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Preface Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:28 AM

Sweden, the third largest country in Western Europe, has a population of nine million inhabitants in a country larger than California but smaller than France. Stockholm is Sweden’s largest city. Founded in 1250, it has been Sweden’s principal city since the time of King Gustav Vasa in the early 1500s. The ancient walls have long since disappeared, and many of the old houses have been renovated. The medieval city plan can be seen in the narrow, winding, cobblestone streets and small squares of Gamla Stan (Old Town). Reminders of Sweden’s period as a great power in the 17th and 18th centuries are the Royal Palace and the House of Nobilities. Other historic landmarks are the Stock Exchange, the Foreign Ministry, the Royal Opera House, and the Riksdag or Parliament building. The burial place of Sweden’s nobility, the Riddarholmen Church, dates from the city’s beginnings. Central Stockholm has a turn-of-the-century appearance, but modern apartment houses rise on Stockholm’s outskirts. Many municipal housing projects, modern, large, utilitarian apartment houses, interspersed with grass and play areas can be found in Stockholm’s suburbs.

An assignment to Stockholm offers a sophisticated city environment surrounded by beautiful countryside. Stockholm lies near a unique archipelago with thousands of islands accessible by private boats or ferries. The cost of basic goods and services in Sweden is high, but state subsidies put a wide range of cultural and recreational activities within reach of everyone.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 9/16/2004 11:19 AM

Sweden is bounded on the west by Norway and an arm of the North Sea, on the north by Norway and Finland, and on the east and south by the Baltic Sea. The country is long and narrow, encompassing an area of 174,000 square miles. In the northwest are mountains, and lakes abound throughout Sweden. To the south and east are forests, fertile valleys, and plains. Along Sweden’s rocky coast, interspersed with bays and inlets, are many islands, the largest of which are Gotland and Öland. Despite its northern latitude, Sweden’s climate is not excessively cold due to the proximity of the Gulf Stream and the Baltic Sea. The mean annual temperature is 48 degrees F. Stockholm is situated at approximately the same latitude as Juneau, Alaska. During most of December and early January, the sun does not rise before 9 a.m. and sets as early as 2:30 p.m. Snow usually falls in January, February, and March. The average temperature range for January is 27° F to 30° F (Washington, D.C. is 27° F to 43° F). Spring comes late, with snow possible even in May. By June, daylight is almost continuous, and the vegetation is luxuriant. In July, the average temperature range is 57° F to 72° F (Washington, D.C. is 68° F to 88° F). Many firms close down for the month so that the entire staff can take vacation. The average annual rainfall in Stockholm is 22 inches, compared with 39 for Washington, D.C. New arrivals often have the impression that the statistics should be reversed, and for good reason. It doesn’t rain more in Stockholm, but it does rain more often: 164 days a year compared with 113 for Washington, D.C.

Population Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:33 AM

Sweden’s population is roughly nine million, and almost 85% live in urban communities. Sweden’s small Sami (Lapp) population numbers about 17,000. About 20% of the population is immigrants, with Finns in the majority. Turks, Greeks, and Yugoslavs composed much of the first immigrant wave in the 1960s and 1970s. More recent refugee groups come from the Middle East, Latin America, Eastern Europe and most recently from Bosnia and Iraq. Stockholm proper has a population of 670,000; including the suburbs, the population rises to 1.7 million.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:33 AM

Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary government. The unicameral Parliament (Riksdag) is the sole governing body. The Prime Minister is the political chief executive. Direct parliamentary elections take place at least every four years. Sweden has one of the world’s highest percentages of women in parliament: in 2002, 158 of 349 members were women.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:31 AM

As exemplified by the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies, Sweden is a leading nation in the field of education and has 33 institutions of higher learning. Among these are the world-renowned Karolinska Institute of Medicine; universities in Uppsala, Lund, Stockholm, Goteborg, Umeå, and Linkoping; three technical institutes; and specialized professional schools for dentistry, pharmacy, veterinary sciences, agriculture, forestry, economics, social work, art, music, journalism, and library science. Stockholm University administers the Institute for English-Speaking Students, which is divided into three sections: International Graduate School (IGS), Stockholm Junior Year, and Swedish-language courses. The emphasis is on Swedish language and literature, economics, social and political sciences, and international affairs. An American degree is required for admission to the IGS, itself a non-degree program. Academic subjects, Swedish language, and arts and crafts are offered in 11 nation wide adult education programs. These are subsidized by the government and open to foreign residents at modest cost. Several courses are also offered for English-speaking foreigners on Swedish history, culture, and computer science. Stockholm and its environs are rich in museums, galleries, and historical sites.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:31 AM

The development of a skilled and disciplined labor force led by creative entrepreneurs provided the basis for Sweden’s transformation from a poor, rural society into a highly productive industrial economy. The transformation, completed by the early 1930’s, was fueled by an abundance of forest products, iron ore, and waterpower. Untouched by the ravages of World War II, Sweden’s industries produced and exported the machinery, vehicles, ships, and other products and raw materials that paid the bill for the present elaborate Swedish social welfare system. Currently a European Union member, Sweden exports around 45% of its gross domestic product. The U.S. is Sweden’s largest export market. The Swedish labor force of 4.4 million workers is highly skilled, and 85% belong to trade unions. In most families, both husband and wife work; and females make up 48% of the work force. Women are paid approximately 83% of what men make, and men predominate in highly paid white-collar positions.


Automobiles Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:37 AM

Number of Vehicles: Swedish government regulations allow diplomatic personnel without adult family members at Post to import or buy, without duty, one automobile at any time during their tour of duty. If you have one or more adult family members, you may import or buy two duty-free vehicles. Administrative and Technical (A&T) staff may also import or purchase one duty-free automobile (two if they have an adult family member at Post), but must do so within four months of the date of arrival at Post.

Importing Vehicles: Swedish regulations make a distinction between new (in use for less than a year) and used (in use for more than a year) vehicles. Diplomats and technical staff may import new or used cars, and the vehicles do not have to be modified to meet Swedish standards. If after two years, however, you want to sell your car to a non-diplomat, some modifications may have to be made. Typically, these might include changes to the emission control system or changes to lights. Repair service is available for most car makes, although American car parts may have to be imported. Contact GSO Transportation for further instructions and guidance if you decide to import a vehicle for your tour of duty.

Purchase of Automobiles in Sweden: If vehicles are purchased new in Sweden, modifications do not have to be made to meet Swedish standards, and such vehicles can be sold tax-free two years after purchase. If they are sold to a non-diplomat less than two years from the date of purchase, duty and taxes will have to be paid. Virtually all automobile makes are represented in Stockholm including Volvo, Saab, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota.

Inspection of Vehicles: All automobiles must have an annual inspection. Depending on the make, model, and year, the automobile may require minor modification to pass inspection. Any modifications required to pass inspection are at the owner’s expense. Swedish inspection is rigorous and focuses particularly on the emission system for leaks and a high percentage of carbon monoxide. Be sure any car you bring into Sweden is in good condition so that inspection problems can be minimized.

