Saunders 1865 | Moving to Stockholm

Moving to Stockholm

Are you moving to Stockholm? Stockholm is the capital and largest city in Sweden and is often referred to as the Capital of Scandinavia.  It is the seat of both government and the monarchy.

Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden and the Nordic countries and is the cultural, political, media and economic centre of the country.  With exceptional educational facilities, a skilled workforce and the financial centre, this is a popular city for expats.

Our free, in-depth Moving to Stockholm report includes info on:

• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city

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Putting Stockholm on the Map

Built on 17 islands, it is located at the Junction of Salt Bay, an arm of the Baltic Sea and Lake Mälar, and opposite of the Gulf of Finland.  The city also stretches to the mainland of Södermanland and Uppland and is in the south-east of Sweden.

Stockholm has an excellent public transport system, including the metro, bus, rail, light rail or tram, and the archipelago boats.  With the boats as an exception, tickets for all land-based transport can be used on all modes and are bought from SL (Stockholm Lokaltrafik).

Around 800,000 commuters use public transport on a daily basis, which is exceptional in a city with a population of around 917,000.  Stockholm is known as the world’s Smallest Big city.

Buses run on a hop-on, hop-off basis using SL cards.  There are a number of bus lines, the inner-city buses are blue and red in the suburbs.  Transport from Arlanda Airport into Stockholm is via the Flybussama line.

For those living in the suburbs and commuting into the city, the suburban rail services are the most convenient, and the lines are named Pendeltå, Roslagsbanan and Saltsjöbanan.

The Metro or the Tunnelbana is known locally as the T-bana.  Running below and above ground, this extensive system serves the outlying areas and the city centre.  The red, green and blue lines run to over 100 stations, and many connect to the local bus system.  The metro is very busy in peak hours.

The Stockholm subway is like being in your own personal art gallery, with a mix of paintings, mosaics, and sculptures along the way.

The three light rail services, or tram lines, along with the Djurgården, which is Stockholm’s heritage tram, are generally called by their names, and are Tvärbanan, Lidingöbanan, and Nockebybanan, denoting the starting point of the line.

Compared with other European cities, Stockholm’s road traffic is much less congested, and the well-signposted streets make it much easier to navigate.  There is a congestion charge, and parking is extremely expensive and hard to find.  Owning a vehicle is not essential within the city limits.  With a remarkable network of safe walkways, parks and cycle paths, many people chose to cycle or walk to work.  And expats don’t even need to own a bicycle, the city has a unique system of borrowing one of the hundreds of bikes that the city has made available, as long as they are in possession of a bike card from Stockholm City Bikes.  These cards are available as a three-day or a full season card.

The Areas

There are many suburbs to choose from within and outside of the city centre.  Whilst the city centre dwellers have the distinct advantage of not needing a car, those out in the suburbs are in easier reach of international schools, parks, and lakes.  However, commuting using public transport into the capital is time-consuming, so having a car may be more viable.  Rentals within the city are in high demand and are expensive.  So, where you live is up to you and your needs.  The city offers nightlife venues and proximity to your workplace.  But the suburbs are green and leafy, with good schools nearby, eliminating the need for the kids to commute.



This island on the western side of the city is a residential area with some industrialisation.  As a district, it is still being developed and is rapidly becoming an attractive district for its shopping mall, restaurants, bars, and great public transport.  Great views of the capital city across the water, along with picturesque parks, the waterfront and a maze of quaint streets make this very popular with young couples.


Another island, but to the south, Sodermalm is trendy and popular amongst hipsters, bohemians and young couples.  With choices in accommodation from apartments to cosy cottages, and being less expensive than other parts of the city, it is growing in popularity for those looking for a more arty, laid-back atmosphere.


This is where you will rub shoulders with the wealthy.  Stately buildings, upmarket shops, lovely parks and leafy streets, accommodation is expensive but well worth it.  It is also home to the main campus of the University of Stockholm, many museums and the Royal Library.  The Djurgarten is a large protected green area, which is part of the National City Park, and part of it falls within the area.


Also a pricey area, but not in the same league as Ostermalm, here you will find gorgeous architecture, the City Library, and a park with a winter ice rink.  Mainly settled by families, this vibrant district buzzes at night with a variety of pubs and restaurants.


Stockholm’s suburbs surround the city and are divided into northern and southern suburbs.

South:  Midommerkransen, Hammarby and Grondal.

North-West:  Rinkby, Bromma and Akalla

North-East: Taby, Djursholm and Sollentuna

East:  the Stockholm archipelago, consisting mainly of weekend homes by the sea.


A municipality that includes Djursholm, Stocksund and Enebyberg, the area is six miles to the north of the city with water on three sides.  Djursholm is popular with expats as it is a quick 15-minute commute on the metro into town.  It is also home to the British Primary School.


Home to the Stockholm-Bromma airport, this borough on the western outskirts is a popular expat family area with its beach, sports arenas and a branch of the International English School.


An affluent, exclusive and beautiful island, Lidingo in the north-east boasts a private school, a golf course and beachside properties.  Extensive public transport reaches the whole of the island, making commuting extremely convenient for expats looking for a quieter existence.


