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Moving to Sweden: is it the right decision?

29 Oct 2012, 14:53

Published: 29 Oct 2012 14:53 GMT+01:00

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Taking the plunge and committing to a new life in Sweden usually prompts many questions from your nearest and dearest back home.

Namely, why are you going somewhere that has such severe winters and a peculiar language that you will be forced to learn in order to properly integrate?

Perhaps more alarmingly, why are you upping sticks for a nation that still broadcasts the Golden Girls, or should I say Pantertanter, at 5am?

Mind you, for all the frustration one might endure learning how to wrestle open a TetraPak carton of milk, there are definite advantages to becoming a faux Swede.

Particularly if you are a "love refugee plus one", a phase of life during which the benefits of the Swedish welfare state make the case for relocating almost a no-brainer.

Like many fathers-to-be, I willingly followed my Swedish partner back home – in this case to Malmö in southern Sweden – in anticipation of welcoming our first child.

After spending the last few years living in Britain, we decided to divide 2012 between Sweden and my native Ireland once our first born arrived in early February.

Our intention was to know by October at the latest where we were going to live in the long-term. Britain, Ireland or Sweden were our choices, and in true Golden Girls style, we discussed our options into the wee hours over coffee and cheesecake.

Returning to the UK was always an option, especially as my prospects of finding a job as a journalist there would be easier. In Skåne, media jobs are like hen’s teeth, with experienced reporters being laid off and local newspapers requiring bail-outs to survive.

In other words, potential employers are not exactly queuing around the block to snap up an Irish writer with dodgy Swedish.

Moving back to Ireland was briefly considered, even if half the population has been laid off (or emigrated) and the whole country needs the odd bail-out just to keep the place going.

Then there was Sweden, with its tantalizing promises of free healthcare and inexpensive daycare to entice us.

Compare that to Britain, which is ranked second in Europe behind Switzerland when it comes to the most expensive daycare.

There, we were quoted the princely sum of £800 ($1,300) a month. Friends with children in the UK reliably told us that was cheap.

In case you were wondering, Sweden was ranked 27th out of the 31 countries surveyed when it came to expensive childcare, with Britain coming in second and Ireland third. The average British family spends 26.6 percent of their income on daycare, whereas in Sweden it is 4.6 percent.

When you have a new baby to consider, these are factors you have to take into consideration. Or as my father put it rather more bluntly:

"What is the point in going to work just to pay some stranger to raise your children?"

The cost of daycare and lack of family support ultimately ruled out Britain as we edged closer to settling on the country we would call home.

While my native Ireland was still in the running, circumstance soon intervened and the decision to uproot to Malmö for good was made.

On a short visit back to Ireland in mid-April, our two-month old son suddenly took ill.

As any new parent can tell you, it is a frightening experience made all the worse by the eye-watering cost of medical care in my home country.

A visit to the night doctor and couple of nights stay in an Irish hospital cost over €200. And when our son later developed a fever, we were charged a flat fee of €50 just to see a medical professional.

That pretty much sealed the deal – get out of here fast.

Leaving my family behind and removing their day-to-day involvement with a new grandchild wasn’t easy. However, when they were informed of how much better the system for children is in Sweden, they practically offered to buy the ticket for our flight back.

So now we’ve set up shop in Malmö for good.

Granted, daycare and healthcare are top-notch, not to mention the generous paternity leave benefits, especially if you have been working in Sweden.

But that doesn’t mean everything is better in my adopted land.

For starters, finding a first-hand rental lease in Malmö is akin to an act of God, with the situation similar - if not worse - facing new arrivals in Stockholm.

Sure, there are plenty of places in Malmö’s upmarket western harbour, where rents start at 12,000 kronor ($1,780) per month for a two-bedroom apartment, or in one of the suburbs better known for violent crime.

Finding somewhere in-between which is suitable for a young family requires patience and a great deal of luck. But that’s another story altogether.

After a few weeks of our new life in Malmö, we are slowly starting to appreciate what this city has to offer.

There is a free daycare centre a stone’s throw from our flat which is open weekday mornings and welcomes kids ranging from practical new-borns to five-year-olds. It also encourages parents to sing along with obscure nursery rhymes which will surely put off their offspring from ever cropping up on X Factor.

And hey, there is more to this city and indeed Sweden than just a new parents' utopia.

Story continues below…

Practically everybody speaks English, which is both a blessing and a curse if you want to learn the local tongue. In the interim, it at least helps me to practice my profession while I resume my svenska studies.

Finding a home was a struggle and I’ve no doubt the task to find proper work will be just as tough. A daily scan of the employment market generally only yields techy jobs with strange titles.

Why for the life of me I didn’t become a C++ developer, I'll never know.

Having ruled out a radical career change (for now anyway) the only thing one can do in these circumstances is be resourceful.

Sweden, as I’ve discovered, is a country that welcomes new ideas, and entrepreneurship is encouraged, which fills this new arrival with hope for the future.

Ultimately those of us who decide to build a new life in Sweden have to make things happen for ourselves.