Fees Related to Vehicles: When you import a car into Sweden, you will have to pay an inspection and registration fee of about SEK 1,170 (about $150). Additionally, there is a refundable fee of about $500 that must be paid "up-front" -- refunds are processed usually within one month. A fee of approximately SEK 280 ($35) is charged for diplomatic plates.

Used Vehicles Purchased in Sweden: The foregoing restrictions do not apply to the purchase of a used vehicle in Sweden. You may purchase and sell a used car at any time.

Winter Driving: Because of road salt and gravel used on the roads in winter, it is recommended to undercoat your car (Costs here are about 5000 SEK). Winter tires (all-weather or studded) are mandatory from November to April if there is snow or ice on the ground. Note that studded tires must be removed by April 1st. It is standard practice in Sweden to have a complete extra set of wheels (rims and tires) for winter use. Many employees buy a full set of studded winter wheels (rim and tires), which can be purchased in Sweden at a cost of approximately $250 per wheel.

Drivers Licenses and Other Regulations: Embassy personnel and their dependents may drive with a valid U.S. license. Sweden also has reciprocal agreements with some other countries that allow drivers to use their national licenses. The minimum driving age in Sweden is 18. Sweden has very strict drunk-driving laws. Driving after drinking even a very modest amount of alcohol is a serious offense that carries a mandatory fine, loss of license, and a jail sentence.

Automobile Insurance: You must purchase third-party liability insurance from a local Swedish company. Collision insurance can be purchased from several American or Swedish companies. You may want to check with your current auto insurer to see if it offers coverage in Sweden. If you have a letter from your current insurer stating your number of accident-free years, you may be able to obtain a reduced rate from a Swedish insurer.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:38 AM

Greater Stockholm has an extensive network of buses, trains, and subways. For those living downtown, commuting to work by public transportation is convenient and relatively inexpensive. Those living in the suburbs often commute by car. Swedish authorities actively encourage the use of public transportation, as parking is limited and parking fees are high (approximately $12 per day in the Embassy neighborhood). Taxis are plentiful, safe and reliable, and not much more expensive than in the D.C. area. At this writing, Stockholm is considering imposing a commuter tax on each vehicle intering the city center, which, if enacted, will increase commuting costs for many employees. Bicycles are very popular, and throughout the city and suburbs there are extensive bicycle paths and lanes.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:39 AM

Arlanda airport is about 25 miles north of Stockholm. Bus or taxi transportation for the 45-minute drive into the city is easily arranged on arrival. A rail connection from downtown to the airport, Arlanda Express, takes only 20 minutes and it runs every 15 minutes. The cost is SEK 180 per trip.

The Central Train Station is about 15 minutes by car from the Embassy. The train system in Sweden is excellent, but travel by train is relatively expensive. The five-hour round trip from Stockholm to Goteborg, for example, is about $140. There are also bus connections from Stockholm to all major Swedish towns. Bus travel is relatively inexpensive. For example, round trip from Stockholm to Goteborg is $45.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:40 AM

Sweden has a modern, reliable telecommunications system with direct-dial service to the U.S. Rates are lower than elsewhere in Europe, and the trend is toward the cost-based rate structure used in the U.S. Internet and on-line service connections (both dial up and ADSL Broadband) are widely available at reasonable prices. There are no restrictions on personal computers, which are available locally at reasonable prices after refund of VAT.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:56 AM

International airmail from the U.S. is generally delivered in Stockholm within a week. Surface delivery letters take approximately 4-5 weeks to arrive by international mail; packages take about 6-8 weeks. Stockholm does not have APO service. Unclassified air pouches are sent from Stockholm twice a week. Embassy personnel may use the Department of State pouch to receive and send letter mail, film, audio and visual tapes, prescription drugs, and eyeglasses, but delivery can take up to 3 weeks. Personal pouch mail is limited to parcels that do not exceed 17X18X30 inches and must not weigh more than 45 pounds. Registered parcels may not be sent from the U.S. using the Department of State address. Packages may not be sent from Sweden using Department facilities, except in order to return merchandise received from the U.S., audio and video cassettes weighing no more than two pounds per shipment and clearly marked "used video tapes" or "audio or video cassettes". These tapes must be addressed to family or friends and not be sent to or from USECA or video clubs. Letters and other authorized items from the U.S. should be addressed as follows:

For diplomatic pouch - Official:


Department of State (your job title)

5750 Stockholm Place

Washington, D.C. 20521-5750

For diplomatic pouch - Personal:


5750 Stockholm Place

Dulles, VA 20189-5750

For international mail:


American Embassy

Dag Hammarskjolds Vag 31

115 89 Stockholm


Radio and TV Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:57 AM

Short-wave VOA broadcasts can be received morning and evening. BBC short-wave can be heard almost 24 hours daily. Radio Sweden broadcasts daily in English in Stockholm on the FM band and currently offers some programs from National Public Radio and the BBC. Swedish TV’s two independent networks together broadcast 137 hours of news programming each week and about seven hours of English programming a day. U.S. programs with Swedish subtitles on these channels average 12 hours a week. Other foreign-made programs in the original language account for another 28 hours of weekly programming. The independent, commercial broadcasting networks are more oriented toward entertainment than the state-owned networks. Nearly 45% of the Swedish population has access to cable TV. Cable subscribers may choose from CNN, Fox News, Discovery, Lifestyle, CNBC from the U.S., the BBC, Super Channel, Skynews, Skynet, and Eurosport from Britain. Programming is also available from Germany, France, Norway, Finland, Russia, and Sweden. Satellite dishes are available from a number of vendors. VHS video tapes and DVDs are popular (PAL system), and there are many rental outlets.

Swedish TV uses the PAL system. American TV uses the NTSC system. Currently the Embassy Community Association maintains a video rental collection of about 300 videos, 150 videos for children in the NTSC format used in the U.S and 130 DVDs. Other than with NTSC videos, a U.S. TV cannot be used in Sweden. PAL and multisystem equipment may be ordered through the Embassy Community Association from duty-free suppliers or from AAFES. Shipping these items in your HHE, however, is the best way to meet your specific needs.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:57 AM

Same-day editions of most leading European newspapers, including the International Herald Tribune, are available at newsstands or by subscription. The Washington Post and the New York Times are usually available for next-day purchase at high prices. Subscriptions to American periodicals can be sent by pouch. Faster international mail subscriptions are available for most news magazines. Stockholm bookstores have a great variety of American and British magazines, books, and paperbacks. Stockholm’s public libraries also contain ample selections of English-language material, including children’s books.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:58 AM

Sweden is justly famous for its comprehensive quality health-care system, and Stockholm is well provided with modern hospitals and dental facilities. Nevertheless, securing medical care often proves frustrating for American diplomatic personnel in Stockholm, who find themselves among a small minority not covered under the state medical insurance system. The national health facilities are available on a fee basis, but it takes time and personal commitment to learn how to access the health care you will need. Stockholm also has private health practitioners, clinics, and hospitals that operate along lines familiar to Americans. Be prepared to pay in cash prior to treatment – a doctor’s visit currently costs 1800 SEK. The Embassy Health Unit keeps a listing of health-care providers and assists with referrals. For employees covered by the Department of State Medical Program, the Embassy will pay for hospitalization and directly related outpatient treatment; it is the employee’s responsibility to make a claim with his own insurance company and refund the payment to the Embassy when received. This can prove time-consuming, particularly when U.S. and Swedish premium categories are different. The Embassy has a Health Unit staffed by two part-time local RN’s. The Health Unit provides orientation, information, referral, and assistance with access to the Swedish health care system. Medical treatment is obtained from local practitioners. The Department of State Regional Medical Officer (RMO) in Warsaw visits the Embassy periodically and is always available for telephone consultation.

