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Holy Moly! Are two of our holidays going away?

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18 - 24 May 2012 | Vol 15 Issue 20

Euro 2012 squad announced – who made the cut?

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Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | cphpost.dk SCANPIX/NILS MEILVANG

NEWS

A former minister’s comparison raises eyebrows and reveals “frightening homophobia”

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OPINION

Are Danes impolite? That depends on who you ask, of course, but columnist Frank Theakston has some thoughts

9 PHOTOS

Part two of our photo essay on the lives of junkies in Aarhus takes us inside a popular community centre

On track. Off message. Government has accomplished half its goals, but its poor communication has resulted in a hammering at the polls 4

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Government rejects proposal to legalise cannabis

COMMUNITY

They’re back! Dating the Danes returns. This week: Snogging Down Under ... and against the wall of a bank

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PETER STANNERS City Council members criticise the decision, arguing that legalisation is the only solution to the crime created by the booming and illicit trade of cannabis

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TATE-RUN marijuana dispensaries won’t be popping up in Copenhagen any time soon after the Justice Ministry this weekend turned down the City Council’s request to experiment with legalising cannabis in the city. In a letter to the council, the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Social-

demokraterne), wrote that the govern“It’s very disappointing,” Warmment could not permit the experiment ing told public broadcaster DR. “The as they believed that legalising marijuana prohibitive policies we have operated would probably increase both availabil- under in Denmark for so many years ity and use, which was unwise given the have not worked. You can still buy canrange of side effects that cannabis has nabis on street corners across the city, been linked to. which also means the cannabis is mixed “Because of this, the government up with other harder drugs. Criminals will not permit the experiment,” Bød- also pocket about two billion kroner a skov wrote. year from the trade.” The rejection was met with disapWarming added that he would pointment from members of the City continue to work toward the legalisaCouncil, including the deputy mayor tion of marijuana, pointing out that it for social affairs, Mikkel Warming (En- took ten years to convince parliament hedslisten), who argued that legalisa- of the need for an injection room for tion was the only solution Organise to the crime a users of hard drugs. personal meeting caused by the illicit drug trade. City Council member, Lars Aslan and sit in on aAclass.

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Rasmussen (Socialdemokraterne), also criticised the government’s decision, arguing that the criminalistion of marijuana was the root cause of the high level of gun crime in the city. “[Legalisation] would limit the gang conflict and it would also give us access to the group of users who have been left to the criminal environment,” Rasmussen told Ritzau. “We had hoped that they would take our proposal seriously, as we have the support of 80 percent of the City Council. Copenhagen has a serious problem because the gang conflict is a result of the trade in marijuana. The gangs turn over more money than 7-Eleven.”

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Week in review

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

18 - 24 May 2012 Scanpix/Torkil Adsersen

Gone in seconds

THE WEEK’S MOST READ STORIES AT CPHPOST.DK Denmark fourth largest burden on Earth’s resources Legal cannabis rejected by government Still Adjusting | About that headline ... Living in an expat world | Dining with the Danes Danish couple survive plane crash in Nepal

FROM OUR ARCHIVES TEN YEARS AGO. Newly-released data shows that Denmark is a world leader in morphine consumption. FIVE YEARS AGO. Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustav makes his first state visit to Denmark in 32 years. ONE YEAR AGO. Danish Navy rescues 16 Iranian hostages from Somali captors near Gulf of Aden as a part of an international anti-piracy task force.

After half a century of housing Rødovre residents, an era ended on Sunday when residential towers Ruskæer and Agerkar were imploded

sexual community. Doctors and public health workers said the increase was due to people not protecting themselves against sexually-transmitted diseases as well as they had been. Cases of chlamydia are also on the rise. More than then 30,000 are believed to be infected with the disease in Denmark.

Denmark’s only English-language newspaper Since 1998, The Copenhagen Post has been Denmark’s leading source for news in English. As the voice of the international community, we provide coverage for the thousands of foreigners making their home in Denmark. Additionally, our English language medium helps to bring Denmark’s top stories to a global audience. In addition to publishing the only regularly printed English-language newspaper in the country, we provide up-to-date news on our website and deliver news to national and international organisations. The Copenhagen Post is also a leading provider of non-news services to the private and public sectors, offering writing, translation, editing, production and delivery services.

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We’re still free

After years of debate, all of Denmark’s major daily broadsheets are developing schemes that will force online users to pay to read. Politiken announced this week that it will start charging for online content beginning in the autumn. Online readers will be able to read a certain number of articles each month

President and Publisher Ejvind Sandal Chief Executive Jesper Nymark Editor-in-Chief Kevin McGwin Managing Editor Ben Hamilton News Editor Justin Cremer Journalists Peter Stanners, Ray Weaver & Christian Wenande

for free and then be required to have a subscription or pay à la carte if they want to see more. Jyllands-Posten and Berlingske already ask readers to pay for full online access and are looking at the Politiken model. The Copenhagen Post has no current plans to start charging readers for access to our website.

Editorial offices: Slagtehusgade 4 – 6 DK 1715 Copenhagen V Telephone: 3336 3300 Fax: 3393 1313 www.cphpost.dk News Desk news@cphpost.dk 3336 4243 The CPH Post welcomes outside articles and letters to the editor. Letters and comments can be left on our website or at: comments@cphpost.dk

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Cases of the sexually transmitted disease syphilis are on the rise in Denmark. After nearly disappearing in the mid-90s, 480 cases of syphilis were reported in 2011 – a 2,000 percent increase since 1994. Most of those infected are gay men who have unprotected sex, but the disease is also showing up in the hetero-

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CORRECTION There were regrettably two errors last week on pages 11 and 12. The correct names of the Indonesian and Dutch ambassadors are Bomber Pasaribu and Eduard JM Middeldorp.

Follow the money

Money invested in Danish pension funds is going to support the governments of corrupt and undemocratic African countries. Berlingske newspaper reported that 19 of the 22 largest pension funds in Denmark are buying government bonds in  African countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo which is

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notorious for its lack of concern for human rights. According to Berlingske, more than 600 million kroner in Danish pension funds have been invested in eight African countries:  Angola, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Uganda, Gabon, the Ivory Coast, and Senegal.

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News

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

18 - 24 May 2012

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Good news, bad news for daycare parents

Scanpix/Preben Madsen

Ray Weaver Families with children in daycare have a few more kroner jingling in their pockets at the end of the month, but have to rush to get the kids at the end of the day

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recent report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showed that Danes pay far less for childcare than parents in many other countries. In Denmark, parents on average pay around nine percent of their salary to send their children to a nursery (vuggestue) or kindergarten (børnehave). That adds up to about 2,000 kroner a month for a child up to the age of three and barely 1,000 kroner per month for a child between the ages of three and five. That is one of the lowest rates among the countries measured in the OECD report. By comparison, a family in London pays 27,000 kroner per month to have two children in daycare. In the US and Ireland, one out of every four kroner earned goes to child care. “We sometimes forget how well Danish society is structured when it comes to families,” Jørgen Goul Andersen, a professor at Aalborg University, told Politiken newspaper. “It is incredibly expensive to run a daycare facility, but parents in Denmark don’t feel it because of the large public subsidies the centres receive.” Figures from the Education Ministry reveal that the annual cost of caring for a child at a vuggestue was just over 121,000 kroner. The child’s parents pay only 24,000 kroner of the total amount. The other 97,000 kroner comes from the state. Mads Lundy Hansen, an economist

You might be paying less than your international counterparts, but just make sure you don’t show up past 4pm!

at Cepos, was not overly impressed by the numbers. “Families in Denmark may pay some of the lowest rates for child care, but they still pay some of the world’s highest taxes,” Hansen told Politiken. And although the rates may be low, many parents are finding that the opening hours of their children’s daycare institution are getting shorter and shorter. A report from Projekt Børnepasning shows that since 2008, the average opening hours at daycare facilities in Copenhagen have shrunk

by approximately 30 minutes. That trend has been repeated throughout the rest of the country. Parents are complaining that they don’t finish work until 5pm, while some kindergartens and nurseries are closing as early as 4pm, especially on Fridays. The national employers’ association Dansk Arbejdsgiverforening (DA) called this development “unacceptable”. “When you cut the opening hours of childcare facilities, it cuts the number of hours that parents can work,” Lise Bardenfleth, DA’s representative for

The prospect of losing two holidays, in a bid to have Danes work more and raise funds for the state coffers, inches closer

Colourbox

Say your prayers, Great Prayer Day

Many are now left praying that the days won’t be scrapped

person Christian Juhl called the proposal “ridiculous”, and Konservative spokeswoman Mai Henriksen agreed that money should be found elsewhere. “I think it’s a really bad idea. The days are important to many Danes as they help promote culture,” Henriksen told Jyllands-Posten. “I vehemently oppose this deal and think the money should be found elsewhere, such as through growth in the public sector or through reforms.” Ulla Tørnæs, a spokesperson for opposition party Venstre, was equally perplexed at the proposal, emphasising that the holidays contribute to the Danish social connectivity. “It is a really, really poor idea. The

holidays provide space in the calendar for many Danish families to reconnect and I think we should maintain that,” Tørnæs told TV2 News. “Instead we should be focusing on getting rid of paid holidays or paid lunches.” The proposal comes as part of the three-part negotiations between the government, the employers and the labour force and is expected to be ready before summer. According to the government’s 2020 economic plan, the goal is to get 20,000 more people back to work as well as find four billion kroner for the state budget, which the elimination of the two holidays is expected to cover. (CW)

“It is problematic that the opening hours are not more closely matched to the job market,” KFO spokesperson Nina Reffstrup told Berlingske. “From 7am until 5pm each day is the absolute minimum – otherwise parents are put in a bind.” The national chamber of commerce, Dansk Erhverv, is concerned that childcare issues will become even more complex for some parents when the shop laws loosen up in October, allowing for Sunday openings and longer weekday hours.

Source of weapons surprises police Police task force investigations reveal many illegal weapons supplied by otherwise upstanding citizens

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ccording to Børsen newspaper, unnamed sources have confirmed that the government and the union movement have come to terms with the scrapping of two holidays in connection with their threeparty negotiations. One of the holidays to be ditched is Great Prayer Day (Store bededag, celebrated on the fourth Friday after Easter), while the other day has yet to be decided. The labour spokesperson for Socialdemokraterne, Leif Lahn Jensen, refused to comment on Børsen’s claims. “I don’t have any comments on the subject before the three-party negotiations commence,” Jensen told JyllandsPosten newspaper. “It is a principle that I have maintained that we will not discuss this issue via the media.” The proposal will mean that employees on an hourly wage will be paid to work two extra days a year, while those paid an annual salary face working the extra days for no benefit. The decision must be ratified by parliament, and early responses to the initiative indicate that the idea lacks unified support. Enhedslisten spokes-

Projekt Børnepasning, told Berlingske newspaper. “It is unacceptable that councils shave opening hours to make up for budget shortfalls.” Projekt Børnepasning is a co-operative effort between DA and several unions that is designed to encourage councils to keep their daycare institutions open longer and reduce the increasing number of days that they are completely closed. The Copenhagen parents’ organisation KFO said that parents need more flexible opening hours.

nvestigations by the police unit Task Force East have discovered that many of the illegal weapons that end up in the hands of gangs are supplied by upstanding citizens without a criminal record. The task force is currently involved in three large cases. One involves 40 weapons being stolen from the Antvorskov military barracks in 2009, for which four men have been arrested. Another involves a 69-year-old man from Odsherred who was convicted earlier this month for being part of ten weapons exchanges. Another man in that case, a 64-year-old from Grenaa, is suspected in engaging in a similar number of weapons transactions. The third large case involves a 53-year-old man from Greve, who is charged with selling three 9mm pistols to members of the Bandidos gang, which they used in their conflict against the Black Cobra gang. A trial in that case got underway on Wednesday. Police have indicated that a common thread amongst many of the cases is that those involved are gun enthusiasts or have been members of the Danish National Guard or various shooting clubs, although police said that the

weapons seized have not come directly from the clubs. “The situation revolves around a number of men who have access to weapons, can obtain them, and then sell them on to the gangs,” Magnus Andresen, an inspector for Task Force East, told Politiken newspaper. “We devoted our attention to the supply routes and that has uncovered the Danish market. It has been a surprise for us because we initially believed that the weapons mostly came from foreign markets.” The justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), was pleased with the increase in weapons seizures and admits that illegal weapons in Denmark has become a serious problem. He said illegal weapons units would be expanded. “We are stepping up efforts against organised crime by establishing Task Force West in Jutland. This method has proven to be the right tool for getting to grips with the often complicated criminal networks,” Bødskov told Politiken. “It’s a very serious crime, and I am pleased with the efforts of Task Force East.” The number of illegal pistols and machine guns seized by Task Force East has increased dramatically in the last two years. After seizing 50 weapons in 2010, that number shot up to 337 in 2011. Some 350 weapons have already been recovered by the unit so far in 2012. (CW)


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Cover story

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

18 - 24 May 2012 Scanpix/Nils Meilvang

When Margrethe Vestager, Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Villy Søvndal laid out their economic plan last week, they had already accomplished half of their goals, though poor communication meant many were unaware

Government on track but off message Ray Weaver Governmental parties are taking a beating at the polls, but recent study shows they’ve accomplished half their goals – what gives?