And if you ask me, there is no greater motivation to succeed than the desire to want to create as secure a situation as possible for our infant son.

Due largely to the Swedish way of life, the country's ample social safety net, and other pro-family policies (did I mention the parental leave thing yet?), those aspirations now feel much more attainable than they might have been in Britain or Ireland.

And if none of that works out there is always another re-run of the Golden Girls to lap up.

Patrick Reilly


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Your comments about this article

16:04 October 29, 2012 by micvau
For new arrivals to Sweden i can only personally recommend moving more northwards as the quality of life increases while the crime levels decrease dramatically. I myself started off in Stockholm, which i would gladly move back to anyday, then a 5 month stopover in Blekinge before finally settling my roots in Åre, Jamtland. For those of you who find it difficult in getting into the job market relocating near the border to Norway and seeking out employment there is a great alternative, especially for those whith trades or engineering degrees. Because of it's Oil & Gas industry it welcomes all highly skilled nationalities.
16:28 October 29, 2012 by skogsbo
Åre, the skiing alone is a good enough reason alone to move there. As for the article 5/10. Nothing new, revelatory or especially interesting, that you don't read on threads here every week. Must try harder. ;)
17:45 October 29, 2012 by ENJOYLIFEVIDEOS
No! They're accepting too many refugees. Violence is increasing. It's not worth it anymore!!!
17:56 October 29, 2012 by johan rebel
So the choice was based not on where best to find a job and stand on your own feet, but rather on where best to suck the mosts benefits out of the state and the taxpayer?

Fair enough, but why Malmö? After all, if you want to mo´ve to Sweden, why pick an Arab city?
18:04 October 29, 2012 by cogito
Has he worked in Sweden? Or is he just living off the Swedish taxpayer?
19:04 October 29, 2012 by Challie70
I am curious what he is doing also. I came here from USA and was very sick and thanks to Swedens great health care they saved my life. So I owe as far as I am concerned! I owe sweden my life in fact. There was no work for me and my betyg from USA in undersköterska was not welcomed here and incomplete. I had to learn Swedish and in April I will finish vårdutbildning so I can give back to the country that has helped me so much. Is he sitting on social looking for journalist jobs that don't exsist? Could he be spending his free time studying for that c++ operator job? The thing about social systems that is a downside is they do attract people that take and take and take. Please remember if you take contribute back so it doesn't end up bankrupt like SS in USA. Social takes care of your children now, it's up to you to take of your childrens and grandchildrens future!
19:28 October 29, 2012 by pappabear
@ Johan rebel ...what a surprise to find you ranting your offensive nonsense after this article.

For your attention, unless you've paid into a scheme etc you can not "suck" up benefits etc. I work here self employed,pay tax and thats it. The health care in the UK is free and generally no worse than here and I have no paternity leave to take as I haven't paid into a scheme...But there has to be a compromise when couple from different countries fall in love and have kids...and we chose Sweden and f*ck and your assumptions
21:48 October 29, 2012 by Dr. Dillner
@pappabear, I don't find what @johan posted so terrible. They are simply his opinons; and, yes, he has an agenda, but offensive? No, not to me at least.
23:41 October 29, 2012 by Chloe Monroe
Under the circumstances, cogito, it is a bit strange to ask: "Has he worked in Sweden? Or is he just living off the Swedish taxpayer?"

Yer know, what with the writer being a 'journalist', and what with this being a 'journalistic piece'!

The clues are all there!
23:44 October 29, 2012 by rebelart.se

start planning for life after your swedish girlfriend and your infant son.....

a swede is a humanoid hybrid with no human feelings

although they are capable of showing human like emotions......

their is no honey in the moon....

so when the honeymoon period is over...you will soon realize

a very cold and strange reality....good luck....
23:49 October 29, 2012 by Chloe Monroe
^^^defo gonna lose their job from the Swedish Tourist Board^^^
00:57 October 30, 2012 by Samuel Nemalladinne
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
01:18 October 30, 2012 by what would thomas paine do
I believe the new tourist slogan is, "Masochists of the World, Unite!"
09:13 October 30, 2012 by Beavis
Nice article- as usual the off topic moronic replies above.. I would only give some advise in saying all is not what it seems with Sweden, they do a superb job of promoting all these so -called benifits abroad-wheras Ireland is known as bail-out zone with no jobs. In reality its far easier for an experienced Irish person to get a good job in Ireland, yes the amount of time allowed off is crap(prticualrly for the father is beter in Sweden) but if you look on the grand scheme of things in Ireland youll get a job faster and earn double pretty much in any field. Overall the taxes add up to about the same in both countries, but with the euro being so low now, things like groceries are now half the price in Ireland as here. Yes childcare is silly expensive in Ireland, but if your 2 earners your going to be coming in with significantly higher money. I would forget about all the benifits etc and just see where your happier, do you have her family in Malmö? HAving someone you can leave the child with is real important. And even thoguh you pay less for healthcare, the quality of doctors in Sweden is worryingly bad, there has not been many lawsuits for mis-diagnosis etc yet, so they can get away with murder (literally) The local government ones are particularly bad. They have this "try it and see" attidue, you know wait a few days, when your child is running a temperature of 40 degrees,weve had to ignore them and go striaght to the hospital, and once it was life threatening. Check out the program Lilyhammer, and youll see what I mean(very close to real life in Sweden!)
09:32 October 30, 2012 by stupr

Are we to assume you have 'loved and lost' in Sweden? If I so then would also assume the breakup had something to do with your attitute rather than the other way round.