Community Health Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:59 AM

Public-health standards are high and monitored closely; few special precautions are necessary. You will need to adjust to the experience of living at 60 degrees north where winters are long and dark, summers short and intensely light. Many areas of Sweden are densely wooded, and the incidence of Lyme disease is comparable to that in the Northeast U.S. Colds and flu are the most common ailments in Stockholm. Allergies are many. Owing to birch pollen, people who have never had allergies elsewhere have suffered from mid-April to mid-June. Rheumatism, bronchial ailments, and sinus trouble may be aggravated during winter. Humidifiers can be purchased locally. Stockholm takes pride that its waters and lakes, which make up 13% of the area within the city limits, are fit for swimming.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 9/16/2004 8:59 AM

Most medicines for colds, sinus conditions, and allergies require a prescription if purchased at a Swedish pharmacy. Flu shots are available in the fall. Children can take fluoride supplements, available locally. Some people choose to be inoculated against tick-borne encephalitis, and everyone should wear suitable clothing when camping or hiking. The Embassy commissary stocks a few over-the-counter items, but bring an initial supply of any particularly favored brand. "Happy Lights" are used to prevent "seasonal affective disorder" caused by lack of sunlight during the long winter months. One can purchase the "Happy Lights" locally for 500-2,000 SEK.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:00 AM

A bilateral work agreement between Sweden and the U.S. allows Eligible Family Members of American diplomatic personnel to work outside the Embassy. Requests and approvals are handled by an exchange of notes between the Embassy and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Despite this legal arrangement, dependents seeking work can have trouble finding jobs that match their qualifications. The Swedish labor market is strictly regulated, with a small niche for contract employees who live in Sweden only a few years. It is usually necessary to speak Swedish. Family members who do find jobs on the local economy must pay Swedish taxes, which are high by U.S. standards.

Employment opportunities within the U.S. Mission are somewhat limited and consist mostly of part-time, intermittent, temporary (PIT) positions. Typical positions held by qualified dependents include: two half-time Community Liaison Office Coordinators (CLO), consular associate, voucher clerk in the Budget and Fiscal Office, and Newsletter editor.

American Embassy - Stockholm

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:02 AM

The Chancery is one of several diplomatic missions built in the early 1950s on parkland near the city center. It overlooks an inlet of the Baltic Sea opposite former royal hunting grounds that now house Europe’s oldest outdoor museum, Skansen. No shops or restaurants are in the immediate vicinity, but within a ten minute walking distance, one can reach nearby museum cafés or a shopping center in Karlaplan. In addition to the Department of State, the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Defense are represented in the Embassy. Embassy office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Embassy’s telephone number is 46 (country code), 8 (city code), 783-5300 during duty hours and 783-5310 after duty hours. The fax number is 46-8-661-1964. An excellent Embassy cafeteria is open to all personnel on workdays, serving lunch at reasonable prices (currently 55-70 SEK). Beverages and snacks are available throughout the day. The cafeteria will also prepare meals to take home, which many newcomers find helpful if they occupy temporary quarters. In addition, the cafeteria can provide catering services to American Embassy employees.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:02 AM

Most employees move directly into their permanently assigned housing, which the Embassy equips with temporary furniture pending receipt of household effects. When it is not possible to move directly into permanent housing, employees usually are temporarily housed in a downtown apartment or hotel.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:03 AM

Embassy Stockholm maintains government-owned or -leased housing for the majority of employees. Before arrival at Post, an employee is assigned to appropriate housing by the Interagency Housing Board (IAHB). Assignments are based on government standards, availability, and, to the extent possible, the stated preferences of the employee. Housing assignments generally fall into two geographic areas--downtown and the suburbs. Both offer scenic, pleasant surroundings. The city holds the advantage of proximity to work, cultural events, shopping, and public transportation. There are also many green areas and large public parks downtown. The suburbs have large, open spaces and many recreational opportunities. Public transportation is good to the city, and good roads to town are plentiful.

The Ambassador’s residence is a 24,000 square foot, two-story, brick house on an inlet of the Baltic about a three-minute walk from the Embassy. The DCM’s apartment is located five minutes from the Chancery in a turn-of-the-century building on Strandvägen, the city’s principal harborside thoroughfare.

Housing in Stockholm is UNFURNISHED, with few exceptions. Housing typically has at least two bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths. All have a kitchen (often eat-in) and a living room. There is often a separate dining room. Bedroom sizes are generally smaller than in the U.S.; children’s bedrooms are considerably smaller. Bathrooms also are often smaller than U.S. standard. Storage space is limited so families are strongly encouraged to choose carefully what items they bring to Post.

Furnishings Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:03 AM

You will be authorized a full shipment of furniture unless you are assigned to one of the few furnished units. Most U.S. furniture is appropriate and suitable for use in Stockholm. American and Swedish beds, however, are different sizes. American sheets will not fit Swedish beds. Furniture in a wide variety of price ranges--from IKEA to antiques--is readily available in Sweden. Rugs are also plentiful. Floor and table lamps will need to be converted for use with 220 Volts. The electrical supply in Sweden is 220V, 50/60 Hz. (US is 110V, 60 HZ). Two transformers are provided for each household. Additional transformers can be purchased locally. Plugs will also need modification to fit Swedish sockets.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:03 AM

Bathroom plumbing fixtures throughout Sweden are good. Apartments and houses are usually well heated and insulated. Electrical and telephone services are reliable.

All housing includes basic, standard appliances for kitchens and laundry including a washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator/freezer, and usually a dishwasher. Swedish washers and dryers, like all European ones, are quite small and take much longer to run through a cycle than American machines. Ovens are also much smaller than American ones--but they will usually hold a turkey. Oven temperatures register in centigrade, so a Fahrenheit oven thermometer is useful. A broiler, microwave, or convection oven can be a useful addition to a Swedish kitchen. Do not bring American major appliances (e.g., washer/dryer) as they will probably not fit and the plumbing and electrical requirements cannot easily be met. Additionally, they will void Swedish home insurance coverage as they are not approved by the Swedish Standards Institute. The Embassy has only a limited number of transformers available for loan so you might want to bring extras. If you bring any power strips, make sure they are UL approved. A multisystem TV and VCR are recommended.

