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Moving to Sweden with a disability

From within the EU

post 28.Apr.2019, 11:22 AM
Post #1
Joined: 28.Apr.2019

Hi everyone,

I am looking to move to Sweden. However, it's a little more complicated than just that.
At the moment I receive a welfare check because I am disabled. The laws and regulations in my country allow me to move abroad (within the European Union) and take this check with me.
My (mental) disabilities (yes, there's more than one) complicate my life in several ways. It helps when I am in nature, when I'm not around a lot of people. Unfortunately, the country I live in is quite ... full, in the sense that there's very little nature left. And what nature that there's left, you're not allowed to live in it. The few natural spaces that you are allowed to live in, are cramped with people.

The choice for Sweden is simple. For many years I have been fascinated with Scandinavia. Expense-wise - generally speaking - Sweden is just a bit more expensive than where I live (Norway being generally 50% more expensive, Iceland being 56% more expensive).
I won't deny that Iceland's my first choice, but other than the fact that Iceland is a lot more expensive (I can take my welfare check with me, but it stays the same as where I live; it does not go up or down according to the living standard of where I live, which is why most people with a welfare check who move abroad, go to southern countries), the language is also a lot harder than Swedish.

What is the intent of my post here?

1) Well, first of all, I'd like some imput. I want opinions. Would you welcome me into your country, knowing that I won't actively contribute to society? Do note, while my current country would still pay my welfare check, I would pay taxes in Sweden. Also, I am an artist and whenever I do earn money from my creative works (it doesn't happen often), I will also pay Swedish taxes on them.

2) I am looking for "insider information". I'm looking for something like an ideal location. I am looking for property (either a house, or a plot of land where I can build a house) somewhere in the middle of Sweden.

2.1) Ideally, I'd like to grow my own crops. Is the middle of Sweden (I was thinking somewhere between Hudiksvall and Skellefte?) good enough to grow crops? Which crops could be grown there? (I have found several posts on this forum about growing crops, but most of them were about south Sweden).

2.2) What are good websites to go looking for property in those areas? Which websites should I avoid? (sites available in English are a plus, but not a requirement; I am still very early in the process of learning Swedish, but I can make due with Google Translate)

2.3) Is the middle of Sweden calm enough in the sense that you can live remotely alone, but not too isolated that you have to drive for hours to get some groceries?

I'm certain I have a lot more questions, but I'll start with these.

Sorry for the long and complicated post. I appreciate all the help I can get.
Thank you so much.
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post 28.Apr.2019, 03:17 PM
Post #2
Location: Gothenburg
Joined: 18.Jul.2012

If you do not have money, a job offer or accommodation then forget it
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post 29.Apr.2019, 01:25 AM
Post #3
Joined: 25.Jun.2009

Sweden's long and dark winters may not be the best for your condition depending upon what it is. In answer to your question: will you be welcomed with open arms? I would have to say that you, if you are a private person who keeps to yourself, will get the same welcome as anyone else. Which is to say that you will be essentially ignored. Not trying to be flippant here, but Sweden's people are very private and not what I would characterize as being outgoing. A generalization for sure but much truth in it.

I do wish you luck in your journey. I happened to enjoy my time in Sweden, but it is not for everyone.
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post 29.Apr.2019, 01:28 AM
Post #4
Joined: 25.Jun.2009

Oh, and as to your agriculture question, you do realize you are looking at an area that is not prone to lots of cultivation. Cold weather crops and hunting and fishing are the traditional means of self subsistence.
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post 29.Apr.2019, 10:48 AM
Post #5
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

You don't need to move that far north. You can live 30-50km outside any major city in complete isolation.

Look at a map of climate zones. Anything 3 or higher and your growing seasons will be pretty short. Still possible, just more challenging.
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post 29.Apr.2019, 05:04 PM
Post #6
Joined: 20.Feb.2012

So, OP, you are personally wealthy? If not, then don't waste your time.

Sure, in the north you can buy a piece of sh#t old farm house for peanuts, but it still isn't worth the life you will give up, by moving to the Greasy Meatball.

Stay where you are, it can't possibly be worse than Meatballia.

PS: The "locals" are like Gypsies. You will never be accepted as a native Meatball (a blessing in fact, but impractical whilst living there).
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post 29.Apr.2019, 07:44 PM
Post #7
Joined: 21.Apr.2016

QUOTE (intrepidfox @ 28.Apr.2019, 04:17 PM) *
If you do not have money, a job offer or accommodation then forget it


Before getting your hopes up, you need a visa to stay in Sweden.

You can't just pick and select where you want to live. You cannot go to immigation and tell them you just had a fascination with Scandinavia? Your fascination will cost you getting a job here, finding a place to live, and proving to the authorities that you can sustain yourself without going on any social benefits, which is solely for residents.

This is not the 1950s. There are residency and visa requirements and regulations in Sweden.

Do your thorough research before posting. It is a waste of your and our time.

