Leisure and recreation

Leisure time is important in Sweden, and many people are involved with different activities when they are not at school or work. If you have a special leisure pursuit, you will have greater opportunities for creating a bigger network and getting to know more people in Sweden. If you have arrived recently to the country, leisure pursuits are a way of making new friends and learning Swedish quickly.

Right of public access

Sweden has a very broadly defined right of public access – Allemansrätten. This gives everyone the right to roam freely in nature, even across land owned by someone else. But Allemansrätten also brings responsibilities, such as taking care and showing respect for nature and animal life, for the landowner whose land you are accessing and for other people in the area. Allemansrätten is written into of one of Sweden’s four fundamental laws, and determines what you may and may not do.


Civil society plays an important role in Sweden. To become involved in associations and popular movements together with others is a way for various groups to promote their interests, and it is also a way into Swedish society for those who are new to the country. In Sweden freedom of association is officially enshrined, and is an important part of democracy. Freedom of association means the right to start and to join an association. A group of people who share a common interest or a common background can start an association. There are many different types of associations, such as sports associations, culture and music associations, and religious associations.

Many people who live in Sweden are members of one or more associations. You can choose to become involved as a board member, a leader or as a member/volunteer in the association’s activities. Associations are sometimes described as schools of democracy. Members get the opportunity to learn how to participate in democratic processes and make decisions in accordance with democratic principles. In this respect, civil society has played an important role in the democratisation of Swedish society as a whole. Many people are members of associations without being directly involved with their activities.

Under Associations and Organisations you can read about Sweden’s national organisations and find links to their own websites.

Under County and Municipality presentations you can find the Services Map tab, which opens a map that shows you where different associations and public forums are located in your municipality.

For children and young people

Municipalities usually have recreation centres or culture centres for schoolchildren and young people, where they can meet friends. Music, drama and dance courses are also organised. Contact your municipality to find out what is available, and read more on its website.

​Only pick mushrooms that you recognise!

The most poisonous mushrooms in Sweden!

Study associations

Study associations are found all over Sweden and are the country's largest meeting place for education and culture. People of all ages turn to them to learn and develop along with others. All study associations carry out various activities that you can participate in, such as language practise, study circles, courses and cultural activities. There are ten study associations, each with its own proflle and philosophy. If you would like to know more about individual study associations, you can explore further on their websites, where you will also find activities in your town that you can participate in.

Links to the study associations' websites:



Ibn Rushd




Sensus studieförbund


Studieförbundet Bilda

Studieförbundet Vuxenskolan

​Community centres

For many people the community centre is a natural place to get together in. Community centres (they can be called a bygdegård, bystuga, medborgarhus among other names) are general meeting places open to all: children, young people, adults, families, associations, companies and everyone else – provided the underlying values are democratic.

Find a community centre near you

This site contains information about the Swedish society and is run by the County Administrative Boards of Sweden
© Copyright 2016 County Administrative Board of Västra Götaland

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