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FAIR 2012 S ’ N’

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7, 8, 15

It’s Children’s Fair time again

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Copenhell: Marilyn Manson to grace the inferno

E CHILDREN H T

China syndrome takes hold ahead of Hu visit

THE COPEN 15 - 21 June 2012 | Vol 15 Issue 24

Denmark’sonly onlyEnglish-language English-languagenewspaper newspaper || cphpost.dk Denmark’s cphpost.dk

NEWS

The Children’s Fair is back and it’s grown. Find out why Danish companies are keen on foreign kids

4

NEWS

Kindness or killing? Ethics experts are discussing assisted suicide again, and this time around, not all of them agree it’s wrong

6 News

“You may now kiss the groom!” Same-sex couples can now marry in Danish churches

5 On the road: Travelling the cycle superhighway proves a bike path too far for the average commuter

10

CULTURE

PETER STANNERS

Twin and donkey show Where censors fear to tread, Danes rush in. Banned in the US, ‘Fear Factor’ episode is shown on TV3

18

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Euro MPs lambast Denmark over border control The decision by EU ministers to allow member countries to introduce border controls left European Parliament feeling it was being sidelined

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ENMARK has reached a lowpoint in its six-month EU presidency after MEPs launched vicious attacks on the justice minister, Morten Bødskov, over changes to the Schengen Border agreement that circumvented the European Parliament and the European Commission. The row concerned last week’s decision by European justice ministers to bypass the two EU bodies to allow member states to introduce border controls with Schengen members that per-

sistently fail to protect their borders with is no longer a credible interlocutor. From non-EU states. now to June 30 at midnight, we shall adWith Denmark chairing the negotia- dress ourselves exclusively either to the tions, it became the target of the MEPs’ European Council or informally to the attacks, and allegations were made that next presidency of the Republic of Cythey had acted undemocratically and prus,” Dual said. undermined the borderless principles be“We simply will not accept this. We hind the Schengen agreement. must challenge the council’s decision “You have broken the relation of before the European Court of Justice,” trust with this parliament and broken said Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the away from the community method, liberal ALDE group. “We should halt all which guarantees that larger member ongoing negotiations in the area of jusstates cannot impose their will on smaller tice and home affairs under the Danish ones,” Joseph Daul, the leader of the cen- presidency.” tre right EPP group, told the parliament. Some MEPs also accused the DanDaul called for parliament to refuse ish presidency of appealing to popto work with the Danes for the remain- ulism by allowing inter-Schengen border of its presidency, while others prom- der controls. ised to legally challenge the move. It did not help Bødskov that Denmark “For my part, starting from the a was the target ofmeeting heavy criticism in the EU Organise personal evening of June 7, the Danish presidency after it chose to and sit in on a class. introduce customs con-

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trols at the behest of the anti-immigration Dansk Folkeparti last summer – though the new government elected in September promptly removed them. The changes to Schengen stem from concern voiced last year about the threat to the EU from the large influx of migrants created by the Arab Spring uprisings. Specific concerns were raised by France over the tens of thousands of Libyan migrants who had been given sixmonth residency in Italy and could travel freely throughout the EU. Last week, EU justice ministers voted unanimously to allow the introduction of border controls between Schengen members, but only after large-scale illegal immigration had been identified through careful monitoring.

Border control continues on page 10

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2

Week in review

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

15 - 21 June 2012 Scanpix/TORBEN CHRISTENSEN

Where the bison roam

THE WEEK’S MOST READ STORIES AT CPHPOST.DK Gay marriage legalised Euro 2012 | Defying Death Television reporter attacked in Christiania Christiania’s resurgent cannabis trade marred by violence and intimidation More permanent residence permits being granted

FROM OUR ARCHIVES TEN YEARS AGO. Danes celebrate 2-0 victory over France, sending the reigning world champions out of the competition and ensuring their progression to the World Cup’s knockout phase. FIVE YEARS AGO. Nation’s largest lottery pay-out won by eight different people, who split a record pot of 74.5 million kroner. ONE YEAR AGO. Majority of Danes think public swimming in the nude is rude, according to a new YouGov/24timer opinion poll. CORRECTION The photo with the ‘Sidste For the next five years, Bornholm’s Skoven Almindingen will become home on the range for a small herd of European bison. The animals are being introduced as part of a programme meant to save them from extinction, which has received 4 million kroner of funding from Villum Foundation.

on some departures. Between June 29 and August 5, buses will continue to serve the A Line, while B Line trains will take an alternate route that will require passengers to transfer at Ryparken Station. The disruptions are due to bridge renovations on the A and E Lines, as well as the construction of a tunnel near Nordhavn Station.

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.

Visit us online at www.cphpost.dk

Dangerous citizen

A PALESTINIAN man who law enforcement officials consider to be a possible threat to the nation’s security is among the 1,099 people due to be granted citizenship later this year. The man is one of 13 Palestinians on the citizenship list, and rather than alert him to the on-going surveillance, lawmakers have chosen to allow him to be-

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

come a citizen. When the man’s name came up for citizenship last year, it caused a furore among lawmakers, including the former immigration minister, Søren Pind, who used the incident to criticise Denmark’s obligation to provide citizenship to stateless individuals, even if they did not meet the normal requirements for citizenship.

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

Colourbox

THE S-TRAIN commuter rail service switched over to its summer timetable this week and will continue the alternate schedule until August 5. During the period June 11-29, the E Line will not run, while on the A Line, buses will run between Åmarken and Valby stations. A Line trains will also serve the Farum end station

SCANPIX

Colourbox

Summer timetable

Skrig’ review was of ‘ergo ubi NARCISSIUM per devia rura vagantem’, and not ‘Impenetrable songe’ as reported on page 18 last week.

Beginner’s luck

THE NATIONAL Museum and the local historic museum in Vordingborg have uncovered what they describe as a “sensational” find of 16th century coins on the island of Møn. The 350 coins from a period of civil war in Denmark known as the Counts’ Feud were discovered by an amateur treasure hunter, Loke Ried, in May during

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one of his first outings. Most of the treasure hidden away during the two-year conflict was discovered in the 19th century, and this is the first time in nearly a century that such a large find from the period has been made. As a historic item, the treasure is considered state property, but Ried will be granted compensation.

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News

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

15 - 21 June 2012

RAY WEAVER Lawbreakers would be forced to contribute to a victim’s fund under a proposal now before parliament

T

HE GOVERNMENT and its support party, Enhedslisten, have proposed a law that would require lawbreakers to pay a 500 kroner fine that would help establish a fund to assist crime victims. The extra penalty will be tacked on to convictions for a wide range of abuses, including some serious traffic violations. The government projects that the fine could bring in as much as 30 million kroner each year. “This will be a substantial helping hand to victims of crime,” the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), told Politiken newspaper. “They will be able to receive effective advice and guidance to move forward in life after the terrible things they have experienced.” Victims will not be able to get cash directly from the fund. Help will be available in the form of grants for counselling, education and other services. Some money from the fund will be invested in research into victims’ issues. The changes are part of a larger effort

to insure that victims’ rights are placed in front of, or at least on an equal footing with, those of offenders. One of the changes will see courtroom procedure altered from the current practice of allowing the defence to present its case before their accuser is heard from. The new law would reverse that order, or allow the accuser to choose whose case is laid out first. “We would like to move the accuser’s testimony in front of the accused’s,” Pernille Skipper, an Enhedslisten spokesperson, told the media. The new package also includes a provision that would require victims of violent crime to be notified if their attacker will be appearing on television or making any type of major media appearances. This provision was inspired by the case of Marlene Duus, who was savagely beaten with a metal pipe and thrown out of the window of her third floor apartment by her ex-boyfriend, Frank Saksik. Saksik was sentenced to six years in prison for attempted murder, but was released after serving only two. He then secured a trainee position with renowned chef Claus Meyer and was featured in Meyer’s television programme ‘High:Five’, which involves former inmates becoming trainees at his bakeries in Copenhagen. Duus endured over 20 operations and extensive therapy. It took her a year and a half to be able to walk again and

COLOURBOX

Law change to make criminals pay for crime victims

Crime doesn’t pay, and now a conviction could wind up costing

her injuries brought her modelling career to an end. In a commentary in Politiken, she expressed anger that her attacker was being given more opportunities than she was. “We ought to first help the victim and then help the offender. In Denmark, it is sadly the other way around,” Duus wrote. “He has been given a coveted trainee position ahead of many law abiding competitors simply because he is a criminal and needs help. How far should you go to help a man convicted of attempted murder?” Duus told Politiken that she was glad that her ordeal has now helped spur changes in the law.

3

Price of judges’ new robes is offensive, some MPs say THREE YEARS ago, a majority in parliament decided that judges presiding over court proceedings should wear what it called “neutral” robes. Those 650 garments have come in, and so has the final price tag: more than one million kroner – taxes not included. Socialdemokraterne (S), the opposition at the time, had worked to have the robe section of what was a larger bill removed, but ended up voting for the entire package. Members of the current Socialdemokraterne-RadikaleSocialistisk Folkeparti (S-R-SF) government, however, are now wishing that they had dug their heels in against the robes a little deeper. “That is a lot of money to use on something that the judges themselves say they do not want,” Karina Lorentzen, a spokesperson for SF, told Politiken newspaper. “The robes create a distance between people and the legal system.” The idea for the robes came about during a debate on forbidding judges from wearing clothing that could have religious connotations, such as a Muslim headscarf. Supporters believed that religious or politically charged clothing could have an effect in the

courtroom and proposed the robes as a netural garment that could be worn during court proceedings. “The demand for the robes came about when the Dansk Folkeparti created a hypothetical situation in which a Muslim woman appeared on the bench wearing a headscarf,” Pernille Skipper, a spokeserson for Enhedslisten, which voted against the proposal, told Politiken. “They packaged it in with the rest of the bill and decided judges should wear robes.” The cost of the robes did not surprise Ole Hækkerrup, a spokesperson for Socialdemokraterne. “They cost exactly what I feared, and now that they are bought and paid for, it would be a joke if they were not used,” Hækkerup told Politiken. Karsten Lauritzen, a spokesperson for Venstre, said he expected to see judges wearing the robes by August, when the law is due to take effect. “A wide majority agreed to the proposal at the time, and I think that should be respected,” Lauritzen told Politiken. The cost of the robes includes consulting and design fees of half ai million kroner. The robes cost about 675,000 kroner to make. (RW)

RAY WEAVER Failed negotiations with unions and workers have some saying it is time for the prime minister to step down

T

HE GOVERNMENT’S hope of generating an additional 4 billion kroner in tax revenue has been dashed after trade union Dansk Metal declared in a press release that it would not accept fewer bank holidays or reduced holiday times, a key element of the plan. “We could have found the 4 billion kroner”, Bjarne Corydon, the finance minister, told the press. “But that opportunity is gone now.” Negotiations between the government, labour officials and representatives from management got underway at the end of May, but before they even had a chance to gather steam, Dansk Metal announced its unconditional opposition to longer working hours. Corydon had initially sought to continue the talks without Dansk Metal, but chose instead to scuttle the negotiations entirely. He described Dansk Metal’s move as “surprising” and said the government would now be required to harvest the additional funding by cutting spending. “We’re going to continue to follow responsible economic policies. I can assure you that we’re not going to spend more money than we take in.” Henning Jørgensen, a labour relations expert at Aalborg University, was surprised by Corydon’s decision to end the talks. “I cannot understand why a press release is so important,” Jørgensen told epn.dk. “I think the finance minister overreacted.” Politicians and pundits are calling the collapse of the negotiations a major

setback for the government. An editorial in Jyllands-Posten newspaer called the failure “yet another humiliating defeat for the prime minister”, and went on to call for a new general election as soon as possible. Liberal Alliance party leader Anders Samuelsen has said that ThorningSchmidt (Socialdemokraterne) should resign. “It’s time for her to throw in the towel and step down, “Samuelsen said in a release. Public broadcaster DR’s political analyst Jens Ringberg said that although he doesn’t think a new election is in the offing, the government is in trouble. “You do not enter these types of talks for fun. They have dug themselves into a very deep hole,” Ringberg said. Poul Erik Skov, the head of labour union 3F, said that some members have a hard time grasping the government’s contention that the budget can be balanced by cutting holidays and increasing working hours. “It’s clear that people have had difficulty understanding a discussion of increased working hours, when there are so many out of work,” Skov told epn.dk. “Increasing working hours should be discussed when there is a need for labour. That is why one of our demands was for more jobs.” Jørgensen said he thought the talks could still be saved. “It is in the best interest of both the government and the various unions to find an agreement,” he said. Jørgen Steen Madsen, a professor at the Research Center for Occupational and Organisational Studies at the University of Copenhagen, agreed that the talks could be saved. “The three-party talks have historically been marked by crises and disruptions along the way,” Madsen told Politiken newspaper. “It is too early to put the negotiations in the grave.”