As you state "welfare benefits", it is a assumption that you are American.
There is a lot of nature in America, beautiful, I might add.

Search there.
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post 29.Apr.2019, 09:32 PM
Post #8
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

QUOTE (Svedallas @ 29.Apr.2019, 06:44 PM) *
Exactly.Before getting your hopes up, you need a visa to stay in Sweden.You can't just pick and select where you want to live. You cannot go to immigation and tell them yo ... (show full quote)

I'd speculate they are from the eu, because of their wording. But not the UK because of their spelling of cheque.
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post 30.Apr.2019, 09:07 AM
Post #9
Joined: 28.Apr.2019

First of all, thanks for all the replies :-)

I am from Belgium. I have been told that it is possible to migrate freely within the EU. And the money that I receive for my disabilities, will remain, no matter where I live (within the EU). It does not make me wealthy, but it's enough to survive.
The social benefits that I receive - even when I should live in Sweden - will be paid by Belgium (why, I have no idea, seems like a flaw [the ethical / moral point of living abroad of domestic benefits is a whole other discussion, and yes, it is something that bothers me as well. But I intend to 'use' it until I can find another way to support myself]).

I understand that it is required to work, but ... due to my disabilities, I am unable to work. Here, in Belgium, the doctors even forbid me to work. Which is why I spend a lot of my free time creating art.

The long and dark winters are indeed cause for some concern. I suffer from depression, among other things.
Before actually moving permanently, I do intend to stay there for at least a year, so get a feel of what it's like. But before I can decide where I want to settle, I'm looking for input (rather than trying to check out fifteen different areas, trying to live there for a year each ...).

Hunting and fishing is out of the question for me as I'm a vegan. And yes, I've had plenty of talks with non-vegans from all over Scandinavia about how hard it is to live off a plant-based diet there :-)
The crops that I'd want to grow, would merely be an addition to produce I buy from the grocery stores; just a little extra. And, growing crops is a fun activity.

As for the life I'm giving up where I live ... I absolutely don't like it here (I might be spoiled, I know. I live in a city; everything's close-by; besides the number of people in the city and the noises from traffic, there's not really anything I can complain about). I want a simpler life. A quieter life. I need peace and quiet.
That doesn't mean I'd take the first thing that comes by. I have considered living in a small hut in a forest or something similar; but I have to admit that I'm used to some luxuries like a decent toilet, running water and heating. I wish I wasn't. I'd love to be able to live in nature, all by myself, off the grid. It would seem amazing.
I have tried to search for property and found houses that were in terrible condition.

I don't intend to have a lot of contact with the locals (I'm not much of a people-person), but I can certainly understand that it can be handy to be on friendly terms with them.

Please do know that I am doing research about this as well. It's not just some fad or wild idea.

Again, thank you everyone for your responses. I do appreciate the time and effort.
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post 30.Apr.2019, 12:18 PM
Post #10
Joined: 25.Jun.2009

Being able to work and support yourself gives a person a sense of dignity and purpose. I am sorry that you are not able to experience that. Perhaps there is some manner of purposeful activity you can engage in even if it is volunteer work. You certainly seem intelligent enough although perhaps a bit naive.

Also, have you done any research on the effects of your vegan lifestyle and how it may be having an effect upon your mental condition? There are several long chain fatty acids as well as amino acids that are essential to good brain health and are very difficult to obtain in a strictly plant diet.
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post 30.Apr.2019, 02:06 PM
Post #11
Joined: 21.Apr.2016

QUOTE (hrafn.enginnson @ 30.Apr.2019, 10:07 AM) *
First of all, thanks for all the replies :-)I am from Belgium. I have been told that it is possible to migrate freely within the EU. And the money that I receive for my disabi ... (show full quote)

"The long and dark winters are indeed cause for some concern. I suffer from depression, among other things."

Sweden is not for you.
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post 2.May.2019, 05:43 AM
Post #12
Joined: 28.Jul.2010

Have you ever thought about moving to Northern Spain instead? Such as the Galicia area? It is quite nice there and one can buy a farm there for very little. It is quite a fertile area, nice weather, and not too crowded you could go self sufficient there and many do. My husband and I were thinking about doing it. Currently we live in Sweden but I think Spain is a lot easier place to go self sufficent then Sweden. And the winters are quite dark here.

I know that there was a fun book about being self sufficeint in Spain called "Driving over Lemons". The guy who wrote it lives in a different area of Spain but has done it for over 20 years.
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post 2.May.2019, 05:34 PM
Post #13
Joined: 15.Feb.2018

QUOTE (hrafn.enginnson @ 28.Apr.2019, 12:22 PM) *
Hi everyone,I am looking to move to Sweden. However, it's a little more complicated than just that.At the moment I receive a welfare check because I am disabled. The laws ... (show full quote)

Why not move to the countryside in Belgium? Sweden is not welcoming to anyone. They are more friendly if you are just visiting. I split my time between us and Sweden and at first people are friendly thinking I?m a visitor, then suspicious when I say I live here (first question is what my job is), then relieved when I say it?s part time only when consulting the Swedish branch of my business. There is always a moment of panic in swedes when there are foreigners living amongst them.

