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Sweden Travel Information

The Basics

Time

GMT +1 (GMT +2, Mar - Oct)

Electricity

Electric current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Standard European two-pin plugs are used.

Language

Swedish is the main language, with Lapp being spoken by the Sami population in the north. Most Swedes speak and understand English. Many also speak German and French.

Travel Health

There are no health risks associated with travel to Sweden, but visitors should guard against ticks when travelling to forested areas or the southern coast, including the Stockholm archipelago. Medical care in the country is excellent, and reciprocal health agreements exist with other European Union countries, including the United Kingdom. UK citizens in possession of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will be entitled to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Swedish nationals. All non-EU travellers should ensure they have comprehensive travel insurance.

Tipping

A service charge is included in restaurant bills, but an additional tip of seven to 10 percent is expected for evening meals in Sweden. Generally customers round off the fare when using a taxi. Tips are welcome for exceptionally good service in hotels, but are not expected.

Safety Information

Sweden is an extremely safe country to visit. There is some petty crime in the cities where tourists congregate, but crime is at much lower levels than elsewhere in Europe. Most visits to Sweden are trouble free.

Local Customs

Swedish culture is very liberal and secular. Despite a reputation for excess and a love for partying, drunk driving is a serious crime and public nudity is considered inappropriate anywhere other than designated nude beaches. Smoking is not allowed in indoor establishments like restaurants and bars. It is polite to remove your shoes when entering a Swedish home. Equality is an important part of Swedish culture, and boastfulness and open conflict is usually avoided. 'Chivalry' is often considered an outdated concept in Sweden, which is one of the most gender equal countries in the world, and gestures like opening doors for women are not considered necessary.

Business

Sweden hosts the headquarters for many multinational companies. Scandinavians, and Swedes in particular, value the inherent equality and dignity of all people; this is reflected in business where consensus and compromise is valued in decision-making processes. However, decisions often take a long time to be made as all opinions are considered. Avoid overt displays of wealth or status. Business practice and personal conduct should always be rational, calm, and disciplined. This may makes Swedes come across as slightly unfriendly, but it also makes business meetings efficient.

The business world in Sweden draws a strict line between work and social gatherings so don't expect many post-work social events or dinner invitations. The best way to circumvent the reserved nature of most Swedes in the business environment is at the twice-daily 'fika', or coffee break, when the general rules regarding business behaviour are relaxed a little. Punctuality is vital; it is a point of pride for many Scandinavians and illustrates mutual respect. It is important to schedule an appointment in advance and have it confirmed shortly before any engagement. Keeping one's cool and not showing too much emotion is also vital. Handshakes for men and women are common after introduction and often first names are used instead of surnames.

Dress codes are conservative and smart, but suits are not always necessary. Business people in Sweden should endeavour to show honesty, transparency, professionalism and mutual respect in all business dealings. Sweden is one of the least corrupt countries in the world, making it a pleasure to do business there. Business hours run from 8am to 5pm from Monday to Friday. The language of business is Swedish, but English is generally spoken throughout the country and many multinationals will use it as the language of business when necessary.

Communications

The country code for Sweden is +46, and the outgoing code is 00 followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). City/area codes are in use, e.g. 08 for Stockholm. Public telephones are available and there is good coverage across the country for mobile telephones, which use different GSM 900 and 1800 networks. Internet cafes can be found in all the cities and towns.

Duty Free

Travellers to Sweden over 18 years from non-EU countries and residents who arrive on a commercial flight, from a trip exceeding 20 hours do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 100 cheroots, or 50 cigars, or 250g tobacco, or a proportional mix of these. 1 litre of spirits with alcohol content higher than 22%, or 2 litres fortified or sparkling wine, and 2 litres of non-sparkling wine and beer are allowed duty free; other goods to the value of 1,700kr are also allowed. Prohibited items include drugs, other than those for medical or scientific purposes; and potatoes that are grown outside the EU.

Become our Sweden Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Sweden travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Sweden or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.

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