ARTIST’S CONCEPTION: 3XN

Government threatens spending cuts

Over 40 design firms competed to work on the new arena, which will feature adjustable interiors for different events

Design selected for Copenhagen arena SHANDANA MUFTI Planned city arena will be given Nordic identity and sustainable design

T

HE FACE of Copenhagen’s new arena was unveiled last week when the designers of the 15,000seat facility in the Ørestad district were selected. At the same time, operators announced that construction was expected to begin in mid-2013 and the arena would open by 2015. The final decision to build the arena was announced in September last year, and more than 40 teams competed to have their design chosen. The winning team, made up of Danish architecture firm 3XN, HKS Architects, Arup, ME Engineers and Planit, was unveiled last week. The 35,000 sqm arena will have a capacity of 12,500 people for sporting

events, and up to 15,000 people for concerts. The design features adjustable interiors to accommodate various events while providing spectators with optimal views. “Our ambition was to create an arena that besides hosting a range of amazing sporting and musical events would also be a catalyst for various local activities for the enjoyment of residents and visitors,” said Kim Herforth Nielsen, the creative director of 3XN. Its design is divided into a plinth, or platform, and a top. The plinth contains various spaces that can be used for recreational purposes. The top is semitransparent and features terracotta fins that surround the building in a wavelike pattern. Terracotta has been used in Denmark throughout history. The selection jury described the winning design as having a “distinct Nordic identity”, and BREEAM, which establishes global standards for sustain-

able design, gave it a “very good” rating. The surrounding areas will be used for recreational activities. It is hoped that the Copenhagen Arena, with a public foyer that can be used for markets and exhibitions, will also become a cultural centre. Realdania, a property investment foundation, and the City Council will each provide 325 million kroner to fund the construction. The Elite Facility Committee, National Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation of Denmark are each expected to make construction and operating grants available. Live Nation, an American entertainment company and the arena’s operator, will also help with financing the arena. The decision to build the arena is part of the City Council’s 2007 decision to pursue initiatives that would give Copenhagen the best urban environment of all the world’s capitals by 2015.


4

Cover story

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

15 - 21 June 2012

Initiative funds integration efforts CHRISTIAN WENANDE

Christian Wenande City Council’s new programme aims to attract and retain highly-skilled foreigners to live and work in Denmark

A

2011 STUDY by the Centre for Economic and Business Research indicated that approximately 20 percent of all expats leave Denmark again within the first two years of arriving. In order to stop that trend, national and local authorities have passed a number of initiatives in recent years aimed at keeping highly skilled foreigners in Denmark for as long as possible. The latest of those initiatives is the City Council’s expat package, which was unanimously passed last month as a continuation of efforts to make it easier for foreigners to transition to life in Denmark. Begun in 2011 and running until at least 2014, the agreement focuses on improving the integration of immigrants in Copenhagen through job programmes and professional and social networks. In all, some 18 million kroner has been set aside to fund the city’s integration efforts in 2013. Claus Aastrup Seidelin, an advisor with Dansk Industri, the nation’s largest business lobby, agreed that the efforts were a step in the right direction, but said much still needs to be done to help foreign professional and their families settle and find work. “One problem is that many immigrants leave Denmark because their spouse has trouble finding a job or is experiencing difficulties settling in,”

Last year’s big hit, free pony rides, will be back at the Children’s Fair this year

Australia’s Nadezhda Matveeva hopes the new expat package will help her find a job in the finance industry

Seidelin said. Another focus area, according to Seidelin, should be foreign students. He argued they should be given more time to find a job after they complete their studies. “Right now, they get six months and then they have to leave. We think they should automatically be handed a green card.” Under the green card programme, foreigners with certain professional skills are permitted to live and seek work in Denmark. One of those taking advantage of the programme is Nadezhda Matveeva, who recently arrived in Copenhagen from Australia. She applied for a green card in order to work in the finance industry here. She felt that the expat package could be

of great assistance. “I think it addresses some key issues that foreigners face when relocating to Denmark,” Matveeva said. “I think meeting Danes can be a bit daunting, and it seems difficult to create a network in the job market as a foreigner. The package is a good start in tackling these dilemmas.” And while the city is making efforts to keep foreign workers who are already here, Seidelin called on the national government to take steps to make it easier to attract the employees companies say they will need in the years to come. “Our need for highly skilled foreigners is not going to wane. How attractive we can be to them as a country has become a measure of global competiveness,” Seidelin said.

2. Copenhagen Host Programme The ‘Copenhagen Host Programme’ matches up new arrivals with Danish volunteers to better integrate them into the social and professional network. The target group incudes temporary and long-term residents. By December 2012, the Copenhagen Host Program will have matched up 150 new arrivals with a volunteer host. Programme organisers are seeking to make more formal agreements with partner organisations, while external funding is being looked at for after 2013. Cost: 1 million kroner a year up until 2013.

be kept informed of services for job seekers. Cost: 1 million kroner a year between 2013 and 2016.

Factfile | Expat package The expat package focuses on four strategies for fostering inclusion in the labour market and is described as contributing to helping non-ethnic Danes finding employment, getting off the unemployment benefits and generally making Copenhagen a more diverse, open and attractive city for foreigners to live in. 1. First Job in Denmark First Job in Denmark seeks to keep highly qualified foreign professionals in Denmark and utilise them as a resource in the labour market. The programme offers six-week courses in Danish and a two-day orientation module in English. In 2011 First Job in Denmark ran 215 courses and 85 percent of course participants are either working or enrolled in studies six months after completing the course. Cost: two million kroner a year between 2013 and 2016.

3. Copenhagen Career Programme The Copenhagen Career Programme seeks to ensure a better reception and retention of expats by focusing on their accompanying spouses and students. By working with educational institutions, unions, companies and other public authorities, the two target groups will

4. Job counselling for green card holders A 2010 study by Rambøll, a consultancy firm, indicated that 28 percent of green card holders are unemployed and 43 percent work in unskilled positions, while only 29 percent use the skills they brought with them. Drawing inspiration from Canada’s Community Bridging Programme, the new plan will provide good and updated information in foreign languages about the labour market, good transition programs and aid for qualifying educational documents, information about courses, as well as enlightening employers about the benefits of having a diverse workforce. Cost: 500,000 kroner a year between 2013 and 2016.

More businesses backing the second Children’s Fair Shandana Mufti Cultural integration and an afternoon of entertainment and activities are on the schedule for The Copenhagen Post’s Children’s Fair on Sunday

F

OLLOWING the success of last year’s inaugural Children’s Fair, The Copenhagen Post is once again organising the event in Valbyparken to help integrate international families into the land of rugbrød and Hans Christian Andersen. At least 1,500 families are expected to attend the free event, where expats and Danes can mingle and get acquainted with a variety of local groups and organisations. The event offers the opportunity to be immersed in aspects of Danish culture that international families may find difficult to become a part of due to their unfamiliarity with Danish social customs. Information about how to meet and befriend Danes may ordinarily be guarded fiercely, but the Children’s Fair advocates nothing more than the open integration of international families into Danish life. Among the event’s sponsors is the Employment Ministry’s Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment, which hopes that through events such as this fair, international families can be encouraged to stay in Copenhagen. In addition to starting dialogues between international families and local organisations, the event also offers the opportunity to meet the civil servants responsible for your safety. Police officers will hold demonstrations with motorcycles and their K9 partners, and to demonstrate how fire-fighting equipment works for those lucky enough to have never experienced an inferno, the fire brigade will hold a demonstration

in the afternoon – complete with helmets for the kids. The event is supported by Spousecare, the Copenhagen Public Library, the Danish Red Cross and the Copenhagen Police and Fire Brigade. Also supporting the fair is Expat in Denmark, an organisation that aims to help expats build strong ties to Denmark, and which is operated by a consortium made up of The Copenhagen Post, the Danish Chamber of Commerce and the Danish Bankers’ Association. ARTStudio ART-n-Me, an old favourite, is returning to The Copenhagen Post’s event with creative workshops to help coax out the Picasso – or Pollock – hidden in your child. The studio currently offers classes in Danish and Russian, but hopes that if enough interest is shown at the fair, Englishspeakers can also be welcomed. “We would like to have groups with different nationalities so that international people can meet,” said Irina Grodzinskaja, who works at the studio. “They can get some benefits by seeing what children from other cultures can do.” Free snacks will be provided throughout the afternoon by The Marriott Hotel Copenhagen, one of the event’s sponsors. Other sponsors include Maersk, McDonald’s and DGI, a sports organisation. Before leaving, visitors should stop by the Copenhagen Public Library’s mobile library and pick up at least one book in Danish – if you’ve signed your child up for any new activities, knowing some basic Danish will only increase the number of new friends he or she can make. For a full list of events and activities on Sunday, please refer to the programme included in the special insert in this newspaper.

Online this week Television reporter attacked in Christiania

Fares to decrease on trains, buses and metro

Hammershøi painting sold for record price

A TV2 REPORTER was assaulted in Christiania, causing a media frenzy throughout the country. The man was in Christiania in connection with the visit of parliament’s legal affairs committee’s visit, which included the somewhat surreal sight of Dansk Folkeparti’s leader, Pia Kjærsgaard, strolling

PUBLIC TRANSPORT fares are set to be reduced by as much as 20 percent under a deal struck by the government, Enhedslisten and Dansk Folkeparti that will increase funding for public transport and improving cycle infrastructure. The biggest reductions will be made for travel on weekends and outside of rush hour,

A PRIVATE art collector has paid 15.75 million kroner for a, 1899 painting by Vilhelm Hammershøi, establishing a new record for Danish painting sold at auction. The painting, ‘Ida læser et brev’ (Ida Reads a Letter), was one of five Hammer-

through the commune. But as it turns out, the reporter also had an alternate motive for being there. Equipped with a hidden camera in his watch, the reporter was trying to film drug sales on Pusher Street – Christiania’s open-air cannabis market. His actions clearly did not go down well with the dealers.

but the agreement also allocates 300 million kroner to support the HyperCard, a pilot programme that provides students with unlimited transportation between school and home for 300 kroner a month. Approximately 285 million kroner will also be spent over the next five years to improve public transport outside urban areas.

shøi paintings sold by Sotheby’s at auction in London – three of them for a higher price than the most expensive Hammershøi painting to date. The previous record was 15.6 million kroner for an Asger Jørn painting sold in 2002.

Read the full stories at cphpost.dk


news

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

15 - 21 June 2012

5

Parliament legalises same-sex marriage Same-sex couples will be able to be married in Danish churches as soon as June 15, while those in civil partnerships will automatically be granted the status of ‘married’

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Y AN 85-24 MARGIN, parliament last week voted to legalise same-sex marriage, putting Denmark on an equal footing with other Scandinavian countries like Iceland and Sweden that allow full marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples. Same-sex couples will be able to marry in the church of their choice, but resistent vicars will not be obliged to perform the weddings. Under the new law, if a vicar declines to perform the service, the couple would be required to find one themselves. New marriage rites were written up by ten of the Church of Denmark’s eleven bishops. A new ceremony was needed after bishops ruled that the current one can only be used to wed heterosexual couples. “One of the biggest differences is the use of terms like ‘couples’ and ‘spouses’, rather than ‘man’ and ‘woman’,” Keld Holm, the bishop of Aarhus, told Berlingske newspaper. “Some biblical stories are also hard to use, like the creation story of one man and one woman, so we have suggested other passages.” Holm stressed that the new rites are only suggestions and that individual vicars can use the Bible as they choose. One of the prayers the bishops included in the new ceremony reads: “Dear God, Heavenly Father. Our lives are in your hand. You follow us through the

days and nights. We thank you for the people we share our life with, for every loving glance, in whose light we have matured, and for each meeting: which has opened the world. We ask you, spread your loving sky above us and strengthen us by your grace, so we never hesitate to put our lives in each other’s hands. Amen.” Although the church minister, Manu Sareen (Radikale), praised the new rites as “beautiful, open and flexible”, some members of the religious community are not convinced. Lise Lotte Rebel, the bishop of Helsingør, said that the new ceremony turns the focus away from God. “They seem to accentuate the romantic notion of love between people. This creates a major theological problem,” Rebel told Jylland’s-Posten newspaper. While same-sex and heterosexual couples will be wed using different rituals, their marriage status will be equal. John Buie, a gay American living in Denmark with his Danish partner (see related story below), is glad that the two ceremonies will grant equal status. “The last time the bishops considered this issue, they created a ritual that they themselves said gave same-sex couples second-class status.” In 1989, Denmark became the first country in the world to allow civil partnerships between couples of the same gender, and with the expected law change, the approximately 4,100 couples in registered partnerships will automatically be granted the status of marriage. Sareen lauded the “historic” law change. “In 1989 people were given the opportunity to register their partnerships at City Hall,” Sareen told Politiken. “But now that we have given them the opportunity to get married, we have lifted

