Which is a better place to move: Sweden or the Netherlands?

It depends on many things I’d say…

Housing situation: the Netherlands is cramped, one of Europe’s most densely populated countries, i.e. expensive. Sweden is not densely populated, though Stockholm is and is subsequently as pricey. My choice: Sweden outside Stockholm.

Immigration laws: Both are EU-countries, meaning that for a non-EU citizen it’s pretty similar. If you have employment or a spouse with an EU passport you are generally welcomed with open arms. If you don’t, you are politely asked to stay away. My choice: a tie.

Employment: As a programmer, you would find it quite easy to find employment in both countries, though given that a greater share of the Swedish economy rests on programming skills, I think you’re behaving more options in Sweden. My choice: Sweden

Language: The Dutch and the Swedes speak excellent English, the accents can be prominent – but overall you’d be surprised. You can learn Swedish, Dutch can be quite a different story (speaking that is, reading is easier). My choice (obviously biased): Sweden.

Taxes & Welfare: the Netherlands has lower taxes, which is good for anyone without a kid or two. If you have children, the Swedish higher tax payments for a lot more kickbacks (12 months parental leave, cheap daycare, free universities, etc). My choice (as a father of three): Sweden.

Drugs: You may get high legally in the Netherlands, you may not in Sweden. My choice: Netherlands (I prefer to say no out of choice, not because the law tells me to)

Weather: Same problems – the Netherlands and the part of Sweden where there are actually people living is comparable to Nova Scotia or Washington State. My choice: Holland, San José, CA

Getting around/out: Both countries excel in public transport. The Dutch also are world champions of bike paths.

sweden vs netherlands
Sweden vs the Netherlands

Which is a better place to move: Sweden or the Netherlands?

Southern Sweden (the flatlands) are comparably on par when it comes to biking, while Stockholm and Gothenburg are a bit challenged by their topography.

The Netherlands is in the center of Western Europe. By train you can be in Cologne, Paris, Brussels in a few hours. There are frequent cheap flights to the UK etc. Sweden is further away.

The south is OK, but if you’d be moving to Stockholm, leaving Sweden for a weekend abroad is a project (the Baltic states would be the best option).

With that said, if you appreciate nature then Sweden wins hands-down. The Swedish law allows anyone to access pretty much every square inch of the countryside and it’s easily accessible.

The Dutch nature is probably there, but after 10+ visits to the country, I’m still waiting for anyone to invite me to go mushroom picking, fly-fishing or moose hunting.

My choice: Sweden (but if you’re not into green spaces it’s the Netherlands)