Swedish countryside goes double Dutch

Enterprising Dutch emigrants are a growing breed, and Swedish councils are among those determined to attract this valuable migrant group.

No fewer than 40 Swedish delegations were on hand at the weekend to talk up their home regions at the Emigrant Fair in Utrecht, SVT reports.

One attendee, Rolf Trapman, provides an insight into what increasing numbers of Dutch people are looking for:

“Everything that’s different from Holland. Nature, quiet, space,” he told SVT.

Last year, 130,000 people left the densely populated country to began a new life elsewhere. As Swedes generally have twenty times more space at their disposal than their Dutch counterparts, there are natural reasons for coming here.

“They want to move to the countryside,” Sebastian Van Den Bergen from Invest in Värmland told SVT, adding that Dutch people were few and far between in Karlstad, the largest town in the region.

In fact Värmland is the envy of many of the Swedish representatives at the fair. Around 80 entrepreneurs have brought their businesses and families to the region over the last four years.

And not only are Swedish councils doing battle with each other, they are also fighting off representatives from Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia.

“The ones that can offer jobs, accommodation, childcare, or any sense of feeling like a VIP in their municipality, are the ones that earn points here. They’re the ones that win out,” Tina Larsson from Älmhult’s immigration service told SVT.

It is the second visit to Utrecht for Ingemar Fredriksson from Invest in Skaraborg. After last year’s introduction, he now feels the region is better prepared to match applicants with the needs of the western region.

“We have somebody who wants to set something up in the fishing industry. There have been enquiries about starting a youth hostel. And we have somebody who wants to rent a golf course,” he told SVT.

There is plenty of room in the Swedish countryside, and there are plenty of crowd-weary Dutch people willing to fill it.