SCASNPIX

ray wEAVER

Same-sex couples in civil partnerships will now automatically be granted the status of ‘married’ in Denmark

the level of equality to a whole new level. Couples of the same sex will be put on the same footing as couples of a different sex and that is a huge change.” Sareen added that allowing vicars to decline to marry same-sex couples meant that parliament was not infringing on the Church of Denmark’s right to make its own theological reading. “We are giving vicars the opportunity to say no. That’s what’s so fantastic about this proposal. On the one hand it allows same sex couples the opportunity to get married,” Sareen said. “But at the same time, we’re reaching out to priests and saying that those who don’t want to wed homosexual couples don’t have to. We recognise that when dealing with

theology, you have to accept there will be different interpretations.” This view was not shared by the Kristendemokraterne (KD) – who currently have no seats in parliament – and who are now threatening to launch a class action law suit against the state. “Parliament is infringing religious freedom and in doing so violates the constitution. That is why we are working on a lawsuit against the state to protect religious freedom and protect people who feel the law infringes their right to practice their faith,” Per Ørum Jørgensen, KD’s chairman, said. Overall, however, support for the legislation was overwhelming, with the prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt

Nuptials ‘upgrade’ pure bliss for same-sex couple RAY WEAVER American-Danish pair hopes allowing homosexuals to marry in churches will end legal limbo

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OHN BUIE is an American living in Denmark. He is a successful entrepreneur, who lives here with his partner. He is also gay, and that means that unlike many other mixed couples, he and his partner, Thomas Justesen, can’t be certain that if they move back to the US, they will be considered legally joined. “Depending on the time of day and where we may be standing, we can never be sure if we are legally married or living in sin,” he chuckled. The two have been together for 14 years and have lived in Denmark on and off since 2005. Their civil partnership was recognised in Denmark in 2007, and they were legally married in California in 2008 during the brief time that the state allowed same-sex marriages. According to Buie, the everchanging rules and laws governing their status in both countries have forced the couple to become “reluctant experts” on marriage issues. “We were married in California because I want my Danish partner to

have the same rights as a straight husband or wife,” said Buie. “I want him to be able to apply for a green card and work in the US if we decide to live there.” Noting that the US federal government does not recognise same-sex marriages, and that only a handful of individual states do, Buie said he and Justesen have not yet tried to apply for an American green card, because there is “no chance” that they will get one. Although some have questioned why it even matters that same-sex couples can get married in the Church of Denmark – an institution that has a chequered history when it comes to gay issues – Buie views it as a positive step. “It rectifies a situation that was simply not Danish,” he said. “Denmark was the first country to recognise civil unions in 1989 and this upgrading of civil unions to marriages completes the process.” Buie said that had the state not taken this step, he and Justesen had discussed going to Sweden to get married. “We wanted a union that would be recognised by the EU,” he said. Buie is an entrepreneur who was in charge of marketing for SuccessFactors, Inc, which is now an SAP company. Justesen graduated from a Danish teacher’s college, is a trained photographer and obtained a master’s

(Socialdemokraterne), also marking the “historic occasion” on her Facebook page. “Today, we allow homosexual couples to enter into marriage on the same footing as any others – something that Socialdemokraterne has fought for, for many years,” Thorning-Schmidt wrote. Among the parties in parliament, only the right-wing Dansk Folkeparti voted against the law, while party leaders from the opposition (Venstre and Konservative) granted their MPs the right to vote according to their conscience. All other parties voted in favour. A full version of the marriage rite (in Danish only) is available on our website.

Editor: no gay marriage pieces on my watch

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John Buie, an entrepreneur, left these shores in the past to marry elsewhere

from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Buie pointed out that the qualifications and education that he and Justesen both possess put them in a better position than many couples – including straight ones – when it comes to negotiating Denmark’s often tricky immigration issues. “We are fortunate. When you come to Denmark as an entrepreneur with a successful business, or are a qualified teacher, you are viewed in an entirely different light,” he said. Buie and Justesen intend to file the paperwork required to “upgrade”

their civil union to a marriage as soon as it is possible to do so. They also plan to continue working on their status as a couple in the US. “We want to make people aware of the issues facing a bi-nationality gay couple,” said Buie. “Sometimes there is a real sense of exile.” Denmark has become the latest country to approve same-sex marriage. The law, which takes effect on June 15, was passed by an overwhelming majority in parliament. The new law also covers weddings that will be held in the Church of Denmark.

REBEN ESKILDSEN, the editor and owner of the Jutland newspaper Vesthimmerlands Folkeblad, circulation 10,000, said he will not publish any articles about same-sex marriage. Christian Roar Pedersen, a vicar and spokesperson for the Aalborg diocese, emailed newspapers in northern Jutland, urging them to write about the new marriage rights for gay couples. Pedersen shared Eskildsen’s response with tv2nord.dk, in which he said: “I can write whatever the hell I want to about gay marriage, but it is wrong and I will not waste space on it.” “It’s a big problem if members of the press decide not to write about certain topics,” Pedersen told tv2nord.dk. “It is a problem for democracy that he will not write about what he disagrees with.” Pedersen was especially troubled by Eskildsen’s suggestion that the church minister, Manu Sareen (Radikale) – who was born in India – should “go back where he came from”. “I felt his comment bordered on being racist, and I didn’t like it, so I decided to come forward,” said Pedersen. Eskildsen said that, as the newspaper’s owner, he has the right to refuse to write about topics he does not support. (RW)


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News

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

15 - 21 June 2012

‘Differences of opinion’ are emerging over assisted suicide

JYLLANDS-POSTEN Once unanimous in opposition, advisory group is now divided over making it legal to help people take their own lives

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FTER COMING out decisively against assisted suicide twice previously in the past 25 years, parliament’s independent panel of ethics experts now appears to be divided on the issue. The panel, Etisk Råd, which is responsible for advising parliament on ethical issues related to health and biotechnology, reopened discussion about assisted suicide during its monthly meeting in May, and in contrast to 1997 and 2003, members reportedly had “differences of opinion”. “We’ve got a heated debate going,” Jakob Birket, the panel’s chairman, said. “But our differences are useful because they allow us to come to a conclusion that society at large can discuss.” In the 2003 debate, Etisk Råd voted unanimously against assisted suicide. In the 1997 discussion, 16 of its 17 members voted against. Birkler’s own opinion is that the terminally ill should be actively assisted in their final

days, but said that didn’t extend to helping them take their own lives. “When someone is dying, we should administer palliative care, psychological care and therapeutic care, but we also need to consider that it’s a person who is dying. We can’t take shortcuts. Assisted suicide isn’t just another form of care.” Mickey Gjerris, another panel member and a professor of bioethics at the University of Copenhagen, argued in favour of the practice. “We need to help people to live and to die,” he said. “It’s

We need to help people to live and to die rare that we need to kill people, but I could imagine situations where it’s the right thing to do. And if that’s the case, you need to do it, because it’s the lesser of two evils.” Instead of supporting a legalisation of assisted suicide, however, Gjerris suggested allowing the courts to acquit individuals charged with violating laws in such cases, if they believed they were acting in the

deceased’s best interests. “You ought to help and then stand by what you did. We as a society should be willing try and understand the situation and look at the facts. You shouldn’t necessarily punish people for doing it though.” He points out that there can be a difference between “what’s ethically correct and what’s legally correct”. Both sides in the debate express concern that legalising suicide could result in people being pressured into requesting assisted suicide. They also worry that doctors and nurses would be left to make the final decision. “Why doctors though? They’re aren’t trained to kill. They’re trained to keep people alive. It goes against the very essence of being a doctor,” Birkelund said. That position is one doctors themselves support. “It’s never been a doctor’s role to take people’s lives,” said Poul Jaszczak, the chairman of the Danish Medical Association’s ethics committee. “I would fear that doctors would become hangmen, which would be utterly at odds with what a doctor expects his role to be.” Etisk Råd expects its discussion about assisted suicide to continue in the coming months.

Sponsor denies promoting alcohol to kids Christian Wenande Advertisement board agrees that top football club has been marketing its alcohol-producing sponsor at children’s events

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LCOHOL WATCHDOG Alkohol & Samfund is accusing FC Copenhagen, one of Danish professional sport’s most visible teams, of promoting alcohol to children at schools and on the internet by organising a programme in which players visit schools in Greater Copenhagen to sign autographs and have their pictures taken with children. But according to Alkohol & Samfund, the problem is that FC Copenhagen’s main sponsor, beverage giant Carlsberg, is best known for its beers. The organisation argues that by posting pictures and videos of the school visits where the Carlsberg logo can

been seen, the team and the brewery are violating laws preventing the marketing of alcoholic beverages to children. “In the years I’ve been monitoring the marketing of alcohol, I’ve never before seen it directly promoted in primary schools,” Johan Damgaard Jensen, the head of Alkohol & Samfund, told Politiken newspaper. “It seems very aggressive to seek out the children in such a direct manner.” But Carlsberg, which has sponsored FC Copenhagen since 1999, and who is a major sponsor of football nationally and internationally – including the ongoing Euro 2012 – disagreed with the allegations. “Carlsberg sponsors FC Copenhagen. As a result, the name of the company is written on the jerseys so it’s not that we are out making commercials for our alcohol products,” Jens Bekke, of Carlsberg, told Politiken.

Both FC Copenhagen and Carlsberg have been reported to Alkoholreklamenævnet, a body that makes non-binding decisions in cases concerning the illegal marketing of alcohol (ten times in recent years) but they continue their practices, despite being told to change. “It hasn’t been a problem to get verdicts in our favour,” Jensen said. “The issue has been that FC Copenhagen and Carlsberg have failed to adhere to the decisions of Alkoholreklamenævnet.” In 2007, the advertisement board warned Carlsberg to be extra vigilant with the team’s use of the Carlsberg logo, particularly in situations where children could be influenced. And in March, they ruled against FC Copenhagen and Carlsberg because there were pictures on the team’s website of players drinking beer from oversize beer glasses with the Carlsberg logo on them.

The downpour last summer was one of the heaviest ever, resulting in at least five billion kroner of damage

2.5 billion promised to tackle heavy rain PETER STANNERS Councils’ 2013 budget to allow for extensive investments in improving flood-prevention infrastructure, potentially creating 3,000 jobs

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AST JULY, Copenhagen suffered five billion kroner of damage when a heavy downpour deposited about 150 millimetres of rain in three hours, turning roads into canals and flooding basements across the city. Afterwards it was agreed that massive investments were needed in order to improve how the city copes with sudden heavy downpours that are expected to increase in frequency as a result of climate change. This was a high priority in the government’s recent negotiations with councils regarding their 2013 budgets that ended on Sunday with an agreement to find an extra 2.5 billion kroner to invest in climate adaptation measures. The problems caused by downpours extend across council borders, so it was agreed that the responsibility for upgrading the water infrastructure should be entrusted with the water companies, who would increase their rates to finance it. As a result, homeowners in Copenhagen will end up paying an extra 50 kroner a month in rates to the company responsible for handling their waste water, which for most councils in the Greater Copenhagen region is Dansk Energi.

Copenhagen’s deputy mayor for the environment, Ayfer Baykal, argued that the cost was minimal compared to the 7,000 kroner annual cost paid by an average household and 4,000 kroner paid by apartment owners to have their waste water treated. The investments would also protect thousands of homes from flooding, thereby reducing insurance premiums. “We cannot tolerate another two downpours because we won’t be able to pay the insurance premiums,” Baykal told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. Last Friday the government passed a law to reduce the bureaucracy and make it easier for water companies to develop and change local plans in order to make the necessary investments for the purposes of climate adaptation. The law also allowed the water companies to extend their council-guaranteed loans from 25 to 40 years that, according to the association of local councils, Kommunes Landsforening (KL), would soften the blow to homeowners. “It will reduce the size of payments made by residents,” KL’s chairman, Erik Nielsen, told Jyllands-Posten. According to the Environment Ministry, the range of investments to tackle excess rain water will create 3,000 jobs. “Building can now begin,” environment minister Ida Auken wrote in a press release. “The government’s climate adaptation deal will create 3,000 green jobs all over the country while also solving the challenge

posed by heavy rain and sky bursts.” KL’s chairman identified several different measures that could be adopted to better tackle excess rainwater, from building higher curbs so that roads can become canals, as well as using parks and football fields as reservoirs. In Copenhagen, København’s Energi has laid out a strategy for how it hopes to minimise the impact of excess rainwater. In an article in the trade journal danskVAND, the company identifies three strategies for dealing with heavy downpours. The first is a new approach to dealing with sewers when they become full of water. Traditionally, the water is kept inside the sewage system in order to prevent the harbour becoming polluted. Now, however, two sewage reservoirs will empty into the harbour once they have reached a critical level to allow more water in from Vesterbro and Frederiksberg. Investments will also be made to better channel surface water away from low-lying areas of the city and towards natural reservoirs such as parks and football fields as well as out toward the sea. København Energi also wants to invest in a better monitoring of water levels in order to more exactly target problem areas and warn residents of critically high water levels. But they also hope that residents will assist them by using a smartphone app that will enable them to send photos of their observations of water levels around the city.

