The mood is 'lagom' around here

Working between the tracks in Stockholm

Bart van Odijk had always dreamed of living and working abroad. So when he heard that Strukton Rail was also looking for people to strengthen their team in Sweden, he went to Stockholm to have a talk with the regional manager. The very next day, they told him he was welcome to join. “The start of a real adventure.”

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“My wife Floor and I moved to Haninge, near Stockholm, in November 2010. ”

Bart van Odijk, Project manager in Sweden

 
More than enough work

“There is more than enough work to be done on the track here in Sweden,” says Bart. “The government has the will and the funds to invest in the railway network. The main opportunities in the Stockholm region are created by the new construction of the regional Citybanan connection and the large-scale expansion and renovation of railway lines and the underground network. In addition, there are a number of studies underway into the further expansion of the underground network.” Moreover, Strukton Rail recently took over Balfour Beatty’s Scandinavian rail operations.

Lagom mind-set

By now, Bart has become fluent in Swedish. “Floor and I immediately enrolled in a language course. After all, to really become part of the team, you need to speak the language.” And although as a well-organised Western country, Sweden is very similar to the Netherlands, there are still differences. “The atmosphere is more relaxed here. The mind-set? If we don’t get there today, we’ll finish it tomorrow. You might not expect it, but the mentality is a bit Southern European. The Swedes have a word for this, although it’s untranslatable: lagom.

“Here too, we have to put in a lot of work during weekends and nights, deal with a shortage of technical staff and have a strong need for talented young colleagues who want to join the team. ”

Bart van Odijk, Project manager in Sweden


Women working in the rail sector

Working for a Swedish rail company is quite similar to the situation in the Netherlands. “Here too, we have to put in a lot of work during weekends and nights, deal with a shortage of technical staff and have a strong need for talented young colleagues who want to join the team,” explains Bart. “One thing that struck me here at first is the relatively large number of women working in rail – from technicians to regional managers.”

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Swedish space

Bart and Floor really enjoy how spacious Sweden is. Their daughter Hannah was born here about a year-and-a-half ago. “The ease with which children pick up two languages is fascinating to watch! And number two is on the way. And he or she will be more than welcome in our big house in a nice neighbourhood with lots of young kids. We won’t be going anywhere else soon, that’s for sure!”