Life in Sweden Swedish Tourism Tradition Travelling

Why Sweden is a Great Place to Live

Sweden is often regarded as being somewhat of a liberal country; many people think that blonde, tanned Swedes cavort naked in forest lakes all summer long before retreating into their saunas for the duration of the long and cold winter. It is often said of the Swedes that they are practical and cold. Is this true?

For the main part, I have found Sweden an easy place to settle. Yes, Swedes are reserved and sometimes difficult to get to know but they are very similar to us Brits in attitude and humour—unlike some other nationalities they get sarcasm. Swedes are not brash, loud or in-your-face. I like that. So here’s what else I love about Sweden.

1. Sweden’s Common Sense

All smiles before telling the kids that they can’t go in the sea!

One of the things that annoys me about teaching in the UK is the complete lack of common sense that seems to pervade the educational system. When I was at school British Bulldog was a popular playground game but a number of students across the country fell and broke various limbs. The response: ban the game completely. That was the first step in creating the nanny state that Britain has now become. I took a school trip to Barcelona a few years ago and we were told that under no circumstance could the children go in the sea because it’s too dangerous. Have you ever tried taking ninety  14 year-olds to the beach and told them they can’t go in the sea?!! I don’t recommend it. My mother informs me that in the primary school that she works in students are not allowed to sharpen their own pencils because of the risk.

So imagine my surprise to discover that here in Sweden when the weather gets cold, the students head out to the nearest lake for ice-skating! Or that students, even in the Junior school, make their own way to school using the public transport system. On Sports Day students went skiing and one returned with a broken wrist but there’s not a sniff of a lawsuit. Why? Because Sweden recognises that if you take students skiing then an accident is very likely to happen. Maybe somebody should mention that to the UK school that sacked a teacher for taking 15 year olds sledging. It is certainly refreshing to teach in a country where you don’t have to feel responsible for things that are out of your control.

2. Walking on Water 

Sweden - Gamla Stan in Winter
Gamla Stan surrounded by frozen water

One thing that has been instilled in me since I was old enough to walk is that you NEVER walk on frozen water. Ever. Of course, this is common sense in the UK where it is unlikely that ice will support your weight but it is still with some apprehension that I first stepped out on to a frozen lake in Sweden. I love the way that Swedes head out to the lakes and rivers at the weekends to ski, skate and even picnic on the crisp white plains. When my parents came to visit a few weeks ago we went to Nicklas’ parents’ summer house where we drilled holes in the ice on lake Mälaren. Drilling holes in the ice! That’s something you can’t do in many places.

3. Nature

Sweden - Summer Days by the Lake
A hot day by the lake

Forests and lakes. That pretty much sums up Sweden. One of the best things about Sweden is that you are never far away from Mother Nature. In the summer the forests are perfect for hiking, cycling and swimming in the fresh, cool water. In winter the forests become a complex ski track. I’m looking forward to hanging out by the lakes on hot summer days for sunbathing and swimming.

4. Interesting Wildlife

Wild Reindeer in Lapland

Sweden is home to all sorts of exciting animals: reindeer, elk, bears, lynx and wolves. In my first weeks here I squealed loudly in excitement, much to Nicklas’ embarrassment, when I saw an enormous rabbit hopping across the road in the middle of the town centre. I was even more surprised that nobody else even turned to look at it. Nicklas explained that it was a wild hare and that they are a very common sight in Swedish towns. I have not seen an elk yet but I still love to see deer and reindeer in the wild, sometimes surprisingly close to residential areas. I don’t think I have ever seen a deer in the wild in the UK.

On the train home last week I am convinced that I saw a wolf. It was large, too large to be a dog, and gray. Its coat and tail were thicker than I’ve ever seen on any normal dog. It turned to look at the train and had very distinctive white markings on its face. There were no people or buildings anywhere in sight. On returning home I did some research and there have been wolf sightings in this area so I am pretty convinced that I saw the Big Bad Wolf.

Lynx – this one was at the zoo but they are in the wild too

5. Vikings

What’s not to love about Vikings? They are the ultimate travellers—leaving their homeland in search of women, partying and a better way of life. Hoards of people who travel the world every year thinking they are doing something ‘different’ are merely copying ancient Viking behaviour.

