Our member Randstad, staffing and recruiting agency, is looking for a Dutch speaking financial assistant for its client Sandvik Materials Technology in Kista (Stockholm area). If you are interested, please read more here:
Last week, our event Challenges for Migrant Entrepreneurs in Sweden took place at the Dutch Embassy in Stockholm. The Ambassador of the Netherlands, Mrs Ines Coppoolse inspired with her introduction on the topic of the evening.
Natasha Webster and Karen Haandrikman, researchers from Stockholm University, presented their research about the challenges that women migrant entrepreneurs face when starting their business in Sweden. We then listened to the personal stories of migrant entrepreneurs Virginie Garcia, and Wendy Heijne, exemplifying the research on its topics and emphasizing the need of being persistent and having a certain drive towards one’s goals. Being a bit “unswedish”.
The second panel with policy experts Sam Yildirim, Elisabeth Suzuki, Petya Thorne and Edgar Haverkamp went more into finding answers and opportunities, and the audience of around 45 people was engaged and eager to discuss with the panel. The evening as a whole was moderated by Ruben Brunsveld who asked thought-provoking questions and engaged the audience in a great way.
Following the panel and the discussions, it seems Sweden as a country has some particular obstacles to overcome for migrant entrepreneurs. One of the discussions focused on the example of the mastery of Swedish language as being critical in order to be successful as a migrant entrepreneur in Sweden.
We look forward to continue the discussions and follow the development in this important field.
We thank the Embassy of the Netherlands, Stockholm University, the involved entrepreneurs and policy experts for making this event come true and all guests for coming and for engaging in the discussions!
/Els Berkers and Joep van Ool
A seminar report with more thorough information about this topic can be found at the website of the Dutch embassy. Read here.
Louis Hedberg recently joined the Dutch Chamber as an SME-member. We were curious to find out more about his connection with the Dutch, and about the brewery that he has started on the west coast of Sweden.
Who is Louis Hedberg?
I was born in Gothenburg but I am now living with my Dutch wife Brigitte and daughter Sofia in Täby. After business studies at Handelshögskolan in Gothenburg (30 years ago!) I got my first job at Ericsson in the Netherlands. After a couple of years, I joined upcoming Nokia and I also spent some time in Austria before arriving in Stockholm in 2004. Since 2016 I run my own business as start-up entrepreneur and investor.
You are the co-founder of a brewery on the island of Marstrand. Please tell us more about Inlands Bryggeri.
Inlands is a craft beer brewery located on the Swedish west coast. Everything we do has a local historic touch and our labels tell tales of interesting people and events that once took place. The label of our "Anno 1621 Ljus Ale" even includes a reference to the Dutch who helped to build the city of Gothenburg. This beer is a celebration of the founding of the city almost 400 years ago.
We brew a full range of beer, from light lager to full blood double IPA and even a Porter. Our beer can be bought at Systembolaget (online as well) and at local restaurants and local shops (class II only).
We also organise frequent tastings and tours of the Brewery. If you are interested, check our calendar on www.inlandsbryggeri.se for dates. We are very active in the local community with all kind of events and activities and with Marstrand being a major tourist location we look forward to a very intensive summer.
How did you come up with the idea of starting a brewery there?
I guess it was kind of a youth dream and in 2016 I concluded with my co-founder that it was 'now or never'. Beer is a fantastic product in many ways and having the opportunity to help develop a living beer culture in this country is a real treat. We are the first brewery in the region in over 100 years and the fact that we could establish the brewery on Marstrand island, a place that I really like, also helped me to take the decision to go for it.
How did you get in touch with the Dutch Chamber?
My wife Brigitte was the chairwoman of the DHCS (the Dutch Club in Stockholm) for a couple of years and I got to know the Chamber through her contacts.
What are the benefits of a Dutch Chamber membership for yourself and the brewery?
The Dutch Chamber is an excellent way for me to 'connect' with the Netherlands and Dutch business life again. And for the brewery it means we can we can reach out to more people and make them interested in quality craft beer.
Picture above: Louis Hedberg with his wife Brigitte who works with events and marketing at the brewery.
Flavio Santos is the Swedish country manager of Signify (formerly known as the lighting division of Philips). They joined the Dutch Chamber this spring as a corporate member. Some of our members might have met Flavio at the Annual Dinner in March. For those who didn't, we interviewed Flavio to find out more about him and Signify’s current relation to Philips.
Who is Flavio Santos?
I am a Brazilian but have lived in Sweden for 21 years now, which I enjoy very much. I am currently the Country Manager and Professional Channel Director for Sweden at Signify. This means that I am responsible for the B2B part of the company where we address the customers in the private and public sector ranging from all types of lighting applications in segments like industries, offices, retail stores, hospitals, roads, streets, parks and arenas.
Could you please tell us a bit more about Signify. What is the relation to Philips?
Signify is the new company name of the Lighting Division that spun off from Philips in 2016. Signify is an independent company listed on the stock exchange in Amsterdam (ticker LIGHT). We are the largest lighting company in the world and the leader in LED and connected light.
We have only changed the company name, we will still continue to sell and promote the world famous Philips brand in all our products, so for our customers the name change will not have any impact.
What is your experience with working with the Dutch?
From my experience there's a great fit with the Swedish business culture, where both cultures are for a more flat organisation and not so hierarchical. However, the Dutch are generally more aggressive and straight-forward in the way of doing business, which is inspiring and constructive.
How did you get in touch with the Dutch Chamber?
Since we were part of Royal Philips, after we spun off from them, I was contacted by Maarten Merx and we started our discussions.
What are your expectations towards the Dutch Chamber of Commerce? How can the Dutch Chamber help you to achieve your ambitions?
It´s all about people! I expect that the Dutch Chamber will allow our company to be in touch with others that are looking for solutions or challenges where we can make a positive contribution. I also expect to be able to contribute to the network by sharing more knowledge about the lighting industry and how we can contribute to better well-being and a more sustainable world.
Armand Scheijen recently joined the Gothenburg team and introduces himself here:
My name is Armand Scheijen and I will be supporting the Gothenburg team of the Dutch Chamber.
Since I moved to Sweden in September 2014, being freshly graduated from Law school, several challenges and opportunities where served to me in a pretty short time.
Moving to Sweden and mastering the Swedish language was the first challenge, which opened more opportunities for me, of which a production and event management role within TEDxGothenburg was one.
After 11 months in Copenhagen, I moved back to Gothenburg to start working with regulatory tasks at Volvo Cars headquarters. It's a role with international connections, a meeting place of different cultures and tons of legal challenges.
In the meanwhile enjoying the benefits of the Swedish work environment, the nature and all the good things Sweden has to offer. But still maintaining that bold and straightforward attitude the Dutch are known for.
Making new connections and increasing my network is something which gives me new energy and joy to develop myself and others to reach further than expected.
I am looking forward to meet you in the near future at one of the upcoming Dutch Chamber events.
On Thursday evening 25/4 we had a great King’s Day Mingle at Vassa Eggen together with Dutch Community "Dutch Donderdag", to honour the upcoming birthday of King Willem-Alexander.
Many of the guests showed up wearing orange pieces of clothing, which is a tradition of this festive day.
After the first few alcoholic beverages, a pub-quiz was held with questions about the royal house of the Netherlands and King’s Day in general.
The winner was Maaike Gerritse, and she received a basket with different Dutch cheeses and stroopwafels from cheese shop Gamla Amsterdam.
/Joep van Ool
For our event in Malmö on April 12 we decided to organize a good old Friday after Work with King's Day as a theme.
We turned out to be a very nice and enthusiastic group: attendees were dressed according to the theme and even though the event officially ended at 20.00, most of us stayed much longer!
More of these evenings to come after the summer!
(On 2 April, members of the Dutch Chamber were invited to participate in the international seminar “Preparing global leaders in a modern world” at Grant Thornton. This event was organised by the CCFS in cooperation with the Dutch Chamber, other international Chambers and Grant Thornton.
Peter Bodin, global CEO of Grant Thornton, held a presentation during which he talked about the crucial importance of incorporating diversity and gender equality, to be able to succeed in a global context.
A panel of current and future global leaders of this world then discussed the main topic of discussion, which was the future vision of leadership, with globalisation and diversity in mind. The key message that a few speakers wanted to give was that people have to be themselves in order to be happy with their jobs and lead people into the right direction.
The panelists were: Mathias Wikström (founder of Doconomy), Håkon Vist (CEO of Veolia Nordic), Manon Escoula (product manager for OBH Nordica) and Niclas Karlsson (CEO of GSK Sweden). Two AFS exchange students were also invited to talk about their experiences about going international and what they have learned. The panel was moderated by Margareta Neld (Chair of AFS).
