Wednesday, 10 December 2008


December is always a busy month, but this year seems to beat all other years! First of all, our little son is growing and exploring his new world endlessly, which naturally takes much energy from us, the parents. It is lovely though!

Second of all, at works the creativity just expands and expands, and at the moment I am planning my text for the course GeoClassics, as well as the chapter about the Dutch Impressions of Bergslagen for the reader Bilder av Bergslagen.

Moreover, I am planning to attend a course called Politics and Theories of International Migration in Norrköping in the middle of January, for which an article will have to be written as an assignment. this article can be combined with the article that I wanted to write anyway, by the working title "Mapping The Orange Wave" - more news to come. Also, I would like to finish a 1st version of my 2nd article before the summer holidays.

And last but not least, a working group (including myself) at the university has been busy attempting to start a Section for PhD Students at Örebro Student Union see the Result at DokSek.

Also, have a look at t he menu on the left of this page, scroll down a bitt and take a look at Swedish tv item 3, or at the websites under the header other blogs & sites. With the new report by the Swedish National Agency for Rural Development, a lot is happening, not least in Bergslagen!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


Last week, I was in Umeå to meet my second supervisor Dieter Müller, a Human Geographer who has written much about Germans owning Second Homes in Sweden. We had an interesting conversation and he made me aware of the book Tourism and Migration by C. Michael Hall. We chatted about where migration starts and where tourism ends - no one really knows!

On 18 November 2008, I took part in a Meeting of the Population Geographers Network, also at Umeå University. This was a very interesting day and it gave my some new insights and knowledge about present and upcoming studies about Hallstahammar and Åland for example.

On the way back to Örebro, I visited Region Dalarna in Falun and had an interview there. I received a brochure about the work by Region Dalarna and found their thoughts about Place Branding very interesting, especially the pages by Simon Anholt, about Regional Competition.

This, together with earlier remarks about my plans during the conference in Bredsjö, and during a course in Interview Methods, makes that I have enough plans for my study for the comings months! And I still haven't transcribed all my interviews! Upcoming; another interview with a Dutch couple living close by Örebro.

More news later!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Fieldwork - Interviews

In the first week of October, I did some fieldwork in my research area; Bergslagen. Hällefors, Ljusnarsberg, Nora, Ludvika and Smedjebacken have seen my face. I interviewed Dutch migrants there, as well as people from organisations such as Region Dalarna and Placement. It were fruitful days and I now will try to transcribe the 7 interviews, as a valuable empirical part of my coming articles.
Keep an eye on this site and some Academic Magazines such as Population, Place and Space and you might see my name there :) Also, I started a new blog in Dutch @ More detailed info can be found there!

More info will follow, from our yearly Conference for PhD Students for example.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Autumn Reflections

Last weekend Caroline, Lucas and me went for a walk at Karlslund's Herrgård. The crispy air and the sunny weather had invited us on this tour. A day like this makes me reflect of the time to come, as far as work is concerned. There are so much possibilities and my problem is that I want to participate in everything!

However, after a talk with my supervisor and this Autumn walk, the planning looks like this: first, we'll travel to Holland with Lucas. I will also read some texts for our course "Geography Classics". Moreover, I will attend a Emigration Fair in Zenderen and will talk with families thinking of migrating to Sweden.

I will also make sure that my name is on the list for a course on Interview Methods, which will be held at Örebro University this Autumn. More reading needs to be done in order to prepare for lecturing in a course called Economic Geography. For this, the book by Knox and Marston is a must. Besides this, Peter and me are invited to come and lecture at a course in Social Work. We have to explain the use of Human Geographic terms such as place and space in front of 170 students. . . .

...Last but not least, I will participate in some conferences. Sustainable Cities and Regions in Örebro in March 2009; A network day for PhD Students in Gothenburg in May 2009 and a Nordic Geographers Meet in Åbo/Turku (Fi) in June 2009. Pfffff...

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Welcome Lucas!

On 30 July 2008, our son Lucas John is borne. A wonderful boy, and we're very happy with him! The holidays have been smooth, mainly staying close or in Örebro waiting for our baby to be borne. We visited small places nearby (Englas skafferi, Askersund, Nora etc.) and watched large sports events (Wimbledon, Euro2008, Roland Garros, and - after Lucas' birth - the Olympics). We have had a lot of friends and family visiting the three of us - the last in the row (oma and mama - or "the oma's") leaving tomorrow.

This is my second week of work after the holidays, and I must admit that I haven't done so much during the 5 summerweeks, nore in my first week at the office. It's all so bombastic - the miracle of a new life!

But in the meantime, CUReS have had a kick-off in Ånnaboda, I have had a meeting with Mats about the coming round of interviews and journeys and I have started studying for the course of Economic Geography in which I will be responsible for a lecture and a seminar in October. For those of you interested, try to find a book called Human Geography, by Paul Knox and Sallie Marston.

