Sweden in 2024 For Members

Nine things to look forward to in Sweden in 2024

Becky Waterton
Becky Waterton - [email protected]
Nine things to look forward to in Sweden in 2024
Are you looking forward to summer in Sweden? Hopefully the weather will be better than it was in 2023... Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

With 2023 behind us, we're looking ahead to 2024. And there's a lot to look forward to this year, like the Northern Lights, Eurovision, EU elections, a better economy and maybe even shorter processing times at the Migration Agency.


Northern Lights

Getting the opportunity to see the Northern Lights is a major benefit of living in Sweden, although the further south you are the less chance you have of spotting them.

Luckily for those living in Sweden or planning to visit this year, 2024 is set to be a great year for spotting the celestial phenomenon, as the sun is expected to be at a solar maximum this year.

A solar maximum means there are more areas on the surface of the sun with high magnetic activity, which in turn means there’s a higher chance of more frequent and more impressive displays of the Northern Lights this year than in previous years.

Luckily for those of us living in the south of the country, it also means that the lights may be visible at lower latitudes than usual, although areas within the Arctic Circle still have the best chance of being able to see them.

Bear in mind if you are planning a trip that some areas in the Arctic Circle have midnight sun in summer, where the sun doesn’t set for weeks on end. To maximise your chances, it’s best to visit in the winter, in more remote areas with less light pollution.



From the far north of Sweden to the far south, another event to look forward to this year is Eurovision, which is being held in the southern city of Malmö in May 2024.

The Eurovision Song Contest brings together 37 acts, mainly from Europe, but also as far afield as Australia, with the winning country hosting the contest the following year.

Sweden won the contest for the seventh time last year with Loreen’s entry, Tattoo, and will be hosting for the first time since 2016.

Tickets for the contest in Malmö went on sale in late 2023, but it’s still worth visiting during the contest even if you won’t be watching it from the arena in Hyllie, as fan events will be held elsewhere in the city.

If you can’t wait until May, make sure to tune in to Sweden’s televised Eurovision qualifiers, Melodifestivalen, one of the most popular TV programmes in the country.

Interest rates dropping

A lot of homeowners in Sweden will be looking forward to interest rates finally starting to fall this year, after two years of hikes following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in spring 2022.

Mortgage rates aren’t going to go back to where they were in early 2022, but experts seem to believe that they will start to drop around late spring or early summer, eventually dropping to around 3.5 percent over the next two years.

Inflation is also expected to drop this year from 3.6 percent in November 2023 to 2.4 percent at the end of 2024, eventually reaching 1.4 percent in 2025.

EU elections

Elections to the European Parliament will take place across the EU in June this year, and unlike Swedish parliamentary elections, the polls will not just be open to Swedes, but all EU citizens living in Sweden, too.

If you are an EU citizen living in Sweden and you want to cast your vote in Sweden, you should be aware that this means you can’t also vote in your country of origin, even if you have citizenship in both countries, as you’re only allowed to vote once.

This is the first EU parliamentary election since 2019, making it the first one since Brexit. Unfortunately, Brits won’t be able to vote, even if they are living in the EU under the rules of the Withdrawal Agreement.

Having your say in EU elections is important, as legislation decided in the EU affects countries across the bloc. This includes a wide range of topics like climate policy, migration policy, consumer rights, economic and social policy, to name a few.

The largest group in the EU is the EPP with 21 percent of the vote, which Sweden’s Moderates and Christian Democrats are affiliated with. 

At the time of writing, support for the far-right, anti-immigration ECR group was growing. The ECR is the Sweden Democrats’ group in the EU parliament and is headed by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. It’s possible that these two groups could form an alliance after the 2024 election similar to the current alliance in the Swedish government, where the Moderates, Christian Democrats and Liberals are in government with support of the Sweden Democrats.


Shorter processing times for work permits

Although it’s not all good news for immigrants in Sweden when it comes to changes to migration policy this year, we might finally see an end to the long waiting times for work permits which have been the norm for a number of years.

As The Local has previously reported, the Migration Agency is set to roll out a new processing model for work permits at some point in January. This is meant to speed up waiting times for international talent by setting up new international recruitment units which will not only process cases but also work closely with employers on the applications to make sure they’re complete.

The agency expects to be able to cut processing times drastically by dividing work permit applications into four categories, ranked from A-D, of which only the first, Category A, will be handled by the new international recruitment units and encompassed by the 30-day target.

Category A applications will be those already classified as “highly qualified” under the Standard for Swedish Classification of Occupations (SSYK), and will include leadership roles, roles requiring higher university education, and roles requiring university education or equivalent.


Will Sweden join Nato?

Whether or not you look forward to this of course depends on your views on Sweden joining Nato, but at least the long saga about when it will actually be able to join may come to an end this year (but just a caveat: we said that last year, too...).

Sweden applied to join Nato back in May 2022. All but two Nato countries – Turkey and Hungary – have formally accepted Sweden’s application.

At the end of December 2023, Sweden came one step closer to joining the alliance, as Turkey’s foreign affairs committee approved Sweden’s accession bid, but there are still a few steps to go before the country has officially signed off on Sweden’s application.

First, it needs to be voted on by the full 600-seat parliament, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling alliance holds the majority. The president would then need to sign it into law.

Although Erdogan's party could call for a special session to discuss the measure, it appears likely it will wait until after parliament's scheduled return on January 15th.

Once Turkey has approved Sweden’s application, Hungary will be the only Nato country left to sign off before Sweden can become a fully-fledged member of the alliance. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has previously said his country won’t be the last to sign off on Sweden’s application, but this could change.


The long Swedish summer

Workers in Sweden are legally entitled to three weeks’ consecutive holiday in the summer months, with things shutting down across the country for most of July.

Summer 2023 was pretty disappointing for many people living in Sweden, as July at least was cold and wet, breaking local records for rainfall in some areas, while elsewhere it was the hottest year on record by a large margin.

We can’t promise that the weather will be better this summer, but it would be hard for it to be worse.

If you’re planning to spend the summer in Sweden, why not check out our readers’ top tips for a Swedish staycation?

For those of you who can’t wait until summer for more time off, this guide should give you some tips and tricks for making the most of Sweden’s public holidays to get more time off with fewer days of annual leave. Make sure you book your days off before your colleagues beat you to it!


A stronger Swedish krona?

Staying on the topic of holidays, there’s some good news for those of you planning on travelling abroad this year.

Things weren’t great as far as the Swedish economy is concerned in 2023, but a number of experts predict that the krona should begin to get stronger again in 2024. 

This means that your Swedish kronor will stretch further when travelling abroad, but it’s bad news for people living in Sweden who are paid in other currencies.

It also means that imported items - both food but also other items like clothes or tech – could start to get cheaper, as Swedes’ buying power increases.

Sweden’s delicious seasonal foods

The season of gingerbread and saffron buns may be over but there’s no need to despair! Living in Sweden, a new seasonal food is always around the corner, be that semla season in February, princess cake on the first Thursday in March, crayfish parties in August, cinnamon buns in October or foraging for mushrooms in autumn.

Sure, these highlights of the culinary calendar are the same every year, but that doesn’t mean they’re not worth looking forward to. Besides, who wants to eat saffron buns all year round anyway?


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also