Sweden’s deprived area reveals a painful contrast

Sweden's deprived area reveals a painful contrast

At first glance, Sweden seems like an ideal country: the GDP is high, the nature is stunning, and the liberalization is a real success story. However, all is not well: the contrast with deprived neighborhoods is enormous. “I thought Sweden was an ideal welfare state, where everyone had equal opportunities. This seems not to be the case,” says Scandinavian countries correspondent Anne Grettje Fransen in Stand van Nederland: Generation Europe on NPO 2.

As long as you are prosperous, the Scandinavian country will provide you with everything you need. But if you grow up in a deprived area, people have little or no chance of integrating into society. “People in these neighborhoods die nine years earlier on average,” Fransen says.

Over the years, Sweden’s deprived neighborhoods have declined further and further. In the deprived area of ​​Bergjon, on the outskirts of Gothenburg, children have no chance of obtaining higher or university education. “People who have little money and opportunities live here,” the reporter said.

“You don’t want to live here”

In the 1960s and 1970s, one million homes were built in Sweden, partly due to the baby boom and the arrival of migrant workers. The idea was for everyone to feel at home in Sweden.

According to Francine, these neighborhoods were not built to provide shelter for the poor. “However, after the 1980s and 1990s, Sweden took a neoliberal turn and the housing market was privatized. Then these became neighborhoods that you would end up in if you really had no choice.

Today, you will find almost only people with immigrant backgrounds in these neighborhoods. “They are new refugees, but they are also second- and third-generation immigrants,” she says. Therefore the neighbourhoods, including Bergeson, acquired a certain stigma. “If you had a choice, you really wouldn’t want to live here. There’s a lot of organized crime, poverty and unequal opportunities.”

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The contrast is great

In sum, these neighborhoods reveal significant variation within Sweden. “Everyone can enjoy free education and is entitled to the same care, but in reality children who grow up in this neighborhood have much fewer opportunities than if they grew up in the city centre,” Fransen laments.

Headteacher Petra Yern is committed to the children at Bergesjohn with all her heart and soul. She emphasizes the importance of her school. “Most of the children have a mother tongue other than Swedish. That’s why they have to work hard on Swedish, but we also teach them in their mother tongue if the parents want.

Despite the help that people in these neighborhoods provide, it is not enough. According to Fransen, politicians should take more action to mix neighborhoods together. “There should be more white kids in schools in these neighborhoods. And families should be given more opportunities to live in other neighborhoods. That you don’t necessarily end up in a deprived area if you’re an immigrant or a refugee.”

Sweden is a welfare state, but the contrast between it and the deprived neighborhoods is great. Jill Blixloot visits these neighborhoods to discover the other side of Sweden. Watch this broadcast of Stand van Nederland: Generation Europe now never.

Read also:

Fathers in Sweden take 480 days leave: ‘It’s strange to go back to work after ten weeks’

Written by: Rick Hartkamp

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