Swedish culture and lifestyle of Stockholm

Stockholm is the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden. The Stockholm region alone accounts for over a third of the country’s GDP, and is among the top 10 regions in Europe by GDP per capita. Ranked as an alpha-global city, it is the largest in Scandinavia and the main centre for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region.

Stockholm is Sweden’s capital and largest city, with nearly a million inhabitants in the city proper, and 2.3 million within Stockholm County. The inner city is made up of 14 islands across Lake Mälaren and three streams into the brackish Baltic Sea, with the Stockholm archipelago with some 24,000 islands, islets and skerries. Over 30% of the city area is made up of waterways, and another 30% is made up of green areas. Air and water are said to be the freshest of any European capital.

85% of Swedes live in the south, and large cities like Stockholm occupy the main population of Sweden. Due to the beautiful natural environment, high quality of life, high remuneration and meaningful work, as well as multiculturalism and inclusiveness, Stockholm has always attracted immigrants.

Since its liberation from Denmark by King Gustavus Vasa in 1523, Stockholm has remained Sweden’s most important center of commerce, although Gothenburg later became the largest international port. During the 17th century, Stockholm was the base of the Swedish Empire, with a land area twice the country’s current size, nearly encircling the Baltic Sea.

Much of the inner city plan was laid out in the 19th century, and the inner city still contains buildings from all ages since the 15th century. Like the rest of Sweden, Stockholm was largely untouched by the World Wars, but, particularly between 1955 and 1975, hundreds of old buildings in Norrmalm were demolished in a large-scale modernization process, emulating similar projects in other European cities.

Since 1901, Stockholm has hosted the annual Nobel Prize ceremony for all categories except the peace prize, which is handed out in Oslo. In the 20th century, metropolitan Stockholm sprawled out across most of Stockholm County, with the development of the Stockholm Metro, famous for its contemporary art. 1950s suburbs such as Vällingby became a model for suburban development in other cities. While most of the attractions are in the inner city, a majority of the citizens live in the suburbs.

As of the 21st century, Stockholm struggles to become a world leading city in sustainable engineering, including waste management, clean air and water, carbon-free public transportation, and energy efficiency. Lake water is safe for bathing, and in practice for drinking. Some new neighborhoods with state-of-the-art technology in this field are Hammarby Sjöstad, Norra Djurgårdsstaden and Hagastaden.

Quality of Life
Costs of living in Stockholm are in the most expensive in Sweden. Although the cost of living in Stockholm is high, it is not obvious compared to major cities. Except for agricultural products, the price is particularly expensive, because this country needs to spend an extremely long winter without sunlight.

Average living expenses are significantly higher in Stockholm, especially in the housing market. According to Sweden’s housing registration and waiting system, in Stockholm, it’s need to wait at least 15 to 20 years for an apartment to be eligible, even if they can afford it right away.

The working environment and corporate culture are the commendable advantages of Stockholm. The booming tech scene and gender equality makes Stockholm a more welcome choice of working place. Salaries in Stockholm are above average. However, finding a suitable job in Stockholm is not easy. This city is experiencing a net influx of population, therefore, the requirements for labor have relatively more strict. The basic requirement for many jobs is a higher education and fluent in Swedish. Don’t forget that Sweden is a high-welfare country, so taxes are relatively high.

Culture in Stockholm
Stockholm has emerged as one of Europe’s innovation and entrepreneurial capitals with a vibrant start-up scene and open, tolerant society. It is also one of the cleanest cities in the world with a population of roughly 1 million residents embracing green-leaning programs and strong environmental protection. Stockholm’s winter climate can be a challenge to some, but even then, very few would turn down the opportunity to spend time in this welcoming city.

Apart from being a large city with an active cultural life, Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, houses many national cultural institutions. Kulturhuset on Sergels torg is considered one of Sweden’s largest cultural institutions. In 1998, Stockholm Municipality was the European Capital of Culture. The Stockholm Culture Festival and Stockholm Pride are held annually during the summer.

Three of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites are located in the Stockholm area: Drottningholm Castle and Birka (both in Ekerö municipality), and Skogskyrkogården (Stockholm municipality). One of Stockholm’s biggest tourist attractions is the high guard which is conducted at Stockholm and Drottningholm’s castles.