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SF spokesperson Jesper Petersen said that the differences between the two are now crystal clear. “We are being judged by the difference between us and the VenstreKonservative period,” Petersen told Berlingske. “We have made big changes in terms of investing in education, health and higher taxes on multinational corporations.” Petersen mentioned the abolishment of the points system for a permanent residence permit as a good example. He said S-R-SF was living up to its promises and outlining the differences between

itself and the VKO government, which was buoyed by the stringently anti-immigration Dansk Folkeparti. Despite the encouraging report on its initial goals, the government seems to have its work cut out for it before it reaches the objectives it has laid out in the 2020 plan. Its own support party, Enhedslisten (EL), is on record as saying it will not support the plan unless some major changes are made. EL spokesperson Frank Aaen released a statement saying as much moments after the government’s press conference announcing the plan.

“Wage earners, the unemployed and people with disabilities are footing the bill, while wealthy Danes can count on tax cuts,” Aaen said. Aaen was especially concerned that a planned 0.8 percent increase in public sector growth is essentially the same amount that Venstre had included in its budget proposal, making it appear that there is not a great deal of difference between the new and old governments. “This was probably not what the voters expected when they elected a social democratic government,” Aaen concluded.

Shamed MP out of Soc Dem doghouse Ditched last year as finance minister for failing security check, Henrik Sass Larsen gains top post with Socialdemokraterne

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fter eight months in political exile, Henrik Sass Larsen was named head of Socialdemokraterne’s parliamentary group last week on Wednesday, indicating that the would-be finance minister who failed a security check is back in the party’s good books. Larsen was once seen as a shoe-in to become finance minster in the new centre-left government. But he was forced to step down as his party’s political spokesperson and withdraw his name from the short list of ministerial candidates in September, after PET informed the newlyelected prime minister Helle ThorningSchmidt (Socialdemokraterne) that he was a security risk. The reason given was that he had met once and exchanged two text messages with Torben Ohlsen-Jensen, the leader of the Bandidos biker gang dubbed by the national press as ‘Suzuki-Torben’. Ohlsen-Jensen was also

acquainted with Larsen’s close friend, former Køge councillor Tommy Kamp. Thorning-Schmidt said she was glad that Larsen was back in the game. “We have worked together for many years, and I hope to work together just as closely as we did before,” ThorningSchmidt told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. Members of the party and other political insiders speculated that Larsen was being brought back to the front line to help the prime minister as she seeks to implement a series of reforms over the coming months. Larsen said that it had been necessary for him to step back from the party leadership when the charges were levelled against him. “When the case came up, I had no choice but to step back,” Larsen told Jyllands-Posten. “Now that the matter has been looked at and we are waiting to hear the outcome, I can get back to work.” Larsen said he was confident that he would be cleared of any wrongdoing. Thorning-Schmidt said she was hoping the party could now put the matter behind it. “It happened seven months ago

Scanpix/Torkil Adsersen

ast week saw the government lay out its 2020 economic plan and the Socialdemokraterne (S) name Henrik Sass Larsen as head of the party’s parliamentary group (see story to right). Many pundits are saying that those two actions are, in fact, closely related. Sass, who was once the main spokesperson for his party, is expected to help the coalition government push through its initiatives and do a better job at broadcasting the government’s (and his party’s) successes to the media. Many feel that the Socialdemokraterne-Radikale-Socialistisk Folkeparti (S-R-SF) government, which has been slipping further and further down in the polls, has not done an effective job letting the public know when it gets something right. Internal struggles within SF, along with support party Enhedslisten’s (EL) seemingly daily threats to pull its support, have effectively stolen the spotlight from what adherents feel are the government’s legitimate wins. A recent study by Berlingske Politico showed that the S-R-SF coalition had achieved nearly half the points that it had laid out in its original platform (regeringsgrundlag). The study showed that at six months into its term, the coalition had achieved 42 of the 95 points in its original ‘Denmark: Standing Together’ manifesto. S spokesperson Magnus Heunicke said the government should be better at letting the public know about its achievements. “We should get better at telling people what we have accomplished,” Heu-

nicke told the tabloid BT. “We work hard at getting our policies implemented, and this report shows we are succeeding.” Tim Knudsen, a political science professor at the University of Copenhagen, pointed out that although the government has succeeded in getting things like a new energy bill and its much talked about economic ‘kickstart’ plan in place, larger initiatives, like the congestion charge (betalingsring) for cars travelling to and from Copenhagen, have been dropped. “It is easier to put higher taxes on things like wine, beer and chocolate than it is to implement major tax or workplace reforms,” Knudsen told Berlingske newpaper. Enter Henrik Sass Larsen. Larsen is being called the government’s ‘bulldog’ as they prepare to negotiate the 2020 plan’s many minefields of taxes, entitlements and public sector jobs, as well as take their seat at the table for the upcoming three-party talks with employers and unions. Analysts said that the government needed to strengthen its position before tackling the unions. Politiken wrote that Mogens Jensen, the S party boss before Larsen, and political spokesman Magnus Heunicke, were too soft for the battles ahead. The unions themselves have also been lobbying to see Larsen back on the front line. According to Berlingske, leading officials from the 3F and Dansk Metal unions did not think that either PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (S) or the finance minister, Bjarne Corydon (S), understood them well enough to engage effectively in the upcoming negotiations. They pushed to see Larsen back on the team. The Berlingske Politico report on the government’s progress has left SF encouraged that the government is opening up some distance between itself and the former regime.

Will ‘the bulldog’ get S back on track?

and Henrik has paid the price for it,” she told Jyllands-Posten. “I believe that Henrik will be a strong leader for us in parliament.” When asked if she would consider Larsen for a seat in the cabinet in the future, Thorning-Schmidt deflected the question, saying she was “incredibly happy” with her current cabinet. Ohlsen-Jensen, the leader of the Bandidos biker gang that exchanged the text messages with Larsen, said that the politician still has his support. “I just want to say to Henrik Larsen that, no matter what happens, I have his back,” he told Jyllands-Posten. (RW)


news

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

18 - 24 May 2012

While the Danish PM sides with austerity, France’s new socialist president argues that Europe will only grow through investment

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lutching a red rose – the symbol of the European left – after his election last week, France’s new socialist president, François Hollande, looked like the perfect bedfellow for Denmark’s Socialdemokrat PM, Helle Thorning-Schmidt. But despite both finding a home on the political left, the two leaders have proposed different strategies for creating growth in stagnating European economies. While Thorning-Schmidt supported the EU fiscal compact treaty that was designed to prevent EU member states from overspending, Hollande has been a vocal critic, arguing that the treaty focuses too much on austerity, or cutting public spending to reduce sovereign debt. Throughout his election campaign, Hollande promised to renegotiate the treaty and add specific initiatives that support economic growth. Hollande’s calls for initiatives to boost growth were cautiously received by European leaders wary of becoming saddled with more debt. ThorningSchmidt is among them, sharing German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s fears of borrowing to invest and stimulate flagging European economies. Instead, the Danish PM has laid out an economic plan, the so-called 2020 plan, which hopes to stimulate growth in Denmark through reform, rather than investment. In an interview last weekend with Politiken newspaper, Thorning-Schmidt argued that reducing Denmark’s deficit was key to its efforts in rekindling the economy. “We have always said that we need to get our finances under control while also stimulating growth,” Thorning-Schmidt said. “I believe, both in Europe and Denmark, that the two things are dependent on each other. We have to understand that, in our modern times, there is no use running a deficit that keeps us in debt year after year. It is punished by the markets, which increases our interest. It’s expensive and reduces demand

Scanpix/Jean-Pierre Muller

Peter Stanners

Colourbox

Tackling Europe’s growing pains

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The former integration and church minister said gay unions are unnatural, except in the case of slugs

Former church minister compares gays to slugs Peter Stanners Will the election of socialist François Hollande encourage the Danish PM to soften her pro-austerity stance?

in the Danish economy.” Domestically, the government is banking on labour and welfare reform, which is hoped will increase the workforce, as well as other initiatives such as reform in their energy sector, which will move the country away from carbon energy sources, to encourage investment and job creation in the green energy sector. The Danish government believes the same principles apply in Europe and has actively pushed their green agenda as current EU president. The energy efficiency directive that is currently being negotiated is hoped to stimulate growth and create jobs in Europe as it pursues its aim of reducing energy consumption in 2020 by 20 percent. The government is not antiinvestment, however, and their 2020 plan does state that public investment will help stimulate economic growth. But by keeping the level of public investment at 1.8 percent of GDP – the historic average before the financial crisis – the government can avoid the accusation that it is relying on spending rather than reform for its economic recovery.

Towards a ‘growth treaty’ Merkel is Hollande’s main adversary in the renegotiation of the fiscal compact treaty, which she fashioned together with Hollande’s predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. Merkel is an advocate of austerity, telling the lower

house of the German parliament, the Bundestag, last week that growth and deficit reduction were joint aims. “Growth through structural reforms is sensible, important and necessary,” Merkel said, according to Euractiv. “Growth on credit would just push us right back to the beginning of the crisis, and that is why we should not and will not do it.” Merkel’s message is the same as Thorning-Schmidt’s: countries have to create growth while spending within their means, and this is only achieved through structural reform that both improves business conditions and creates jobs. Plunging a country into debt to invest in one’s economy, both Merkel and Thorning-Schmidt argue, will only make the situation worse. After Tuesday’s meeting between Hollande and Merkel, however, the German chancellor’s hardline position may be starting to soften. The leaders met on the same day that Hollande was inaugurated, highlighting the importance of their relationship in finding solutions to Europe’s debt crisis. At the press conference afterward, the leaders admitted that the dire situation in Greece was their main focus of discussion. More importantly for their relationship, however, Merkel appeared open to Hollande’s suggestions for growth initiatives. “Growth needs to reach the people, and that’s why I’m happy

that we are discussing different ideas about how to achieve this growth,” Merkel said. Hollande has made several suggestions for how to raise money for investment: among them a call for greater investment in the European Investment Bank (EIB), which invests in European businesses and projects. Initial reports suggest that capitalising the EIB will be the focus of a new ‘growth treaty’ that would complement the fiscal compact and offer a compromise that would satisfy both Hollande’s calls for EU growth initiatives and Merkel’s refusal to renegotiate the fiscal compact treaty. Negotiations to fashion a compromise growth treaty will continue in Brussels next week and are intended to be finalised at a summit of leaders in late June. In the meantime there is a lot of work to do in finding a solution to Europe’s sluggish economy – the French economy stagnated in the first quarter of 2012, according to figures released on Tuesday. In Denmark, economists are split on whether ThorningSchmidt’s 2020 plan will achieve the 2.25 percent annual growth predicted between 2014 and 2020. Of 37 economists polled by Ritzau, 17 said the plan was unrealistic while 16 said it was realistic. While it’s not a convincing answer, it seems to confirm that the only certainty about the future of the Danish and European economies remains uncertainty.

Despite the government’s pledge to legalise gay marriage, opposition both inside and outside the church remains strong

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he government’s proposal to legalise gay marriage has been met with fierce objection from both members of the Church of Denmark and politicians. At a public hearing on Monday in parliament held by the Social Affairs Committee, the former church minister, Birthe Rønn Hornbech (Venstre), made her view against the law clearly heard. “Aside from slugs and a few other species, the living world is made up of ‘him’ and ‘her’ and that is why the world is able to keep on going,” she said. The statement drew widespread criticism. The openly gay culture minister, Uffe Elbæk (Radikale), posted the quote on his Facebook wall, followed by: “Try reading that quote again.” Klaus Bondam, the head of the Danish Cultural Institute and gay himself, wrote: “Thanks for reminding us of the frightening homophobia that is still present beneath the surface of Denmark’s rosy image.” Neither Elbæk nor Hornbech, who served as both the integration and church minister from 2007-11, responded to tabloid BT’s request to comment further, though Hornbech’s statement is an indication

that the government’s plan to legalise gay marriage on June 15 is not supported by all. At the public hearing on Monday, it became clear that the Church of Denmark remained split over allowing gay marriage. “Our understanding of relationships and sexuality in 2012 is different than what was understood by nomads in Palestine 2,000 years ago, or even during the time of Luther,” Roskilde’s bishop, Peter Fischer-Møller, said during the hearing. But Helsingør’s bishop, LiseLotte Rebel, disagreed. “Parliament is forcing the Church of Denmark to adopt an understanding of marriage that is contrary to its widespread understanding in the church,” Rebel said. “Parliament should not make the decisions on which theological understanding of marriage is the correct one.” According to Information newspaper, homosexual couples will not necessarily be able to get married in churches even if the government passes the law to legalise gay marriage, as no ritual currently exists that can legally bind a gay couple in marriage during a church ceremony. Three out of Denmark’s 13 bishops have agreed to create such a ritual however. The church’s attitude towards homosexuals was also highlighted in another case this week when a priest in Aalborg apologised after refusing to bury a 74-year-old woman who had a homosexual relationship with another woman for 30 years before her death two weeks ago.