Online this week Government wants more control over armed forces THE MILITARY’S senior defence command, Forsvarskommandoen, is set to be dismantled and integrated into the Defence Ministry’s civilian structure, announced the defence minister, Nick Hækkerup. “The government has decided it is time to modernise the leadership of the armed forces,” Hækkerup told

the press. “We want to accomplish this by integrating civilian and military leadership.” The changes are part of a larger reorganisation aimed at saving 3 billion kroner in overall defence spending and follow a government audit last year that was sharply critical of the military’s financial management.

Farmers to reap severe penalties for illegal pesticide use MORE CONTROL, stiffer fines and greater self-regulation. That’s what renegade farmers are set to harvest if they continue using banned products. There has been a fierce political reaction in the wake of revelations that criminal importers are supplying Danish farmers with illegal pesticides

and fertiliser that harm the environment and ground water. The environment minister, Ida Auken (Socialistisk Folkeparti), said that she finds it completely unreasonable that some farmers are partaking in activities that compromise the environment, ecosystem and the public’s health.

Metro reported to police after noise complaints THE FIRM building the new 18-station extension of the Metro has been reported to the police by the City Council for working outside of permitted hours and now risks getting a 50,000 kroner fine. According to metroXpress newspaper, the council has docu-

mented that Copenhagen Metro Team has exceeded the afterhours noise limit of 70 decibels. Copenhagen Metro Team, owned jointly by Salini and Ansaldo, two Italian companies, is not allowed to work past 7pm on weekdays or 6pm on Saturdays.

Read the full stories at cphpost.dk


News

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

15 - 21 June 2012

Minister supports human rights and the Dynamite PETER STANNERS Culture minister Uffe Elbæk spent several hours on Saturday speaking to political activists in the Ukraine ahead of Denmark’s Euro 2012 game

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OES BEING the guest of the Ukrainian government during Euro 2012 condone that government’s imprisonment and torture of political opponents? This question weighed heavily on European ministers ahead of the competition that started last week on Friday, with many choosing to stay away as a sign of their disapproval. But while the culture minister, Uffe Elbæk (Radikale), chose to make the journey, he spent three hours on Saturday, ahead of Denmark’s first fixture against the Netherlands, meeting with political activists. Tatjana Mazur, the head of human rights group Amnesty Ukraine, told Information newspaper that after the meeting she appreciated Elbæk taking time to meet them. “They listened to our concerns and it was obvious they were both touched and moved by what they had heard,” Mazur said. “The ministers were asking what they could do to help.” Elbæk met with a wide range of political activists, including the lawyer for jailed opposition leader Julija Tymosjenko, representatives from gay and lesbian organisations, political activists who claim to have been subjected to torture, the Ukrainian Helsinki Union for Human Rights, as well as employees of a local TV station that had been closed by the authorities. After the meeting Elbæk

said it had been evident that the activists appreciated that he had taken the time for the meetings. “It was clearly very important for the torture victims to tell their stories and feel listened to by the wider world,” Elbæk told Information. “It’s one thing is reading reports, but another to stand face to face with people who had been abused, sometimes with electric shocks.” After the meetings, Elbæk attended the football match, but declined the invitation to watch the game from the VIP lounge and instead chose to sit with fans. “I and the Danish government have decided that I won’t be sitting in the VIP lounge but with the audience because there is a risk that by being in the VIP lounge it will be interpreted as support for the system,” Elbæk told Politiken before heading to the Ukraine. A majority of Danish MPs, including Per Stig Møller (Kon-

I won’t be sitting in the VIP lounge servative) and Lykke Friis (Venstre), opposed Elbæk’s attendance. “You send a signal that you legitimise the regime by going,” Friis told Politiken. “You cannot compromise on human rights. You have to stay away and that is what the majority of EU countries have done.” British, French and German ministers have all said they had no plans to attend the games. But while the Dutch sports minister had first declined to attend, he attended the meetings with Elbæk on Saturday.

Speak softly and forget the stick, China experts warn ahead of president’s visit KEVIN MCGWIN Experts are advising a cautious approach as Hu Jintao becomes China’s first head-of-state ever to visit Denmark this week

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STABLISHING a good relationship during Hu Jintao’s visit will have more benefits down the road than a confrontational approach here and now, the government is being told on the eve of Chinese president Hu Jintao’s visit. Hu will be staying in Denmark for three days, from June 14-16, making him the first Chinese head-of-state to visit Denmark and giving business leaders and political decisionmakers ample opportunity to establish a rewarding relationship with their Chinese counterparts. PM Helle ThorningSchmidt will be keen to discuss several topics with the Chinese delegation, notably issues that pertain to the economic co-operation between the two countries, environmental dilemmas and the oft-criticised human rights situation in China. But the primary goal for Thorning-Schmidt and co will be to promote Danish business interests to China - something that can potentially have a massive impact on the stagnant Danish economy. “The large Chinese companies pay attention to where the leaders of the country look to,” Karsten Dybvad, who is the managing director of Dansk Industri, a business lobby group, wrote on the organisation’s website. “That’s why the visit is an obvious opportunity to

ISS active in illegal Israeli settlements PETER STANNERS Outsourcing firm criticised for breaking corporate social responsibility pledges by operating in a conflict area

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OPENHAGEN-based ISS provides a range of services to settlements in the Golan Heights and the West Bank that are considered illegal by the United Nations. According to investigative organisation DanWatch, ISS acknowledged that it provides cleaning, pest control and security services to the illegal settlements, though it denies that it is doing anything wrong. “ISS believes that one can work in the West Bank and in Golan without being part of a conflict or discussion of territorial rights,” Kenth Kærhøg, a spokesperson for ISS, told DanWatch, adding: “ISS usually does not operate in conflict areas.”

Experts and politicians disagree, however, arguing that the illegal settlements are providing fuel to the on-going conflict between Israel and the Palestinian authority. “The private security companies are part of a strategy to lower the Israeli military profile in the West Bank to normalise the settlements,” Jeff Halper, the co-founder and co-ordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, an organisation with expertise on West Bank infrastructure, told DanWatch. “Part of that process is privatisation, including security. So whether you are involved in perimeter security or securing private companies, you are a part of the normalisation of settlements.” MEP Margrete Auken also argued that the presence of ISS harmed the peace process, and that the company violated its pledge to act in a responsible manner, which it agreed to by

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signing the UN Global Compact, a set of guidelines on corporate governance. “It would be beneficial for the peace process if decent international companies signalled that they would not operate in settlements,” Auken told DanWatch. “ISS is not contributing to the credibility of UN Global Compact if it operates in settlements, while being blind and deaf to what is going on.” Danish-British security firm G4S has also been criticised for operating in illegal settlements, though it has promised to end its work once the contracts run out between 2012 and 2015. Denmark has taken a hard line on Israel’s illegal settlements. This May, Villy Søvndal, the foreign minister, announced that supermarkets would soon be able to sign up to a voluntary labelling scheme so consumers could identify products produced in illegal settlements.

get the Chinese talking about Denmark and to view Denmark as an attractive country they can invest in.” The unfortunate state of a Danish economy yearning for investment can provide the perfect bargaining chip for the Chinese as they pursue interests in Greenland and the Arctic areas. China has already invested heavily in Greenland and is looking to reap some benefits from the receding Arctic ice for shipping purposes and the 10 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil resources that are estimated to exist there. “China is looking to the Scandinavian nations for support in their application to get status as a permanent observer in the Arctic Council,” Anne-Marie Brady, a lecturer at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, told website Kinablog. “So it is no coincidence that first Iceland, Sweden and now Denmark are visited by high-level politicians from China.” To this end, China has had four expeditions to Greenland and the Arctic, established a research outpost in Svalbard in northern Norway and has constructed an icebreaker vessel. But the cooled relationship with Norway means that China must acquire the support of the other Scandinavian nations in an attempt to realise its Arctic aspirations. And the visit of Hu to Denmark is neither trivial nor coincidental, because as small as Denmark is geographically, it is significant in many fields, including sustainable energy technology, the pharmaceutical industry and food products.

Copenhagen will see a few of these over the next week

China is particularly interested in sustainable energy in a bid to combat its increasing pollution issues, medicine to deal with health problems such as the sharp rise of diabetics as the country develops, and Danish food products such as dairy and pigs, which are favourite sources of food in China. “In Denmark we have strong competencies within energy and resource-effective technologies, which the Chinese need as part of their transformation into a more sustainable economy,” Dybvad wrote. “But there’s massive potential for the drug and food industries in the Chinese market something the visit can cater to.” Aside from the business and environmental arenas, another topic that the Danes would want talks steered towards is China’s embattled human rights record. But that theme must be approached

more gingerly, according to Xing Li, a lecturer and researcher at Aalborg University. “A Chinese leader has never before visited Denmark and that’s why we should utilise the chance to build a bridge between the nations,” Li told Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper. “They need to look at economic co-operation and then human rights can be discussed at a later time.” And Denmark could easily face economic ramifications for rubbing China up the wrong way. After Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese human rights activist won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, the relationship between China and Norway cooled considerably. With Denmark appearing to be back in China’s good books after the then PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen met with the Dalai Lama in 2009, this meeting may not present the ideal opportunity for a country with a moribund economy to challenge China’s suspect human rights track record.


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OPINION

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

One nation, without God The right to marry in church is a good step towards giving homosexuals equal status, but requiring that all marriages start as civil unions would be a better start

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HEN THE debate about homosexual marriages cropped up last year around this time, polls showed that the majority of Danes – 69 percent – favoured equal marriage rights regardless of sexual orientation. Bishops were slightly more sceptical, but the majority – 60 percent – said same-sex couples should also have the right to be wed in the Church of Denmark. With the people and the clergy behind it, it is only natural that the legislature, now in the hands of a progressive-minded government, was pushed through last week to approve gay marriages. Among those applauding the measure were certainly many homosexuals couples who were finally granted the same religious freedom heterosexual couples enjoy. Others were probably pleased simply because it kicked down one more discriminatory door. But while some homosexuals were cheering, it isn’t certain they all were. Polls among homosexuals themselves last year showed an even greater split in attitudes than among the population as a whole. For many, the idea of being recognised in the eyes of the state institution was attractive, but many also said they were turned off by a debate about the rights of homosexuals in the Church of Denmark that they felt was dominated by right-orientated, conservative ministers who are overly focused on marriage. The sentiment seemed to be if they don’t want us, then we don’t want them either. With the passage of the law permitting same-sex marriage, the clergy has in all haste composed a new marriage rite for homosexual ceremonies devoid of any of the Biblical references to marriage as an institution involving a man and a woman. The question then is whether the existence of two different rites will have some people, particularly among the most conservative groups, viewing the homosexual unions as unequal to heterosexual marriages. Rather than trying to force equality on the church, equality-minded lawmakers here in Denmark should have looked to France, where couples must register with their council authorities prior to being allowed to wed in the church. Applying the same thinking in Denmark could have made civil unions the marital standard for all – regardless of sexual preference, creed or nationality. Those that chose to garnish their nuptials with a religious ceremony would still have had a free hand to do so, but whether they chose to do so or not wouldn’t have left them with a martial status that was any more or less worthy in the eyes of the state or society as a whole.