If you still live here then time for you to leave my friend, if not why are you even posting on the article.....
09:48 October 30, 2012 by Scambaiter
"WHY THE HELL AM I NOT ABLE TO POST COMMENTS ON THE ARTICLE TITLED 'Sweden to get 50,000 asylum seekers in 2013'..... really whats wrong with the thelocal ?? Isnt this opressing the freedom of expression ??"

No...I suspect it's to keep cowardly online bigots, haters and trolls (like you?) off the comment boards. Freedom of expression indeed. //

As regards this article and staying on topic, I immigrated to Sweden (unwillingly, as I'd travelled around Scandinavia before) from Canada via the UK with my Swedish partner 22 years ago. After 4+ years on Gotland, I now live in S/holm

We're now divorced, of course, as to mind many Swedish women go through a phase where they think Swedish men are "boring" and look for a foreign partner, preferably English speaking. Unfortunately, the novelty soon wears off. I've now remarried, but not to a Swede -- who generally speaking make great friends and f***buddies but lousy life partners.

One observation is that if you have kids together you will never leave this country! (at least not for many years). So stop kidding yourself that you will.

Sweden is not paradise on earth, no matter what Swedes tell you or try to convince themselves, but nevertheless -- and having lived in 7 countries in my lifetime -- it is one of the best countres in the world to live, especially for women and "HBT persons".

Like any country, it takes a while to get used to and integrate. Learning the language is not necessarily an advantage for an English speaker, especially in Stockholm - but still IMO a prequisite.

If you can find your niche, ie gainful employment and a social circle, you'll do fine. Above all, respect the host culture and it will respect you. You don't have to "assimilate", ridiculous that racists and bigots even expect it -- plus it's impossible anyway.

Just adopt the parts of the culture you can relate that will help you feel at home -- say snus and Swedish DJs -- and overlook the bits that you're never going to understand -- say dansbandmusik and Lucia.

Above all, ignore the parochial idiot racists and bigots who post bile on Internet forums and comment boards, because more than 80% of Swedish residents disagree with them with a vengeance.
10:47 October 30, 2012 by Mb 65
Samuel Nemalladinne I agree 100% the Local removed all the comments that were put on this article.
10:53 October 30, 2012 by Migga
Sweden may not be perfect but it isn`t the worst either, same goes for Swedes. Swedish women aren`t ice queens, swedish doctors aren`t incompetent murderers and swedish men aren`t neutered. At the same time they aren`t perfect or flawless.

When reading Patricks text I can`t help to think that he might have been abit shortsighted. Sure it`s smart to move to a country where there is good care for oneself and ones child, but what about the chances of integrating into the society? For both oneself and ones children when they grow up?

You won`t be a father to a small child for long, those years fly by fast. You should think about your own chances to a good and integrated life. The best way to do that is in my opinion through a job and having a solid social network. I`d imagine it would be easier for your swedish partner to get a job and a solid social network in an english speaking country then for you to get the same in a country where you don`t speak the language.
11:09 October 30, 2012 by Samuel Nemalladinne
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
11:59 October 30, 2012 by smilingjack

- wow. you must have a story to tell.

I think you will find girls are girls the world over. if you marry a beautiful swedish girl - size 8 long blonde hair etc etc - then dont be surprised if other men arent also going to find her attractive and want to make a move on her. its the way of the world.

it goes both ways to.

by the by there is an abundance of good looking - well stunning women and girls in stockholm. if you get dumped by one go out and find another.

the one thing I can say about sweden is it has an awesome public transport system. at least here in stockholm. dont know how I am going to deal with car insurance, petrol bills, police revenue collectors, traffic and parking when I get home. all in 40C. aarrgghhhhhhhhhhhhh!

in the end its your personality that gets you by in this world so try not to blame others.

as others have said sweden seems to be holding its own in this prolonged GFC but I believe its starting to feel the pinch. Friends have told me previously that geneva was doing well and had high salaries but they are getting hammered now to.
12:23 October 30, 2012 by rebelart.se
oh and even though swedish girls can claim to be better looking than british girls..( which is not hard)...

in defence of british girls i can at least say they have heart and some personality, which goes alot further than a clitorus....(although in the swedish job market you can become a company director with a clitorus for a brain)
12:33 October 30, 2012 by Alexey-nsk
If you respect and sympathize with Sweden, you cann't come to live in Sweden.

