O (no) Canada: Alleged misconduct at embassy
Kevin Hart headlines Zulu Comedy Festival
31 August - 6 September 2012 | Vol 15 Issue 35
Support builds for trans-woman
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | cphpost.dk SCANPIX / UFFE WENG
Jane Pedersen is one tough lady: the Nørrebro pub owner refused to give in to local thugs
We’re not lovin’ it Copenhagen residents voice their displeasure about McDonald’s plans to open in historic building
SEX, LEAKS and TAXES
How Taxgate is changing Danish politics
We were at the Expat Fair to meet readers and, of course, eat pancakes – did we see you there?
Despite yet another round of layoffs, things are beginning to look up for wind turbine giant Vestas
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Research and education focus of 2013 budget PETER STANNERS
Positive winds blowing
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While the government panders to calls from Enhedslisten to do more for the unemployed, the far-left party says the budget does not go far enough
DUCATION and research will be the major winners in the government’s proposed 2013 budget, although it is far from certain that the budget will find the political support necessary for it to pass in parliament. The finance minister, Bjarne Corydon (Socialdemokraterne), presented the budget on Monday morning. “We are supporting employment through investment in infrastructure, for example,” Corydon wrote in a press release beforehand. “We have also found
more money for education so that young people can get the knowledge and skills that are needed in the future employment market. We are also implementing a responsible and trustworthy budget that complies with EU requirements and that keeps interest in Denmark down, benefiting homeowners, businesses and consumers. With the budget’s focus on education, skills building and initiatives for finding work for the unemployed, we are taking another step in the direction of a stronger Denmark.” Some 20.2 billion kroner will be earmarked for research in 2013 – 4.1 billion more than in 2007 – with 596 million going towards research into new green energy sources. Students will be supported with an additional 2.9 billion kroner to cover the costs of student grants and fees for the
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largest university uptake ever. The government predicts that unemployment will top 164,000 this year and 158,000 next year. Thousands of unemployed are set to lose their unemployment benefits in January after the former government halved the length that people can claim the benefit from four to two years. To support those affected, the government has found 600 million kroner that will be spent until 2016 on upgrading their skill sets. This initiative is widely regarded to satisfy demands by the far-left party Enhedslisten (EL) who have insisted that the government includes measures in the budget to help those who will lose out in January. The government does not have an outright majority and so is unable to
pass their budget without the support of either Enhedslisten or one of the opposition parties. But EL announced that it was dissatisfied with the government’s initiatives for the unemployed, raising questions as to whether further compromises will be needed before the budget can be passed. “The few funds that the government has set aside to educate the unemployed, who are set to lose their benefits, will in no way prevent thousands of unemployed and their families from being hit by a social catastrophe,” EL’s finance spokesperson, Frank Aaen, told Berlingske newspaper. To help find the money for the extra education support, the government has axed subsidies for businesses to perform
Budget continues on page 5
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Week in review
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CPH Post Word of the Week:
31 August - 6 September 2012 THE WEEK’S MOST READ STORIES AT CPHPOST.DK
Bølle (noun) – a bully or thug. Where you heard it: In stories about the trouble in Vollsmose and the pub owner in Nørrebro who refused to be extorted for protection money Scanpix/Nils Meilvang
Shooting leads to chaos at Odense hospital Thorning-Schmidt: My husband isn’t gay The new face of the immigration debate? Oh la la, it’s not Le Louvre Cinema warns moviegoers about “annoying” Muslims
FROM OUR ARCHIVES
TEN YEARS AGO. Increasing numbers of petty criminals face community service rather than a jail sentence. FIVE YEARS AGO. Five Danish sailors taken prisoner by pirates off the Somali coast are released on ransom after nearly three months of captivity. ONE YEAR AGO. A shooting near Vesterbro mosque during Eid leaves one dead.
The sculpture Zinkglobal, created by Kim Michael (black shirt), debuted to decidedly mixed reviews on Saturday at Langelinie
ropean nations, Denmark now ranks eighth, and within the EU as a whole, it ranks tenth. While Denmark’s Gini coefficient stalled in 2010 at 26.9, the same figure as the year before, both Norway and Finland saw their Gini numbers improve. The larger the Gini number, the larger the income inequality.
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Greenpeace activists who were arrested after staging a demonstration at a royal banquet during 2009’s COP15 climate conference have been awarded compensation. The activists were held for almost three weeks after two of them worked their way into a gala dinner where they unfurled a protest banner in front of
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the media. Two accomplices were also later arrested. The four activists were charged with impersonating the police and disturbing the peace and were handed two-week prison sentences. As a result of being held longer than their sentences, the City Court on Tuesday handed them about 18,000 kroner in compensation each.
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In 2001, Denmark had the best Gini coefficient, which is used to measure the distribution of wealth across a country’s populace, of any western European nation. But the newest numbers from Eurostat, which measured income equality in 2010, showed that Denmark has slipped. Among western Eu-
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of transport for 80 percent of Copenhagen’s shopping trips,” Copenhagen’s deputy mayor for technical affairs, Ayfer Baykal (SF), said. At a cost of 120 million kroner, car traffic would be cut by 50 percent, allowing for faster passage for buses, while bicycle paths and pavements would be widened.
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31 August - 6 September 2012
Cocaine dealers have “free rein” in Vesterbro Danes: Let us buy sex Police say they will start targeting cocaine dealers as soon as they have the resources and instead prepare to go after cannabis dealers in Christiania
ocaine dealers in Vesterbro have had free rein to ply their trade over the summer after police management gave orders to focus on pick-pocketing instead. As a result, residents have complained that the dealers, mostly transient African migrants, have become increasingly visible and aggressive on the busy street of Istedgade. “At the moment we are not arresting pushers,” Michael Møller, the police union’s shop steward at the city centre police station, Station City, told TV2 News. “They have 100 percent free rein in Vesterbro at the moment. The direct reason is that the police’s lawyers are too busy. So the management has ordered the local police not to bother with the street level.” The revelation of the unchallenged cocaine trade on Istedgade resulted in widespread media coverage and a subsequent explanation from the police that their resources were too stretched to effectively tackle all their areas of responsibility simultaneously.
Vesterbro’s cocaine dealers ply their trade in and around the red-light district on Istedgade
“We have a resource problem, and we’re going to end up disappointing residents more in the future,” Claus Oxfeldt, the head of the police union, Politiforbundet, told Ritzau. “If something doesn’t happen politically and we are allocated more resources, we are going to witness more places without a police presence. The situation will only get worse, and the citizens will start to notice it. We don’t have any more resources than we have had since 1989, despite having much larger responsibilities with gangs and IT crime.” The police countered the initial claims that they had completely stopped arresting cocaine dealers but admitted that arrests for June, July and August were down 50 percent
on the year before. But while the police say they did not have the resources to effectively tackle Vesterbro’s cocaine dealers, earlier this month Copenhagen Police announced that it was going to crack down on the drug dealers on Christiania’s Pusher Street using a special task force. According to Kaj Lykke Majlund, the head of local police operations at Station City, additional resources have been allocated to create the Pusher Street task force, whereas the absence of police from Vesterbro’s streets was due to a reprioritisation. “Every police leader would like more resources at their disposal, but in Copenhagen we have to make do with what
We are going to witness more places without a police presence; the situation will only get worse and the citizens will start to notice it we have and target the crime,” Majlund told The Copenhagen Post. “This summer, we have focused on the party environment in Copenhagen where youngsters are using a variety of different drugs. We have also been targeting pickpockets for the past three months and have managed to reduce the number of reports as a result. For this, we used staff from the special unit who normally targets drug dealers.” Majlund added that they have planned to step up the action against the cocaine dealers incrementally. He added that he did not yet know what impact the Pusher Street task force may have on their work in Vesterbro. “I have to prioritise Station City’s workflow, and we have delivered some manpower to the Pusher Street task force, but I don’t yet know whether it will have an influence on our work in Vesterbro,” he said.
Criminalising prostitution will only serve to further marginalise and endanger sex workers, lawyer says
Scanpix/ Michael Bothager
new poll by Rambøll Analyse/Danmark, carried out for Jyllands-Posten newspaper, has indicated that only 20 percent of the Danish population supports the government’s proposal to outlaw sex purchases, while a full 67 percent of the population are against it. The Justice Ministry is currently exploring the legal ramifications of a prostitution ban, and the government is expected to take it up in the forthcoming parliamentary session. But despite the potential ban garnering little support, politicians like Rasmus Horn Langhoff (Socialdemokraterne) contend that it must be done in order to support the women in the sex industry. “I agree that ratifying a ban will take a lot of work, but we must send a clear message that it is not okay to buy sex because of how negative it is for the women,” Langhoff told Jyllands-Posten. “If we target the customers, then we help the prostitutes who don’t need to go underground. A ban will consist of a number of social and police efforts.” Birgitte Graakjær Hjort, the head of social outreach for the Danish YWCA, which runs a safe haven for prostitutes, agreed
A full two-thirds of the poll respondents were against outlawing sex purchases
with a prospective ban. “We are 100 percent for a prostitution ban because we see how people are damaged by it. I have yet to speak with someone who has left the industry and believed it was an okay thing to do,” Hjort told Jyllands-Posten. But the employees of law group Gadejuristen (the street lawyer), who are in contact with the prostitutes on a daily basis, painted a completely different picture. “It’s completely wrong if you think that you can solve serious social issues by criminalising them. Doing this will only worsen the situation,” Nanna Gottfredsen, a Gadejuristen lawyer, told Jyllands-Posten. “You push the sex workers further into a grey zone. They will hide themselves and their activities, and social workers will no longer be able to contact those in need of help.” (CW)
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
31 August - 6 September 2012
PM: My husband isn’t gay
HE DANISH political world was rocked on Saturday morning when PM Helle ThorningSchmidt (Socialdemokraterne) took a pre-emptive strike against rumours that her husband, Stephen Kinnock, is homosexual. In an interview with Politiken newspaper, Thorning-Schmidt denied the rumour, which has its roots in the long-running tax scandal surrounding the couple (see story to right). “I have to be honest and say that it was really difficult for our family, particularly for our children, to have to contend with this kind of rumour,” the prime minister told Politiken. “Therefore we felt the need as a family to say
that just because a claim is repeated often, it doesn’t make it true.” The couple also decided to publicly release documents relating to the tax scandal in order to address it head-on. The homosexual rumours apparently stem from the couple’s personal accountant, Frode Holm. The commission’s investigation turned up a text written by Skat Copenhagen’s Lisbeth Rasmussen that read: “After prolonged discussion, Frode Holm explained that SK [Stephen Kinnock] is bisexual/homosexual.” It was the likelihood of that line coming out in public that led to the PM’s pre-emptive strike against the rumour. (JC)
First two days offer conflicting reports THE TAXGATE commission will call 43 witnesses in its quest to find out who was behind the leak of Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s personal tax audit. On Tuesday, the first day of hearings, the commission called upon Ekstra Bladet journalist Jan Kjærgaard and the tabloid’s editor-in-chief Poul Madsen. Kjærgaard testified to the close working relationship he had with Peter Arnfeldt, the former spindoctor for the then-tax minister, Troels Lund Poulsen, and said he had met with him six times, recorded the conversations but subsequently deleted them. According to Kjærsgaard, Arnfeldt claimed to have the nine-page audit decision and said that he “couldn’t believe the decision”. When Kjærsgaard said he wanted to see the decision in writing, he claimed that Arnfeldt got cold feet and Ekstra Bladet decided they wouldn’t run a story on the audit. Madsen told the commission that he didn’t feel the need to get involved with his journalist’s methods, but did
