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The costs of living in Stockholm

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The Swedish krona is falling in these days of financial turmoil. Sweden said "no" to the euro in a referendum in 2003 (more here), a vote in the backdrop of the tragic murder of foreign minister Anna Lindh.

As of today a euro is about 10.26 SEK (Swedish krona). Phew, that euro sure is expensive!

So follow me, my nice girlfriend and my babelian buddy Alex on a fun night in Stockholm, and keep up with the math.


First lets get to the cinema by public transportation. It is not far, just a couple of stations on the Stockholm underground, so we keep in a single zone. That would be €1.17 per person (12 SEK) on a one way trip. With a ticket duration of one hour we will most probably have to buy another to get back home. With a return ticket, another 12 SEK.

There are indeed ways to reduce this cost by buying a monthly or yearly travelcard, or using some form of benefit, but lets use the single ticket for the sake of argument.

Let's go see a regular film, at a regular commercial theatre, and lets choose something Swedish but still international for the comparison: Mamma Mia! the ABBA musical. The ticket would cost us €9.75 (100 SEK) a peice. The film is a bit costly in comparison with other shows.

Should be fun and light-hearted, but let's have a Big Mac before singing along to Björn and Benny. Big Mac, the useful comparison between price levels. Its more fun as an index and it is a similar sociological phenomenon in the whole Europe. A Big Mac would take about twenty minutes of work for a Swede to buy.

Let's buy a Big Mac Meal with no frills per person. €5.26 (55 SEK) each please.

Having seen the film, we're going out for a drink. Alcohol is expensive in Sweden, as it is heavily taxed (and in fact, you are only allowed to buy it from the government monopoly and licensed restaurants. That is an exception that was negotiated when Sweden entered the EU (and a very sensitive public health issue).

We're splashing out on a drink at a place at Stureplan. A 6 centiliter dry martini each. That's €11.11 (114 SEK)

This would be about 293 SEK per person (€27.30) in total the three of us would spend €81.87.

What do you think, is this a expensive price compared to your home town?

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