Die polnische Familie lebt in der Ringkøbing-Skjern Kommune

Polish family: ”Home” is now Western Jutland

Better workingconditions and good conditions for the children

Nature and good conditions for the children are crucial

It is first and foremost the good conditions for the children and the clean and beautiful nature that Iwona and Jarek emphasize when expressing why they have chosen to settle in Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality in Denmark. In the past two years Iwona Czerwinska, 37, and Jarek Lewandowski, 42, have been living in the village of Finderup together with their joint child Diego, 6, and Jarek’s son Manuel, 12,  and his daughter Karolina, 7.

”The child-care facilities here are simply so good. They do so much for the development of children. For instance, they are allowed to cook and do woodwork when they can handle a knife– even though it may be a little dangerous. Besides, they also spend a lot of time in nature. In all sorts of weather. It is so healthy for them”, says Iwona who is also really happy with the schools.

”The children look forward to going to school here. They learn a lot whilst having a good time and they have made good friends. Previously, Manuel had a really hard time in his Polish school which was based on a very authoritarian system with a lot of homework. He almost always had a bellyache and was also bullied, but now he is very happy with school. He has learned to speak perfect Danish and he has made good friends with quite a few, both at home and in school”, Iwona says, and also Jarek thinks that the Danish school system is much better. Even though attending school in Poland is free, there are still running costs, which you don’t find here.

Manuel attends Kirkeskolen in Skjern while the two little ones are attending the school and after-school facilities of the neighbouring village of Rækker Mølle. They also like the school. Karolina has settled in well, and Diego thinks that everything is exciting after having started kindergarten class this summer.

 

Foto: Ralf Andersen

 

Working – also to have a sparetime life

”However, the best thing is that you exist to live here – which means that you don’t just constantly work, but you work in order to also live in your spare time”, says Iwona, and Jarek agrees. That was the very reason why he came to Denmark to work, since - as a self-employed motor mechanic with his own construction firm - he just worked and worked without earning sufficient to live on. On top of that he did not have any spare time whatsoever.

Now they enjoy joining the children for leisure activities during the week and go on weekend excursions. Karolina and Diego take judo classes Tuesday and Thursday, and Manuel plays football three times a week and often also matches during weekends.

 

Foto: Ralf Andersen

 

”On Saturdays we are usually busy cleaning and doing the laundry – with a family of five there is a lot to do – but on Sundays we always go to the public swimming bath, the forest or for a walk at Hvide Sande”, Iwona says. “We enjoy being in nature, and our big dream is to get a house of our own in the country, preferably around Finderup, including room for e.g. a dog, chickens, and vegetables in the garden”, she adds while Jarek is nodding.

 

Flexibility and Self-service

They have both previously worked in other countries, but agree that the best place of all is Denmark

Iwona worked for four years in Italy until, after a period of illness in Poland, she came to Tarm in 2004 when a friend persuaded her to come to work at Bechs Hotel. She was actually only meant to come for a holiday, but then she got a job at the hotel and was there for four years. Subsequently, as her Danish has improved she has had jobs as a production assistant in companies co-operating with Polish builders.

During the past year, Iwona has been working for Total Wind in Esbjerg, and she enjoys the workplace flexibility. Once in a while she also works in the Brande division with the option of for example working flexible hours, i.e. starting work early one day whilst in return having another day off early, for instance if she is doing something with the children.

 

Foto: Ralf Andersen

 

”Everything is just so much easier in Denmark. We can sort out almost everything by telephone or computer such as tax or children’s allowance”, says Iwona enthusiastically about the Danish self-service solutions.

”You need not take a day off from work to queue up at some office to be met with a negative or patronizing attitude.  No matter where it is, public servants are simply so positive, and you really feel that they are there to help you. You don’t just feel like a nuisance – quite the opposite, and you have faith in them”, Iwona says and also stresses the Danish health system. It is much more healthy to live here because they don’t just prescribe a lot of medicine for the children.

She went back to Poland when she was having Diego, but had enough of Polish doctors. Diego was not well and was given an awful lot of medicine, also after 6 months when they were able to leave the hospital. She therefore hurried home to Denmark  where his medicine was gradually reduced, so by now he has fully recovered.

 

Commuting from Poland for several years

Previously, Jarek used to work both as a construction worker and as a motor mechanic in Spain and Germany before trying out being self-employed in Poland. However, when a friend wanted him to join him for Denmark to work in 2007 he accepted the offer and sold his company. The result was several years as a welder and commuting 1,200 km to Poland at varying intervals. Sometimes after 3 weeks’ work, Jarek might spend one week with his family, at other times he went back and forth with only a few days in between. His partner at that time did not want to move to Denmark with Manuel and Karolina, when Jarek at some stage got a permanent job at Vejle. Some time later he injured his one foot and was in hospital for a very long time due to several operations. It was on this occasion that he met Iwona in 2010, the result of which was Diego, who was born 6 years ago.