If you are an Arab, African, or were born in some excellent highly developed and highly cultured country, can not read and write, you want Sweden. Otherwise, you will be deported.
12:41 October 30, 2012 by Rishonim
Your life in Sweden will be boring and completely uninteresting after the hangover is gone. You will fall for the illusion that Swedes are fun people because of their almost flawless English and a belly full of beers. Don't kid yourself. They are incapable of being friends with anyone. The solitude of the winter months are approaching and you will find yourself longing for a friend to talk to and no one will be around. You will have no friends of your own and you should get use to the idea of co-sharing your mate friends. About the boring winter months, well, you will feel a gut wrenching emptiness like what one feels after coming back from a Sunday afternoon funeral. Your life will never again be the same. Forget about being invited over for dinner. During the Xmas holidays, she will drag you across the country to go visit the family she hasn't seeing in almost a year. It will be awkward for about two hours until time to watch Kalle Anka;. Following this, they will start passing around their very expensive presents. (under 100 SEK). After all the fanfare just as you were getting confi with the in-laws, your mate will announce that we have to get ready to go catch the train back to the other side of the country (Malmo)… This will go on for about two three years and by this point your relationship will be in shambles and soon after you will find yourself alone and sad. Welcome to Sweden and enjoy your stay.
13:16 October 30, 2012 by Chloe Monroe
Good gracious me, aren't all the xenophobes in a particularly grumpy mood today?

May I suggest to the writer of this article the entrepreneurial proposal of bulk buying Prozac and flogging it at the next Swedish Democrats meeting?
13:30 October 30, 2012 by Willy
Interesting to read about the healthcare costs in Ireland. I would have guessed that it worked like the NHS. Again a lesson not to assume that UK == Ireland.
13:42 October 30, 2012 by philster61
Rishonim..... Spot on 100%...
21:02 October 30, 2012 by AfroSwede
I don't know why all this fuss about Swedish girls? when 60-70% of them travel to Asia or Latin America for body enhancement surgery. If you move to Sweden as a 'Love Refugee pus one' then welcome to the land that those that work hard due not thrive. Your child can have better and quality care when you can balance work and family life, less expensive child daycare shouldn't be a reason to relocate to a place were you may end up been domestic servant for your partner while she foot the bills or serving burger at McDonalds which is considered to be the best job you can get as someone that cannot write the C or java. Ironically, number of Swedes moving to UK on daily basis is increasing exponentially.
22:32 October 30, 2012 by dgd
If you make an effort, you'll find Swedes are very kind and warm. Try and speak a little Swedish in shops etc and they are very polite. Their command of English is generally excellent - quite remarkable. I agree that initially they may seem a little formal and cold, but give things a little time and you won't have any problems.

Of course, if you're looking for work in Sweden don't expect it to be easy. Language skills are a must, but even with good Swedish it's an uphill struggle to find work. Unlike, England, it's a buyers market when it comes to jobs and recruitment processes often last months(!)

[Some work for the moderators to do to remove earlier comments me thinks]
07:49 October 31, 2012 by Grokh
Sweden is at this point in time the best country in the world and makes usa look like somalia.
13:48 October 31, 2012 by useronthenet
Those whining about Sweden, my advise is if you don't like it you can always leave. Sweden certainly is not a place for those wishing to have a free ride at the expense of the tax payer. Everybody is encouranged to chip in and pay your dues. As for Swedish people, I find them very friendly and trustworthy. I love the open space, nature and just the fact it seems very safe. As with the language, sure you must learn Swedish after all you are in Sweden. Don't expect people to talk in English just because they were taught at school which may give you a reason not to learn the language. After all that is said and done, welcome to all those that have chosen Sweden as their new home, i'm sure you will do well... and good luck ! (lycka till)
13:51 October 31, 2012 by ciaron9000
Don't fall for all the hype,for starter's the health care is not great and not Free,if you go to private doctor you pay just like Ireland (not unlike UK),go to a&e and you pay,granted children are free but not for medicine.UK welfare system is much more comprehensive the Swedish system suites working couples better with carreer's etc,but life is not all about work,Sweden is a luxurious work camp.A nicely presented package but it's not to be opened.
13:54 October 31, 2012 by nerdygirl
Wow- bitter much? Perhaps a better attitude will bring you more happiness in your adoptive country?

Seriously, if you are so unhappy in Sweden and dislike the Swedes, why don't you leave?
19:40 October 31, 2012 by skatty
Patrick Reilly; I can describe it better than Rishonim #23, you find the answer in it.
05:22 November 1, 2012 by Alexey-nsk
to nerdygirl ---