Food Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:04 AM

Stockholm regularly ranks near the top in surveys of the most expensive cities for business travelers, and new arrivals face a series of surprises the first time they pay for familiar items. By watching costs and adjusting spending habits, however, Embassy staff can enjoy the high standard of living for which Sweden is also well known. For the past 50 years, the Swedish government has used tax policy as a tool for directing public consumption. As a rule of thumb, you can count on goods and services that are considered good for society to be relatively inexpensive in Sweden and those that are deemed detrimental or frivolous to be costly. Public transport, education, the performing arts, and public recreation are relatively inexpensive while the cost of alcohol, tobacco, and parking tickets is high. Maintaining a private car costs more than it does in Washington, DC, but maintaining a boat costs less. Books, records, and CDs cost double what they do in the U.S., but more than 100 libraries in Stockholm lend them by the month for free. In general, shop for clothes, cosmetics, and durable goods before arriving at Post.

One high-cost expenditure that is impossible to avoid is food. High-quality food of every type is available in Stockholm. Fish and meat of all varieties are available on the local market, although meat cuts differ from those in the U.S. Fresh fruits and vegetables are imported to the Swedish market from around the world and are available throughout the winter. Excellent dairy products, including a large variety of cheeses (including cottage cheese), are always available, and canned goods of every description can be purchased. Swedish frozen foods include orange juice, peas, spinach, broccoli, chicken, fish, and prepared dishes. Supermarkets are similar to, though generally smaller than, those in the U.S. For vegetarians fresh tofu is available as well as frozen vegetarian products; veggie "meatballs", "hamburgers" and "chicken" as well as regular vegetarian items such as falafel, couscous, etc.

Swedes keep traditions that often center on the preparation of special foods: crayfish in August, fresh lamb in September, goose on St. Martin's Day, lutefish and Jansson’s Temptation (Swedish casserole made with julienne potatoes, onions, sardines and cream) at Christmas. In recent years, new immigrants have brought with them both foods and food stores, and new traditions have sprung up. For example, many Swedes observe the old custom of pea soup and pancakes on Thursdays; others now line up to meet the air shipment of fresh tropical fruits at the Thai grocery store.

The U.S. Embassy Community Association (USECA) operates the small but generally well-stocked commissary located in the basement of the Chancery. American direct-hire employees and their families are eligible for membership in the commissary at a one-time membership fee of SEK 500. Most of the American food items are ordered through military commissaries in Germany. These items include canned goods, coffee, cereal, cookies, frozen meat and packaged foods. Special orders for particular foods are taken upon request. Spirits, wine, beer, cigarettes, and sundry items are also available. All orders for import of spirits, wine, beer, cigarettes, furniture, and appliances are made through the commissary.


Men Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:05 AM

Male staff need medium-weight suits, an overcoat, raincoat, hat, warm gloves and scarves, and overshoes or boots. Senior staff may occasionally need dinner dress (black tie) and other staff may wish to have formal evening-wear for the annual Marine Ball. American-style suits, shirts, ties, socks, and underwear are available on the local market, but at much higher prices than in the U.S. Tailor-made suits are available in Stockholm at prices comparable to the U.S. Sports gear and casual wear are widely available. All types of shoes are available at prices higher than in the U.S. Military personnel should contact their principal service attaché in Stockholm to determine uniform requirements. In most cases, the full range of uniforms is required.

Women Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:05 AM

Female staff need a good supply of warm suits, slacks, sweaters, and coats since they are worn about nine months of the year. Boots or galoshes are worn regularly between November and April. Lined boots and galoshes, as well as good-quality rain and snow outfits, are readily available in Stockholm, but are expensive. Warm gloves, scarves, and caps covering the ears in winter are also available locally. Well-cut and tailored dresses, suits, and coats are in the medium-to high-price range. Selections are limited for special sizes such as petite (P) or fuller (W) sizes. Mail-order catalogs are available in the CLO; orders within weight and size limitations can be shipped via the pouch.

Although summers are not usually hot, bring summer clothes for the short summer season and for travel. Swedish shoe sizes are different from those in America, and some women have difficulty finding shoes that fit. Fashionable European shoes are widely stocked.

Senior officers and senior officers’ wives should bring formal evening-wear and other women may wish to have formal evening-wear for the annual Marine Ball. Note Swedish women currently wear business suits or short dresses to dinner parties, unless the invitation specifies long dress. Good fur coats, ready-made or made-to-order, are not considered a luxury in Sweden. They are available at relatively moderate prices throughout Scandinavia.

Children Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:06 AM

Children's clothing is available in wide variety. American blue jeans and sneakers are popular, but expensive. Rain gear, clogs, boots, and winter outerwear are a relatively good buy locally. Bring underwear and socks from the U.S. Narrow shoe sizes are difficult to find. However, H&M (which has opened stores in the U.S.) offers clothing at reasonable prices for all ages but especially teens.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:07 AM

Almost everything is available in Stockholm, but generally at higher prices. Stores stock many familiar brands, but you may wish to bring a supply of special cosmetics, hair preparations, and drugstore items. Some parents bring an assortment of toys and books to use as gifts for children's birthday parties. Stationery, greeting cards, arts and crafts supplies, and other such items are widely available but more costly than in the U.S.

Basic Services Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:07 AM

Commercial dry-cleaning, shoe repair, and services in general are readily available, but at a higher price and with a longer wait than in the U.S. Once-a-week dry-cleaning service is available at the Embassy. Hairdressing services are similar to those in the U.S.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:07 AM

Daytime babysitters can be difficult to find for pre-school children. Some families hire an au pair to help with the children and housework. Foreign domestic help traveling to work in Sweden must possess an employment visa in advance. In some cases, domestic help employed from a third country may be eligible for Swedish health benefits while residing in Sweden. Human Resources Office will provide details about these arrangements upon request.

Daycare centers, Montessori schools, and parent-owned cooperatives are available, but often there is a waiting list. The CLO keeps a list of English-speaking daycare centers. If you are interested in pre-school, write to the Community Liaison Office as far in advance as possible. The Embassy does not provide transportation for pre-school children. Nighttime babysitters are available, and costs average from $6 to $7 per hour.

