'Sometimes you don’t realize how good it is for families in Sweden'
Publish date: 14 January 2021
Arco Van Heusden moved from the Netherlands for a position at Sandvik, the steel mill in Sandviken. During his 10 years in Sweden, Arco has experienced that Sandviken has become more diverse. Today, his son plays on the soccer team with twelve different nationalities.
Q:When you moved here what hit you as being different?
A tip for someone moving here is to start working in August as it’s very difficult to get started in the summer. Most of my colleagues had 4 or 5 weeks of vacation. I still have a problem taking more than three weeks vacation off at a time, it’s a part of my culture. In the beginning it doesn’t feel good to be away from work for so long, but now I can enjoy it.
Q: Does Sandviken commune work with companies to attract talent?
When we first moved there there was someone from the commune who helped me get a personal number, housing and a school for my children. They were very helpful. At first I thought it was someone from the company but I later realized it was the commune whose job it was to guide new people on how to get started, extremely helpful.
Q: As a parent what do you appreciate about the systems here?
I think everyone here gets the same chance - I really appreciate that. If you look at parental leave from a global perspective, sometimes you don’t realize how good it is for families in Sweden.
We speak Dutch at home but my three kids are also fluent in Swedish and English. I think it’s good for them to have this international experience because in the future this knowledge will be valuable.
Q: How does the work culture here in Sweden differ from your home country?
In the Netherlands, or in other countries, you have more hierarchy. Where you have the boss saying “this is how we do it”. Here you have where everyone needs to agree upon it. If you spend a lot of time discussing things, I think that’s a really good climate for R&D. And you can do that without stress of delivering in the same way as in other countries. The way we work here really stimulates creative thinking and technical solutions.
Q: Is there equality for men and women here, compared to other countries?
I have two daughters and I think this is a great place for them to grow up when it comes to equality.
If you are a woman who wants to work in a technical environment you get the possibility here in Sweden, compared to other parts of the world. I’m convinced that if you work hard in Sweden you can reach your dreams. You don’t get a job because you’re a man or a woman, it’s because of your expertise and skill.
Q: In your opinion, why should people move to Sandviken?
In my opinion Sandviken is a really great area to raise a family in. There’s a lot of nature, the kids can ride horses and they do a lot of sports. You can do skiing in Kungsberget and Högbo and skate on the lake during winter time.
Sandviken is small enough to be the countryside but big enough to have all facilities, for example a culture school.
The major selling point is that you have another way of living. In the end you don’t have less hours at work but you do it differently with the flex hours. You get the possibility to do things in the evening. That’s the most important selling point.
Find out more about Sandviken