Stockholm matches most places in terms of culture. It has brilliant art galleries, such as Fotografiska, great arenas that host huge concerts and sporting events, like Tele2 and Globen, as well as an opera house and theatres that have a delightful range of shows to see. There are also museums large and small that cover all kinds of topics, from Swedish history to ABBA. Everyone’s cultural tastes are catered to by Stockholm – you can even see art on the Stockholm subway, where over 90 stations have varying kinds of installations on display, from sculptures to paintings.

The poet Carl Michael Bellman, the author and playwright August Strindberg and the author Hjalmar Söderberg are some who have made the city a part of their work. The children’s book author Astrid Lindgren, who originated in Vimmerby in Småland, also lived in Stockholm throughout her life as an author, and several of her books take place here. The author Per Anders Fogelström wrote the Stad series, which depicts Stockholm from the 19th century until the middle of the 20th century.

Some well-known literary figures who have worked in Stockholm include Movitz, Ture Sventon, Karlsson on the Roof, Hubert Norlén, Martin Beck, Harry Friberg, Anderssonskans Kalle and Doktor Glas.

Stockholm is one of the world’s most museum-dense cities, with around 70 museums, which are visited by more than 9 million people every year.

The most visited museums are Skansen and the Vasa Museum at Södra Djurgården, both with over 1 million visitors a year. Skansen is the world’s first open – air museum, inaugurated in 1891 by Arthur Hazelius. The Vaasa Museum displays the royal ship Vasa, the world’s only preserved 17th century galleon. At Djurgården and the place where the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930 took place, there are two more museums: the Technical Museum and the Maritime History Museum.

The National Museum has Sweden’s largest art collection, the museum is a leading art and design museum. The collections include older paintings, sculptures, drawings and graphics as well as arts and crafts and design to this day. The Swedish Museum of Natural History, located in Frescati, near Stockholm University, is a biological and geological museum. At Djurgården and the place where the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930 was held, there are five more museums: the Technical Museum, the Police Museum, the National Sports Museum, the Ethnographic Museum andMaritime History Museum. On Skeppsholmen ‘s Museum of Modern Art, Architecture and Design Center, and East Asian Museum.

Stockholm’s old observatory, is an observatory and a museum, located at the top of Observatoriekullen, at the intersection of Sveavägen and Odengatan in Vasastaden. The museum has, among other things, a world-unique temperature loop that shows the average temperature during the year’s warmest (July) and coldest (February) month from 1756 until today. As a museum visitor, you can observe the starry sky in this historic environment, some days a year in clear weather.

Stockholm has several prominent art museums; including the large Moderna Museet and Nationalmuseum for modern and older art in various forms. Stockholm’s other art museums usually include Millesgården, the Thiel Gallery, Prince Eugene’s Waldemarsudde and the private Bonnier portrait collection. The Nordic Museum also has a large art collection with works by August Strindberg, among others.

Stockholm has many theaters, such as the Royal Dramatic Theater (Dramaten) and the Royal Opera (see also under “Music”). Some other theaters in Stockholm are Stockholm City Theater, Teater Galeasen, Turteatern, Teater Tribunalen, Folkoperan, Moderna dansteatern, Göta Lejon, Södra teatern, Chinateatern, Vasateatern and Oscarsteatern.

Cinemas and movies
The first experiments with permanent cinema salons in Stockholm were made at the end of the 19th century after the cinematograph had been demonstrated at the Stockholm Exhibition in 1897. Before that, it was mostly circulars that showed the cinema as a kind of curious entertainment. In 1905 Stockholm had ten cinemas and by the end of 1909 the number had risen to 25 permanent cinema salons. The largest number of cinemas was in 1943, when Stockholm had 110 salons. Most cinema-goers were listed in 1956 with 16.8 million this year.

The oldest cinema that has been in operation since it was built is Zita, which was built as early as 1913 under the name Vinter-Palatset. The most beautiful is the Skandia Theater, inaugurated in 1923 and built according to architect Gunnar Asplund’s drawings. In the 1990s and later, several new ” Film Cities ” opened, ie SF’s concept for multi-cinemas.

Stockholm Film Festival has been held every autumn since 1990. Tempo Documentary Festival is Sweden’s largest festival for documentary film. A number of smaller film festivals are also arranged in the Stockholm area.

