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Who are you and why did you move to Sweden?
My name is Inge Fasnacht, 29 years old from Limburg, the Netherlands. Since June 2009 I live in Gothenburg, Sweden. I moved for love. I met my husband through handball; he was a professional player at a handball club in Panningen, Limburg. We lived together for a year in the Netherlands. It didn’t take long for me to decide that I wanted to go to Sweden with him. Now I am the proud mother of two kids of six and three years old, work full-time and play handball.
What was it in Sweden that appealed to you?
Sweden looks like the Netherlands in many ways, even though others might disagree. I live in the big city, but there is plenty of nature in town. The Swedish aren’t so stressed; I needed that peace.
What were the problems in the moving process?
As an EU-citizen it isn’t “just” move to Sweden. My husband, still my boyfriend at the time, had to prove he could support me financially, etc. The integration course is mostly focussed on people from outside of Europe. I followed three weeks of SFI ((Svenska för invandrare – Swedish for foreigners). The level of my knowledge of the Swedish language was way too low for a Dutch person with a Swedish partner.
What kind of work did you do in the Netherlands and what are you doing now?
I just finished my study in the Netherlands (21 at the time), so didn’t have a job yet in Holland. Now I work for a Swedish Medical marketing research company. I do a lot of work on the Dutch market, so I still speak Dutch on a daily basis for my job.
What is the most beautiful thing you experienced?
My marriage in 2013 with my Swedish love and the birth of my two babies, Sebastian in 2011 and Julia in 2014. Besides that, I have experienced many beautiful things here in Sweden. The best thing is all the amazing friends I made over here.
Did you have any challenging experiences?
Of course, it isn’t always easy. When I just arrived here, I felt lonely many times. A lot of trouble in getting a residence permit, finding a job and so on. Thankfully I didn’t have any terrible experiences.
What do you miss from the Netherlands and what absolutely not?
The thing I miss most is my family! So happy that my parents, brother, and sister visit me here a lot. I also miss the snack-bar for fries, sausage rolls, Dutch licorice, Chocomel (Dutch chocolate milk brand) and Babi Pangang from the Chinese restaurant. People are more spontaneous in Holland, just walk over to the neighbors for a cup of coffee. Things like that won’t happen here.
The thing I don’t miss is the stress in the Netherlands. Same goes for the Dutch winters, happy I don’t have them anymore. 🙂 I prefer real winters with loads of snow and real cold weather.
What is the biggest difference between the Dutch and the Swedish people?
Like I said in the previous question, the spontaneity. Maybe it also is where you live, over here people aren’t into spontaneous visits at all. People also always knock at the front door, back in the Netherlands I always went around back by people I knew well.
In Holland, people greet each other when you are walking the dog; people just don’t do that here, they rather look away. On the bus, people aren’t in for a conversation. I am a very social person and really had to get used to this.
In what city do you live and what makes this place special? What are the things to see?
I just moved to Gothenburg. Gothenburg is a cozy town with lots of nature and directly at the ocean. Many small islands to visit here, love to that with my kids. There is Liseberg, an amusement park in the middle of the city. Slottskogen, a huge nature park with a petting zoo, seals, penguins, and playgrounds. The city center is ideal for beautiful walks.
Do you think you will ever go back to the Netherlands?
No, I don’t think I will return. But never say never. I chose to keep my Dutch nationality just in case, you never know. I do raise my kids Swedish, people tell me a lot I have to teach them Dutch, and I know that. But I feel Swedish, and so it feels more natural to speak Swedish.
What places should you have visited when in Sweden?
Gothenburg – Slottskogen, That I described a bit back, a big nature park. Liseberg amusement park, the small island which you can reach by ferry. Nature, drive and just see where you will end up. Jönköping is a beautiful city to visit, Stockholm of course! Kolmården, big zoo. Must admit I didn’t see much of Sweden yet. Would love to go up to the high north someday.
What is the most beautiful or special place for you in Sweden?
Definitely Gothenburg that’s where I feel at home now. Here my husband proposed to me and my children were born here.
What advice can you give people traveling to Sweden?
Make a good plan, Sweden is huge, really huge! It’s not just a short drive to the next town. Be prepared to drive long hauls.
What is your favorite Swedish dish, do you have a recipe you want to share?
My favorite recipe is Kladdkaka. Simple but oh so good! 🙂
If you read some other immigration stories you know, I will post the recipe coming Wednesday. 🙂 First I have to spend some time in the kitchen to make the recipe. Can’t wait, need to try.
Dear Inge, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I enjoyed reading about your life. Curious about the Kladdkaka recipe.
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