Sweden – 15 Things I Have Learnt Living Here

We have lived in Sweden for 1 year now, and throughout that year I have been on a very steep learning curve.  I thought I would share with you the 15 main things I have learnt along the way so far 🙂

1. Everything takes time: 

The Swedes are very laid back and they rarely hurry.  This might be over a break at work (fika at work is very important), or installing a phone line and wi-fi (I think this took around 3-4 months after we moved in).  So, to avoid frustration, adapt quickly, chill out, and go with the flow….it’ll happen one day.

2. You can’t buy Marmite or spray furniture polish here: 

Plan in advance and get visitors flying out to see you to bring it, in bulk preferably, whether you need it or not.  Then you can guarantee an ongoing supply.

3. All food is delicious:

But you will eat your own body weight in cinnamon buns within weeks of arriving here, and you will still want more.

4. Candy: 

This is very important here in Sweden, especially on a Saturday (lördagsgodis).  To integrate fully here you need to take a bag at the pick and mix, and fill it every Saturday.

5. The seasons are all amazing:

But they can change rapidly – overnight!  One day you will be wearing your shorts, the next day autumn will have arrived, with no gradual run up to it.

6. The people are really friendly:

They want to help you, and you will need their help too in order to navigate some of the systems in Sweden.  For example, booking a doctor’s appointment or how to repaint your wooden home.

7. EVERYONE speaks English:

This is good when you are struggling with Swedish, but hard to learn if you are a little lazy.  They speak it very well too, but will apologise for not finding one word in a sentence, when I can’t even remember what I was going to say at all in English!!  They are very good at it.

8. Google translate will be your best friend:

You will have the app on your phone to read parking signs, help with the grocery shopping, and so that you stand a chance at doing your child’s reading homework.  You will use it on your computer to translate all the school emails, and other emails that come your way from various places.

9. Predictive text will become your enemy:

As your phone doesn’t know what the hell you are trying to write, and what language you are trying to type in. Until, that is, it starts memorising Swedish words along the way (no one wants to type out “Försäkringskassan” or “Länsförsäkringar” more than necessary!).

10. Hard cash is surplus to requirements:

(unless you need a trolley – 10 SEK coin, or a swim locker – 10 SEK coin).  EVERYTHING is done either by card or phone.  There is none of this 50p charge for under £5.  If you by a 1 SEK sweet (about 10p) you don’t need cash.

11. Hot dogs (korv med bröd):

Are a staple in your diet in Sweden.  Sunny day on the beach?  You make hot dogs.  End of school term?  You meet and cook hot dogs.  The Prime Minister visits the island?  Free hot dogs. You go out on a hike? You cook hot dogs.  You get the idea?!!  You always need an emergency stash in the freezer, it’s prevented me being caught out a few times now!

12. You need to bulk buy your alcohol:

The state run off licenses, Systembolaget, (the only place you can purchase it) are only in certain places (our nearest is about 20km away) so there is no “just popping out for a bottle of wine”.  They’re also closed a lot, especially at weekends and holidays….so stock up, or as I do, make your own!

13. Send all your children’s clothes to school (and more!):

They will need standard clothes for the day, they will need outdoor gear (I mean proper stuff, like full sets of waterproofs, or complete snow gear etc).  They WILL be going outdoors – both for play and lessons.  There are dryer cupboards, but it is helpful for them to have complete spare sets too…..and I mean complete…gloves (they get very wet through in the winter, even ski gloves with little people), socks….you get the picture! You will be taking a lot of clothes backwards and forwards, oh and boots!!

14. Fika: 

This is very important in Sweden.  It’s a chance to just enjoy each other’s company, but does usually involve coffee and a sweet treat.

15. Glögg and Pepparkakor:

Throughout December it is perfectly fine and normal to drink mulled wine (glögg) and eat thin ginger biscuits (pepparkakor) every day…..perfect and my idea of a cosy December!!

I hope you have enjoyed those facts, and learning a little more about Sweden 🙂

Sweden-15 things I have learnt living here, living in Sweden, moving to Sweden, www.mammasschool.co.uk



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  1. I was so glad that everyone spoke English when we came over!! I could buy stamps easily!!! Great post, and really interesting to learn more about the Country

    • It makes it a little easier to settle in 🙂 I’m going to be doing more little snippets of Swedish life in the future so I am glad you enjoyed it xx

  2. I can relate to a few of these as we live in Valencia. Things are also very laid back, it’s the mañana attitude, which is good and bad at the same time! I still haven’t gotten used to siestas and they eat dinner so late! Lucky that everyone speak English, five years on and Google Translate is STILL my friend! 😀 Great blog, I enjoyed reading your posts!

