Over 30 nationalities take part in Christmas welcoming event

Gothenburg's International Christmas
Gothenburg's International Christmas

With a fifth of its residents born abroad and around 2,300 foreign-owned companies, the Gothenburg region is highly international. On 4 December, professionals, researchers and students representing over 30 nations took part in the city’s 20th annual International Christmas event.

“This is one of the ways we welcome and support international professionals. They are an important part of our workforce that we don’t take for granted. We hope they have a great experience here and that it becomes home, and in their hearts, no matter where they live in the future,” says Helen Bairu, one of the organisers and host of the welcoming event.

Around 30 companies and 30 nationalities represented

Volvo, AstraZeneca, Ericsson, Polestar, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Chalmers University of Technology and the University of Gothenburg are just a few of the employers who were represented at this year’s Christmas event.

“It’s truly an international region. From the very beginning, we had help from Scottish, Dutch and German people, to build the city, nearly 400 years ago. Today, the Gothenburg region is home to more than 2,300 foreign-owned companies and in total they employ almost 100,000 people. At this event alone we had people from over 30 different countries from across the world taking part,” says Andreas Göthberg, head of foreign direct investment at Business Region Göteborg, who was one of the speakers.

Companies and universities that were represented at the event:

Volvo Cars, Volvo Group, SKF, AstraZeneca, Telia, Chalmers University of Technology, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, HCL, Tech Mahindra, Alten, TCP Solutions, IKEA, UD Trucks, Mölnlycke, Ericsson, Wireless Car, Polestar Performance, Närhälsan, CEVT, June Medical, Linneaus University, Nordic Relocation, Berlitz, CueMe, Arbetsförmedlingen, West Sweden Chamber of Commerce and Business Region Göteborg.

The annual International Christmas Event is arranged by Business Region Göteborg, in collaboration with Move to Gothenburg and the City of Gothenburg. This year’s event was fully digital due to the covid-19 situation. Guest speakers included Anneli Rhedin, the Lord Mayor of Gothenburg, and James Savage, founder and CEO of TheLocal, who provided insight into, among other things, the life of an “expat” in Sweden.

“The biggest challenge in every country is always bureaucracy. It’s about getting yourself into the system. We have TheLocal in eight other countries and I think in Sweden, the challenges of bureaucracy are less than in a country like Italy, for example. But nonetheless, those challenges exist. But once you’re in the system it really works,” said James Savage at the Christmas event.

“If we look at what the Local’s readers think about Sweden, they love that it’s innovative, they love that there’s a work-life balance, and they love that there is a service-minded public system. They also like that it’s family-orientated and non-hierarchical, so there is no big barrier between bosses and staff,” he said.


This year's event was recorded live. You can watch the event below.