over9000 +++++++ :-)
09:35 November 1, 2012 by lewni
In hindsight I wouldn't have moved here without excellent swedish, for the past 2½years it's been an uphill struggle and am still not on "normal life" (full time job) status, most relationships will break down from financial pressure before the "love immigrant" gets a proper life.
10:05 November 1, 2012 by EP
Comment: @smilinjack who wrote: the one thing I can say about sweden is it has an awesome public transport system. at least here in stockholm. dont know how I am going to deal with car insurance, petrol bills, police revenue collectors, traffic and parking when I get home. all in 40C. aarrgghhhhhhhhhhhhh! You're joking right? I live in Skåne and as soon as there is 2cm of snow, the trains stop. Buses often don't come (even if there is no snow). How is that an awesome transportation system? I've been to far poorer countries with a lot more snow and they manage to run a more punctual and reliable public transportation system ... Oh sorry, my bad, I'm not in Stockholm maybe that's what you meant, but next time the SJ trains stop as soon as there is some snow on the tracks, just remember how awesome the public transport system is in Sweden ....
10:05 November 1, 2012 by Marc the Texan
@Rishonim - I have to laugh. Sounds like my years in Malmo. Actually I'm not quite that cynical, but I can definitely relate. The important to lesson to learn is that Swedish relationships and Swedish friends are so much better when they remain outside Sweden. If you're a man with a British or American mindset, be warned, Swedish domestic life can break your spirit and possibly leave you feeling an inept, miserable failure. Her friends will be your friends and I'll admit that I felt extended periods of loneliness and emptiness. Don't be surprised if you eventually find yourself aimlessly wandering the streets of Malmo to stave off cabin fever. I'm sure any red blooded Irishman can only tolerate that kind of situation for so long.

As far as jobs. I had the skills, certifications and work history with one of the largest IT firms in the US, and I was unable to find a job in Malmo. I couldn't even get a job at an Irish bar because of my American accent. I won't mention the name, but you might get lucky there.

What I ended up doing after a few failed attempts was to start my own online business, which is now based in the US (I no longer live in Sweden, but still visit). I would definitely recommend starting your own business. It can be targeted to Ireland, the UK or the US just as easily or even easier than Sweden and those are larger markets. Ideally, a business you could operate from anywhere. If you have the ideas, energy and enthusiasm; the price of freedom is worth a few failures. If you're not captain of your own ship in Sweden, your partner and the Swedish state can make you feel like a kept man very quickly.

One last caveat. As is the case in many countries, Swedes like the 'concept' of entrepreneurship 'in theory', but will remain highly skeptical of an actual entrepreneur with few resources living in their midst. If you choose the entrepreneurial route, prepare for an extended period of no respect and complete lack of understanding for what you are trying to achieve. Failure will be met with pity and suggestions to plug into the matrix. Resistance is not futile.
10:16 November 1, 2012 by EP
@Rishonim ... best comment so far and spot on
12:13 November 1, 2012 by smilingjack
Im finding it hard to get my head around how swedish women think?

so you find a nice swedish women and move in together / buy a property and something happens? her personality changes? Id really love to hear more about this.

Im curious because Ive been engaged 7 times, at least 20 long term girlfriends and married once and remain that way. took me a longtime to find the right one. Im not bitter at all. Ive given 3 houses away. live and learn.

all I can think of is a quote from the doors - "women are wicked when your unwanted".
12:53 November 1, 2012 by Migga
@ smilingjack

If you want to know how swedish women, or swedish men for that matter, think you shouldn`t ask here. You should go out and get some first hand experience. The only thing you will get here are negative comments. The people who live happy lives with Swedes don`t come to sites like these, they are to happy enjoying their lives. The ones you hear here are the ones who want to scream about their horrible experiences.
13:16 November 1, 2012 by alecLoTh
Rishonim #23 nailed it, so did Marc.

I was a network engineer prior my foray into Sweden. I never imagined getting a job - ANY job would be so difficult for one so experienced in many disciplines besides IT.

I had a doting girlfriend, with whom I later had a child - all the while unemployed sending out many, many cvs. Desperation set in and soon I was applying for anything - dishwashing, bar tending, labouring jobs to not even get a reply.

I studied a distance course in web programming and registered a company while looking after my child. It earned me a pittance, but at least gained me a skill...It was something, but not enough to save my relationship.

My doting partner had at this stage kicked me out,("Cant buy me Love" is only a Beatles song, similarly, "Living on Love" is a noble thought - but still just a thought) ...no money, no honey' suddenly doesn't seem cliched and cynical.

Big gambles, immediate gains, long-term uncertainty - the risk-benefit analysis in such a situation is anybody's guess.

Another aspect....It is hopeless to even consider getting custody when a woman will always win, especially one who has a recent history of employment and percieved stability against one from a man who has been recently long-term unemployed. You couldnt even possibly afford a lawyer, let alone navigate the legalese and paperwork in Swedish.

I left Sweden a few months ago - Im gainfully employed again and my social status restored - but at what cost?The jury is out on if I'd do it again - time lost, love lost and child lost notwithstanding.

I can only I chalk it down.

But every situation is different, times are different now too - the worst of the financial crisis has passed (fingers crossed).

If there is any advice I would give myself just before a similiar move ....make friends - your own. Yes its tough, but make it a priority. Just about every menial job I eventually got in Sweden was through a contact - never an application. Never did get employment in my field.