Online this week PM supports call to raise top tax threshold

Chinese investor wants to build HC Andersen theme park

Spending power dropped significantly in 2011

Government coalition partner Socialistiske Folkeparti (SF) announced on Tuesday that it would seek to raise the threshold for the top rate of tax (topskat) as part of the government’s tax reforms. According to the party, too many Danes are paying an additional 15 percent tax on all earnings over 390,000

One of the richest men in China, Huang Nubo, wants to invest in a Hans Christian Andersen theme park on Funen, according to Politiken newspaper. If the Little Mermaid can travel to Shanghai, the Chinese can travel to Denmark to visit an Andersen theme park close to his hometown of Odense. At least that’s

Last year’s one percent increase in wages could not offset a three percent jump in the cost of food, clothing and other consumer goods. The wage/price difference left Danish households with 4,300 kroner less to spend. “Wages did not keep pace with prices,

kroner a year. The announcement was treated as surprising by many, given that SF traditionally supports high taxes for the wealthiest. Negotiations on tax reform are still in their early stages, but PM Helle ThorningSchmidt offered her support for SF’s proposal at her weekly press conference on Tuesday.

what Huang seems to think. The Chinese investor, hotel owner and billionaire wants to see Chinese tourists flock to Denmark. Representatives from Huang’s investment company have met with Denmark’s minister for trade and investment, Pia Olsen Dyhr (SF). Local and national officials have expressed support for the project.

so we are actually poorer,” Danske Bank economist Lars Olsen told Politiken newspaper. He said that this year’s outlook is also bleak. “Inflation is at the same level as it was in 2011, and wages are certainly not going to increase more than they did last year.”

Read the full stories at cphpost.dk


News

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

18 - 24 May 2012 Scanpix/Drago Prvulovic

Jennifer Tse

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A car carrying alleged serial shooter Peter Mangs arrives for the trial

Murder trial gets underway of Malmö sniper suspect Ray WEaver Security high as murder suspect appears in court for first time

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At a March rally in Aarhus organised by the right-wing English Defence League, counter-demonstrators – made up of largely non-ethnic Danes and a few hundred anti-fascists – far out-numbered the right-wing group

Extremism split along geographical lines Christian Wenande A new report indicates that the left wing sticks to Copenhagen, while Aarhus is the bastion for right-wing extremists

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arhus and eastern Jutland are the main culprits when it comes to right-wing extremism, according to a new report published by the Social and Integration Ministry. The report, written by Chris Holmsted Larsen, a PhD student at Roskilde University, gives a detailed overview of the status of extremism in Denmark, including an analysis of the various extremist groups and their range of influence. The report, entitled ‘Political extremism in Denmark’, suggests that traditional right-wing radical groups, such as White Pride and

Vederfølner, have a strong position in Aarhus and Jutland, while left-wing groups, such as the Antifascistisk Aktion and the Libertære Socialister, mostly operate in the Greater Copenhagen area. “For years, Aarhus has been the home for a long list of rightwing extremist groups and individuals who have received attention for violence against political opponents and for various forms of political vandalism,” Larsen wrote in his report. “The raciallyinspired attacks are often spontaneous, while the political attacks seem more co-ordinated.” Larsen also conveyed that Aarhus is usually the battleground when the right and leftwing extremists confront each other, and that they both have strongholds at opposite ends of the country. This was seen most recently on March 31, when the city hosted the European Counter-Jihad Meeting – organised by

a British anti-Islam organisation, the English Defence League (EDL). At that event, counterdemonstrators – including a couple of hundred black-clad anti-fascists – far out-numbered the right-wing group. “The right wing movement is primarily active in the rural areas, and especially Aarhus and mid-Jutland suffer from political violence,” Larsen wrote. “The conflict between the right and left wings has encouraged this geographical development, where the extremist right are mostly active in the rural areas, while the left-wing groups have a strong base in the capital region.” Larsen also wrote that the best way to stop the rise of extremism is to get to the youth, who usually don’t have many resources, in good time to prevent the extremist groups from recruiting them. Additionally, he said it is essential that domestic

intelligence agency PET gets to grips with the groups to avoid more violence. The social and integration minister, Karen Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), said that she was pleased with the efforts of PET, but still found the report’s findings useful in combating the serious threat of extremism. “Denmark has a leading role when it comes to preventing extremism,” Hækkerup told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “And we use internationally-praised methods of having direct contact with the youths and help them out of the extremist environments.” Larsen agreed that Denmark already puts a lot of effort into stunting extremism, but indicated that a strengthening of the factual knowledge of the extremist environment and the dynamics within would create a solid foundation for an evaluation of these efforts.

eter Mangs, the man suspected of a series of racially-motivated shootings that killed three people in Malmö, appeared in district court amid tight security on Monday for the start of his murder trial. Extra police were on duty, and the street outside the Malmö courtroom was blocked as the trial got underway. Mangs was seated behind bullet-proof glass. The 40-year-old Mangs is on trial for three murders connected to a series of shootings that targeted victims with immigrant backgrounds. He is charged with killing two men of immigrant origin in 2003 and one Swedish woman who was sitting in a car with a male immigrant in late 2009. Mangs is also charged with 12 attempted murders. He is alleged to have fired shots at homes, businesses and cars, seriously injuring a number of people. About 30 journalists from eight countries were present to hear chief prosecutor Solveig Wollestad open Monday morning’s proceedings by reading the indictment against Mangs. “There was a certain amount of xenophobia and a hostile attitude towards people with criminal backgrounds,” Wollestad said during her statement.

Ray Weaver Government powerless to help Danes with dual citizenship imprisoned abroad

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here is not much that the government can do to help Danes with dual citizenship who find themselves detained in their second country. The Foreign Ministry has received several requests for help from people who were prevented from leaving their other country of citizenship. Ole Mikkelsen from the ministry said that since the detainee is also a national of another country, the Danish gov-

ernment has limited authority. “Under international law, countries are not even required to give us what is called consular access or even allow us to talk to the detainee,” Mikkelsen told DR News. Thami Najim, the DanishMoroccan citizen who has been imprisoned in Morocco since February, was recently denied permission to see his Danish lawyer, Bjørn Elmquist. Najim is charged with threatening the security of Morocco and receiving foreign funds intended to be used for terrorist activities. Elmquist said he plans to ask the foreign minister, Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), to pres-

sure Moroccan authorities into allowing him to see Najim. Even PM Helle ThorningSchmidt (Socialdemokraterne) has not been able to prevail in the case of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, perhaps the most well known dual-citizenship Dane currently in prison in his country of origin. Al-Khawaja, who holds dual Danish and Bahraini citizenship, is serving a life sentence in Bahrain for demonstrating against the incumbent government and organising protests during the Arab Spring uprisings. He has been on a hunger strike and was recently granted a new trial. Thorning-Schmidt said that she has written a letter to both the

Scanpix/Mazen Mahdi

Two passports but still no way out

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is the most high-profile example, but other dual citizenship Danes have also found themseleves in trouble abroad

king and the prime minister of Bahrain demanding al-Khawaja’s release to no avail. The state-run Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported that Bahrain’s Supreme Judiciary Council had decided that Den-

mark’s demands were not in keeping with international law. Mikkelsen strongly urged travellers to think twice before travelling back to a country where they may have unfulfilled obligations. He cited the case of

There was a certain amount of xenophobia and a hostile attitude towards people with criminal backgrounds According to the Swedish newspaper Skånska Dagbladet, Mangs looked relaxed as the charges against him were read. Mangs has been in custody since his arrest in November, which came after police established a special unit to hunt down the serial sniper who had been terrorising Malmö – especially the city’s immigrant community. Up to a quarter of Malmö’s 300,000 residents are immigrants. Mangs is also charged with two cases of aggravated assault, aggravated judicial tampering and two counts of criminal damages. The evidence against Mangs includes firearms discovered by the police, cartridge cases found at crime scenes, emails and telephone records. A preliminary psychiatric study suggested that Mangs may suffer from mental disorders. The court could order that a more extensive examination be conducted. The trial is expected to last until mid-July. Mangs has denied the charges against him. a Danish citizen called ‘Hassan’. Hassan is a dual citizenship Dane who found out the hard way that he had not completed compulsory military service in his second homeland, Iran. He was stopped as he tried to return to Denmark after a visit to Iran and told he could not leave until he had served two years in the Iranian military. “I could serve the two years,” Hassan told DR News. “But I would probably lose my job. My whole life is in Denmark.” Hassan could also leave Iran if he paid authorities 50,000 kroner, but he said he had no desire to pay that much even if he could raise the money. Hassan’s case is still being examined by the Iranian government, so he declined to give his last name to DR.


7

NEWS

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

18 - 24 May 2012

Fourth largest burden on Earth’s resources? Ja!

COLOURBOX

PETER STANNERS A WWF report argues that the developed world is placing an enormous pressure on the planet’s limited resources

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ENMARK’S demand on Earth’s resources is one of the greatest in the world, according to a new report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The biennial Living Planet Report examined the impact of human activity on the planet and found that Denmark’s ecological footprint per person – measured in terms of the amount of space demanded per inhabitant for the country’s global activities – is the fourth largest in the world. This places Denmark behind only the gulf oil states of Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, but ahead of industrial superpowers and heavy polluters like the USA, Canada and China. A country’s ecological footprint is made up of both the quantity of goods and services individuals consume and the amount of waste they produce, as well as the decisions of its businesses and government and their environmental demands and impacts. The report did not specify to what extent Denmark’s high per capita ecological footprint was a result of either high levels of individual consumerism, or whether it was due to the activities of its industry and high profile companies such as

The WWF’s report argues that we would need several more planets to satisfy our demands on Earth’s resources

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DANISH couple were among the survivors when a small passenger plane flown by Agni Air airline crashed on Monday morning at the high altitude airport of Jomsom in northeast Nepal. 29-year-old Emilie Jørgensen and her boyfriend Andreas Rasch told tabloid Ekstra Bladet how the low-flying plane crashed when its wing struck the mountain. “We were thrown about,” Jørgensen said. “All the seats came apart and we got stuck between seats and bodies. There wasn’t much panic, but you could hear people crying.” A representative of the Danish embassy in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu visited the hospital where the two Danes are being treated, according to the Foreign Ministry. There were 21 people onboard the plane, consisting of

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

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Young couple among six survivors of crash that killed 15; meanwhile, one Danish man is confirmed dead and another missing on a Spanish island

The countries with the largest ecological footprint, according to WWF:

2 01

Danish couple survive plane crash in Nepal

next month’s United Nations Rio+ 20 Summit, where world leaders will discuss how to ensure a sustainable future. “Rio+20 needs to elevate the urgency of action on the scale needed,” David Nussbaum, the CEO of WWF International, writes on the organisation’s website. “Now is our chance to reflect whether the future we’re creating for our planet is the legacy we want to leave for future generations.”

ILDRENN’ ’S CH

We are using 50 percent more resources than Earth can sustainably produce and unless we change course, that number will grow fast

satisfy our demands if everyone lived like the average American. “We are living as if we have an extra planet at our disposal,” Jim Leape, WWF International’s director general, told AFP news bureau. “We are using 50 percent more resources than Earth can sustainably produce and unless we change course, that number will grow fast – by 2030, even two planets will not be enough.” The Living Planet Report was released to coincide with

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the energy and shipping giant Maersk. And the accuracy of the figures can also be questioned, as the WWF concedes that it used figures from 2008 to assess Denmark’s ecological footprint. The report does illustrate, however, that on the whole developed countries use a far greater share of the world’s resources than developing countries. The report concludes that we would need four Earths to

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One of the Danish survivors, Andreas Rasch, is helped on his way for treatment in Pokhara

two pilots and a steward from Nepal along with 16 Indian and two Danish passengers. Thirteen Indian passengers and the two pilots were killed in the crash, while the two Danes and the Nepali steward were among the six survivors. Soldiers from a nearby barracks helped the rescue effort and helped airlift eight passengers to a hospital in the nearby tourist

town of Pokhara, though two died on the way. Jomsom Airport is notorious for being one of the world’s most dangerous due to its 2,800 metre altitude, tricky descent and bad weather. The crash is the second in two years for Agni Air after a plane carrying tourists to Mount Everest crashed and killed all 14 onboard in August 2010.

The news of the two Danes’ miraculous survival arrived after more unfortunate news this weekend regarding two Danish men on the Spanish Canary Islands. One 41-year-old man was found dead on Saturday after apparently falling down some cliffs, while a 51-year-old man is still missing after his rucksack and bicycle were found near a dam. (PS)

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8

OPINION

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

18 - 24 May 2012

Days off or layoffs?

Out of the camps! Waiting for the promise! Waiting for delivery!