say that he felt the relationship between spindoctors and journalists had escalated out of control. On Wednesday, it was Arnfeldt’s turn to appear before the commission, and he painted a different picture. Arnfeldt denied having ever said he thought there was something strange with the decision and refuted several of Kjærsgaard’s other claims. Asked by the commission if Kjærsgaard had been untruthful the previous day, he replied: “That’s how I see it.” Arnfeldt admitted to the commission that he had a copy of the Skat’s decision on the Thorning-Schmidt audit, but claimed to have destroyed the copy after she announced she would publicly release the conclusion. The commission’s next hearing will be on October 11. It will call witnesses on and off through March. Various journalists, Skat officials and high-ranking government officials, including Poulsen and former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen, are scheduled to appear. (JC)
The leak: was it even illegal? PRIOR TO the Taxgate commission’s hearings getting underway on Tuesday, there was some disagreement over whether the leak of Helle ThorningSchmidt and her husband’s confidential audit was an illegal act. In an interview with Berlingske newspaper on Monday, Copenhagen Police Commissioner Johan Reimann said that even if Peter Arnfeldt, the former spindoctor for Troels Lund Poulsen, is
found guilty of leaking the information, it may not be a punishable offense. “Depending on the circumstances, disclosure of the tax decision could be justified,” Reimann said. However, numerous legal experts said that not only was Reimann wrong, but his statement demonstrated that he had not properly read up on the legality of the issue despite being in charge of the leak investigation for nearly a year. (JC)
Sexualities, leaks and taxes: JUSTIN CREMER Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s decision to comment on personal rumours, and the potential for more dirty laundry to be aired, represent a new era, many political commentators say
S THE TAXGATE commission began its hearings on Tuesday, many political analysts were speculating that the investigation into a 2011 Tax Ministry leak of PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s audit will seriously and permanently change the face of Danish politics. The decision by Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne) to go on the offensive, pre-emptively striking down a comment in the audit that insinuates her husband Stephen Kinnock is gay, has been viewed as both a wise strategic move and a definitive sign that the era in which a politician’s personal life was off limits is now over. “I cannot cite a precedent in which a politician has gone out and commented on such private details in the press,” Mark Blach-Ørsten, a professor at Roskilde University who studies political scandals, told Politiken newspaper. “There have been previous rumours about various politicians, but none of them up until now have chosen to go public and comment on them.” Blach-Ørsten said that ThorningSchmidt’s decision could set the tone for an irreversible decline. “Sex is the last bastion in a politician’s private life that is now set to fall,” he said. “One fears that we are approaching the types of dirty tricks that we know from American politics and Danish television shows.” Anders Esmark, a political science professor at the University of Copenhagen, agreed. “That the country’s prime minister could accept the logic that it is relevant for her to comment on the rumours is an acknowledgment that the focus of Danish politics has shifted to the invidual,” Esmark told Politiken. Rasmus Jønsson, a professor of political communication at Roskilde University, said that voters share some of the blame for this development. “The mindset in Christiansborg has largely become that you need to use negative campaigns and go after the person instead of the politics, precisely because individual personalities have
The decision by Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Stephen Kinnock to address rumours head-on
become so important in how the public votes,” Jønsson told Politiken. But while many bemoan this new trend, Thorning-Schmidt has been praised for getting out ahead of what could have been a more damaging story, both by addressing the gay rumours and by choosing to publicly release all nine pages of the original investigation into Kinnock’s tax obligations. “By going to Politiken themselves and refuting the rumours, the prime minister and her husband decided the time and place and also, to a large de-
One fears that we are approaching the types of dirty tricks that we know from American politics and Danish television shows
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31 August - 6 September 2012
gree, the way in which the rumours came out,” Christine Cordsen, the political editor for Jyllands-Posten newspaper, wrote. “Helle Thorning-Schmidt has now done what she can to ensure that the interest first and foremost is in [opposition party] Venstre’s potential misuse of power when the commission’s hearings get underway.” In that regard, there are some signs that Thorning-Schmidt’s tactic may work. The commission’s investigation is expected to see journalists, political spindoctors and top politicians take
the witness stand, including the former prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Venstre), and the former tax minister, Troels Lund Poulsen (Venstre). “On a scale of 1-10, it could end up just being a 2-3. But it could also end as a 10,” Roger Buch, a political science professor at the Danish School of Media and Journalism, told B.T. tabloid. “Ultimately, it could cost Troels Lund Poulsen and Lars Løkke Rasmussen their careers and change the political landscape if it turns out that they were involved in, or were aware of, a leak or an attempt to affect
The plan to drop unpopular levies is meeting resistance
There have been previous rumours about various politicians, but none of them up until now have chosen to comment on them
was praised as a wise tactic, but also a sign that there has been a shift in Danish politics
Government looks to trim fat tax
The changing face of politics
[tax authority] Skat’s outcome.” Speaking to Jyllands-Posten, Buch predicted that the leaks in the case will be revealed to be much larger than previously believed. Taxgate dates back to June 2010, when the Copenhagen office of tax authority Skat audited then-opposition leader Thorning-Schmidt and Kinnock, who at the time worked and lived part-time in Switzerland. Kinnock did not pay taxes in Denmark, and the investigation ultimately declared that he did not owe Danish taxes, but that was hardly the end of the story. The confidential audit was leaked to the press, and it was revealed that the Tax Ministry’s then-permanent secretary, Peter Loft, had met with the head of Skat Copenhagen, Erling Andersen, as many as five times, even though the Tax Ministry is barred by law from interfering in specific tax cases. Loft was later fired a few months after Thor Möger Pedersen (Socialistisk Folkeparti) became the tax minister. Peter Arnfeldt, the spindoctor for the then-tax minister, Troels Lund Poulsen (Venstre), was reported to the police for leaking the audit and Poulsen asked for and received a leave of absence from parliament. Even the top aide to former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen admitted to being involved in meetings about the audit. A commission was established to look into the leak, and hearings got underway on Tuesday. It is expected that the commission’s investigation may turn up even more potential leaks. “The case has the potential to open up as an administrative and political scandal, and at the heart is the question of how confidential information on the couple’s tax situation could have made its way out of Skat’s walls,” Berlingske newspaper’s political commentator, Thomas Larsen, wrote. “It won’t be pretty.”
he much-maligned ‘sin’ levies have been accused of costing jobs and driving shoppers across the border to stock up. And now the government says it wants to put an end to the bad taste left in consumers’ mouths by simply dropping them. The missing funds would be made up by raising the bundskat, or bottom tax rate, to 4.64 percent, an increase of 0.3 percent on any income earned above the personal allowance of 42,900 kroner per year after deducting the amount of gross tax already paid. “We have previously proposed raising the bundskat rate and it is still a possibility,” the tax minister, Thor Möger Pedersen (Socialistisk Folkeparti), told Børsen newspaper. “We are ready to discuss the financing with those parties that are willing to take responsibility for removing the fat and sugar levies.” Along with the increase in personal taxes, the government would cut economic aid to business by two billion kroner and drop an energy renovation subsidy. The plan has already met with criticism from some parties. “We cannot support a plan that helps businesses on one hand, while cutting support at the same time,” Konservative financial spokesperson Mike Legarth told Børsen. Legarth said his
Budget continued from front page
energy efficiency renovations. With energy efficiency playing a large part in the government’s energy plan from the spring, opposition party Venstre (V) has accused the government of shooting itself in the foot. “Improving energy efficiency was included in the energy deal we agreed upon,” V’s financial spokesperson, Peter Christensen, told Politiken newspaper. “We are going to have to ask the government how it will affect those goals if there won’t be any subsidies after all.” Overall, the government’s projected expenditure for 2013 is 650.9 billion, down from 672 billion in 2012, which complies with the new stricter EU requirements for national budgets. And with government spending only 0.1 percent more this year than last, it did
The fat tax has raised prices on items like butter, cheese and cream
party is also opposed to the tax increase. Peter Christensen, Venstre’s financial spokesperson, also disapproved of the government’s methods. “It is strange that they say they will lower personal taxes one day, and then say they need to raise them two days later,” said Christensen. “If the government wants to get rid of these taxes, they have to find alternative ways to make up the difference.” Business support groups Dansk Industri (DI) and the Danish Chamber of Commerce have both been vocal opponents of the fat and sugar taxes, but they are not happy with the government’s current idea to cut the taxes by dropping support for business and raising income taxes. “It is unacceptable to cut these taxes and then replace them with a higher personal tax rate,” DI’s Jens Klarskov told Børsen. The proposal to remove fat and sugar taxes was not part of the budget that was presented on Monday. (RW) not repeat this year’s 1.5 percent increase in government spending on the previous year, much to the delight of the libertarian party Liberal Alliance. “We have sat through endless debates in parliament in which Liberal Alliance criticised the government for its wasteful intentions to increase its spending each year by 0.8 percent,” LA’s finance spokesperson Ole Birk Olesen said in a press release. “It’s wonderful that the government did not include this number in its budget.” Olesen, however, went on to criticise the abandoning of the energy efficiency grants and argued that businesses should be offered some alternative support in order to stimulate economic growth. In Monday’s budget announcement, the government stated that the budget, the economic kickstart, the energy deal and the planned renovation of public housing would maintain an economic growth of 0.6 percent in 2012 and 0.3 percent in 2013, while also creating 21,000 jobs in 2013.
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6 News Campaign builds to stop deportation of trans-woman The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
Dominic Summers Fernanda Milan was raped after being placed in the men’s dormitory; now she faces deportation to Guatemala
ore than 200 people attended a rally on Saturday protesting against the decision to deport a transgender asylum seeker. The trans-woman, Fernanda Milan, is due to be sent back to Guatemala on September 17 after her application for asylum was rejected. While in Denmark, Milan was raped at Sandholm Asylum Centre, a facility operated by the Danish Red Cross. “I was very touched by how supportive the crowd was, telling me how brave I was,” Milan told The Copenhagen Post. “It was also impressive to see a lot of nonLGBT people as well. People do really care; they came to protest and are very angry about it.” In Guatemala, Milan had
been campaigning on television and in the press to highlight the grave treatment transgender people are subjected to in her country. After becoming a very public activist in a nation dominated by Catholicism and conservative views, she was forced to flee her country in 2009. After arriving in this country via Switzerland, she made contact with LGBT Denmark, which supported her asylum request. Under Danish law, Milan is classified as a man so authorities placed her in the male section of Sandholm. Despite being given a separate dormitory, other detainees were able to break into her room and rape her. “I wasn’t raped by just one man but by many,” she told Politiken newspaper earlier this month. Milan was due to share the room with another trans-woman in Sandholm, but the latter refused to be placed amongst men and instead slept in a car. After the attack at Sandholm, Milan fled the centre and was trafficked into prostitution
31 August - 6 September 2012
I am panicking and I’m extremely scared
Milan fears she might be killed upon returning to Guatemala
for two years. Police discovered her during a raid on a brothel in Jutland. “There is a lot of ignorance and a lack of information within the system about the treatment of trans-people,” she told The Copenhagen Post. “This was a surprise compared to what I had heard about Denmark.” Born a man, Milan had been receiving hormone treatment
since she was 14 years old. Because she was unable to receive the treatment after leaving Guatemala, she was no longer considered transgender by the Danish medical definition. She continues to live and self-identify as a woman, but that wasn’t enough to earn her a spot in the women’s dormitory in Sandholm. “A transgender woman is likely to be placed in a male dor-
mitory, but in a single room,” Anne La Cour, head of the Danish Red Cross asylum department, told Politiken. “But we would not place her in a women’s dormitory because that is exclusively for women and we cannot permit ourselves to place a man.” Milan, however, rejected La Cour’s explanation, saying that she has been living and sharing facilities with other women in a Copenhagen shelter run by Reden International, an antitrafficking organisation, without any problems or complaints for a year and a half. Denmark does grant asylum to LGBT refugees, but bases decisions on secondary and protection issues. After her application rejection, Milan fears what will happen when she returns to Guatemala.
