The newbie guide to optimizing your holiday calendar, Swedish celebrations and red flags for scheduling meetings. Essential reading for anyone new to Sweden or working with Swedes.
Written to help you plan effectively for the working year ahead, this guide helps you to make the most of your time in Sweden. It highlights all the occasions you need to know about and provides additional calendar tips about Swedish culture.
Public holidays in Sweden 2019
1 January (Tuesday) New Years Day (Tuesday)
6 January (Sunday) Epiphany
13 January (Sunday) Tjugondag Knut
19 April (Friday) Good Friday
21 April (Sunday) Easter Sunday
22 April (Monday) Easter Monday
1 May (Wednesday) First of May
30 May (Thursday) Ascension Thursday
6 June (Thursday) Sweden’s National Day
9 June (Sunday) Pentecost Sunday
22 June (Saturday) Midsummer
2 November (Saturday) All Saints Day
25 December (Wednesday) Christmas Day
26 December (Thursday) Boxing Day
Midsummer’s Eve (21 June), Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not technically public holidays, but they are almost always treated as such anyway.
Days to avoid booking meetings (aka good times to take holidays)
As a newbie in Sweden, it’s important to understand that Swedes take holidays seriously and that you will be expected to do so too, both in terms of your own work/life balance and in terms of respecting your colleagues’ time off work. The following overview will also allow you to maximize your holiday entitlement for the year.
Essential Fika dates to celebrate
Here are five classic fika celebrations (themed cake days) to enjoy as part of your Swedish experience. It’s never wrong to offer fika (coffee and cake) in Sweden, especially if you have organised a meeting, and you’ll get bonus points from your colleagues for being aware of and celebrating these occasions.
5 March Semla Day (Semlor are wheat buns flavoured with cardamom and packed with whipped cream and almond paste)
25 March Waffle Day
4 October Cinnamon Bun Day
6 November King Gustav II Adolf Day (The traditional cake to celebrate this former Swedish king is a creamy sponge cake decorated with marzipan or chocolates silhouettes of King Gustav II)
7 November Kladdkakans Day (Chocolate Mud Cake Day)
Name day celebrations: your chance to calendar-schmooze Swedes
Most Swedish names have an official name day in the calendar on which they are celebrated. Congratulating a colleague or contact on their name’s day should help to get any conversation, email or meeting off to a good start.
Example: Swedish name days for January
See the full list of Swedish Name days, month by month.
You can also search alphabetically for your Swedish colleagues’ name days.
And finally, Swedish calendar terms you should know
You will frequently hear these calendar and holiday terms used in Sweden and can read an explanation here
We hope you have a great 2019 in Sweden!
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