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Moving to Stockholm

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.

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, with the caveat that it will certainly be feeling the effects of Covid-19 for the foreseeable future. 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 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.

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.

Weather in Stockholm

Stockholm, undeniably, gets bitterly cold during winter. In the coldest months, between December and February, average temperatures range from about 14°F (-10°C) to 30°F (-1°C), and the mercury has been known to drop as low as -4°F (-20°C). Fortunately, with the biting cold comes plenty of beautiful powder, which makes for excellent skiing, snowboarding, sledding and other snow sports. Most snowfall usually occurs from January to March.

To make up for the crisp winters, the summer months are rather mild and pleasant, with average temperatures between June and August generally ranging from 55°F (13°C) to 77°F (25°C), occasionally reaching highs of 86°F (30°C). Summers are ideal for enjoying Stockholm’s slew of green spaces, paddling around its beautiful islands or exploring the many hiking trails surrounding the city.

Rainfall can occur throughout the year, though the summer months of July and August tend to be the wettest. Stockholm receives about 18 hours of daylight in midsummer, and only six hours in midwinter.

 

Pros and Cons of Moving to Stockholm

Stockholm is a gorgeous, green and peaceful city. Made up of 14 islands and home to a quarter of the Swedish population, there is plenty to love about Stockholm. Of course, it isn't perfect, but if expats can find a way to bypass the pitfalls and rather focus on the perks, they will discover that the Swedish capital can be a wonderful new home. To prepare them, we've listed a few of the pros and cons of living in Stockholm.  


Accommodation in Stockholm

It is likely that, regardless of where they've lived before, expats will find the standard of housing in Stockholm to be quite high as far as infrastructure and build quality go. The majority of housing in the inner city is comprised of average-sized apartment buildings, while the outer city limits and beyond will offer plenty of villas and attached homes. 

+ PRO: Clean and updated

Homeowners and Swedes in general tend to take good care of the properties they own and live in. This means that whether renting or buying, expats will likely find most places to have updated amenities and all fixtures and services in great shape, especially in Stockholm, where remodelling seems to be a popular pastime. The associations that run and care for apartment buildings usually see to it that trash, laundry, repairs and other building services are in order and regularly serviced. 

- CON: Expensive and limited options

Relative to other Western countries, the cost of accommodation, whether renting or buying, is undeniably exorbitant in Stockholm. Prices are much higher in the inner city, so looking at options even just a couple of subway stops further will make a difference.

The rental market is a real mess; even locals have a hard time finding lasting and affordable rentals in the city. It is not impossible, of course, but it does take some diligence and possibly some networking. In fact, young families will often buy an apartment in Stockholm because of the tricky rental situation. 


Lifestyle in Stockholm

Stockholm is referred to by many as the Capital of Scandinavia. There is a great deal of culture, a mix of nightlife, and a variety of restaurants to be found, yet the city still retains a quaint and calm overall vibe. 

+ PRO: Outdoor/active lifestyle

Stockholmers love the outdoors and fill the warmer months with barbecues, sporting events, visits to the countryside, and soaking up the limited sunshine. They may complain about the long winters, but it doesn’t mean they don’t know how to make the most of them. During those colder months, the Swedish often take long skiing weekends, hikes in the snow, and go ice skating or sledding. Winters in Stockholm are not too extreme, but there is usually quite a bit of snow, which makes for great skiing, boarding and other fun snow-based sports.

- CON: Long winters

Winters in Stockholm are long and quite dark. In December, daylight only lasts for about six hours. For the high latitude it sits at, however, the city has better weather than one would expect. There may be a longer time to wait for spring, but sunny snowy days are frequent in Stockholm, and it’s important for expats to learn to make the most of these if cold and darkness bother them. 

+ PRO: Green city

Stockholm is one third water, and one third green space. This makes for an abundance of parks to picnic in during the summer and possibly sled through in the winter. There are smaller islands to explore and countless waterfront restaurants, cafés, bars and attractions to enjoy. The city is clean and not very crowded at all. It’s easy to enjoy nature right in the inner city, as well as find a quiet forest to hike through not more than 15 minutes from the centre of town. 

- CON: Limited opening hours

Stockholm, despite being such a tourist destination, has limited opening hours when it comes to many shopping and service locations. It is common for stores to close at 5pm on Saturdays, and for some boutiques and stores to even be closed on Sundays.


Safety in Stockholm

+ PRO: Low crime rates 

Stockholm is a very safe place with low levels of petty crime, and even lower levels of serious crime. It’s one of the safest capital cities in all of Europe. 

- CON: Theft and fraud

Some of the fancier areas of Stockholm, such as Östermalm and nearby upscale suburbs, are targeted for burglary. Stockholm has very low rates of such crime compared to other international cities, as stated above, but it is still important to be aware of this. Also, rental fraud is not uncommon in Stockholm, so expats must be aware of this when they are looking online for housing.