“It’s very dangerous. I could be kidnapped, tortured or even murdered. I am panicking and I’m extremely scared.” An online petition calling for the decision to be reversed has attracted over 1,800 signatures from around the world. LGBT Denmark conceded that the petition will have no influence on the decision to reject her asylum application as it is nearly impossible to get a case reopened. “The decision of an asylum case concerns the position of the asylum seeker in the country of origin,” Søren Laursen, a spokesperson from the organisation, told The Copenhagen Post. “The petition may send a signal to the politicians, but of course they do not influence the court either.” Acknowledging a Europeanwide problem, Laursen added: “Denmark is rejecting some of the most vulnerable and persecuted refugees, and the one reason for this is a lack of understanding of trans-persons and gender identity.”
Government proposes cutting back Organ donation may become opt-out on Danish classes for foreigners Ray Weaver High dropout rate has leaders considering less funding for immigrants to learn Danish – “fiction” says educator
n its recently-released budget proposal (see story, page 1), the government said it wanted to cut 200 million kroner from the funds available to language centres that teach Danish to adult foreigners. The proposed cuts amount to 15 percent of the total budget. The government pointed to the high dropout rate as one of the reasons that the cuts should be made. About 30 percent of students who start Danish classes drop out before they finish, according to reports. Poul Neergaard, the headteacher at the language centre Københavns Sprogcenter, said the cuts may actually encourage even more students to drop out by forcing them to stay in school longer to complete their course of study. “This could lead to higher
rates of absenteeism and more dropouts because students will become discouraged that they are not learning fast enough,” said Neergaard. Neergaard said that earlier cuts have already had a negative impact on the quality of education at the country’s language centres. “Many have already had to reduce hours and materials, use fewer teachers and rely more on self-study,” he said. Neergaard said he is having discussions with local councils and immigrant groups on ways to encourage adult Danish language students to finish their education. Walther Jeppesen, the headteacher at Sprogcentre Nordsjælland, called the government’s attempt to tie funding cuts to the nation’s language centres dropout rates “fiction”. “Language centres are the only educational systems in Denmark that receive half of a student’s funding when they start their education and do not see the rest of the cost of educating that student until they graduate,” Jeppesen told The Copen-
hagen Post. “The state does not lose money if our students do not graduate, but our students lose every time the state cuts our funding.” Jeppesen said that every other Danish educational model receives money from the state to support their students on an ongoing basis. He reaffirmed Neergaard’s contention that language schools are already struggling due to earlier budget cuts. Enhedslisten expressed scepticism that reducing funding would lower dropout rates. “It makes sense to look at how you can bring down absences, but I find it hard to believe that you can cut 200 million kroner from language education without it having a negative impact,” said Enhedslisten spokesperson Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen. Schmidt-Nielsen said that learning Danish is a vital skill for immigrants, and that Enhedslisten would work to see the proposed cuts dropped from the government’s budget. “It is extremely difficult to cope in Denmark if you do not speak the language,” she said.
The idea that Danes will automatically be considered organ donors in the future has moved a step closer
espite overwhelming support for the idea of organ donation, few people are actually donors. That’s because, as the law stands today, citizens have to actively sign up to be an organ donor. But a shift of stance by opposition party Venstre (V) may lead to that changing. V has long opposed the notion that Danes should be automatically registered as organ donors, but now party spokesperson Sophie Løhde has indicated that presumed consent could help solve the considerable lack of organ donation in Denmark. “We should look at organ donation with fresh eyes and actively consider new initiatives, including presumed consent,” Løhde said, according to metroXpress newspaper. “The goal is clear and the gap between organ donor advocates and those enrolled should be decreased, which is why we should look at a political solution.” Nearly 500 people are currently on the organ donor transplant waiting list, and last year
76 people died while waiting for a donated organ. But while the health minister, Astrid Krag (Socialistisk Folkeparti), said that she is pleased there is a vibrant discussion about the increase of prospective organ donors, she doesn’t support the automated solution. “The most decisive part will always be that the individual relates to the question about whether he or she wishes to be a donor, and speaks with their loved ones,” Krag told metroXpress. “It is the family that faces a difficult time after a death, and that’s why I’m sceptical about automated solutions that don’t include the family discussion.” Gunna Christiansen, a medical professor and member of the ethical council Etisk Råd, maintained that the question of organ donation is very sensitive and personal. Her biggest concern is the lack of available information. “Generally speaking, many Danes don’t know what the criteria for death is,” Christiansen told metroXpress. “And without a clear agreement that you’re dead when your brain is dead, then you can’t implement presumed consent regarding organ donation, because people don’t know what they are agreeing to.”
A YouGov panel poll from early August indicated that of over 1,000 people asked, 56 percent agreed that presumed consent, or an opt-out system, was the way forward, while only 23 percent disapproved. Some 15 percent were neutral and six percent were unsure. Stig Hedegaard Kristensen, the head of the kidney association Nyreforeningen, agreed that it was a difficult topic and said he could understand religious or cultural views that argue against it, but argued that a decision now could ease the additional strain on the families of the person donating. “It’s kind of like preparing for your own funeral, and I can’t say anything other than it’s a hard decision,” Kristensen told metroXpress. “But when you do it, you relieve your next of kin from making that decision. The question will be asked if you have been in a traffic accident, and your family will know your wishes and won’t have to face that choice.” As of 2010, 24 European countries – including Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and Sweden – had some form of opt-out system. (CW)
Online this week Uganda aid to continue despite controversial anti-gay bill After the development minister, Christian Friis Bach (Radikale), and the foreign minister, Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), met with Ugandan sexual minority rights advocate Frank Mugisha last week, Denmark decided to continue providing development aid to Uganda, despite that country’s anti-gay
stance. But while the money will still flow, it could be restructured to focus more on gay rights – a plan could especially hinge on the use of non-government organisations (NGOs) operating in Uganda. The Ugandan parliament is discussing a bill that would make homosexuality punishable by death.
Police conclude Folkets Park attack investigation Despite witness reports that the May attack against four Danish tourists in Nørrebro’s Folkets Park was carried out by upwards of a dozen people, Copenhagen Police have now concluded an investigation that resulted in the arrest of just one 16-year-old boy. Commissioner Knud Hvass of the Co-
penhagen Police told Politiken newspaper that no more arrests were expected and that “it has been hard to work out there [in Folkets Park].” “Those involved haven’t been willing to explain what happened, so it hasn’t been that easy to figure out who participated in [the attack],” Hvass told Politiken.
More photo trailers to catch speeders In an effort to curb speeding, the government announced recently that it will quadruple the number of manned speed traps from the present total of 26 to around 100 cars. The government initially planned to introduce 500 speed cameras to control speed-
ers, but have since dismissed that project. The government will spend 335 million kroner on the project over the next two years, as part of its road safety package. The package will also increase the number of traffic stops and improve several intersections.
Read the full stories at cphpost.dk
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
31 August - 6 September 2012
Trading of blame and a search O (no) Canada for answers in Odense suburb
The letter asserted that Danish bank managers have been forced to close diplomatic accounts due to what the employees called “huge overdrafts”, and that employees were constantly asked to call cable and telephone companies to have accounts belonging to diplomats reopened that had been closed due to non-payment. “These are very serious allegations and, upon hearing of them, Minister Baird immediately asked his deputy minister to ensure that an independent and comprehensive investigation is undertaken,” Joseph Lavoie, Baird’s director of communications, told The Copenhagen Post. The Canadian government dispatched two investigators to Copenhagen to look into the allegations. They are expected to deliver their findings to Baird this week. Employees have said anonymously in Canadian newspapers that “an institutionalised culture of misconduct and harassment has persisted since 1995.” At that time, the former Canadian ambassador to Denmark, Ernest Hebert, was recalled to Ottawa after a housekeeper alleged that he sexually assaulted her at an embassy Christmas party. The Hebert case resulted in Canada’s former foreign affairs minister, John Manley, implementing a policy of notifying police when criminal allegations are levelled against Canadian diplomats. No decision will be made on whether the police should be contacted about the current case until the investigators report their findings. Peter Lundy, Canada’s most recent envoy to Denmark, left the post last week as part of a routine diplomatic rotation. André François Giroux was named to replace Lundy. Both have declined to comment on the allegations.
Last week’s hospital invasion leaves politicians trying to find a scapegoat and pondering what happens next
OLLOWING the crisis meeting attended by officials last week, politicians would like the immigrants who caused problems in the Odense suburb of Vollsmose to be forcibly evicted. Three cabinet members, all members of Socialdemokraterne (S) – Justice Minister Morten Bødskov, Housing Minister Carsten Hansen, and Social Affairs and Integration Minister Karen Hækkerup – met with Funen Police and Odense Council officials to discuss the events of August 20, in which a group of 60-80 men stormed the A&E department at Odense University Hospital following a shooting at a community party celebrating Eid, the end of Ramadan. “The challenge is to get hold of some of these tough gangs. It is obvious that they need somewhere to live, but it will calm down Vollsmose if they are separated, that is the first step,” Bødskov said. “We are working for a Denmark that stands together and is not characterised by unsafe areas, where there is any doubt about what kind of values Danes stands for.” The mayor of Odense, Anker Boye (S), said that the families of those involved are not helping the situation. “If I could choose, it would be the whole family that gets pulled up by the roots. They don’t fit in with our norms,” he
SCANPIX / CLAUS FISKER
The mayor of Odense said he wanted the troublemakers – and their families – out of Vollsmose
Arrests continue to pile up ANOTHER arrest was made on Monday in connection with the attack on the A&E department at Odense University Hospital. This time it was a 19-year-old man who faced the court in connection with the violence. A 26-year-old and a 20-year-old man are already in custody, charged with attempted murder for the shooting. A 35-year-old man is being held for kicking the wounded man while he tried to hide behind a officer’s leg, and an additional 19-year-old man has been arrested for vandalism and making threats at the hospital. Police say that more arrests are likely, but the chaos of the attack coupled with malfunctioning video cameras at the hospital make it unlikely that everyone who participated will be held accountable. “It is not likely that we will find everyone involved,” Funen police commissioner Poul Bjørnholdt Løhde told the media. “We will take our time and try to find out who was there, but it is unlikely we will get information on all of them.” said. “It would ease the pressure on the whole area.” While the legality of forcibly evicting any of the individuals who took part in the hospital incident is unclear, what is certain in the wake of the August 20 incident is that it has ignited a politi-
cal tit-for-tat. Debate has raged about who is responsible for the failed integration in Vollsmose, an area known nationally as being a ‘ghetto’ with high unemployment and a large immigrant population. MP Trine Bramsen (S) said
last week that those responsible for the attacks should consider whether they want to be members of Danish society or “go home to their native country”. The comment received much criticism from political friends and foes alike, but was backed up by the prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt (S), who said that she could understand Bramsen’s sentiment. Leading opposition party Venstre (V) has suggested that the government is responsible for the dramatic events in Odense, and former integration minister, Søren Pind (V), in particular criticised the current government for being too lenient with their immigration policies, saying that S had not learnt anything since its fall from power in 2001. “The government as usual looks on passively, while criminals and bandits take power in the streets and do as they please,” Pind wrote. Thorning-Schmidt soon shot back. “There is an integration problem that has not been addressed for many, many years. I have noted today that both [former prime minister] Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Søren Pind say that it is the government’s fault. If this wasn’t so serious, it would be laughable. Those who have done this [stormed the hospital] are young people who were small children when the previous government took power.” The economy minister, Margrethe Vestager (Radikale) wrote on Twitter that “the violence in Vollsmose is totally unacceptable. It has no place here at home. V had responsibility for ten years. We have had it for ten months. Joint solution?”