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VERY YEAR around this time, companies and their employees find themselves in the midst of the complex dance through the minefield that is the springtime holiday season. Over the course of less than two months each spring – this year from April 5 to May 28 – there are a total of five public holidays. That’s more than half the nine annual public holidays people get off each year, and on the surface, everyone loves this period. Whether it’s time spent gardening, with family or travelling the continent, these days, people will tell you, offer a well-deserved respite from the daily grind after the dreary winter. But ask around the office as employees – already playing catch-up after their five-day Easter weekend – face shortened weeks for Great Prayer Day, Ascension Day and Whitsun, and you’re likely to get a different answer. And it’s no wonder Danes are stressed by these days off, since they come in addition to the statutory minimum 25 paid days off. That total, plus an average working week of 37 hours, puts the average Danish employee among those who work the fewest hours in the OECD countries – a total of 1,550 hours in 2009, which is some 800 hours less than Koreans, who worked most that year. While some credit this ‘work-life’ balance for making Denmark one of the best countries to live in, for businesses, it’s a burden, which is why the government, labour unions and employers alike have all agreed that it’s a good idea to get people to work more by eliminating two holidays. We’ve already seen the consequences of the cost of doing business in Denmark – this week alone Arla and Danish Crown announced job cuts. These most recent layoffs come after blue chip companies like Vestas, Danske Bank and Post Danmark, as well as scores of other companies, have eliminated thousands of jobs over the past year. Given that the high cost of labour here is just one of the factors leading to these layoffs, it’s hard to see how cutting a couple of days off each spring is going to rescue the economy alone. Its true worth, though, may be its symbolic value. Flexible working hours and copious amounts of holiday time have left many with the attitude that work in Denmark is something you do outside your free time. Eliminating two holidays would be worth the political struggle, if it instils people with the understanding that free time begins when your work is done.

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T’S MAY 13 and we are travelling from Sigerslev and Sandholm, from Auderød, Avnstrup and Vipperød. Some of us have walked 16 kilometres from the asylum centre in Kongelunden to Rådhuspladsen. We are not alone; activists and ordinary Danes are here to support us. We number about 1,500 people. This is no ordinary demonstration. With our banners and placards, we have one clear message to the Danish government: let us all out of the camps. When this government came to power, the hopes of immigrants in general and asylum seekers in particular were revitalised. It was a new dawn after a long night of

despair. But soon talk started that not all asylum seekers would be allowed to live and work outside the centres. Asylum seekers and their supporters got worried. They decided to make their voices heard. This was after the government had appointed a taskforce to look into the possibility of changing regulations for asylum seekers. Our concern was that asylum seekers themselves were not consulted by the committee throughout their deliberations. The committee’s composition remained secretive and its discussions kept out of the public eye. When we gathered at Rådhuspladsen, we made our voices heard. Speaker after speaker expressed the frustration and desperation of life in the camps – the frustration and desperation that comes when your application for asylum is rejected and your fate is left in the hands of the police. The police employ absurd methods to frustrate rejected asylum seekers to make them agree to voluntarily deportations to the countries they fled from. Current figures show that out of 950 rejected asylum seekers last year, only 150 agreed to be sent out of Denmark in the past. It is hard to agree to be deported to a country where you are sure to face torture or death; many would

rather rot in jail here. The living allowance allocated to each asylum seeker is drastically reduced once an asylum seeker’s application is rejected, any kind of permission they had to work is terminated and, finally, the individual can be detained at Ellebæk Detention Centre to await deportation. By this time, many have had a total mental breakdown. The thought of being sent back to the countries where they witnessed or were victims of torture or persecution, or were even threatened with death, is too great to bear. The many months or even years spent in an isolated asylum camp destabilises the mind forever. For those who end up getting asylum after a long stay in the camp, the integration into their new society is derailed, and those who end up not receiving it end up depressed or more isolated. Ideally an asylum system should help people rebuild their broken lives. It should be a safe haven that allows them to breathe a sigh of relief after witnessing atrocities in the countries they fled. The scepticism that allowing asylum seekers to live and work outside the camps would lead to an influx of refugees is ill-founded. People do not flee to find work abroad. As is the case in places like the United Kingdom,

where the number of asylum seekers is considerably higher and is increasing even though asylum seekers there face worse conditions. This points to the fact that the numbers of asylum seekers are related to things like family ties and language, and not necessarily economic considerations. So where do we go from here? The government promised that after six months, asylum seekers would be allowed to live outside the centres and work. We call for nothing short of that. Working and living in a normal community is more than just a fundamental freedom, it is also at the core of the human spirit. It gives dignity to a group of individuals when they are most vulnerable. Wars, political instability and conflicts will be with us as long as humanity exists, but human dignity and the prosperity of any society will be measured not on how well its most privileged members are treated, but on how well its vulnerable minorities are cared for. We live in an increasingly interconnected world village – we have to rise to the occasion and do what we must. The author is an asylum seeker and the spokesperson for Trampolinhuset, a community centre for asylum seekers.

READER COMMENTS Still Adjusting | About that headline ... I am continually baffled by the ignorance of some Danes with regards to casual racism. On more than 6 or 7 times in my short time living here, I have heard young men and women of this often quoted “forward thinking” and “admired” nation in Europe openly, and most of the time unwittingly, refer in a discriminatory manner to another race. It is down to education and if Denmark wants so badly to integrate immigrants and foreign workers, and cast themselves as a key global player, they seriously need to look inwards at their precious system and use some of our extortionate tax rates to educate natives about how others refer to each other in the modern world. ExpatJ by website Denmark’s assumed prerogative to insult and humiliate is a reflection on its inability to be cohesive with other global actors. It remains in a time warp of ignorant acceptance of a colonial kind, with a resolute tolerance that condones verbal descriptions of ‘others’ in a style that was rejected by popular opinion 50 years ago by the rest of the planet. It is agitation on a grand scale, which rears its ugly head daily, hanging people out in the press, and labelling them according to their colour or religion. It’s a coward’s attempt to diminish their status as human and reduce them to a category ripe for ridicule – an automatic reduction of

status, swallowed raw by the population and used as a weapon to qualify anything and anybody that is not Danish. Such a vile and arrogant strategy! Djeep by website The fact is that The Copenhagen Post made an erroneous translation. The Danish word ‘Neger’ does not in any way translate into the English word ‘ni**er’. However, that does not mean that I think that the use of the word ‘Neger’ (Eng: Negro) was acceptable. While it is understandable that an elderly lady might use a word that for her generation was a neutral and inoffensive term, it is quite clear that in our modern and more international environment the word ‘Neger’ does carry with it considerable negative connotations. The editor of a (albeit local) newspaper should have known better! Paspatout by website If he wrote that headline in a United States newspaper, he’d be moving to Denmark! Jegg Smulyan by Facebook Activists work to put more control in asylum seekers’ hands “Analysis from other countries points out that people who have been activated through employment or education during their stay are much more likely to return voluntarily when the situation in their country of origin so permits,” Thomas GammeltoftHansen from the Danish Institute for International Studies

wrote in the report. With the police even admitting in a recent report that motivational methods had little effect on whether asylum seekers co-operated or not, La Cour from the Red Cross reinforced the message that including asylum seekers as full members of society at an earlier stage is more likely to encourage them to return should they get a rejection.” It should even be obvious to logic-challenged persons who complain that asylum seekers do not contribute and then support denying them the very opportunity. Asylum seekers might be unfortunate: they come from places where there’s no social security, no unemployment money, no A-kasse, no børnehave for their kids, no mandatory breaks, no quitting at 4’o ... and worked! They certainly could hold the job of two Danes here and think it easy. A sincere complaint about the system should be this: from the ‘left’ that they are not treated equably (even if not equally), from the ‘right’, that they are forced into dependency when they could be their own people. My guess is that somebody is not comfortable with their having any money of their own, rights, a life in Denmark, or making friends that might actually complain about any arbitrary decision made about them. Loroferoz by website We can certainly agree that we have enough Danish riff-raff to overfill the big welfare buffet we have running here in Denmark. Thorvaldsen by website

DF wants to take away foreigners’ right to vote As a permanent resident, my Danish husband was able to vote in New Zealand’s parliamentary elections. He has paid taxes, contributed and has an on-going interest in the societal issues there. Likewise, I am also a citizen in Copenhagen (a contributing one at that). Yet, I had to watch from the sidelines at the last election and not partake at all. Frustrating, as I would have liked to have voted on the issues that concern us. Sara Dyson by website Well, thanks very much for helping to spread the vile cancer of Neo-Stalinism in my country. Getoverloaded by website Although I don’t have a positive attitude to DF, I feel like supporting this proposal, as a foreigner, somehow. Actually, it is quite surprising to me that foreigners can vote in Denmark, since voting is a political right in a country. Foreigners are in principle not the ‘owners’ of a country but ‘guests’, and therefore should not be granted rights to interfere in how a country should behave, perhaps ... otherwise, the fate of a country may be jeopardised by external forces. Haydk by Website If you live and work in Denmark and what happens in the country can directly affect you, why should you not be entitled to vote on what happens? Shufflemoomin by website


OPINION

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

18 - 24 May 2012

9

To Be Perfectly Frank BY FRANK THEAKSTON Born in 1942 on the Isle of Wight, Englishman Frank Theakston has been in Copenhagen 32 years and is on his second marriage, this time to a Dane. Frank comes from a different time and a different culture – which values are the right ones today?

After you, Søren MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS

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HEN I FIND myself in that most common of situations, that of trying to explain to newcomers to this country or to my friends and family in England the differences between the British and Danish cultures, I am often wont to tell them that I come from an ‘after you’ society, whereas in Denmark it is ‘after me’. I’ve even made up a sort of joke to illustrate it. What happens, I ask, if you put two Brits in a room with a door only wide enough for one to exit at a time. The answer? They will never get out, as they endlessly insist “After you”, “No, after you”. Equally, though, two Danes would never get out of the same room; they would be jammed in the doorway, each trying to get out first. The best situation, of course, would be to have one of each in the room: guess then who would be first out, and with no by your leave! This at first may sound like a cynical generalisation, but it’s amazing how often it crops up. We’re all aware of course of the old cliché about having doors closed in one’s face. A British acquaintance of mine, however, recounts a true experience, as a newcomer to these shores several years ago, of offering his seat to a heavily pregnant woman

Monty Python helps kids learn that good manners cost nothing

on a crowded bus. No graceful acceptance and a grateful thank you here, or even a polite “Thanks, but it’s quite all right”. Instead, he was railed at to the effect of how dare he imply that she could not cope with her condition. Who was he to humiliate her in front of the entire bus by suggesting that she was in

some way weaker than or inferior to him? Weak she certainly was not, but I suggest that he was the more humiliated by the encounter. So are Danes impolite? Needless to say, that depends on which camp you ask. Danes don’t consider themselves impolite, simply straightforward and

direct. They find the British tendency to defer to another’s point of view in the name of politeness rather comical. But then maybe they don’t realise that Brits can also find it comical; it depends where you draw the line and how far you go. And perhaps that’s the answer: whereas Brits in general can discern subtle

differences in another’s behav- the reverse is true. This may aciour and adjust their response count for the existence here of accordingly, Danes see things quasi-anarchistic organisations, much more in black and white. seen by some as the only way This would exto protest against auplain why Danes thority – or perhaps need a more forone should say ‘the mal framework in Establishment’. which to function Danes don’t It can also acsocially. The stulcount for my being tifying (to foreign- consider assured by a guest at ers) ritual of any themselves a dinner party that gathering, be it a Denmark had been birthday party or a impolite, simply through a social revowedding, is ample while Britain straightforward lution testimony to this had not. This really need. Even relax- and direct flummoxed me (reing with friends or calling Magna Carta, family (apparently invented in the English Civil War, the InDenmark and called hygge) has dustrial Revolution and Marto be planned for and organised, garet Thatcher) until I realised preferably sitting up to a table she was talking about the 1960s. with coffee and lagkage. I was in my late teens in 1960, Much of British comedy de- so am in a reasonably good posipends on an ability to laugh at tion to recall what happened. As oneself or at life as a whole. Take far as I can see, the same transi‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’, tion took place in Britain as in for example, or ‘Fawlty Towers’. almost everywhere else in westAlthough these and other series ern Europe. It was a doing away have been enormously popular with the old authoritarian strucoverseas, including in Denmark, ture and sexual mores and the I somehow wonder whether blossoming of personal freedom. we are all laughing at the same But we didn’t see it as a ‘revothing – the obvious clowning lution’. There was no taking to alone or that together with a the streets and throwing rocks, more subtle ridiculing of (one’s which the Danes happily copied own) society in general. Here from Paris and Berlin. And we again, Brits pride themselves on kept the things that we liked, ina ‘healthy’ disrespect for author- cluding saying “After you” to a ity in all its forms. In Denmark, stranger you meet in a doorway.

CPH POST VOICES

‘MACCARTHY’S WORLD’

‘THE LYNCH REPORT’

‘PERNICKETY DICKY’

‘STILL ADJUSTING’

Clare MacCarthy is Nordic correspondent for The Economist and a frequent contributor to The Financial Times and The Irish Times. She’ll go anywhere from the Gobi Desert to the Arctic in search of a story. The most fascinating thing about Denmark, she says, is its contradictions.

English-Australian theatre director Stuart Lynch has lived in Copenhagen since Clinton impeached his cigars and writes from the heart of the Danish and international theatre scene. He is married with kids and lives in Nørrebro. Visit his Danish theatre at www.lynchcompany.dk.

English by nature – Danish at heart. Freelance journalist Richard Steed has lived in Copenhagen for nearly five years now. “I love this city and want Copenhagen to be a shining example to the rest of the world.”

