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Important dates and holidays in Sweden 2019

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A new year, a new empty agenda! If it depends on me, that agenda is never empty for very long and I begin to mark all the long weekends and vacations. Knowing when the holidays and vacations fall seem to be handy. That’s why I set up a list for you with the dates of the holidays in Sweden. This way you can not only avoid the fact that many things are closed during your stay, but you can also choose your travel dates in function of certain festivities.

Swedish Holidays 2019

The official Swedish holidays are also called holiday days or röda dagen (red days). These are the days when most of Sweden do not have to work. I put them bold in the list below. Midsummer Eve and Christmas Eve are in bold and italic. Although no official holiday, most of the Swedish take the day off or stop working earlier.

1 January Nyårsdagen New year
6 January Trettondedag Jul
13 January Tjugondedag Jul (Knutsdagen)
5 March Fettisdagen
14 February Alla Hjärtans dag Valentine’s day
18 April Skärtorsdagen
19 April Långfredagen
21 April Påskdagen Easter
22 April Annandag Påsk Easter monday
30 April Valborgsmässoafton Walpurgis
1 May Första Maj
30 May Kristi Himmelfärds dag
26 May Mors dag Mother’s day
6 June Sveriges nationaldag National holiday
9 June Pingstdagen
10 June Annandag Pingst
21 June Midsommarafton Midsummer eve
22 June Midsommaren Midsummer
2 November Alla Helgons dag All Saints
10 November Fars dag Father’s day
13 December Luciadagen St Lucia
24 December Julafton Christmas eve
25 December Juldagen Christmas
26 December Annandag Jul  Boxing Day

Swedish school holidays 2019

The Swedish school holidays are sometimes spread, depending on the region.

Christmas Holidays

The Christmas holiday run for everyone from December 22, 2018, till January 8, 2019. Next year the Christmas holiday in Sweden will start on 22 December 2019, till January 6, 2020.

Visiting Stockholm during Christmas season? Be sure to read this article!

Winter Holidays

In Swedish, they call the winter holiday ‘sportlov’ or sports holiday. This holiday is spread between weeks 7 and 11. The regions of Gävleborg, Dalarna, Örebro, Uppsala, Värmland and Västmanland have a holiday of 11 February, till February 15th. For Stockholm sportlov is from 25 February till March 1st. For Jämtland, that is from 4 till 8th of March. The other regions are free from 18 till February 22nd.
If you would like to book a skiing holiday in Sweden, it may be useful to take these dates into account. Outside these periods, certain slopes can be closed or more (and cheaper) accommodation can be available.

Easter Holidays

Only Stockholm and Central Sweden have a full week off. The other regions only have an extended Easter weekend.

Summer Holiday

The Summer Holidays in Sweden commence on June 12th, and last until August 18, 2019.

Autumn Holiday

The autumn vacation is also the same for all regions: from 28 October to 3 November.

Elections in Sweden

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This website is mostly about travel information and inspiration on Sweden. For those who want to get to know the country and its culture a bit better, I sometimes write about ‘typical Swedish stuff‘. On this election day (today, September 9, 2018, the Swedes have to vote for a new parliament) I thought it was interesting to zoom in on Swedish politics, the elections and the political parties in Sweden.

Sveriges Riksdag - elections sweden politics

Elections in Sweden

Sweden is, just like Belgium and the Netherlands, a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The king has a rather symbolic function and the government and parliament govern the country. The government and riksdagen (parliament) carry the legislative power. Riksdagen consists of only 1 chamber with 349 elected representatives. In 29 electoral districts they choose 310 members of parliament on the basis of proportional representation. The remaining 39 seats are distributed among the elected parties. Twenty-four ministers are in the government.

Elections are held every 4 years. A Speaker is appointed. In Sweden a government can also come to power without a majority, as long as the majority of the parliament does not vote against it. After compiling the government, the parliament also votes on the budget. If they reject the budget, this can lead to early elections.

The Swedes have voting rights from the age of 18 (but no voting duty). Over the past few weeks I have seen a lot of calls on Swedish social media to vote. This year the elections for the municipal councils and the provincial councils coincide with those for the Swedish parliament. The parliament is housed in riksdagshuset, at Helgeandsholmen – part of Gamla Stan and close to the royal palace in Stockholm. In addition to the elections, there are also referendums. For example, in 1955 the Swedish population was allowed to vote on which side of the road they would be driving. More recently, there were also referendums on whether or not to join the euro.

Swedish government and parliament 2014-2018

For the past 4 years, Sweden had a minority center left government, led by the Social Democrats, along with the green party. Stefan Löfven was the prime minister. In his Council of Ministers he had to deal with various scandals and ministers that were replaced.

