Monday, June 23, 2008

Stockholm in the News – Courtesy of Travis

Faithful reader Travis, who always jumps in on the sports discussions sent me a couple of links about a week and a half ago. Being the timely person that I am, I am just now writing about those links. Because they were solid links. Not because I felt guilty for taking so damn long to respond. And I’m all for some Swedish news that makes its way across the ocean.

And to start the news: Traveler’s Digest. This must be a rough job. Because someone got to write about the cities with the most beautiful women in the world. Seeing as how I am willfully unemployed right now, if anyone has a job opening along these lines, I can start. This evening.

Anyway, to be perfectly honest, the article is kind of lame. But still. Stockholm topped the list. Followed by Copenhagen in second place. Clearly, Scandinavia is the place to be for beautiful women.

Moving on to some other news with a bit more meat on the bone. Because Travis did send the aforementioned beautiful women link as Stockholm making its way into the “news.”

Stockholm found its way onto the rankings for most livable cities in 2007 in the world ranking by Mercer. I fact they came in at a respectable 20th place. Not quite as good as the Reader’s Digest ranking of number one that I wrote about a while ago. But not too shabby. And in all fairness, the Mercer survey probably carries a bit more weight. Reader’s Digest focused on environmental aspects. Mercer focused on 39 different criteria ranging from, as the intro on their survey says: “political stability, currency-exchange regulations, political and media censorship, school quality, housing, the environment and public safety.”

Of course, that being said, this survey is meant to rank the quality of life for expats. Not your average everyday 24 year old. And a quick side note. My understanding is that an expat in Sweden is actually referring to a specific term which does not include just anyone who leaves their country to move to a different country. Although, it is generally used interchangeably. Let’s use a quick example of a large multinational American company. General Electric for example. GE decides to send Fred to Stockholm to work in their finance division. Fred agrees and comes over for a few years (usually it seems to be between two and five years) with his family. He is being paid a salary by GE. He gets to live in a fancy house in Danderyd or Stocksund, paid for by GE. He probably has been given access to at least one car. And Fred even manages to pay only American taxes. Because he is an expat. GE will pay the difference in taxes, which in Stockholm could be substantial. Basically, being an expat is being able to live the good life. Anyway, I’m sure that this varies from country to country and even company to company, but there’s a little bit of what I’ve gathered from expats.

Back to the rankings. Germany and Switzerland managed to do good work both coming in with three cities in the top 10. The US doesn’t show up until numbers 27 and 29 with Honolulu and San Francisco respectively. Between numbers 44 and 68 though, the US really starts popping up.

I’ll be honest; having taken a look at the rankings I was a bit surprised that the Scandinavian countries didn’t make their way higher. Copenhagen was the highest at 11th place. Oslo at 26th. Norway is one of the richest countries in the world and is generally considered to be at the forefront of these livability studies, that being said being in the top half of a study like this is probably no small feat considering the number of beautiful cities around the world. So well done Scandinavia. And well done Stockholm. And well done Travis for sending this stuff to me.


  1. Even better is that the first $80K of Fred's income is also tax free in the US--still has to file, just doesn't have to pay on that portion.

  2. Ironically I'm an expat that moved from Minneapolis to Stockholm in March, and I also work for Mercer. In case you're wondering, I had nothing to do with the quality-of-living survey.

    Many expats don't end up quite as well off as Fred. It's probably because I'm not that important to the company, but my specific situation has me paying the full Swedish income taxes, plus paying OASDI taxes back home, meaning I pay about 7.65% more in income taxes than the average Swede. I also pay for my own apartment and have not enjoyed any sort of car allowance.

    As for the article about the most beautiful women in the world, I agree that it was pretty lame. As a publisher, I would want that headline, but I think I would have fired the guy who actually wrote that article.

    Although I've never commented, I've been a faithful reader of your blog since I accepted the job here in Stockholm. It's been a fun read. Keep up the good blogging.

  3. Det där måste nog vara den mest tragiska listan jag har sett på länge. Den ser ut som något en 17 årig oskuld skrivit, nyligen hemkommen från sin semester. Men trots det håller jag kanske med någorlunda i rangordningen. Skandinaviska tjejer, visst är vi snygga ;)

  4. @john - that's glorious. I need to be a high ranking ex-pat. Obviously.

    @scott - you actually bring up a good point that I had meant to ask about. these ex-pats that get all the benefits. are they the high ranking executives that get sent over. because those are probably few and far between. what's the deal with the regular guy who decides to go on an adventure and says sure to working in Stockholm. are they all paying extra tax like you? someone has to have answers here.

    and agreed on the good looking women article. not all that well written. but an entertaining idea, and who are we kidding, kind of cool to see Stockholm at the top of the list.

    @freja - måste hålla med. och visst år det kul att se köpenhamn och stockholm i topp.

    a few highlights from what Freja had to say: "looks like the list was written by a 17 year old virgin recently home from vacation." I love it.