Denmark’s only English-language newspaper

15 - 21 June 2012

Greenland at a crossroads SERMITSIAQ

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ALIINA Abelsen, Greenland’s finance minister, had reason to be pleased when she presented parliament with the final tally of the country’s expenditure and revenue in 2011. It turns out that Greenland had a surplus of 49 million kroner last year. The reason: oil exploration, just as it did in 2010, generated far more revenue than expected. Some 10 million kroner of this extra money has already been invested in the healthcare service as part of efforts to reduce waiting times for medical treatment. Another 14 million kroner has been spent on student housing in a number of towns. Abelsen’s figures show that oil and minerals are good for the country’s finances, despite the fact that not even a drop of oil has been pumped up to the surface yet. We can only imagine how much money projects such as the planned aluminium smelter in Maniitsoq, the iron mine in Isuakasia, and oil production off the west coast will bring in once they become fully operational. But there is a flipside to every coin – even those that are made of pure gold. Even though foreign mining companies have had their eyes on Greenland’s natural resources for years, we’re only just now starting the discussion about the impact this will have. Better late than never, though. Among those expressing concern is SIK, a trade union. For years, the union has fought to ensure that Greenlanders were paid the same wage as foreign employees recruited to work in Greenland temporarily. Now, though, the

Christiania’s resurgent cannabis trade marred by intimidation

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In Greenland, the way to Beijing or Shanghai is not clearly marked

us that meeting the challenges the social welfare state will face in the years to come will require us to find new sources of income to replace Denmark’s 300 billion kroner annual block grant and to decrease our reliance on dwindling fishing stocks. Mining is the most obvious choice, but it would also require Greenland to face reality. No matter how we approach the issue of social dumping, we’re going to wind up with difficult choices. We don’t have the manpower to build a smelter, an iron mine or oil rigs, yet at the same time the number of Chinese workers we’re going to need – even if they are here for only a couple of years – would have a profound impact on a country of just 56,000 inhabitants spread out over the world’s largest island. The debate in Greenland’s parliament failed to bring us any closer to a decision about whether

we should accept aluminium producer Alcoa’s ultimatum that we allow the company to use underpaid Chinese workers if it is to build its smelter here, and some in parliament have begun to get cold feet as the deadline for an answer approaches. Those parties that oppose social dumping neglect to tell us how else we can build the mines or the infrastructure to support them. Likewise, those parties that say we should open this Pandora’s box haven’t said how we’re going to move on after we lose our innocence. We need to choose our steps carefully. Otherwise, we risk being run down by globalisation. For a small nation on the edge of the Earth, hanging on to the tail of a dragon can be a dangerous business. Sermitsiaq is a weekly newspaper/ website based in Nuuk, Greenland.

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tables have been turned – mining companies want to hire workers from low-wage countries, including China, to build Greenland’s infrastructure and work in its mines, for less pay than Greenlanders would demand. Is it okay for us, now that the money has started to flow, to put other countries in the same situation we once found ourselves in? Jess G Berthelsen, the SIK president, had a clear answer: “If SIK accepts this, we accept discrimination. We don’t accept discrimination, and we’re going to continue the fight for equal pay for equal work.” Others, though, took a different view of the situation. Michael Rosing, an MP for Demokraterne, questioned whether the term ‘social dumping’, which many have begun to use to describe the practice of importing low-wage workers, applied in this case. “We don’t approve of social dumping, but when Chinese labourers would be getting paid three times as much as they would in their home country, then we question whether you can actually call this social dumping – even if it is far less than what a Greenlander would be paid for the same work.” Rosing said that the focus should be on work conditions rather than wages. “The real problem emerges when Chinese workers don’t have the same rights as Greenlanders, or if they face lower standards for work safety or housing, or if they don’t have the right to speak out against an employer without risking being fired.” Both points of view sound reasonable, but unfortunately they are mutually exclusive, and that puts Greenland at a crossroads. We can’t maintain the status quo. Experts have already told

“If we legalised it, the gangsters would soon be out of business because they wouldn’t be able to compete.” That’s the thinnest argument ever. Criminals wouldn’t have to pay for premises, pay any taxes, could source cannabis from wherever they like and don’t have to play by any rules. In what way would they “not be able to compete”? Shufflemoomin by website You’re missing the point. There is a mark-up in the region of several thousand percent on illegal drugs because of the risk involved in growth/manufacture, transportation and the sale of the substances in question. Take away that illegality and the price goes down because there isn’t any risk attached to it. Think before you post. Jasocol by website Maybe you should think. The mark-up is made by drug importers who squeeze every cent out of their business. The same men-

tality would exist in the minds of anyone involved in the legal production of drugs. Plus there would be tax and VAT added to things, operating costs for retail businesses etc. I doubt legalisation would make any difference whatsoever to the price paid. In fact, the cost could even go up, particularly when local growers begin producing top quality strains that are far superior to the rubbish stuff Danes import from Morocco. Nesby by website Council accused of using violence against child Some people did a deplorable thing, and hopefully they will be punished for it, and the system that allowed it to happen tightened up. Not relevant to this case, perhaps, but social workers are often in a bad situation – not willing to take children away from parents, but not willing to leave a child at risk. Making a bigger point about ‘this society’ etc seems a bit of a stretch. Bad people do bad things – trying to

see that through the lens of ‘Danish behaviour’ is not really appropriate. TheAuthorities by website Except this is still the same nation that experimented with national socialism in the 1930s1940s, officially supported the Nazi occupation via a puppet government, and even volunteered in large numbers to man the German Waffen-SS. It took selfless patriots during that period to make a difference and keep the harsh brush-stroke of history from totally maligning Denmark. What is seen in this video, especially with the docile police presence, is no less than what happened when the Gestapo attempted to round up Danish Jews. Some resisted, some played along – far too many of the latter. These so-called police officers are undeserving of wearing their badges and should be summarily dismissed from the police force, and in my opinion prevented from occupying any civil service job in Denmark. Their negligent and cowardly remissions of duty

are a discredit to themselves, their force and their nation. Ditto for the social workers. Harsh aye? Get over it. SNCO by website Terror suspects guilty of planned Jyllands-Posten attack When far-left white people were recently convicted of terrorism, the Copenhagen Post reported them as “ethnic Danes”. But when Muslims are convicted of terrorism, Copenhagen Post reports “Swedish citizens”. Come on Copenhagen Post, what’s their ethnic background? Why report the ethnic background of one group of terrorists, but not another? Leofwin by website From what I read on the BBC news website, the nationalities of some of the guys isn’t known or revealed. Swedish citizenship is a known fact, so reported, just like the ethnicity of these other terrorists you talk of. A bit of a nonissue to be honest. Jeg_er by website


OPINION

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

15 - 21 June 2012

9

Still Adjusting BY JUSTIN CREMER 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, struggling with the Danish language and keeping up with the everchanging immigration rules. Follow him at twitter.com/justincph

Summertime odds and (rear) ends COLOURBOX

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AAH, SUMMERTIME. Well, what passes for summertime here in Denmark anyway. Despite what my thermometer says, the calendar says June. That means the Euro 2012 tournament is here – for those of you into that sort of thing – the Roskilde Festival is just around the corner and the tourists are pouring in by the boatload. One of the first takeaways of tourists and newcomers alike, myself included, is that people in Copenhagen look really, really good. At the risk of landing myself in the doghouse at home, the city seems to have an unfair share of beautiful women. Being secure in my own masculinity, I can also say that even the men here are a damn good-looking, if overly groomed, lot. Seen from the outside looking in, Denmark is viewed as being home to nothing but tall, blonde beauties. It’s easy to see why, especially at this time of year. Now that the long, cold winter has finally given way to warmer weather, and the layers of trendy clothing have been replaced by copious amounts of flesh, it’s hard to deny that this is a nation – particularly in the Copenhagen area – that appears to be populated by rather attractive people. But that Denmark enjoys the international reputation of being a land of hot, blonde Vikings can only be explained by the fact that the world at large hasn’t had the privilege of visiting Lalandia. I, on the other hand, visited the Jutland waterpark recently, which is located in the town of Billund and just down the road from Legoland. While both places provided top-notch family entertainment and are certainly worth a visit, Lalandia firmly put to rest the notion that Denmark is immune from the obesity epidemic that’s infected most of the

Quick – is that an American or a Dane? Just as likely to be either, really

Western world. This isn’t just to take a cheap jab at the Danes (I do enough of that in my free time), but as someone who is repeatedly confronted with Danes’ stereotypes towards my own country as being home to nothing but fast-food scoffng, colaswilling fatties, I’d like to invite Danes to look in the mirror and examine the hard facts. Recent figures from the national health institute Statens Institut for Folkesundhed (SIF) show that 46.5 percent of Danes over the age of 16 are overweight, and the number of Danes classi-

fied as obese has doubled since 1987. Yes, the figures are worse in the United States, but if the trends in Denmark continue, they may not be for long. It’s disheartening, really. If there are so many overweight people in a country where everyone supposedly bikes to work – that is, when they’re not riding their high horse about how healthy their staples of rugbrød and leverpostej are – what real hope is there for the rest of us? Superhighway ON THE TOPIC of cycling, I tried out the first of the Copenhagen area’s

bicycle superhighways the other day (see page 10 for more details). The route, officially called Albertslundruten, took me through Copenhagen’s Vestegn region on clearly-marked, picturesque trails and deposited me into the heart of the city. The superhighway initiative, a collaboration between 19 local authorities in the Greater Copenhagen area, deserves kudos. While I’m lucky enough to live relatively close to the first completed trail, eventually there will be 26 routes collectively measuring nearly 300 kilometres. My 23km journey took me well over an hour – I’m a pretty slow biker – so

I doubt it will be something I do more than on an occasional basis. But it is a tremendous option to have, and the groups behind the superhighway project should be commended for their efforts. One of the stated goals of the superhighways is to increase the number of people in Greater Copenhagen cycling to work from the current 37 percent of commuters to 50 percent by 2015. In addition to the environmental and traffic benefits that would provide, it’s also got to help somewhat in the obesity battle. Summertime FINALLY, on the topic of summer, we are just three issues away from The Copenhagen Post’s scaled-back summer version. And I, personally, am scaling back even further. By the time you read this, I will be on paternity leave, not to return to my position as news editor until midAugust. I have no doubts that my colleagues will do just fine in my absence, but I will probably miss being a part of the weekly cycle of putting together The Post. However, I am really looking forward to the opportunity to bond with my daughter and get a temporary break from work. We have some exciting things in store for this space at the end of the summer: primarily, the expansion of our CPH Post Voices columnists from five to ten. I feel confident that with the new additions, we’ll be able to offer more varied insights into life in Denmark: the good, the bad and the ugly. Until then, here’s hoping that the sun graces us with its appearance, that you get out there on your bike and that if you should find yourself at Lalandia, you’ll be duly prepared for the myth of the attractive Danes to be shattered. Good summer!

CPH POST VOICES

‘TO BE PERFECTLY FRANK’

‘MACCARTHY’S WORLD’

‘THE LYNCH REPORT’

‘PERNICKETY DICKY’

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?

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.”


10 NEWS

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

15 - 21 June 2012

A super, if not perfect, alternative JUSTIN CREMER The Copenhagen Post puts the first ‘cycle superhighway’ to the test

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European Parliament president Martin Schulz hopes that Denmark will return to the negotiating table to reconsider the situation

Border control continued from front page

Riding along Albertslundruten into the city, there is plenty to see on the way

to blame for the changes to Schengen that were supported by all 27 EU members. He did express dissatisfaction with the result, however. “We have a system with two political chambers,” Schulz said according to Berlingske. “With this decision one chamber is excluding the other. I hope that Denmark will reconsider the situation and return to the negotiating table.” The EU home affairs commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, was also disappointed by the outcome. “A year ago there was anger when a member state decided to close its borders unilaterally,” Malmström told Berlingske. “Now we’re building a system in which you can do it without it being a major problem. It concerns me deeply.”

AIR 2012 F S N’ ’

GEN P OST

  HA

ney took nearly an hour and a half, though that could have been cut down a bit if we hadn’t had to stop and change clothing a few times along the way. Heading out at around 8am, we were initially too cold and needed an extra jacket, only to be too hot and sweaty a little later. We also opted for a midride banana break and our bikes weren’t exactly great. If it sounds like we’re making excuses, we are. Did it live up to its promise? Mostly. There were, however, times when we biked along main roads (the stretch along Fabriksparken was especially brutal) and had to stop at traffic lights. For the most part, though, the route was scenic and fairly flat with ample opportunities to stop and take in the view along the way. Final verdict? Biking 23km isn’t something you’d probably want to do every day, but it’s great to have the option. The folks behind Cykelsuperstier point to the experience in London, where the addition of superhighways led to a 200 percent increase in the number of cyclists. Once the Copenhagen area project reaches its completion, we have no doubt that here too more people will opt for their bicycles rather than their cars or public transportation. As it stands now, though, our particular route was just a bit too far to be practical for commuting. We took the train home.