It is difficult, but possible, to find domestic help in Sweden. Most such workers are foreign, salaries are high, and anyone planning to have a full-time, live-in maid must be familiar with the working conditions for domestics established by Swedish law. These include a minimum wage and restrictions on access to public assistance by third-country nationals. Some people hire cleaning personnel by the hour, and extra help at receptions and dinners can be arranged.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:08 AM

Until the year 2000 all Swedish citizens automatically became members of the Church of Sweden at birth if one of their parents was a member. In 2000, church and state separated. Nearly 90% of the population belongs to the established Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Sweden, but regular church attendance is low: only 5% of the overall population are active churchgoers. The many church buildings are well maintained through support from taxes and income from land holdings. Services are usually held in Swedish. English services are also conducted at the interdenominational Immanuel Church, the Anglican Church of St. Peter & St. Sigfrid, St. Jacob’s Church, and the Roman Catholic Church of St. Eugenia. In addition, Greek Orthodox, Jewish, Moslem, Mormon, Methodist, Baptist, Mission Covenant, and Pentecostal churches are located in Stockholm. Services are usually in Swedish, although it is also possible to find services conducted in French, German, Spanish, and English. The CLO has a full listing of services.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:20 AM
Most American Embassy children in the elementary grades attend the Stockholm International School (SIS) (pre-school to grade 12), or the British Primary School (pre-school to grade 5). High-school students can attend either SIS or Kungsholmens Gymnasium (grades 10 to 12). All are English-language, coeducational schools. The Department of State education allowance covers the cost of tuition and transportation at SIS, which is the "base" school. Contact Post for up-to-date information. The Embassy does not provide transportation for pre-school children. The school year has two terms beginning late August and January. School ends in mid-June. All schools may have waiting lists for admission, and employees should contact the CLO--as well as the schools themselves--for details about registration. Department of Defense personnel must contact DAO for registration procedures.

The Stockholm International School (SIS) was founded in 1952 and is located in downtown Stockholm. It is accredited by the European Council of International Schools and The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The International School curriculum combines elements of American and British school curricula and offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma. SIS has pre-school through grade 12 and accepts children ages 3-18. Maximum class size is 25 in the lower school and 20 in the upper school. Facilities include a gym, computer class, and music and art rooms. There are no sports fields or pool, and extracurricular activities are ad hoc and minimal. American standardized tests are given each year. Embassy parents are generally pleased with the lower school, but some have been disappointed with the upper school. A new director was hired in August 2003 with a goal to correct any deficiencies. For further information, contact:


Stockholm International School

Johannesgatan 18

111 38 Stockholm


(46) (8) 412 40 00

Fax: (46) (8) 10 52 89

American Embassy children in grades 10-12 also attend the Kungsholmen Gymnasium just west of the city center. Courses are offered in three lines of study in English: the International Baccalaureate, the Social Science line, and the Natural Science line. The International Baccalaureate line admits students by examination and is aimed at students bound for competitive colleges in Europe and the U.S. Instruction is in English, and compulsory courses are Swedish, English, French, history, psychology, social science, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, music or drawing, and physical education. Electives are German, Russian, or Spanish. Fewer subjects are required in the Social Science Line and the Natural Science Line, but both have a college-preparatory curriculum. For more information, contact:

Kungsholmen’s Gymnasium

International Section

Hantverkargatan 67-69

112 38 Stockholm


(46) (8) 693 53 00

Fax: (46) (8) 693 5301

The British Primary School, founded in 1980, is located in Djursholm, a residential suburb north of Stockholm. The school enrolls children in the British equivalents of pre-school and kindergarten through grade 5. Each department offers an educational program designed specifically to meet the academic and social needs of the students. There are currently around 200 students, the largest populations being British and American. The majority of its teachers, coming from both Britain and the United States, are permanently based in Sweden. They are supported by specialists in “English as a Foreign Language,” French, Swedish, music, and physical education. The building includes a gymnasium, music room, library, computer studies room, art and pottery room, and a science area. Embassy parents are generally pleased with the school. For further information, contact:

British Primary School
Östra Valhallavägen
182 62 Djursholm

(46) (8) 755 2375
Fax: (46) (8) 755 2635

Away From Post Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:20 AM
The Away-from-Post Allowance is also available for children in grades K-12, and some students attend boarding school in the U.S. or Europe.

Swedish public schools also accept children of Embassy personnel, but Swedish is the language of instruction. Foreigners are given special tutoring. Children in Sweden begin school at age 7, and classes are held Monday through Friday.

Children with learning disabilities sometimes find education difficult in Stockholm. Many of the disabilities recognized in the United States may not be recognized or as well understood here. If your children have learning disabilities or attention-deficit disorder, please contact the school directly to determine whether it is capable of dealing with your child. Get any commitments from the school in writing.

Special Needs Education Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:23 AM

One out of every three adult Swedes is enrolled in an adult education program of some kind. Courses range from arts, crafts, and music to academic subjects and vocational training. Classes are held throughout the day and evening, and tuition costs are generally subsidized. Instruction is in Swedish.

The Swedish language is also taught in adult education programs in a variety of formats. These range from intensive full-time classes intended for immigrants who need to achieve fluency as quickly as possible to evening conversation groups designed especially for the diplomatic community.

CLO has detailed information about these opportunities, and the weekly Embassy newletter carries updates and reminders.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:23 AM

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:25 AM

Sweden is truly a sporting nation. One in every four Swedes belongs to one of 20,000 local sports clubs representing 61 different national associations. A year-round program of sports for all ages is organized in every commune (municipality). With a little effort and some basic Swedish, Embassy employees and family members can participate in these activities. Dozens of mass sports events are held each year, with the emphasis on participation. In March, 12,000 cross-country skiers participate in the 90-kilometer "Vasaloppet" commemorating a 16th-century turning point in the formation of the Swedish state. The streets of Stockholm are cordoned off in May for the "Tjejtrampet," billed as the world's largest women's bicycle race with 6,000 participants. There is a regular calendar of recreational runs, from children’s fun runs to the Stockholm Marathon; the “Lidingöloppet” attracts over 25,000 men and women to its arduous cross-country trail.

Public indoor swimming pools are popular in the winter months. The most modern facilities have waves, currents, and waterfalls in addition to the standard bastu (sauna) and solarium. Many indoor pools are closed in the summer, with the expectation that people will take part in the brisk swimming offered by the Baltic Sea and Lake Malaren, whose waters reach 62 F in the summer.

Hiking, cycling, and walking are popular. Scenic paths follow the water in town and the forests and park areas in the outskirts of town. The "Kustlinien" is a bicycle path that runs from the center of Stockholm 120 miles both north and south. It is linked among the islands of the archipelago by 31 different ferry companies. Hunting in Sweden is limited to those invited by proprietors of game land. Duck, hare, deer, and moose are plentiful. Hunting rifles and shotguns can be purchased locally after first obtaining a license.

Many game fish can be found in and around Stockholm, and salmon rivers are convenient to the city. Salmon fishing in streams and rivers is tightly controlled, but in recent years, it has become common for anglers along Stockholm's waterfront to pull in fine salmon with no fees to pay. Trout are found in streams near the mountain range along the Swedish-Norwegian border; fishing rights there are not restricted. All types of fishing tackle can be purchased locally. In Stockholm, fishing is permitted without a license, a unique privilege that has been enjoyed in the capital since the 17th century. The catch includes Baltic herring, pike, perch, cod, salmon, and trout depending on the time of year.

