Sweden is a country that prides itself on vacation days. Most people start off with about 25 days of vacation each year. That’s five weeks of vacation. The US has about two weeks. Sweden also has a work week that tends to be described as 37.5 hours. The US has a 40 hour work week. Just one of the differences when moving to Sweden. Especially for an American moving to Sweden. Which is just another reason to write a continuation of the Moving to Sweden series. Be sure to check out other instant classics like:
Moving to Sweden – What to Bring
Moving to Sweden – The Swedish Language
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Place to Live
Moving to Sweden – The Metric System and You
Moving to Sweden – Getting a Cell Phone
Moving to Sweden – Getting from the Airport to Stockholm City
Moving to Sweden – The Weather
Moving to Sweden – Swedish Citizenship Test
Moving to Sweden – Finding a Job
Moving to Sweden – Culture Shock: It's the Little Things
Moving to Sweden – Making Friends
Moving to Sweden – Cost of Living
Moving to Sweden – The Laundry Room
Moving to Sweden – Marijuana
Moving to Sweden – Most Common Jobs and Salaries
If you’ve already managed to move to Sweden and to find a job in Sweden, you’ve probably begun enjoying the benefits of all those vacation days. Working here, I can’t complain too much at all. Sometimes it’s a bit of a pain in the ass in the middle of July and August when everyone is on vacation. But you get by. And when you’re working, you definitely get by. Because everyone loves vacation.
Along with all of the vacation time, Sweden has a lot of public holidays. However, having moved here I still struggle with figuring out when those days are. They are referred to as red days. Red because they are printed red on the Swedish calendar. It’s a very visible reminder. But unless you’re staring at a Swedish calendar, it’s not always easy to figure out what days are public holidays. Days when you just don’t need to go to work.
Quite a few of these days are religious holidays. Which makes no sense in a country that is considered to be one of the most secular countries in the world. And not only are they religious holidays, but they are somewhat obscure religious holidays. Like the day of the Ascension. Kristi Himmelfärdsdag. The sixth Thursday after Easter. Obviously.
Sundays are always considered red days. Every Sunday on the calendar is marked in red. So Easter Sunday is a red day from a couple different angles.
There are also days referred to as klämdagar. Squeeze days. These are days that fall between a public holiday and a weekend. For example, this year Trettondedag Jul fell on a Tuesday. So Monday was a squeeze day. Check with your employer but a lot of places of employment will turn this into a half day.
This half-day policy is also common for Eve days. Christmas Eve for example. Or New Years Eve. Again, probably a good idea to check before you just bail early.
So with all that in mind, and the slight embarrassment of me requesting a day off on a day that was already a public holiday still fresh in my mind, I’ve put together a list of all of the public holidays in Sweden for the year 2009. Because some holidays change. Like Good Friday. And the aforementioned Kristi Himmelfärdsdag.
January – Thursday, January 1st is Nyårsdagen. New Years Day. Tuesday, January 6th is Trettondedag jul. The Epiphany.
February – Nothing. Sorry. The Swedes don’t celebrate American Presidents.
March – Still nothing.
April – Friday, April 10th is Långfredagen. Good Friday. Monday, April 13th is Annandag Påsk. Easter Monday.
May – Friday, May 1st is Första Maj. May Day or International Worker’s Day. The International Worker’s Day was the day that left me a bit red in the face. Thursday, May 21st is Kristi Himmelsfärdsdag. The Day of the Ascension.
June – Saturday, June 6th is Sveriges Nationaldag. The Swedish national day. Think 4th of July but without the celebration of independence and the Constitution. Saturday, June 20th is Midsommardagen. Midsummer.
July – It is the middle of summer… did you expect more red days?
August – Nothing.
September – Nothing. Again.
October – Saturday, October 31st is Alla Helgons dag. All Saints’ Day.
November – Just a rough month in general. It gets darker, colder, and no days off.
December – Friday, December 25th is Juldagen. Christmas Day. Saturday, December 26th is Annandag Jul. Boxing Day.
Welcome to Sweden. And the beauty of working in the Swedish system.
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