The border controls would be able to be introduced for six months at a time with extensions that could last up to two years. “There must be no weak links in the chain when it comes to illegal migration,” Bødskov told the media after last week’s vote. “Steps need to be taken quickly if Schengen co-operation is under threat.” What has upset MEPs is that ministers also voted to downgrade the influence of the European Parliament in decision making over Schengen. But while MEPs are claiming it was a move to deliberately sideline the parliament, Bødskov argued it was a purely legal move that had no political motivations. Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, acknowledged that Denmark was not solely

CHILDR E EN TH

HEN THE AREA’S first ‘cycle superhighway’ was opened for traffic earlier this year, it was accompanied by a marketing campaign that featured two neighbours heading off to work at the same time, one in a car and one on a bike. As the one behind the wheel gets frustrated as he sits at red lights and fights traffic, his two-wheeled colleague rides gleefully and effortlessly along, beating his driving friend to work by a wide margin. But do the superhighways live up to their promise? The Copenhagen Post mounted the iron horse to find out. What is it? The Cykelsuperstier project is a joint initiative by 20 area councils that have joined forces to provide cyclists with more appealing commuting options. Currently, only one leg of the superhighways is open, but ultimately it will consist of 26 routes in the Greater Copenhagen area that collectively measure around 300 kilometres. The entire project is estimated to cost somewhere between 413 and 875 million kroner, depending on which routes ultimately get created. Where did you ride? The Copenhagen Post tested out the first opened route, Albertslundruten, which runs through Copenhagen’s Vestegn area, through to Frederiksberg and on to Vesterport Station. How was it? Not sure what to expect, we headed out in search of the superhighway. What we found was that, rather than new trails, the superhighway consists of previously-existing trails that have been clearly marked with signage and orange paint. During our 23km journey into the Copenhagen Post’s Kødbyen office, we never once lost our way. A thick orange strip told us where to turn, and when the trails crossed over junctions or housing estates, the orange strip was replaced by orange circular ‘C’s painted at regular intervals. Despite a few 20-30 second gaps where we cycled without being sure if we had gone astray, the way was clearly marked. One could see, however, that this will require constant upkeep, as many of the markings had already nearly completed vanished, despite the superhighway just opening a few months ago. Was it hard? Even those who are used to cycling and in good shape would find that cycling over 20km is physically exerting. Especially, as is so often the case in Denmark, when you are cycling against the wind. The jour-

THE COPEN

2012   THE CHILDREN’S FAIR

SUNDAY 17 JUNE AT 14 - 17 AT VALBYPARKEN


THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

15- 21 June 2012

11

From the Med to the Cape, the hall was alive with the sound of Africa PHOTOS BY HASSE FERROLD WORDS BY BEN HAMILTON

Frederiksberg City Hall was the place to be on 25 May for Africa Day, an event at which many of the city’s diplomatic corp and members of the public gathered to enjoy great company, entertainment and the chance to sample delicacies from all over the continent. Organised by the Ugandan ambassador, Joseph Tomusange, the dean of the African countries, and Frederiksberg Council, it was a great day out for all who attended.

Almost every African ambassador attended, including (left-right) Ivory Coast ambassador Mina Marie Balde Laurent, Benin ambassador Arlette Claudine Rita Dagnon Vignikin, Moroccan ambassador Raja Ghannam, Burkina Faso’s ambassador Monique Ilboudo, Ugandan ambassador Joseph Tomusange, the minister for development co-operation, Christian Friis Bach, South African ambassador Samkelisiwe Mhlanga, Egyptian ambassador Nabil Riad Habashi and his wife, Frederiksberg mayor Jørgen Glenthøj, Algerian ambassador Abdelhamid Boubazine, and Ibrahim Grada, the head of the Libyan mission.

Among the esteemed guests was the distinguished peace campaigner Prince Mohsin Ali Khan of Hyderabad (left), who is pictured here with ICC president Hasse Ferrold.

The guests were entertained by some dancing. Is it just me or has somebody turned the temperature up in the room?

Leading the ambassadors through their paces was Benin ambassador Arlette Claudine Rita Dagnon Vignikin (left), with (left-right) Moroccan ambassador Raja Ghannam, South African ambassador Samkelisiwe Mhlanga, Cypriot ambassador George C Kasoulides, and Ivory Coast ambassador Mina Marie Balde Laurent all gamely trying to keep up.

Bowled over by Burkina Faso …

swept away by South Africa …

enchanted by Egypt …

and blown away by Benin

And then there was inspirational Ivory Coast …

miraculous Morocco …

unbelievable Uganda …

and astounding Algeria


12

COMMUNITY

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

15 - 21 June 2012

ABOUT TOWN PHOTOS BY HASSE FERROLD

(UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED)

30 of May British ambassador Nick Archer attended his last British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark (BCCD) lunch ahead of his departure from Denmark following the end of the EU presidency on July 1. The BCCD patron spoke to the gathering about the UK government’s perspective on the EU and the euro. The occasion provided the BCCD board a chance (it was also their AGM!) to gather for a group shot. In the back row are (left-right) Patrick Orr, Vagn Thorup, Pete George, president Mariano Davies and Torben van Lowzow, and in the front row Kirstine Troldborg, chairman Thomas Thune Andersen, Nicola Gordon and Suzanne Lassen. Not pictured is executive director Penny Schmith. Photos: Hugh Mayo

Among those in attendance at the celebrations of Russia’s National Day last week on Friday was Mikhail Vanin, who will be presented to the queen as his country’s new ambassador next Wednesday. Dobro požalovat! Romania’s new ambassador is Viorel Ardeleanu. Bună ziua!

Six Days of Peace, an Arab-Israeli initiative that aims to promote cultural co-operation between Arab and Israeli youths, was a big hit in Copenhagen on May 31, hosting a reception of lavish food from the region (with a Danish twist) followed by a concert at Tivoli featuring My Favorite Enemy and violinist and songwriter Diana Yukawa (pictured centre). Among those in attendance (on the left) were (left-right) Six Days of Peace founder Gregory Rockson, Yukawa and Dan Oryan - the deputy head of the Israeli mission who is leaving Denmark at the end of July - who Rockson thanked in his address for his sterling efforts. The three participating chefs were Danish, Israeli and Palestinian. “I like to think we can use our knives in the kitchen to further co-operation outside it,” said Palestinian chef Johnny Coric (second row, on the left)

Algeria celebrated the 50th anniversary of its independence with a number of events, including a screening of the classic 1966 film ‘The Battle of Algiers’ – an extraordinary movie, ten years ahead of its time – and a reception at Frederiksberg City Hall, which was hosted by Algerian ambassador Abdelhamid Boubazine (second left) and attended by Frederiksberg’s mayor Jørgen Glenthøj (third left)

COMING UP SOON

The Latin American Film Festival opened at Cinemateket last week on Tuesday with ‘Un Cuento Chino’, an Argentine comedy that was enjoyed by all who attended. Pictured here are five of the hosts (left-right): Venezuelan charge d’affaire Roger Corbacho Moreno, Mexican ambassador Martha Bárcena, Bolivian ambassador Bishop Eugenio Poma, and Argentine ambassador Raúl Alberto Ricardes and his wife

Also at the film festival were, pictured here with the Argentine ambassador and his wife and the Mexican ambassador, US ambassador Laurie S Fulton (second right) and French ambassador Veronique Bujon-Barre (right)

The Children’s Fair Valbyparken (Hammelstrupvej entrance); Sunday, 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! Photo workshop Kongens Nytorv metro station, Cph K; Fri, 18:00; free adm; www.meetup.com The city’s brightly-coloured townhouses might be the most photographed buildings in Copenhagen. But there is much more to explore in the area than that. Photo_cph is hosting a photo walk, focusing on street photography, people, architecture and historical buildings. The walk itself will last around 90 minutes and will be followed by a get-together at a café. Copenhagen Start-up Weekend Academia Scion DTU, Diplomvej 381, Lyngby; Fri - Sun, 17:00; free adm; copenhagenacademia.startupweekend.org You wouldn’t believe how many cool inventions, patents and prototypes are out there waiting to be commercialised to revolutionise the world and maybe make somebody filthy rich. Why hasn’t

it happened yet? Sometimes researchers do not consider it at all, sometimes they cannot communicate it in an understandable and inspiring way, and sometimes they lack business perspective and the right contacts. Academia Start-up Weekend is here to change just that. Dawn Raid Seminar Eversheds Law Firm, Frederiksborggade 15, Cph K; Tue & Wed, 08:15; free adm; www.dabf.dk The Danish Competition Authorities regularly carry out unannounced control visits (also called dawn raids). These entitle authorities access to company premises and the right to read and copy accounting records, business documents etc, searching for anything indicating collusive behaviour. This seminar, arranged by the Danish-American Business Forum, the British Chamber of Commerce, Eversheds and Foley will help you be prepared when the authorities show up.

MIKE HOFMAN


Do you speak Danish?

Regardless of your educational background and native language, VUF offers intensive Danish courses for foreigners. Sign up now! Contact our counsellors by phone 3815 8521 or read more about Danish for Foreigners at www.vuf.nu

VoksenUddannelsescenter Frederiksberg Falstersvej 3-5 • 2000 Frederiksberg • Phone 3815 8500 • www.vuf.nu


14

COVER STORY

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

15 - 21 June 2012

Never Netherlands! Proof dreams do come true - just like 1992 CHRISTIAN WENANDE

The Kongens Have crowd sensed something special was happening, and the last five minutes seemed to take forever. “Not now, surely,” someone uttered as the Dutch desperately hoofed one last ball into the Danish box. But fate would have none of it, and as the ref lifted the whistle to his lips for the last time, Kongens Have exploded. “I was absolutely amazed at how the entire city was hugging, high-fiving and chanting in unison,” Danish-Peruvian fan Lisbeth Vogensen said. “Especially that moment when that dude got up with a huge flag and started waving it ... and everyone just stopped, looked up at the flag and started singing.” And the party proceeded well into the night. Washed away was the disappointing World Cup two years ago: the losses to the Netherlands and Japan, the lacklustre performance, the calling for Olsen’s sacking. Forgotten were headlines such as “Stor Dansk VM Fiasko” and “Danmak ydmyget ved VM”. Instead it was “Dansk EM mirakel” and “Vi vinder hele lortet!” the next day. The cautious pre-tournament mood has evaporated and been replaced by an

aura of pure glee and a smidgen of that arrogance the Dutch had. This was best conveyed when an Irma supermarket this week began selling courgettes “Fra taber Holland” (From the losers, the Netherlands). Sing when you’re winning, as they say. Denmark could very well lose their next two games to Portugal and Germany and leave the tournament early, but their fans will forever remember that evening in June when the Dutch fell in Kharkiv.

HE DANISH FANS were swarming the streets, climbing up the traffic lights and statues, while cars with flags flowing out of the windows were honking with vigour. They were singing, dancing, embracing and hanging from balconies, shouting in pure delight. Was it 1992 all over again? Had they just won the European Championship? Not even. It was only day two of the tournament and Denmark had just beaten the Netherlands for the first time in 45 years. Two hours earlier, the scene wasn’t as jovial. Thousands of Danish fans, sprinkled with a few Dutch folk brimming with confidence, massed into Kongens Have to watch what would be a truly daunting task for a Danish team that were considered massive underdogs. “As we smuggled the beers into Kongens Have, best case scenario was a 1-1 draw,” Lars Jensen remembered. “We were hopeful and excited, but knew we could be in for a kicking.” The crowd was stiff and

watched stoically as the Dutch at- Daniel Agger and Simon Kjær at tacked in waves straight from the the back helped settle the worst whistle. The bewildered Danes bouts of anxiety, although a Roblooked mesmerised as the Dutch ben effort off the post didn’t help conjurers produced moments of proceedings. And then suddenly, it was magic, seemingly at will, that constantly harassed their defence. At halftime. The crowd rose once again, knowing the helm of the that a good talk indomitable barfrom Morten rage were Robin Olsen could raise Van Persie, WesThe crowd had spirits for the filey Sneijder, Ibnal 45 minutes. rahim Afellay and suddenly erupted Chants and songs Arjen Robben. broke out interThings looked like a dormant grim. volcano awaking from mittently, capped by Dutch cursing But wait! as someone began What was this? decades of slumber singing “Are you The crowd had suddenly erupted, like a dormant Belgians in disguise ...” But the Dutch weren’t Belvolcano awaking from decades of slumber, spewing large quantities gians, and keeper Stephan Anof flags, flare smoke and beer cans dersen had to make a series of outstanding saves to keep the into the Copenhagen sky. The Dutch sorcerers were Danes ahead. The crowd jeered in disbelief. The Ajax outcast and hollered sarcastically as Van Michael Krohn-Dehli had just Persie miss-kicked and Robben bolted through their ranks, smash- blasted over. The Dutch kept pushing foring the ball between the legs of their keeper Maarten Stekelen- ward and an equaliser seemed imburg and into the bottom corner minent, but the Dutch seemed to be running out of steam. Could of the net. In Kongens Have, the eu- Denmark steal the win from the phoria subsided a bit as the fans World Cup’s runners-up? When realised that Denmark would have Klaas-Jan Huntelaar kicked the to try and maintain their fragile ball onto Lars Jacobsen’s arm in lead for over an hour. The crowd the penalty box, the crowd collecwas nervous as the Dutch attack tively held their breath before the continued to press on, but a reso- ref waved play on. It was beginlute defensive performance from ning to look like Denmark’s day.

The courgettes are from the Netherlands but don’t hold that against them

The look on the face of fan Anders Nash (second left) says it all. Euphoric and in disbelief - pinch him and he’ll wake up to find out the Dutch are winning 6-0

National side will take Dutch courage into their remaining group games against Germany on Wednesday and Portugal on Sunday

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“It was delightful,” DanishBritish fan Anders Nash bellowed. “Grown men reduced to tears, as the goal flew in the sky filled with beers. Denmark’s finest result in 20 years.”

