Emigrate to Lapland Sweden
Why Emigrate to Sweden?
We’ve been visiting Lapland in the summertime for 20 years. The first Christmas here was a bit of a shock as it was -36c for three
How do your two homes compare?
We lived in a two-bedroom semi in Essex. It was built in 1910 so the rooms were quite spacious. We
now live in a large four-bedroom house set on an acre of land in a small village
consisting of no more than 120 people. We have fully renovated the house, but it has cost
us no more than £85,000 in total.
What were the biggest adjustments?
The hardest thing has been learning the Swedish
language. Sweden offers all immigrants free courses on learning Swedish, but the language
needs to be heard so our best teachers are the local people we meet up with every day. Contact with doctors and dentist’s was
daunting at first but it was very simple to arrange as most
practices speak good English.
Do you miss British Food?
We have Chinese, Indian and Italian restaurants locally. It is rare to find a takeaway of any description as the distances for delivery or collection are just too long. Chocolate is different and is not as sugary as in the UK. The Swedes love their sweets though and every supermarket and large newsagents has a huge range of pick and mix goodies.
How do your jobs compare?
Part of our plan was to try and escape the rat
race and live and work at home. We have worked a lot with English correction and translation
for local companies. This year we
started our company and we plan to work with connecting
local companies with English businesses.
Is the driving good or bad?
The driving is great! There are hardly any cars on the road most of
the time. A two hour journey often involves passing only two or three
vehicles. The northern Swedes deal very well with the snow and ice. All cars must use special studded winter
tyres. There are snow ploughs out all the time on the main roads and
it is very rare to get your car stuck in the snow.
Are you financially better off?
Taxes are high in Sweden. However, income tax includes a substantial contribution into the state pension scheme which is very generous at
retirement. Whisky, gin and other spirits
are expensive but beer and wine is about the same price
as the UK. We now
own our house so we have no rent or mortgage to pay. Insurance costs on houses and cars are lower
here than in the UK. Petrol and diesel is a little cheaper and food shopping is very similar
to that of the UK.
What’s the weather like?
In winter we have lots of snow which begins to
arrive in November and by mid December we have only 4 hours of daylight every day. Temperatures can reach as low as -35c but usually only for a few days. The average in winter is around -10c to
-15c. The cold is very dry and you can ski and drive a snow mobile for
many weeks of the winter. After the last
week in March we have more daylight than the UK. When summer arrives there are almost 10 weeks of permanent daylight and temperatures can
reach as much as +30c in July.
Any social Taboos?
Smoking is banned in all public places. It is considered very rude to be late for any
social or business appointment and the Swedes tend to
dress down for work and dress up for their evenings out.
What are the TV channels like?
We have a dish and receive over 200 stations
including international BBC channels. The Swedes do seem to like quality programmes
from the USA and luckily do not ‘dub’ over the dialogue. Every foreign programme has Swedish text with
it so we watch all the American and English
programmes and learn some Swedish from the text at the same time.
Will you ever go back to the UK?
We miss our family of course, although many of them visit. The freedom and space we enjoy here would be hard to give up so we plan to stay. Sweden’s population is similar to that of London and they live in a country five times the size of England. The Swedes are mostly very considerate of others and this comes through in the way people drive and interact with each other. We are only two short plane flights away and it is very quick and easy to get back to the UK as often as we need to.