Welcome to

Söderhamn and Bollnäs Sweden


Signing the needs

As a new citizen in a country there are many things you need to know, everything from where shop to how to get medical care or find suitable ecucation for you and your children. The key to a lot of services in Sweden is to have a ”personnummer”, a personal identification number. You get this number at birth in Sweden or, if you come from another country, you apply for one at the tax agency.

Personnummer = personal identification number

Vård = health care

Utbildning = education 

Listen to the pronunciation


Shopping might seem a bit limited in the small towns Bollnäs and Söderhamn, but as a matter of fact there is a good variety of shops, both in the town centers and at the shopping areas in the outskirts. You can also find good second hand-shops with clothes, furniture and much more. Online-shopping is becoming more and more popular and the packages are delivered fast. When you shop you very seldom pay cash as credit cards or ”swish” (an app on your mobile phone) are encouraged and can be used almost everywhere.

There are cafés (Swedes love to take a ”fika” - a coffee / tea and a snack) and restaurants in Bollnäs and Söderhamn that serve different kinds of food. Many immigrants run these places. You can buy alcolhol when you are 18 at pubs and restaurants. Stronger alcolholic beverages can also be bought at Systembolaget, owned and run by the government, but to do so you need to be 20.

Affär/ butik
= shop

Handla = shop (for food )

Shoppa = shop (for clothes etc)

Betala = pay

Kvitto = receipt

Rea = (on) sale 

Hur mycket kostar…?
= How much is/are…?

Jag skulle vilja ha… = I would like….

Vilken storlek? = What size?

Café/ fik = Café

Fika = to have a snack; coffee / tea with cake

Restaurang = restaurant

= school

Förskola = preschool

Grundskola = compulsory school

Gymnasium = upper secondary school

Komvux = public adult ecucation

Sfi (Svenska för invandrare) = Swedish for immigrants

Elev = pupil/student

Lärare = teacher

Rektor = headmaster

Schema = time schedule

Studiebidrag = study allowance

Betyg = grade


Since it’s very common for both parents to work, almost all small children are put in preschools. The parents pay a fee depending on how many hours a week the children spend there.

From 6 – 16 years of age children in Sweden have to go to compulsory school (10 years). This education is free of charge and the school children also get free school lunches and access to books and other material.

After the compulsory school most teenagers continue to upper secondary school for 3 years, where you choose a study programme to get both general and more specailized eduction. Upper secondary school, or ”gymnasium” as it is called, is also free of charge and the students get a monthly study allowance from the government. Some adults also return to upper secondary education for adults (Komvux) if they want to pursue another careeer.
If you choose to continue studying at university level, you can apply for student grants and loans, at a low interest.

Immigrants are offered courses in the Swedish language by the municipality (”Sfi” – Swedish for immigrants) or other schools. Some combine their studying with different kinds of work placements.

Since 1992 there are so called ”Fristående skolor” or ”Friskolor” (Charter schools) in most parts of Sweden and also in Bollnäs and Söderhamn. They are publicly funded and run by different companies. 


If you need medical care, contact your local health clinic or call 1177, where you get free advice. To see a doctor is quite cheap in Sweden, and for children both doctor and dentist appointments are free.

For all kinds of emergencies, call 112!

If you or your children are sick so you can’t work or study, you can get different kinds of sick benefits from Försäkringskassan. Parents receive money from Försäkringskassan when they are on parental leave, and the child allowance for all children between 0 and 16 also comes from Försäkringskassan.

Older people can apply for different kinds of domestic help from the municipality or from private companies. If you need more qualified or intense care, you can get special accomodation with personnel around the clock.

All kinds of medical care are either run by the municipality or the regional council, or by private companies. You can often get medical treatment in Bollnäs and Söderhamn and buy your medicines at the local pharmacies. If you need specialized care, you are sent to a bigger hospital.

= health clinic

Sjukhus = hospital

Akuten = the emergency ward

Ambulans = ambulance

Läkare = medical doctor

Sjuksköterska = nurse

Tandläkare = dentist

Apotek = pharmacy

Medicin = medicine

Hemtjänst = domestic help

= "social security”

Sjukpenning = sickness benefit

Sjukskriven = to be on sick leave

VAB (vård av barn) = care of a sick child, temporary parental benefit

Kommun = municipality

Invånare = inhabitant

Parmanent uppehållstillstånd = Permanent residence permit

Medborgare = citizen

Val = election(s)

Rösta = vote

Politiskt parti
= political party

Förening = organisation


Sweden is divided into 290 municipalities and all inhabitants must be registered in one of them (where you have your permanent address). After two years you can apply for a permanent residence permit, and after five years you can apply for citizenship.

You can vote in local elections if you have lived in a municipality for three years, but to vote in the national elections you must be a Swedish citizen and 18 years old.

In Bollnäs and Söderhamn, like in other towns, there are many opportunities to get involved in a local political party or any other kind of organisation/club that offer courses in sports, languages or handicraft. Churches,charity organisations and the library also contribute to a variety of activities and immigrants can often get extra help from them.


In Bollnäs and Söderhamn you either live in your own house or an apartment, that you own or rent. You must register in a queue at the local housing company to get an apartment, but there are also private landlords. If your income is too low, you can apply for a housing allowance to help pay your rent.

Everyone who lives in an apartment is responsible for the well-being of the tenants and for the tidiness in and around the house. It’s important to show your neighbours respect. It’s also important to recycle as much as possible of your garbage to care for a sustainable environment (all apartment houses have different bins to help you recycle).

= apartment/flat

Hyra = rent

Hyreshus = rental apartment house

Hyresbidrag = housing allowance

Återvinna = recycle