Swedish Language Blog

Opening hours Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 in Culture, Living in Sweden

The chances that you will be battling people right after work for groceries are quite high in Sweden. Probably less so now then a couple of years ago when almost all shops closed at 5 PM, but I think you would still be hard-pressed to find a shops that is open after 9pm on a weekend if they aren’t big chains like ICA MAXI, Coop Forum or Willys for example. Especially in smaller towns most shops such as H&M or Galerix (paper and stationary shop) aren’t even open at all on Sundays, recently to more and more peoples frustration.

One reason why these opening hours are kept the way they are, is probably the countless trade unions that enforce workers rights, prioritizing and seeing the importance of living a balanced and healthy life. That being the reason for trying to keep working hours down and within a reasonable time of the day. Swedes in most cases ‘work to live’ and not ‘live to work’. This way people have more time for family, friends and hobbies 🙂

Tags: , , , , , ,
Keep learning Swedish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it


  1. Martin Flower:

    Just like to say that I’m very grateful that I can shop at Willys after work. The people I meet there seem to have a balanced life. Many are no doubt pleased to have a part-time evening job.

  2. Lee C.:

    More likely the unions don’t want any part-time workers at all, since they are less likely to become members of the union.

    What happened in Norway several years ago was that consumers unable to shop early would instead buy groceries at gas stations, which consequently expanded their offerings. Good for the gas stations, but not so much for either the consumers or the grocery stores, and in the long run, not good for grocery store workers either.

  3. David:

    Compared to many other countries, Sweden has fairly generous opening hours. In Denmark, the shops apparently close at something like 6 pm every day (and are always closed on Sundays). Sweden is one of very few European countries to have no legislation whatsoever regulating opening hours. Instead, the problem is solved via collective bargaining – like many other similar issues on the Swedish labour market.

    Just like Lee C. says with respect to Norway, if you really want good opening hours in Sweden, go to the gas stations. To just take one example, the one next-door from me (Frendo) is open until midnight every day, and until 4am on Friday and Saturday nights.