Diplomats at Canadian Embassy in Denmark charged with misconduct, out of control spending and abuse of personnel
LIST of grievances signed by 13 current and former staff members of the Canadian Embassy in Copenhagen and sent to Canada’s foreign affairs minister, John Baird, alleges that misconduct by diplomatic staff at the embassy on Kristen Bernikowsgade has been going on for years. Charges levelled against the diplomats include: financial mismanagement, racial harassment, and the abuse of government property and diplomatic privileges. The letter states that a locally-hired guard had been seen on video bringing prostitutes into the embassy’s garage. Such an incident, if true, would be considered a major security risk. The group also raised questions about an embassy real estate deal, saying that there was an absence of contracts related to last autumn’s sale of a previous official residence. The letter alleged the unauthorised personal use of property, alcohol and embassy staff to run errands. The employees said that diplomats threw lavish private parties under the guise of official functions, and that local employees were forced to act as guards and chauffeurs. They also maintained that the embassy’s spirits cabinet was often raided for personal use and was restocked using official funds. Charges were also made that racial slurs were directed at a Venezuelan woman employed at the embassy, and that two undocumented Filipino workers had been hired, one of whom eventually wound up being deported.
Oliver custody case takes another twist JUSTIN CREMER Five-year-old boy’s Danish father is now being charged with unlawful imprisonment by the Austrian authorities
HE CASE of five-year-old Oliver, who is caught in an international custody battle between his Danish and Austrian parents, took another turn last week. Thomas Sørensen, the boy’s 40-year-old Danish father, is now being charged with unlawful imprisonment by Austrian authorities, multiple Danish media outlets are reporting, citing the Austrian news bureau APA. Sørensen has been summoned to appear in an Austrian court on September 25, but whether he shows up may be an entirely different matter as Danish officials have already neglect-
ed to honour an international warrant for his arrest. “The reason is that the act that the Danish citizen is alleged to have performed in Austria also partially occurred in Denmark – an act that is not illegal according to Danish law,” the Justice Ministry said in a June press release. The international custody battle has been going on for years. Oliver’s parents had been living together in Denmark, until the boy’s mother, Marion Weilharter, took the child to Austria in July 2010, where she was given sole custody by that country’s authorities. The Danish authorities, however, viewed the action as kidnapping and issued charges against Weilharter. In April 2012, Sørensen drove to the Austrian city of Graz and took Oliver, without Weilharter’s approval or knowledge, and drove him back to
Denmark. This action, in turn, was viewed as kidnapping by the Austrians, who issued the arrest warrant that has since been dismissed by the Danes. On behalf of Weilharter, the Austrians have requested that Oliver be returned to Graz, but according to B.T. tabloid, the Danish Division of Family Affairs (Familiestryelsen) has informed Austrian authorities that Sørensen has full parental rights and that Weilharter risks arrest on the kidnapping charges if she appears in Denmark. The boy has been living with Sørensen in a north Zealand location ever since. Janus Bang, a spokesperson for the father, told B.T. that Oliver is doing well and has regular phone contact with his mother. On September 4, a court in Helsingør is due to rule on the Austrian request to have Oliver returned to his mother.
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
The private lies of public people
31 August - 6 September 2012
Breivik: Gone but hopefully not forgotten
Public figures should be allowed to maintain a shred of privacy, but we should be wary when their aim is more to deceive than protect
F YOU’RE famous in Denmark and have financial problems, you are likely to be seeing yourself on the front page of the tabloids. Same if you have a drug problem. Whispers of infidelity, sexual impropriety and closet homosexuality, however, have for the most part been allowed to remain private. As long as no-one is breaking any laws, such rumours remain rumours. Unfortunately for privacy-loving lawmakers, this gentlemen’s agreement with the media was shattered by the prime minister’s pre-emptive strike to quash rumours that her husband is gay. The allegations themselves certainly are salacious, but even more notable is that Thorning-Schmidt felt the need to bring them up at all. In doing so, she sets a new low for what is in bounds when it comes to political attacks. Although it is refreshing that the quality of people’s work is allowed to come before the character of their person, in the case of the prime minister and other important public figures, it is worth asking at what point we should begin prying into their private lives. Few today find homosexuality or promiscuity a reason to question someone’s ability to do a job, be they politician, executive, police officer or chimney sweep. But it is troubling if public figures throw up a facade to mask inconvenient details about their lives. If they lie to the public about what goes on in their homes, what does it say about their willingness to lie about what’s going on in parliament or the boardroom? There was a time here when what public figures did in their free time was up to them. By expressing a need to defend her husband’s honour, the prime minister is telling us she feels that era has drawn to an end. Whether the blame for that falls on an increasingly aggressive media or a public that continues to pay attention to scandal is a matter of the chicken or the egg. What can’t be questioned, though, is that when the mud starts flying, it’s the discussion of the issues that suffers most. Politics makes strange bedfellows, according to an American adage, but who politicians’ bedfellows are shouldn’t be a matter of public interest. (KM)
AST FRIDAY, August 24, Anders Behring Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in prison, the maximum sentence under Norwegian law. Many have described the 22 July 2011 attack as Norway’s own 9/11. But, in contrast to America’s response to 9/11, Norway responded by rallying around democracy and warning against letting fear determine how Norwegians should react. In the first few hours after the horror in Norway unfolded, both the press and politicians were quick to point to Islamists as the most likely culprits. But when it became clear that it was the act of a right-wing madman, the tone of the discussion changed. Since then, the press has described the act as stemming from “the evil within all of us” or as something conceived of “by a madman”. It’s important we keep in mind that Breivik is technically neither a madman nor a psychopath. Breivik’s attack was a premeditated assault on Norwegian values. Breivik’s Oslo bomb targeted the government building in order to put an end to the political correctness that, in Breivik’s eyes,
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had permitted multiculturalism and immigration. Breivik is a member of the Norwegian Progress Party, which draws inspiration from the diverse group of anti-Muslim voices on the far right, such as Denmark’s Dansk Folkeparti (Danish People’s Party), which has been eager to promote anti-immigrant rhetoric throughout Scandinavia and served as the inspiration for Sverigedemokraterne (Swedish Democrats) in Sweden. In the 1,516-page manifesto Breivik published on the internet prior to carrying out his wellplanned attack, he takes aim at a wide range of enemies, including Islam, Marxism and multiculturalism. Former Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Morten Messerschmidt, an MEP for Dansk Folkeparti, are both praised in the manifesto. Breivik names Rasmussen as one of the men he would like to meet, and described him as “the only western European leader who has something resembling a spine”. Immediately after the attack last year, the Wall Street Journal linked the attack to Islam and recalled in its editorial that Rasmussen, after Denmark found itself the subject of an Islamic Jihad in 2005 when Jyllands-Posten published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed, opined: “We Danes feel as if we’re in the wrong scene in the wrong movie.” National media outlets, too, were also quick to look for such a non-existent connection. The media’s failure as the tragedy was unfolding should give cause for reflection. Predictably, public broadcaster DR and TV2 used the Brei-
vik attacks as the basis for reports that fanned the flames of antiIslam sentiment and xenophobia. The threats to Jyllands-Posten and the attacks on the World Trade Centre were both trotted out as comparable events, even though it was still unclear at that point if Breivik’s attack was one of terrorism or whether Muslim extremists were responsible. Nevertheless, ‘Islamic terror’ was ‘the most likely’ explanation in the minds of socalled ‘terrorism experts’. The rumour mill was churning away in the Danish press and, according to their sources, Islamists were responsible. Not even Information – the Danish newspaper of choice of the left-wing elite – was immune. Their headline the next day, “Experts suspect Islamic terrorism”, was based on a combination of two otherwise carefully worded statements by experts: the first, by Danish terrorism expert Tore Bjørg, that “the evidence at hand indicates that the bombing was the work of a terrorist”; the other, uttered by Lars Erslev Andersen, that the “natural assumption” was “militant Islamists were to blame”. Berlingske’s coverage focused on how Denmark was the actual target of the attack, but that “Danish security services had been much more proactive in protecting Danes at home and abroad. They collaborate far more closely with the CIA and other intelligence agencies” than Norwegian security services, said Magnus Rantorp, a so-called international terrorism scholar. It didn’t take long for the press to change its tune. By July 26, filmmaker Christian Braad Thomsen was presenting evidence
that veteran Dansk Folkeparti MP Søren Krarup had sewn the seed for the emergence of a person like Breivik. Another of the first to ask where Breivik’s ideologies came from was Politiken editor Anders Jerichow, who wrote in an opinion piece entitled “We bear our share of the blame”, that “with the exception of the centrist Radikale and the far left Enhedslisten, political parties across the board, as well as the media, have co-opted the language of the far right”. The Oslo court’s decision that Breivik was not insane at the time of his act is, if you believe the press, of the most importance. Being held responsible for his actions means he can be imprisoned. This is an important detail, but it should not detract from what is truly most important: Breivik is guilty of premeditated, politically motivated murder, and he consciously carried out an act of right-wing terror. With the sentence, Breivik will be put away for years [he got 21 years with the option of extending the sentence five years at a time], but we must not let it be a matter that is out of sight or out of mind. We cannot allow ourselves to forget the threat of right-wing extremists. The democratically elected representatives are not responsible for Breivik. But Breivik should constantly remind them of the consequences of what a hateful tone in public discourse, anti-Islamic sentiment and their disdain for the left can lead to. We all need to pull together to fight fascism, racism and terrorism – for the sake of Breivik’s victims. The author is the vice-chairman of SOS Against Racism.
READER COMMENTS The new face of the immigration debate? Thank you for spreading the word about this important issue. Nice to see a bit of intelligent input instead of the usual DF crap that dominates great parts of the Danish media. Claus Anders by Facebook Ralf Christensen has really raised his voice on behalf of thousands of people. It is so painful to wait for long periods of time, only to hear that the immigration service still has your application under processing. In my case, I have been waiting for my wife’s visa for the last 10 months, and they have yet to even start processing the application. The policy regarding foreigners should be clear – if you are allowing them to work and live here, then you have to provide the benefits that they deserve – otherwise just shut down all the immigration schemes. Sajad Ali by Facebook This just goes to show that in Denmark, refugees and immigrants are lumped together as ‘foreigners’. The two are not the same, and different laws should apply to their cases. Lord knows
how many years I’ve been trying to hammer this into people’s heads. Davidaron by website Police to crack down on Pusher Street The irony is that most of these dealers are on kontanthjælp. Great system we have here! ziggedwhenishouldazagged by website I didn’t think cars were allowed in Christinia … How are the police going to hand out speeding tickets on Pusher Street? I know they are not going to do anything else! Thorvaldsen by website Why do people continually equate legalisation with state-control? The terms seem to be used interchangeably! Legalisation is one thing and state-control is another – one doesn’t necessarily imply the other. If the state were in control, the end price would be 300kr per gram, from shops that are hardly ever open. These ideas are all coming from people who know nothing about business, or drugs, for that matter. xeleri by website
Cinema warns movie-goes about ‘annoying’ Muslims I have a problem when a company is criticised for trying to offer good customer service, which is so rare in this country. The poster was a good initiative independent of the level of sophistication in the wording. Pc11 by website If Muslims can’t behave like Danish citizens, then they’re welcome to leave Denmark. Buzzy Sørensen by Facebook I’m pretty sure Palads’ business is the bottom line here, which is directly affected by guest satisfaction. If they’re aware of a problem and fail to inform their moviegoers, they are liable (for anyone who demands a refund – as I would). There is an issue with unruly movie patrons during Eid – underscored by the fact that other cinemas simply close. Palads’s mistake (and it was a big one) was not having someone higher up in the corporate food chain craft the notice. Christian Braemer by Facebook That apology is bogus. It’s not really an apology at all – claiming
that the poster “could be misunderstood”. It is not a misunderstanding of the poster, but the plain meaning of it that is offensive. The article also gives space for the sickening rants of a representative of the racist DF party. Every Dane should be ashamed of statements like this – it makes Danes look small-minded and ignorant. Daniel Lewis by Facebook That is just not on! How incredibly ignorant of the management to post such a statement on their front door! It’s no “misunderstanding”. It’s blatant racism – end of story. Felicity Anne Oliver-Simper by Facebook Chaos at Odense hospital following Eid shooting Why can’t any of these people shoot straight?! All these shootings – and they hardly ever kill each other. If they learnt that basic skill, at least the number of scum on both sides would start declining. Barney_dk by website
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
31 August - 6 September 2012
Media’s focus on ethnicity belies the facts
You’re Still Here? BY KELLY DRAPER Kelly Draper is a British teacher who came to Denmark four years ago for work. She has been acting informally as a critical friend to Denmark. This has not gone down particularly well with Danes, who often tell her she should like it or leave it. Her blog is at adventuresandjapes. wordpress.com.