A proud native of the American state of Iowa, Justin Cremer has been living in Copenhagen since June 2010. In addition to working at the CPH Post, he balances fatherhood, the Danish language and the ever-changing immigration rules. Follow him at twitter.com/justincph


10 PHOTO ESSAY

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

18 - 24 May 2012

ABOVE: Two junkies share a kiss in the park outside Værestedet i Jægergårdsgade, a shelter and community house for drug users and the homeless in Aarhus. RIGHT, TOP: A hot lunch is served at 11:30am every day at Værestedet. The facilities also include bathrooms, showers and a laundry room that anyone can use and even provides free dog food for those with dogs. RIGHT, BOTTOM: The Værestedet store room contains supplies for drug users to administer their medication cleanly and safely: sterile needles, distilled water, cotton balls, plastic cups, alcohol wipes and other items. Users cannot take their drugs within the house, so they gather supplies from the store room and walk to the nearby Nåleparken.

Three days with junkies, Part II: Life at Værestedet i Jægergårdsgade PHOTO ESSAY BY

JENNIFER TSE

Last week we visited junkies on the streets of Aarhus; this week we look at their lives as community members at the local shelter

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ELCOME to the lives of drug addicts and the homeless in Aarhus. Please check your preconceptions at the door. I recently spent time with a handful of incredible individuals over the course of three days at three different locations: a homeless man’s tent made from tarpaulin, cardboard, and wood; Nåleparken (Needle Park), the only public space in Aarhus where junkies can freely shoot

up; and Værestedet i Jægergårdsgade, a shelter and community house. For three days we spoke, drank coffee together and laughed. When they eventually became comfortable with my presence, they allowed me to photograph them, laying bare their suffering, strength and fleeting departures from sadness. A few of them also shared with me the very personal act of smoking or injecting heroin and other drugs – acts that many of them perform daily just to get by. The result of my experience is a photo essay divided into two parts: one that depicts these people’s lives as defined by their addiction and homelessness, and one that shows their lives as community members at Værestedet. Through this dichotomy, these fringe members of society are brought to the foreground, revealing stories that are at times shocking and tragic, but always utterly raw and – though we often overlook or wilfully ignore it – human.

Jennifer Tse is a photographer and journalist from Toronto, Canada. Currently she studies in the international multimedia journalism and photojournalism programmes at the Danish School of Media and Journalism in Aarhus. Always in search of a great story, adventure and breakfast, she has had her photography and writing published in various major outlets in Canada, Germany and Denmark. Visit pencilprism.com for more.

TOP: As other members of Værestedet show off their tattoos, a junkie joins in the fun and pulls off his shirt to display his. BOTTOM LEFT: A Værestedet member shakes hands with an opponent after losing a game of chess. Internet access, a television, table football, and a music room are also available to users of the house as sources of entertainment. BOTTOM RIGHT: Two members at Værestedet play billiards in the recreation room.

FAR LEFT: Jane, 52, is a regular methadone user who used to work as a go-go dancer and prostitute. She’s been on the streets since the age of 17 and takes methadone on a weekly basis to manage her opioid dependency. “You wake up every day feeling so sick,” she said. “Then you take the methadone. Then you sweat, you sweat a lot, all over. Once you stop sweating, you feel normal again.” LEFT: A Værestedet junkie bids farewell, pulling a face to show his missing teeth. NOTE: To see part one of this series, visit bit.ly/aarhusjunkies


11 Rubbing the clover at the racetrack with the Irish Rover COMMUNITY

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

18 - 24 May 2012

BY MIKE HOFMAN

The Irish Rover and Klampenborg Galopbane’s Irish Day at the Races – the one day of the year when the racecourse literally “Goes Green!” The thoroughbred has always been close to the hearts of the Irish people, so it’s no surprise that this day is fast becoming one of the biggest events of the year at the racetrack. Bringing a little Irish flavour to the races was race commentator Annette Lennon, who came from Stockholm to liven up the day with her individual style of race calling

The glorious sounds from the Gordon Pipes & Drums bagpipe band that As the Irish saying goes: ‘Ní dhéanfadh an saol capall rása d’asal’ – you can’t make a racehorse out of a donkey performed up the home straight between races

Among those betting were Veera Ala-Vähälä and Noora Syynimaa from Finland

Race day organisers The Irish Rover set up shop and ensured Guinness flowed all day, with music courtesy of Fiddler on The winner of the ladies hat competition, Hanna Jessen, who won the Hoof two return tickets to Dublin, courtesy of the Irish Rover, and Henrik Anker Jensen

Mates Reuben Munnee from Australia, Noel McCann from Ireland and Peter Barker from England didn’t seem to care too much about the horses

The Dark Green School of Irish Dancing were there showing off their moves

Punters enjoying the relaxed atmosphere of the course


12

COMMUNITY

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

18 - 24 May 2012

ABOUT TOWN PHOTOS BY HASSE FERROLD

(UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED)

The popular Bloomsday Bar on Niels Hemmingsensgade opened its doors for a final time on Monday to say cheerio to the regulars who have made the pub their home ever since it opened back in 1997. Photo: Aaron Bateman

The ambassadors’ wives, the first ladies, were the guests of design firm Rosendahl, which gave them a tour of its Copenhagen headquarters, followed by a lunch and takehome, Danish-design goodie bag.

Esteemed English conductor Paul Hillier was in town to take charge of a concert celebrating the music of Estonian composer Arvo Part at the DR Concert Hall. Here he is pictured with the Estonian ambassador Katrin Kivi (left) and Mexican ambassador Martha Bárcena (right), the dean of the Diplomatic Corps.

Nepal’s new ambassador is Mukti Nath Bhatta, who is pictured here with his wife. Swagatam!

May’s meeting of the International Club Copenhagen took place at the Better Place headquarters in Hellerup. Members of the networking club were given demos of the company’s no-gear-electric cars – plus the chance to test-drive one – followed by servings of tapas. Earlier it was confirmed that Hasse Ferrold has been re-elected as president of the ICC, which currently has 3,000 members.

A farewell reception was held for Vu Van Luu, the departing ambassador of Vietnam. Here he is with his wife (right) receiving a gift from the Foreign Ministry from it’s deputy head of protocol, Annette Lassen (left).

DATING THE DANES

True, the Antipodeans hate being mistaken for one another and rarely agree on anything, but they are well-known for speaking their mind, so who better to ask for an opinion on dating Danish men than New Zealand’s Emily McLean and Australia’s Jessica O’Sullivan, two tough-talking girls who might have to kiss a lot of frogs to find their prince. After all, nobody ever said Dating the Danes was going to be easy.

EMILY MCLEAN

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’VE NEVER been one to coin a phrase, but there’s a first for everything: “Take a Dane out of Denmark and you take Denmark out of the Dane.” No more so was this the case than on a recent date with a Dane ‘Down Under’. I approached this date with a goal in mind: to determine if dating a Dane is different when they’re out of their beloved country. It seems so! As my Dane in question had been living in Australia for a year, expectedly, some of the typical Aussie traits had rubbed off on him to create a very interesting crossbreed: what I like to call a ‘Daneoz’. The typical Aussie traits of easygoing banter, sarcastic humour, and the chivalrous act of opening a door had obviously been injected into his bloodstream, while he still retained the gently-reserved, charming and flirtatious nature of his Viking counterparts. Forget the mines in Western Australia, this man was pure gold.

The first sign this kangarooloving country had rubbed off on him was clear when we approached the table to sit down. He did something that I was not prepared for. He pulled out my chair. I was more than shocked, I was suspicious. A Dane has never ever done this for me before – it was like meeting a mythical creature that only exists in fairy tales. But it got me thinking: in this ‘macho’ inflated country where the word metrosexual doesn’t exist, the Daneoz can set the ‘male’ part of himself free. Releasing the beast within, I call it. He can open doors, pull out our chairs, carry shopping bags, and help girls walk downstairs in high heels without being told in a most condescending way “I can do it myself”, as most Danish women abruptly tell the poor men trying to do them a service. But, as we continued chatting, it was obvious he had retained that sparkle in his eye and that ever so irresistible reserve that comes with being Danish. He was open, but still held some things back – he wasn’t in your

face, over-the-top or arrogant like so many men Down Under. He wanted to know my opinions on issues, like how I felt about Sydney, and treated me like his equal instead of just a ‘sheila’ he was using to inflate his ego. Now as I’ve said many times before, the Danes really are ‘the masters of the flirt’. This Dane did his country proud in that respect. He was the master of eye contact: that extended gaze that gives off a subtle yet powerful message, similar to the mysterious reservedness that always leaves a girl wanting more. The date did leave me wondering though: am I really ‘dating a Dane’ if he’s out of his natural habitat? I concluded that I don’t really care if I’m not – I think I’ve found the pot of gold they’ve been searching for in Western Australia. While I love Danish men, and I really do, inject them with a few Down Under traits and you’ve got yourself that elusive creature women the world over have been searching for: the Down Under Dane (the dud). Except in this case he was definitely the right way up.

JESSICA O’SULLIVAN

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FTER MY friend’s disastrous date resulted in me meeting Mr Normal, a seemingly normal and great guy, I thought I had finally hooked myself a good one. Yet as always, things weren’t as they first appeared. Now whilst this guy didn’t turn out to be a weirdo or a pervert, he did turn out to epitomise what it means to be a Dane. When we’d last left off, I was enjoying a few drinks with Normal. As that night progressed, I found myself thinking that he really was a nice guy, and when it came time to say goodbye, we enjoyed a steamy session of kissing in a bank doorway. After that, numbers were exchanged, and the promise of more kissing to come seemed quite certain. As I walked home, I wasn’t 100 percent sure that he’d call again, but I thought to myself that Danish men, and indeed Danes in general, seemed more reliable than Aussies, so

maybe I had a good chance. you don’t even exist. Whilst After the mandatory couple I’d never really thought about of days had passed, there came whether this was true or not, I the text: “Would you like to now know it most definitely is. meet for coffee?” Eager to see As we sat drinking our whether I’d had my beer goggles coffees, or in his case a Hyldeon that night, I swiftly texted blomst, I couldn’t help but think back yes and we agreed to meet to myself that I probably had a at a coffee bar later that week. closer relationship with my My last Danish coffee date elderly Danish neighbour who had left me with quite a sour once suspiciously nodded at me. taste in my mouth, but as I hurFor the next couple of hours, ried along to meet Normal, I I sat there and wondered how a tried to calm my nerves. From man who I had exchanged saliva memory he was great with could be so cold looking, a good kisser and distant towards and seemingly nothme. Now don’t get me ing like the last guy. wrong, he was perAs I approached Are you going fectly pleasant, but all the place, I thought to kiss me or of the trademarks that of how great it was to had made me interesthave met an outgoing, not? ... ed in him seemed to affectionate and funny have evaporated along Danish man, yet as I greeted my with his blood alcohol level. date I was instantly thrown off As we said goodbye, I my game. Sure, he was as good couldn’t help but feel disaplooking as I’d remembered, but pointed with his apparent lack he was acting as if we were on a of interest in me. As I watched job interview. him turn to walk away, the AusA lot of people had told me sie in me thought stuff it, I’ve that when Danish people drink nothing to lose, and with that I they become your best friend, called out: ‘Are you going to kiss and then the next day it’s like me or not?” ...


COMMUNITY

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

18 - 24 May 2012

13

It only takes a minute … to change your life on the Metro His award imitated his art. Peruvian resident Carlos S Alvarez recalls his March triumph in 60Seconds, the city’s short film festival, at which he won the Human Rights Award for his aptly-titled entry ‘Rights’

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IDWAY through meeting Carlos S Alvarez, the Peruvian resident who in March won the Human Rights Award at 60Seconds, the city’s annual short film festival, a quote from Horace Greeley comes to mind: “I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample underfoot.” We have just watched his winning entry, ‘Rights’, a short film shot at the city’s Metro stations in which the only stars are abandoned shoes – on the trains, platforms and escalators, which are at first ignored by passengers, but then increasingly trodden upon and kicked – that play out a narrative that ‘walked the talk’ straight into the jury’s hearts. Using no sound or music accompaniment, Alvarez’s triumph was proof that some of the best ideas in life cost close to nothing and come when you need to think on your feet. The Copenhagen Post: How did you come up with the idea for ‘Rights’? CS Alvarez: Since I had little time and no money, I decided to keep it simple, by using just one location, which was the Metro station and one of the trains. The film narrative and the artistic aspects were my first premise. The basic idea was to show how our rights can be easily ignored, threatened or violated, no matter who we are or where we are. I used shoes to symbolise social differences, ethnic diversity, age groups and sexual genders. I needed to illustrate one or more of the 30 articles of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and I basically wanted to represent all of them. TCP: How did you make it? CSA: I called up some friends of mine and asked them to give

ANN CHARLOTTE VENGSGAARD

ANN CHARLOTTE VENGSGAARD

Factfile | Carlos S Alvarez, filmmaker Born in Arequipa in Perú, ‘Rights’ is the 42-year-old photographer, director and cameraman’s first personal project in nine years as a director, since a 22-minute short, ‘Obituary’, which he made when graduating from the European Film College in Ebeltoft in 2003. He had arrived in Copenhagen three years earlier (to live with his Danish girlfriend) with a background in acting (which he gave up to move behind the camera) and as a lighting and camera assistant. He had earlier studied video production and communications in Arequipa and then acting at the Cuatrotablas Theatre School. Since graduating (and learning Danish), he has had

several jobs in the industry, including: as the cinematographer on the 2005 Danish documentary ‘Danmark, her skal jeg dø? (directed by Per Liebeck); as the second-unit cameraman and still photographer on the 2006 Danish feature film ‘AFR’ (directed by Morten Kaplers); and as director and cinematographer of the Italian Cultural Institute’s promotional film for La Biennale in Venice in 2011. “I have always sought for the deeper meaning in the things I do,” he says. “It would be such a waste of time otherwise. Even when I’ve needed money, I would get myself into situations, just for the sake of getting the experience.” of speech are being ignored and violated in many places around the world. We already know the consequences – both social and political – when ignoring and violating them. We must stand up for them.

me a hand and lend me their shoes. Shooting in public places is always a challenge. The crew for this one-minute film was a group of four to five people who for two days filmed at various Metro stations. The editing and colour grading took a working day, and we finished it just before the deadline. It was great to have the collaboration of Anders Dencker Christensen and Boaz Heller for this, who I’ve know for some years now.