For every Non-Swede friend or acquaintance make 2,3,4,5 Swedish ones.

Learn the lingo, meet other dads while taking care of your child, play sport...never stop applying, open every line of enquiry about self-employment, skills upgrading, government incentives, volunteer...commute work - even as far as flying home on weekends from the UK.

Once you stagnate - get out. Depression and self-doubt wont be far off. Leave with your dignity and family intact before things get out of hand.

Again - this is not a generalisation of the typical experience, financial crises are not the typical time to set roots in a new country either in circumstances unique to me.
20:02 November 1, 2012 by smilingjack
I kinda get it.

swedish women are like other women worldwide.

everyone is going to look more favorably at a wealthy partner. its the way of the world.

I look out my window there are dozens of beautiful women. I go for a walk - dozens of beautiful women. I go into a supermarket ( ica coop lidl hemkorp ) dozens of beautiful women.

if I was a stunning 180cm size 8 long haired woman like I see getting around here Id be a tad choosey and expect a little more. love is fine but poverty sux.

my experience here is just about every woman I have spoken to has been as pleasant as her looks. ie really pleasant :)

from my experience also - hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
21:16 November 1, 2012 by relaxmate
i would not advise anybody to move here. i move to sweden with my girl few years ago. back in y country i had a good job with a great business that was doing well. i sold everything and move here with my swedish girl. well.. after few months. drama started.... she changed. her friends become my friends. to be honest swedish women have mood swings like no other. everything about them is fake. there are only good for sex.the cant do the dishes ,clean the house and if they do. its not up to your desired level. they get scared with your dreams abd goals in life. after having our first baby.things become worse. i havent worked for over 4 years since i have been here. i have two degree,i have apply for jobs and jobs with no result. i have been depressed, infact my girl yell at me and shouts at me like am a dog. i have had enough of this place and in less than 4 months am moving back home to start life from square zero. i will make and i will pick myself up again. the good thing is that we are not married and i wont make a mistake of getting married to a swedish woman never ever.

my advise to anybody who consider sweden. stay away. try other english speaking places. sweden is not all that it seem like it is.

good luckl.
14:09 November 2, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
I don't know which "Sweden" the author of this article is writing about, but it's not the Sweden I live in. There is no "free" healthcare here: I pay 150 kronor and up for each and every doctors visit. Then another 50-200 kronor for the meds they prescribe. I do not have children, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I also thought there is also now a monthly fee for child daycare here as well (albeit much lower than Ireland).

And for the poster who raved about Sweden's "excellent public transportation system": thank you for making me laugh today! Even when the weather is sunny and warm the train route between Stockholm and Uppsala has a breakdown EVERY SINGLE WEEK. Even the busses suck here. Uppsala's UL busses run on time maybe 50%. They are usually delayed 5-10 minutes every morning (not to mention vastly overcrowded and expensive). And our reward for this inferior service?: a price increase every six months!

I lived in L.A. for 14 years and that city's train and bus lines blow all in Sweden out of the water. Yes: car-friendly and freeway filled Los Angeles actually knows how to run public transit (and cheaply, too).

Patrick Reilly should' ve stayed in Ireland. After he has no job even 3 or 4 years from now he'll realize his mistake.
17:26 November 2, 2012 by seychelle_18
To all the men who have concerns about their partner/wife regarding financial stability, I would say generally women always look for security when it comes to partner no matter what the nationality is. It is embedded in our genes. I am Asian and I also look into consideration that my partner would be able to support the family, just like the old time when men are hunting for food and women takes care of errands at home. The current situation maybe different but the basic principle is the same, in my opinion. And besides, no matter what everybody is talking about gender equality men still earns more than women (even in Sweden).

I don't mean that girls should treat you in a bad way when you guys are jobless (for the moment I hope) and women should support, trust and encourage their man on this situation.

FACT: LOVE is the most wonderful thing in the world but that situation changes when you have no food on table and bills are accumulating. In my opinion, women on this situation would really burst especially if you have a child to consider.
20:30 November 2, 2012 by skatty

Everybody is looking for security; men, women, even animals are looking for security. The question is if immigrants get the security, which they expect in Sweden or not?

How you define the security; job, food, health, house, clothes, child benefit, weather condition, neighbors, friends, social relations, wealth, the ability to understand different people, respect different cultures, and ….; all can be considered part of security.

Sweden gives the impression that it gives such securities to the people, who are not familiar with the country (they, who are familiar know what is going on!). Sweden is the best country in the world, Sweden is the best in this and that…; you read and hear it thousand of times in the news, here and there! To give a wonderful image of Sweden is important to get people in here, immigrant or refugees.

For they, who actually have lived in Sweden; the story is different. As a matter of fact there is not much job in the country, and it's hard for immigrants to find job. People don't immigrate to a country, where it's hard to find job.

The immigration to Sweden has fallen sharply for over 30 years ago, because manufacturing jobs have reduced. The country has never been a country for immigrants in a general term (like US or Canada). Nobody came here to compete with Swedes in a white collar job (could never compete either, and still is very hard to do that). The policy of country has been switched from manufacturing to service jobs, and from immigrants to refugees (because you can always get refugees, there is always war somewhere in the world).