NE QUESTION posed in the Danish Institute for Human Rights’ schools pack is: “What effect does repeatedly hearing the background of a criminal have on a reader?” A local bar may have answered that question when they decided to refuse entry to all African people. Tracing the bar’s logic is an exercise in frustration. A wallet was stolen. The victim said it was taken in the bar and by a black person, neither of which were true. Police are now investigating the bar for discrimination. Last year, a play area tried to ban anyone with a Somali-appearance. The reasoning? A group of Somalis caused trouble one time, but the police did not even get involved. Perhaps it is not surprising that many think that foreigners are inherently criminal. That is what we are told on a regular basis. When 1 percent of Somalis fiddled their taxes, the newspapers gave the impression it was a problem with their community. But tax fiddling in the general population is also around 1 percent. The newspapers are most certainly in part to blame for this generalised racism. Many have run headlines with racial slurs. For instance, ‘Neger’, which trans-
It is no wonder that many see crime as a foreign problem and foreigners are seen as trouble lates roughly as when an idiot says ‘negro’ or when a racist says ‘n****r’, has been used four times in local newspaper headlines about crimes in the last 12 months. The newspapers have their excuses, claiming that had the suspect been redheaded, it would have been in the headline. ‘Redheaded’ was used once in a headline about a suspect in the last year. Another excuse is that journalists were merely copying the wording of a police report. Either police reports are selectively descriptive or their wording, in most cases, is ignored. Neither ‘white man’ nor ‘blonde’ were used in headlines taken from police reports in the past year. So who is really committing crime in Denmark? Let’s take theft, a crime that usually includes a description of a
suspect or perpetrator in news stories. In 2010, 11,000 of the 12,000 convicted had a ‘Danish background’. Those numbers are similar across the criminal board: 120,000 convictions of people with Danish backgrounds compared with 17,500 immigrants and 5,000 ‘descendants of immigrants’. And yet, when the newspapers give a description of a perpetrator from the police reports, they are ten times less likely to reference his background if he is Danish. My town, Fredericia, recently ran a news story about a “suspicious woman” taking photos of houses at around 4pm. When she was confronted, she stopped taking photos and left. The police said: “Maybe she’s an architecture student or maybe she is a burglar.” Why should this behaviour have been suspicious in the tourist high season, you ask? It was probably due to her physical description: “Other ethnic origin than Danish, late teens/early 20s, long black hair, wearing ear phones.” Frederician cops must have their minds blown every time they catch a burglar and it turns out to be a 40-year-old Danish man, so convinced are they that young photography enthusiasts are the cause of the domestic crimewave.
Exposed to this media onslaught, it is no wonder that many see crime as a foreign problem and foreigners are seen as trouble. No wonder all it takes is an allegation for all people from one group to be treated like criminals. No wonder non-Danish résumés are placed in the ‘round file’. No wonder black-haired young women cannot take photos in the middle of the day during their summer holidays without being suspected of criminal intent. The good news is that these situations are starting to be dealt with. The play area backed off, the bar is being investigated and some ‘neger’ headlines were changed. I would like to see more efforts taken in this direction. If the police feel describing a suspect’s appearance will help bring justice, then they should describe even what they consider the ‘default’. If the media think a reference to family background is newsworthy, then they should make sure they reference ‘obvious’ Danish backgrounds. This is the only way that a true picture of crime in Denmark can be built up and stereotypes about crime can be destroyed. The alternative is that businesses and individuals continue to act on their prejudices, giving Danes a reputation for intolerance and ignorance.
Caveat emptor – ‘Buyer beware’
I To Be Perfectly Frank BY FRANK THEAKSTON Born in 1942 on the Isle of Wight, Englishman Frank Theakston has been in Copenhagen 32 years and is on his second marriage, this time to a Dane. Frank comes from a different time and a different culture – which values are the right ones today?
someone comes back to remove the needles and you are free to leave. Now, when I tell you that the normal (i.e. non-Groupon) fee for this treatment is 1,500 kroner, and that one acupuncturist can attend to several customers at once, you’ll easily see that the acupuncture business is not a bad one to be in. All it takes is suitably luxurious-looking premises in a smart part of town, a few cubicles and some acupuncture needles. I’m not even sure whether the acupuncturist has to be qualified or certified, as it is not technically a medical procedure; the needles apparently tighten the face muscles! Hmmm … But, if people aren’t getting acupuncture then they’re using face cream, equally as expensive and just as useless. Sometimes I ask myself how such businesses and products are even legal, given the weight of the evidence that the results are simply not as advertised. But then, as I think about it more, we have to accept that a certain proportion of the population – often, I suspect, those with low self-esteem
STARTED subscribing to Groupon after my daughter got me a discount on hotel accommodations when I visited her recently in the States. Now I get several offers each day for stuff I don’t want, have never bought and would never consider buying. Interestingly, I’ve never once had an offer for hotel accommodations in Copenhagen – the hotels here must be doing well, or maybe those offers don’t exist in Denmark. One offer recently caught my eye because the discount was significant. Not that the percentage was so enormous in the Groupon context (47 or 55 percent, depending where you looked), but that the amount of money involved was substantial in relation to the product – a single treatment of “cosmetic acupuncture”. I have tried acupuncture before, though not for cosmetic reasons, and thus have some insight into the procedure. It’s extremely simple. The acupuncturist places the needles in the relevant areas of the body and leaves to treat other customers. After half an hour or so,
Why is so much energy expended on such frivolity? Why do we allow people to exploit human vanity in such a lucrative way?
and/or those with more money than sense – contributes to the economy in this way, or we risk further economic collapse. The reason both consumers and vendors, restaurants, hotels etc are going to Groupon is because the economy is bad, and even those with more money than they need are cutting out or cutting back on luxuries. With people less likely to shell out
money for life’s luxuries, threatening such businesses everywhere – is this a sign of the end of civilisation as we know it? Probably not, but we nevertheless must ask: why is so much energy expended on such frivolity? Why do we allow people to exploit human vanity in such a lucrative way? The range of ‘services’ offered to me over the last couple of weeks includes a luxury pedicure, organic cocktails (!), hot stone massages and weight control hypnotherapy. Sushi also seems to crop up a lot – must be going out of style. The only sensible offer I saw was a trip to see Real Madrid play FC Barcelona at the Bernabéu, including tickets and a four-star overnight stay for only 1,485 kroner. Now that’s what I call a deal! Nothing frivolous or silly about that, is there? I realise I may be opening up the running sore of gender conflict with these remarks. But hey, relax, it is still the silly season!
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
31 August - 6 September 2012
‘Test tube’ blogger strikes again, helping to save Nørrebro bunkers After ridding Dronning Louise Bridge of coffee cup litter, blogger Sandra Høj has led a campaign to stop the city from levelling landmark grass bunkers nearby
N THE banks of the Lakes (Søerne), near the bridge linking Nørrebro to the city centre and Nørre Sølgade, lie a series of curvy grass bumps. These are not mere geographical accidents, but manmade shelters built to harbour civilians in case of aerial bombing during the Second World War. The city, however, recently set its sights on them and wants to level these bumps this autumn. The city’s plans did not go unnoticed and left many local residents infuriated. Among them was concerned citizen Sandra Høj, the author of the
cupying some of the bunkers on August 18 and putting up a big banner stating their intentions in giant red letters. Faced with this unexpected revolt, Ayfer Baykal, the deputy mayor for technical and environmental affairs (SF), capitulated and suspended the project until further notice. The city argued that it intended to flatten the grass in order to offer more space for visitors to lie down and enjoy the spot. But these arguments did not satisfy residents. “They underestimated how much we love this place,” Høj told The Copenhagen Post. Thanks to the efforts of Høj and others, the bunkers have been spared ... for now, at least The area as it is, she claims, ‘Classic Copenhagen’ blog, who decid- the Bridge’s Bunkers) – assembling close can already hold a great number of peoed to organise civic resistance. to 800 people to oppose the city’s plans. ple and offers a “cosy” environment, She started out by creating a Face- Consequently some of these supporters far from the overcrowded saturation book group – Red Broens Bunkere (Save made their opposition visible, briefly oc- of other public spaces in Copenhagen, SANDRA HØJ
and a “good view” when sitting or lying on top of the bumps. Høj claims the city’s plans would have damaged the nature of the place, turning it into “another Islands Brygge, where only one category of people would come rather than the diversity it knows today”. Høj objected to the city’s original plan to tear down several trees. Høj objected to this, saying it would have turned the spot into a “flat square of brown soil with cigarette butts”. This is the second time Høj has made local authorities change course. Early this year, she placed cylindrical bins – called ‘test tubes’ – on Dronning Louise Bridge to cut down on the overwhelming litter created by disposable coffee cup litter. After initially removing them, the city later decided to set up 16 of Høj’s specially designed aluminium tubes on Dronning Louise’s Bridge and Sankt Hans Torv.
SCANPIX/ MARTIN SYLVEST ANDERSEN
“We’re not lovin’ it,” says public about McDonald’s plan ORIGINAL: CHRISTIAN BICKEL / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
ELISE BEACOM Fast food giant plans to bring its Big Macs to historic Kongens Nytorv building
The turnout of support was so large that many had to have their beer in the street
Mamma Jane refused to pay CHRISTIAN WENANDE Hundreds of people showed up to support a pub owner’s stand against thugs demanding protection money
AFÉ VIKING was packed to the rafters last week on Thursday. So many people had shown up at the little Nørrebro pub that 200 of them had to stand and drink in the street. They were there not for a particularly good deal on drinks, but rather to show their support for the establishment’s owner Jane Birgitte Pedersen, more commonly known as Mamma Jane, in her battle against thugs trying to extort her for protection money. Earlier in the day, Mamma Jane had come forward and said that thugs had demanded protection money and, when she refused, had thrown stones through her pub located on Ægirsgade, halfway between Jagtvej and Nørrebro Station. The support not only came from people in the neighbourhood, but went viral when a Facebook group ‘NEJ til Bøller JA til Øller’ (NO to thugs, YES to beer) en-
couraged folk to meet up and back Mamma Jane’s defiance. So far over 16,000 people have ‘liked’ the site, and the bar has taken calls from all over Denmark giving support to Mamma Jane’s cause. The issue of protection money, in which criminals demand money from people running businesses on ‘their turf’, has been an ongoing issue in Nørrebro. But because few people have dared to come forward, specific police cases have been few and difficult to solve. Mamma Jane met with the council, police and other business owners early on Thursday last week and was subsequently praised by Copenhagen’s mayor, Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne), who wants to end the mafia-like tactics once and for all. “It takes a lot of courage to stand up to the threats. That’s why it is important that the council, police, business owners and residents of Nørrebro get together and back the impressive initiative by Café Viking’s owner,” Jensen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “I can guarantee that Copenhagen’s police are fully committed to ending these mafia tactics, but we rely heavily on people like Jane to come forth.”
