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Living in Uppsala

A comprehensive guide about living well in Uppsala

Uppsala (pronounced OOP-sal-ah) is Sweden's fourth largest city. It is most notable for its young population due to its excellent universities, as well as being home to the largest cathedral in Scandinavia. Read on to learn more about life in Uppsala!

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Life in Uppsala

Education in Uppsala

Education is of huge importance in Uppsala and the city is home to Uppsala University, which has a history dating back more than 500 years. It is famous around the world for its anatomical theater, which has been converted into a museum. Nowadays, the university belongs to the Coimbra Group of European universities and has around 25,000 students in total.

As well as the fine reputation of Uppsala University, the city has a leading position in the growing field of biotechnology and Uppsala is famed globally for its excellent medical research.

Uppsala also hosts the main campus of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, which is one of the top ten universities in Sweden. Lutheran theological seminary Johannelunds Teologiska Högskola can also be found in Uppsala, along with the Newman Institute, a Catholic institution that was founded in 2001.

Culture and Leisure in Uppsala

Uppsala Cathedral, the Domkyrka, is one of the most important locations in Uppsala, holding the title of Scandinavia’s largest church building. With few other tall buildings in the city, it dominates the Uppsala skyline, along with Uppsala Castle.

The large student population of the city gives the city a bit of a party vibe, with plenty of bars and restaurants targeted at younger residents, although students tend to socialize amongst themselves in so-called Student Nations. 

There are not so many fine dining options but, like in most Swedish cities, expats living in Uppsala can look forward to many sushi bars. Coffee is also of huge importance to Swedes and pastries are often consumed too.

Uppsala has plenty of historic significance and located on the edge of the city is Gamla (Old) Uppsala, where human sacrifices are rumored to have been made to the Norse gods. At the end of April, Uppsala comes alive with the Valborg celebrations, where thousands of people take to the streets for a festival atmosphere. 

The city is not particularly sporty although efforts are being made to improve matters in this area. The Fyrishov arena is the fourth most visited site of its kind in Sweden, with a water park drawing plenty of fitness fanatics; there are facilities for lots of different indoor sports too. 

During winter, expatriates in Uppsala will find that the traditional Swedish sport of bandy, which is- similar to ice hockey, is played at Studenternas Idrottsplats and the local team Sirius plays in the Swedish top division. Uppsala’s other main sport is floorball and the city has two teams in the Swedish Super League, both of which play at Fyrishov, Storvreta IBK and IK Sirius IBK.

The city is a strong Christian center with a religious past; it was once Sweden’s main pagan center and also hosted idols of the Æsir gods at the Temple at Uppsala.

Safety and Security in Uppsala

Uppsala has a good safety and security reputation, although the Swedish city does have moderate levels of certain types of crime and expats living in Uppsala should be aware that some pickpockets do operate in the area.

The large student population makes the city a target for car and house break-ins, but Uppsala is considered a very safe place late at night compared to many other places around the world. Violent crime in Uppsala is uncommon and there are also few attacks based on race or religion — it is an inclusive community. 

The emergency number in Uppsala is 112 and there is a further number, 11414, to contact the local police if it is not an emergency. 

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Updated on: April 14, 2015
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