Tennis (which is primarily an indoor game in Sweden), squash, health club, badminton, golf, and bowling facilities are available. Club memberships are expensive (about $600 per year for SAT Club’s Gold Membership). Golfers must be licensed, though diplomatic personnel can be exempted. Recently, a few "Pay and Play" golf courses have opened on the outskirts of Stockholm where new golfers or golfers without documented handicaps (green cards) can play. Nationwide, “Friskis & Svettis” offers popular and reasonable aerobics classes and basic weight rooms. Horseback riding may be enjoyed all year; bridle paths are well maintained, and several stables have indoor rings. Greater Stockholm is well equipped with cross-country ski trails (many lighted) and downhill beginners' slopes with lifts. The closest ski resort with a ski lift is in Salen, Dalarna, about a five-hour drive from Stockholm. Ice skating--when it is cold enough--is available on many public rinks and lakes; enthusiasts take part in long-distance skating on the waterways leading out to the Baltic.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:26 AM

In only a few places in the world is boating so generally enjoyed. The season is short (May 15-September 15), but the Stockholm archipelago is beautiful and easily accessible for either sailing or motorboating. There is a lively market for secondhand boats; and boat clubs are located all over Stockholm, although most have a waiting list. An easy way to get on the water is to enroll in one of the several boating courses and sailing camps organized for the public during the summer. Kayaking is popular. A unique Swedish legal custom, "alle-mansratt," sets conditions for camping and hiking on private property without disturbing the owners, and without their consent.

Sightseeing tours by bus and boat are available through tourist offices and along the waterfront. Nearby destinations include: Uppsala, a university town and site of a restored medieval cathedral, and Old Uppsala where Viking burial mounds are located (1-1/4 hours by car, 1 hour by train); Saltsjobaden, a seaside resort on an inlet of the Baltic (half-hour by car or train); Gripsholm Castle, a large fortress containing Sweden's national portrait gallery (1 hour by car, 3 hours by steam ferry across Lake Malaren); Skokloster Castle, built at the close of the Thirty Years' War and outfitted with late 17th-century furnishings and armaments (about 1-1/4 hours); Drottningholm Castle, with its beautiful gardens and 18th-century opera theater (20 minutes by car or 45 minutes by boat); and Sigtuna, ancient Viking capital, site of several of the earliest churches in Sweden and of original 17th-century buildings (1 hour by car).

For longer trips, the walled Hanseatic city of Visby on the Baltic island of Götland is a five- hour boat ride (slow boat) or a two-hour boat ride (fast boat) or a one-hour flight away. Many summer resorts on Sweden's west coast, including Bestad, hold international tennis matches. Lapland, north of the Arctic Circle, captivates visitors with its primeval beauty under a midnight sun. It is also possible to visit the crystal and glass factories in southern Sweden. In Småland, factories are located in the towns of Kosta, Boda, and Orrefors, which are 200 miles south of Stockholm, and near the island of Öland, another popular summer resort area. The mountain regions along Sweden's border with Norway attract skiers in the winter and hikers and whitewater rafters in the summer. Sweden's heartland, Dalarna, lies amid lakes and forests about a four-hour drive north of Stockholm. The area is famous for its well-preserved folk culture, including the carved wooden horses that have become a symbol of Sweden overseas. Many tourists visit Dalarna to participate in the midsummer celebrations, but regional cultural events, such as music and dance festivals, are held throughout the year.

Charter flights (usually to warm weather resort destinations) are popular and are one of the best bargains in Sweden. Resort packages may include a one- or two-week visit, hotels, and meals at prices less than that of regular airfare. Another convenient excursion opportunity is a weekend trip to Finland, Estonia, or Lithuania on regularly scheduled ferries that leave from Stockholm. The shipping companies vie with each other to provide amenities on these crossings, whose profits derive mainly from tax-free sales on board.

Entertainment Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:27 AM

Stockholm has the Royal Opera, the Folk Opera, and two symphony orchestras with performances from September to June. The Royal Dramatic Theater and more than 30 other theaters feature outstanding modern productions in Swedish. An English-speaking professional theater performs four plays a year. In summer, the Royal Opera performs period pieces at Drottningholm Court Theater, the world’s oldest (1766) theater still in use. Stockholm’s newest stage is the domed civic center known as Globen. Many well-known American entertainers making a European tour include a Globen performance. The facility also hosts international sports events, such as the Stockholm Open Tennis Tournament in the fall. Swedes are avid moviegoers. About 200 films are released in Sweden each year. They are shown in the original language with Swedish subtitles, with the exception of some children’s movies which are dubbed into Swedish. Sweden supports the production of about 20 feature films a year through the Swedish Film Institute. The Institute, located a five-minute walk from the Embassy, also runs a classical film and lecture series. Stockholm offers a variety of restaurants, nightclubs, bars, and discotheques similar to other European capitals. Jazz clubs, in particular, are a well-established tradition in the Old Town and the artists’ quarter of Soder. Spectator events in Stockholm include trotting races, horse-races, regattas, tennis, soccer, ice hockey, high-speed ice skating, ski jumping, wrestling, boxing, swimming, and international track and field meets.

Social Activities Last Updated: 12/31/1999 6:00 PM

Social life in Stockholm depends largely on individual effort and interests. Embassy personnel may participate in the following clubs:

American Citizens Abroad in Sweden. This club provides a forum for Americans living outside the United States. Citizenship, taxation, social security, voting, education, and health care are among the many non-partisan issues that ACA addresses.

The American Club. For members of the business community, including Swedes doing business in the U.S. American Embassy participation is welcomed. Monthly luncheons, periodic bridge and golf tournaments, and dances are held.

American Women’s Club in Sweden. Membership open to all American women in Sweden, many of whom are married to Swedes. The Club has evening circles for those unable to attend functions during the day.

Association of Diplomats in Sweden (ADS). Membership is open to all diplomats below the rank of Ambassador and to representatives of international organizations. ADS sponsors social and cultural events as well as visits to Swedish industries.

Club USA. A social club for the younger set (20‑35) of Americans and Swedes in Stockholm that holds social events once a month.

Diplomatic Women’s Club of Stockholm. Membership is open to wives of foreign and Swedish diplomats, and to women diplomats.

English‑Speaking Community Club. Membership is open to all English‑speakers in the Stockholm area. Cultural and recreational activities and study clubs are organized for all age groups.

International Women’s Club. For all English‑speaking women: luncheons, bazaars, study groups, dances, and tours.

Embassy Associations. All American and FSN employees and their families are members of the American Embassy Club. The Club hosts the weekly TGIF, as well as dinner dances, boat and ski trips, an August crayfish party, and the annual Lucia celebration in December. The Network of Embassy Women and Spouses (N.E.W.S.) arranges activities of common interest. The Marine Detachment holds various social activities for Embassy personnel and their families.

