|Preface Last Updated: 9/16/2004
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
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
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:
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
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
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
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 9/16/2004 9:00
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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:
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
· 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
· 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
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
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
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
· 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
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
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
Aberg, Alf. A Concise History of Sweden. LT’s Forlag: Stockholm,
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:
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,
Gustavson, Carl G. The Small Giant: Sweden Enters the Industrial
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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