Moving to Gothenburg
If you were to ask a local, they would probably describe Gothenburg as Stockholm’s younger, hipper sibling. There is something to suit everybody in Gothenburg, ranging from the secret cobblestone alleys filled with quirky cafes and a street dedicated to Irish pubs to pristine lakes, forests and high lines.
Located on the west coast of Sweden, Gothenburg is surrounded by the archipelago islands. Many of these islands are car free, so a tram ride, following by a scenic ferry will get you to these secluded spots. Furthermore, it is within a 3 ½ hour train ride to get to the three largest Scandinavian cities, Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen.
During the cooler months, you can expect snow, sleet and freezing temperatures. People tend to stay indoors. At times, the streets are so deserted that you forget about the 500 000 other people living in the city with you. But rest assured, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy, including billiards, shuffle board and “beach” volleyball in Kviberg.
On April 1, government regulation allows cafes, bars and restaurants to set up outdoor seating and bars. On this day, the Swedes officially come out of hibernation and fill the streets in their best summer outfits (even if its still 10 degrees Celsius).
What is best about Gothenburg is the fact that is a big city that still manages to feel like a cosy home.
The Job Market
Trade and manufacturing are the two strongest industries in Gothenburg. As can be expected from the largest port city in Scandinavia, trade plays a major role in the job market. Over 30% of Swedish foreign trade passes through Gothenburg so this speaks volumes for the job opportunities in this area. According to a 2013 survey, at least 22 000 people are employed by the Port of Gothenburg.
Many major Swedish manufacturers have plants in Gothenburg including Volvo, Erickson and Swedish East India Company.
Most Swedes are fluent in English but speak amongst themselves in Swedish. There are some positions available for English speakers but this will narrow down the pool of jobs you can apply for. It is always advantageous to speak the local language and this will definitely improve your chances for gaining employment.
The current unemployment rate in Sweden is 8% (4/1/15), which is significantly lower than in many other EU countries.
Gothenburg has an incredibly efficient and reliable public transport system consisting of trams, buses, ferries and trains. A single tram/bus ticket will cost 25 kr and is valid for 1.5 hours after being validated. An unlimited monthly pass costs 545 kr and gives you access to trams, buses and ferries in the city. Trains to Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen can be found for as little as 195 kr (one way) on www.sj.se.
An inexpensive meal out costs around 80 kr per person and usually includes a salad buffet, coffee and bread, while a 3 course dinner for 2 will cost an average of 450 kr. In terms of groceries, 1 litre of milk costs around 9 kr and a loaf of bread costs around 17 kr.
If you have a residence permit that lasts at least 1 year, you will be eligible for the same free public healthcare as Swedish citizens.
You’ll need to bear in mind that all full strength alcohol is sold at the Systembolaget, which is a government-regulated chain. Alcohol is highly taxed and is quite expensive in comparison to other European countries. For this reason, many locals will catch a ferry to Frederikshavn, Denmark or Kiev, Germany to purchase alcohol in bulk.
The average price for renting a 1 bedroom apartment in the city centre is 7500 kr per month, while a 3 bedroom apartment will cost you around 12,000 kr per month. A one bedroom apartment outside city centre will set you back approximately 5000 kr, while a 3 bedroom apartments costs around 8000 kr.
The majority of people living in the city centre live in apartments. The average rental prices for apartments inside and outside city centre have been stated above. The price for buying an apartment in the centre of Gothenburg is 40, 600 kr per square metre. An apartment outside the city centre will cost almost half of this at 23,000 kr per square metre.
Very low interest rates and a shortage of housing has meant that property prices in Gothenburg rose 7.22% in 2014. If you do plan on purchasing an apartment, it is important to factor in the ‘Avgift’, this is a monthly fee similar to strata, which can be quite expensive.
Gothenburg is filled with an array of unique neighbourhoods. These range from the cosy area of Magasinsgatan to places like Majorna that are in the process of gentrification.
- Family- Friendly: Eriksbergs & Lindholmen- Formerly a shipyard district, Erikebergs and Linholmen have been transformed into a modern suburbia. This area also has many restaurants, cafes and theatres to keep the family entertained through all seasons. These areas include schools from pre-school to university so they are a perfect place to raise a family. Hisingen is another family-friendly neighbourhood located just across the river from the city centre, this area is the perfect place for your children to grow up. This area provides a gateway to the countryside lifestyle, but is still close enough to enjoy the city. It is in the process of mass redevelopment and has a promising future. A highlight in the area is the Volvo museum. It is also close to many schools.
- Upmarket: Kunsportsavenyn- Commonly referred to as the Avenyn. This part of town features the busiest boulevard in Gothenburg. The Avenyn is packed full of nightlife, eateries and shopping and is busy during all hours of the day and night. Linné, is another neighbourhood located in the area surrounding Linnégatan and is where you will find the local Gothenburgers. This busy space features some of the most stunning apartments in Gothenburg. It stretches as far as Slottsskogen, an animal reserve where you can take the family to see moose, penguins and seals.
