Moving to Stockholm

Expats moving to Stockholm will find a stunning capital city that is sophisticated and funky, traditional and modern, and global yet undeniably Scandinavian. The charm of the city has no end, 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.

Stockholm is a major draw for expats moving to Sweden, serving 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 fourteen 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 green space.

Expats working in Stockholm will find an economy that is flourishing in relation to much of the rest of Europe. 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.

The cost of living in Stockholm is generally considered to be 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 transportation network, the inner city is quite accessible for those living in and around it.

While long and cold winters can be a difficult adjustment for those unaccustomed to such a climate, with around just six hours of daylight in December, many remark that Stockholm adapts well to this time of year with decidedly cosy cafés and restaurants which invite one in with candles and lanterns placed by the door frames in the snow. 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 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.

Corinne Pearce Our Expat Expert

Corinne is an American, from California, who came to Sweden to get her masters degree from Lund University. She fell in love with the country and once she graduated decided to stay, and moved to Stockholm for a job. Living in such a beautiful city surrounded by so many friends makes it easier to be far away from family and friends and all the sun in California.