We were very lucky, in that Dadda had been in the country for 8 weeks before I and the three children arrived in Sweden. This was due to the time it took us to find, purchase, and move into a house. However, if he hadn’t been our “advanced party” a few things may have tripped us up moving to Sweden. With no children or family logistics to distract him, Dadda was able to get himself sorted out, before the rest of us landed and we needed help. He sussed out what was needed to be done ready for us.
You need to make this your top priority when moving to Sweden. Without it you can’t get a bank account, library card, supermarket membership (even for self scanning), the list goes on….it really is a magic number that is the key to unlocking your life in Sweden.
Sit Back and Wait
Be prepared for things to take time, from paperwork to home wifi being installed. Nothing is done in a rush here, and as frustrating as that can seem when you are still waiting for Försäkringskassan to sort out your child benefit payments a year after your move (they prefer to write a letter to you and send it via Swedish snail mail when they hit a snag), you need to accept this pace of life with good grace, and plan for it 🙂
Don’t Plan To Get Things Done In The Summer
Sweden is on holiday in the summer. One reason for moving here was the Swedish work/life balance, but when the full force of this hits you during an international move/immigration process, it can be a little frustrating. Dadda arrived in Sweden in the middle of August. He needed to make his arrival in Sweden official, settle into a new job, look for a house, and buy one, sort out purchasing a family car…..and everything else that goes along with all that.
However, during the summer months it is very hard to pin anyone down due to the fact that they are a far too busy enjoying the Swedish summer months….fair enough, the summer life is fabulous here, but just don’t try and do your moving to Sweden then 🙂
We are English, we need to arrive 5 minutes before an appointment time or if we are meeting someone, it is polite. Or if like me you have three small children to drag out the house, you are always running, stressed, and late! Either way, that is not Swedish. There is a time for something and you arrive bang on that time. We once were viewing a house and had arrived 5 minutes early.
We looked around the property a little confused as to why no one was here from the estate agents. The, bang on the allotted time, a deluge of cars arrived, both other prospective buyers and the agent arrived on the dot!
Sign Up For Supermarket Membership
Obviously this is only after you have your personal number!! See the first point made. In the UK, you load your shopping onto a lovely long conveyor belt, wait your turn, then pack it up as it is gently passed down the other end, and then you pay. Moving to Sweden, I suddenly found the whole “packing a weekly food shop up for a family of 5” very stressful. You can only load a small amount of shopping as the conveyor belt is very short. Meaning you have to keep loading it on, while it is being whizzed through by the cashier. You don’t get a chance to pack anything before you must pay.
A barrier goes down so the next persons food goes off to the other side of the packing area. However, in the blink of an eye, their transaction is done, while your food is still needing to be packed and getting so squished as the conveyor belt is still moving everything to the other end in 1 big pile (handy tip….never put eggs, biscuits, cereal, or milk through first!!).
You now get all hot, sweaty, and stressed as the barrier lifts and the next persons shopping hurtles towards yours……the solution, get a membership. Only by being a member can you self-scan as you go along. Then when you’re done, you just go and pay….no conveyor belts, no grid sprints, no squashed food. It really makes the food shop a lot easier to deal with 🙂
Embrace The Sauna
These delights are everywhere, and you need to leave time to use them. After going swimming you will head into your changing room (male or female), to be faced with everyone casually sitting in the sauna, drying after their shower…..mind boggling for a reserved Brit! You will discover them floating in the fjord, so you can leap right into the fresh water afterwards. You will wander round your little Swedish island discovering them in all shapes and sizes in gardens.
I hope if you’re thinking of moving to Sweden you will find these tips helpful (if you have already moved you may well agree with them). There is a lot more information over on my website Mamma’s School about our move, and how we find it living here. Plus, if you like my photos of Sweden in this post, over on Instagram you can view some photos of beautiful Sweden 🙂
Written by Sonia Cave
I’m Sonia, Mamma to three (our little lady, 9, and our twin mini men, 5). With Dadda, we’re on our dream adventure having moved from the UK to Sweden in October 2016. We’re happiest in the outdoors. We like playing in nature, climbing trees, and cooking in the great outdoors. We moved to Sweden to bring our children up the Scandinavian way, and to enjoy all things Swedish, especially their ethos of living. You can follow our adventures over on the the blog Mammas School