INCE McDonald’s announced it would move its deep fryers into a historic building in the heart of Copenhagen, nearly 12,000 people have joined a Facebook group saying “hell no” to the fast food giant’s decision. McDonald’s Denmark last week confirmed that it has hired a French architect and Danish contractors to redevelop the premises next to the Magasin du Nord department store in Kongens Nytorv, which previously housed Café A Porta, and said it would try to maintain the original building’s heritage. It will be the first time a Danish McDonald’s has modified a historical building to accommodate for modern day needs like all-abilities access and better ventilation, according to Politiken newspaper. The Copenhagen Post visited the site last week on Thursday to find out what passersby thought of the plans. Karina Leblon lives in Paris now, but having worked at Magasin 15 years ago, she knows the area better than most people. With fond memories of the “classic” Café A Porta, Leblon said it was disappointing to hear about the building’s new fate. “I think it’s awful that McDonald’s are going to take it over,” she said. “They will turn it into a rubbish bin.” But Leblon is not opposed to all multinationals: she would prefer that Starbucks moved in over McDonald’s. It is the “greasy smell” of french fries and burgers that she thinks will be out of place in the famous square.
The idea of Happy Meals being served at the former Café A Porta has left many city residents decidedly unhappy
Copenhagen resident Turi Gaard Hansen is similarly concerned that the fast food chain will destroy the ambience. “Copenhagen is so cosy and beautiful, and when you see a building taken over by something like McDonald’s, it’s sad,” she said. “Aren’t there enough McDonald’s restaurants already?” While student Karolis Matulionis thinks putting a McDonald’s restaurant next to the Kongens Nytorv Metro exit will create an unpleasant first impression, he has more moderate views on
the development. “If they keep the building as it looks from the outside then I really don’t mind,” he said. The building dates back to 1792 when it was home to a patisserie, before a Swiss resident, Stephan A Porta, started a restaurant there in the 1850s. Café A Porta’s most recent owners, which included former Parken chairman, Flemming Østergaard, put the site up for sale last year after losing millions of kroner – citing the Metro construction as a deterrent to customers.
ONLINE THIS WEEK Government cuts nearly 1,000 workers AT A TIME when the prime minister, Helle ThorningSchmidt (Socialdemokraterne), has said that stemming the rising tide of unemployment is at the top of her agenda, her government has now fired more state employees then any Danish government over the past 90 years. Every ministry has been
directed to cut costs by five percent, resulting in the loss of 956 jobs, with some ministries losing more than 100 employees. Such a large reduction in the numbers of government employees has not been seen in Denmark since 1920, when tough social austerity policies were initiated in the wake of the First World War.
Free anti-cancer vaccine for women AS OF MONDAY, all women between the ages of 20 and 27 are eligible for free vaccines to protect against cervical cancer. The vaccine protects against infection from the two strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause genital warts and in turn can lead to the formation of cervical cancer. With the vaccine
preventing 70 percent of all cervical cancer cases, Leif Vestergaard Pedersen, head of anti-cancer organisation Kræftens Bekæmpelse, says that the vaccine is a lifesaver. “We have been presented with a fantastic opportunity to prevent a very serious cancer and there are no arguments against taking up the offer,” he said.
Police to stop horsing around COME December 1, police on horseback will no longer be seen patrolling Copenhagen’s streets. Despite public outcry, the mounted police will fall victim to budget cuts. The police force is looking to cut 118 million kroner from its budget by 2015, and though the
nine horses and 12 riding policemen survived the first round of cuts, the cost of veterinary bills, feed, stables and general upkeep have now made them too expensive. News of the cuts was met with disappointment by many within the police force.
READ THE FULL STORIES AT CPHPOST.DK
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
31 August - 6 September 2012
Performances and pancakes pazzazz the expats at City Hall PHOTOS: LINN LEMHAG
WORDS: DOM SUMMERS
Copenhagen’s mayor of culture and leisure, Pia Allerslev, officially starts the Expat Fair, encouraging those present to arrive with “open doors, open hearts and open minds” and, if it should come to that, leave as “ambassadors of Copenhagen”. It couldn’t be a speech in the capital without mentioning bikes and the Danish love of two wheels, but her suggestion to try cycling in the snow may be one push too many
After some intense discussion, the kids from Kampkunst karate, Jasmine, Camilla, Clara and Leon, go for the casual catalogue model pose over the action-chop, saving themselves for their show later on
Denmark’s Nina with Canadian boyfriend Victor, who is on a break from his regular Norwegian commute to work in the oil industry
Plate upon plate of the legendary pancakes. After extensive scientific sampling we can report that they were very, very tasty
It’s all smiles at the top as Allerslev (middle) is joined by two of the fair’s organisers, Trine Ingeberg and Jonas Kongstad
The sales and marketing manager for the popular LetsGo car sharing service, Lars Barfred, who moonlights as a pumpkin-seller, reveals a preference for chatting to all the internationals as they ask more questions than the Danish
The crew from the Exiles rugby club – (left-right) Mark Hojelsen, Josh Whitehead, Simon Sheppard, Camilla Osterby and Pia Kjær – were so desperate to recruit international players, they pleaded for this skinny vegan reporter to join their ranks. I sadly declined the offer of being trampled on by some great Danes
Taking a break from working at the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Spain’s Dario and Italy’s Matteo confessed to once seeing a copy of The Copenhagen Post lying in the office, but after gracing the pages will now of course become regular readers
With a Syddansk University master’s degree, Slovenia’s Klavdija Coca-Cola reveals its new marketing campaign will feature Bulgarand Ukrainian CBS graduate Neringa impress the fair with their ian commissioning engineer Doncho Bachvarov, and one of his children, Hristina, a freshly enrolled pupil at Rygaards school credentials
The supreme guardians of the pancakes, Dorthe and Stefen, refuse to reveal the 100-year-old secret recipe despite the suggestion of money possibly exchanging hands
Despite looking like the end of a school disco, these performers wowed the audience with their acrobatics and showmanship
Representing the paper, Dima Paranytsia auditions for the Centro Cultural Senzala de Capoeira group as the children look on in sheer awe at his muscle control
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
31 August - 6 September 2012
ABOUT TOWN PHOTOS BY HASSE FERROLD UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED
The annual AmCham Cup golf tournament took place last week on Thursday at Simon’s Golf Club in Humlebæk, where 30 teams from the international business community gathered to contest the trophy (left). In the end, Team UPS took top spot and received a rewards card from Intercontinental Hotels worldwide from Allan Agerholm of Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers, the event’s main sponsor (centre left). Among the other prizes was the use of a Crowne Plaza Peugeot electric car (centre right) for one year for anyone who could fire a hole-in-one (no-one did), a Microsoft Xbox360 Kinect with games, a Garmin approach watch from Hobart, and a custom wedge with golf accessories from Sealed Air. While two return tickets to the US courtesy of Iceland Air were won by Clinton Barry from Team RiskPoint (right) (Photos: Pamela Juhl)
India Today, a new organisation that fosters the exchange of culture, science and trade between India and Denmark, held its opening reception at City Hall. Pictured here (left-right from the centre) are AM Naik and Sarbjip Deb, the respective chairman/managing director and business development manager of L&T Infotech Denmark, and Henry Karkada, the vice-consul from the Danish Consulate in Mumbai
There was a splendid turn-out at the opening of ‘Fragments of a world picture’ at Gl Holtegaard, a new exhibition of 18th century painter François Boucher’s works. Among those in attendance was Princess Marie, and pictured here (left-right) Rudersdal mayor Erik Fabrin, French ambassador Veronique Bujon-Barre, and Gl Holtegaard director Mads Damsbo
Several of the city’s ambassadors in August attended a special trip to Oslo as the guests of DFDS and the International Club Copenhagen. Among those on the ‘Inspiration Cruise’ – which included a talk delivered by Lene Gammelgaard, the first Nordic woman to scale Mount Everest, and visits to the Nobel Peace Prize and Kon Tiki museums – were (left-right) Japanese ambassador Toshio Sano, Nepalese ambassador Mukti Nath Bhatta, Thai ambassador Piyawat Niyomrerks and Indian ambassador Ashok Kumar Attri
DATING THE DANES
And then there was one ... Swapping New Zealand for Zealand for her second tour of duty, Emily McLean isn’t, as far as we know, getting hitched anytime soon. She’s out there kissing frogs to find her prince – nobody ever said Dating the Danes was going to be easy.
The Danish instrument of love
I India celebrated its national day on August 17 at India House with a celebration of entertainment and food. Pictured here with some of the performers are Indian ambassador Ashok Kumar Attri and his wife. See next week’s newspaper for details of some of the other celebrations that took place across town
Indonesia also celebrated its national day on August 17. Pictured here with some of the performers are Indonesian ambassador Bomer Pasaribu and his wife
’VE COME TO notice during my time here that the humble bike is much more to a Danish man than just his means of transport. It’s his right-hand man when attempting to court women. The bike serves many functions. Most notably, it’s an intimate form of transport when shared. That manoeuvre involves holding, squeezing, grabbing and pulling in a plethora of ways merely to stay on the thing … which is where my story begins. It was a night of pølser and pilsner with ‘Hans’. I arrived for the date on my own bike, but he was bikeless – some excuse about a fladt dæk. Assuming he was speaking English, I was perplexed at how a ‘flat dick’ could prevent him from remedying his situation. After three hours in Østerbro, I was keen to relocate. Knowing Hans lacked a bike (not to mention forward thinking), I compensated and asked the following: “Well if you like, we can both
ride my bike to Vesterbro?” “Are you sure,” he replied. “Yes,” I said, semi-confidently, wondering if I was going to end up doing the pedalling. Turns out I didn’t end up pedalling, but I soon wished I was. Our journey consisted of me on the back, my arms wrapped tightly around him, changing my hold every 20 seconds as he Well if you like, continuously changed gears. we can both Let’s be ride my bike to honest though – to get a girl Vesterbro? to wrap herself that tightly around you, after only a few hours, is a feat only the ‘bike’ can achieve. He knew that – and so does every Danish man. Secondly, bikes are a perfect vehicle for showing off your manliness. Danish men love nothing more than displaying
their limited range (after all, many of them don’t have cars to fix) of handyman skills on the bike. I’ve never forgotten how one such Dane ‘fixed’ my family’s entire set of bikes when he visited my home in New Zealand once. After half-heartedly suggesting to him we could cycle into town, but that our bikes were not in good order, he saw this as his golden opportunity. Out came the oil, the bike pump and the spanner, and off came his shirt. He pumped up the tyres, adjusted the seats, oiled the chains, tightened the brakes and, well, you get the idea. The debacle continued for an hour, and he didn’t just fix two bikes, he did all six. The thing is: it looks cool and impressive when a man effortlessly unfreezes my bike lock or pulls my handle bars back into shape, but this was way too over the top. Needless to say, he got the boot. But Hans on the other hand – I did hold onto him for a few more months.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
31 August - 6 September 2012
The American who has brought the dentist into the workplace
OSHUA PERRY, a 38-year-old American, is in charge of a cuttingedge business enterprise. Falck Dentalcare started life as a business idea he conceived while he was a student on the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) Executive-MBA (EMBA) programme, and in the future it could potentially revolutionise the way dental care is provided to Danes. Contrary to general belief, Denmark is not a difficult place to set up a new business, believes Indiana-born Perry, who already had a business in the USA, but was looking for a new business venture. After some thorough research, Perry discovered that both the Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine had named Denmark as one of the best countries in the world to establish a new business. “Denmark is a fantastic place to set up a new business,” said Perry. “So there was no second thought when I was recommended to enlist at Copenhagen Business School. Denmark is renowned for its free spirit, open culture and transparent legal system. And in addition to that, there is a sharp focus on a long-term return of investment. Americans, on the other hand, are more immediate solutionorientated. This may result in quicker decisions and less people involved, but may not result in the best solution. So as an American entrepreneur setting up a business in Copenhagen, I think I got the best of two worlds.” Perry started his EMBA studies at CBS part-time while still living in the US and running his business, Onsite Health Inc. This meant flying to and from Denmark every other weekend. After the first year, he decided to go all in and make Copenhagen his permanent base. “I have a strong belief that Denmark at the moment has a lot of brand equity to offer in regard to social and environmental values,” he contended. “This is a strong asset when setting up a new business, and this strengthened my belief that Copenhagen was the right place to be. Copenhagen Business School in particular is renowned for bridging cultural and business differences. The school gave me an invaluable network and contacts that
Danish workers needn’t waste two hours of their working day at the dentist anymore
EMBA, and the co-writing of a thesis with a fellow student, Thomas Bo Christensen, Perry was able to generate interest in the concept of Onsite Dental among Danish workplaces and forge a potential new partnership with Falck Healthcare A/S. Falck has been a dominant force in providing healthcare services on the Danish market for numerous years. In March 2012, the partnership with Falck Healthcare was finalised and operations were given the go-ahead. “There’s definitely a big potential. Falck has a great reputation that helps pave the way for synergies between health and dental checks, letting the technicians of the different trades work together. Even with a conservative mindset, there are many opportunities lying ahead for Falck Dentalcare,” reveals Perry. In 2011, Joshua Perry was named the EMBA student of year at Copenhagen Business School. He is currently the managing director of Falck Dentalcare, which has gained a number of new workplace clients including Atea and Dako, with others also expressing an intrest. IDA WANG
Onsite dental care sees less time wasted on visits and less tooth decay
have been vital in my business ventures.” For some years Joshua Perry had been puzzling with the idea of setting up a new business that focuses on dental care for companies outside the USA. The relatively simple concept, named Onsite Dental, was based on the idea of offering employees onsite dental care during working hours, thus meaning they would have greater and easier access to dental care. For the companies, this would be an attractive employee benefit that would increase productivity and the work-life balance. The concept is adopted from the business he was working with in the USA. Perry, having supplied dentistry to companies like Yahoo!, Google and eBay, was eager to start looking for an opportunity for another startup operation in a new market, leveraging on the knowledge gained in the USA. “Just like in the USA, a substantial number of Danes do not see their dentist regularly – not because they cannot afford it, but simply because of inconvenience or lack of time,” said Perry. This is why Onsite Dental intends to bring preventative dental care to the Danish workplaces.” In 2011, things began to take off and Perry laid the foundation for his new Danish venture. By forming an advisory board made up of fellow EMBA students, Joshua gained local insight and assistance to navigate the Danish market. “While there are many similarities between the USA and Denmark, there are still differences culturally and in the business environment,” he observed. “Danes are very practical people with a very progressive stance on healthcare that allows for high quality and cost-effective care. For instance, hygienists
a n d dental can assistants provide a variety of dental procedures without a dentist present, which you would need a dentist to do in the USA.” Thanks to the good teamwork of the advisory board, the knowledge gained through the
The CBS has been “invaluable” says Joshua Perry
COMING UP SOON OUTBREAK The Danish National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance, Philip de Langes Allé, Cph K; Fri Aug 31, 09:00-16:00; free adm; www.teaterskolen-uddannelse.dk Come and participate in a discussion regarding the future of arts education, or simply come and listen to the array of international artists and theoreticians who have come to speak on the subject. Between 17:00 and 18:30, there are performances by fourth-year dance students. Copenhagen World Cup Skyttegade, next to Rantzausgade, Cph N; Sat Sep 1- Sun Sep 2; 300kr per team; www.play31.dk/ copenhagenworldcup Play31 is for the second year organising an international football tournament during the SmagVerden (Taste the World) festival. The tournament will focus on co-existence and fair play, with all proceeds going to Play31’s charitable work in Sierra Leone. Get a team of six and eight together and represent your country or come by and cheer on your favourite team! Copenhagen Irish Set Dancers open house Nyelandsvej 23, Frederiksberg C; Mon Sep 10, 19:30; free adm The Copenhagen Irish Set Dancers (CIS) have been holding Irish set and step dance lessons for 20 years, with practices held once a week. If you think you might want to start taking lessons, or you just want to enjoy a nice evening with some Irish dancing, take your family and friends to Frederiksberg for the CIS’s open house.
New England Mussel bake Secret location to be announced; Sun Sep 2, 11:00-23:00; see www.billetto.dk/musselbake for prices Street Corner Kitchen is now introducing its latest street food concept to Copenhagen, and it’s nothing less than a New England-style mussel bake! Half a kilo of mussels with fresh bread costs only 85kr, and book fast to get the discounted drink tickets on presale! Malaysia Day Clipper House, Sundkrogsgade 19 Cph Ø; Sat Sep 1, 18:00-00:00; 150kr for members, 250kr for non-members Come and enjoy Malaysian hospitality and Danish hygge all at once during ‘Hari Merdeka’ – Malaysia’s 55th Independence Day. Clipper House, the honorary consulate for Malaysia, will be playing host to an evening of food, drink and traditional entertainment for the entire family. An Evening of Improv! Café Cadeau, HC Ørstadsvej 28, Frederiksberg; Fri Aug 31, 19:00; participation free Fancy yourself a bit of a John Cleese, or perhaps you’re more of a DeNiro type? The Copenhagen Theatre Circle is once again hosting an evening of improvised theatre and calling all open or closeted thespians to come along and play onstage. The activities will be, as usual, led by David and Rosemary, and after the theatricals you’re invited to stick around and taste what Café Cadeau has to offer with your new actor friends.
Friday drinks The Globe Bar, Nørregade 45, Cph K, Fri Aug 31, 20:00; Free entry This Friday, the British meetup group, Copenhagen Brits, are holding drinks at the popular Irish pub. So if you’re British, or maybe just really love Marmite and Monty Python, come down to the Globe for a pint and a chat. Animal welfare project planning Café Retro, Knabrostræde 26, Cph K; Sat Sep 1, 17:00-19:30; free adm The Copenhagen Social Catalysts group is hosting an evening to discuss plans regarding animal welfare projects in Copenhagen. The main focus will be on dog adoption and rehousing, so if you’re an animal-lover who wants to make a difference, then come by and see what you can do to help. Mindfulness and Meditation Workshop Copenhagen International School, Hellerupvej 22-26, Hellerup; Tue Sep 18, 18:30-21:30; 150kr; www.europeanpwn.net /copenhagen The European Professional Women’s Network is holding a workshop with a focus on mindfulness and meditation, and how they modify the stress response. Led by the dynamic Nikki Gordon Skovby, who holds degrees in both medicine and psychiatry as well as heading up her own medical consulting company, the workshop will also include guided meditations and meditation exercises.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
31 August - 6 September 2012
It was business as usual this week for Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner. First he was the victim of a sordid blackmail scheme, and then he failed to overturn a ban for the forthcoming World Cup qualifier
SCANPIX/ NILS MEILVANG
Sex, blackmail and a missed de-briefing
UCKLESS footballer Nicklas Bendtner has once again found his way into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Never has a player so quickly fallen from grace after scoring a brace Last week he was the victim of an attempted blackmail after down following Bendtner’s infa- Andreas Bjelland, who will miss his girlfriend, the actress Julie mous betting company under- out after suffering an ankle injury Zangenberg, had her laptop sto- wear stunt during Denmark’s 2-3 playing for his Dutch club FC Twente over the weekend. len from her car. Apparently its loss to Portugal in Euro 2012. The national team coach, But there is good news for hard-drive included hundreds of sultry pictures of the pair in Morten Olsen, stated that while the Danes as Tomas Rosicky, the midst of bedroom training he disagreed with the decision, Daniel Kolar and Vaclav Pilar are his team is more than ready for all missing for the Czechs due to exercises. Two men have been charged the Czech challenge on Septem- injury, while striker Milan Baros with contacting the celebrity cou- ber 8. But Olsen had no idea why finally hung up his boots after the ple and demanding 25,000 kro- Bendtner missed the ‘de-briefing’ Euros this summer. While the underpants saga ner, or else they would release the with UEFA at which the decision was made. may have come to an ‘end’, steamy pictures “I don’t Bendtner’s transfer drama is to the public. know the reason reaching fever pitch. With only But Bendtwhy he didn’t go a few days left before the transner arranged for down and de- fer deadline slams shut, rumours a meeting with fend himself to indicate that the controversial the blackmailers I don’t know the Olsen Dane may want to invest in an and then alerted reason why he didn’t UEFA,” told Ekstra Bladet Italian dictionary in the near the police to the dilemma, who go down and defend newspaper. “But future. considering his AC Milan, Inter Milan, AS promptly made unresolved club Roma and Juventus have all been two arrests on himself to UEFA situation, there linked to Bendtner, and it could Thursday. The two accused men deny their can be a number of reasons – very spell the end to his long stay guilt, saying that they were only none of which I want to dwell in England. on. The case is closed, so let’s And to Bendtner, The Colooking for a finder’s fee. penhagen Post would like to add: And the lanky Dane’s bad move forward.” Denmark’s 2014 World Cup ‘Pantaloni’ means pants in Italweek was compounded on Monday when the bigwigs of UEFA qualifying campaign will not ian, Nicklas. You might play like denied Denmark’s appeal against only begin without their top it at times, but stop taking them a one-match ban that was handed striker, but also young defender off. Per favore.
It’s not the first time a club has quickly risen from the ashes free of its creditors
New giant rises from the rubble CHRISTIAN WENANDE
An exciting new handball project has been launched that could wash away the grim aftertaste of the AGK debacle
HILE THE world watched Denmark implode during the recent Olympic Games in London, Mikkel Hansen and many of his colleagues were worrying about their futures after suddenly finding themselves without a club following AG København’s bankruptcy. There were signs of trouble when AGK’s owner, Jesper ‘Kasi’ Nielsen, stepped down from his position at the club in July in the midst of a tax scandal. When AGK’s sporting director – and former Danish national team right back – Søren Colding followed suit later in the month, the writing was on the wall. On July 31, AGK handball club ceased to exist after seven years of triumphs domestically and on the European stage. It was a sad moment for Danish handball, and many speculated how a team could go from reaching the final four of
the European Champions League only months earlier to suddenly going bust. The hopes, dreams and futures of an entire handball club disintegrated into thin air, leaving players and staff alike without a job. Seven of AGK’s players were in London representing their respective countries: Mikkel Hansen for Denmark; Arnor Atlasson, Snorri Gudjonsson and Olafur Stefansson for Iceland; and the Swedish trio of Niclas Ekberg, Fredrik Petersen and Kim Andersson, who had only just signed for the club. It was a dark time for the Danish handball community, with many realising that a starstudded team like AGK may never again return to the fair shores of the Scandinavian handballmad country. And then something crazy happened, and it wasn’t Tajikistan winning an Olympic bronze in London. Another Danish handball team, Kolding IF from Jutland, decided to merge with the defunct AGK, assuming many of its sponsors. Granted, Mikkel Hansen signed for Paris CH, while others went elsewhere, but Joachim
Boldsen, Lars Jørgensen and legendary keeper Kasper Hvidt have already signed with KIF, while Swedish star Kim Andersson is also rumoured to be on his way. And KIF knew that there was no way that it could attract the kind of sponsors required to afford the stars while still being located in Kolding. So, it moved. Sort of. Changing its name to KIF København, the club will play some of its home games in Kolding and some in Copenhagen. But the fan club of KIF is rather sceptical. “I’m a bit worried for the fans and the members of the fan club. They are frustrated over what’s happening and what we’re going to do with our home stadium,” Anita Holtehuus, the head of KIF’s fan club, told Ekstra Bladet tabloid. “It’ll be tough. The distance from Kolding to Copenhagen is considerable if you have to make the trip twice a month. It takes time and money.” KIF København, as it’s now called, played HSV Hamburg in a friendly on Monday night and lost its first game under its new name 25-31. Its season starts on September 5.
Factfile | Former AGK players transferred to:
“Is that them on the phone now? I told you not to wear your pink boots in bed.”