Working and doing business in Stockholm

+ PRO: Work/life balance

Swedes generally have around five weeks of vacation a year, plus a generous number of public national holidays. This, combined with a family-oriented culture, contributes to a strong sense of work/life balance, even in the capital city. Even the more demanding and fast-paced industries will have fewer working hours per week compared to companies in many other Western and Asian cities.

- CON: Slow summers and holidays

Because Swedes take so much time off in the summertime and during winter holidays, expect processes such as job searches or applications, visa processing, business deals or projects, and more, will be delayed during July and August as well as December and January. Expats should plan around this, especially if conducting a job search in Stockholm, as locals nearly all flee the city during the summer. 


Culture shock in Stockholm

Stockholm is a tolerant and worldly city and is welcoming to all kinds of people and cultures. The Scandinavian shyness is likely the biggest hurdle that an expat will have to deal with. 

+ PRO: Non-hierarchical and equal society

Most of Stockholm's – and Sweden's – workplaces, organisations, political groups, and the like, are decidedly non-hierarchical. It’s important to Swedes that everyone from the secretary to the CEO has a voice and is treated equally. Upper management doesn’t tend to get a great deal more benefits than anyone else in a company. This may feel unusual to some expats, but it makes for a society where many are comfortable in their workplace and can approach anyone without much bureaucracy. 

- CON: Reserved culture

It is common for expats to complain that Swedes are hard to get to know. Even Swedes who are not from Stockholm can stereotype the city as a place where people are less friendly than the rest of the country. It really comes down to the fact that Swedes tend to be reserved and private, especially in public and with those who they do not yet know. Expats need to understand this from the beginning and know that social circles tend to be tightly formed in the city, but it certainly doesn’t mean that it is impossible to make friends. It's also important not to mistake shyness for rudeness.

Expats must be diligent, patient and genuine with the Swedes who they meet, respect their space, and the locals will certainly warm to them before long. It’s important to get involved in local social, business and sports clubs in order to help this process along. Learning the language is a major factor in making friends in the country. Stockholmers respond well to expats who are friendly, open and interested in them, but who don’t come across as too loud or opinionated. 


Cost of living in Stockholm

+ PRO: Affordable cultural and leisure options

Culture is a highly valued part of Stockholm’s city budget, and locals are keen on putting together entertainment at a low cost – many museums and exhibits around town have little to no entry fees. It is relatively cheap to take the boats around the different islands of the city in the summer, as well as to rent bicycles. In the warmer months, parks often have free concerts and shows. 

- CON: High cost of living

Generally, most other things in Stockholm, from housing to clothing, petrol to public transport, alcohol to movie tickets, are quite expensive. Expats should prepare to adjust their lifestyle accordingly. 


Education and schools in Stockholm

+ PRO: Great bilingual schools

High-quality bilingual schools and other types of international schools are relatively common in Stockholm and nearby suburbs, especially compared to the rest of the country. 

- CON: Strict homeschooling laws

Homeschooling in Sweden is heavily regulated and generally only allowed in rare and specific circumstances. This may be an issue for some expats.

+ PRO: Esteemed high schools and universities

The public high schools, colleges and universities located in Stockholm are some of the best the country, and Scandinavia, have to offer. Stockholm has a high number of students and is a vibrant place to study. 


Healthcare in Stockholm

PRO: Accessible health insurance

Most expats will be covered by good health insurance, whether they are a student or have a residence visa through a job or a relationship. Visits and checkups will have a fee but these are usually quite low. Prescriptions are easy to pick up at any pharmacy and are usually quite affordable too. 

- CON: Language and opening hours

Navigating the system, like many administrative scenarios in Stockholm, can cost some patience if expats don’t yet speak Swedish. Most healthcare documents and paperwork are in Swedish only, as well as the menus spoken over healthcare phone lines. Hours of operation for various types of clinics may be more limited than some expats are used to, like many services in Stockholm. 

Cost of Living in Stockholm

Scandinavia, in general, is rather expensive to live in. Stockholm, though, is rather affordable when compared to other capitals such as Oslo and the notoriously expensive Copenhagen. Out of the 209 countries surveyed for Mercer’s Cost of Living Survey for 2020, Stockholm ranked 133rd which suggests its cost of living is much gentler than Copenhagen (25th) and Oslo (76th).

An expat’s biggest expense in Stockholm, as in most cities, is accommodation. Rental prices can be rather astronomical, among the highest in Europe in fact, and many expats don’t even consider buying as housing is so pricey. Public transport, although highly efficient and extensive, is also costly, as are many other services and goods in the city. High taxes also add to the overall cost of living.

