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Living in Umeå

The influx from near and far has transformed Umeå into northern Sweden’s largest urban community with an atmosphere characterised by openness partnered with just the right amount of inquisitiveness. Today’s residents of Umeå, both old and new, have an accepting attitude towards new thoughts and ideas, different behaviours and lifestyles.

Umeå offers breath-taking nature, an abundance of shopping, first-class restaurants, a rich cultural life and a packed events calendar of a major city. More than 50 languages are spoken - with English widely used everywhere - and there is a thriving network of associations and clubs that represent people and cultures from across the globe.

A great place to work and live

Umeå is a clean and green city, where people and businesses respect the beautiful northern landscape and really care about protecting the environment. The city's green credentials are underlined by the fact that Umeå is known as the "City of Birches". Nearly 3,000 birch trees were planted along the city's wide avenues following a devastating fire that destroyed large parts of the city back in 1888.

  • Breath-taking nature and outdoor life

    Experience the unexploited and exotic nature of northern Sweden with nature reserves, walking trails, wildlife and flourishing rivers just around the corner. The opportunities for sports, entertainment, outdoor activities and culture are endless.

  • Family-friendly

    Umeå city offers a safe environment, not least for family life. The County of Västerbotten has the lowest crime rate in the country. Streets are safe, and people are honest and very helpful. And also, the Umeå tap water isn't just clean but also really tasty.

  • Thriving cultural life

    In Umeå, cultural workers and artists have gathered since the 1970s, and when such people come together – then stuff happens. Here you find three big museums, a sculpture park, an opera and a professional symphony orchestra – but also the cultural association Bumblebee, the music festival Umeå Open, several smaller theatres and an international literary festival, among many other events. As proof of the city's vibrant cultural scene, Umeå was named European Capital of Culture 2014.

  • Easy to get around

    In Umeå you're never really far from anything. Walking distance to most things – workplace, entertainment, leisure, culture, and nature – makes it easy to take part of what the city has to offer.

    Cycling is often the best way to get around thanks to an extensive network of bicycle paths. And the local bus system provides frequent service and good coverage within the city and surrounding neighbourhoods. Umeå Airport is located only a few kilometres from town and can conveniently take you in and out of town as you please.

  • Excellent school system

    Preschool services are available for children from the age of one year, and are very affordable. Primary schools for children between ages 7 and 16 (grades 1–9) and upper-secondary schools (gymnasieskola) in Umeå are tuition free and include a cooked lunch meal.

    The majority of teaching takes place in Swedish, but for children and young people with a mother tongue other than Swedish, the municipality offers different kinds of instruction and support based on the child's needs. There are also several schools (or charter schools) with a focus on English instruction and foreign languages.


Among Sweden's fastest growing cities

As one of the fastest growing cities in Sweden with over 121,000 inhabitants, Umeå successfully manages to balance its environmental commitments with its trade and industry ambitions, attracting some of the world's most creative and enterprising businesses to the region. The city is home to many growing companies, mainly in the fields of biotechnology, medicine, IT, the environment and energy, and modern forestry and engineering industries.

Quick facts about Umeå (2017)

• Population: 122,892
• Year founded: 1622
• Average age: 38
• Nationalities: 90
• Companies: 12,000
• Sports and leisure facilities: 200
• Exercise trails: 160 km
• Cycle paths: 262 km
• Annual hours of sunshine: 1,800
• Number of birches in the city centre: 2,300
• Sunrise on 21 June: 02:21
• Sunset on 21 June: 22:59


Helpful sites

Umeå municipality
Visit Umeå
Västerbotten County tourism
Living in Sweden