Five inspiring career stories to read in 2017

Every Monday The Local interviews an international worker about the ups and downs of their lives in Sweden as part of our My Swedish Career series. Here are our most-read interviews in 2016.

Five inspiring career stories to read in 2017
Shaena Harrison, Renjith Ramachandran and Dan Paech. Photo: Private

1. The outgoing Canadian working for an events and ticketing company

Name: Shaena Harrison

Does: Works for banner ad production company Bannerflow, previously Billetto

Shaena Harrison, originally from Winnipeg, Canada, was about to buy a house in her hometown when she decided to see the world instead. Now she's settled in Sweden and can't imagine life anywhere else. Read Shaena's story here.

Shaena Harrison. Photo: Andy Foster/

2. The Indian IT worker whose homesickness inspired his startup

Name: Renjith Ramachandran

Does: Founded online platform Search Indie

It's a long way from Kerala in the south of India to Älmhult in the south of Sweden (about 7300 kilometers to be precise) so when Renjith Ramachandran first moved to Scandinavia in 2008, staying in touch with his home comforts required a bit of effort. Read Renjith's story here.

Renjith Ramachandran. Photo: Private

3. The Australian who found his entrepreneurial path in Stockholm

Name: Dan Paech

Does: Runs a number of startups, including Run With Me Stockholm and The 100-Point Challenge

Dan Paech, 31, was only supposed to stay in Sweden for a few months. But then he moved into an unusual house, and when he looks back at how he went from enjoying a well-paid, comfortable job in Britain to running his own startups in Stockholm, the Australian is as surprised as anyone. Read Dan's story here.

Dan Paech. Photo: Private

4. The photographer who found the American dream in Lapland

Name: Chad Blakley

Does: Co-founded and runs Northern Lights photography travel company Lights Over Lapland

Visiting Swedish Lapland was life-changing for Chad Blakley, who fell in love not only with his now-wife, but also with the landscape and the stunning natural phenomenon called auroras, or the Northern Lights. He now helps other people experience Abisko and what he considers to be Europe's last real wilderness. Read Chad's story here.

Chad Blakley. Photo: Private

5. The Belgian couple breathing fresh life into rural Sweden

Names: Sam Lorsmans and Jeroen Sleurs

Do: Run ecotourism retreat Stilleben in the small town of Åmot

Åmot could easily have become another ghost town victim of urbanization, were it not for the hard work of dedicated local residents and newcomers such as these two Belgians helping Sweden keep its countryside alive – by selling the concept of silence to stressed-out international tourists in need of a place to breathe. Read Sam and Jeroen's story here.

Sam Lorsmans and Jeroen Sleurs. Photo: Private

For members


Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

A reader got in touch to ask how long he had to work in Sweden before he was eligible for a pension. Here are Sweden's pension rules, and how you can get your pension when the time comes.

Reader question: When am I eligible for a Swedish pension?

The Swedish pension is part of the country’s social insurance system, and it can seem like a confusing beast at times. The good news is that if you’re living and working here, you’ll almost certainly be earning towards a pension, and you’ll be able to get that money even if you move elsewhere before retirement.

You will start earning your Swedish general pension, or allmän pension, once you’ve earned over 20,431 kronor in a single year, and – for almost all kinds of pension in Sweden – there is no time limit on how long you must have lived in Sweden before you are eligible.

The exception is the minimum guarantee pension, or garantipension, which you can receive whether you’ve worked or not. To be eligible at all for this, you need to have lived in Sweden for a period of at least three years before you are 65 years old. 

“There’s a limit, but it’s a money limit,” Johan Andersson, press secretary at the Swedish Pension Agency told The Local about the general pension. “When you reach the point that you start paying tax, you start paying into your pension.”

“But you have to apply for your pension, make sure you get in touch with us when you want to start receiving it,” he said.

Here’s our in-depth guide on how you can maximise your Swedish pension, even if you’re only planning on staying in Sweden short-term.

Those who spend only a few years working in Sweden will earn a much smaller pension than people who work here for their whole lives, but they are still entitled to something – people who have worked in Sweden will keep their income pension, premium pension, supplementary pension and occupational pension that they have earned in Sweden, even if they move to another country. The pension is paid no matter where in the world you live, but must be applied for – it is not automatically paid out at retirement age.

If you retire in the EU/EEA, or another country with which Sweden has a pension agreement, you just need to apply to the pension authority in your country of residence in order to start drawing your Swedish pension. If you live in a different country, you should contact the Swedish Pensions Agency for advice on accessing your pension, which is done by filling out a form (look for the form called Ansök om allmän pension – om du är bosatt utanför Sverige).

The agency recommends beginning the application process at least three months before you plan to take the pension, and ideally six months beforehand if you live abroad. It’s possible to have the pension paid into either a Swedish bank account or an account outside Sweden.

A guarantee pension – for those who live on a low income or no income while in Sweden – can be paid to those living in Sweden, an EU/EEA country, Switzerland or, in some cases, Canada. This is the only Swedish pension which is affected by how long you’ve lived in Sweden – you can only receive it if you’ve lived in the country for at least three years before the age of 65.

“The guarantee pension is residence based,” Andersson said. “But it’s lower if you haven’t lived in Sweden for at least 40 years. You are eligible for it after living in Sweden for only three years, but it won’t be that much.”