The good news is that high salaries generally make up for the cost of living in Stockholm, and expats find the quality of life in this spectacular city is very much worth the cost.


Cost of food in Stockholm

Although Sweden produces some fruit and vegetables, it imports most of its fresh produce, which of course increases the prices of these items in supermarkets. Meat, fish and dairy products are a little cheaper and, with affordable foreign chains such as Netto and Lidl appearing in Stockholm in recent years, grocery shopping doesn’t have to be an overly costly affair. Local brands such as Hemköp, Coop and ICA aren’t too expensive either, as long as expats stick to the larger stores towards the outskirts and avoid the smaller convenient branches in the centre of the city. 

Regardless, even expensive groceries will seem like a snip when compared to the eye-popping prices on restaurant menus in Stockholm, which is why most expats cook rather than eat out.


Cost of accommodation in Stockholm

Accommodation in Stockholm is some of the priciest in Europe. The rental market in the city is highly regulated, with a long waiting list, and property prices in Stockholm are steep and are generally considered to be overvalued. Of course, the demand is sky high in the city centre and the further away from the centre or the archipelago one searches, the more affordable housing becomes. Should one choose to live in an affluent area such as Östermalm, for instance, one can expect to pay way over the odds, while outlying areas such as Bromma will save expats some money on accommodation. We’d advise expats to consider leases carefully before renting, and make sure of which utilities are included. Sweden gets extremely cold during winter, which can lead to a hefty electricity bill.


Cost of transport in Stockholm

Public transport in Stockholm, although eminently punctual and seamlessly efficient, comes at a cost. Purchasing monthly or annual passes can help curb the cost, but it still adds up. Expats usually prefer not to purchase a vehicle, as the cost of fuel makes it largely impractical. Taxis and ride-hailing services are available and on par with the rates of those in other major European metros.


Cost of entertainment in Stockholm

As mentioned, eating out in Stockholm will cost a veritable arm and a leg. Many expats earn good salaries in the city and most can afford the odd night out, but we’d recommend that newcomers to the city budget carefully when it comes to entertainment. Buying drinks in pubs can also be eye-wateringly expensive, and attractions such as the theatre and cinema don’t come cheap either.

Of course, there are bargains to be had, and expats should be on the lookout for restaurant specials, movie nights and drinks promotions at bars. It also depends on the area: a night out in a neighbourhood such as Södermalm will be far more affordable ‒ and probably way more fun ‒ than in an upmarket area such as Östermalm. 


Cost of living in Stockholm chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in January 2021.

Accommodation (average monthly rental)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

SEK 12,800

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

SEK 9,500

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

SEK 8,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

SEK 5,800

Food and drink

Milk (1 litre)

SEK 11.40

Dozen eggs

SEK 28

White bread 

SEK 22

Rice (1kg)

SEK 26

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

SEK 65

Public transportation

City centre bus/train fare

SEK 31

Taxi rate per km

SEK 18

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

SEK 80

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

SEK 20

Cappuccino

SEK 37

Bottle of domestic beer

SEK 67

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

SEK 665

Utilities

Internet (uncapped ADSL per month)

SEK 294

Utilities (average per month for a standard household)

SEK 735

Accommodation in Stockholm

The rental market in Stockholm is highly regulated, with a long waiting list. Property prices in Stockholm are high and are generally considered to be overvalued.

Most expats rent accommodation in Stockholm and leverage their network of local friends to find a place to stay in the city. Subletting is very common, but downsides include having to relocate when the short sublet contract is over, so expats taking this route may end up having to move multiple times a year. 


Types of accommodation in Stockholm 

Apartments are the most common form of expat housing for people living in Stockholm. Most apartments are unfurnished, but basics such as bathroom and kitchen fittings are provided.

Finding larger houses will prove more difficult, especially in the city centre. Family-friendly accommodation can be found in the outlying suburbs of Stockholm. 


Finding accommodation in Stockholm

Kungsholmen and Södermalm are popular areas for expats in Stockholm. Buildings in the city centre are generally historical and have height restrictions, so depending on the area, many have been renovated.

How close a property is to the public transport network is an important factor to consider when looking for an apartment in Stockholm. This is largely due to the tough winter conditions and expensive costs associated with driving, parking and fuel in the city.

Expats can browse online property portals and local newspapers for listings. Where possible, expats should make use of their personal network to find accommodation, and try to get local friends to spread the word that they are looking. Of course, real-estate agents are another avenue, whose expertise and knowledge of the area often prove quite useful in the complicated quagmire of Sweden's rental market.


Renting accommodation in Stockholm

There is a general housing shortage in Sweden, but this is especially the case in Stockholm. Locals often find it more economical to live in their own homes than rent them out to tenants, although subletting is common.

