Five Things to Keep in Mind When Relocating to the Nordic Countries
1. Get used to High-priced Housing
Even though the Nordic countryside may look to be the very picture of solace and natural beauty, a large number of locals favor city living, resulting in the already significant housing costs to rise even higher. These costs have experienced a specific increase over the last two years; the high lifestyle naturally has its costs, but there has been some debate in the public about the possibility of a real estate bubble. Whether or not this is the case, anybody planning to move to the Nordic countries in the future should be willing to spend more than they might be used to for their housing (unless of course you are from New York or London, obviously).
When you manage to find a reasonably priced apartment near the city center, you should stick to it. Soon after moving in, simply find the nearest IKEA and buy some affordable furniture – or should you like more distinctive classiness, there is really an abundance of high-quality (and high price) designer furniture; Nordic nations are better known for their simple and timeless home design and style.
Supposing you would like to live as a hermit in the backwoods, alternatively, the housing costs are considerably lower. Numerous municipalities within the north are having issues with the net emigration, that has caused the real estate prices to drop in countryside areas.
2. Recognize the Reserved Nature of the Natives
Scandinavians and folks from Nordic nations generally speaking are often stereotyped as timid and reserved, and – based upon what you’re familiar with and what precise area you relocate to – you may realize that the rumors aren’t completely based on fiction. If you find yourself in a lift with a local, it’s advised not to start a conversation, because you will probably end up being branded as a creepy weirdo. Instead, it’s advisable to focus at your feet (or the ceiling) or begin fiddling with your iPhone. Giving a subtle smile is a nice gesture, though in no way essential.
Nevertheless, in major cities like Stockholm, the setting is, of course, much more sophisticated compared to the countryside; you might sometimes end up in a small-talk situation. Still, these cases are rare when compared to most other nations around the world. Numerous cities do thankfully have a lot of other expats, and communities such as InterNations can assist you find new friends.
Regardless of being perhaps a bit taciturn, most local citizens are polite and often have a good command of foreign languages (some reluctance to actually demonstrate these language skills may happen, though). Decent manners are expected from everybody, and jumping the queue or pushing people in a rush are largely disapproved of.
On the whole, they are very open-minded towards foreign individuals and cultures: racial or any other discrimination is rare and again, disapproved of by the majority.
3. Be ready for the Winter Blues
Norway, Sweden, and Finland cover some of those parts of our planet where all four seasons can be encountered to their full scope. Frosty winters and warm, pleasant summers enable you to enjoy the genuine diversity of the Nordic nature – assuming that you dress accordingly. Unlike several other nations, the national infrastructure is made to withstand extreme climate conditions; commuter traffic (usually) runs smoothly and homes stay warm even throughout the heaviest snowfall.
In fact, normally it is not the seasonal temperature or climate that’s the biggest problem for foreign people. Due to proximity to the polar circle, the length of the day is dependent heavily on the season; throughout the summers the sun hardly sets at all (in the north of the Scandinavian peninsula it really does not set) and during the winter the daylight is limited to merely several hours.
This element tends to affect sleeping patterns: individuals unfamiliar with having the sun up at 2:00 a.m. may possibly go through some confusion. Also, taking into consideration the sunlight’s affect on our feelings, winter depression is unfortunately rather common.
4. Bring Your Family With you
Having already accepted the idea of social democracy a hundred years ago, the Nordic nations feature some of the most extensive welfare services on the planet. Those who gain most obviously are families with young children, who enjoy free, high-quality education and health care. There are international private schools, of course, but parents planning a lengthier stay are recommended to sign up their offspring in a state-owned school.
The Nordic countries have always employed large earnings redistribution through steeply progressive taxation; this factor has played a major part in making the place one of the most “equal” places there is. The idea is to provide everyone with the same opportunities in life and this goal has been more or less accomplished. However, this implies that huge salary families must be prepared to have a huge chunk of their earnings taken by the government.
The municipal taxes and taxes on capital earnings are almost flat rates, however.
5. Get Into the Gorgeous Nature
Even though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there is hardly anyone who would disagree about the appeal of the wonderful Norwegian fjords, picturesque Åland Islands in the Baltic Sea or the arctic mountains in Lapland. The local people are rather outdoorsy folks, with many of them having a summer time pad by the seaside or a lake. Even the most inhabited locations – the capitals Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki – have huge green areas and parks dispersed across the city, generally occupied by families or students. Suggested parks include Hagaparken in Stockholm, Kaivopuisto in Helsinki and Frognerparken in Oslo.
While not everyone loves winter sports, many of us do, and you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to ski during your stay. The slopes might not be as amazing as those in the Alps but skiing is a well-liked winter hobby even so. Throughout the summer, sailing and hiking are greatly enjoyed.