Film Stockholm is a regional resource center for film within Stockholm County Council’s cultural administration, with support from the Swedish Film Institute.

The Royal Opera (also called the Royal Theater) is Sweden’s national stage for opera and ballet. The opera is located between Gustav Adolf’s square and Kungsträdgården. The opera house is also home to the Royal Ballet and the Royal Court Orchestra. The building is designed in neo – baroque style by architect Axel Anderberg and was inaugurated on September 19, 1898. The site was formerly the Gustavian Opera House, which was demolished in 1892.

Stockholm Concert Hall is located in the city center at Hötorget at the corner of Kungsgatan and Sveavägen. The building was built in the years 1924–1926 according to drawings by architect Ivar Tengbom. The building is considered a highlight of Swedish 1920s classicism, and the Great Hall has room for 1770 (or perhaps 1782) people.

In Stockholm’s Concert Hall, the Nobel Prize in Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Literature will be awarded on 10 December each year. In parallel with the concert activities, Stockholm’s Concert Hall also served as a theater under the name Konserthusteatern, under the direction of the actor Gösta Ekman d.ä. and director Per Lindberg. Outside the building, Carl Mille’s fountain group, the Orpheus well from 1936, forms an important accent.

Berwaldhallen is a concert hall located on Östermalm by Dag Hammarskjölds väg 3. The building was built in 1976–1979 by Swedish Radio as the home of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra. The house was designed by the architects Erik Ahnborg and Sune Lindström. About two thirds of the building is blasted into the rock. Berwaldhallen is named after Franz Berwald.

Stockholm Jazz Festival is one of Sweden’s oldest festivals that took place since 1980 on Skeppsholmen in July every year. Since 2011 the name is now Stockholm Jazz Fest and was held at Skansen.

Stockholm has a rich choir life where, among others, the Radio Choir, Gustaf Sjökvist’s Chamber Choir, Stockholm Boys’ Choir and Mikaeli Chamber Choir are among the most famous.

Stockholm has a large number of bars, pubs and nightclubs. The largest entertainment districts are located around Stureplan and Götgatan. At Stureplan there are, among other things, the nightclubs Sturecompagniet and Spy Bar which are run by the Stureplan group. Other more well-known clubs include Café Opera and Patricia. Among the entertainment establishments are Wallman’s salons, Golden Hits and Norra Brunn. There is also a casino, Casino Cosmopol. The classic entertainment scenes can also include the Nalen and the Phoenix Palace.

Bern’s salons were built in 1862–1863 by the confectioner Heinrich Robert Berns according to architect Johan Fredrik Åbom’s drawings. Inauguration took place on August 1, 1863. With his collaborator Magnus Isæus, he expanded the building in 1885 with another salon, angled to the original and at the same time changed its name from Berns Salong to Berns Salonger. Bern’s salon was one of Europe’s great restaurants in its time and played a major role in Stockholm’s entertainment; In 1866, cancan was shown here for the first time to a Swedish audience.

Sports and sports facilities
The biggest spectator sports in Stockholm are football and ice hockey. The largest sports clubs are AIK, Djurgårdens IF and Hammarby IF. Stockholm hosted the 1912 Summer Olympics. Stockholm’s Olympic Stadium, which was built for that purpose according to drawings by architect Torben Grut, has since been used for several sports competitions, mainly football and athletics. The stadium was AIK’s home arena 1912–1936 and was then the home arena for Djurgårdens IF between 1936 and 2013, after AIK moved to the newly built national arena Råsundastadion.

The Globe, (internationally called: Stockholm Globe Arena), is an arena located in the Globe area in the Johanneshov district. It was inaugurated on February 19, 1989 and is the world’s largest spherical building. In addition to various sporting events, the arena also hosts concerts and performances. Another major arena, Råsunda Stadium, was built in 1937 and was located in Solna. This is now demolished and replaced by the new national arena Friends Arena near Solna station. Friends Arena, which was originally called Swedbank Arena, is used as home ground for AIK and the Swedish national football team. South of the city, Tele2 Arena was also built, which was inaugurated in July 2013, where Hammarby and Djurgården play their home matches.

In the city, the morning newspapers Dagens Nyheter, Svenska Dagbladet and Dagens Industri, the evening newspapers Aftonbladet and Expressen run their operations. There are also free newspapers such as Metro.