Many of the rental properties in Stockholm are obtained through the Housing Service. A house-hunter pays the Housing Service to allocate available housing to them, based on a set of preferences they provide the service with. There is usually a long waiting list, however, which means that some tenants opt to rent directly from private landlords at inflated prices.

This leads to its own challenges, however, as unscrupulous landlords may try to get tenants to make a down payment before they have even seen the property in person, use the high level of competition to inflate the rental prices they originally quoted and then increase rents above market levels for furnished apartments.

To avoid some of the pitfalls of the Stockholm rental market, expats are advised to use only reputable online property portals, act quickly if they identify a property they are interested in and sign up to the Housing Service waiting list. It can take years to find a property through official channels, but it usually pays off in the long run.

Given how complicated renting property in Sweden can be, it may be in an expat’s best interest to work through a real-estate professional. Many expats who are certain that they will be staying in Sweden for a long period of time choose to buy property in Stockholm.

It is very common to pay one month’s rent as a deposit. Common practice is also to give three months’ notice when moving out, so expats should be prepared and make sure to read the lease terms and conditions carefully before signing.

Home insurance often covers registered residents of the property; it is important to ask to see the coverage. Utilities are typically included in the rental amount and can include electricity, water and internet.

Areas and Suburbs in Stockholm

The best places to live in Stockholm

Expats will have no shortage of areas and suburbs to choose from in the lovely city of Stockholm. If they choose to live near the city centre, they'll have everything at their fingertips without needing a car, whereas those living in suburban areas just outside of Stockholm are closer to parks, lakes and international schools.

Public transport does exist in the suburbs, but commuting to the city can be time consuming, meaning that a car may be necessary. On the other hand, living in the inner city tends to be more expensive and the demand for housing much higher.

Choosing where to live in Stockholm ultimately depends on an expat’s individual needs. Young working couples often enjoy a city life close to their workplaces and nightlife venues, while many expat families prefer a bigger house in a leafy suburb near good schools so that their children don’t have to commute. 


City living in Stockholm

While some areas are more popular than others, expats don’t seem to favour any specific neighbourhood in Stockholm. Some of the most popular areas in Stockholm include Södermalm, Kungsholmen and Östermalm. 

Kungsholmen

Kungsholmen

The western part of inner-city Stockholm is an island called Kungsholmen. This island is a residential area but is also fairly industrialised. There are many down-to-earth bars and restaurants in this neighbourhood, making it perfect for young expat couples.

The island has its own shopping mall and excellent access to public transport. The views from this area of Stockholm are particularly beautiful and the centre of the island has many quaint streets to explore. 

This area is still developing and is growing in popularity because of its beautiful parks and waterfront. 

Östermalm

An extremely affluent area in Stockholm, Östermalm is where the wealthy live and socialise. The area has beautiful parks, leafy streets and stately buildings, and is home to some of the most upmarket shops, restaurants and bars in Stockholm. 

It also has a large protected green area known as Djurgården, which makes up a large part of the National City Park. Östermalm also boasts museums, an amusement park, the Royal Library, and the main campus of the University of Stockholm. 

Accommodation in Östermalm is expensive, but certainly worth it for those who can afford it.

Södermalm

Södermalm is an island to the south of the city centre and is a lively area filled with trendy restaurants, bars and clubs. One of the most popular and trendy areas in Stockholm, Södermalm's bohemian feel makes it seem less pretentious than Östermalm.

Accommodation in Södermalm is diverse, ranging from apartments to little cottages by the sea. Housing here is also more affordable than in other parts of Stockholm. The island’s southern side is more residential, with apartment blocks being the most common form of housing. 

Södermalm is known as being home to the Swedish hipster movement, which is evident in the area's artsy, quirky atmosphere. This area is best suited to young expats looking to experience diverse local culture during their stay in Sweden. 


Suburban living in Stockholm

The suburbs of Stockholm surround the city and are commonly divided into the northern and southern suburbs.

To the south lie Gröndal, Midsommerkransen and Hammarby. To the northwest are Bromma, Rinkeby and Akalla; Djursholm, Sollentuna and Täby are to the northeast; and finally, to the east of the city is the Stockholm archipelago, where many locals have second houses in towns by the seaside.

Bromma

Bromma

Bromma is a borough in the city’s western outskirts and is home to the Stockholm-Bromma airport. Bromma also has the oldest church in Sweden and a lovely beach. Expats will find plenty of entertainment in these areas thanks to two sports arenas and a large stadium. 

There is a branch of the International Engelska Skolan in Bromma, making it a convenient place for expats with children to settle.

Danderyd

Danderyd is a municipality that includes the suburbs of Djursholm, Stocksund and Enebyberg. The area is around six miles (10km) north of Stockholm and surrounded by water on three sides. Djursholm is especially popular with expats, given that it only takes 15 minutes to reach the city on the underground and is where the British Primary School is located.