TCP: So what’s next? CSA: Well at the end of 2010, I was selected for a pitch session at the Danish Film Institute, and since then, I have been working on and developing a couple of stories for a short film and a feature film: what you may call ‘magical realism’. They are stories about lost childhood and finding yourself: ‘the coming of age’ genre. The work will allow me to continue my collaboration with Greg Brosofske, a North American composer, whom I have been following for a while after I saw a TED presentation in which a group of dancers were performing one of his compositions. I totally loved it! So we got in touch. After he saw the film ‘Rights’, he agreed to make a music score for it. He wrote to me, saying: “Really great stuff!” So yes, I´m looking forward to hear what he comes up with.

TCP: Making a one-minute film is difficult. CSA: Yes, it’s a challenge trying to embody an idea in a oneminute film - particularly when we are talking about human rights. But having said that, it has also made the process far more interesting and exciting. TCP: What does it mean to you, winning this particular prize? CSA: It’s nice to get the recognition, and it makes it even more significant that it is also a prize from the Danish Institute for Human Rights [which collaborated with 60Seconds this year to mark its 25th anniversary]. We are proud of this film. Winning this prize is very encouraging for future work. It’s also very significant and relevant, especially in times like these where human rights and the freedom

TCP: You’ve lived here since 2000. What advice would you give to anyone moving here today?

‘RIGHTS’, COPYRIGHT 2012

CSA: Oh boy! Know yourself and what you want, but don’t think it will be easy. And don´t mistake assimilation for integration. I have my doubts, but I do like Copenhagen. This is my home ... there’s always going to be challenges. But what would life be without them? TCP: What are dreams made of? CSA: Ideas, experiences, and passion for what you love the most.

Alvarez’s short film about shoes left a lasting imprint on the festival’s jury

Find out more at www.carlosalvarez.dk and www.carlosalvarez. qapacity.com/portfolio.

After initial success in Peru, Carlos S Alvarez pretty much had to start again when he moved to Copenhagen in 2000. Undeterred, he is flourishing as a filmmaker

COMING UP SOON The Children’s Fair Valbyparken (Hammelstrupvej entrance); Sunday 17 June, from 14:00-17:00; free adm – sign up at www.eventbrite.com The Copenhagen Post is once again hosting its popular annual event, the Children’s Fair. The fair aims to introduce international families to various clubs and associations located throughout Copenhagen, providing a free day of fun for international and Danish families alike. Along with the many clubs and organisations present, there are a wide variety of activities and performances suitable for children aged two to 13, including: pony rides, face painting, balloon artists, live demonstrations by the sports association DGI, a mini-show performed by the Copenhagen Police with their K9s and motorbikes, the Copenhagen libraries’ waffle wagon, a raffle to raise funds for the Danish Red Cross, a playground, stalls selling crafts, free snacks and beverages, and animals for petting courtesy of Børnenes Dyremark. Bring along a picnic basket and enjoy the cosiness of the fair! Expat in Denmark Spouse Meeting Tietgens Hus, Slotsholmsgade 3, Cph K; Mon 21 May, 13:00; free adm; sign up at www.expatindenmark.com Expat in Denmark invites recently arrived spouses to Den-

mark to a meeting with practical information and a short introduction to Danish culture and the Danes. The meeting targets the spouses and partners of international employees since they are often the ones left with all the daily practicalities and questions in regard to settling in a new country. The Danish Democracy: Modern Danish history The University of Copenhagen (Københavns Universitet), Anneks A, Studiegården, Studiestræde 6, Cph K; Mon 21 May, 19:00; free adm; sign up at info@cphvolunteers.dk While Denmark used to be a very powerful country – they had an empire that included part of what is today Sweden, Germany, Norway, Iceland, Greenland and the Faeroe Islands – today, it’s just a small state. Learn more about Danish history and the challenges facing Denmark today. Sign up for this free lecture by sending an email to info@cphvolunteers.dk. Hobby club Café Cadeau, HC Ørstedsvej 28 C, Frederiksberg; Thu 24 May, 19:00; free adm; www.cafecadeau.dk When you think of a ‘knitter’, you probably think of an elderly grandmother sitting in her rocking chair surrounded by homemade cookies and several cats.

And who knows, maybe there will be a few at Café Cadeau, which is organising its first hobby club meeting, focused on knitting. You’ll have to turn up to find out. Chess Club Café Cadeau, HC Ørstedsvej 28 C, Frederiksberg; Thu 24 May, 19:00; free adm; www.cafecadeau.dk “Chess is war over the board. The object is to crush the opponent’s mind,” Bobby Fischer, who is considered to be one of the greatest chess players of all time, once said. Café Cadeau is hosting its first chess night, which is also a great way to meet other expats. These events at Café Cadeau are free of charge and there is no need to sign up. Play chess in a relaxing atmosphere at Cafe Cadeau while meeting other expats. Storytime Books & Company, Sofievej 1, Hellerup; every Tuesday 09:30-10:00; free adm; for more information check www.booksandcompany.dk/ storytime-at-books-company Tuesday mornings at the international book café are dedicated to inspiring and captivating the imagination of the little ones. The wonderful storyteller Sara Albers, a teacher and a mother of two young boys, entertains the kids with stories, poems, finger plays and small projects. This is a fantastic way to start the day! TK

MIKE HOFMAN


14 Olsen selects his gladiators for the Group of Death sport

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

18 - 24 May 2012

Squad choice is pretty much as most pundits predicted, with no surprise choices

Thomas Sørensen

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any Danish hearts sank as “Denmark” was announced last December at the Euro 2012 draw. That’s because the other three teams in their group were Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. Lars Jacobsen Simon Kjær Simon Poulsen Daniel Agger Visions of the 1992 triumph flickered in the eyes of many, and yes, it may take another miracle to get out of that aptlynamed group. The Group of Death. On Wednesday, head coach Morten Olsen revealed the brave few that have been chosen to overcome the tremendous odds and bring Denmark glory at Niki Zimling William Kvist Euro 2012. He named 20 players, along with three others - Anders Lindegaard, Nicklas Pedersen and Jannik Vestergaard – Christian Eriksen who will train with the squad, but have not had their places confirmed yet. Vestergaard’s selection is the only real surprise. The 19-year-old defender only made his Bundesliga debut 13 months ago, and has been capped just five times for the under-21 side. Standing 197cm tall, he is a set piece specialist and has already scored an impressive six goals for his club in 45 appearances. Other than Dennis Rommedahl Nicklas Bendtner Michael Krohn Dehli Vestergaard, the only other unexpected selection was that of FCN’s Tobias Mikkelsen. Regarding the starting eleven players, there are only six that are definite starters, barring unforeseen injuries. They are goalkeeper Thomas Sørensen, right back Lars Jacobsen, centre back Daniel Agger, midfielders William Kvist and Christian How we predict Denmark will line up for their first game at Euro 2012 Eriksen, and striker Nicklas Bendtner. The rest of the places are up for grabs. Denmark had already lost a wouldOlsen’s selection in full: GoalkeepOrdinarily, Dennis Rommedahl success was possible, referring to the 2-1 In the centre of midfield, the place be starter, right back Nicolai Boilersen, of wonderkid playmaker Christian Erik- would have the right wing spot sown victory over Portugal in the qualification ers: Thomas Sørensen (Stoke), Stephan to a season-ending injury, and while left sen is guaranteed, as is William Kvist’s, a up, but a poor season for Brøndby has finale. Andersen (Evian), Anders Lindegaard back Simon Poulsen is favoured at the powerhouse in the Danish engine room, opened the door for young Daniel Wass, “Obviously, we will have to be at (Manchester United); Defenders: Lars moment, Michael Silberbauer is better but the final spot is available with Niki who has had a brilliant season for his our best and we need to have all of our Jacobsen (FC Copenhagen), Daniel defensively and may be preferred against Zimling and a rejuvenated Christian French club Evian Thonon Gaillard. key players fit for the ten days. On top Wass (Evian), Simon Kjær (AS Roma), the high-powered offenPoulsen poised to com- But Rommedahl has boat loads of ex- of that, we will need a good deal of luck Daniel Agger (Liverpool), Andreas Bjelsive opposition the Danes pete for it, with possibly perience, having scored 21 goals in 113 in order to succeed,” Olsen said on the land (FC Nordsjælland), Simon Poulsen face in Ukraine. games for Denmark, and that will be UEFA.com website. “That said, it is not (AZ Alkmaar), Michael Silberbauer Lasse Schøne. At centre back, Agger On the left wing, enough for Olsen to tip his hat for the an easy group for the other teams, and I (Young Boys), Jannik Vestergaard (TSG is a shoe-in, but the other On top of that, we did not really see any happy faces on any 1899 Hoffenheim); Midfielders: WilMichael Krohn-Dehli speedy winger. spot is up for grabs with liam Kvist (VfB Stuttart), Niki Zimcolleagues from those countries.” In terms of depth, the main concern has played some good will need a good deal games for Denmark re- for the Danish team is the lone striker of myDenmark Simon Kjær and up-andtakes on Brazil in Ham- ling (Club Brugge), Christian Poulsen comer Andreas Bjelland of luck in order to cently and scored against position. Should Nicklas Bendtner go burg on May 26 in a pre-tournament (Evian), Christian Eriksen (Ajax), Lasse looking to battle it out. Portugal in that group down with an injury or get arrested for friendly, before playing Australia at home Schøne (NEC Nijmegen), Jakob Poulsen Kjær should be favoured, succeed game decider, but he will vandalism, there really is no quality strik- at Parken on June 2 as a final warm-up (FC Midtjylland); Forwards: Nicklas having more experience face stiff competition er available to fill his boots. Nicklas Ped- before Euro 2012 kicks off the following Bendtner (Arsenal), Dennis Rommeand currently playing for Italian Serie now that Thomas Kahlenberg has got his ersen will certainly find the going tough week. dahl (Brøndby), Michael Krohn-Dehli A side AS Roma, but Bjelland was su- career back on track in France. Both are against a quality defence. Then, it’s judgement day for the (Brøndby), Thomas Kahlenberg (Evian), perb in the final group stage win against originally Brøndby boys, but Kahlenberg Olsen knows that his team are in for Danes on June 9, when they kick off Tobias Mikkelsen (FC Nordsjælland), Portugal. Nicklas Pedersen (FC Groningen). has the experience working in his favour. a tough time in Ukraine, but said that against Holland in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Pictures of players from Scanpix

christian Wenande

Lions hold slender lead

Thin ice but no relegation

Handball’s hooligans

From lions to wolves

Woz top, now eighth

So long Sunderland

Nordsjaelland failed to capitalise on FC Copenhagen’s 2-2 stalemate away at SønderjyskE on Sunday, drawing 0-0 with OB on Monday night to trail the Lions by one point with two games left to play. FCK, who have taken just two points from their last three games, face FC Midtjylland (away, fourth in table) and Silkeborg (home, sixth), while FCN play Brøndby (away, ninth) and Horsens (home, third).

The men’s national ice hockey side avoided relegation from the IIHF World Championship elite group thanks to a vital 2-0 defeat of Latvia on Monday that lifted them above Italy, who last week had beaten them 4-3 in overtime. A 6-2 loss to Norway on Tuesday then rounded off a disappointing tournament for the Danes, who had been hopeful of matching their 2010 quarter-final appearance.

Who knew women’s handball had a hooligan following? Following Ferencvaros’s defeat of Viborg HK on Sunday in the final of the Cup Winners Cup, the Hungarian side’s fans ran riot, clashing with stewards and members of the media. Ferencvaros had just beaten the home side 31-30 for the second time in seven days, although Viborg made a fight of it and led 27-25 with just five minutes left.

FC Copenhagen’s former coach Ståle Solbakken, 44, is the new manager of Wolves, a club recently relegated from the English Premier League (EPL). Several players told media they had never heard of the Norwegian, who played for EPL club Wimbledon in the late 1990s and was recently sacked by Bundesliga side FC Köln, but club owner Steve Morgan insisted there was nothing “brave” about his appointment.

Caroline Wozniacki has slumped to number eight in the world following a disappointing elimination last week from the Madrid Open in the final 16 by Serena Williams. The American started badly but recovered to win 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. The Dane is currently competing in the Rome Masters, her final warmup clay tournament ahead of the season’s second grand slam, the French Open, which begins on Sunday May 27.

