House Hunters International Features ‘Best of Sweden’September 29, 2015
Just under 3 percent of Americans live abroad, factoring in a U.S. State Department estimate that 8.7 million Americans currently live outside the United States.
That doesn’t mean the other 97 percent of us don’t wonder what it might be like to move abroad.
HGTV’s House Hunters International has enabled us to imagine that scenario from the comfort of our couch since 2006. The show, an extension of the popular stateside series House Hunters, follows Americans as they search for a new home abroad.
If you’re curious about what it might be like to live abroad in Sweden, a “Best of Sweden” compilation is available to purchase and download. One episode follows a family moving from Utah to “nearly the Arctic Circle,” and another features a young married couple headed to Stockholm – where the wife grew up – so she can return to her roots and her American husband can attend graduate school for free.
Part of the fun of watching House Hunters International is getting a peek inside foreign homes, understanding how they differ from typical American houses. Here are some of the differences the would-be homeowners discover in Sweden:
- “The Stockholm Shower:” Both families have difficulty finding enclosed showers or a bathtub. As Hanna, the returning Swede, notes about the first apartment they look at, “When you have the shower so close to the toilet, water gets everywhere.”
- What’s a room?: These episodes note a difference between how Swedes and Americans think of apartments. The family looking for a home in Luleå, a three-hour drive south of the Arctic Circle, told their realtor they were looking for a three-bedroom apartment. But, a miscommunication ensues when he brings them to a “three-room apartment,” two bedrooms and a family room.
- An interior window: Spoiler alert: Hanna and Brandon, the young couple house hunting in Stockholm, end up purchasing a one-bedroom apartment. Its unusual feature is that the wall between the bedroom and the dining area has a glass window at the top so exterior light can pass through to the rest of the apartment. While the couple finds this strange, they also realize the advantage it will bring in winter when Stockholm receives just several hours of daylight per day.
Of course, part of the fun of watching any House Hunters International is taking in the scenery between the house visits and understanding a bit about the culture or economics of the given country. For example, the episode in Luleå refers to the fact that the family is moving to Sweden because the former steel town is now a hub for “the largest social networking site.” Luleå is home to Facebook’s first data center outside of the United States, and the site largely was chosen to take advantage of the cool air. As Facebook announced in 2013 when the facility opened, “In addition to harnessing the power of water, we are using the chilly Nordic air to cool the thousands of servers that store your photos, videos, comments, and Likes.”
Not sure if you’re ready to move to Sweden quite yet? Then take a look at this summary of Hanna and Brandon’s episode to see if you’d be convinced to move to Stockholm.