Local politics

The city council is elected every 3 years. Every year a chairman is elected to the city council that takes on the role of what we know as mayor. The provincial constituencies correspond to the ‘län’ (= Swedish province). Here too, they are directly elected.

Sami Parliament

In both Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia there is also a Sami parliament. This will be discussed later in a separate article.

Swedish political parties

As in most Western European parliaments, the Swedish political landscape has two sides: left and right. On the left, progressive side, we have the Socialdemokraterna (S), Vänsterpartiet (V) (vänster = left), and the greens or Miljöpartiet de Gröna (MP). The right-wing, conservative side consists of Liberalerna (L), Centerparty (C), Moderaterna (M) (= moderates) and the smaller Kristdemokraterna (KD). Since 2010, the popularity of the far-right Sverigedemokraterna (SD) has increased. There is currently a cordon sanitary. No other party wants to get into a government with SD. The question is whether this will continue after the 9/9/2018 elections.

Do you speak Swedish and want to know more about the elections in Sweden? Here you will find a list of Swedish media.

What we can learn from Sweden

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There is a lot we can learn from the Swedish people. In terms of equality, care for nature and way of life. Obviously, Sweden also has its flaws and shortcomings, but in general they have got it figured out quite well. Time to take a look at what we can learn from Sweden. Get ready for a post full of clichés!


Work / life balance


Fika, it has to be my favorite word of the past years. My goal for 2018 is clear: I want to introduce everyone outside of Sweden to fika! Because you have to admit it, what could be more fun than just take a pause every day and enjoy something tasty to eat and drink in nice company. Fika can also be me-time.


A second Swedish buzzword that we can learn from is lagom. Lagom is the key to a happy life for me. It can not be translated literally but means as much as ‘not too much, not too little – just enough’. That moderation can be labeled as ‘boring’, but moderation and boring often make people happy. Lagom is about slow living. Turns out I already did / tried that before I heard about this term.

Want to read more about lagom? Then check out this reading tip!

6-hour working day

For the sake of clarity: the 6-hour working day is not a standard in Sweden (yet) but there is plenty of experimentation and from the first results this appears to be a win-win situation for all parties involved. Now say for yourself: during a working day of 8 to 9 hours, you can not be as efficient and concentrated all the time, right? Employees who participate in the 6-hour working day indicate that they have found a better balance between private and work. The sickness absence drops spectacularly and the feeling of happiness improves.

Work climate

Stockholm is known for its start-up scene. The working environment is Sweden is an excellent breeding ground for creative and digital companies. Spotify, Skype and Soundcloud are just a few of the companies that have their roots in Sweden.

Again I could talk about fika. But it goes much further than that: taking unpaid leave when you don’t have any regular leave over is fairly normal in Sweden. Stop working in time to get the children out of school or stopping early on Friday afternoon to drive to your summer house … not a single colleague will make a comment about it. The flexibility does apply in both directions: if there are important deadlines, everyone is expected to step up a notch. Around mid-summer, certain companies are closed for a few weeks: ‘sommarstängt’ or ‘summer closed’.

Equality male / female

Equality between man and woman is one of the pillars of Swedish society. Sweden was the first country in the world to include equality between men and women in legislation. They do not need quotas to recruit women in key positions in management committees. It is a matter of course. In addition to this equality male / female, there is also the law of Jante that says that everyone is equal and nobody should feel better than someone else. There is a lot to be said about that, enough for a separate article!

Gender neutrality

Following the equality between men and women, the concept of gender neutrality is also very common in Sweden. Parents choose to let their children play with cars as well as with dolls. Clothing brands leave the traditional paths that pink is for girls and blue for boys. They leave their children a free choice. Does the girl wants to play soccer? Fine! Does the son want a pink bike? Also fine. This way the children learn that they do not have to think in boxes and they can develop more freely. After all, they do not have to behave according to the expected standards.

Parental leave

The parents get 480 days of parental leave that they can divide between the partners, each of which must take at least 3 months. If they don’t, these 3 months will expire. This way also the fathers are absent for a few months of work and maternity leave or parental leave does not hinder the career.

This parental leave also results in the term ‘lattepappa’. These are fathers who meet with the children for a cup of coffee during their parental leave. In Sweden it is a very normal sight to see the daddy (to make the cliché image complete, with a ‘ man bun ‘) pushing the Bugaboo Donkey.

The parents can easily be absent from work for a longer period and then simply return to their old position. Moreover, it generally ensures a better bond with their children.

Respect for nature

Sweden lives closer to nature. They are surrounded by miles of forests and lakes. Even in big cities such as Stockholm or Gothenburg, green or water is never far away. They realize like no other that they have to take care of nature and they care about the environment.