For more pictures and more detailed information about this seminar, please click here. You will be re-directed to the website of the CCFS.
/Joep van Ool
On Friday the 15th of March, the Annual Dinner took place at the beautifully renovated National Museum. Members and friends of the Dutch Chamber gathered at the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm for an evening with excellent food, great art and vibrant networking. It was the perfect location considering the celebrations this year around the Golden Age and Rembrandt in the Netherlands.
The evening started with a guided tour through the museum showcasing several works of art from, amongst others, Rembrandt. The Ambassador of the Netherlands and our patron, Mrs Ines Coppoolse inspired with her speech before everyone was asked to take their seats.
The well-known Chef of the restaurant, Fredrik Eriksson, presented the menu for the evening, followed by the serving of the first course. Our chairman Maarten Merckx also held a short speech before starting the main course.
A special 'thank you' goes out to Samskip van Dieren, Centric, Heineken, KLM, Studio Bojo and Berkers & Company for making this evening one to remember.
This Annual Dinner, once again, was one for the books. We hope to see you all back for the Annual Dinner next year!
/Els Berkers and Joep van Ool
Frank Cleeren recently joined the Dutch Chamber as an SME-member with Design Research Studio Tom Dixon. We were curious to find out more about him and the design company he works for as contract sales manager Nordics.
What is "Design Research Studio Tom Dixon" about?
Tom Dixon designs and manufacturers lighting, accessories and furniture. Tom Dixon is a widely celebrated global force in interior design with our own hubs in New York, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and soon Milan. Our 600 products range from lighting to furniture, from tableware to fragrance and are distributed in over 65 countries. They are instantly recognisable for their sculptural qualities and engineered materiality.
How long have you been in Sweden now and how did you end up in Sweden in the first place?
I moved from London to Stockholm because of my partner, without job in March 2011, studied some Swedish and started working in January 2012.
What are the biggest challenges for you, as being a Dutch entrepreneur in Sweden?
I lived in a few countries before, which made moving to Sweden feel like a natural next step. It sounds contradicting perhaps, on the one hand I wanted to settle and on the other I wanted to start all over with finding a job. Learning a new language after the age of 30 was the biggest challenge.
How is it to work in a design loving country and to promote the work of a foreign designer studio?’
It is nice to work for a foreign company in Scandinavia, Tom Dixon is a company with radical and industrial designs, they stand out from the crowd.
Can you tell us a bit about how it is to exhibit at Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair (SFF)?
For Tom Dixon, the Scandinavian market is one of the larger ones in Europe. This goes for both retail as well as the contract market (office, hospitality markets). Scandinavians are design focused and spend more money on interiors than many other European countries.
I believe there are two explanations for this. Firstly, it is dark during five months a year. Wherever you go in Sweden, candles are lit all day long. The cosy factor is important, (artificial) light plays a large role in the wellbeing of people.
Secondly, the larger part of social invitations takes place at people’s homes. Dinner parties are often given at home, eating out is less common than in southern European countries. I am sure you recognise this. People dress up, exclusive glassware is put on the table, and extreme care is taken of the right colour coordination and furniture choices.
Exhibiting at SFF was a must for us, the fair has shown an increase in international visitors over the past 5 years due to the Scandinavian design trends with brands like Hay and Gubi.
We decided to go all-in again after a two years of absence and do a brutalist booth in black and white to make it very clear we are not a Scandi-brand. The strategy of our design team proved to be successful, architects and customers loved the minimalistic approach. Further, we invested in a 2-window display at NK, an event in Arket’s showroom and a VIP dinner in the Residence of the Ambassador of the UK to proof that we are committed to the Scandinavian market.
How did you get in touch with the Dutch Chamber?
This makes for a good story. My wife won a car on the Arlanda Airport and was invited to the Sheraton hotel to collect the prize. She met Roel Huinink (re-located now) and brought me in contact with the Chamber, I attended an event and decided this was really good.
Which past event has given you the best memories?
Annual dinners are a true highlight each year! The quality of speakers on events is beyond what you can think for a club of our size. I mean getting the CEO of Handelsbanken to invite the Chamber for Lunch is great work or having the CEO of Vattenfall doing a presentation for the Chamber. "Chapeau" or "petje af"