Basic facts• Capital: Stockholm
• Main cities: Göteborg, Malmö, Uppsala, Linköping, Örebro
• Area: 450,000 km2 (3rd largest in EU)
• Borders: Finland 586 km, Norway 1619 km
• Population: 9,7 million
• Population density: 21,5 people/km2
• Women/Men: 50,5% / 49,5%
• Average life expectancy: 78 years for men, 82 years for women
• Official language: Swedish
• Minorities languages: Sami, Finnish, Meänkieli, Yiddish, Romani, Iraqi, Polish
• Religion: Lutherans 67,5 %, Catholics, Baptists, Orthodox Church, Muslims, Jewish
• System: constitutional monarchy
• Currency: 1 Swedish crown = 100 öre (~EUR 0,12)
• GMT: GMT +01.00
• Electricity: 220 V
• Car code: S
Sweden - how to describe this country?Sweden is a huge country with not so many people – that determines low density of population. However, it brings the advantage of beautiful, unspoiled nature at hand for everyone. On the other hand it means as well larger distances, less people around and generally smaller cities, towns, villages, often not comparable to other European countries.
Sweden has not a big population but has lots of moose and reindeers instead! Joking aside, although moose has become a symbol of Sweden (at least in Germany). In central and north part of the country moose hunting is an element of cultural heritage.
But even more important is the significance that is assigned to the ecology. Swedes do recycle and segregate waste, they produce large part of energy from renewable sources, they rely on public and ecological transport and are generally environmentally friendly in every possible way. It is natural that all year round - even in winter – people commute to work or school by bicycle.
Sweden, well… dark and cold?Of course, there is a difference between Swedish and Italian climates, but the sun shines in Sweden as well. In summer it shines even all day! Who does not know Swedish stars of winter sports? That's right! Plenty of snow in winter and fantastic ski locations. However, whether you are a VIP or not doesn’t matter in Sweden. All people are of the same value there and egalitarianism is important for the Swedish society.
Sweden is a monarchy, proud of its Royal Family, which performs representative functions in a society respectful for modern and democratic values. The average living standard is high and social benefits network is well developed. Despite its small population Sweden is successful in sport, technology and music. Who does not appreciate Björn Borg and Henrik Larsson, Volvo and Ericsson, ABBA or Roxette? Sweden has become a multicultural society, a specific mix of cultures. As every country Sweden has its own traditions and customs. We invite you to come and 'taste' Sweden, it has a lot to offer!
Sweden is known as well for its relatively liberal asylum policy. The percentage of refugees per capita is among the highest in Europe. Swedes try their best to cope, adapt and integrate the large numbers of people that have come to their country. Steps have been taken at local and national levels: language courses, adaptive, training programs, and regulations - which are being constantly improved.
Earnings IN HEALTHCAREDoctors’ salaries are high. Remuneration depends on experience, specialization and job location, there are, however, certain financial brackets. At the very beginning, during the initial period, salaries might be a bit lower. Gradually salaries are being increased accordingly to growing experience, language improvement, completing specializations. Gross income of a doctor with a specialization and a few years’ experience is around SEK 70,000 or more per month. Duties in public healthcare are paid separately and can be taken off as additional spare time.
Earnings of dentists are a bit lower than those of doctors. The average gross income for a dentist is about 40 000 SEK per month. During the introductory period the salary might be lower.
Nurses earn between 21 and 24 000 SEK per month in the begining. Later on the earnings rise according to the salary policy of the employer and along with experience and knowledge of the language.
TrainingsDoctors’ development is very important in Sweden. Training costs are covered by employers and counted as a work time. Trainings are selected in agreement with the superior or, during a specialty, with specialty supervisor. Trainings for nurses are selected in agreement with the employer and accordingly to the hospital's needs.
Cars and drivingRoads and highways in Sweden mostly have a very high quality and are always free of charge. All EU driving licences as well as international driving licence are honoured. Driving regulations include lights on day and night, seat belts fastened by all passengers and winter tires from 1 December till 31 March. Child restraints are obligatory. One should watch out for wild animals, as moose and other animals are the most common cause of car accidents. Speed limit is 50km/h in built-up area, unless stated otherwise. Swedish dreivers are known for driving calm and according to regulations, and breaking the speed limit can be met with harsh treatment by the police. The price of gasoline is about SEK 15 per 1 litre.
TaxesIncome tax is of local character and is about 31% and includes insurance. State tax is taken from earnings higher than SEK 438,900 per year (20%), and from earnings higher than SEK 638,500 25% of state tax is drawn. Year income of less than SEK 19,000 is tax-free.
One can also profit from various tax allowances and benefits (for children, accommodation etc.) which depend on salary, personal situation and local policy.
Example of taxes
Source: skatteverket.se, 2016
SEK 1 000,000
Social insuranceIn Sweden social insurance is public and obligatory, and includes health, parental, accident and disability insurance. Insurance periods from other EU countries are also counted in. You can obtain more information from the insurance companies or find on the website www.fk.se.
Apartment/HouseThere are three ways of renting an apartment in Sweden: two resemble the characteristics of privately-owned apartments, and one resembles tenant flat. The most popular is the third one, hyresrätt – apartments are owned by housing association operating for the general interest. Apartment offers can be found in local press. Another type is bostadsrätt - one buys a "right to accommodation" in a housing association; you can move to another flat of the same association. Waiting time for changing a flat is quite long. One can also sell their share. It is also possible to hire a private flat and there is a private flat and house market. More information can be found on the website of The Swedish Real Estate Agents Union (Fastighetmaklarforbundet): www.fmf.se. Offers of houses to sale can be found on websites www.hemnet.se, www.blocket.se. It is important to remember that housing customs in Sweden can be different from what you are used to. A common, shared laundry is typical in Sweden and can be located in the same or in a separate building. In house association's flats there are often no floor tiles or wall tiles, but water-proof wallpapers and linoleum. You can often see a shower instead of a bathtub. However, kitchen is usually equipped with sink, fridge, stove, cupboards and sometimes washing machine.
Child careKindergartens and pre-school day-time care is organised by local governments. Preschools are not free, however, fees are not high. Schools are free and children are provided with school materials and often lunch; it depends on particular local government. You can find more information at www.skoleverket.se.
LABOR LAWThere are no laws in Sweden stating the minimum wage. Contracts are usually signed for an indefinite period of time, however, in case of replacement employment or short-term employment contracts can be part-time. Trial work contract cannot be longer than 6 months. One works normally 40 hours per week and has 25 days of holidays per year (holiday time increases with age). Retirement age is 65 years, however, one can work until 67. More information can be found at www.lo.se (The Swedish Trade Union Confederation), www.tco.se (The Swedish Confederation for Professional Employees) lub www.saco.se (The Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations).