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Henrik Emilsson and Caroline Adolfsson

Abstract

Based on 41 semi-structured interviews with young Latvians and Romanians in Malmö, Sweden, this article explores why Europeans from new European Union (EU) member states want to move to, and stay in, Sweden despite economic difficulties and underemployment. Six main factors for explaining mobility patterns are highlighted: free university education, romantic relationships, cosmopolitan lifestyle, presence of English language, idealisation of Sweden and work–life balance. We read these factors as ideas and aspirations of well-being in the ‘imagined space’ of Sweden. The findings illustrate that many young migrants do not chose to move to Sweden for short-term economic opportunities, but rather to experience a different lifestyle. In most cases, these expectations are met, although over time.