It’s a sunny day in March, no cloud is visible in the sky and I’m in the car heading towards Tväråträsk. As I take the frozen road 363, the pace of the car drops and the excitement comes. How did two Dutchmen ended up here in northern Sweden? What is so attractive about this sparsely populated area?
I have received directions on the phone, but as usual … the memory is a little complicated. I have to stop a local in warning clothes collecting the mail. “Excuse me, where does Paula live?” I think in a village as small as this one, maybe I do not need to develop the issue any more than this. “Three houses away and up on a hill” Is the response. I find it, but it does not look like a big tourist center, but rather a plainm and peaceful residential building. Considering everything I have heard about Laplandtime and how many visitors from Europe come here, I thought it would be a huge building.
Her energy and her joy shines from the first moment. Paula is in the kitchen and immediately puts the kettle on when I step in. The Siamese cats Bart and Prince walk around me, interested; so beautiful, but forbidden fruit for a cat allergic. Paula Perriens is an important part of the Gold of Lapland organization. As a board member, translator, interpreter, Facebook manager and with her general knowledge about the Netherlands, she has been a key individual in many ways. -I think it’s important to work together, and there are such unique resources here.
I had no idea Tväråträsk would be so international. Laplandtime receives bookings mostly from Switzerland, France, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. I ask how the guests get here. -Often, we help them find flights up to Lycksele, Umeå or Skellefteå, then they drive here. They appear to have no problem getting out on wild inland roads.
In Holland, Paula worked as a mayor and a lawyer, which was very time consuming. Her husband Frans had his own business and also worked almost 24 hours a day. “We felt like we needed something else, and we had traveled in Scandinavia, which we like a lot, an incredible number of times. We used to rent a camper and drive about 10.000 km in four weeks”, Paula says while serving the tea. The answer to how they ended up in Tväråträsk is: by coincidence. They browsed the Swedish buy-and-sell website “Blocket” and found the house where they have now lived for eight years. “We are living our dream now”, she says, looking very pleased.
Their company Laplandtime offers both accommodation and activities in the countryside around Tväråträsk. There is fishing in the summer and snowmobile riding in the winter. Frans usually acts as a guide for the guests and Paula takes care of the service. “I usually go grocery shopping for the guests at Ica Jonsson in Gargnäs. It is obvious to her that tourism should benefit local companies. “It is important that we give back to the village we live in. For example, we bought our snowmobiles locally. Because what happens to these stores if we go somewhere else to buy these things? Frans and Paula’s Lodge offers self-catering for guests, but even there she has to act as an interpreter when reading the packaging. “And they usually just resort to the grill on the balcony instead,” she laughs. The lodge in Tväråträsk does not rest many days of the year. “We are off only from October to mid January, then it’s full house again. The inland really delivers – via Holland.
Facts about Laplandtime
Running since 2010
Number of guests per year: approximately 130
Fun to know: Paula is also the village’s spinning and Yoga/Pilates teacher, as well as chairman at Tväråträsk village association.
Text: Sofia Johansson
Translation: Floriane Colonnier, Linnéa Fällman