Sweden is full of Viking history, rune stones, burial grounds and artefacts present constant reminders of Sweden’s adventurous past. Everybody loves Vikings, right?!

A Viking Burial Ground

6. Customer Service

As a commuter I have spent many, many, hours shivering on cold railway platforms waiting for delayed trains. I have ranted in anger and cried in frustration, cursing SJ trains for their incompetence. So you can imagine my surprise when I went to buy my pass this month I was told that I am entitled to a 50% discount both this month and next, meaning that I will receive ONE MONTH FREE TRAVEL. And at a saving of £300 this is not something to sniff at. Sweden, you have an excellent sense of customer service.

So Sweden, you are a great place to live and I look forward to spending many more years here.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment below.

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  1. Alex says:

    I used to love those rooms in the Full Moon (not to share though) 🙂

  2. How very British of you Alex 🙂

  3. Just found your blog from your comment on Adventurous Kate… I love this! I’m living in Sweden, too, but in Lund. Excited to start reading your blog!

    1. Hej!

      Great to hear from you! I’m fairly new to blogging so it’s good to hear that people enjoy reading. How long have you been living in Sweden? How is Lund? I’ve just found your blog so I’m going to check it out 🙂

  4. Hey! Kitty told me about your blog and so far thinks it’s great! I also visited Stockholm… loved it and agree with the things you wrote. Nice to get some confirmation about my thoughts on Sweden!

  5. Hey Maria, great to hear from you! I have been checking out your blog too – I love finding new blogs to follow. Thanks!

  6. Hi there! Thanks for a great read! Myself I live in Örebro and are originally born in the northern part of Sweden in Vilhelmina. What a great blog you’ve made here, and as a Swede I must thank you for your compliments on this country.
    I’m an anglophile myself and really love Britain, and have a dear friend in Cheltenham who I’ve visited two times. Can’t wait to get back there! Have a nice life among the polar bears! 🙂

    Regards, Erik Brickman.

    1. Lovely to hear from you! I lived in Cheltenham for 5 years; it was my university town in the UK. I have many happy memories of the place and love to hear that you have visited it! I have not yet been to Örebro, I shall check it out one day!

  7. What an interesting and informative blog, I hope to do a work placement in Sweden at some point – never been but the more I read the better it sounds.

    1. Sweden is a great country (albeit expensive). What kind of work placement would you be looking for?

  8. says:

    Hey Elaine,
    I love your blog! I love to travel too and have fallen in love with Sweden. Did you speak Swedish before you moved to Sweden? I have been a few times now and have been studying the language but I still find it very hard. I know the majority can speak English, but I would like to at least attempt speaking Swedish if I moved there, maybe to integrate faster into society. What have you found it to be like?
    Kind regards,

    1. Thank you so much for the kind comment. I didn’t speak Swedish at all before I moved here, but I am attending Swedish lessons now as Sweden provides free Swedish lessons. Swedes speak very good English, so it is very easy to get by without the language. Of course, it is always appreciated if you try to learn the language.

      Are you thinking of moving here?

      1. says:

        Oh that is a relief to hear! Sometimes I think I’m finally getting it and then I hear someone speak and I don’t get a single word!

        Yes I’m hoping to move to Sweden soon but I am worried I won’t be able to find work without being fluent in Swedish! I now have the utmost respect for anyone who moves to a country without speaking the language first!

  9. Brian and Barbara Thurlborn says:

    Well,we have at LAST found an intelligent site !!! We live in S.E Spain ,and when we get a buyer we have decided to move to Sweden,(to much SUN here !!) We are both (Young) pensioners,(English) , The Adventure could start again,the language is not too much of a problem,our son is already drumming words into our OLD brains !!!!!

  10. Brodie says:

    I go to Sweden on Holiday because my Dad lives in the town of Örebro, I love it and hope to move there when I leave school, and with this blog I want to go even more ????

    1. Thank you! I love Sweden, I will definitely be returning there after my current placement in India.

  11. Brodie says:

    Sorry didn’t mean to do the question marks. haha

  12. Sweden is the most beautiful country. I love it with all my heart. I moved to Stockholm last year. I am still getting used to spectacular nature. It is amazing how lakes and river are everywhere. Best regards!

    1. It really is a lovely country. I left last year, but am already looking to return! What do you do in Stockholm?

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