In 2008 we, Niels and José Coevert, bought our dairy farm in Sweden. When they were asked to write a piece about our experiences in Sweden, they thought to start with the disadvantages or negative points... but when they started thinking about it, they came to the conclusion that they would be done with that very quickly!
"We just don't have any really negative experiences. At the most that you are not allowed to treat your cows yourself or that last winter was long and very cold, but that is quickly forgotten. It is also hard work, especially in the beginning, but where isn't that the case if you want to achieve something?"
We also looked at other countries in Europe but had a good feeling about the Scandinavian countries. That feeling turned out to be right because we really found our place here. We bought a seriously neglected farm in 2008, where at that time the cows gave only 5800 liters of milk per year. We really had to see through the massive clutter to see what the company could offer us. Fortunately, we were able to do that and after many adjustments, cleaning up, renovations and really hard work, our 100 cows now give avg. 9700 liters of milk. The hard work will continue for a while because we still have many wishes. But that's the beauty of being an entrepreneur.
Sweden vs the Netherlands
Being an agricultural entrepreneur in Sweden is different than in the Netherlands.
In Sweden they are concerned about the decrease in the number of dairy farmers and so there is an incentive policy and not a discouragement policy. For example, you can apply for a start-up subsidy and an investment subsidy. Here the country quota is not fully milked, so the quota costs almost nothing.
The landscape is different. The Netherlands is flat, Sweden has mountains and valleys. The cultivation of the land is therefore very different. The cows have to go outside. That also entails a different approach. The distances are great here. You are not allowed to treat your cows yourself in Sweden. First, the vet must establish a complaint, after which he prescribes the medicines. However, you also learn to deal with that. There are many rules, just like in the Netherlands, but they are handled fairly smoothly. A lot is possible in consultation.
We are also very satisfied on the social level. Swedes are generally very friendly and helpful. Especially if you are just starting out and really don't know anyone, good contact with the neighbors is very nice. We help each other back and forth. We have since made friends and made many contacts. We are also satisfied with the education and health care, not unimportant with three small children. The eldest two go to pre-school and are having a great time there. They are also actually more Swedish than Dutch. If they speak Swedish, you won't hear that they weren't born here. When they speak Dutch, they have an accent. The Netherlands is far away for them. They have boyfriends and go to birthday parties and gymnastics and children's choir. This is all the same as in the Netherlands. Our youngest was born in Sweden and the care around it is really very pleasant.
Discover the beauty of Sweden
In between working, we also try to discover more and more Sweden. It really is a beautiful country for us! Even if we stopped the company, we wouldn't want to go back to the Netherlands, but stay in Sweden. We keep a weblog on the internet about everything we experience here. So if you'd like to read more, you can do here. We also have a completely renovated typical Swedish holiday home in our yard which we rent out.