Among Americans Last Updated: 9/16/2004 10:16 AM
Social life in Stockholm depends largely on individual effort and interests. Embassy personnel may participate in the following American and American/Swedish clubs:

The American Club. For members of the business community, including Swedes doing business in the U.S. American Embassy participation is welcomed. Both cultural and social events are held.

AMCHAM Sweden. This is a professional organization and is the business forum for American companies in Sweden and for Swedish companies operating in the US. Memberships are open to the companies and not to individuals. Monthly breakfast meetings are held with guest speakers on various topics on trade and commerce related subjects.

American Women's Club in Sweden. Membership open to all American women in Sweden, many of whom are married to Swedes. The Club has evening events for those unable to attend functions during the day.

Club USA. A club for young Americans and Swedes (age 20-35) in Stockholm that holds social events once a month.

US Embassy Community Association (USECA). Full membership is open to all U.S. direct hire employees and spouses. Associate membership is open to all locally employed staff. The association hosts children's holiday parties, such as Easter and Christmas, as well as an August crayfish party and an annual Lucia celebration in December. It also oversees the operation of the Embassy commissary and the cafeteria.

The Marine Detachment holds various social activities for Embassy personnel and their families such as weekly TGIFs, movie nights, parties, and the annual Marine Ball in November.

International Contacts Last Updated: 9/16/2004 10:16 AM
Embassy personnel may participate in the following International clubs:

Association of Diplomats in Sweden (ADS). Membership open to all diplomats below the rank of ambassador and to representatives of international organizations. ADS sponsors social and cultural events as well as visits to Swedish industries.

Diplomatic Women's Club of Stockholm. Membership open to wives of foreign and Swedish diplomats, and to women diplomats.

English-Speaking Community Club. Membership open to all English-speakers in the Stockholm area. Cultural and recreational activities and study clubs are organized for all age groups.

International Women's Club. For all English-speaking women: luncheons, bazaars, study groups, dances, and tours.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:30 AM

The amount of official social activity is related to official responsibilities. The Ambassador and high-ranking officers find their schedules filled, whereas other Embassy staff attend fewer official functions. Swedish official social activities begin in September with the end of summer.

Special Information Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:31 AM

Officers will need an initial supply of about 200 business cards for professional contacts. It is convenient to have a supply of “Mr. and Mrs.” folded informal cards for invitations. An Ambassador new to Stockholm may need about 200 cards for initial calls on officials of the Swedish Government and Foreign Ministry. The Ambassador’s spouse will also need 200 cards. During a two-year stay, the Ambassador might need several thousand invitation cards. Informal cards are optional. Printing is available in Stockholm.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:34 AM

Stockholm has daily, direct connections with the U.S. through SAS/United airlines. Arrange your travel through the travel office at the Department of State or as directed by your agency in accordance with current USG travel policies.

Use the maximum airfreight allowance to ship temporary housekeeping items until your HHE arrives. Post has welcome kits with basic kitchenware, bed linens, and towels. Be sure to bring an adequate supply of warm clothing. Summer is short, and sweaters and raincoats are usually needed throughout the year. Winter weather, including snow, begins as early as October and can last into early May.

All official shipments originating in the U.S. are handled by the U.S. Despatch Agent. Direct shippers and packers should contact the Despatch Agent before forwarding any merchandise and request marking and shipping instructions. You can obtain the Despatch Agent’s address from the Department of State Transportation Office.

Normal transit time for shipments by airfreight from the U.S. to Stockholm is three weeks. HHE shipped from a point on the East Coast of the U.S. usually takes about eight to ten weeks to reach Post. Transit time for a POV from Baltimore is approximately six weeks. You might want to consider shipping your car early as having personal transportation soon after arrival is a great advantage, especially if your housing is in the suburbs. All shipments (HHE, UAB, POV) can be cleared prior to your arrival.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:34 AM

Diplomatic personnel may import household and personal effects duty-free at any time. Non-diplomatic personnel may import household goods, personal effects, and a car upon their first entry into Sweden and for four months thereafter. On return from home leave, non-diplomatic personnel are not entitled to duty-free entry privileges. Customs officers do not usually examine the accompanied baggage of those with diplomatic passports. Non-diplomatic personnel must pay duties on all articles received through Swedish Postal and transportation channels.

Passage Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:35 AM

New arrivals will be met at the airport or train station if advance notice is given. An American citizen remaining in Sweden for less than three months does not need a visa. The Embassy obtains residence visas for Embassy personnel through the Foreign Ministry after arrival. Personnel and dependents over 12 years of age will need three passport-sized photographs for the identity card issued by the Foreign Ministry. These may be obtained locally. No vaccination or health certificates are required.

Pets Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:40 AM

Please note that during the summer of 2004 Sweden amended its rules for pet quarantines, eliminating quarantines for those who follow a new process outlined by the Swedish Department of Agriculture. This process is available online at:

However, the paperwork for entry into Sweden is not available on its web site but can be found at the European Union website:

The following steps are from Sweden’s Department of Agriculture online site:

· The animal needs to be identified with a microchip (preferably ISO standard) or a clearly readable tattoo. If you use a microchip other than ISO standard, you need to bring your own decoder for verifying the identity at the border.

· The animal must be vaccinated against rabies in accordance with the recommendations from the vaccine producer, and the vaccine must be approved by the WHO.

· A rabies antibody test must have been taken, which shows a result of antibodies of at least 0.5 IE/ml. The test must be taken at a date at least 120 days but no more than 365 days after the most recent vaccination against rabies, which is the same time frame as in the current rules. Only laboratories approved by the EU may be engaged (approved laboratories – note there are only TWO approved laboratories in the U.S.). If a re-vaccination is carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the producer, no second test is needed.

· The animal must be dewormed against tapeworm (Echinococcus spp) performed by a licensed veterinarian in the country of dispatch, using a preparation containing praziquentel, no more than 10 days prior to the import. A Deworming certificate can be found at:

· An official veterinarian in the country of departure must document all necessary information in a third country certificate. Supporting documentation, including vaccination details and the result of the antibody test, must accompany the animal.

Without following this process, you must have your pets quarantined upon arrival - see below.

Sweden has strict quarantine regulations for all pets not covered by the new Swedish Department of Agriculture process. A four-month quarantine is required upon arrival in Sweden, except for those animals that have lived for at least 6 months in an EU country and are brought directly from that country to Sweden. All pets are subject to veterinary examination at entry and will be admitted only if healthy.

A quarantine kennels for dogs and are located outside Stockholm. Space availability in these kennels is very limited and a six-month waiting list is not unusual. The kennel cost is about 15,750 SEK for a cat ($2,000) and about 26,000 SEK ($3,250) for a dog, plus veterinary charges. Visits for the first month may not be permitted.