    • ahhh thankyou! I like the idea of a siesta!! I can’t imagine being without google translate ever 🙂 Thankyou for reading xx

  3. Oh wow, this is really interesting. I’ve never been to Sweden but it is on my bucket list of places to visit. After reading this I want to go even more now. Fab post. #FamilyFunLinky

  4. It looks amazing- what an adventure for you and your family! I love Sweden #familyfunlinky

  5. This is great we just got back from a trip to Stockholm for my birthday and I absolutely loved it. As you say the Swedes are so friendly and I love how everything is paid for by card! I never have cash so I wish England was more like that! How exciting that you get to live there 🙂 #DreamTeam and #FamilyFun

  6. Such an interesting place! I’d love to visit Sweden one day. #familyfunlinky

  7. No Marmite!! I think I’d struggle, and my kids lol. Although I am sure they could be bought with Nutella – I bet you can get there. I love the no cash thing, that’s definitely the way forward! Thanks for joining us at #familyfun
    Tammymum recently posted…#FamilyFun…week 57My Profile

    • Don’t worry I get the marmite brought over 🙂 I’ve got three massive jars in the cupboard now! And yes, nutella is here!

  8. I love this its so interesting and to be chilled out is never a bad thing, although yes i would definitely have to have visitors for marmite alone! #sharingthebloglove
    Laura | Little Ladies Big World recently posted…Mumsnet Influencer Event – My ExperienceMy Profile

  9. I feel like I could definitely get on board with living in Sweden for the food – cinnamon buns and hot dogs, yummy! Although the lack of alcohol would definitely be the downside of it, I can see why you’d make your own. It’s always interesting to read about living in different cultures – the laid back culture here really appeals to me! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • We also bulk buy the alcohol here!! There’s even a special Swedish word for it! But yes, otherwise we love it here 🙂

  10. It’s so interesting to read more about Sweden. And cinnamon buns – lush #sharingthebloglove

  11. Sweden is on my travel bucket list when I eventually get to travel so I love learning all these things about this country, even the things I don’t quite understand lol! Thank you for teaching me something new:) #FamilyFunLinky

  12. An interesting read. I never knew candy was big in Sweden! Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky
    Emily recently posted…Black Friday Money Saving Hacks and Tips #BlackFriday #SavvySquadMy Profile

  13. I think I was born to live in Sweden, a part from having to wait 4 months for WiFi I could get on board with it all. I love pic n mix and to have it every Saturday is heaven! Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  14. I love the hot dogs idea I love hot dogs a good reason to live in Sweden I think Thank you for linking to #Thatfridaylinky please come back next week
    Nige recently posted…Four Out Of Five Ain’t Bad (My Sunday Photo)My Profile

  15. I loved all the references to food in your post, lol. I am surprised that they can function without a lot of cash transactions- that certainly speeds up shopping, right? And they make an effort to slooow doooown. So different from where I live. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Sweden sounds like my ideal place to live. I dont drink so that wouldnt be a problem for me. I would have to sort emergency marmite deliveries though #familyfunlinky

  17. I have some Swedish friends and I agree, their cinnamon buns are beyond this world. If I lived there I would need new pants! #ThatFridayLinky
    Heather Keet recently posted…Poll Tuesday week 36…My Profile

  18. I think it would be just amazing and also a little or a lot daunting to try a new culture. What an adventure. I don’t know much about Sweden but it always looks so beautiful in pictures. Being in Australia it is a long way away, but I hope to visit one day. Thanks for letting us know more about it #ablogginggoodtime

  19. Sweden sounds like such a brilliant place to live and bring up children. I went there on holiday when I was 2 but as you can imagine I don’t remember much about it! #SharingTheBlogLove

  20. Love the sound of hotdogs and candy. Not so much the lack of WiFi for 4 months. Sounds amazing though. It would be lovely to live at a slower pace.

  21. Jon

    Really interesting. I think I would be OK with not being able to buy Marmite though 😉

  22. I remember really missing some things when I lived in Canada because they just didn’t exist there!

  23. Aww I’d love to visit Sweden – the relaxed approach to life sounds like bliss 🙂
    Helen recently posted…HOME: Creating a Cosy Atmosphere with First Choice LightingMy Profile

  24. No marmite or easy access to wine – not sure Swedish living is for me 😉 – loving the hot dog obsession though
    Kara recently posted…Meningitis Awareness #24youhavethepowerMy Profile

  25. Anything with cinnamon is a winner in my book and I love hot dogs!

  26. Cinnamon buns sound lovely, I love the sound of the laid-back attitude too x
    Newcastle Family Life recently posted…Other Bloggers Family Lives Featuring Me Becoming MumMy Profile

  27. Sounds like a great place to live – except for the lack of Marmite!

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