Ekerö

Ekerö is a suburban island about 18 miles (30 km) outside of Stockholm. It is a quiet residential area containing two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Birka, an archaeological site on Björkö Island, and Hovgården, another archaeological site on the neighbouring island of Adelsö.

Ekerö has access to public transport, but this mainly consists of buses, so travelling can be slow. Another option is to take a ferry to the mainland, but this can be time consuming. Ekerö is a good place to live for expats who want a peaceful lifestyle in Sweden. 

Lidingö

Lidingö is a beautiful island to the northeast of Stockholm. Affluent and exclusive, it nonetheless has many opportunities for expats to buy or rent property. 

Public transport reaches the entire island, so expats will have no problem commuting into the city. Lidingö also has its own private school, which is convenient for expats with children. The island boasts its own golf course and some beautiful seaside properties.

Education and Schools in Stockholm

As the country's capital, Stockholm is at the centre of education in Sweden. It hosts more international schools than any other Swedish city and is home to the University of Stockholm, one of the best in the country.

In addition to Swedish public education, expat parents also have the option of sending their children to one of the many private or international schools in Stockholm.


Public schools in Stockholm 

Schooling in Sweden is compulsory, and public schools are free for all children between the ages of seven and 16. 

Public schools follow the Swedish National Syllabus. These schools are administrated by the local municipality in which they are located, are taxpayer-funded and may not charge student fees. When children turn seven years old they are automatically placed in a nearby public school.

Secondary school, which follows high school, is also voluntary, but each municipality is responsible to follow up on young people under 20 who do not study after high school. Pupils choose from 17 national programmes as well as a large number of local programmes, specially designed programmes and the individual programme. Unlike many other countries, Sweden lacks a formal matriculation; rather, there are secondary schools aimed at providing basic access to college.

The majority of Swedish children go to public schools, but instruction is in Swedish, so most expats choose to send their children to an international or private school instead. This allows expat children to be taught in their mother tongue and continue with a syllabus that is familiar to them. 


Private schools in Stockholm 

Private schools in Sweden are called Friskolor. These schools are independent and do not have to follow the Swedish National Syllabus, although some still choose to. There are only a few private schools in Stockholm, and generally the standard of education they offer is excellent.

Swedish private schools are independent and run by individuals, associations or foundations. In some cases, there are groups that form to run several schools. Private schools are, in principle, not obliged to follow the Swedish National Syllabus, but most private schools do.

More and more private schools are opening in Sweden and this means more competition, not least because parents can now choose which school they want their children to attend.


International schools in Stockholm 

The international schools in Stockholm are the most popular choice for expat parents in the city. These schools often teach children in their home language and follow the syllabus of a specific country. There is, however, a high demand for places in international schools and, as a result, there are usually long waiting lists. Tuition is also usually expensive.

These schools generally have classes taught in English or a different language, with Swedish language lessons forming part of the weekly syllabus.


Tutoring in Stockholm

Schooling and education are highly valued in Sweden, and parents in Stockholm make regular use of private tuition for their children. Expats also often employ tutors, whether for Swedish language lessons, extra help with certain subjects, or just for their children to build some confidence in an unfamiliar environment. Regardless of age, tutoring can be massively beneficial. Some of the top tutoring companies in Stockholm include Studybuddy, Privatläraren Stockholm and My Academy. 


Special needs education in Stockholm

Those children whose intellectual disabilities are too severe for mainstream schooling or 'compulsory school' (grundskolan), have the right to compulsory education, as well as secondary-level education at a 'compulsory school for pupils with learning disabilities' (grundsärskolan). Children whose impairments are too severe, such as from neurological damage or autism, for grundsärskolan have the right to education at a 'training school' (träningsskolan), which offers instruction in five non-traditional subject areas. 

Children with physical disabilities who can't attend regular schools due to the severity of their impairments have the right to specially adapted education. Kids with these functional disabilities who can't attend 'compulsory schools' (grundskolan), or the 'compulsory school for pupils with learning disabilities' (grundsärskolan) can attend a 'special school' (specialskolan). This includes blind or visually impaired students, deaf students, those with severe speech disorders, or other physical impairments.

International Schools in Stockholm

There is a fairly wide selection of international schools in Stockholm that cater to students from all over the world. 

Expats can opt to have their children taught in a variety of languages including English, German, French or Dutch. Some expat parents prefer to have their children taught in Swedish, especially if they are younger, easing their transition into their new country. 

The conventional route for expat families is, however, to have their children taught in English while taking Swedish language classes. 