The TV group TV4 Group, is based in Stockholm. Swedish Television (SVT) also has its headquarters in Stockholm. The other large TV groups Nent (including TV3, TV6, and TV8), ProSiebenSat.1 Media (including Kanal 5 and Kanal 9) are also based in Stockholm. SVT has a local newsroom that broadcasts local news programs over Stockholm and the surrounding area.

The radio group Sveriges Radio is also headquartered in the city. The building is located on Oxenstiernsgatan in Stockholm.

Swedish cuisine
Swedish cuisine includes a range of dishes, rites and traditions around food and drink. The food is traditionally simple. Many dishes started with a strong local roots – Swedish cuisine has been characterized by the ingredients that have been available locally. Sweden’s long winters are one explanation for why there is a shortage of fresh vegetables in many traditional dishes.

Crops that could feed the population during long winters became early cornerstones of the diet: various root vegetables such as the domestic turnip gradually began to be replaced by potatoes in the 18th century.. Potatoes were for a long time the most important complementary ingredient, but have today been taken over by pasta. Fish was very important historically. The spice has traditionally been sparse due to lack of supply, although a number of native herbs and plants have been used since ancient times. The taste was therefore quite simple until the influences from French cuisine in the 17th and 18th centuries, and both before and after influences from the German food tradition.

Meatballs are often considered something of a Swedish national dish and are also internationally well associated with Sweden. However, meatballs occur in many countries. Another typical Swedish dish is falu sausage, even though they originate in Germany. Thursday has traditionally been a soup day, as the maids then had half a day off, and soup is easy to make. The most common soup on Thursdays, and one of the most prominent traditional soups, is the pea soup. For dessert, pancakes are traditionally served. Other typically Swedish dishes and food phenomena are crispbread, Långfil, sour milk, crisp bread, whey, lutfisk, fermented Baltic herring, gravlax, smoked sausage, cream cakes, punch and hot smoking of foodstuffs.

Smörgåsbord is a traditional Swedish buffet developed from the bourgeoisie’s brandy table. Smorgasbord consists of hot and cold dishes that are served and the diners go around themselves and provide themselves with the dishes they want. Bread and butter are always included as well as various herring fillings. Often there are omelets, casseroles, sausages, meatballs, aspic and puddings including hot dishes. Cold-cut meat, smoked salmon, eel and mackerel as well as pâtés are common.

Typically Swedish Christmas dominates dishes based on pork, such as ham, Christmas sausage, jam, meat balls, fried sausage and dip into the pot. In addition, various fish dishes common, especially pickled herring but also herring, salmon and stockfish, to which the white sauce is not unusual. Various desserts are also served at a Christmas table, where rice à la Malta is one of the more common. In midsummer, it is customary to eat pickled herring withfresh potatoes and sour cream and chives, as well as strawberries for dessert. Midsummer is also very much associated with fresh potatoes, which are often served with dill. On a lobster slice, the main course usually consists of whole crayfish cooked in a layer consisting of water, beer, plenty of dill crowns and other spices.

Adults in Sweden drink an average of 1,200 cups of coffee per year, which is about four cups per day. This gives Sweden one of the largest coffee consumption in the world in comparison with the population. Different types of beer are often drunk as a meal drink in Sweden and are most common, as in many other countries, light lager beer. Mead was historically a more expensive party drink during the Viking and Middle Ages, while beer was more often drunk by the common people. Swedish schnapps is drunk with the food at several of the typical party dining tables. Sometimes simpler songs are sung, calledschnapps songs in connection with the schnapps.

In terms of meals, it is most common to eat about three to four times a day. A common variation is to have breakfast early in the morning, followed by lunch in the middle of the day and a heavy dinner in the late afternoon. It is also common to eat something between lunch and dinner, which is usually called a snack. Many Swedes also drink coffee after lunch, and sometimes even in the afternoon as part of a coffee break. One or more coffee breaks are part of most Swedes’ daily habits.

Restaurants and inns
In Stockholm, there have been known drinking places at least since the Middle Ages. With certainty, however, travelers could much earlier eat and drink for some kind of payment at, for example, places where trade was conducted and many people met. Storkällaren or Rådhuskällaren in Stockholm’s town hall, which dates from at least the 1350s, is Stockholm’s oldest known place of business.

