Travel, Teach, Live in Europe and Middle East
Scandinavia is widely regarded as being one of the world’s most attractive regions in which to live with excellent infrastructures and high levels of national prosperity. The region also has a wealth of natural beauty and urban elegance attracting international visitors all year round. Despite being two of the pricier places to live in Europe, Norway and Sweden offer an abundance of charms that, for many, make the price tag worth it. Here are some factors that contribute to the lure of living in these thriving northern European countries.
Officially listed as the world’s most prosperous country, Norway is also one of its most naturally beautiful with the fjords of the Arctic north, the wilderness of Svalbard and mainland Europe’s largest icecap amongst its wonders. It has one of the lowest population densities on the continent, although half of Norway’s population live in cities as opposed to traditional rural farmsteads.
May to September is Norway’s high season when long days, clear skies and sun make the climate most agreeable. Temperatures can reach -30 degrees Celsius in winter and nights are dark with very short days; this is something to factor in for those considering relocating, although glimpses of the northern lights and excellent skiing can make the dark nights worth it.
Oslo, the capital, is a laid-back modern metropolis with a thriving café culture and wealth of museums and galleries. On an Oslo City break there is a range of attractions to enjoy from seeing Edvard Munch’s The Scream in the National Gallery to exploring Viking culture at the Folk Museums. Norway’s beauty extends from its natural landscape into its cities with Tromso, Stavanger and Bergen being amongst the finest examples.
Norway is renowned for being expensive although professional wages are proportional to this. For those thinking of relocating it is wise to find a job first as prices mean that savings can be quickly drained.
Sweden is famed for its superb infrastructure and a public health care system that is widely regarded as the best in the world. Those moving from abroad receive free Swedish language classes, and wealth is much more evenly distributed than in many western countries with less disparity between wages. Stunning national parks and areas of wilderness are well protected and Sweden has excellent green credentials that expand into its urban areas.
Sweden’s temperate climate remains mild for most of the year despite its longitude thanks to the influence of the Gulf Stream. Winters are severe in the far north but in central and south temperatures don’t typically dip below zero. The country has very long nights in winter and long days in summer.
Stockholm, Sweden’s capital is home to over 20% of the population and is renowned for its beautiful historic buildings and architecture. A clean, green city with an impressively efficient transport system, Stockholm is a popular choice amongst ex-pats and has a welcoming, multi-cultural vibe.
As with Norway, Sweden is an expensive place to live but fair wages and access to public services such as health and social care balances this out for people living and working in the country.
Scandinavia has huge appeal for those looking for a new place to live and work in Europe. By arranging work beforehand and being prepared for the dark winters, ex-pats can enjoy a fresh start in one of the world’s most prosperous countries.
Jennifer Campbell is a travel writer originally from London but has lived in Paris, Amsterdam and Oslo.