SPORTS NEWS AND BRIEFS Contador extends contract

Play is suspenders

Vedel’s done well

Maltese malaise

Laudrup to swan it?

Barren night for Nicki

DESPITE his two-year ban for a failed drugs test, Alberto Contador has extended his contract to race for Danish team Saxo Bank by another three years after agreeing terms with manager Bjarne Riis, a confessed user himself during his cycling days. The Spaniard will return on August 6 from a ban that was backdated to include his 2010 yellow jersey, which was given to Andy Schleck. He will miss the Olympics and Tour de France.

CAROLINE Wozniacki, the world number seven, has launched a range of underwear. The ‘This Is Me’ collection, which will hit stores in September, is being produced by Danish underwear brand JBS and will include bras, hipsters, G-strings, (but rather unaptly) no fishnets. “You will not see me naked,” Wozniacki told media. Wozniacki’s agent is John Tobias, the head of Lagardère Unlimited’s tennis division.

DANISH GOLFER Line Vedel won her first Ladies European Tour title on Sunday, shooting a three-under final round of 69 to finish two strokes clear at the Ladies Slovak Open. Vedel, a second-round co-leader, got off to a shaky start with two bogeys, but quickly recovered to fire five birdies around the turn. Co-leader and playing partner Jenni Kuosa, meanwhile, shot an 82 to drop out of contention.

DENMARK’S RUGBY league side lost 12-24 away in Malta in the first leg of the 2012 Dove Men+Care International Series between the two nations. Things had started brightly with Viiga Lima scoring a brace of tries to put the visitors 12-4 up at halftime. But too many mistakes cost the Danes as Malta’s greater experience saw them pull away. The return leg is at the Gladsaxe Stadium on September 29.

English media has reported that Michael Laudrup will be unveiled as the new manager of Premier League side Swansea City at the end of this week. He would replace Brendan Rogers, who recently left the Welsh side to take over at Liverpool. Laudrup, who has been out of work since leaving Real Mallorca last September, would become the league’s first ever Danish manager.

THERE WERE no home-grown representatives in the Danish Speedway Grand Prix on Saturday. Three-time world champion Nicki Pedersen, still chasing his first win on home soil, was disqualified in the semi-finals, while Bjarne Pedersen also bowed out in the final eight. Australia’s Jason Crump won the final to go ahead of Pedersen in this year’s championship race. The Dane is now nine points behind leader Greg Hancock.


BUSINESS

The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk

15 - 21 June 2012

15 COLOURBOX

Life is about to change forever for the small communities of Greenland

China holds the key to Greenland’s treasure chest RAY WEAVER Emerging superpower poised to play an increasingly important role in the quest for Arctic’s mineral resources

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hILE DENMARK’S business leaders and politicians were looking forward to the commercial potential of Chinese president Hu Jintao’s visit, some believe that the Chinese are aiming to use improved Danish relations as a stepping stone to an even greater prize: Greenland. China’s interest in Greenland, a self-ruling overseas territory, is closely linked to the country’s significant deposits of oil, gas, copper, iron, gold and rare earths. Chinese investors are reportedly are preparing to invest 1.3 billion kroner into infrastructure projects, including three new airports and the expansion of port facilities in Nuuk, the capital city. Berlingske

newspaper recently reported that a deal might be signed during Hu’s visit. Improvements to Nuuk’s port would be a major boon to the international oil companies already drilling in Greenlandic waters and an increased airport capacity has long been high on the wish-list of Greenland’s government. The current lack of capacity stands in the way of overall economic growth, especially the expected growth in the oil and mining industries. Greenland, whose largest export item is prawns, does not have the capital needed to modernise its infrastructure or exploit its resources, so the government has been open to foreign investors. Among the suitors is London Mining, whose Chinese partners are prepared to invest 12 billion kroner in an iron mine in Isukasia, near Nuuk. The company expects to submit a final application to the Greenlandic Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum (BMP) soon. After consideration by the BMP, the proUNEP/GRID-Arendal

The Arctic Circle hasn’t grown but the number of claimants has

ject must be approved by Greenland’s government. Should it pass, Greenland stands to earn a billion kroner in tax revenue alone. And then there are the employment benefits. However, although its agreement with Cairn Energy, an Edinburgh-based oil explorer, calls for the company to hire Greenlanders, few possess the job skills necessary for mining jobs. Meanwhile, other companies are demanding that they be permitted to hire foreign labour and pay them less than the Greenlandic minimum wage. Proponents of Chinese investment say it will also leave behind the infrastructure the country needs to develop, but can’t build on its own. Nevertheless, the quality of their work and their record of using local workers is suspect. About one million Chinese nationals are currently working in Africa, another place where China is digging and drilling to ensure its own future supply of raw materials. Although their investments were viewed as a welcome boost by African states, some Africans now consider the Chinese to be a mixed blessing. Poor construction, questionable business practices and a reluctance to use local workers brought a swift end to the China’s African honeymoon. Before Greenlanders cash their cheques they should take a look at the Chinese-built road from Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, to Chirundu, 130km to the southeast, which was quickly swept away during a 2009 rain storm. Unusable roads, unsafe buildings and unfinished projects are part of the Chinese legacy in Africa, contend critics. Likewise, environmental groups are concerned about the environment impact the search for oil and minerals will have.

Sinopec, a Chinese oil firm, was recently criticised for what domestic and foreign environmental critics said were poor and damaging methods during its drilling in Gabon’s Loango National Park. The drilling was permitted, but the country temporarily stopped operations until the company took steps to minimise its environmental impact. There is also concern that the Chinese and others will circumvent Greenland’s labour laws, Chinese factories in Africa often pay less than the local minimum wage, and when unions try to shut the factories down, the Chinese owners pretend not to understand them.

China has also been accused of hoarding resources it removes from African soil – a concern when it comes to rare earths. China currently monopolises the market for the minerals, which are vital for use in the electronics industry, but with Greenland reputed to be sitting on some of the world’s largest deposits, many in the West hope Greenland can give companies a less adversarial option. The EU is expected to sign a deal ensuring that Greenland’s rare earths will be sold on the open market, but Greenlandic lawmakers have also warned against assuming that the country has the same interests as the West.

While the Chinese interest presents something of a dilemma for Greenland’s decision-makers looking for ways to wean themselves off their 3 billion kroner annual block grant from Denmark, the country’s transport minister, Jens B Frederiksen, would not rule out the possibility that it would swap Copenhagen’s cash for Beijing’s. “I cannot see why we should not co-operate with Chinese lenders if they meet our demands,” Frederiksen told Belingske newspaper. Frederiksen would not confirm nor deny that a deal with the Chinese – or anyone else – was on the table.

BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN DENMARK

Reflections of a Lord Mayor of London on the Medieval Role in the Modern City John Stuttard Deputy Chairman, PWC Advisory board Lord Mayor of the City of London in 2006/2007 Sir John Stuttard is an English chartered accountant and was the Lord Mayor of the City of London in 2006/2007. He is also Deputy Chairman of PWC’s Advisory board. As the 679th Lord Mayor, John Stuttard attended nearly 2,000 engagements, including 466 formal lunches and dinners, 764 speeches and 133 media interviews. He hosted visiting foreign Ministers, businessmen and dignitaries and he spent more than 100 nights abroad in 23 countries promoting the financial, maritime and other business services industry of the UK. Every day was different; every day was special. The talk will look at the reasons behind the City of London becoming the Financial Centre of the World, what the key success factors, opportunities and threats are, and what the role of the Lord Mayor is as the champion of the City both ancient and modern. He is visiting Denmark as the organiser of a Rolls Royce Ghost owners tour of Northern Europe. 17 pre-War Rolls-Royces will participate in the tour, ranging from a 1913 Silver Ghost to a 1934 20/25. Of the 17 vehicles, 10 will be Silver Ghosts. The tour will start in Denmark and finish in Helsinki, travelling through Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. The majority of the cars will be on display at Tivoli for the day but we will also arrange for one of these vintage cars to be on display in the hotel lobby. Date: Thursday, 5 July 2012 Time: 11.45 Venue: Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Non-members are very welcome. Please contact BCCD or go to www.bccd.dk for further information

If you would like to attend then please send us an email (event@bccd.dk) or call +45 31 18 75 58 • official media partner Denmark’s only English-language newspaper


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EMPLOYMENT

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

15- 21 June 2012

17

Denmark’s only English-language newspaper

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coPenhagen international school is looKi The Copenhagen Post is seeking a salesperson RECEPTIONIST/ADMISSIONS COORDINATOR to work during the summer months. You to fill the folloWing Positions: will be responsible for selling copies of the Copenhagen International School is looking for a

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FROM SCHÜTZ TO GEIST

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4 - 10 November 2011 | Vol 14 Issue 44

Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | cphpost.dk ILLUSTRATION BY PETER STANNERS

NEWS

Dane unable to obtain family reunification for his Thai girlfriend says residency rules are a Catch-22

6

Exploiting ‘fat tax’ Supermarkets are scamming their customers under the guise of the new national ‘fat tax’

NEWS | 3

SPORT

Get in or get out Is now the time to join the euro, or to run like hell?

4

National coach Morten Olsen’s new contract will keep him in the job until after the 2014 World Cup.

14

A new budget to ‘kickstart’ the economy JENNIFER BULEY

Warrior Jesus How Christianity borrowed from Norse mythology and branded Jesus as a tough guy in order to woo the pagan Vikings

HISTORY | 19

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SRSF’s first budget will spend 17.5 billion kroner on infrastructure and abolish previous taxes and restrictions

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AN YOU HAVE your cake and eat it too? Conventional wisdom says no, but with their first budget plan since the shift of power, the new Socialdemokraterne-RadikaleSocialistisk Folkeparti (SRSF) coalition appear to be giving it a shot. Many of the elements of the new budget – which is expected to be released in its entirety on Thursday – will increase state spending at a time when the budget deficit has increased. But where the money would come from remained a mystery. A number of the new budget items reinstate spending cuts made by the pre-

vious Venstre-Konservative (VK) govern- the number of students. Moreover, stument. Here are a few of the major points: dents will no longer pay administrative Families: VK limited the state’s fees, and prospective Master’s students monthly child support handouts (bør- will have prerequisite course tuitions necheck) to 35,000 kroner per fam- paid. The government will also fund ily. That limit has now been abolished, 1,500 more state-supported internship meaning that many families will get positions. Infrastructure and job creation: larger child benefits. The government will also pay for fertility treatments and Some 17.5 billion kroner will be invested over two years in infrastructure voluntary sterilisations. Welfare: VK and Dansk Folkeparti projects, such as a new rail line between (DF) introduced specialised welfare pro- Copenhagen and Ringsted, a project to grammes that reduced the cash benefits widen the Holbæk motorway, erosion for new immigrants. Those programmes protection efforts along Jutland’s west have now been eliminated and going coast, and renovations to public housforward all residents in need of state ing. Prime minister Helle Thorningsupport will receive the same welfare Schmidt has said that these ‘kickstart’ projects will create 20,000 new jobs benefits. Higher education and research: from 2012-2013. The Danish ConstrucUniversities will get an extra one billion tion Association predicts 10,000. Tax break:meeting The unpopular ‘mulkroner over two years to cover costs as- a personal Organise sociated with a predicted increase in timedia tax’ introduced by VK will be

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abolished, saving some 525,000 Danes with business laptops and mobile phones 3,000 kroner per year. Not everyone, however, can look forward to a cash infusion. Smokers and junk food lovers will be taxed higher on their vices, while international corporations will also see higher tax bills. SRSF plans to raise revenue by closing a number of tax loopholes going back nearly 20 years that allowed international corporations in Denmark to escape paying corporate taxes (see more on page 15). All told, the spending increases in the new budget are not as big as the minister of the economy and interior, Margrethe Vestager (R), would like. She noted that VK under-reported the deficit for 2012, making it imprudent to spend more. But Denmark will still meet the EU’s financial responsibility benchmarks, despite the larger deficit, she added.

