On June 4, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce hosted a webinar on the above mentioned topic. H.E. Annika Markovic, Swedish Ambassador in The Netherlands and H.E. Ines Coppoolse, Dutch Ambassador in Sweden, both gave their view on the communalities and differences of our 2 countries. It is clear that we are quite alike, but also have many differences that actually complement each other.
Sport is something that is important for both nationalities. In both countries hockey is an important sport, but when we talk about hockey, we’re not talking about the same sport. The Swedes play on ice, in Holland we love the game of Fieldhockey!
Since a few months, I am involved in assisting the Swedish Hockey Association / Svenska Landhockeyförbundet (www.landhockey.se) to expand and enhance the sport in Sweden at club and national level.
I was triggered by an article in hockey.nl about a group of Dutch hockey enthusiasts who together with Swedish hockey lovers are working hard to make the game more popular in Sweden.
My wife – Pernilla and I have 3 girls who have dual nationalities and are avid hockey players. They would love to play for Sweden!
The Svenska Landhockeyförbundet has made a long term plan which is focussed on creating more and better organized clubs and on improving the level of the national teams so they can compete at European and World level. Quite challenging and exciting!
On June 11, Ton Langenhuijsen (Technical Director Svenska Landhockeyförbundet) and myself met with Kerstin Gerlagh (General Manager Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the Netherlands) to explain what we are doing and to see how the Chamber could accommodate in any way or form.
In August – COVID-19 permitting – we are planning to organize a development program for the Swedish national teams (senior & U21 – M/F) in the Netherlands, during which we will train hard, play matches against club teams and also provide clinics for youngsters at our host clubs.
In the next few months, I will write follow-up articles about our endeavours and inform you about activities and our plans.
If you have sons and/or daughters who play hockey and have the Swedish nationality, please let us know. We would really appreciate getting in touch with you. Naturally, we would also be very appreciative of any support we could get from Swedish companies in the Netherlands that, like us, believe in expanding the field hockey community in Sweden!
Hendrik Jan Guitink
AIMS International Netherlands B.V.
Photo: Kerstin Gerlagh (middle), Ton Langenhuijsen (right) & Hendrik Jan Guitink (left) at the Epicenter in Amsterdam on June 11.