However, they agreed that Jarek should go back to Poland and try to make his family life work. It was not very successful though, as his partner suffered illness followed by several hospital admissions. Consequently, he has spent a lot of time on his own with the children for several periods. Then approximately two years ago after a broken relationship Jarek returned to Denmark and Iwona. Shortly after they had to fetch Manuel and Karolina and take them with them to Denmark as nobody else could take care of them in Poland. The children have been happy about this change and have quickly settled in at Finderup where they also enjoy having a younger brother close by.

 

Foto: Ralf Andersen

 

Fine tax system and beautiful nature

When Jarek is to point out what is good or what is the best about living and working in Denmark it is generally the much better working- and living conditions in Denmark compared to Poland, Spain, and Germany.

”The tax system here is made for human beings, which I like, and then I also enjoy the nature and the great respect for it plus the fact that people do not interfere unnecessarily in other people’s affairs. Normally there is also great respect and civility in connection with working conditions”, Jarek says and continues:

”Admittedly, cars are too expensive in this country, but in return you can always get a job if you want, and you are not left on your own – there is a safety net in the social security benefits – if anything goes wrong”, Jarek says, adding with a big smile: ”And then I also like the Danish concept of ”hygge”.

“Jarek’s Danish is not so good yet, but he is practicing a lot to learn, so he can keep up with the children who already speak fluent Danish. Little by little though, he understands most of it, which is also the reason why Jarek has something negative to say about the Danes. He has experienced arrogance on part of some Danes towards Polish workers. “They speak badly of us and look down on us”, says Jarek who is the type that objects when he experiences such things. On the other hand, this cost him his job in one place of work. But now he has been employed by a temp agency for a long period and gets temporary jobs in various places. He likes this kind of variety in a job.

 

Foto: Ralf Andersen

 

”Home” is now Western Jutland

Once in a while, Iwona misses Poland. “But then I just call my mum, and when I have spoken with her for a while and heard how they are doing this yearning disappears – except for the yearning for nature. Where I come from the nature is particularly beautiful”, says Iwona who now regards Western Jutland as her home.

“In the beginning I always thought that I was going home to Poland, but now when I am in Poland I look forward to returning “home” to here”, Iwona says, and adds that now she also looks forward to her brother coming to work in this area.

 

Foto: Ralf Andersen 

 

Facts:

Finderup is a small village with approximately 100 inhabitants located in the middle of Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality, which geographically is the biggest municipality in Denmark. The Municipality has around 57,000 citizens, including 4,600 foreign citizens of 99 different nationalities.

In Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality the unemployment rate is low, and there is a shortage of qualified labour within farming and the big industrial companies.

For more information about living and working in Denmark’s biggest municipality, Ringkøbing-Skjern, please go to flytmodvest.dk - in English and German.

 

Ioana and Sorin

 
Romanian Family:

We have been made very welcome

”We love our country, Romania, but we have also grown very fond of Denmark which has become our home,” says 37-year-old Sorin Ungureanu who - together with his wife Ioana and their two children - find themselves so much at home that in the autumn of 2017 they bought the house of their dreams in Borris. Borris is a town with approximately 800 inhabitants in Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality – geographically the biggest municipality in Denmark.

“We have been living here since 2011 and our children are fully integrated in the local community and gradually, so are we. We have been made to feel really welcome in this town. People gladly help us and we are very happy about living here,” Sorin says whilst simultaneously smiling at Erling Søndergaard - one of the passionate locals who likes to give a lending hand. Erling has helped the family with the purchase of their house, and as a friend of the family he joins our conversation as to why Sorin and Ioana came to Denmark and what it is like for a foreign family to move to Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality.

”We are also happy having you here. We can tell that you like being here, and you have also done a great deal to become a part of the community,” Erling points out referring to the fact that Sorin among others has been active in leading a father-child gymnastics team and a table tennis team in town.

Ioana und Sorin - Read the full story here

 

Charlotte and Ian

 
Danish/English couple:

Wish of living the good life

”Above all, we just wanted to be together and live the good life. We love being together” says the Danish/English couple Charlotte and Ian Coles who have settled down in an idyllic old farm house at Kloster, halfway between the Ringkøbing Fjord and the Stadil Fjord and close to the town of Ringkøbing.

It is not surprising that the couple had a wish of the good life in peaceful surroundings with lots of nature. Ian was a Major in the British Army, which meant the couple had moved around military bases in England and Germany for years. Ian had also been deployed close to the world’s war zones, leaving Charlotte alone and suffering months of deprivation during their first year in Ringkøbing-Skjern Municipality.

They bought the old farmhouse overlooking the Stadil Fjord in 2013, and Charlotte moved in full-time, while Ian could only come home as work allowed. But now the good life has really started as Ian retired this summer.

Ian is 48 years old and he has just landed a job with Vestas - the wind turbine manufacturer – as a Project Training Leader. 

Charlotte and Ian - Read the full story here