What’s life really like when you swap the city for the country?
There are many reasons more and more people are swapping city for country life. The Local meets an international family who followed their passion for Scandinavia and the great outdoors and moved to the Örebro region in Sweden.
“You have just one life. You need to go for it,” says Örebro-based coffee roastery business owner and nature guide Nina Borgmann-Kaiser, originally from Münster in Germany.
After owning a holiday cabin in Sweden for eight years, spending a lot of their free time there, Nina, her husband Ralph, two children and dog, eventually gave in to curiosity and moved their lives to the beautiful edge of the forest in Tiveden, Örebro in 2017.
Swapping their “regular” jobs and a home in the suburbs, they bought a local cafe business and Nina pursued her coffee roasting hobby, which she has now turned into a full-time business, Tiveds Kafferosteri.
Today, Nina focuses on her coffee roastery, selling to local cafes and across Sweden via its webshop, and also works as a nature guide. Tived, in Örebro is a stunning nature area, halfway between Gothenburg and Stockholm – just three hours to each. The pace of life is slower, they have beautiful deep forest literally in their backyard, yet they are just 50 minutes from Örebro, which has all the big city essentials they need.
“We had a good life in Germany,” says Nina. “We had good jobs, it was all very standard and the same each day. We were not bored but it was more the curiosity of doing something totally different that appealed to us.
“We were looking for an adventure and thought it was a good idea for the kids to live in another country, learn another language, get to know another culture.”
As lovers of the outdoors, they were drawn to the Tiveden area because of its outdoor activities, where you can hike, cycle, paddle, go horseback riding. It’s a unique landscape of ancient forest and waterways, and rock formations from the Ice Age, explains Nina. “It's just amazing here – magical! – and the nature is a little bit like north Sweden. But north Sweden is hard to reach and here we're in between Stockholm and Gothenburg. It's 20 kilometres to the motorway. That's why we thought, when we have a chance to move, why not move to where we love it the most? So that's what we did!”
During the pandemic, it was not uncommon for people living in cities, working from home and confined to their apartments, to dream of escaping to somewhere bigger. Perhaps a house close to nature but also to convenient services? Remote working options have only made this idea more appealing and it’s no surprise that more and more people are considering living life beyond the bright city lights.
For Nina and her family, their work-life balance has improved and she says they appreciate the smaller, simpler things, like the magic of the forest on your back doorstep, not being surrounded by shops, the special qualities of each season – and the quiet.
Naturally, moving to the countryside of a foreign country had its challenges, particularly when setting up your own business. “The first year was hard,” says Nina, adding that they have managed to integrate well, and put in the effort to learn Swedish right away. They joined their local förening and immersed themselves into the community as much as possible, finding their new neighbours warm and welcoming.
“I think it's important if you want to really experience living here that you start to integrate yourself. So first it was learning the language. I told everybody from the beginning: Don't speak English to me.
“But also it’s quite a melting pot here. There are some families that have lived here for generations. And there are a lot of people who choose to live here who come from other countries and other parts of Sweden. Everybody's a little bit different and everybody accepts each other. It's pretty nice.”
Of course, it is not only Tived that is a drawcard of the Örebro region.
For those looking for more affordable living, a closeness to nature, a better work-life balance, but good connections to the conveniences of the city, the entire region has a lot to offer.
Nature, interesting history, picturesque towns and incredible food abound in Örebro's towns, all within an hour of the city. If life in a beautiful wooden town with cobblestone streets and a historic steam railway could be your thing, perhaps well-preserved Nora is for you. It's just 30 minutes from Örebro, has a vibrant community and Christmas market, and a cool industrial heritage quarter, Kvarteret Bryggeriet, complete with micro-brewery, small shops and eateries. Or Askersund, at the northern end of vast Lake Vättern? It’s a mix of port city and small town ambience, and also has a lovely castle, Stjernsund.
Or maybe you could see yourself enjoying your days by the shore of Lake Hjälmaren in Katrinelund. It already has a couple of restaurants that have earned it a place on Sweden’s culinary map. Could your foodie dreams see you moving here to add to the region’s culinary delights?
And let's not forget Örebro itself. This city is not only pretty, but is a hub of innovation and creativity, with a world-class university and tech research facilities, a thriving startup scene and all the cultural events, restaurants and nightlife you could hope for.
This content was paid for by an advertiser and produced by The Local's Creative Studio.