You’re here! You’ve made the decision to come and stay in the city that defines ‘cool’ in both senses of the word. It could just be the best idea you’ve ever had. Negotiating Stockholm is a complicated business, but we’re here to help make things better with an idea of where and how to start.
There are some critical things that need doing in the first few days that you’ve arrived in Stockholm:
- Register residency with Migrationsverket, the Swedish Migration Board to get your perssonnummer, a unique identification number, without which you cannot do the most essential tasks.
- Once you have a perssonnummer, you’ll need to carry around proof that you have it in the form of an ID card.
- Open a bank account to receive all those fat pay-checks you’ll hopefully be getting.
- Register with your embassy here; they can be a valuable source of information.
- Scout out the different areas in Stockholm to find a place to live. It can be difficult to find to find a rental apartment in Stockholm, since demand is high and queues are long; in fact it might be easier to buy a place than to rent it.
- Once you have a place, make sure you’ve shopped around to get the best electricity and water deals
- Contact your local communications companies to get connected.
- Public transport is one of the highlights of Stockholm; it’s clean, safe and easy to use. If you’ve got a car, it’s worth looking at what the rules of the road are and tips on parking.
- Have a look at what to do in an emergency and which hospitals are near you.
- Register with your GP; you can find your nearest one in Vårdguiden, Sweden’s health guide.
If you are lucky enough to have moved here with a job or for a university here, that is fantastic and makes life a lot easier in practical terms. But if you have moved (like many of us here), for love and need to apply for work, it’s worth having a look at your CV and revamping it for the Swedish job market. Then, think about going to the Arbetsförmedlingen, (the Swedish Public Employment Office), who provide services to help job seekers find employment. It’s also worth networking with people; Stockholm is definitely a city where it can literally pay to know someone. Look into the Stockholm Volunteering Project or have a look at English speaking preschools in the area, where you may find a vacancy and Swedish may not be a requirement. At the very least, it will help you make warm friends in a cold city.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is build relationships with people in Stockholm. There are many social groups in the Stockholm area where you can find new friends that share your interests – from sports, food and after work drinks to kids’ playdates. Connect with your hobbies you loved at home and bring them to your Swedish life with a new twist. If you used to go to the gym, find one here; better yet, take advantage of living in a city that is a third composed of water and go swimming; or walk in the city to discover your new surroundings. Learn a little about Swedish traditions and see if you can join in celebrating them. Try just attending a handful of events and you will likely start some new friendships quickly.
A great way to get a job, socialise or just make life easier for yourself is to learn Swedish. If you can start to pick up a few bits of the language in your home country, that’s fantastic. Within Stockholm itself, there are so many free resources; why, the government itself will pay YOU to learn Swedish. Aside from all the courses available, it’s also worth joining the Stockholm Language Exchange, where you will meet non-natives with Swedish at all levels for you to converse with in an informal environment. Is it important to learn Swedish in a country where most speak fluent English? We’ve met happy people who’ve lived here for ages and can’t say more than ‘tack’ and other happy people who are totally immersed in the language and culture – the need is as great as you want it to be.
Photo Credit: J. A. Alcaide