International schools in Stockholm

 

British International School of Stockholm

Websitewww.bisstockholm.se

Curriculum: British

Gender: Co-educational

Ages: 3 to 16

 

Dé Nederlande School Stockholm

Websitewww.nlschoolstockholm.se

Curriculum: Dutch

Gender: Co-educational

Ages: 3 to 18

 

Deutsche Schule Stockholm

Websitewww.tyskaskolan.se

Curriculum: German

Gender: Co-educational

Ages: 3 to 18

 

French Lycée Saint Louis de Stockholm (Lycée Français)

Website:www.lfsl.net

Curriculum: French

Gender: Co-educational

Ages: 3 to 18

 

Futuraskolan International School of Stockholm 

Websitewww.futuraskolan.se

Curriculum: International Baccalaureate (IB)

Gender: Co-educational

Ages: 6 to 15

 

Internationella Engelska Gymnasiet Södermalm

Websitewww.engelskagymnasiet.se

Curriculum: Swedish and IB

Gender: Co-educational

Ages: 15 to 18 

 

Internationella Engelska Skolan (Nacka)

Websitenacka.engelska.se

Curriculum: Swedish and IB

Gender: Co-educational

Ages: 9 to 16

 

Stockholm International School 

Website: www.intsch.se

Curriculum: IB

Gender: Co-educational

Ages: 3 to 18

Lifestyle in Stockholm

Expats moving to Stockholm will discover that they have a veritable smorgasbord of options when it comes to entertainment and shopping in the sensational Swedish capital. From museums and restaurants to entertainment for the kids, there is something to pique the interest of everyone regardless of age. Weekends in Stockholm will have nary a dull moment.

Expats can eat and drink their way through the city, or educate themselves about Swedish history and culture. They can shop to their heart’s content at upmarket shopping centres or at quirky markets, or take in some theatre, a film or an art exhibition.

Either way, expats living in Stockholm won't be disappointed with the city’s impressive list of leisure activities. 


Shopping in Stockholm

Stockholm has great shopping, but it doesn’t come cheap. The classic Swedish items that expats usually ship out with them when they eventually leave Sweden are glass products, blonde-wood furniture and ceramics. A favourite shopping area in Stockholm is Gamla Stan. Västerlånggatan is the street to visit and expats will see many beautiful antique shops here, some of them eye-wateringly expensive. 

Kungsgatan is also a major shopping district in Stockholm. Here, expats can find the Drottninggatan pedestrian mall. The mall is home to popular high-street stores as well as smaller speciality stores.

Fashion-conscious expats should visit Bibliotekstan near Östermalm to discover what Swedish designers have to offer. Here one will find brands of unique Swedish companies. Birger Jarlsgatan in Östermalm is where expats can get their luxury fix, with most high-end designers having stores here. 

The most eclectic of all the city’s shopping areas, the famous SoFo district is in Södermalm. SoFo stands for South of Folkungagatan and this area is full of quirky, trendy and creative boutiques. 

Shops in Stockholm are generally open from 10am to 6pm, with extended hours on Thursdays and Fridays. 


Nightlife in Stockholm

Expats in search of exciting nightlife in Stockholm will not be disappointed. There is a bouquet of bars and clubs in the city and many stay open until late, but expats should expect high prices for entry and drinks.

The areas known for having the best nightlife in Stockholm include Stureplan, Södermalm and Djurgården. Expats should not miss the Ice Bar, a permanent feature near Central Station, with an interior that is made completely of ice from a river in northern Sweden. Thankfully, guests are able to borrow a warm hat and gloves. 

Stockholm also boasts theatre and jazz scenes for expats with more sophisticated tastes, while adventurous expats might want to explore the country’s famous heavy metal scene. 

From classic gourmet cuisine to experimental modern cooking and relaxed dining, there is also enough of a variety of restaurants in Stockholm to entice the most discerning of palates.


Sports and outdoor activities in Stockholm

The city’s famous green spaces and waterways mean that there is no shortage of outdoor activities in Stockholm to enjoy. Expats will get to take part in a wide range of activities, from hot-air ballooning and golf to fishing and hiking the nature trails on its outskirts.

The easiest way of getting around Stockholm is on two wheels, but the city’s many cycle paths and bike lanes also make it a good way to take in the city’s sights. Expats can easily rent a bicycle and explore areas such as Djurgården, which is home to a variety of attractions as well as breathtaking natural splendour.

Those fresh off the plane looking for a novel way of exploring their new home can also hire a kayak or canoe and paddle between the city’s many islands. Expats could also hire a boat and propel past some of the city’s most recognisable sights, enjoy the majesty of Lake Mälaren and settle down for a bite to eat at the end of their adventure.

See and Do in Stockholm

A city surrounded by water, blessed with spectacular scenery and loads of green spaces, and coloured by a storied history, expats will have plenty to see, do and learn in Stockholm. Whether they are interested in the city’s ancient origins or exploring the tranquil waterways of the Stockholm archipelago, the city has something for a variety of tastes and preferences.

