5 Points to Keep in Mind When Relocating to the Nordic Nations

16 Sep 2015 14:47
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1. Get used to High-priced Houses
Even though the Nordic countryside may appear to be the very picture of tranquility and pure beauty, a growing number of locals prefer city life, causing the already large housing costs to elevate even higher. These costs have experienced a specific increase over the last two years; the high standard of living naturally has its costs, but there's been some discussion within the public about the possibility of a real estate bubble. Whether or not it happens, anyone planning to migrate to the Nordic nations in the near future ought to be ready to shell out more than they might be familiar with for their housing (unless of course you're from New York or London, of course).

Once you locate a reasonably priced apartment near the city center, you better stick to it. Soon after relocating, just locate the closest IKEA and buy some affordable furniture — or should you prefer more distinctive classiness, there is really an abundance of high-quality (and high price) designer furniture; Nordic countries are renowned for their simple and classic home design and style.

Assuming you would like to live as a hermit in the backwoods, on the other hand, the housing costs are significantly lower. Many towns within the north are having issues with the net emigration, which has triggered the real estate costs to fall in rural regions.

2. Acknowledge the Reserved Nature of the Residents
Scandinavians and folks from Nordic nations generally speaking tend to be stereotyped as timid and reserved, and — depending on what you're used to and what precise area you migrate to — you may recognize that the rumors aren't completely based on misinformation. If you find yourself in an elevator with a local, it is advised not to start a talk, as you will likely end up being branded as a weird weirdo. Preferably, it's better to gaze at your feet (or the ceiling) or start fiddling with your iPhone. Giving a subtle smile is a nice gesture, although by no means necessary.

Nevertheless, in major cities such as Stockholm, the setting is, of course, considerably more multicultural than in the countryside; chances are you'll occasionally end up in a small-talk situation. Still, these instances are rare when compared with most other nations around the world. Many cities do thankfully have many other expats, and communities such as InterNations will help you find new friends.

Regardless of being perhaps slightly taciturn, most local inhabitants are well mannered and often have a very good command of foreign languages (some desire not to actually show these language skills may occur, though). Respectable 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 people and cultures: racial or other discrimination is uncommon and again, disapproved of by the majority.

3. Be equipped for the Winter Blues
Norway, Sweden, and Finland cover some of those parts of our planet where all four seasons can be experienced to their full magnitude. Cold winters and warm, pleasant summers allow you to enjoy the genuine diversity of the Nordic nature — assuming that you dress appropriately. Unlike in many other nations, the national infrastructure is created to endure intense climate conditions; commuter traffic (usually) runs efficiently and homes stay warm even during the heaviest snowfall.


In fact, usually it is not the seasonal temperatures or climate that's the primary issue for foreign people. Due to the distance to the polar circle, the length of the day depends heavily on the time of the year; during the summers the sun rarely sets at all (within the north of the Scandinavian peninsula it actually does not set) and during the winter the light 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 go through some confusion. Furthermore, taking into consideration the sunlight's impact on our feelings, winter depression is sadly rather common.

4. Bring Your Family Along
Having already accepted the idea of social democracy a century ago, the Nordic nations feature many of the most thorough welfare services in the world. Individuals that gain most obviously are families with children, who enjoy free, high-quality education and healthcare. There are international private schools, of course, but parents planning a longer stay are recommended to sign up their offspring in a state-owned school.

The Nordic nations have always practiced large income redistribution via significantly progressive taxation; this aspect has played an important role for making the place one of the most "equal" places there is. The idea is to give everyone with the same opportunities in life and this target has been more or less reached. Unfortunately, this also implies that huge salary families must be willing to have a huge slice of their wages taken by the government.
The municipal taxes and taxes on capital earnings are nearly flat rates, having said that.

5. Get Into the Gorgeous Nature
Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there's hardly anyone who'd disagree about the appeal of the breathtaking Norwegian fjords, picturesque Ă…land Islands in the Baltic Sea or the arctic mountains in Lapland. The local people are quite outdoorsy individuals, with many of them having a summer time pad by the seaside or a lake. Even the most inhabited places — the capitals Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki — have massive environmentally friendly areas and parks scattered throughout the city, generally occupied by families or students. Recommended parks include Hagaparken in Stockholm, Kaivopuisto in Helsinki and Frognerparken in Oslo.

Whilst not everybody loves winter sports, most people do, and you should not miss out on the opportunity to ski during your stay. The ski slopes might not be as impressive as those in the Alps but skiing is a preferred winter hobby even so. Throughout the summer, sailing and hiking are largely enjoyed.

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