Swedish people: as warm as their winters


They say a picture tells 1000 words, but we aim to do both.

Thanks to Internations for the data, and The Independent for mapping it. This world map identifies how easy it is for expats to settle in to their new location. At least Sweden is in the company of its Nordic neighbours and Germany.

“Swedes are hard to get to know privately. Even when you have a great relationship at work, socializing after hours is not so Swedish. It would be nice to break that ice one day.”

(Quote from the State of Expat Life in Sweden Survey)

But, if you’ve already moved here, what can you do about it? Firstly, be realistic in your expectations. You are unlikely to form quick relationships with Swedes, so look to see where you can find friendship with other expats for a start. That will get you going with support and company, and you can look to build on it over time.

Our State of Expat Life in Sweden report identified best practices for forming relationships with locals, including;

• Take it easy – “lagom”. If you’re not too showy or brash, Swedes will find it easier to relate to you
• Look to build you relationship with Swedes outside the workplace, and don’t expect too many invitations for after work drinks or weekend BBQs. Bottomline, you’re more likely to make Swedish friends at your kids school, than at work.
• Turn up to fika. This is a fundamental part of Swedish society, and shows that you’re prepared to do what it takes to fit in
Learn Swedish. Even if you don’t need it for work, you’ll be able to speak to people more easily at social occasion.

For more, read The State of Expat in Sweden Report and Guide.


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Sean is responsible for Mundus’ strategy and commercial activities. He began his career in the oil industry Australia. After working internationally in commercial roles with BP in South Africa, the UK and Singapore he moved to Sweden with his family in 2009. He worked in business development and then as the Strategy and Growth Director for NASDAQ Commodities from 2009 to 2015. Sean holds an engineering degree from Adelaide University and an MBA from the Darden Business School at the University of Virginia.