Meet Nikolaj Skjernov
Nikolaj Skjernov is the CEO of Värmdö Musteri, which is a juice production company. Nikolaj made his move from Copenhagen to Värmdö in 1995, but also worked in Stockholm in the late 80’s before going back to Denmark.
Q: Why did you come back to Stockholm in 1995?
It was for love, I met a Swedish woman, whom I married. We had been living in Copenhagen, and when we decided to move back to Sweden, we chose to live in Värmdö commune. Since I had lived here before, I said ‘we must live in the archipelago if we move back, because it’s so fantastic’. You have the nature, the water, the woods – everything.
I think when you move, it’s not worth changing one city for another – there has to be something extra. That you can go out on the sea fishing, you have the woods where you can go hunting, and you're still close to a big city.
Q: What is the biggest difference between Stockholm and where you grew up?
The nature, the fresh air. When you go out into the woods, you can go alone. You can go out onto small islands in the archipelago and find a place with no-one else there.
Compared, Denmark is a small country, and if you go into the woods to find mushrooms, you have to go out at three o’clock in the morning because if you come at eight they are gone. It’s a more crowded environment in Denmark, you have more space here.
Q: How did the musteri start?
It started because my wife and I are both interested in good eating and good drinking. We ended up buying an apple press, as more of a hobby project. But we made a mistake – we asked the local supermarkets if they would want to buy the apple juice – and they said yes! So we had to produce more, and the press was too little – so we bought another one.
Today we have ten employees, we make 400,000 litres of apple juice, as well as many other products.
Q: Do Swedes care about the nature and natural products?
They really do care about the nature, a lot more than in other countries. They also care about what they eat and what they drink, and that’s part of why the musteri has been so successful. Our products have no additives, it’s only natural.
Q: How is the work environment different in Sweden?
I’ve worked in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden – the work environment here is very straight forward and hard working. They are very fair people who deliver what they promise.
Q: How does the commune support businesses?
When we moved here, twenty years ago, it was much more rural. Today you have big shopping centers and supermarkets, it’s grown a lot. The commune has been developing as well, they now are bringing in transportation for tourists and employees. They are expanding the bike paths.
Q: What are the highlights of Stockholm?
Stockholm has great restaurants, and great food halls like Östermalmshallen, Söderhallen. You also have great water everywhere. You have the museums, the theatre, and music.
If you visit, I recommend trying the seafood or the game, they are very unique to Sweden. The crayfish are not to be missed, and if you are here at the right time of year – try the moose.
Q: Why should someone move to Värmdö?
Happiness! They offer what you want to do in your spare time – to be happy. If I was going to go out on a Saturday, I would want to be in nature, fishing or hunting – that’s what Värmdö offers every day. All of this, and you're 20 minutes from the city.