According to Charles IX ‘s ordinance of 1605 on the right of inns to buy foreign wines and beers in the City between the bridges, there would be six open inns and two gourmet kitchens. As a sign of recognition, they would hang signs with symbols such as three cones, a blue eagle, a gilded lion, a griffin, a sun and a moon. In this way, Stockholm’s early inn names were born: Tre Kronor (in the Proserpina district), Blå Örn (in the Medusa district), Förgyllda Lejonet (in the Atlas district), Gripen (inthe Trivia district), the Sun (in the Proserpina district) and the Moon (in the Cupid district).

At the end of the 17th century, there were 51 wine cellars, 81 beer and spirits taverns and 21 gourmet kitchens in the city, which had just over 60,000 inhabitants. It became about a restaurant for 325 city dwellers, including children. In the middle of the 18th century, there were almost 700 official restaurant numbers (serving licenses) in Stockholm. With the population at that time, it corresponded to one serving place per about 83 inhabitants. The taverns were run mainly by women with livelihood problems. They received a restaurant permit as a kind of poor relief and restaurateur one of the most common female professions at that time.

Carl Michael Bellman was a frequent visitor to the city’s taverns, inns and wine cellars. In his poems, Bellman mentioned 113 taverns and inns in Stockholm and the surrounding area, 30 of which were in the Old Town. In Fredman’s epistles about thirty taverns are mentioned. Some existed but some have been invented by Bellman, for example Bruna Dörren, Förgyllda Bägaren, Hvita Hästen and Tre Byttor.

In 2016 there were in the municipality of Stockholm 3315 pubs, cafes and restaurants throughout Wisconsin was the same year 5691. Among the most well known and prized are Michelin taverns Esperanto, Leijontornet, Mathias Dahlgren, Oaxen tavern and Operakällaren. Other classic Stockholm restaurants also usually mention Gondolen, Ulla Winbladh, Wedholms Fisk, Ulriksdals Wärdshus, Clas på Hörnet and Hasselbacken.

In Stockholm and the surrounding area, only two historic eateries remain that run their business in uninterrupted succession and in the same place: Stallmästaregården in Solna from the middle of the 17th century and The Golden Peace in the Old Town, which has been at the same address since 1722. “Peace” can thus be the world’s oldest continuously existing city restaurant in the same place. However, the fact that Zum Franziskaner at Skeppsbron 44 should have been founded in 1421 is a myth. It is certain that the premises were opened by Mrs. Augusta Engelbrecht on 23 December 1889 on Skeppsbron, where it is still located. In its own documents, the restaurant states in 1622. According to the owner, 1622 was the year it was claimed that Zum Franziskaner was established at its current address.

Advantages of living in Stockholm
Stockholm is a fantastic place to visit, with so many wonderful attractions, rich history and a special kind of Scandinavian charm. Sweden has a very clear national identity, and was well known for its wholesome approach to life, the wonderfully non-hierarchical society, or indeed the cost of eating or drinking in the city.

In reality, Stockholm is also a fantastic place to live and work, and many people move to the Swedish capital and embrace life in one of Europe’s most vibrant cities. Stockholm has a lot to shout about: a world-renowned work-life balance, some of the best fika (coffee breaks) in Sweden and a supportive environment in which to raise a family.

Swedes love the outdoors. Although the winters are long and dark, they make the most of them with sledding, skating and skiing trips outside the city. Sweden allows free roaming, camping and foraging. Only a bus ride north of the city takes you to Trehörningsskogen nature reserve, with its birch and spruce forests, and small lakes that warm up nicely for wild swimming in the summer. About 20km south of Stockholm is Tyresta national park with its vast pine forests, hiking trails, stunning lakes and overnight shelters. East of the city is Björnö, a reserve on a peninsula in the Baltic Sea. Besides the hiking trails, Björnö’s popular beaches can be explored by kayak.

while the summer months see Stockholm residents soaking up the sun whenever they can in a clean and uncrowded city. When the weather is good, Stockholm provides plenty of stunning spaces to enjoy the sun. It has parks such as Vasaparken and Tantolunden that have space to explore, sunbathe and play boule in an open-air French café. There are nature reserves where you can fish, hike or just relax. There is even a national park just to the south of the city called Tyreso, which has some of Sweden’s most beautiful walking paths. For water-lovers, Stockholm has many options, from boat trips to small beaches and lakes to swim in. For outdoorsy types Stockholm is perfect. Stockholm can be reasonably described as one third water, and one third green space, and there are peaceful forest walks to be enjoyed just 15 minutes outside the city centre.

