Life on Samsø, Samsø - My Island

The greatness of an entrepreneurial life on Samsø

“I recently had a glimpse of the greatness of this life,” says Ole enthusiastically. “I was standing in the sun, in shorts, on the pier, whilst my two youngest children were catching crabs. Holding  a can of beer in one hand, I took a conference call with an important client. Blimey, it felt good!”

Entrepreneurship and family life
Ole and Kristina Norré are a couple with great ambitions for both work and family life. Ole owns several companies including RelationMedia, while Kristina is Country Manager for Fentimans Denmark, which sells mixers and soft drinks. Together they have upped sticks and moved to Samsø with the two youngest of four children. They have bought a house and taken over Værftet (The Wharf) in Ballen. Here, during their first season, they have launched several initiatives; a restaurant, a place to get coffee and good breakfast, a cocktail bar, fitness on the beach and paddleboard hire. More initiatives are likely to see the light of day as Ole is an entrepreneur at heart and creating something together as a couple is a huge motivating factor.

“For me, sensing the passion of others is a big part of the journey towards a business goal. We have hired chefs who are passionate about making delicious food from fresh ingredients. I know nothing about the culinary profession, but I draw energy from feeling the chefs’ commitment and professionalism. I contribute to the project with experience and knowledge from marketing and business management and the meeting of the different competencies is ideal in our organisation just now”.

A platform with potential
The couple comes from Skanderborg, where they’d made a conscious decision to combine their family life and jobs by organising their working lives flexibly. They created a daily routine which worked regardless of their physical location. Kristina was in contact online and over the phone with customers all over the country and Ole had hired a skilled CEO for the company. This released energy for a new project – based on the dream of a holiday home – which then led to both business and permanent settlement on Samsø.

The purchase of Værftet actually started out as an enquiry to rent premises for a sandwich bar but instead the couple acted on a strong impulse. The purchase meant that Samsø became their base. The launch and development of the project demands their presence. “We have learned that you can indeed have ambitions and realise them based on the island in the middle of Denmark. The road to an ambitious working life on an island is not difficult. There are so many opportunities and I hope to be able to inspire others to get started,” says Ole.

Safe and pleasant
“We love to travel, but no matter where in the world we have travelled, the two little ones have often asked when we were going to Samsø to catch crabs,” laughs Kristina. “We are mad about Samsø and have visited the island by boat for eight years running. The children instinctively feel that it is safe and pleasant to be here. Our friends were worried how we would feel in the darkness of November. I think the island is beautiful in winter and my prejudices about shuttered windows, the howling of the wind and deserted streets have been put to shame.” Kristina has the Instagram account Samsoeliv, which is a broad presentation of Samsø. “My followers will be inspired and at the same time our friends can follow our private lives. The account highlights the destination not our companies or the things we initiate – they must speak for themselves,” she says.

Away from the conventional
The couple proves that one can reconcile job ambitions with time for a rich family life. They see signs that conventional employment is on the way out and that we will to a greater extent be our own employers or offer our skills where they are needed. The challenge for many organisations is that they are geared to suit traditional 9-to-5 jobs. “It could be interesting to try to change that mindset and to make the experiment on Samsø,” says Ole and continues: “When I look out of my window, I see the sea. There’s nothing better to wake up to. Nothing tempts me back to my old life in the city. With a ferry, I can quickly be in meetings with business associates and the new fast ferry to Aarhus offers completely new opportunities. It also means that friends and family can visit more easily and we get many visitors.”

Visit Værftet at Strandvejen 81 in Ballen and follow Samsoeliv on Instragram for inspiration for the good life on an island.

Last updated: 25/02/2021 12:23