Practically, it's harder for you to find a good job if you are educated (unless you get a job in health care, because the population is old and need health care).
03:03 November 3, 2012 by jomamas
The entire 'childcare' and 'healthcare' is ridiculous.

You get what you pay for - either directly or through taxes.

Granted, there's some degree of distribution of the costs of raising children - in the end - you pay for it.

Why on earth would the author not describe the fact that his pay will be lower (payroll tax) - and - his taxes will likely be higher.

At the end of the day, I think it's more about 'efficiency' of investment - as opposed to how it gets paid for.
18:50 November 3, 2012 by skogsbo
skatty, you don't live in Sweden. There is plenty of work opportunity for those who learn the language. Sweden isn't going to give jobs out here and there if you don't speak the lingo!

Jomamas, childcare cost vs tax, doesn't quite balance, but perhaps it depends how many kids you have. Most people move for the work and family life balance being better. 99% of the population don't work over 40hrs a week and get plenty of holidays with their family, that is what life is about. Not worrying over tax, childcare and hospital visits.
00:00 November 4, 2012 by relaxmate
there is no swedish dream.

but i guess there is american dream.

am soon moving back to america. i have had enough of sweden.
17:28 November 5, 2012 by Charon

I'm gonna burst your "happy land" bubble here. Ever thought of the chance that people might post "negative" things here on the local, because of the fact that their opinions are never heard or seen in any Swedish media?

Try writing a comment on any Swedish online newspaper that doesn't praise the country, but in fact tells the truth. Know what will happen? It will not be published. Like that fact or not, but media in Sweden IS brainwashing it's people into believing they would be the Nr.1 country in the world in everything they do! Which couldn't be further away from the truth.

Here you are actually allowed to have an own opinion, and therefor, of course people who broke out of the "golden cage" called Sweden will go here to TheLocal and finally speak their mind to those poor people out there that doesn't know the true sides about that country, and through that spare a lot of disappointment to those that considered moving there. And it does need to be said. If you look at any Swedish media, you are only gonna hear how wonderful everything in there is. Example, every year during ESC when another country win it, you will always see the headlines the next day " A swede cleaned the shoes of the singer, therefor it is a SWEDISH victory!"

I could write a freaking book with nothing but the horrors that country consist of, unfortunately the commentary field here doesn't allow that many signs, so I'll just bring up a few things.

1. As mentioned before from a poster, There is no free healthcare. As soon as you turn 18, your on your own. And the bills per Doctor visit, and not to mention dental visit, is enough to ruin a person. Pray you don't get sick. If you do, you'll be lucky if the ambulance even decide to pick you up.

2. There are no jobs for anyone there based purely on education and experience. Apply all you want, without a friend inside you won't get in. Then again, in Sweden you don't HAVE to work! You can write yourself as a "student", then sit on your aßß all day doing nothing, you don't even have to pass the course you signed up for, the state will pay you anyway with the money the ACTUAL HARD WORKING people pay in tax, and as you are signed up as "student", Sweden can brag about having "little to no unemployment". Brilliant, isn't it?? What a paradise!

3. Immigration is taking over completely. My old school I went in had to cancel going to church during graduation, cause there was TWO Muslim students in it, therefor, any Swedish tradition had to be cut. No more meat served, no church, only whatever pleased the Muslim family with it's two kids. Nowadays, there sure is a lot more then 2 Muslims per school there, and they all demand Sweden to adjust after them, not the other way around. Kiss your Swedish traditions byebye, they will soon be completely eradicated.

Point being? If your looking for a new country to move to in order to live happily ever after, Sweden is NOT the one!
11:59 November 6, 2012 by Scambaiter
No Charon...

it's because no one wants to listen to a small minority of haters, bigots and malcontents constantly hating and whingeing and finding someone to blame for their own personal issues and/or the poor economy, especially the ones who cower behind a user name on the Internet.

Sweden isn't a perfect country by any means, but it's still pretty good, and what people like you always advocate is a sort of white, Christian version of Iran.

You forget that with the possible exception of snus (which also exists in North Africa but that tobacco originated in Norht America) and innebandy etc, Seweden has a tradition of importing its culture and traditions. Almost nothing that exists in Swedish society -- from pizza to dansband to Lucia to Halloween to ice hockey -- is originally Swedish.

I mean, bloody Kalle Anka at Xmas for God's sake!

So instead of kissing your perceived "Swedish traditions"goodbye -- ie what you know and grew up with -- learn to accept some new ones, or if not accept them then tolerate them.

And toleration is one tradition that Sweden is both known and respected for.
18:08 November 6, 2012 by Migga
@ Scambaiter

I agree with your opening statement but you have very little knowledge of traditions in Sweden. Sure there has been alot of cultural and traditional import but that`s not the entire story. Alot of Swedens old traditions have been americanized or transformed by christianity.