The Allemansrätt or Right of Common stipulates that you can enter private land in Sweden (and also in Norway and Finland) to enjoy the free nature. You can set up your tent for a night to camp (out of sight of houses!), Walking, cycling, swimming and sailing. You can pick certain flowers, berries and mushrooms. Hunting and fishing is forbidden. In addition, you can not damage nature and disrupt the owner.

Outdoor and sun

The short winter days ensure that the Swedes have learned to fully enjoy. As soon as there is a ray of sunshine, no matter how cold it is, the Swedes go out and the terraces are full in no time. They know that vitamin D adds to their happiness level. It even goes further. Even if the weather is not that nice, they will still go out. In Sweden there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. Det finns inga dåliga väder bara dåliga kläder (there is no bad weather, only bad clothes) will be the most proverbial phrase. Sometimes joking because of course they also have their belly full of changeable weather!

A lot of movement

Following the above: at every hour of the day you can see Swedish people working out: from power walking to jogging, from cross-country skiing to the ute gyms or outdoor gyms. They fully enjoy the outdoors and nature. The average Swede likes to work-out or train. Maybe a compensation for the many fikas?

Tap water

In Sweden you can hardly find bottled mineral water. Why would they bottle the nice, fresh water that comes out of the tap everywhere in plastic? A must if you are traveling to Sweden is a reusable water bottle.

That very potable tap water is filtered from the Swedish lakes. An extra good reason to live environmentally conscious: of course you do not want to contaminate your own drinking water. By drinking tap water, they also save a lot of waste.

Furthermore, they are also well aware of not wasting water. A few years ago the Swedish king proclaimed that a bath in the house should be banned because of the water wastage that goes with it.

Organic and healthy food

When I am on the road it is often not easy to find something healthy to eat. In Stockholm and in the rest of Sweden that is generally a lot easier. Everywhere you can find organic, healthy and / or vegetarian dishes. The nordic kitchen prides itself on cooking organic, seasonal and local products. Because it is tasty. And also because it is healthy and environmentally friendly.

Do not forget restaurants like Djuret in Stockholm where they try to use everything from the animal to throw away as little as possible or restaurants / department stores that also include ‘crazy vegetables’ such as crooked cucumbers in their offer.

Respect for each other

What strikes me every time in Sweden is how much respect people have for each other. That goes from small things like having respect for someone’s personal space to respecting the fact that someone else can and should have a different opinion. Leave each other in his / her value.

Get on time

7 o’clock in Sweden is really 7 o’clock and not 5 minutes later. Meetings start punctually and even if you are expected at 20h30 at a party, everyone dives up on time. It is a form of respect not to let the other person wait because time is precious. Latecomers are called  time optimists.

Standing in line

At the bus stop, in the shop, … everywhere in Sweden they are standing in line. The cliché image of a row of waiting Swedes who stand patiently in a row are real! No one complains about the long line but patiently waits his / her turn. And don’t try to pass! Nobody will say something about it, but the looks will say enough. Only when boarding the bus / metro / train this respect for each other apparently does not apply: while people are still trying to get off, they are already drumming up.


When we hear cosiness or ‘hygge’ we immediately think of Denmark but the Swedes know something about it too and have their own word for it: mysig. In Scandinavia they are masters in cosiness. I think it’s one of their tricks to survive the long dark winters: they settle under a blanket on the sofa, light candles and enjoy a warm cup of coffee / tea / hot chocolate milk.

Also mysig: social gathering during the midsummer party or when after a walk through the snow they make a fire and do outside fika! Christmas time is also a wonderful time in Sweden where cosiness reigns supreme.

What is actually a practical thing also causes that homely feeling. As soon as you enter a Swedish home, you take off your shoes. You immediately feel at home at stocking feet. Besides the fact that you do not bring the snow and the mud into the inside, barefoot or in your socks also ensure that your feeling of happiness goes up. Try it yourself!

Design and music

I believe it is also the long cold and dark winters that make the Swedes so good in design and in music. In addition, the Swedes generally live fairly small and convenient living solutions are therefore a necessity. In combination with the ‘mysig’ factor, it goes without saying that they also try to design this nicely.

An evening around the fire is then again very inspiring to make music. Music is one of Sweden’s most important export products. Of course we think of ABBA. But also Roxette, Europe, Neneh Cherry, Emilia, The Cardigans, Alcazar, … all come from Sweden. Moreover, there are some top producers in Sweden who are also responsible for the sound of many international stars.

Can you supplement other things that we can learn from the Swedes? Can you also think of things where the Swedes could learn from other nations?