To import pets into Sweden, notify GSO well in advance to get information to reserve space at a quarantine kennel and to confirm current regulations. Once space has been secured, the Embassy will apply for the required import permit, which requires the following information: breed, sex, age, and color of the pet to be imported. The most important provision of the permit is that space in a quarantine kennel has been secured. When the import permit has been obtained, the Embassy will airmail a translation of the applicable regulations.

If any pet is shipped to Sweden without following the outlined procedures, it will remain at the airport for 48 hours until arrangements can be made for shipment back to the originating country.

Quarantine kennels for animals are located outside of Stockholm. Space availability in these kennels is very limited and a six-month waiting list is not unusual. The kennel cost for cats is 15,750 SEK (about $2,000) and for one dog it’s 26,000 SEK (about $3,250), plus veterinary charges. Visits for the first month may not be permitted.

To import your pet(s) to Sweden, please contact GSO as soon as possible. Information about the quarantine process will be forwarded to you. The process of importing an animal for quarantine is lengthy and should be started right away. You will need to contact the Swedish Board of Agriculture and make an initial payment of 400 SEK. An additional 1000 SEK will be needed to pay the quarantine kennel for a reservation. Then the quarantine kennel will require a 50% payment in advance of arrival, and the remainder of the payment will be due upon arrival.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:43 AM

The following non-automatic firearms and ammunition may be brought into Sweden:

Handguns -- No

Hunting Rifles -- 2 (includes shotguns but no elephant guns)

Ammunition for the above:

200 rounds each

2,000 rounds of skeet loaded shotgun shells

The above listed firearms and ammunition may be shipped, but not mailed, to Post without an export license provided they are consigned to U.S. personnel for their personal use and are not for resale. Prior approval of the Chief of Mission is necessary. Contact the RSO with advance notification. Provide the following information:

· name of registered license holder

· type, make, serial number, and caliber of the weapon

· available documentation on firearms training

· size and quantity of ammunition

Contact GSO regarding requirements for Swedish licensing.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:44 AM

The official monetary unit is the Swedish krona (plural: kronor--SEK); 100 ore = 1 krona. Bills are in denominations of 1,000, 500, 100, 50, and 20. Coins are in denominations of 10, 5, and 1 kronor, and 50 ore. Banks and international newspapers have current rates of exchange. Sweden uses the metric system of weights and measures.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:44 AM


Sweden has a value-added tax (VAT) of 25% on merchandise, 12% on food and 18% on hotel and restaurant services. Personnel on the diplomatic list may receive a VAT refund on invoices over 1,000 kronor for some expenses, such as audio and photographic equipment, household appliances, drapery, furniture, car repairs, and gasoline, but not others, such as food, clothes, bedding, and sporting goods. Personnel who are not on the diplomatic list will receive VAT refund only for the first year. The refund process takes about a month and is handled by the Budget and Finance Section based on receipts turned in quarterly. GSO arranges gasoline credit cards for employees, which facilitates the process of applying for the VAT refund. Personnel on temporary duty (TDY) or similar assignments not officially attached to the Embassy are not accorded diplomatic privileges, i.e., duty-free entry of effects or cars and exemption from taxes.


Arrange to have your salary paid via direct deposit to your American checking account. Accommodation exchange is available at the Embassy, but you should have alternate means of obtaining cash. You can access your American checking account with an ATM card on the Cirrus or Plus system; ATM machines are common. Allowances take one or two pay periods to register. It is common to open a local personal kronor bank account or Post office (PostGiro) account to pay local bills. Online bill payment is a nice option now offered with local bank accounts. Credit cards are widely accepted.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:45 AM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on Sweden. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Aberg, Alf. A Concise History of Sweden. LT’s Forlag: Stockholm, 1985.

Amnéus, Christer. Lagom: The Very Unofficial Guide to the Swedes. ABC Språkservice: Lerum, Sweden, 2003.

Bengts, Marie, Bruno, Uli, Nilson-Puccio, Silvia. The Swedish Code: What makes the Swedes so Swedish? KnowWare Publications: Stockholm, 2003.

Bergman, G. A Short History of the Swedish Language. The Swedish Institute: Stockholm, 1973.

Bergman, Ingmar. The Magic Lantern. Penguin Books: London, 1988.

Esping-Andersen, Gosta. Politics Against Markets: The Social Democratic Road to Power. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 1988.

Gustavson, Carl G. The Small Giant: Sweden Enters the Industrial Era. Ohio University Press: Athens, Ohio, 1986.

Hadenius, Stig, and Lindgren, Ann. On Sweden. The Swedish Institute: Stockholm, 1990.

Hadenius, Stig. Swedish Politics During the 20th Century. The Swedish Institute: Stockholm, 1990.

Ingebritsen, Christine. The Nordic States and European Unity. Cornell University Press: Ithaca, NY, 1998.

Koblik, Steven, ed. Sweden’s Development from Poverty to Affluence, 1750-1970. Routledge & Kegan Paul: London and Boston, 1980.

Lagerqvist, Lars O. A History of Sweden. The Swedish Institute: Stockholm, 2003.

Liman, Ingemar. Discover Sweden. Illustris: Malmo, 1989.

Malmborg, Mikael Af. Neutrality and State-Building in Sweden. Palgrave Macmillan: New York, 2001.

Moberg, Wilhelm. The Emigrants; The Immigrants; The Last Letter Home. Popular Library Press: New York, 1971.

Nordstrom, Byron J. The History of Sweden. Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorp.: Westport, CT, 2002.

Robinowitz, Christina Johansson, and Carr, Lisa Werner. Modern Day Vikings: A Practical Guide to Interacting with the Swedes. Intercultural Press, Inc., 2001.

Scott, Franklin D. Sweden: The Nation’s History. Southern Illinois Press: Carbondale, IL, 1988.

Solvell, Orjan, Zander, Ivo, and Porter, Michael. Advantage Sweden. Norstedts: Stockholm, 1991.

Strindberg, August. Strindberg: Five Plays. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1983.

Sundelius, Bengt. The Committed Neutral--Sweden’s Foreign Policy. Westview Press: Boulder, Co, 1989.

Svensson, Charlotte Rosen. Culture Shock! A Guide to Customs and Etiquette. Platypus Dyk & Reseböcker: Helsingborg, Sweden, 2001.

Swahn, Jan-Öjvind. Maypoles, Crayfish and Lucia – Swedish Holidays and Traditions. Swedish Institute: Stockholm, 1999.

Sweden: A Quick Guide to Culture and Etiquette. Graphic Arts Center Publishing Co.: Portland, OR, 2004.

Tilton, Tim. The Political Theory of Swedish Social Democracy. Clarendon Press: Oxford, 1990.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:49 AM

New Year’s Day January 1

Thirteenth Day of Christmas January 6

Good Friday *

Easter Monday *

Swedish Labor Day May 1

Ascension Day *

Whit Monday *

Midsummer Eve *

Christmas Eve December 24

Christmas Day December 25

Second Day of Christmas December 26

New Year's Eve December 31


Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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