It's a tough package to beat, acknowledges Frenchman Ariel Taieb.
The 31-year-old game designer spent three whirlwind years working in South Korea until a head hunter offered him a place at King – one of Sweden's most successful tech companies.
“In Korea everything moves at 100 miles an hour, both work and life in general,” Ariel says. ”It's a very intense country, and work is always the focus. It's an incredible place, and I didn't plan on coming back to Europe.”
Stockholm changed his mind. The Paris native confesses he didn't know anything about Scandinavia at the time, but after a weekend visit, he was hooked.
“The company freedom and attention to employees was what I was lacking in my previous position,” he explains. “And King is still the leader in the mobile gaming industry and it was interesting to join for this reason.”
A year and a half later, Ariel says he made the right decision:
“It's the largest of the capitals of Scandinavia, but it's also incredibly small - it's like a hyper village. It's a truly beautiful city, with enchanting landscapes too.”
He has also settled in at King, where he says the creative, international environment is “just amazing”.
“Everything is made to be creative, and it's a great place to grow personally and professionally,” he says. “It’s very international and a lot of people came like me, for work, and the work-life balance is really strong. And colleagues always look out for each other here.”
He says that working at the massive tech company feels "grandiose" - but also very personal, as each team works independently in their own way.
"It's proof that, even in a large company, it is possible to keep the startup spirit in the heart of the business," he says.
It's the same blend of small-town feel and booming tech market that prompted Shabnam Mirzoeva to move to Stockholm after finishing her studies at Jönköping Business School.
“Initially my plan was to get some work experience in Sweden and then to return back to Tajikistan,” the 25-year-old says. “But the working environment and the general start-up scene in Stockholm made me reconsider my plans, and instead immerse myself in this exciting adventure.”
Shabnam has been working at startup Sqore, an online platform hosting recruitment competitions, since 2013.
“What I look for in my career is encouragement to grow professionally – a place where you continuously get constructive feedback, and get to experiment and innovate,” she explains.
She adds that personal development is one of her top priorities, and that the Stockholm startup ecosystem seems perfectly tailored to meet that need.
“The best part about working at a Stockholm start-up is that I have been encouraged to think outside the box and take calculated risks,” she says. “When you work in a start-up you are an integral part of the team, you are in a space where you can experiment, pitch your ideas and learn how to think independently.”
The company's ethos of equality and creativity – a common theme in Stockholm startups – is a great motivator, and contributing to the best of her ability makes Shabnam feel like she is making a difference in the world.
As a Millennial working at a Stockholm startup, Shabnam also says she never needs to worry about her social life – which is well taken care of.
“Stockholm offers so many platforms – Meet-Up groups, conferences, workshops, seminars – to socialize and build relationships with like-minded people within the tech and startups industries. The city is culturally rich and diverse, which stimulates creativity and innovation.
“For me, Stockholm is the place to be.”