“Med naturen runt hörnet” – Why We live Where We Live

Until now it was mostly German or Swiss media that wrote about us, now our first Swedish interview was published.

The magazine AJR is completely new and covers stories and information about business and development in the region. It was established by our municipality Arvidsjaur and the title is the abbreviation for the airport here that itself has a big impact on the region and business activities. With this magazine Arvidsjaur wants to show what possibilities one has in the municipality but also highlight and appreciate the hard work of all entrepreneurs. We are happy to be a part of this first edition and hope that it spreads the spirit of Swedish Lapland even further than just within the municipality.

Since I know that most of our followers don’t speak Swedish, I will translate the text for you. Probably next week the magazine will be available online and a tiny bit later also in English. But maybe you don’t want to wait… 😉 Nevertheless, before I start with the translation I would like to take the chance to say something more about Glommersträsk, the village we belong to.

As you might know we live in a small village called Moräng and this village belongs to Glommersträsk. Not only that we have the nicest neighbours in Moräng that you can wish for but also Glommersträsk has deserved to get a bit more attention.

So, maybe I have to explain first that we mainly use the word Glommersbygden when we want to talk about the village itself but at the same time about the surroundings with even smaller villages like Moräng, Järvträsk, Brännberg, Svedjan, etc. Compared to Germany Glommersträsk is quite small with just a bit more than 200 inhabitants. Anyway, we have kindergarden, school until class 6, a shop with all you need like food, work tools, garden or car stuff, pharmacy and even alcohol as local station of Systembolaget (the only shop in Sweden where you can buy alcohol – light beer not counted), café, restaurant, fuel station, atm, and so on. Beside Lapland’s beautiful nature itself we have trails for hiking, cross country skiing, dogsledding, snowmobiling, we have an ice hall in winter and an outdoor pool in summer, numerous lakes for swimming, fishing or other water sports, we have great spots for watching Northern Lights or enjoying endless summer nights. We have entrepreneurs who live for the business they do… and most important: we have great people loving this place and working hard on its future.

Four months ago this idyllic picture was in acute danger. Since Arvidsjaur couldn’t find a legitimated teacher for our school they took the decision to immediately (about a week later) start driving the kids from Glommersträsk to school in Arvidsjaur – what is 45km ONEWAY, even more if you live a bit outside! It was not the first time that there was pressure on the school to be closed down, but this time it was real. We took meetings within the group of businesses in Glommersträsk, that of course are also affected by a closing of the school, and with all inhabitants. Due to the initiative of two locals a teacher could be found who jumped in until summer and saved the school from immediate closing. But that was no long term solution. So, how could we solve the problem?

In March we set up a project group, named „Glommersbygdens framtid“ (means the future of Glommersbygden). Nine dedicated women – meanwhile we are ten – decided that we won’t give up, we will safe our school. But out of this first aim it turned into the strong will to make whole Glommersbygden even more attractive, keep it alive and get more people to move here. So, it’s not only that we are still working on the school topic, beside this we invent houses and properties so that we know there are open spots if people are interested to move, we do a lot more marketing especially on Facebook and Instagram, we build a new homepage or better two – one especially for moving here, one for all who search for information about what to do, what is happening, where to find things, etc. We do activities for people from Glommersbygden and visitors – the first big one was on 6th June when it was Sweden’s 500th birthday, Sweden’s National Day. And of course, we try to convince all people from Arvidsjaur municipality that Glommerbygden has the potential to grow.

In the meantime the pressure against our school was even bigger since Arvidsjaur had asked a kind of revisor to do an inspection about the equality of education here compared to schools in Arvidsjaur. The report was far away from an analysis according to academic principles and did not anyhow compare anything, nevertheless the school committee had proposed to close down our school latest at the end of the year. But with the help of some engaged politicians that we had already convinced of our project it was possible to prevent such a decision. Yesterday the municipal representatives decided not to follow the proposal. But that doesn’t mean that we can stop working. They set a number of kids our school needs to have from „Förskoleklass“ to class 6. If we lay under this amount the school will be closed. That means for us that our work has just started, now it really counts to make it happen that people come and live here, first of all family with kids.

Why I write this here? Not because I think that everyone who reads this should immediately move here. First of all it’s a bit the same idea as with the AJR magazine: I want to tell about our project group because it’s worth that many people see how much work the group members put into this, voluntarily in their free time, all of us beside having kids and/or jobs. And maybe someone has a good idea what else we can do to reach our goals or can help him-/herself or knows somebody who is looking for a place to start a new life or just share what we are doing to reach even more people.

If you want to follow us on Facebook and Instagram look out for „Glommersträsk“, „Flytta till Glommers“ and „Relocate Lapland“. Our new web page with more information is www.relocatelapland.com, feel free to take a look 😉 and if you want to contact us you can write an email to boiglommers@hotmail.com.

Thank you for waiting so patiently for the translation and great thanks to my team members in the project group for all your great work and thanks to everyone else helping us to reach our goals!

Med naturen runt hörnet – with the nature around the corner

Family Illien moved to the little village Moräng in autumn 2020. Yvonne comes from Germany, Raphael from Switzerland, but it is here in North Sweden where they want to live.

Side text „Tips“: recommendations 

Make compromises > it can be difficult to find the completely perfect place for the perfect price. Think of what is most important for you, and act.

Language > To learn Swedish has helped us a lot and is really appreciated by the locals.