- Hip & Trendy: Magasinsgatan- A perfect place if you are into the hipster vibe. The cobblestone streets of Magasinsgatan are where you will find many gourmet food trucks and two of the biggest De Matteo’s in Gothenburg. Add in several trendy bars and Swedish clothing labels (think Dr Denim and Acne) and you’ve got one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Gothenburg. Järntorget- Järntorget contains the second longest street in Gothenburg, Andra Långgatan. At the beginning of each summer, Andra Långdagen is celebrated and thousands flock to Andra Långgatan for live music, international food stalls and live music. This area also features theatres, Irish pubs and alternative stores provided a unique, chilled vibe.
- Up & Coming: Majorna- An up and coming neighbourhood located about 10 minutes west of city centre on a tram. This is one of the only areas this close to the city to feature the classic ‘county governor’ style houses of Sweden. Majorna is filled with vintage stores, alternative cafes and cheap, local restaurants. Rosenlund & Kungshöjd- This area is in the process of major regeneration and presently looks like a mixture of construction site and historical beauty. However, give it a couple of years and you will see it blossom before your eyes. The famous Feskekôrka market (Fish Church) is located here, as well as many trendy bars and restaurants.
Costs of moving
The cost of moving to Gothenburg varies largely depending on how much needs to be moved and from how far it is coming from. Below is a table of estimates based on the cost of transporting a 20 foot shipping container. (Estimates are based on transporting to Stockholm, Sweden).
|From London, UK||£600- £750|
|From Sydney, Australia||$9,800- $10,600 (AUD)|
|From Berlin, Germany||€5,500- €6,000|
|From Dubai, UAE||26,000- 28,000 (AED)|
|From Los Angeles, USA||$4,700- $5,200 (USD)|
|From Montreal, Canada||$4,60000- $5,300 (CAD)|
Schools and Education
The International Preschool has three schools located in Majorna, Guldheden and Biskopsgården. The International School of the Gothenburg Region (ISGR) offers classes in English from Kindergarten to Grade 12. The English School, Gothenburg (ESG) holds classes from Nursery (3 years old) to Grade 9 and teaches in both English and Swedish.
The University of Gothenburg (GU) and Chalmers University of Technology (Chalmers) are the two universities in the city. GU has multiple campuses scattered throughout the city. With over 37,000 students, 6000 staff and 40 departments, GU is ranked 206 in the world. Chalmers specialises in education on technologies ranging from architecture to fundamental physics. There are 11,000 students within the 18 departments and the university is ranked 175 in the world.
Ranking against the world
Gothenburg has a fairly high quality of life rating in comparison to the rest of the world. The quality of life rating is 71.51, which is over 10 points higher than Malmo and less than 8 points below Sweden’s capital, Stockholm.
The trade and manufacturing industries are well developed, providing many job opportunities in Gothenburg. As mentioned previously, the Port of Gothenburg employs at least 22,000 people alone.
With 2 of Sweden’s largest universities in the city, students flock from all over the world to study in Gothenburg. This makes for a multicultural and unique population where cultural differences are widely accepted. In terms of the language barrier, almost all Swedes speak at least some English (most are fluent), and they enjoy the opportunity to practise their English so until you learn Swedish, you should be fine.
A day in the life
You can start your day with a traditional Swedish breakfast of caviar or shrimp on toast. After breakfast, you can walk or catch a tram to Nordstan, the biggest shopping centre in Scandinavia for some retail therapy. The streets around Nordstan are filled with many shops, restaurants and cafes. If shopping isn’t your thing, you can try one of the many activities available in Gothenburg.
If it’s winter, people tend to stay inside, but rest assured there are many indoor activities to keep you busy. You can head to a bar to play some shuffleboard and billiards or take a tram out to Kviberg to play indoor beach volleyball. The sand, wooden decking and tropical scenes painted on the walls will make you forget that it is – 10 degree outside! During the summer, you can hike over to Stora Delsjon and take a dip in one of the pristine lakes. You can also head over to Slottskogen, a free wildlife reserve to see the local moose and go for a bike ride.
In the afternoon, you can stop by De Matteo for fika. They have their own classic blend of coffee and also feature a guest blend each week. If you have a sweet tooth, pick up one of their homemade Swedish sweets. Their kanelbulle (cinnamon bun) and semla (marzipan/cream bun) are to die for.
If it is Friday, you can head over to a pub on Andra Lang Gatan in Jarntorget or a bar on the Avenyn for ‘After Work’, where establishments will provide free food with drink purchases. The food provided ranges from freshly made pizza to traditional Swedish buffets. If you are keen to continue your night out, bars and clubs stay open until 3am Monday- Friday and until 5am on Saturdays and spread throughout the city.