Ida-Linn Näzelius is a third-generation entrepreneur, with a CV that may well have taken her far away from Boden. But her love for the world’s most beautiful place kept her here. Now she is the role model that shows that it is possible to find a top job at home – even on a global scale, at H2 Green Steel.
Using the cliché ’picturesque’ feels a bit tiresome but it is difficult to describe Ida-Linn’s parental home in Bodträskfors in any other words.
There’s a barbecue pit in the heart of the garden. All around there are lush berry and vegetable plots, a wooden sauna with a view of the nearby Arctic Bath is hidden among the yellowing leafy trees, and at the furthest point from the river stands a red two-storey house with a view of the vast surroundings.
Ida-Linn shares anecdotes from the place. About anniversaries that have been celebrated on the benches by the barbecue pit, about children who have been baptised by the river and about a belated 30th birthday present that ended with Ida-Linn and her best friend skiing over to the Arctic Bath and being featured in an international publication. It is a place that is associated with many emotions, not just for Ida-Linn.
”I remember when I was little. When we had been away somewhere and came home, mother always said: ’Oh, how lovely to be home. This is truly the most beautiful place in the world.’ I think about it sometimes, wondering if other people appreciate their home as much as my mother does”, she says, looking at her mother on the bench next to her.
THE PLACE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIVER
Her grandmother and grandfather, who also been a big part of her upbringing, live just a few houses down the street.
”For me it was like having four parents. It was fantastic”, she says.
She wanted to pass that feeling on to her children. That’s why Ida-Linn and her husband Jonas bought a house on the other side of the bridge, in Harads. An unsurprising choice, perhaps, since it only takes a few minutes for the children to walk to school, or to take their bicycles over the bridge to grandma and grandpa. The community has an atmosphere of openness, people stop to greet each other, and the concept of ”quick shopping at the supermarket” is unheard of as it is all too easy to get caught up in conversations.
But Harads is also a community that has suffered the same fate as many other sparsely populated areas in the river valleys, where young people leave, to study or build a life elsewhere.
Ida-Linn was a high achiever in school and completed the civil engineering programme at Luleå University of Technology a year quicker than most students. After completing the programme, she also acquired a doctorate in energy technology, and looking at her resume, her career could easily have continued outside Norrbotten.
”My grandfather started a freight company, Mum and Dad have also worked with investments of their own. In our family, people have always had a lot of things going on, and it is perhaps not surprising that I have had the same drive. At university, a colleague asked me why I was in such a hurry and I didn’t understand the question, I just work hard”, she says, laughing at the memory.
DREAM JOB FOR BODEN AND THE PLANET
Rather than testing her wings elsewhere, Ida-Linn chose to follow in her family’s footsteps by investing in Harads, where she is familiar with the locals and often referred to as Susanne and Glenn’s daughter.
Ida-Linn and Jonas bought a property with flats that they renovated and are still renting out. They started their own company that focuses on electrical installations and founded a new preschool that has taken over the premises of the old, council-run preschool. Ida-Linn is still chairman of the board of both companies today, but most of her time is spent elsewhere.
Because in 2021, the company H2 Green Steel decided that Boden would be the site for one of Sweden’s greatest industrial projects of all time. At the same time, the company caught the eye of a highly educated 36-year-old in Harads, who was a driving force in two profitable, local companies. They gave her a job offer and Ida-Linn became not only responsible for social and environmental issues but also the company’s first employee in Boden.
”Naturally, I feel incredible pride to be a part of building this up and trying to make the very best of it, both for the planet and for Boden. I also believe that H2 Green Steel represents a good opportunity to market our fantastic countryside.”
Many of her colleagues in Stockholm spend more time commuting than she does, even though the distances are shorter there. When Ida- Linn talks to them about her everyday life, many are intrigued by her stories.
”I have been asked several times if there is a house to buy here and it is great that more people are starting to see it the way I do. But it’s not really that surprising. Here, you can live more spaciously and be close to what is important. At the same time, it is possible to work in fields where you can be involved in shaping the future. It’s pretty exciting when you think about it.”
Ida-Linn has become something of the public face of H2 Green Steel in Boden. More and more people come up to her and ask questions about the establishment. Although she says it still feels unusual to have become a local celebrity overnight, perhaps her background in a small community where everyone talks to everyone is an advantage.
”It is great that there is a great interest and commitment to what we do. I also feel that my slightly haphazard background has given me a broader understanding that I benefit from when I meet people in my profession.”
“Imagine when this is in place. Then we were two of the women who made it happen.”
In Harads, Treehotel has become a symbol that it is possible to succeed in the countryside, even on a global scale. Ida-Linn struggles to see herself as a role model, but at the same time she hopes that her own journey and the opportunities that come with the establishment can make more women stay.
”Both Jonas and I have had every opportunity to move elsewhere for work, but the benefits of staying have always outweighed the challenge of leaving. Because of this, it feels very special to be able to make this journey while still in Boden. An acquaintance of mine who works for the municipality of Boden once said: ’Imagine when the plant is in place and we were two of the women who made it happen.’ It feels great and it motivates me to try to make the very best of this opportunity.”
TOP JOB CLOSE TO HER LOVED ONES
For Ida-Linn, the närhetsliv* is exactly what allows her to invest fully in her professional career, while at the same time recharging her batteries. She does that best in the forest. Either by herself with running shoes on and the wind on her face during a long-distance run, or together with her, husband Jonas and children Telma, 14, Nora, 11 and Lea, 8.
”Doing things with the people I love the most gives me lots of energy. Living here, it is easy to go out into the forest and pick berries, go out cycling, or just put your skis on in winter, to go both downhill and cross-country.”
Whether it’s green or snowy outside, the family home in Bodträskfors is a place that bridges a generational divide. Ida-Linn describes how her eyes well up when she sees how the youngest daughter takes care of her Alzheimer’s-stricken great-grandmother and how her grandfather beams with joy when he gets to spend time with his great-grandchildren.
These are the moments that make her sure that the decision to stay was the right one.
And this summer there was an event that cemented that feeling. One of her daughters came home and had taken a picture in the middle of the night, of the sun that had set behind the mountain Klusåberget, painting the sky orange. The picture was taken from the bridge right next to the family home in Bodträskfors.
”She was really excited and wanted me to see how beautiful it was. Then it hit me. They also think of this as the most beautiful place in the world.” #
TEXT: ANDRÉ SAMUELSSON / PHOTO: MATS ENGFORS
Närhetsliv* / In Boden, we call our lifestyle “Närhetsliv” [nair-hits-leev] – a Swedish word for life close to everything important and more – work, school, culture, housing, kids’ activities, shopping and nature. Proximity life.
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