Nicklas Bendtner has probably played his final game for Sunderland, which this season he scored eight goals for in 25 games. Manager Martin O’Neill omitted him from the squad for the final game after he missed the team bus at the hotel the side was staying at. He got a taxi but then had to borrow money from the club, and then later in the day, he was stopped for “erratic driving’” by the police.

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Sports news and briefs


BUSINESS

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

18 - 24 May 2012

Fifty and finished? A

NEW POLL by Megafon for Politiken newspaper reveals that older Danish workers believe that their chances of finding a job pretty much disappear once they turn 50. Nearly 67 percent of those polled between the ages of 50–54 believed that their age would be a negative factor in the job market. Of those over 55, 84 percent said that their age would be an obstacle to finding a new job. Professor Per Jensen of Aalborg University said that this negative attitude can become a self-fulfilling prophecy when an over 50-year-old worker winds up unemployed and on the hunt for new work. “It’s likely to convince themselves that they will not find a new job,” said Jensen. Jensen’s research showed that older people who become unemployed often either give up completely or start “looking for work like crazy” and settling for almost any offer. Figures from Statistics Denmark support the idea that employment prospects start to decline after a worker reaches the half-century mark. While 81 percent of 45 to 50-year-olds are

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working, that number falls to 76 percent for those aged 55-59, while only 46 percent of those between the ages of 60 and 64 are still employed. Politicians and economic experts have preached for years that older and more experienced workers need to stay in work longer if the welfare state is to survive, but labour expert Sanne Ipsen from the analysis institute CASA said that Danish employers share the notion that age and work do not mix. “We have a culture that does not respect experience,” Ipsen told Politiken. “Five or six years of experience are fine, but 20 years worth of experience is

viewed as a hindrance.” Of those surveyed, 74 percent believed that if a 35-yearold and a 50-year-old with the same qualifications were competing for the same job, the 35-year-old had the best chance of getting hired. Only three percent said that the 50-year-old would get the job. Steen Nielsen from the business interest group Dansk Industri, however, doesn’t believe that older workers need to worry about being discriminated against. “Employers are looking for the person best suited for the job,” Nielsen told Politiken. “In many cases the older candidate wins out over the younger.” (RW)

Start S aug u St 2012! For enrollment enquiries contact us on: tel. + 45 4635 2526 or post@sktjosef.dk

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Employees bail out Cimber Arla lays off

We pride ourselves on the following:

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250 worldwide

• High academic standards.

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• Individual assessments.

FTER two weeks of intense negotiations, Cimber Sterling airline has been sold in two parts to former owners and the son of the founder of the now-defunct airline. Some 114 jobs will be saved as a result of the former leadership team – consisting of Jørgen Nielsen, Alex Dyrgaard and Jacob Krogsgaard – taking over parts of the airline and continuing to run it under its original name, Cimber. The jobs are saved because the three former employees will continue the wet-lease agreement on the company’s fleet of CRJ planes – an agreement that was revealed just after the Cimber bankruptcy notice. The wet-lease agreement is a rental accord in which an airline leases aircraft, personnel, maintenance and insurance to another airline. The new Cimber has also

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initiated negotiations of another wet-lease contract, involving up to three ATR aircraft – an agreement that could potentially save an additional 65 jobs. The second part of the defunct Cimber Sterling airline, Cimber Air Maintenance Center and Cimber Air Data, which is responsible for the maintenance of aircraft, was purchased by the company Mansvel. That purchase means that 80 jobs are saved and the maintenance activities will continue under a new name, Skyways Technics. “It has been a race against time, where a signature on the deal was unsure even in the final moments,” the bankruptcy trustees indicated in a press release. “The negotiations have been intense and nerve-racking, especially because of the many employees waiting in uncertainty.” (CW)

AIRY giant Arla will lay off 250 employees worldwide as part of a cost-cutting measure to save half a billion kroner next year. A statement released by the company said the cuts were necessary if it were to remain competitive internationally. The company said that 90 of the 250 jobs being cut will be lost in Denmark. The layoffs will primarily affect administrative positions. In addition to the layoffs, 150 positions will be redefined and the company plans to reduce marketing and packaging costs. Peder Tuborgh, Arla’s chief executive, said that Arla’s Danish headquarters in Viby will host information sessions for affected employees later this month. “We regret to say goodbye to many skilled employees,” said Turborgh. (RW)

• Qualified native English-speaking teachers. • After-school programmes. • Beautiful surroundings and close to nature.

Exchange Rates Australian Dollars AUD

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5.54

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6.08

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6.04

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7.56

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Price in kroner for one unit of foreign currency

Date: 16 May 2012

Skt. Josef’s Skole • Frederiksborgvej 10 • DK-4000, Roskilde Tel. + 45 4635 2526 • Website: www.sktjosef.dk


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EMPLOYMENT

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

18 - 24 May 2012

17

IO-INTERACTIVE IS LOOKING FOR NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKING TRANSCRIBERS We are currently looking for 2-3 transcribers, who can work 7-8 weeks beginning mid/end May. Required skills:

coPenhagen looKing coPenhageninternational international school school isislooKing totofill fillthe thefolloWing folloWing Positions: Positions: Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and grade 1 teachers

Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and grade 1 teachers The successful applicants should be qualified teachers with a minimum of 2 years’ experience working within an early years programme. The position will start on August 1st 2012.

The successful applicants should be qualified teachers with a minimum of 2 years’ experience working within an early years programme. The position will start on August 1st 2012.

We are looking for teachers who have knowledge and experience of the international Baccalaureate Primary years programme (iB PyP), and who: We are looking for teachers who have knowledge and experience of the international Baccalaureate Primary years • can design effective and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities • can demonstrate a track record of excellent classroom practice including in-depth understanding of differentiated instruction, second language programme (iB PyP), and who: acquisition and play based learning • can design effective and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities • have a strong work ethic and excellent organizational skills • can demonstrate a track record of excellent classroom practice including in-depth understanding of differentiated instruction, second language • have a track record of being an effective collaborator and team player acquisition and play based learning • have willingness and commitment to contribute to the development of the curriculum • have a strong work ethic and excellent organizational skills • have willingness and commitment to contribute to the greater school community • have a track record of being an effective collaborator and team player • will demonstrate professionalism in its broadest sense

• have willingness and commitment to contribute to the development of the curriculum • have willingness and commitment to contribute to the greater school community Kindergarten and grade 1 assistants • will demonstrate professionalism in its broadest sense The Kindergarten and Grade 1 teams are looking for additional Assistants to join the existing teams. The successful candidates should be qualified to work with children between the ages of 5 and 7 with a strong background and experience in early years’ education and with a minimum of two years of experience working in an early years programme. The position will start on August 1st 2012.

Kindergarten and grade 1 assistants

• • • • • • •

Ideally has English as a first language Is a fast and accurate typist Has a good eye for detail Is highly organized Is computer literate and a fast learner Is able to meet tight deadlines Has experience in working with software programs

The job will need to be done on-site at Kalvebod Brygge in Copenhagen. Applicants can send in their application through our online form at ioi.dk. Please mark the application: TRANSCRIBER. ABOUT IO-INTERACTIVE Io-Interactive is the creative force behind some of the most talked-about PC and multiplatform videogames to emerge in the last decade. Starting with the praised and ground-breaking Hitman series, Io-Interactive has since developed the cult classic Freedom Fighters, the innovative brand Mini Ninjas and the controversial Kane & Lynch series. Io-Interactive has now announced Hitman: Absolution which has been built from the ground up, incorporating its all-new proprietary Glacier 2 engine. The Glacier 2 technology will set a new benchmark for realizing creative vision and delivering world-class entertainment. Io-Interactive has always proven that dedication to original IP and unique brands are the hallmarks of the company, and breaking new ground is critical to sustain the originality within our diverse team members. Io-Interactive is a part of Eidos Interactive. Eidos is a wholly owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.

We are for early years’1 educators who: for additional Assistants to join the existing teams. The successful candidates should be qualified to work Thelooking Kindergarten and Grade teams are looking • havewith a caring andbetween nurturing with7 children children theapproach ages of 5 and with a strong background and experience in early years’ education and with a minimum of two years of experience • are organized and demonstrate effective classroom practice working in an early years programme. The position will start on August 1st 2012. • have a strong work ethic • have a track record of being an effective collaborator and team player We are looking for early years’ educators who: • preferably have knowledge and experience of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. (IB PYP)

• have a caring and nurturing approach with children • are organized and demonstrate effective classroom practice • have a strong work ethic Primary & middle school danish teachers • have a track record of being an effective collaborator and team player We are looking to fill one full-time and one part-time position (60%) to join our team of Danish teachers. These positions are to teach both Danish • preferably have knowledge and experience of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme. (IB PYP) Language A and Danish as an Additional Language.

The positions will start on August 1st 2012. The successful applicants should be qualified teachers with at least two years full time teaching experience. The successful applicants must be Danish native speakers.

Primary & middle school danish teachers

We are looking for teachers who: • can design effective and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities We are looking to fill one full-time and one part-time position (60%) to join our team of Danish teachers. These positions are to teach both Danish • can demonstrate a track record of excellent classroom practice including in-depth understanding of differentiated instruction, second language Language A and Danish as an Additional Language. acquisition and play based learning The positions will start on August 1st 2012. The successful applicants should be qualified teachers with at least two years full time teaching experience. • have a strong work ethic and excellent organizational skills The successful applicants must be Danish native speakers. • have a track record of being an effective collaborator and team player • have willingness and commitment to contribute to the development of the curriculum • haveWe willingness andfor commitment to contribute to the greater school community are looking teachers who: • will• demonstrate professionalism in its broadest sense can design effective and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities • have a professional level of written and spoken English

• can demonstrate a track record of excellent classroom practice including in-depth understanding of differentiated instruction, second language acquisition and play based learning • have a strong work ethic and excellent organizational skills interested candidates should email a letter of application, cV and contact details of three current referees as well as any further inquiries to have a track record of being an effective collaborator and team player mette• trock-Jansen at mtj@cis.dk. the closing date for applications is may 31st 2012, however applications will be handled on an on-going basis and be madetoprior to this date. • haveappointments willingness andmay commitment contribute to the development of the curriculum • have willingness and commitment to contribute to the greater school community • will demonstrate professionalism in its broadest sense contact details: • have a professional level of written and spoken English Hellerupvej 22-26, 2900 Hellerup T +45 3946 3311 www.cis.dk mtj@cis.dk interested candidates should email a letter of application, cV and contact details of three current referees as well as any further inquiries to

mette trock-Jansen at mtj@cis.dk. the closing date for applications is may 31st 2012, however applications will be handled on an on-going basis and appointments may be made prior to this date.

contact details: Hellerupvej 22-26, 2900 Hellerup T +45 3946 3311 www.cis.dk mtj@cis.dk

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For more information and other job vacancies visit our webpage www.cphpost.dk/jobvacancies


18

culture

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

18 - 24 May 2012

Naff, crass dross: seeing it is your loss Cabaret at Tivoli May 7 Falconer Salen

I

n a dimly lit room with round tables and performers who double as waiting staff, a troupe of entertainers dressed in Charlie Chaplinstyle garb break into song. It’s an upbeat number, welcoming the audience to ‘Cabaret at Tivoli’. Sad to say, though, it’s mostly downhill from this point. “Outside it might be raining, inside it is … entertaining,” the cluster of bowler hats chide in unison while the crowd sip their drinks, nibble their peanuts and settle in for a three-hour variety show. It’s opening night and the seats are filled with Danish has-beens. These C list celebrities were huge names in their hey day and watching a show like Cabaret reminds them of the golden years. They clap and laugh and drink and heckle during the music, comedy, dance, karaoke medleys, drag acts, and magic. It’s an audience deserving of a line-up from 1983. Most of the acts are in Danish, but Sunny Cagara, a magician/comedian who performs his quirky show in English, is a highlight among locals and foreigners alike. Cagara makes fun of his Asian heritage, proclaim-

This country never tires of singing waiters. What’s next? Bartender priests?

ing “I love you long time” and starts speaking Danish – and asking “Can you see me or am perfect Danish at that. Danish comedy staple Amin I too yellow?”, and the audience laps it up. Between jokes, he Jensen also makes some raciallyturns beer into cola, coughs up driven jokes, but they fall a bit flat. Norwegians, playing cards, and Eskimos and chooses a man Mexicans all bear who towers two the brunt, but feet above him the real kick in for the audience Can you see me or the teeth comes participation bit. am I too yellow? with his Japanese At the end of his spot, Cagara asks the audience impersonation, complete with politely if he can end the show squinty eyes. It’s as if the Tiin his mother tongue. A roar of voli lounge is stuck in a Danish laughter goes up when Cagara 1990s stand-up time-warp. All

Mike hofman How the Swedish practice of getting down at midday is heading to Copenhagen

Kirsten Eddyson

Raving about their lunchtimes

Festival not guilty of bribery and Björk’s back!