Snus, midsummer, crawfishparty and walpurgis isn`t the only thing swedish. Lucia was called Lussinatta before christianity took a hold in the north. It was a pagant celebration of the darkest days of the year. Halloween in Sweden is Allhelgona and celebrates the first day of winter. Xmas was called Julblot in Sweden before christianity and was a feast to celebrate the start of the end of winter. Other then that you are spot on.
22:03 November 6, 2012 by ramazama
a..narrow minded , xenophobic , soul-less , cold , feminist dictatorship ......., gender equality is a total joke ................ leave now , Paddy .
23:34 November 6, 2012 by Scambaiter
Thanks for the corrections/historical update, Migga...I'd still wager I know more about Swedish culture than most native Swedes and I've lived here for more than 20 years.

Like many immigrants (Colin Nutley for example :))))...I'm an observer of Swedish culture. My examples were trite but to make a point, which is what Charon calls "Swedish culture" is just a hotchpotch that evolved time and heavily influenced by overseas cultures.

I can't speak for pre-Christianity because IMO that's going back too far in time to relate to modern circumstances, though while we're at it, Halloween isn't an American festival, which seems to be what you're implying -- it's an ancient Celtic tradition imported to the USA and commercialized (like many traditions in the US).

Thus my only beef with your comment is that I woudn't call pagan culture "Swedish" because as far as I know the concept of Sweden as we know it didn't exist in those days.

Ha det bra!

PS ramazama...your comment is a total joke.
05:39 November 7, 2012 by Monica Williams
Wow...Please be nice to your host country...I am living in the USA for more than 20 years and had traveled to a lot of other countries in order to visit and learn their culture...I had build my house and my family based on the American dream...Mind you it was not easy i am originally from south america...Now i am educated own my own business some land and I am a happy grandmother of 2 beautiful children...America was hard work and dedication so is in countries like Sweden i am sure...I had recently visited the country and fall in love all over again...I believed if I decided to move here it will take me the same effort to become part of the culture of Sweden...First of all respect please it works every time more honey and less criticism of such of beautiful country and its people...If you don't like just live same here living in the USA...If you can't not make it here there is no reason to waste our taxes and our system...I love Sweden and i will visited again and I am sure its citizen feel the same way...Enough please either integrate to its culture or go home wherever that is...!!!
19:42 November 7, 2012 by Koty
we are a young couple with 2 children , we moved for 5 years ago to sweden,

it was easy for us to find a job coz we are doctors ,, we have everything now in sweden:

villa, modern car, high salary ,, our children are happy in the school and with their friends,

we enjoy everything the system offering to us BUT we are not happy , as if we have lost our humanity in here, i dont know why exact , may b its the long dark winter, homesickness, lack of appropriate friends, thats why we decided to move to another country where we feel happy and enjoy life while we are hard working couple,, it should be a sunny country , english speaking with less of integration problems, we will head to Australia , USA or Dubai....

In my opinion unless you are above 65 y or jobless you should never move to sweden..

through my job i noticed horrible consumption of sedatives, narcotics and antidepressant in this country and this must mean somthing? these drugs help swedes to accept their reality or live in unreality i guess..

P.s excuse my english coz as many of u have noticed, your english will never be the same again , i mean u lose it with time to the swedish ..

good luck!
16:58 November 8, 2012 by jazzIIIlove
Moving to Sweden: is it the right decision?


Moving from Sweden: is it the right decision?


Read the above comments, you will got the insight.
09:49 November 14, 2012 by Miki777
Hej Parick,

I have moved to Sweden too a few years ago, from Slovakia and it looks like we are from different ends, as all those services you mention above are even cheaper in SVK than in Sweden, neverthless it is not the point. I am glad I have moved here, not yet knowing if it is for good...

My point:

I work for Tetra Pak and I do not appreciate your comment regarding Tetra Pak package: "Mind you, for all the frustration one might endure learning how to wrestle open a TetraPak carton of milk, there are definite advantages to becoming a faux Swede."

Could you specify what kind of package makes you "wrestle to open" so we can look at possible improvement to make customer more happy? There is not much fresh milk in Skåne packed in our packages, as there is a lot of competition here.
19:16 December 14, 2012 by trumanshow
I think one of the things that can really make life worse in Sweden is reading the local!! I must stop doing it. Living in Sweden can be pretty hard but some foreigners do love it here. I recently spent some time back in the UK and was pleased to be back in Sweden. Although I am in the same predicament as outlined in a few comments here - not a great social life, jobless, increasing debt. It is all a question of attitude though and Ive started SFI and gone through all the Swedish paperwork and started to make some really good contacts. Sweden is a narrow society. There really is only one way to do most things. This is hard and comes across some times as some sort of socialist totalitarianism. You just have to try and get the best out of the situation and if you have to get out try to get out with your soul intact knowing that you did your best. I don't think life is any different for Swedes. There is just a greater acceptance of a certain fatality. Darkness, coldness, stifling conformity, its no picnic for anyone one would assume.
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