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InOut The CPH Post Entertainment Guide | 16 - 22 Sep

KIDS ON FILM YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT BUSTER! THE CHILDREN’S MOVIE FEST IS HERE page

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• Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills A flexible disposition and the ability to multi-task It is important that you are fluent inThe English, successful applicants should• be qualified teachers with a minimum of 2 years’ experience working within an early years programme. • Fluency in English and Danish friendly, outgoing, and have basic knowledge The position will start on August• 1st 2012. IT skills of our newspaper. • Enthusiasm, energy and a sense of humour • Experience in a school would be an advantage are looking For further information, please contactWe Dima at for teachers who have knowledge and experience of the international Baccalaureate Primary years programme (iB PyP), and who: 33364248. Applications by email to Audrey Amos-Frederiksen aaf@cis.dk , including a letter of • can design effective and developmentally appropriate learning opportunities application, resumé in English and email addresses of three referees, by Monday 18th June 2012. Please send your application and CV to dima@ • can demonstrate a track record of excellent classroom practice including in-depth understanding of differentiated instruction, second lan cphpost.dk noting ‘Newspaper Sales’ acquisition in the and play based learning Further information about the post can be obtained from Thomas Nielsen at subject line. tmn@cis.dk or call 3946 3315. • have a strong work ethic and excellent organizational skills

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18

CULTURE

THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

15 - 21 June 2012

Donkey stunt kicks up a controversy over bad taste DAVE SMITH

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And, in his opinion, NBC capitulated to the outcry over a few seconds of leaked footage, which only served to play into the hands of the ‘public censors’ – those who can “yell loud enough to scare an entity like a network into self-censoring”. That’s evidently something Danish television broadcasters are loath to do. ‘Fear Factor USA’ has been broadcast almost continually in Denmark since 2001.

Duh, that would be Denmark’s surprise victory at the 1992 European Championships. He was subsequently knighted in 1995. But, while Danes harp on about that win 20 years ago, you rarely hear about the man behind the team’s success.

Danish viewers should be able to decide for themselves

A

LBERT Herring’ is perhaps the only theatrical context in which you will see someone sing opera with a half-chewed banana in their gob. The comedic opera, composed by England’s Benjamin Britten, contained lots of delicious humour, like when Lady Billows’s maid fell asleep and her face fell in a cake. Performed in its language of origin – English – the opera featured Danish subtitles, drawing a diverse crowd to Det Kongelige Teater’s Gamle Scene. Playing on contrasts, the music was complex compared to the light-hearted subject matter. Gert Henning-Jensen played the oppressed misfit Albert Herring very well, while Ylva Kihlberg, who played Lady Billows, was a convincing snob with an outstanding voice. The set was minimalistic – perhaps thanks to some Scandinavian influence seeping through the design concept. The action was set against a frame that resembled the shell of a dollhouse. Small white struc-

tures in the foreground formed simplistic representations of village buildings: churches, shops and dwellings. These hollow white boxes also served the clever purpose of storing props, and a larger rectangular one even hid Albert Herring. At the end of the opera, the players wore the structures on their heads – a likely symbol of society’s inclination to categorise people in boxes. Aside from the set design, there were other traces of Scandinavia in the production. Cultural references to common Danish things, like marzipan, were cleverly included – the show, after all, had to appeal to a Danish audience. Even in the description of Albert Herring’s night of debauchery, it is mentioned that he travelled from pub to pub by bicycle. But the tiny Danish flags pitched on a cake celebrating the protagonist’s coronation were perhaps an oversight. Union flags were suitably present elsewhere. The curtains opened to a large hanging flag and Albert Herring wore union flag underpants. The costumes were inspired by the 1940s – the decade in which the opera was written. Lady Billows wore high-

KGLTEATER.DK / NATASCHA THIARA RYDVALD

Albert Herring

A football coach who led Denmark to Euro 1992 glory What was his biggest achievement?

Herring curries favour: proof the English can do opera ELISE BEACOM

ELISE BEACOM

What happened? Was there a falling out?

COLOURBOX.COM

HEN 22-YEAROLD twin sisters Brynne  and  Claire Odioso, contestants on TV show ‘Fear Factor USA’, drank sun-warmed donkey semen and urine, they went too far, according to American TV executives who swiftly cancelled the broadcast of the programme. Too far, it would appear, for every country in the world ... bar Denmark. Last week on Friday, Viasat channel TV3 bucked the trend and showed the episode, which was entitled ‘Hee Haw! Hee Haw!’, in full: the twins, a pint of semen, and a pint of urine, which was later mixed with vomit that then also had to be consumed – all in front of a watching donkey. “The scene is one part of the programme, and we don’t want to cheat Danish viewers,” Morten Mogensen, the director of programming for TV3, explained to B.T. tabloid. “We assessed that the scene was not too disgusting to show. The people behind the programme believe the challenge is okay, and Danish viewers should be able to decide for themselves.” That chance was very nearly given to US audi-

acknowledged that the core audience for ‘Fear Factor’ and other extreme reality shows was unlikely to be offended by such a stunt. The senior editor agreed. “NBC should stand behind their product and embrace what they made for the core audience – the ones who wouldn’t be offended,” he said. “You can’t make a show like ‘Fear Factor’ and worry about what the conservative Midwest housewife demographic thinks of it. They’ll hate it no matter what we do.”

DBUSJAELLAND.DK

An episode of ‘Fear Factor USA’ deemed too disgusting in its home country was aired by TV3 last week

lous. It’s a big-budget version of kids on a playground daring each other to eat a worm for lunch money.” And apparently the worst bits were left out. “It was much, much worse before we cut it down,” he said. “We lost several close-up shots, removed a lot of audio of gagging. From the beginning, we cut around the parts that were the most inappropriate.” William G Clotworthy, a former director of programme standards for NBC in New York, disagrees. “I think it was the right thing to do,” said Clotworthy. “Television is a medium that’s a guest in people’s homes.” But while he personally believes the show is “disgraceful”, he

ences. “NBC [the broadcast network] was behind the episode all along,” a senior editor with ‘Fear Factor USA’ in Los Angeles told The Copenhagen Post. “In the first cuts, the Standards & Practices department had no notes at all about making changes.” However, the media website TMZ then leaked footage of the episode online, and NBC, anticipating a public backlash and the possibility of sponsors deserting the show, pulled the episode and replaced it with a rerun. The senior editor does not feel it was the right decision. “Viewers have to keep in mind that this show doesn’t take itself seriously,” he said. “We all know it’s ridicu-

Who is … Richard Møller Nielsen?

More accurately a falling-out with his star player, Michael Laudrup, who quit the national team in November 1990, blaming Nielsen’s defensive strategy. Eventually, he returned, but too late to help Denmark qualify for the 1994 World Cup. Did the public side with Laudrup or Nielsen? Hard to say. The Danish media had called for Nielsen’s head back in 1990 so were treading carefully. But they found it hard to ignore how their wonderboy Laudrup (no major championships) couldn’t produce the same kind of form under Nielsen (one major championship) as he had playing for the Dynamite under Sepp Piontek (no major championships) in the 1980s. When did he call it quits? After the team failed to defend their title at Euro 1996, bowing out in the group stage. Why haven’t we heard anything about him recently? Who knows? You’d expect him to be the go-to-man for everything about Euro 2012. The international media have shown a bit more interest. Nielsen was recently interviewed by Kick TV. He spoke in Danish, perhaps still haunted by various gaffes in 1992 that included: “Screw down a little bit the expectations” and “We need to play with long balls.” So what does Nielsen think of Denmark’s Euro 2012 chances?

It’s unmistakably English, with a few doses on Danishness thrown in for good measure

ly pretentious – yet somewhat comical – fox heads as shoes, while one music student dressed as a monkey had an ear ripped off by his disgruntled singing teacher. During Albert Herring’s awakening as a breakaway from the bourgeoisie of his village, an

unknown, unspeaking male ran around in a black leather jacket – perhaps representative of Albert Herring’s newfound rebelliousness and a broader changing of the times. But the themes failed to awaken the spirit of a lady seated

in row L. In fact, they put her to sleep. Undisturbed by the muffled giggles surrounding her, she was roused only by one thunderous snore. This woman was an exception though – the majority met the curtain call with enthusiastic applause.

He thinks the Group of Death is no more challenging than the group Denmark faced in 1992. Before Denmark played the Netherlands last Saturday, Nielsen told Ritzau: “If we can beat the Netherlands, then we can beat them all.” After taking home a 1-0 victory, let’s see if Nielsen’s prediction comes true, or if he’s got a screw loose.


DENMARK THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK

15- 21 June 2012

19 COLOURBOX

In the summer, they provide the city with several popular coffee spots, while in the winter, they transform into vast skating rinks

MARK WALKER First-time visitors to the city might erroneously believe that the lakes number five not three, but there’s no mistaking their impact on the way Copenhageners regard and navigate their home

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amounts of household water, the restructuring had less to do with the water system and more to do with strengthening the fortifications. It was decided that the moats should be deepened. The capacity of Peblinge Sø was increased with the introduction of a new lake, Sortedam Sø (Black Dam Lake, later split into two by Fredensbro in 1878). Lakes now covered the entire area between Østerbrogade and Gyldenløvesgade, supplying the moats with water and taking the sewage away. During the 1570s, under the rule of Christian IV, the benefits of Emdrup Lake’s high altitude were identified. Several pressure lines were laid for the spring water to be fed directly to the city’s public fountains. By the early 1600s, Christian IV had facilitated an enlargement of the dam, this time southwards from the end of Peblinge Sø. This formed the last of the lakes, Skt Jørgens Sø (St George’s Lake). With all the lakes now in place, they came to mark the city’s outer fortification line. In the event of another siege, the damming would allow the lakes to be flooded. Not until the period between 1705 and 1727 were the lakes cleaned and the edges straightened to give them their current appearance. Various private companies became engaged in the routing of the water system, but this ended with the nationalisation of the water supply in 1812. The government was soon swamped with complaints about the water quality, particularly in reference to the water being pumped from the lakes. 1859 saw Søerne gradually become phased out as a source of drinking water and become a recreational area and sanctuary for birds. In the latter half of the 19th century, the ramparts lost all their military significance. Many Danes came to the city for work, causing a population problem so severe that the need for living space brought about the rapid development of new housing beyond the lakes. Vesterbro, Nørrebro and Østerbro were created, and the lakes were transformed into the distinctive topographical landmarks we recognise today.

In the heart of the city, dammed for all time

I remember being told on my first visit to the city to use these lakes as a compass, and that as long as I knew where I was in relation to the lakes, I would never be lost.

COLOURBOX

HILE UNLIKELY to feature on most tourists’ checklists, one of the first landmarks that visitors to Copenhagen are confronted by is not the Little Mermaid statue, the Round Tower or Christiana, but a curious series of rectangular lakes running from east to west. In the summer, they provide the city with several popular coffee spots, while in the winter, they transform into vast skating rinks. They remain popular with joggers yearlong. I remember being told on my first visit to the city to use these lakes as a compass, and that as long as I knew where I was in relation to the lakes, I would never be lost. Having always lived in the vicinity of the lakes, they remain a prominent feature in my life and the lives of many other Copenhageners. And so, the question arose: how did these lakes come to be, and what are they doing here, slap-bang in the middle-ish of Denmark’s capital? Absalon, known then as the bishop of Roskilde, founded this city in 1167. When he founded a castle at the site where Christiansborg stands today, this part of Zealand, referred to then only as ‘the port’, took its first step to becoming ‘Copenhagen’, and was the property of the church. Surviving siege, plague and fire, the city reinvented itself repeatedly. Copenhagen after Copenhagen, its fortifications were defined and redefined. Growing outwards from Our Lady’s Church, it wasn’t until the 1600s that Copenhagen became regarded as the nation’s most important city. By this time, the city was the property of the king, and all the major administrative bodies had come to settle there. The city’s reach was defined by the ramparts, which lay at what

is now Gothersgade to the northeast, Nørre/Øster Voldgade to the northwest, HC Anderson’s Boulevard to the southwest and the harbour to the southeast. Immediately outside the city wall lay man-made moats, the remains of which can be seen today in Tivoli, the Botanical Gardens and Orstedparken. Just beyond those fortifications, cattle grazed on green grass, and further northwest lay a small stream almost one kilometre outside the city. This would later be developed into Søerne, the three lakes we see today. It’s worth noting that the original Copenhagen was built without the use of any major natural water bodies – there were none in the immediate vicinity. The nearest lake, Lersøen, now dried up, lay a long way northwest of the city. The city’s drinking water came from wells, but the need arose for a river strong enough to power several water mills. The aforementioned stream, located near Bispeengen, was directed towards the city. This water, before being used to fill the moats and power the mills, was dammed and collected into the first of the three lakes, Peblinge Sø (Student/Little Priest Lake named at a time when the church were the sole educators). During this early period, it is unknown when the need for increased hydro energy, caused by a population increase, led to several outlying water sources being redirected to join the original Bispeengen stream. Utterslev Mose and Gentofte Lake, which lie further north, were added to the city’s supply after streams leading from both were connected and dammed to form Emdrup Lake. This increased the city’s available power significantly. Since 1397, a single dynastic union had governed the kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The three kings all resided in Copenhagen. Swedish nobility grew resentful of the concentration of power on foreign soil, and Copenhagen underwent a siege in 1523. Following this, the city’s water system was subject to a complete overhaul. Although the inner city wells were struggling to provide adequate


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The Copenhagen Post - June 15-21  

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