Sweden is well-known for its welfare system. Schools (including bi-lingual and international schools) and healthcare are excellent, and public services are well-organized and efficient. If you are employed in Stockholm, your interests are protected by an active trade union movement; virtually all Swedish employees belong to one of about 60 trade unions. If you work in Stockholm, one of the benefits is a generous paid leave allowance: a statutory 25 days in addition to 16 public holidays.

Work culture
Swedes are masters of work-life balance and nowhere is this clearer than in Stockholm. Companies in Sweden feel that productivity is better, not worse, when workers get the chance to take time off and recharge. Sweden has worked very hard to ensure that its workplace culture nurtures happy, healthy and fulfilled workers who have a positive work-life balance. The holidays are also very generous, with many people getting more than five weeks off. During the long summer months, employees can take advantage of their five weeks of annual holiday allowance and the incredible 18 hours of daylight in June.

Despite its high cost of living, the Swedish capital is an excellent city in which to raise a family. Parents are allowed 480 days of parental leave between them when a child is born or adopted and can claim 80 per cent of their pay for 390 of those days. They also have the legal right to reduce their working hours by 25 per cent until their child turns eight.

Scandinavian style
Swedish design has long been characterized by stylistic austerity and simplicity, as well as a preference for natural materials. Knut Bergkvist is an early representative of Swedish glass art. Carl Malmsten, Yngve Ekström and Bruno Mathsson are style icons in furniture design. Traditional Swedish clothing design was expressed in folk costumes, among other things.

Stockholm is a very style-conscious city and is one of the European capitals of design. It is a wonderful place to find amazing furniture and homeware that reflects the simple, clean and elegant tenets of Scandinavian design. It’s also a hub for fashion, with brands like H&M, Arket, Cheap Monday and Weekday, all emanating from the Swedish capital. Stockholm is a truly sophisticated city, and this is reflected in its sense of style and modern, simple aesthetic.

Today’s fashion creation is international in a completely different way. In addition to more established fashion designers such as Gudrun Sjödén, Gunilla Pontén and Filippa K, a new collection of smaller Swedish brands is starting, for example Diana Orving, Whyred, Hope, Nakkna, Velor, Carin Wester, Ida Sjöstedt, Cheap Monday, J Lindeberg and The Local Firm come forward and get more recognition.

Stockholm is a very open and progressive city, which aims to be inclusive and ensure that people are happy and comfortable. Sweden’s egalitarian approach to life is that culture and entertainment is often available free or at low cost. Entry to museums and exhibits around Stockholm are inexpensive, and parks often host free concerts and shows in the summer months. Bicycle and boat hire is also very affordable, the latter being a great way for expats to familiarise themselves with the various small islands that surround the city.

Stockholm is a progressive city that leads on gender equality and it is common to see stay-at-home dads pushing prams round the city’s 26 green parks on weekdays. Parents with prams travel for free on buses, and there is a monthly allowance to support the cost of raising children up to the age of 16. Stockholm is one of the top 30 countries in the world for LGBTQ people, with it scoring particularly highly in terms of LGBT rights, dating and openness. It is also a great place for young families and has been one of Europe’s most proactive countries in trying to find solutions to the recent refugee crisis. The HSBC survey ranks it as the ninth best city in terms of tolerance and tenth in quality of life.

Swedes are a law-abiding people and their capital city also exudes an air of order and wholesomeness. In recent years, Sweden has caused some illegal activities due to the influx of new immigrants. However, in general, Stockholm remains the safest city in Europe.

Challenges: Cultural shock
While Swedes are open, honest, straightforward people, this means they have little time for small talk and say bluntly what they mean. To many other nationals, this can come across as rudeness. This may be down to the weather. A December day is Stockholm is indeed not suited to standing and chatting in the street.

Swedes are perfectly polite and sociable, but just not disposed to small talk, which made many new comer struggle with socializing in Stockholm. It seems ironic that Swedes are second only to the Dutch in their proficiency in speaking English as a second language. It just sometimes seems like they would rather not use it.

