Sweden - what's different

OK, the weird things. Please remember, they’re weird from me, which usually means they’re simply different to what I’m used to. It may very well turn out it’s Poland/Italy/France that are weird.

  • (you all just knew it’d come first, didn’t you) Buying alcohol. You can not buy beverages stronger than 3.5% by volume in “standard” shops. There’s a special store network called Systembolaget where you have to go (government monopoly). Here’s what Wikipedia has to say on this subject. No one here think it’s weird, “it has always been like that”. Appearently it’s same way in most Nordic countries. It actually was similar in Poland, in old good times of People’s Republic.

  • Doing laundry. It’s rather rare to have washing machine in flat. Instead, there are laundries in the basement, available for everyone living in the block. You have to reserve day/hours you want to use the laundry in advance.

  • Bus stops. Can take up to 5 minutes, because 90% of people will only use very front doors for entering and the driver controls all the tickets. In Poland bus just stops, folks enter and 15 seconds later it drives away (of course, the problem here is, some of them may be travelling without tickets, but that’s another story).

  • Lunches. That’s a cool thing, actually. In majority of cases drinks/coffee is included in the price of your meal

  • Renting flats. I’m not so sure about this one, but supposedly renting a flat is rather complicated (may be local Uppsala thing). Majority of offers are second hand contracts (this isn’t even legal in Poland), some are limited to students, most require excellent references and the general impression is you’d need less papers to pass NASA recruitment process and fly to space. However, it took me maybe 1 week to find a flat and it was actually the first offer I considered. My friends have totally different experiences, some of them looking for over 6 months. This leaves us with two possibilities: either I am extremely lucky, they’re very unlucky or all those horror stories were exaggerated and my mates are simply extra picky. Jury’s still out on this one.

Old comments

George 2009-06-13 15:53:01

So weird! :-)
Could you please write about how easy was to find a job in IT in Sweden?
I am thinking as well to move to Sweden/Stockholm
but so far it doesn’t seem to be easy :-(
I am mainly interested in server side C++ / finance.
thanks for any help

admin 2009-06-14 13:21:38

Can’t really tell if it’s easy or hard, in general. Gamedev is rather specific area, experience/published titles really increase your chances. Starbeeze was the only company I applied for, so you may say it wasn’t that hard, but that’s also because I’ve been lucky (they’ve been looking for programmers, would be harder with DICE, because AFAIK they weren’t recruiting at that time).

George 2009-06-14 16:10:47

yea, your case is specific to gamedev. Do you know any IT recruitment company that specializes in IT? I have found a few but their sites are only in Swedish so no luck!!

Vim 2009-06-14 22:32:18

Yes that Systembolaget thing is indeed a bit strange, it’s not like the whole of Sweden would go crazy and go on a Viking killing spree if we could get alcohol in any shops ;).

Pierre Terdiman 2009-06-16 13:46:44

Ahah! The washing machine thing is exactly like in Switzerland ;) …and yes, it felt very weird to me as well…