordic reserve, while its classical and contemporary fine-arts and theatre scenes are thriving.
Situated on the coast just north of Stockholm, Uppsala is one of Sweden’s oldest yet most dynamic cities. It’s known for the Uppsala University, founded in the 15th century, and therefore, it’s no surprise that almost 20% of its 219 thousand inhabitants are students. The city is peaceful by day and lively by night, but its charm also lies in its sheer picturesque value, with the meandering river Fyris flowing through the center, flanked by pathways and cafes.
With companies like Spotify, Ericsson, H&M, Volvo, Electrolux and many more, Sweden is behind some of the most recognizable brands of today’s corporate landscape. Sweden is the breeding ground for entrepreneurship. So many great entrepreneurs find in Sweden the perfect foundation to make their brilliant ideas reality. With Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA and Niklas Zennström, the brain behind Skype as leading examples of entrepreneurship, this industry in Sweden is only growing faster year after year.
Apart from big corporates, music is one of Sweden’s biggest exports and therefore, Sweden ranks number 1 on biggest exporter of pop music worldwide. The key inspiration for many artists along the way has been the band ABBA. They have shaped the music industry in Sweden and have put Sweden on the map as a producer of musical talent.
In the world of acting, Sweden has also contributed to many acting phenomena like two of the greatest female stars of classic Hollywood cinema Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo as well as current acting sensation Alicia Vikander.
Also Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, better known as PewDiePie on Youtube is a web sensation. Born in Gothenburg, Sweden he is the most subscribed youtuber to this day.
Another Swedish hero would Alfred Nobel. Since 1901, the Nobel Prize has been honoring men and women from all corners of the globe for outstanding achievements in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and for work in peace. The foundations for the prize were laid in 1895 when Alfred Nobel wrote his last will, leaving much of his wealth to the establishment of the Nobel Prize.
Finding a nice place to live in Sweden can be difficult. Getting good accommodation at the right price can be hard, especially in large cities. The housing market can be quite competitive, making it relatively difficult to find housing. The best is to start searching in advance.
You should also be prepared to stay in temporary accommodation, such as a hostel, hotel or guesthouse (depending on your budget) for a short period upon arrival (Sweden’s official site for tourism has a temporary accommodation section). If you are coming with your family, it may be more comfortable for them to arrive after you have found suitable accommodation.
Useful accommodation links:
There are also plenty of Facebook groups where you can post your needs and wait to be contacted or where you can check posts from landlords and then PM (private message) them. The biggest English speaking groups in Stockholm are:
The public transport in Stockholm is amazing in terms of speed and frequency and the area that is considered the “city” is surprisingly small. It is recommended not to be too obsessed with living in the “city” as this will increase dramatically your chances of finding a nice and affordable apartment.
From time to time, you may find some scammers during your search for a rental in Stockholm. It’s quite easy to spot them and avoid troubles, just following these tips:
Despite being a part of the EU, Sweden does not use the euro. The monetary unit in Sweden is the krona (plural “kronor”) and equals 100 öre. Bank notes are printed in values of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 kronor, coins 1, 2, 5 and 10 kronor. It’s still quite common to see price labels that include öre (for example, 7,95 SEK) but because the öre part is worth so little, it’s always ignored when it actually comes to paying the bill.
Swish enables private individuals to quickly, simply and securely send money to other users in real time by connecting mobile phone numbers to bank accounts. A transfer is instant and free of charge. To use the service, one needs a smartphone, the safety solution mobile Bank ID, a Swedish bank account and the Swish app. Only works in SEK. A user only needs someone else phone number to transfer money. It is used by 50% of Swedes.
Sweden is widely regarded as the most cashless society on the planet. Most of the country’s bank branches have stopped handling cash; many shops, museums and restaurants now only accept plastic or mobile payments
Major credit cards (some restriction may apply to American Express) are widely accepted throughout Sweden at banks, hotels, stores, restaurants, taxis, car rental companies, and for air, ship and rail tickets.
Swedes uses their public transportation frequently. Stockholm has an extensive network of underground trains (T-bana), commuter trains and buses. Find out more here https://sl.se/en/.
In Gothenburg, trams, buses and boats are always included in you public transport ticket/card. All tickets and travelling cards can be purchased at any of the public transport operator Västtrafik’s sales outlets. More information here https://www.vasttrafik.se/.
In Malmö, there are two kinds of public bus. Green buses are for journeys within the city, while yellow buses take care of regional journeys to places like Helsingborg and Ystad. There are also trains bounding for Denmark. More information here https://www.skanetrafiken.se/.
Cycling is one of the favourite ways of commuting in Sweden. Over 60% of Swedes are cyclists. People are cycling every day and everywhere, even if the weather is not helping at all you will see people on the streets riding their bicycles.