Main text:

Yvonne and Raphael always liked to be outside in nature and met 2015 in Finland when they both worked with sled dogs. They moved around after that, to Norway and Kiruna, until they spend a year in Germany in 2019, when Yvonne was pregnant. When Joël was four months old we travelled up north again. It was planned to travel around some months, visit friends and check different places since we wanted to start our own business, says Yvonne. With a baby and two dogs they started to look closer on different properties in Norrbotten and got interested in one property in Moräng, a little village in the southeast corner of Arvidsjaur municipality. We visited the house end of June and moved in in September, says Raphael. But to move was not completely without concerns. They think that there are many prejudices and biased opinions against sled dog businesses. That it why it was always important for them to have a good relationship to the neighbours and locals. The perfect place for sled dogs can often be too expensive or also too far away from everything else we need. Independent why you move and if you have a business, you should think about what is really most important and out of that find a compromise, says Yvonne. There are living several people in Moräng, and all were nice and helpful to family Illien. We have neighbours quite close what can be challenging with the business we have because we don’t want to annoy anyone, of course. But it works really fine and our dogs are really quiet, says Raphael. The dream property would have been a bit more away from a bigger road and neighbours but they also emphasise how important it is to match the facts with the needs. Even if they live in the countryside, they have it close to much. Just this place means that we have it close to the airport, train station, school, supermarket, and other service. We save so much time, both private and in our business, since we have everything so close, says Yvonne. Raphael also thinks that having it both, live in the middle of nature but have it close to most, is something that makes family life and work easier. If we go out on our yard, behind the dog yard you find moose, beaver and other animals. It is a nice and quiet little village with very nice neighbours. Guests get a very good experience here, because a lot of time can be spend with what they are coming for instead of long transfers.

Exactly like their own lifestyle they will give the guests a relaxed and family like experience. They can have three guests at a time today but want to go up to four guests. For this they need some more dogs. We have another niche for our business than many other sled dog companies. We offer mainly longer tours, often one week or even two. This is another type of guests compared with these who do only a tour for few hours, says Raphael. Beside the property (in Moräng) they have also bought a separate house for guests in Glommersträsk that is nearby. The guests appreciate to have some time to experience the surroundings on their own, to se and get an image of people living here and how it is to live here. It is another form of community in a small place, and guests like this. If they are here others often know that it’s our guests and welcome them. That leads to the fact that guests feel themselves seen and appreciated, says Yvonne. Raphael and Yvonne think that it is important that guests get in contact with the locals, maybe buy something and contribute to the local economy in several ways. And our guests like the supermarket here so much, Finnbergs. The guests often tell that they have met Ove who works there. This is also something we really like with living here, many contribute to a good hosting of our guests, says Yvonne.

The biggest difference between the life now and five years ago is, of course, son Joël, but also that they have a home. We do not longer live out of a bag. Now we really have a home. If you have been somewhere you come home. It is a big difference compared with before when we didn’t know where we will be in the next season, says Raphael. Even if it’s long to their families in Switzerland and Germany do they think that it’s easy to travel there, or for their relatives to come up north. We have the airports close by, both Arvidsjaur and Skellefteå. To the train station in Jörn it’s just 30 minutes to drive. We know that we want to live with sled dogs in the north, that’s the lifestyle we want to have. So, we will stay up here, says Yvonne.

Beside building their own business both work for other companies what works very good and reduces the pressure while establishing ones own. To build up this kind of business is expensive, with food, equipment and continue building what is needed. Since we work with animals it’s recurring costs, so in winter I spend a lot of time with guests, but otherwise we both work full time at other places. But taking into account that we started during the pandemic it looks like we have been coming quite far with our business, says Raphael. No one of them had previous experience in starting an own business, but this part of the process experienced they as not that difficult. A part of it may be that both of them have learned Swedish, and Yvonne has a background as a lawyer. So, I am used to interpret laws and rules. Additionally, we had experience from working in similar businesses, we had a business plan and really clear what we want to do. And we are soon there, says Yvonne. Since they moved during the pandemic it was difficult to get a connection and meet people, especially to train Swedish. In our opinion the most important with moving is that you speak the language. With this you are also accepted within the local community faster, says Raphael.

The winter is the most intensive season, spring is really relaxed and summer is mostly the time for construction projects and preparing the next season. They think that autumn is a fantastic season and also the time with most potential to expand for guests. Already in September the Northern Lights season starts. There is always something here that you think guests should experience. So, in deed it is season all year round, says Raphael and Yvonne agrees. Except living a life with family and dogs in focus, the drive is mainly to get guests experiencing the magic in nature. Raphael has guided many guests and experienced their reactions closely. In Sweden and up here many people are used to live close to nature and are out there. But the guests that we have, mostly from Germany and countries around, can come from a big city without experiences in nature. They come here, sleep outside in a tent, in the middle of the forrest, under the Northern Lights. They have never before experienced something like this. This is an experience they will never forget. And also not me, even if I have experienced it before.

Side Text: Fast with Yvonne

Nice People: Specially with our kind of business we were concerned how it will be with neighbours, how they will react on us, but everything went really fine. We have so great neighbours, and for us it’s important with god relationships.

Close to much: Some people think if you live on the countryside it’s far to everything, but even if we live in the middle of nature, we have it close to most we need. It saves us much time in our everyday life.

Friendly community: Many people here contribute that our guests have a good experience, they feel themselves seen in a totally other way than at a bigger place.