Living in Greece

A practical guide to moving, living, working & traveling in Greece, plus musing and misadventures from an American in Athens

IKA vs. IKEA in Greece

allak.jpgWhat’s the difference?

In Greece, IKEA is a Swedish furniture store and IKA (Ιδρυμα Kοινωνικών Aσφαλίσεων) is a social insurance fund that provides for pensioners and salaried workers.

I understand that longtime residents of Greece know the difference, but I wanted to prevent newcomers in need of medical services from traveling to Spata or Aigaleo, only to find inexpensive furniture and not an “IKEA hospital.” IKEA does not repair people or even furniture for that matter. Some would argue that IKA does not provide the means to properly repair people either, but that’s a different story altogether.

Likewise, an IKA location offers no furniture for sale and can only provide workers and retirees in Greece with services pertaining to insurance matters and pensions.

*Article last updated March 2, 2012

IKEA and IKA websites

Links to official websites, one with a limited English version and the other (now) only in Greek.

IKA ( purports to have their site in several languages, however it’s not quite true. The English, French and German versions have been expanded from one sentence to a few paragraphs with a Word document containing “more information” in Greek, which isn’t very useful since those choosing this option can’t read Greek. The Albanian, Russian, Romanian and Bulgarian versions connect to a one-page PDF in the respective language, and this isn’t nearly enough to cover the basics.

IKEA ( removed a wonderful English version of its website in early 2011 for reasons unknown. See “IKEA Greece” for a translation of essential information.

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  cheryl wrote @ May 17th, 2007 at 00:43

I have just discovered your blog and I find it extremely informative. My family will be moving to Greece this summer and although I have lived in the country years ago there are a lot of things that I am still not aware of. Thanks for putting all of the helpful info out there!!

Kat Reply:

Cheryl – Thanks for the compliment! 🙂 I started this site as a tool to help people because although information is floating around, there are variations. Websites are also more prominent than when I came here 10 years ago, but still lack English versions or even complete info in Greek for those who speak the language. It’s not like the USA where you can take a driver’s license test or do taxes in 10 languages and get by just fine without ever learning English (which is free, even if you’re illegal). Many lifelong natives of Greece don’t experience as much bureaucracy as expats, and sometimes don’t have any idea about what to do, so I get questions from them too. It not just expats who need assistance.

  chloe wrote @ May 17th, 2007 at 08:20

the queues are the same though.

Kat Reply:

Hi there! Haha! So true. P.S. Love your photo and new site.

  EllasDevil wrote @ May 17th, 2007 at 12:25

I hate IKEA!

I’d much rather spend my free time at IKA which really does prove how much I really do hate the hell on earth place in Spata!

Kat Reply:

C’mon ED, I’ll buy you a .25 ice cream, you’ll be fine.

  melusina wrote @ May 19th, 2007 at 00:35

My husband just got done training at an IKA hospital, one where his dad has worked forever. I can’t speak to their benefits, but he was treated well during his six months there as a doctor.

I love IKEA. We never had one in Nashville, and it is going to be great to fill in areas of our new house with some furniture once we run out of “real” money. =p

Kat Reply:

Mel, I envy you, you have no worries then about hospitals and health care! So far my only encounters and those of friends have been mired with bribes or payment to private doctors to get proper care.

There are some good points about IKEA, just don’t look at how cheap they’re selling the same furniture in Nashville compared to here 🙂

  rachel wrote @ July 19th, 2009 at 14:41

very informative.i live in mitilini so i’ll be traveling to athens just to go to ikea (yes its the only way to get some desperately needed cheap furniture),i only hope i can get delivery sorted out as easy as been stated in other comments,otherwise i’ll be stuck in athens with all that furniture,!!!(maybe i should be more sure about the delivery thing hey!!!

Kat Reply:

I’ve never had furniture delivered anywhere outside Athens, but I hear from a lot of people that they had it done with no problem, so you should be fine. If you want to make super certain, you can call before coming here, or at least check the counter near the exit before making your purchases. Thanks for stopping in today. 🙂

See IKEA Greece for more info.

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