Sweden Travel Information
GMT +1 (GMT +2, Mar - Oct).
Electric current is 230 volts, 50Hz. Standard European two-pin plugs are used.
Swedish is the main language, with Lapp being spoken by the Sami population in the north. Most Swedes speak and understand English, while many a proficient other European languages like German, French, and Spanish.
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 up the fare when using a taxi. Tips are welcome for exceptionally good service in hotels, but are not expected.
Sweden is an extremely safe country to visit. There is some petty crime in the cities where tourists congregate, but crime is generally at much lower levels than elsewhere in Europe. Most visits to Sweden are trouble free.
Swedish culture is very liberal and secular. Equality is an important part of Swedish culture, and boastfulness and open conflict is usually avoided, as is discussing work as an entry into a conversation. 'Chivalry' is often considered an outdated concept in Sweden, which is one of the most gender equal countries in the world, and gestures like opening doors for women are not considered necessary.
Despite a reputation 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. Swedes have a reputation for being meticulously tidy, so it is polite to remove your shoes when entering a Swedish home.
Sweden is no stranger to corporate culture and is home to many global companies like Skype and Spotify, not to mention popular automotive company, Volvo. 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 the decision-making process. 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. As a result Swedes often come across as overly reserved, 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 and 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. 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 here. 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.
The country code for Sweden is +46. There is good coverage across the country for mobile telephones, and many Swedish networks are partnered with international providers to ensure seamless connectivity. Internet cafes can be found in all the cities and towns and public wifi is available in certain areas.
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. One litre of spirits with alcohol content higher than 22 percent, or two litres of fortified or sparkling wine, and two litres of non-sparkling wine and beer are allowed duty free; other goods to the value of SEK 1,700 are also allowed. Prohibited items include drugs, other than those for medical or scientific purposes; and potatoes that are grown outside the EU.