Swedish values
Swedish values are concisely formulated as normative principles in the form of government. Important components that are pointed out are democracy, free opinion formation, the individual’s sphere of freedom of personal values, equal human value, social welfare, equal equality for all before the law, protection of national minorities, good environment and sustainability. They believe that the law does not force citizens to a specific culture, ideology or religion, but that the legislator has nevertheless formulated a community of values.

There are clearly separate and consistent values that are typical of Sweden. Swedish culture is characterized by a very low power distance, strongindividualism, the world’s lowest values for masculinity, low uncertainty avoidance and relatively weak long-term orientation. The low power distance means that Swedes expect power to be distributed equally. The most distinctive dimension of Swedish culture, the low masculinity, makes Sweden the world’s most feminist country. Swedish culture values competition, ambition and material accumulation very low, while relationships and quality of life are valued very highly. At the same time, Swedish culture is strongly individualistic, or non-collectivist; individuals are not expected to act as members of lifelong groups.

In terms of religiosity or secularism, Swedish culture is now one of the world’s most religiously critical and least religious. A comparison of the proportion who are not convinced believers in the existence of a god, places Sweden first with up to 85% agnostics and atheists.

A collective concept for the values that Swedish culture expresses perhaps most strongly of all is post-materialism. In harmony with the rationalist and equal values, Swedish culture is strongly universalist. Universalism means an individual believes that equal treatment should also apply outside his or her own group. More universalist societies have a broader “moral universe” and are more inclusive. Sweden belongs to the most inclusive category, together with the rest of the western world, something that for Sweden has its basis in a particularly strong thinking of equality. An expression of universalism is environmental awareness.

Featured community
Despite being the biggest city in Sweden, Stockholm often conveys a small-town feeling. Cobblestone streets will guide you through the old parts of the city, lined with historic residences atop high waterfront hills. Regardless of whether you can find a listing, the characteristic areas described below may be suitable for different preferences.

Norrmalm district
This district makes up most of Stockholm’s city center, together with Kungsholmen. Norrmalm is home to most government offices and buildings, including various ministries. It may be just the place for you if you consider moving to Stockholm to work in the financial sector. After all, it is the country’s banking and financial center. With the Central Station and Arlanda train station, Norrmalm is also well-connected to the rest of the city.

Södermalm district
As Stockholm’s most attractive district, Södermalm lies at the very heart of Stockholm’s rich past and historic buildings litter the area. Moreover, in recent years an urban revolution has occurred in Södermalm and it has become a favorite among countless artists, fashion divas and musicians. In fact, the area has become known for its “hipster” vibe and has been ranked by Vogue as the “coolest” neighborhood in Europe. In terms of nightlife, it is the hottest part of the city for anyone who enjoys whiling away the hours in pubs, bars and clubs. As a result, real estate prices doubled in this area between 2000 and 2014.

Södermalm provides the best of both worlds; cobbled lanes and green spaces meet modern architecture. However, you should note that Södermalm is a victim of the housing shortage, and the average time on the waiting list for a first hand rental contract there is fourteen years. Nonetheless, even if you don’t end up living there, chances are you will spend time in Södermalm at some point. The district is the home of the Royal Palace and the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) and any tour guide will invariably lead you through its ancient streets.

Rinkeby-Kista district
Stockholm’s multicultural district with an entrepreneurial atmosphere, Kista is the city’s northernmost district, has long been home to leading high-tech and IT companies. Kista’s Science City is indeed one of the most important centers for Information Communication Technologies, with about 750 companies, several research institutes and schools. Swedes and expats moving to Stockholm often find jobs here. There are currently plans to build 4,000 new homes in the Kista area, mainly in Kista Science City.

Älvsjö district
Älvsjö is one of the greenest districts in the city of Stockholm with lots of new and modern residential developments. The area is constantly expanding, offering more and more space for locals and expats moving to Stockholm. Thus, for expats and Swedes on the hunt for housing Älvsjö might just be the best place in Stockholm to find a home. While the opportunity to travel around the city is presently not as viable here as in other districts, in the near future, the district will also expand in terms of public transportation, turning the area into a major transportation hub. In spite of Älvsjö’s new modern outlook, the oldest building of Stockholm, the church of Brännkyrka, built in the 12th century, is also located here.