More news to come!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Summer 2008

Now that it's only two weeks before the Summerholidays start, I can make a short summary of the work that is to be done during summer and in the coming Autumn. I had a meeting with Mats, and it all became clearer to me :)

I will attempt to write 2 chapters in different anthologies (readers): One in a book called Bilden av Bergslagen (The image of Bergslagen), about the image that the Bergslagen area wants to create abroad, eg. in Dutch migrants' minds. The other in a book about space and place about local labour markets and the different conditions for immigrants to get a job, depending on variables such as country of origin, age, education, gender, and so on.

For both chapters, I will need access to Bergslagens Database (BeDa) at Statistics Sweden, in order to create a basic understanding of what's going on and what has been going on. I will also conduct interviews with key persons in different recruitment organisations (Region Dalarna, Invest in Värmland & Placement Utvikling) and municipalities (Smedjebacken, Hagfors and Hällefors).

Moreover, I will take part in 2 courses: the one about Geographical classics continues and a new course about Interview Methods starts. Add a number of conferences to this (in Umeå and Örebro - see for instance, and my schedule is pretty full. . .

But first of all, in about two weeks time, we expect our first child! Exciting!

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Population Geography

Much happens on wednesdays. 7 May; Seminar about our Research Proposals - 14 May; Network meeting @ Södertörn; and now 28 May a Seminar with population geographers about migration studies and methodology. Also this seminar took place in Stockholm: at the Human Geography institute at campus Frescati. It was a nice day, so I decided to walk the 6 kilometres from the cityterminal, via Sveavägen and Torgatan to KTH, where I got lost. Walked through some woods and finally somehow ended up right where I wanted to: close to a big map at the beginning of campus Frescati.
The seminar took about two hours, and we were 8 PhD students and lecturers there, from Stockholm, Uppsala and Örebro. It was very good to attend this seminar, as I did some interesting reading about the snowball method when doing qualitative research and trying to find hidden populations. Moreover, I now know how to find the Human Geography institute in Stockholm and my mailaddress is added to the mailing list of a network for population geographers. The attachment of one of the mails I got was an invitation to a 3-day workshop in the field of migration studies, at Umeå University in April 2009. I might just take part in that!

Saturday, 24 May 2008

PhD Network Meeting

Last year in May, when I wasn't even sure if I would be accepted at the Research School, I participated in the first PhD Network Meeting in Örebro. This is an initiative of PhD students at Örebro University, Södertörn University of Professional Education (South Stockholm) and Gothenburg University. About 25 PhD Students were there at Östra Mark (the same place as where we later had our first Seminar about the Research Proposals).
This year, the same network gathered together at the 14th of May in Södertörn. I participated again, but this time as a Phd Student! It was the first time I was at Södertörn and it was an interesting meeting again. We could talk freely about our texts, give comments and ask questions. Afterwards, we visited a book release where Saskia Sassen answered questions and signed her new book. Later, we had dinner at La Cucaracha in Södermalm, Stockholm. It was a good day, and the journey back by train was long, so most of us slept the last part, tired of all new info and experiences.


Sunday, 18 May 2008

Dissertation (part 2)

After the first Seminar about our Research Proposals in November (see previous post), it was time for our second Seminar on 7 May. This was also our final one for this year, which means that our texts are analysed a bit more thoroughly and that the comments are a bit more spicy. If you want to read my text, just send me an e-mail or leave a comment on this blog and I will be happy to provide you with it. Thank you, all Swedish colleagues that read the text, and Dutch friends that also showed interest :)
It was a good day, this 7th of May. I first commented on Andreas' text, "The city in the city"; a text in the history discipline, outlining his plans for research in the place within society of the Philadelphia Church in Stockholm in the 20th Century. After that, it was Majas turn to provide my text with comments. Her general critique was that my Research Design is quite ambitious and that I need to think of the practical framework, mostly time and energy. I might have written a bit too enthusiastically about the different theories behind my research and the different methods that I want to use and the high number of interviews that I want to conduct. Other comments were that it might not be possible to measure the social and cultural impacts of 30 Dutch families in a municipality of 7,500 inhabitants over a period of just a few years.
However, I also received clear back-up for my ideas about writing a compilation thesis and the structure that I chose, basing the Thesis on a trilogy of articles comprising 1st the ideas behind attracting Dutch migrants from the side of the Bergslagen municipalities; 2nd the decision making process on the side of the Dutch households; and 3rd the impacts of the settling of the Dutch families in Bergslagen, both on the municipalities and on the households.