T Suited and booted, getting jiggy on the dancefloor ... it’s only Monday!

been inspired by the underground movement in the film ‘Fight Club’. For example, the first rule of their manifesto is: “You don’t talk about your job at Lunch Beat”. Other rules stipulate that the discos must be nonprofit events, feature hour-long DJ sets, take place at lunchtime, and include a takeaway meal. On the other side of the Øresund Bridge, Malmö’s deputy mayor, Lari Pitka Kangas, has seen a positive change in his employees’ afternoons. “Employees seem more relaxed than usual, so I think it’s quite good for them,” he told BBC News. “It’s common sense that if you are happy, you are working better.” Lunch Beat events can be ar-

ranged by anyone anywhere in the world, as long as the organisers respect the founders’ manifesto – although it is unclear how much legal control the organisers actually have over this. The Copenhagen event will be live-streamed to 15 other cities around the globe, including Stockholm, Berlin, Helsinki and Amsterdam, where other hungry, happy and hip-hopping hedonists will be eating lunch while performing their best dance moves. Buy tickets at www.billetto. dk/lunchbeatcph. Bear in mind that there is no alcohol on sale at the event – but if the reserved Swedes can dance while they’re sober, surely the Danes can too.

Tivoli, Vesterbrogade 3, Cph V; ends Sep 22, performances TueThu 20:00, Fri & Sat 20:30; Tickets: 315-415kr – includes free bar; duration: 3 hours; www. tivolicabaret.dk

Good week for Roskilde Festival ray weaver

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hile the French take two hours out of their working day to have a warm meal with their colleagues, Danes usually spend just half an hour in the company’s cafeteria, chomping on their sandwiches. But all that might be about to change if they copy Sweden, where a whole other vibe is going on. Workers in around a dozen Swedish cities spend their one-hour lunch breaks dancing at ‘Lunch Beat’, and now the trend is heading for Copenhagen, with the first ever event scheduled for May 31 at The Lot on Pilestræde. The first ever Lunch Beat was held two years ago in an underground parking lot in the Swedish capital of Stockholm. Even though only 14 people showed up, they had so much fun they immediately planned another event. The basic idea behind Lunch Beat is that workers can hit the dancefloor to let off steam in between sessions at their desks. The founders, who describe it as “your week’s most important business lunch”, have clearly

the more likely, Jensen probably first delivered these jokes back then and hasn’t freshened up his routine. That didn’t stop a large contingent of the audience, most of whom were 40+, from laughing heartily. Though the non-Danish speakers miss out on Jensen’s subtler jokes, everyone can appreciate it when he plays his mouth organ with his nostrils (before putting it back to his mouth it should be noted). Drag is also accessible in any language, though ironically, drag

here was no impropriety when Roskilde Council expropriated 60,000 square metres of land for use by the Roskilde Festival. A state oversight authority for Zealand Region ruled last week that there were no grounds for the case to proceed. Keld Bjerregaard, who owned the land before it was expropriated, had accused the council of accepting a bribe from the annual music festival in the form of a donation of two artificial football pitches worth 7.5 million kroner. Bjerregaard questioned the legality of the decision to expropriate the land coming so soon after the festival made the donation to the city using profits from last year’s festival. Both the festival organisers and the council had denied any wrongdoing. The festival pointed out that it donates to numerous causes in Denmark and abroad. The council said that it had tried to buy the land

from Bjerregaard, but that the two sides could not agree on a price. In 2010 the council had re-zoned the land so it could be used by large events and outdoor sports facilities. The re-zoning allowed the council to expropriate the land “for the common good” and rent it back to the Roskilde Festival at a lower price than Bjerregaard demanded. The decision said that the council had broken no laws by accepting the pitches. Meanwhile, after an initial scare that headline act Björk would miss the festival, it has been confirmed that the Icelandic singer will appear after all. A post on Björk’s Facebook page contradicted an earlier report by website efestivals that the singer had cancelled all of her festival appearances in June and July. While the Facebook posting confirmed she would indeed not be appearing at festivals in Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Russia, no mention was made of Roskilde. The cancellations were reportedly made after the singer was advised by doctors to rest her voice to give her a chance to recover from a condition that is affecting her vocal cords.

Who is ... Adam Hashemi? Haftanın yönetmeni

tivoli cabaret

elise beacom

act Danny Stafford hails from the UK. These beauties strut their muscular legs on stage while lipsyncing to forgettable pop tunes. In fact, all the music throughout the night, except for Jens Christian Wandt’s opera performance, has a cheesy vibe thanks to the metallic synth sounds of an electronic keyboard. The ‘80s and ‘90s ‘karaoke-off’ between the male and the female chorus is the scrunchie on the ponytail. On the subject of hair, queen of the Danish cabaret genre, Birthe Kjære, was also at the premiere. The Eurovision household name looked on while one of the MCs, Stine Bruun, came onto the stage dressed as her. Kjære told The Copenhagen Post the likeness was uncanny: “It was a really good wig. I think it’s because the hairdresser who did this show is the same one I had back in those days.” Which in itself is a pretty decent illustration of what’s wrong with this show. ‘Back in those days’ is the key phrase here. If you want to relive the 1980s when perms and fluorescent headbands ruled supreme, you’ll have a wicked night. But if your Danish is a little lacklustre and you prefer your entertainment rooted in the 21st century, maybe give this one the slip. Or go for the free bar.

Malene Ørsted A Danish pop video director who’s just got a big Hollywood break. Where would I know him from? So far, he’s mostly done commercials and music videos. His only serious productions have been the 2006 Danish children’s TV series ‘Johanne i troldeskoven’ and a documentary about ‘Fear X’, a film made by another Danish director, Nicolas Winding Refn. So he’s boring, nerdy and a bit of a kiss-ass. Well, somebody was obviously impressed because he’s just caught a break directing the feature film ‘Agent: Ventury 21’. Sounds like a brand of washing powder. Actually, it’s a big Hollywood production featuring Cameron Diaz and Benicio Del Toro. Sexy cast! So what’s it about? Diaz plays a real estate agent who is getting over a divorce. She agrees to do a task for her boss, and the next thing she knows, she’s been kidnapped and ends up in the middle of a Mexican drug war. Which is where Del Toro comes in … Yeah, he plays a cartel boss who takes pity on her and gives her a way out by sending her on a somewhat impossible mission to avenge his dead son. But why would Hollywood entrust such a big production with a relatively unknown director? That’s a good question. Safe to say it wasn’t his work for Danish pop band Oh No Ono – although he was pretty happy about it himself. Really? In his own words, in the music video ‘Swim’, “I’m constantly seeking a balance in my filmmaking, between seriousness and a grotesque form of comedy, and that video is the closest I’ve gotten. So far.” Grotesque comedy? And he’s working with Benicio Del Toro. Isn’t he one of those method actors? He’s pretty much as serious as they come. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if the two of them can come to terms with each others’ artistic views.


18 - 24 May 2012

DENMARK THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

19

ABBA, IKEA, and Björn Borg. And in 1711, they gave us plague SIGIL.PL

MARK WALKER

It was not until 1894 that a Swiss doctor certified the cause of the bubonic plague - 183 years too late for the citizens of Copenhagen who were left decimated by the last millennium’s most deadly disease

T

HE WORDS ‘Black Death’ or ‘bubonic plague’ usually conjures up a reverence with feelings of dread and, for most Europeans, the images that accompanied nursery rhymes and stories we were taught as children: the doctors wearing those sinister bird-like masks, both iconic and terrifying; the crosses painted on doors to ward away visitors from homes already infected; and the horse-driven carts loaded with putrid corpses and the unassailable stench that followed them. While ‘The Great Plague’ that ravaged London in the 17th century, quelled by the Great Fire in 1666, is very well documented in the English language, a further outbreak in the following century on Danish soil is less so. Records suggest that as much as a third of Copenhagen’s population was wiped out by the devastating disease. Likely to have started in China, the bacillus (renamed after its discoverer, ‘Yersinia pestis’) bacterium, and the subsequent Black Death that it brings, quickly took hold in many European countries during the 14th century. At that time, Scandinavia was one of the last places for the sickness to reach due to the disease being spread from the south: from great trading ports like Constantinople and along the established shipping routes of Europe’s south coast. Thereafter periods of containment and resurgence prevailed across the continent over the next 400 years. As early as 1710, reports came of one such resurgence in Sweden – it was quickly confirmed that Stockholm had fallen prey to the sickness. At that time the Great Northern War (1700-21) was raging, and Denmark was part of an alliance fighting against the Swedish Empire. With Denmark’s borders closed and guarded, the authorities were confident that the disease would not reach Denmark. Therefore, they were quite unprepared when it did just that. Reports suggest that the disease arrived

This mask was later modified for a Venetian ball

The Danish version of ‘Ring a Ring o’ Roses’ briefly topped the charts in 1711 before being replaced by ‘My Plague’ by Slipknot

at the port of Helsingør and entered the capital via the postal routes. The speed of the spread of the highly contagious disease, carried by rodents and fleas, was literally breathtaking. The incubation period is a matter of days (between two and eight) during which fever, vomiting and lesions give way to death. By the last week of June 1711,

“But he’s not dead” .... “Well, can you hang around for a couple of minutes? He won’t be long.”

there was a sharp rise in mortality and was cut off by police so they could betthe state only then began issuing pre- ter monitor the flow of incoming and cautions to be taken against the plague. outgoing traffic. A total of 90 officers Many citizens were fleeing the now were assigned to handle the containheavily-affected region around Hels- ment of the sick houses. The wealthiest ingør, and the state has quick to advise were allowed to flee to their residences Copenhagen’s population against mis- outside the city, but most of the poor placed charity towards those potentially had nowhere else to go. Many were even infected. Those who did not comply forced to stay against their will. As one might expect, there were with their precautions were punished, and particular severity reserved for mass lootings of the abandoned houses across the city, but the those who did not bury main problems facing their dead immediately those containing the – the state was adamant disease were avoiding there was not time for a Records suggest that infection themselves, the service or ceremony. impossibility of buryA priest was asas much as a third ing the vast numbers of signed the unenviable dead, and finding those task of serving the city’s of Copenhagen’s willing to treat the sick. plague-stricken. For Nurses were of increasthe following year that population was ingly short supply, and priest commandeered a wiped out by the so a unique arrangement former military grounds at Wodrofsgård. It was devastating disease was reached. Those treated who had survived the here that the disease was treated and would hopefully be con- disease, thereby having developed imtained. Some days after the priest’s ap- munity, should then themselves serve pointment, a health commission was in the hospital for a period of no less than one month. However reasonable also set in place. Many began to flee the city. King this may seem, many evaded the duty Frederick IV was already in Jutland, and by running away. Even some of the soon the remaining members of the roy- trained staff resented the risk of treatal family followed. Government officials ing the sick and became negligent and remained until August before retreating careless in their duties. Some would to Jægersborg. The east side of the city turn to alcohol to carry out their work,

leading to many clashes with their superiors, and there are even accounts of hospital staff stealing the belongings of the patients. With regard to the dead themselves, the number of bodies grew overwhelmingly. The stench was so strong as to be paralysing, and worse still, they remained highly contagious. It was decreed to be imperative that corpses should be disposed of within 24 hours of death to minimise the risk to others, but of course, this was impossible to enforce. Furthermore, even for those few who could afford one, there was a shortage of coffins (and coffin makers) – so much so that it took at least a day to track one down. In many cases, corpses would be left in the clothes they died in, wrapped in the sheets from their beds, and left for collection by the so-called ‘stink wagons’ (lugte-vogne). The highly contagious nature of the corpses required that they be buried at least six feet deep. This required man power of a large scale, the likes of which was unachievable at that time. Recognising the measures required, the military (still at war) donated 200 soldiers to do the digging on the condition that members of the Copenhagen bourgeoisie filled their vacant posts. By late August, thanks to cooperative initiatives like this one, the scales began to tip in the favour of the health commission battling to contain and stop the outbreak. It was this commission, led by one Johan Eichel and composed of prominent members of both the civil and military services, which oversaw the containment and rehabilitation of Copenhagen. Gathering twice a day at the town hall, reports were heard and decisions made. The decisions were then executed by a growing team of volunteers: priests, doctors, diggers, barbers and watchmen. Although the outbreak was not fully contained (reports of new infections were still coming in from Roskilde by late August) and an estimated 23,000 lives were lost, it seems the Danish penchant for holding meetings is well founded and contributed considerably to their victory here. This was the last time that den sorte død visited Danish shores.


CHILDR E EN TH

AIR 2012 F ’N’S

GEN P OST

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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

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i i JOIN US AT THE CHILDREN’S FAIR! i i i THE COPEN

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• MEET OTHER FAMILIES • • MEET CLUBS TO JOIN FOR YOUR CHILDREN• • COME AND ENJOY • Mini show of the Copenhagen police with their K9s and motorbikes The Copenhagen libraries waffle wagon Pony rides and other animals courtesy of Børnenes Dyremark Face painting, crafts & balloon artists Live sports activities by DGI Raffle for Danish Red Cross

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(Items to be raffled two vouchers for a two-night stay with breakfast & vouchers for a four-person dinner including drinks at Midtown Grill, courtesy of the Marriott Hotel Copenhagen)

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CONTACT US: CHILDRENS-FAIR@CPHPOST.DK | WWW.THECHILDRENSFAIR-EFBEVENT.EVENTBRITE.COM


The Copenhagen Post - May 18-24