Expats may want to consider seeing as many of Stockholm's attractions as they can by bicycle. By purchasing a membership from the City Bikes website or a selection of stores across the city, they'll be able to hire a bicycle from one of more than 100 bicycle hubs across the city. Cycling through Stockholm is not only a healthy way for expats to get to know their surroundings, but is an attraction in itself, affording expats striking views of this beautiful city.


Recommended sightseeing in Stockholm

Moderna Museet

Recognised as being on the cutting edge of art since it opened in 1958, the Moderna Museet has introduced avant-garde artists such as Andy Warhol to Swedish audiences for more than 50 years. The gallery is organised from newest to oldest, showcasing recent exhibitions as well as work by great artists such as Picasso and Jackson Pollock.

Museum of National Antiquities 

A must-see for expats interested in ancient Scandinavian history, expats with children will also find the Museum of National Antiquities to be a worthwhile trip. The museum contains archaeological artefacts, gold objects and Viking treasures. The museum is also home to the famous gold- and jewel-encrusted casket that contained the skull of Saint Elisabeth of Thuringia. 

Royal Djurgården

The island of Djurgården is in the heart of Stockholm and it is the location of many museums, restaurants and parks. Expats can purchase souvenirs at the Handarbetets Vänner or visit Gröna Lund, Sweden’s oldest amusement park. On the other hand, children can enjoy Nordic wildlife at the zoo and explore the Junibacken fairytale fun centre. The best part of this attraction is that it is only a 10-minute walk from the city centre. 

Royal Palace and Gamla Stan

No visit to Stockholm would be complete without seeing the Royal Palace and spending some time in Gamla Stan. Expats can visit some of the palace’s 608 staterooms, the Hall of State, the Royal Treasury and can witness the changing of the guards. The streets of Gamla Stan are lined with restaurants and boutiques. Expats should also not miss the Storkyrkan Cathedral, which dates back to the 13th century. 

Stockholm City Hall

A major landmark in Stockholm, the City Hall is located on Kungsholmen. Expats who are interested in architecture will appreciate this building’s practical red-brick exterior, the three golden crowns on top of its tower, and its Art Nouveau interior with its vaulted ceiling. Expats looking for a spectacular view of Stockholm will find it at the top of City Hall’s tower. 

Stockholm Globe

Sporting enthusiasts will enjoy a visit to this massive arena which holds the title of the world’s largest spherical building. Restaurants, bars and shops are available for those who are not as fascinated by sports trivia. Expats can also experience SkyView, a glass elevator that carries visitors up the outside of the building to the top. 

What's On in Stockholm

Whether during the seemingly endless daylight of summer or winter’s biting cold, expats will always be able to choose from a variety of events in Stockholm. A broad selection of events celebrate every aspect of life in the city, giving expats a glimpse into Stockholm’s diverse culture and a chance to interact with local residents.

Whether just visiting the city or planning to stay for a few years, it is worth knowing about some of Stockholm's most popular annual goings-on. Here are a few of the bigger, unmissable events on the city's calendar.


Annual events in Stockholm

Stockholm Marathon (May/June)

Keen runners have been taking part in the Stockholm Marathon since 1979. The course loops around the city twice and finishes in the iconic 1912 Olympic Stadium. Every year more than 20,000 runners take to the course and are cheered on by thousands of spectators. Participants get to enjoy some of the city’s most famous attractions, while spectators can take in the lively atmosphere and cheer on the athletes.

Stockholm Pride (July/August)

Held between the end of July and the beginning of August every year since its inception in 1998, Stockholm Pride consists of a week worth of celebrations, cultural performances and educational events. The highlight of the festival is the Pride Parade, the biggest in Scandinavia, which attracts as many as 60,000 participants and 600,000 spectators every year.

Stockholm Jazz Festival (October)

Having first taken place in 1980, the Stockholm Jazz Festival is one of the oldest festivals in Sweden. Originally an outdoor summer festival, it now takes place indoors in autumn at a variety of the city’s premier jazz venues over the course of the week. The one thing that has stayed constant is that the festival continues to attract jazz superstars from all over the world and is a must-see, whether an expat is a jazz aficionado or uninitiated novice.

Stockholm Film Festival (November)

While not as prominent as its French counterpart, the Stockholm Film Festival is nonetheless the biggest event of its kind in Northern Europe. Festival goers not only get to enjoy some of Europe’s best films and a unique glimpse into Swedish culture, but the festival also hosts a variety of themed parties – a perfect opportunity for expats to mingle.

Nyårsafton New Year Celebrations (December)

Held every year at Skansen, Stockholm's open-air museum, the city’s residents brave the cold to enjoy the lively celebrations, illuminated by spectacular fireworks displays. At midnight, the Skansen bells chime and the New Year is ushered in by Alfred Lord Tennyson’s famous poem, ‘Ring Out, Wild Bells’. Many city residents simply enjoy the celebrations from the comfort of their homes, or at other sites such as the Västerbron bridge, which provides breathtaking views of its own. Wherever they are in the city, expats should be sure not to miss the revelry.

