Since I came home from the Netherlands this week, I have been forced to answer loads of questions. Most of you, who know that I went there have lots of questions. Those of you who didn't know that I've been there immediately have tons of questions. So instead of answering the same type of questions over and over again, I feel obligated to tell you a little about it here.
I will not give up names here, neither persons nor company names. Nothing is decided yet and I don't want this blogpost to become a disadvantage for me. Also, we have discussed things that cannot be revealed to our future business competitors. Of course I can't say anything about that.
The reason I went to Holland this week was because of a job interview. I would be working as a sales agent for a Dutch nursery if we agree. This was the first meeting between me and my possible employer. I went there to meet everyone involved as well as to see the nursery plant production.
I was very nervous before the trip. It is very scary and all new, to have an employer in another country, while me of course would be working in Sweden. There are lots of rules concerning taxes, fees and insurances that I have to consider now. Things that a Swedish employer would take care of, but I now would be responsible for. Also, it was rather frightening going on the Dutch trains for the first time, with two changes late at night, before I finally arrived in the right place! I did not want to end up in Maastricht!
I made all the changes and I ended up in the right place. I got to my hotel and my bed about 23.30, sooo tired. The next day my contact picked me up and I was brought to their office for discussions. We talked about my expectations, their expectations, the market and demands of plants in the Nordic countries etc. I was relieved to find out that I was expected to work according to Swedish regulations, not Dutch (having heard lots of rumors about Dutch people only having two weeks of vacation during the entire year, for example). We ended all discussions when we found out we had homework to do: I need to know about the total expenses for me (salary, taxes, insurances and pensions), etc. Together we need to decide what customers we want.
Someting you would never see in a Swedish nursery! Shaped box-plants (Buxus sempervirens).
After those visits, I was brought to the train station and went back to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. Quite a few hours in advance, but I had time to eat dinner, send a postcard to Florence and buy tulip shaped chocolate :) .
The flight was a little bit delayed, which made me very concerned, as I only had 20 minutes according to schedule to get to the 2nd last train from Copenhagen to Malmö (the last train leaving two hours later). With this delay I only had 10 min to go from the A-terminal, through the whole shopping area, through the baggage claim and then the last bit down to the trains. I ran like mad, happy only to have hand luggage with me. I arrived at the platform at the same time as the train did, tired and out of breath. I can't recommend that anyone make this run in high heeled shoes and a heavy backpack!
Soon afterwards I found out that this was NOT the train I was supposed to get on, but a delayed earlier one, so I was in Malmö and in Lund earlier than expected. Mr. Emerson's parents picked me up and I spent the night at their home outside Lund getting to bed at 00.30 in the middle of the night.
I am very pleased with this trip, as I am relieved about lots of things that I was concerned about before going. There's still a lot of work to be done, before anyone accepts anything. With this I mean that they must want me to work for them, and at the same time I must want to work for them. Nothing is clear yet.
I enjoyed seeing the extensive use of plants in Holland as well as all the other things. I thought it was amazing that they had put six Liquidambar-trees in the middle of a tiny parking space (in gorgeous autumn colours) as well as five Liriodendron-trees in a road intersection. These are both LOVELY park trees which we would never use in this way in Sweden. That would have been such a waste! It was also amazing to see that almost every private garden used form trees in some way; either sphere shaped or pleached (in Swedish: spaljerade) trees. I loved it, and I think we should use more form trees in Sweden as well!
Pleached trees (Carpinus betulus) in production, excellent for narrow and small gardens, if you want total privacy!