Moving to Stockholm is the right thing to do for those expats who aspire to be international urbanites, yet do not want to forgo access to parks, forests, and lakes. Like no other city, Stockholm combines urban buzz with green space and blue water. Beautiful from the winter months to the summer months, with its 14 islands and 160km of shoreline, expats living in Stockholm will be in for a treat.
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. Let us introduce you to the city of Stockholm.
Stockholm, situated in the south of Sweden, is a unique city. With a past that stretches back over 700 years, the expat history buff will find a home like no other. The Swedish archipelago (skärgård) consists of 24,000 rocky islands. Stockholm itself is located on 14 of them, connected by 52 bridges, ferries and waterways. When moving to Stockholm, you will settle somewhere between Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea.
Although the temperature often drops below 0°C in the winter, summers are usually pleasant and very sunny. The relatively mild weather and the long days are perfect for long hikes, cycling or swimming. Your move to the Swedish metropolis may even get you interested in fishing, a popular sport among the Swedes throughout the country and particularly in Stockholm. It even extends into the winter, when ice fishing becomes the norm.
Moving to Stockholm is often easier said than done. As is the case in most big cities, housing can be hard to find, and in some cases can take years. You should not be too choosy while looking for accommodation. Whether you are on the apartment hunt or simply exploring the city, we have compiled an overview of the most important districts in Stockholm for you.
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.
Or would you rather move to 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. For more information on the rental market, see our guide to Living in Sweden. 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.
Are you rather keen on moving to Stockholm’s multicultural district with an entrepreneurial atmosphere? Kista, 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 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.
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