Iceland is beautiful but if you were thinking of growing crops there then you must have been thinking of a greenhouse... in that case anywhere in Sweden would be fine, no?

Otherwise, as someone mentioned, Spain would be a hell of a lot nicer, people, culture, food, weather, than Sweden would be.

And the eu isn?t so people can just go and move to whatever eu country they want. They get 3 months vacation visa free and then if they find work then they are able to live if sustainability requirements are met... don?t know how it would be with a disability check as your main source of income.

I honestly have no clue what the benefits of the EU are for civilians... seems like it?s just a failed trade deal/ attempt to unify and strengthen economies.

Good luck... but honestly, look elsewhere. Sweden is miserable... like the Pink Floyd song, ? hanging on in quiet desperation is the (Swedish) way?
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post 8.May.2019, 09:46 PM
Post #14
Joined: 3.Jun.2018

QUOTE (hrafn.enginnson @ 28.Apr.2019, 12:22 PM) *
Hi everyone,. I am looking to move to Sweden. However, it's a little more complicated than just that.. Thank you so much.


I am Spanish so I can give you my personal opinion.

Sweden and most Scandinavian looks good from outside but I can tell you everyday life is a completely different story.

1- First of all if you suffer from depression then I absolutely do not recommend you moving to Sweden. In general the weather is not friendly at all and in here even with climate change, weather is cold most of the year, after October until well into march is all about dark days and very cloudy with a lot of rain in general. The more north you live the darker the winters. So if you suffer from depression then that is going to be a problem in my opinion.

2- The culture. True is swedes and most Scandinavian are polite. You are not going to find rude people in the streets or rude neighbors, but in general people are really cold and distant. Making sporadic chat with other people is almost impossible unless you join activities. And people in the street are always avoiding even eye contact.(difficult to explain with words)
I have been in a supermarket and seeing an elderly trying to grab a shopping cart and nobody even looked at her. I helped her and she opened her eyes surprised. That will give you an idea.
People sit alone on the bus and avoid sitting next to someone. Women are even worse because they leave their hand bags in the sit next to them.

3- Life is overpriced, because you pay more but the quality of the food is not as good. Eating out is expensive for the food you get and supermarkets don't sell a wide range of products.

4- If you want to live absolutely alone and without anybody around you then sweden can work out but the price is high. ISOLATION. Because in sweden you are invisible. Nobody cares.

Spain is not the perfect place unlike scandinavian is trying to portray themselves.

But I can tell you a few things about Spain.

1- Outside the cities Spain is not overpopulated and you will find plenty of places with small population. Just 20km from city center. Northern Spain is really great because it is colder but not as cold as Sweden. Low population, quiet towns, very rural life in general.

2- Food and gastronomy is really good and cheaper than Sweden. Not only you will be able to enjoy better healthier food but you won't have to pay as much.

3- Culture. Spaniards are very friendly and someone with a disability like you will find people in the street who will try to help you cross the street if you need help. That's the way we are. Chatting with strangers in the street is quiet common, whether you are waiting for the bus or buying some groceries at the supermarket, we don't mind having small talk.

4- If you suffer from depression Spain can be a good antidote. Some sunlight, friendlier culture, you can live in a quite rural area but still without being invisible as it happens in scandinavian countries.

Problems about Spain:
- High unemployment, which in your case doesn't matter.
- Bureaucracy is higher than in Sweden so getting things done in the administrative aspect is not as easy and straight forward.
- Almost nobody speaks English so you will have to learn Spanish.
- You can get some kilos because tapas is really good. smile.gif

I live in Sweden because in my country there is no work. But I admit life in Sweden is boring and sad and when it's about meeting love or people is like if swedes were afraid. People in general look like nobody paid attention to their surroundings, like tunnel vision. I say hi at someone at the bus stop and she doesn't even look at me. It's a very passive harsh country that looks good on paper because of the constant hype on the news and media. But day by day, I have never seen so many difficulties in my life. Specially for a culture that calls itself "the best on earth".
From finding rental housing and work everything is wall after wall and people are very passive. People speak good English but almost nobody will talk to you but only the necessary or for politeness but no deep conversations no connection.

This is a very very cold culture. Many move to Sweden for work or to follow their love ones. But if you have a disability and are alone with not family and no daily job... hmmm. Avoid Sweden.
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post 9.May.2019, 06:10 AM
Post #15
Location: Värmland
Joined: 12.Oct.2015

Pepitoandalucia wrote good overview of swedish way of life, but if you are looking to be left alone, ignored by locals and surounded by nature Sweden is your choice.
Belgium also have nice places to live by the way, I did lived in Flanders for a while and can say there is plently of nature over there with small villages in between.
But you can always try living where you want, just do not buy property or other anchor right away, good luck
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