Mark Ellis, from England, first moved to Sweden 10 years. He was living in Gothenburg when he met his wife, Pernilla, through mutual friends and the rest is history. 4 years ago they welcomed their daughter Freja into the world. They now live and work in Stockholm after making a brief “repatriation” back to England when Freja was born.
What do you love about living in Sweden?
For myself, I love the more laid back nature of life in Sweden. Being used to rush hour in London nothing comes close to that level of stress here. Stockholm Is a beautiful city surrounded by water. That for me brings a sense of tranquility to the city.
Apart from friends and family, what is it that you miss most about your home country, and why?
I miss the trivial things like going to a store and picking up comfort foods that I have been eating since a child. Or, turning on the tv and having English shows from the BBC.
What has been the most challenging thing about moving and settling in Sweden?
I’ve found interacting with government agencies challenging over the years. Having to deal with Skattaverket (the tax office) and Arbetsförmedlingen (the job centre) when I was freelance and looking for work. Its not that they are not helpful, in fact they really are, but depending who you speak to you get different information. But I guess this is the same for any country, really
Have there been any aspects of your move to Sweden that have been surprisingly easy?
Being from the UK, it was stupidly easy for me to move here. I turned up at 8am one frosty morning and by the end of that same day I was registered to work and live here with a tax code and a provisional personal number. Unfortunately, I appreciate that it isn’t so easy for people outside of Europe.
What is your favourite thing todo as a family in Sweden?
We like to spend time in the centre of Stockholm window shopping and walking along the waterfronts. We also spend time at garden centres and Grönalund theme park for Freja to have fun.
Where is your favourite place to go as a family in Sweden?
Gamla Stan in Stockholm is nice to take a walk, sit, have a coffee and watch the tourists in the summer. Also, Freja loves going over to Djurgården to visit Junibacken.
What place in Sweden are you really looking forward to explore with your family?
When Freja gets older we are looking forward to going to the island of Gotland. We have friends and family that visit Gotland almost every year and we’d like Freja to experience Sweden’s nature that way. Setting some family traditions, too.
What do you wish Sweden had more of?
I wish there was more diversity in the availability of types international food in supermarkets.
If there was one thing you and your family could bring from your home country what would it be?
Sausages and Bacon. In the UK we are spoiled for choice when it comes to both.
If you had the option right now would you go back to your home country or continue to live in Stockholm/Sweden and raise your family here?
We actually did move back to England when Freja was born. We wanted to see if we could give it a go. After eleven months we both looked at each other and said, “we are moving back”. One month later, we were living in Stockholm with family getting our life back in order. I love England but raising a family is 100 times better here.
If you had one piece of advice for a family moving to Stockholm/Sweden what would it be?
When you first get here look for a local SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) class. This will help you get the basics (something I only still have eleven years later) and make life a little simpler when you’re finding your feet.
Any other pearls of wisdom about life in Stockholm with kids?
Make sure they have proper winter cloths.. it can get to -11 in Stockholm in the winter.