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant - 9.84 €
Meal for 2 People, Mid-range Restaurant, Three-course - 59.05 €
McMeal at McDonalds - 7.38 €
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) - 5.91 €
Cappuccino (regular) - 3.36 €
Lunch menu - 10,55 €
One-way Ticket (Local Transport) - 2.85 €
Monthly Pass (Regular Price) - 78.24 €
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) - 4.82 €
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) - 1.38 €
Gasoline (1 liter) - 1.37 €
Basic (Electricity, Heating, Cooling, Water, Garbage) for 85m2 Apartment - 62.52 € Internet (60 Mbps or More, Unlimited Data, Cable/ADSL) - 27.05 €
Fitness Club, Monthly Fee for 1 Adult - 32.60 €
Tennis Court Rent (1 Hour on Weekend) - 21.21 €
Cinema, International Release, 1 Seat - 12.30 €
Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre - 725.95 €
Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre - 505.57 €
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre - 1,162.22 €
Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre - 851.97 €
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment in City Centre - 5,691.27 €
Price per Square Meter to Buy Apartment Outside of Centre - 3,361.14 €
Average Monthly Net Salary (After Tax) - 2,120.21 €
Mortgage Interest Rate in Percentages (%), Yearly, for 20 Years Fixed-Rate - 1.91
Swedish is the official language of Sweden and is held in high regard in the country. Nearly the entire population of Sweden speak Swedish with most speaking it as a first language and the rest as a second language. The Swedish language is a North Germanic language that closely resembles Norwegian and Danish.
There are also five minority languages:
Swedish policy provides support for parents of children of all ages. Generous paid parental leave, reduced working hours for parents with young children are followed-up with the access to regulated, subsidized day care facilities that stay open from 6:30 in the morning until 6:30 at night.
Before a baby is born, expectant mothers in Sweden get prenatal care through free or subsidised courses that help them prepare for the delivery.
In Sweden, parents are entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted. Parents also have the legal right to reduce their normal working hours by up to 25 per cent until the child turns eight.
Sweden is home both to latte moms and latte dads.
Aside from paid leave, the government provides an additional monthly child allowance (barnbidrag) until a child reaches the age of 16. If you have more than one child, you also get an extra family supplement (flerbarnstillägg).
School for children aged 6 to 19 (preschool class through upper secondary school) is free of charge, with free lunches. The free education continues into university for students from the EU.
Healthcare (including dental care) is essentially free in Sweden until the age of 20, although it depends slightly on the county.
Parents pushing infants and toddlers in prams and pushchairs can ride for free on public buses, and can board using the large doors in the middle of the bus.
Sweden has a strong literary culture geared towards children. There are child-specific libraries around the country.
Most Swedish companies are flexible regarding parental duties, and employees still get 80% of their pay when they have to stay home with sick children or dependents.
If you didn’t know this fact already, prepare to be blown away. Stockholm is the second most prolific tech and startup hub in the world, second only to Silicon Valley. This means Sweden attracts the most innovative people from all corners of the world. The country has outpaced other European nations with a mix of unique cultural traditions, visionary tech leaders, globally oriented startups and smart government policies. With companies like Spotify, Skype, Ericsson, H&M and Volvo, Sweden amongst some of the most recognizable brands and its capital, Stockholm, has the largest number of unicorn startups (valued > $ 1M) per capita in Europe.
So why has Sweden become this tech heaven? Well, the Swedish government has invested heavily in the technology infrastructure, creating one of the world’s most digital economies which has been a key factor in the creation of companies like Skype, Spotify and Mojang. Also, innovation is closely linked to research and development. Sweden is one of Europe’s top three spenders in this area. It’s clear that Sweden is ahead of the game.
In the startup industry, the Swedish government also contributes to the success of startups by launching government programs that stimulate and support startups to get their companies off the ground. There are also government-funded tech incubators that encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.
In Sweden overall, there are 20 startups per 1,000 employees, compared to just five in the United States. Its startup industry collected up to $ 1.6 mn investment funds in 2016. The country is ranked first as best country for business 2017 by American business magazine Forbes. They are creating the second to most billion dollar startups per capita after Silicon Valley. Compared to the rest of Europe, it’s doing outstanding. In fact, 5 of the top 10 fastest growing companies in Europe are in Sweden.
Skype was founded by Niklas Zennström in August 2003 after he was frustrated with the huge phone bills because of the calls to colleagues based across Europe. He was travelling a lot, and in every country he would have to buy a new SIM card for his phone and pay extortionate rates to call the team. Almost instantly after the launch of Skype, the company experienced exponential growth with one million users after the first month and 20 million active users by 2005. eBay ended up acquiring Skype in September 2005 for $3.5 billion. Subsequently, in 2009, Microsoft acquired the company for $8.5 billion. What makes Niklas the most proud after all is to hear people’s stories about how Skype changed the way they connect with their family and loved ones abroad.