Perhaps they are not the most likely duo, but Sweden and Spain are building links. The country of the north with the limited sunshine is teaming up with the country of the south, siestas and fiestas. It’s perhaps because of rather than in spite of their differences, that the two compliment each other so nicely.
For many years Swedish people have been travelling south to find light relief from the short daylight hours of the winter. Many choose to split their year between the two countries, often preferring to return to Sweden when the weather is more clement during July and August.
It’s not only individuals who’ve been crossing the borders to Spain. Sweden has also made its mark in the retail trade here with H & M and Ikea sprouting up in many Spanish shopping complexes.
It’s no longer one way travel. With unemployment and a struggling economy the Spanish people are looking ever more creatively for ways of developing their own businesses and finding work. One of these ways is through bringing a little bit of Spain to Sweden.
In one of Spain’s leading business and finance newspapers, Expansión, the Swedish ambassador in Spain discusses the opportunities that there are for Spanish business in Sweden itself. Ambassador Cecilia Julin describes the advantages, including a market open to northern Europeans wanting a little taste of Spain.
Spanish cuisine is, according to Julin, popular in Sweden too. Many traditional Spanish food products and beverages are transported their and she suggests that ‘tapas’ would be perfect for Sweden too. Perhaps the real incentive for Spanish business is the reputation that Sweden has for enabling new businesses to blossom. With reduced bureaucracy and government support, it has been included in the list of the top 10 countries when it comes to growing a new business.
However, they don’t want just anyone to pack their bags and go there. Julin suggests that you need three important attributes to be successful in Sweden:
- A good education and training
- Fluent English
- The capacity to cope with few hours of sunshine
The latter, in particular might be a little off putting for those used to the Spanish sun.