Public holidays are virtually the same throughout the Nordic region. However, in Sweden, Maundy Thursday and Whit Monday are not public holidays as in the other Nordic countries, so these days are not non-working days in Sweden.
On the other hand, Swedes have public holidays and therefore do not work on Epiphany, All Saints’ Day, 1 May, the National Day, and Midsummer Day.
Public holidays and other non-working days work in Sweden
In Sweden, there is a difference between public holidays, which are often called ‘red days’, and non-working days (free days).
There are 13 Swedish public holidays in the year. Employees at most workplaces are generally free on public holidays, but many are free on other days. If Easter Saturday, Midsummer Eve, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve are included, which in many cases are regarded as non-working days, employees get a few more days free.
- New Year’s Day (Nyårsdagen) 1 January
- Epiphany (Trettondag jul) 6 January
March-April: Easter (Påsk)
- Good Friday (Långfredagen)
- Easter Sunday (Påskdagen), falls at the earliest on 22 March and at the latest 25 April
- Easter Monday (Annandag påsk)
- Ascension Day (Kristi himmelfärdsdag) falls 40 days after Easter Sunday, always on a Thursday; earliest 30 April and latest 3 June.
- May Day, International Labour Day (Arbetarrörelsens internationella högtidsdag) 1 May
May-June: Pentecost, Whitsun (Pingst)
- Whit Sunday (Pingstdagen) falls on the seventh Sunday after Easter: earliest 10 May and lastest 13 June.
- Sweden’s National Day, 6 June When the National Days falls during a weekend, many people get a day free from work that they can use later in the year. This is regulated in collective bargaining agreements. Your collective agreement does not automatically give you an extra free day, but it many cases it does.
- Midsummer Eve (Midsommarafton) is not a public holiday, but many people are free from work in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement or by agreement with the employer. Midsummer Eve always falls on a Friday at the end of the month.
- Midsummer Day (Midsommardagen) always falls on a Saturday.
- All Saints’ Day (Alla helgons dag) is always celebrated on the Saturday between 31 October and 6 November.
- Christmas Eve (Julafton), 24 December, is not a public holiday, but many people are free from work in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement or by agreement with the employer.
- Christmas Day (Juldagen), 25 December
- Boxing Day (Annandag jul), 26 December
- New Year’s Eve (Nyårsafton), 31 December, is not a public holiday, but many people are free from work in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement or by agreement with the employer.
What is a ‘red day’ in Sweden?
In colloquial terms, public holidays are called 'red days' in Sweden. Red days are Sundays and other statutory days on which there is no work, so that citizens can celebrate a religious day or a traditional public holiday.
Apart from these public holidays, Saturdays and the day before public holidays may also be days free from work.
What is a bridge day, sometimes called a ‘squeeze day’ (klämdag) in Sweden?
A bridge day (klämdag) is a day that falls between two free days, for example between a public holiday and a Saturday.
The trade union and the employer may make a local agreement at the workplace that the employees must be free on days falling between two free days. At some workplaces, the day is completely free of work, and at other workplaces you are entitled to be free if the work permits it.
If you are in any doubt about what applies at your workplace, contact your local trade union representative or your employer.
Is there a law on shop opening hours in Sweden?
In Sweden, there was a law on shop opening hours (affärstidslag) until 1972. Since then, Sweden has had no restrictions on shop opening hours.
Most shops are open until 21.00 and closed on Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, May Day, National Day, and Midsummer Day, but there is no law that forbids them from staying open.
Further information about public holidays and flag days in Sweden
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