Overall, I received many good tips and some useless ones. In combination with the Network Day that we had a week later in Stockholm, it feels like a good end of the first year - Dissertation-wise. More about the Network Day soon!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

The third course

Well, after these first six months of the PhD education, all three obligatory courses at CUReS are over. The third course, Politics and Democracy in Cities and Regions, ended with two interesting seminars. The last one about other PhD students' dissertations, the one before about classical Political Science texts. For that one, I chose Patrick Le Galès book about European Cities. It provided some good insights but didn't leave a lasting impression for my own thesis. I had been thinking about reading Esping-Andersen's "Three worlds of welfare capitalism" or one of Castells' works in urban sociology. However, after reconsideration, it seems as though they won't be significant for my study. Moreover, I have already read "Three worlds" and four of Castells' books. So it was worth trying something new. However, at the time of writing I cannot spontaneoulsy think of what European Cities has contributed with. I am already getting oblivious!
On the other hand, the thesis that I chose for the final seminar was very interesting. Written by a human geographer from the "Umeå school", it provides many valuable insights in sparsely populated areas and their struggle for economic, demographic and social survival. Linda Lundmark wrote this compilation thesis, and it is interesting to see the structure of such a thesis, including the articles and the first few chapters. I am also thinking of writing a compilation thesis and I have started thinking in the direction of interesting purposes and subjects for my articles.
This third course, with the parts about discourse analisys, research design and the like, together with the other coursers, offers a broad base for the coming time! Now, our works focuses on the research proposal and other courses that we're doing (Pedagogics for Higher Education, e.g.). More news about that soon.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Emigrate 2008

Well, it's been a while since I last wrote, but here's an update about a trip I made: to Emigrate 2008. This is an Emigration Fair in Utrecht, the Netherlands. I was 'back home' during the first 11 days in March for this fair, but of course also for visiting friends and family. The idea of the fair is to bring people from the demand and the supply side together: certain regions or organisations anywhere in the world that want to attract immigrants on the one hand, and migrants that want to leave the Netherlands and look for a live elsewhere on the other hand.
During the two days of the fair, I conducted a small survey by taking questionnaires from all but one stand at the swedish part and 33 Dutch visitors that are interested in moving to Sweden. It was very interesting just to observe how this industry is arranged and even more interesting to hear the (live)stories of some potential migrants. Their reasons for wanting to move in a nut shell: looking for "Rust & Ruimte" (quiet & space), nature and a more relaxed pace of life, and being fed up with the rat race, traffic jams and 'overregulated Dutch society'. More about this can be found in a Survey Report that I wrote; just send me a mail if you're interested:
It has been a very useful pilot project and it helped me in orientating how I want to structure my research! More to come soon about the third course and the research prosposal.

Monday, 18 February 2008

IMER Congress

IMER stands for International Migration and Ethnic Relations. This field of study is interdisciplinary, with ethnologists, sociologists, social work scientists and human geographers amongst the interested. Botkyrka, a Stockholm suburb, hosts a multicultural centre where the Swedish IMER Society has its seat. A congress was arranged by them on the last day of January and the first day of February 2008.
It was my first congress outside Örebro and I was curious to see what the multicultural centre looked like and what kind of people there would be. It was a nice old building amidst the concrete suburbian flats, where we - a group of about 25 people - discussed IMER for two days. The group was mixed in age, gender and ethnic backgrounds. Young "ethnic" PhD candidates like myself (Dutch, Polish and other nationalities) were sitting side by side with experienced researchers from England, India, Denmark, Iceland, Turkey and of course Sweden.
We talked about diaspora, bilingual children and what it's like to be a "suburb-kid". Very interesting and it resulted in a nice idea for taking part in an IMER Seminar series at Uppsala University, amongst other things.
Completely exhausted, but many experiences richer, I returned to Örebro.

Saturday, 2 February 2008

The second course

Cities and Processes of Social Change is the name of the second course we had as a group. This course, running from November 2007 to January 2008, was organised by lecturers from the disciplines sociology and social work. This was very interesting for me, as I had not followed any courses in social work before, and only one course in sociology (in Umeå). It was a good occasion to get to know some lecturers in these subjects and of course to get more insight in the disciplines themselves and some of their basic literature.
We read Giddens, and got interesting lectures about empowerment and international social work. It was very sad and chocking of course, that lecturer in sociology Fuat Deniz was murdered in December, just as we were in quite close contact with some of the lecturers in that discipline in the frame of our course. To see the sadness in the eyes of his closest friends and colleagues was really devastating. (see previous blog-post).
The course itself was organised the same way as the first course; lecturers, compulsory literature, elegible literature and seminars based on the papers we wrote. The completion of the course was celebrated with a diner at home at one of the lecturers in Brickeberg - a good way to end the course!

Friday, 11 January 2008

A tragedy

Today, it's exactly one month ago since Fuat Deniz, lecturer in Sociology, was brutally murdered in the gym at our campus. This really shook us all, especially the ones that knew him very well. He was a loved and respected friend and colleague to many. Moreover, nothing is known yet as to who could have done it or the motives. Many say political motives lay behind this brutal deed, but the police doesn't want to exclude any possiblity and works hard on the case, with the help of the National Police Service.
Only now, after some weeks of silence and time with friends and relatives at home, people have recovered somewhat. Of course, only now, after all commotion, the biggest shock arrives for Fuats closest friends and relatives. His funerial will be the 22nd of January, in Örebro.