Significant Increase in International Students Studying in Stockholm

Stockholm, Feb. 19, 2019 — A new report published by the Stockholm Academic Forum (Staf) shows that the number of international students attending universities in Stockholm, Sweden, has increased by 20% over the last three years. The total number of international students now comes close to 10,000, or about 11% of the student population.

For the first time since student fees were introduced in Sweden in 2011, China is the biggest source of international students. Currently, 826 Chinese students are enrolled in programs across the city, which is an increase of 18% compared with the previous year.

Among the city’s 18 higher education institutions, the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) has the greatest number of Chinese students.

“That is no coincidence”, says Sigbritt Karlsson, President of KTH. “We have spent close to 20 years developing strong connections with several of the country’s leading universities and our own students are very interested in China. We are also delighted about Stockholm’s increased popularity with Chinese students. At the same time, we are committed to maintaining a multi-cultural international campus, which is why we are working broadly to recruit students from other parts of the world as well”.

For many years, Germany and Finland have been the top countries of origin for international students in Stockholm, but their numbers have not increased as quickly as those from China, meaning that they have now fallen to a second and third place respectively. France remains in fourth place with 482 students, while India comes in fifth place with 385 students, which corresponds to an increase of 16% compared with the previous year.

“In total, we are seeing meaningful growth and that is great for the city. Stockholm is one of the five fastest growing regions in Europe and an increased level of diversity within our academic circles can only strengthen our competitive potential,” says Lotta Edholm, Stockholm’s Vice Mayor for Schools and Education.

Incoming Students – Stockholm (Academic Year 2017/2018)

  1. China (826, +18%)
  2. Finland (794, -4%)
  3. Germany (774, +2%)
  4. France (482, 0%)
  5. India (385, +16%)
  6. Italy (362, +7%)
  7. Spain (339, +14%)
  8. Greece (275, +2%)
  9. USA (275, -1%)
  10. The Netherlands (222, 13%)

The Stockholm School of Economics has the highest proportion of international students, followed by three of the city’s liberal arts colleges. The highest total number of international students is, however, with Stockholm University, which has 3,796 international students, of which the largest group comes from Finland, followed by Germany.

About the Stockholm Academic Forum

The Stockholm Academic Forum (Staf) is the peak collaborative body of the City of Stockholm and its 18 higher education institutions. As the collective voice of its members, Staf promotes and supports Stockholm’s position as one of the world’s leading academic centers. For more information, visit

Press Contact

Jenny Harler
+46 (0)70 870 07 81
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View full report online

Download the PDF version of the report: Study Destination Stockholm International Student Mobility in 2017–18

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