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Portrait of an international newcomer family

​From Rio de Janeiro via Groeningen in Holland to Esbjerg
Family and housing
Jaco Brons comes from Holland whereas Maria Xavier Brons grew up in Rio de Janeiro. Today, the couple lives together in Denmark, more precisely in Esbjerg, with their two children, Sophie and David aged 3½ and 2.

It is early in the morning and the wall clock in the kitchen of the Brons family says 6:30am. It is a typical morning at the Brons family. Another ordinary day with work, day care and after school activities for the two kids is ahead of them. In that way, the Brons family looks like any other family in Denmark, except that the Brons family is one of many international families in Esbjerg.


"The high standard of living in Denmark was also important for our choice to settle here"
Maria Xavier Brons

International children
Two hours later, it is time for Maria to take Sophie and David to the day care at the International School, close to their home. “We moved to Esbjerg from Rio de Janeiro in July 2012,” Maria says.

“It is really important to us that the living conditions, especially for children, are good in Denmark. We are much aware that our children grow up in a safe environment and you have that in Denmark. The high standard of living in Denmark was also important for our choice to settle here,” Maria says.

“The kindergarten teachers are really kind and caring and we feel that the International School gives our children great opportunities. We are also very happy about the many Danish children in the International School, because it is important to us that our children also have Danish friends.”


Professional start-up
Jaco works at Maersk Oil & Gas, which is located at the port of Esbjerg and employs more than 1,400 people on- and offshore.
When the family had to make the move from Rio de Janeiro to Esbjerg, Maersk arranged the relocation. The company put an apartment at their disposal to make sure that the family had a place to live when they arrived in Esbjerg.

“It was handled very professionally and they also helped with all the paper work. They also helped with the paper work for Esbjerg Municipality, which in itself was very service-minded and that gives you an enormous feeling of security as a newcomer,” Jaco says.

Today, the family lives in Hjerting, a suburb of Esbjerg, close to the water and the North Sea where Maersk extracts approx. 85 % of the Danish oil.

Local international community
In Hjerting, Maria still has some time for herself before she shall pick up Sophie and David. During the day, she spends time learning Danish and she has joined the newcomer network meetings which are arranged by Esbjerg Municipality. Besides that, she is part of the local hiking group that meets a couple of times a week. In essence, Maria is really happy about the many activities in the local international community.
“At a first glimpse you might not believe it, but Esbjerg actually has a big international community,” Maria says and continues, “actually, there are many international families here in Esbjerg.”


The Brons family in the foyer at Esbjerg Performing Arts Centre
The Brons family in the foyer at Esbjerg Performing Arts Centre

An active schedule
It is afternoon and Sophie and David have been picked up from day care. On Wednesdays, both children have music classes while swimming lessons are every Thursday. All in all, the family uses many of the opportunities that Esbjerg has; no matter if it is on a weekday or during weekends.

“Everything is so close that you can just take your bicycle wherever you need to go. If you want to do something during the weekend there are a lot of opportunities very close to Esbjerg.” The beach town of Blaavand, the medieval town of Ribe and LEGOLAND in Billund are some of the family´s favourite places to go at weekends.

“Sometimes we go to Copenhagen or Hamburg for a few days“ the couple tells. Occasionally, they go out without the children, especially when there is an exciting concert in sight. “We have been to a Bryan Adams and a Joe Cocker concert in Esbjerg Performing Art Centre. Those were very good experiences – they have a really varied programme so we often find interesting events,” the couple, who likes pop, rock and classical music, tells.

“Actually, the municipality (newcomer service, ed.) helps out with babysitting.

Since new comers do not have any family around, it is nice that they have some recommended babysitters. That makes parents feel safe when they go out.”

Time for reflection
Typically, Jaco is home from work around 5:30pm and after dinner and playtime, Sophie and David are bathed and tucked in. At 8:00 pm, it is parents’ time.

“We are really happy about our
decision on moving to Denmark. Of course, we had some thoughts of the weather for example and the adaption to life in Esbjerg. We came from Rio de Janeiro, so it is really different for us,” the couple says. However, they feel the adaption to life in Esbjerg has been much better than expected.

When you ask the family about their plans for the future, the answer is clear: “We will stay in Denmark for a long time.”

We are ready to help you

Lasse Jensen is ready to help you. He can provide information about job, housing, education and leisure activities in Esbjerg.