A suburban island, located 18 miles from the centre, this is a quiet residential area and is where the Royal Family reside.  Commuting may take some time, as available public transport is mainly by bus or ferry.  Definitely for those looking for a peaceful lifestyle.

Who Lives and Works in Stockholm?

The capital’s population is around 917,000, the urban area has around 1.4 million inhabitants, and the metropolitan area, 2.2 million.  The city accounts for around 22% of the country’s population.  Approximately 27% of residents are of non-Swedish backgrounds, and 15% are foreign-born.

As is the whole of Sweden, Stockholm’s workplaces are non-hierarchical.  Everyone from the CEO to the secretary is treated equally and has a voice, and this is of utmost importance to the Swedes.  So, gone is the corner office with great views, instead, benefits and privileges are shared amongst the staff.  As strange as it may seem at first, the employees are comfortable with each other and find it easier to approach any senior staff member with little or no bureaucracy.  The casual business culture emphasises work/life balance but is still very productive.

Sweden’s hub for green technologies and life-sciences, Stockholm is a major player in the IT market, and Ericsson and IBM are both based here.  The parallel ‘Silicon Valley’ is Kista Science Centre where most IT professionals are employed.

With around five weeks’ holiday per annum and plenty of public holidays, most of the companies work less hours per week than in most other world cities, but they still get it done.  Unemployment in the area stands at around 6%, but those with upper secondary school qualifications stand a better chance of securing work.

Stockholm is one of the world’s cleanest cities, mainly due to the absence of heavy industry.  85% of employment is in the services sector, with growth showing in the eco-technologies arena.  The stock exchange, along with all the major Swedish banks, are here, and Stockholm is the country’s financial centre.  Often lauded for economic competitiveness and clout, both regionally and globally, PricewaterhouseCoopers remarked that the city has a combination of quality of life and business efficiency in an unusually fluid and effective manner.  The Swedes generally do what is expected of them along with being trustworthy and diligent.

Major home-grown Swedish companies located here include AstraZeneca, Electrolux, Ericsson, H&M, IKEA, Skype, Solvatten and Spotify.

The Best Bits

Crime rates are low, salaries are good, accommodation is great, and less traffic congestion make Stockholm a fantastic city for expats.  Not only is it a green city – one third green space, one third water – it is clean, uncrowded, with a huge amount of culture.

  • Dating back to the 13th century the oldest building Riddarholmsskyrkan was built, along with Stockholm City Museum and Storkyrkan.
  • The city hosts more than 1500 artists. This thriving arts scene includes many opera, theatre and dance performances.
  • Whether it’s summer festivals, classical rock, or folk dances in the park, the many cultural opportunities cater to all tastes.
  • The safe, comprehensive transport system is efficient and clean and the friendly streets accommodate drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alongside each other.
  • Stunning parks and gardens. Because the city is spread over so many islands, many of these green areas include waterside walks.
  • There are countless museums – in the region of 70, including the Nobel Museum.
  • Around 14 theatres will provide for all tastes.
  • Many sporting facilities for both winter and summer sports.
  • Stockholm’s Telefonplan tower, with its permanent light installation called Colour by Numbers, is probably the only one in the world that can be controlled by anyone with a mobile phone.
  • The world’s largest model of the solar system is here. With the sun represented by the Globe Arena in Stockholm (coincidentally the largest spherical building ever to date) the planets are located all around the city and the suburbs.
Bringing the Kids

Well-known for its superb schools and universities, Stockholm is ideal for families.

  • The 17 universities offer world-class education in fields such as art and design, medical, technology, theology, economics, and music. Universities are free for EU students, and charge a minimal fee for non-EU students.
  • The state schools offer free tuition in Swedish. This would suit younger students who would pick up the local language quickly.
  • Private schools also teach in Swedish. They take donations but do not charge fees.  They are funded by municipalities.
  • There are many International Schools in the city including the British International Primary School, following the British curriculum, and the Stockholm and the Tanto International Schools, which both follow the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Lessons are conducted in English, with Swedish language lessons making up part of the syllabus. They are expensive with long waiting lists.
  • The Norr Stockholm School and the International English School are independent and follow the Swedish National Syllabus, with instruction in English.
Relocating to Stockholm

One of the world’s most beautiful cities spread across numerous islands, Stockholm is both a work, cultural, and family orientated city.  Great education facilities, a moderately low crime rate, everything imaginable for the culture-vulture, a great economy, an educated workforce with an efficient work ethic, and beautiful accommodation in a variety of locations all add up to a great destination for an expat family.  However, the Swedes are known to be shy, sometimes they almost seem rude.  Settling in here may seem daunting, but with the help of an expert relocation specialist, the transition will be easier and smoother.  From enrolling the kids in good schools to finding accommodation nearby and negotiating rental leases, your expert will guide you through seamlessly and with the minimum of disruption.


Good Schools
Great Transport
Green space
Museums & Galleries
Average Monthly Rent - Stockholm
Apartment (1 bedroom) in city centre 11,918kr
Apartment (1 bedroom) outside of centre 7,881kr
Apartment (3 bedrooms) in city centre 19,873kr
Apartment (3 bedrooms) outside of centre 13,508kr
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