About moving to Sweden.....

This little note is written to share some experiences we had when moving from Norway to Sweden. Some of it might be relevant even if you are planning to buy a summerhouse in Sweden. But keep in mind that we are comparing Sweden and Norway.

Not everything is the same, even if we like to call ourselves ”broderfolket” (brother-people). What you feel as positive or negative depends on the individual. We are very satisfied with our new country, and that means that most of the differences are registered as positive for us. We define our new countrymen as including, patient and as people that do not demand much. When you have read this note I am sure that you agree that their patience is well developed. People accept much that a Norwegian would not. 

To buy a house:
If you think that this is a process you are familiar with from your country (Norway) – it is NOT... Before the contract is signed both by seller and buyer everything is allowed. You can refuse your own offer, and even the seller can first accept your offer, and then refuse it! This makes it possible for a seller to cheat on the price by asking some friends to drive up the price, because they run no risk in doing this. When you are the owner of the house, and then find that something is seriously wrong, it is very difficult to get any money refunded from the seller or get any insurance money.  It is very important that you consult expertise before you sign anything.

Heating the house:
When you, at last, are the happy owner of a house, you are a part of a discussion in Sweden: What is the cheapest and simplest way to heat the house in the winter? Everybody agrees on one thing: To heat the house with oil or electric elements are too expensive. Many houses have central heating with radiators in every room. Then there is a good starting point for several alternatives: Pellets (small bricks of wood), heating pump or simply wood-heating.

When you order electricity to the house, you will automatically get a tariff called "normalpris", "ventetariff" e.l. This is the most expensive alternative. Change it as soon as possible to something cheaper.   

Personal number (social security no):
When you bought the house you automatically got a constructed personal no. This number is OK for the tax department, and not useful for anything else. If you are staying permanently in Sweden you must register at the ”folkeregister”, and then you will get a real personal no. Without a normal personal no there are lots of things that will not work so well:
    You have to pay deposit to get a telephone.
    The bank is not so interested in having you as a costumer. Keep your old bank and get a letter of credit from them.
    You can order electrisity, but the webservice from the supplier will not work for you.
It is difficult to get internet-connection.

In everyday life
When you move around in your surroundings you will discover all the small differences. We moved from a suburb, just outside Oslo to a small community in Småland. Probably you will find other differences than we did.

Cash dispensers are good to have when you need cash. In Norway they are reducing the amount of cash dispensers because you can get cash in nearly every store when you go shopping.  In Sweden you also can get cash back in most shops, but people are still going to the cash dispensers. IAs a general people are using much more cash (paper and coins) that we are used to from Norway.

We were used to buy all our groceries from the supermarket. In our surroundings here in Småland we have found many farm-shops. The farmer has put up a small shelter by the road and sell his goods directly to the consumer. You put the money in a box and take the goods. People are honest and the system seems to work. A 24 hour shop with very fresh food. Of course we have to visit the local store, but we prefer to buy form the farm-shops if possible.

Electricity, telephone, cell phone and internet broadband
is not only more expensive than in Norway, but you have to be prepared that it suddenly disappears! Wind or snow is not good for old cabling. The distance between wires and trees are much to short.  If you are heating your house by electricity you must find an alternative supply. Even a central heat system requires some electrical power for the circulation pump, even if you are using wood, pellets or oil.  If you do not live in a central area you must live without electrical power for a week… It can be a good investment to buy a small aggregate, a camping gas set and a battery with inverter to 220v.

Even the telephone is sensitive to bad weather. If the electricity goes out the telephone will die after a while.

Here is the same problem. Works for a while, and when the back up power is gone it all stops. There are several mobile net in Sweden. A not-Swedish telephone will automatically try “roaming” to find a net that is till working. A Swedish telephone is connected to only one network. Keep your foreign phone in case of emergencies. I must also add that the coverage of the mobile net is rather bad in Sweden. Only when you are close to a major road you can expect good coverage.

Fixing a broadband that has gone down has low priority. Your broadband can be “down” several days after electricity and telephone is working. The network itself is stronger and better that we are used to from Norway. Even in many small towns you can get up to 24 mb/s. Unfortunately the Swedish people has not been able to use this properly. You can find a nice homepage, but when it comes to ordering it says “make a phone call”….