Getting Around in Stockholm

Wherever one chooses to live in the city, getting around in Stockholm is rather simple and painless. The Swedish capital's public transport network is extensive and consists of the metro, bus, tram, regional rail, light rail and archipelago boats.

Tickets bought from Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL), which runs all land-based public transit in the city, can be used on all modes of public transport – except the archipelago boats which usually need separate tickets. 


Public transport in Stockholm

Public transport plays a big role in the lives of the city's residents. Around 800,000 commuters make use of public transportation in Stockholm every day, which is impressive given the city's estimated population of 950,000 people.

Tickets

While expats living in Stockholm are blessed with such an extensive public transport system, unfortunately, this convenience comes at a cost, as Stockholm has some of the most expensive public transport in the world. 

A few ticketing options are available. Expats could buy an SL travel card that is valid for a specified amount of time, from 24 hours up to a year, depending on the card.

Alternatively, passengers can purchase single-trip zone tickets, which are valid for an hour from when they first start their journey. There is also the option of purchasing a strip ticket, which works like a zone ticket but allows more than one person to use it at the same time.

Buses

There are a number of bus lines running through Stockholm and passengers can hop on and off any bus using an SL card. The special inner-city buses are blue, while regular buses servicing the rest of Stockholm are red.

The city's bus routes include the blue inner-city and suburban lines as well as service bus lines. The Flygbussarna bus line is available for transport from Arlanda Airport into Stockholm.

Metro

Stockholm’s Tunnelbana is an extensive metro system which runs both above and below ground, and serves the city centre and surrounds. There are three main lines (green, red and blue) which run to 100 stations, many of which connect to the local bus system.

While Stockholm’s metro is a convenient mode of transport, it does get busy during morning and evening rush hours.

Suburban rail services

Expats living outside the city and commuting to work on a daily basis will be able to make use of Stockholm’s suburban rail services. There are a number of suburban rail systems in Stockholm that service the city's outskirts, including Saltsjöbanan and Roslagsbanan.

Light rail and tram

In addition to the Djurgården line, the city's heritage tram, Stockholm has other light rail services including the Nockebybanan, Lidingöbanan and Tvärbanan. 

Boats

There are several archipelago boat lines in Stockholm, run by Waxholmsbolaget. Some of these operate year round. One boat line, Djurgårdsfärjan, operates in central Stockholm between Slussen and Djurgården. While SL travel cards are usually valid on this line, single trip tickets and strip tickets are not accepted.


Taxis in Stockholm

Taxis are also readily available in the Swedish capital. One can hail these on the street, grab one at a rank or call ahead and book one for a certain time. We'd recommend making use of the main reputable companies, and avoiding smaller independent firms. Prices aren't regulated in Sweden, and we'd advise that expats check the price beforehand, usually found on the yellow and white label displayed on the rear window. The good news is that even taxi companies are toeing the line when it comes to the environment and a few of the bigger cab firms have started to make use of mainly eco vehicles, with a new rota system rewarding taxis with low emission levels.

Ride-hailing services

For those averse to using regular taxis, there are several convenient ride-hailing apps to use in Stockholm, including the likes of Uber and Bolt. These allow for more convenient navigating, payment and avoids any language barriers. Expats simply download the app, link their credit card, and start riding.


Walking and cycling in Stockholm

Stockholm is well-equipped to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists with its brilliant network of cycle paths, green parks and safe walkways. Many locals choose to walk or cycle to work.

Cycling has become highly popular in Sweden as locals have embraced the benefits of this simple, fast, inexpensive and environmentally friendly mode of transport, no matter the weather. Stockholm city authorities have made the city's cycling infrastructure a priority and are constantly working on improving accessibility for cyclists.

Expats don’t even need to spend on their own bicycle in Stockholm, as the city has made hundreds of bicycles available for people to rent. All that's needed is a bike card from Stockholm City Bikes. Commuters can either purchase a season or three-day card. 


Driving in Stockholm

While having a car is not essential in Stockholm, it is easy to drive in the city as the roads are well signposted and, in comparison to other European cities, Stockholm is far less congested.

A congestion charging scheme to reduce traffic in Stockholm has been in place since 2006. If someone lives in the city their car is automatically connected to their bank account, while those who live in the suburbs need to pay before they enter the congestion charging zone. 

Most locals and expats prefer to take advantage of Stockholm’s convenient public transport network instead of driving as parking fees in the city are expensive and finding a good parking spot can be difficult. For these reasons, expats rarely need to rent or purchase a car unless they are travelling outside the city.