• • • • • • • • • •
Henrik Toft Hansen: BSV Mikkel Hansen: Paris Handball Lars Jørgensen: KIF København Joachim Boldsen: KIF København Christian Malmagro: Montpellier Rene Toft Hansen: THW Kiel Fredrik Petersen: HSV Hamburg Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson: THW Kiel Mads Mensah Larsen: Aalborg Carlos Prieto: Kadetten Schaffhausen
Yet to find a club: • Nicklas Ekberg • Steiner Ege • Kim Andersson (rumoured to KIF København) • Kasper Ottesen • Snorri Gudjonsson • Arnor Atlason • Olafur Stefansson • Magnus Andersson
SPORTS NEWS AND BRIEFS A new hat-trick king
Trio of moves
Bidding for 2015
AGF STRIKER Aron Johansson managed to beat the 15-year-old record for the fastest hat-trick in the Superliga on Monday night. The AGF forward struck three times in just three minutes and 50 seconds (32, 32 and 35) away at AC Horsens, and initial reports claimed he had equalled Ebbe Sand’s record, before it was confirmed he had smashed it by 12 seconds.
CHELSEA last season earned a reputation for spoiling games, and now they have upset Michael Laudrup. By rights, the Dane’s new club, Swansea City, should be sitting top of the English Premier League with maximum points and a goal difference of +8 following 5-0 and 3-0 defeats of QPR and West Ham United respectively. But instead Chelsea lead, having already played three times.
AHEAD OF the closure of the international transfer window this Saturday, some current and former Danish internationals have completed Bosman frees. Winger Michael Krohn Dehli, 29, has left Brøndby to join Celta Vigo (no details), midfielder Christian Poulsen, 32, has moved from Evian to Ajax (two-year deal), and left back Simon Poulsen, 27, has left AZ Alkmaar for Sampdoria (three years).
DENMARK’S national cricket team begins its unlikely bid to qualify for the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Kuala Lumpur next Monday, where it will participate in an eight-day tournament against fellow World Cricket League Division Four teams Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, Tanzania and the USA. The winners will advance to the next qualifying round, from which just four nontest nations will qualify.
CAROLINE Wozniacki on Tuesday crashed out of the US Open, the final grand slam of the season, in the first round, losing 2-6, 2-6 to Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu, the world number 96. The loss means the Dane will lose 895 ranking points and almost certainly drop out of the top ten in the world for the first time since 2009. The defeat caps a poor year for Wozniacki, who also lost in the first round at Wimbledon.
THE ORGANISERS of the Tour of Denmark, which climaxed on Sunday after six days of racing, have praised an event that attracted its “best field ever” who did not “just go through the motions” despite the double whammy of the Tour de France and Olympics. Dutch rider Lieuwe Westra finished top of the standings, while Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank’s Mark Cavendish won the final stage on Frederiksberg Allé.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
31 August - 6 September 2012
Vestas starting to blow in the right direction
Danish pension future looks bleak CHRISTIAN WENANDE A rising pension age combined with a widening gap between the rich and poor could spur a move away from the welfare system by 2050
Vestas has set course in a new direction and for the moment the wind is in its favour
DOM SUMMERS Mitsubishi Heavy Industries interest sees wind producer’s share price soar
ESTAS, THE troubled Danish wind-turbine producer, saw the value of its shares jump 19 percent on Tuesday. The boost came after the company was forced to admit it is developing a “potential strategic co-operation” with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. The ongoing discussions could result in the Japanese group owning a 20 percent share in Vestas and having access to off-shore turbine technology. According to Berlingske, which broke the news, the dialogue began in March. Last month, the new Vestas chairman, Bert Nordberg, said he was seeking a significant shareholder who could take on a 10- 20 percent stake in the company to “calm the banks”. Over the past two years, Vestas has struggled to remain the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer. Second quarter figures from last week showed a net loss of 8 million euros, compared to a 55 million euro net profit in the same period last year. First quarter losses had totalled 162 million euros, mainly due to the costs associated with the introduction of new technology. Next year is predicted to be especially difficult for the whole industry due to the contracting European and Chinese markets. Amidst an uncertain future in the US as well, Vestas expects to ship just 5 gigawatts in 2013. The company recently also downgraded its 2012 turbine shipment estimate from 7.0 to 6.3 gigawatts. And it is also expecting to lower its potential production. Under chief executive Ditlev
Engel’s leadership in recent years, the capacity has climbed to 9 gigawatts, far exceeding competitors like Chinese firms Goldwind and Sinovel. But now Engel is resolved to significantly reducing it. Engel has a track record of struggling to explain the company’s growth strategy, and in November 2011, he was forced to announce cuts of 100 million euros, which have now increased to 250 million euros. At the AGM in March, Engel faced stern criticism from Claus Wiinblad, the head of the ATP pension fund, a major shareholder in the company. “It is remarkable that Vestas’s market value is at a historically low level, while the order backlog is at a historically high level,” he said. “The company has long been driven by potential future growth rather than the current growth pause.” Wiinblad also criticised the Vestas management’s very slow decision to abandon its ambitious Triple 15 level plan “long after everyone else had set out on another reality”. The aim was to reach a 15 billion euro turnover by 2015 with an EBIT margin of 15 percent. Last Wednesday’s announcement of 1,400 job cuts, adding to the 2,350 lay-offs earlier in the year, was seen by analysts as a move to reassure shareholders of Vestas’s ability to reduce its 2.275 billion kroner debt and return to profit. Morten Langer, the editor of financial newsletter Økonomisk Ugebrev, believes Engel is on the right track. “Last month we recommended to our readers to invest in Vestas stock as they are showing many positive signs,” he told The Copenhagen Post. Promising second quarter figures have production up by 52 percent and service revenue increasing 34 percent on 2011. “Engel should be more dras-
tic, cutting more jobs and closing factories, in order to deal with their over-capacity problem,” added Langer. Three months ago, Vestas’s bond value dropped to 63 percent, indicating a huge risk of a possible default. Since the start of August, the value has stabilised between 75 and 83 percent, offering less uncertainty for investors. Vestas’s lenders recently postponed a biannual testing of debt covenants, allowing them to continue borrowing (covenants exist to reduce the risk a company takes with loans by setting operating limits; in theory, creditors could demand immediate repayment if an agreement is breached). The decision was based on the fact that the company is sitting on a record backlog of orders and service agreements, valued at 14.4 billion euros. It is, however, unclear how much profit can be made from the outstanding orders. In a reduced market, the pressure from competitors tends to force the price down. In the US, wind-energy production could fall by as much as 56 percent, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, if the US Congress fails to renew a tax incentive. The Production Tax Credit (PTC) deducts 2.2 cents from a company’s tax bill for every kilowatt-hour produced. The policy, which also applies to the biomass, geothermal and landfill-gas industries, is cited as fuelling a boom in windenergy production, helping the US to create the world’s second largest market after China. Uncertainty over the future of the PTC exists: presidential candidate Mitt Romney would let the policy expire, whilst President Obama wants to renew it. The outcome of the November presidential election, therefore, will influence at least 1,600 jobs at Vestas and have a huge impact on its profits.
NEW REPORT by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has indicated that by 2050, Denmark will have the highest pension age among 34 of the wealthiest nations in the Western world. Danes will also have the fewest number of years to enjoy their retirement: 17 years for men and 20 years for women on average. The OECD estimated that by 2050, Denmark will, along with Italy, have a pension age of 69, the highest among all OECD countries. Similarly, the government’s recent 2020 plan added an extra two years to the current retirement age of 67 for those born after 1958 in a move that generated little public debate. The Finance Ministry goes even further, predicting a pension age of 71.5 in 2050, a difference from the OECD estimate that is attributed to an alternate prediction model. “We are the vanguard when it comes to the pension issue.
Nobody else has gone to the lengths that we have,” Jørgen Goul Andersen, professor at Aalborg University, told the weekly newsletter Ugebrevet A4. “I don’t think that the public have quite realised what has been ratified.” The national pension dilemma stems from 2006 when the government decided to regulate the pension age in correlation with lifespan estimates, resulting in pension ages rising hand-inhand with life expectancies. The longer Danes live, the longer they work. That paradox has quickly become a catalyst for a class struggle that could spell the end of the welfare system in the future. Due to a widening gap between the life expectancies of the unskilled worker and the wealthy, unskilled Danes will subsequently have less time to enjoy the golden years of their retirement. Henrik Brønnum-Hansen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Public Health, believes that Denmark is in the midst of a grim class struggle. In March, in co-operation with the economic and political think-tank Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd (AE), he published a report conveying that the richest quarter of Danes in 2011 could expect to reach 82 years, while the poorest quarter could only hope for 72 years, a difference of
a decade. But the alarming thing, according to Brønnum-Hansen, is that the difference has nearly doubled in the past 25 years, from 5.5 years in 1987. “There is every reason to believe that the average lifespan will increase in the future. The question is whether the social inequality in life expectancy will also expand,” BrønnumHansen told A4. “Until now, the issue has only been discussed but something radical must be done. The poor simply have less healthy years compared to the well-off.” It is precisely this growing lifespan inequality that could lead to troubles for the current Danish welfare principles, argued Ove Kaj Pedersen, a professor at Copenhagen Business School. As opposed to the past, he said, today’s generations have come to expect a more extensive life after retirement. “The question is whether the welfare expectation will prompt reaction to the collective agreements in the future,” Pedersen told A4. “Until now, the discussion has focused on us working more, but it hasn’t touched on pensioners enjoying a considerable remaining lifetime. The pension age, lifespan and postretirement life will most likely become one of the major conflict points of the future.”
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The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
31 August - 6 September 2012
scanpix/ Martin Ballund
ulitzer prize-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides began writing his latest book in the usual haphazard way – he was writing a completely different book at the time. “There was something I didn’t like about it,” he told his audience at Louisiana Literature, which he participated in over the weekend. “It felt wooden and old and smelled like a second-hand couch.” This year’s edition is the third time the international book festival has been held, celebrating literature and storytelling against the art gallery’s spectacular backdrop. This year’s line-up was nothing short of impressive. Patti Smith, Kiran Desai, Jonathan Saffran Foer, Cesar Aira and Jeffrey Eugenides were some of the international names who attended the four day-event. This bookworm’s first stop was rocker Patti Smith. Smith walked out onto the park stage with rounded shoulders. Her wild, knotty hair protruded from beneath a woollen hat. Her fingerless-gloved hands clutched
Awesome news for Aarhus
Klaus Holsting & Lærke Posselt for Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
In has taken just three years for Louisiana Literature to become Denmark’s most prestigious international book festival
the all-too familiar microphone. Now 65 years old, the singersongwriter, poet and visual artist still feels like the punk crusader she was in 1975 when her acclaimed debut ‘Horses’ was released. “No matter whether I’m washing up or looking after my kids, I’m still the girl who can put her foot through the amplifier,” she told the crowd gathered on the Louisiana lawn. Smith read aloud from her memoir ‘Just Kids’, which took the US National Book Award for non-fiction in 2010. She spoke about being raised in a town of fields and pig farms, where the cultural centre point was in her family home – a house full of books. “I would say I have spent over half of my life reading,” Smith said. She wrote her book to give something back to the literary world, and to honour her former lover and friend, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. It took her 20 years. Revisiting New York’s beat poetry scene, interviewer Christian Lund asked Smith to read a poem with her long-term guitarist, Lenny Kaye. Kaye played and Smith sang a poem in memory of Jim Morrison. It was the same performance they had done in a church 45 years earlier as a part of the St Mark’s Poetry Project. It was a controversial performance back then, and Smith said half the crowd
Patti Smith looked as pleased as punch to be there
had loved it and the other half had wanted her arrested for desecrating the church. “But that’s not so unfamiliar these days,” she said, referring to Pussy Riot’s punk prayer. Venturing indoors, Jeffrey Eugenides – author of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize winner ‘Mid-
dlesex’, and also ‘The Virgin Suicides’ – explained his latest attempt to reinvent the wedding plot in a book unimaginatively entitled ‘The Marriage Plot’. Drawing on the works of his favourite classic authors like Henry James, Gustave Flaubert and Leo Tolstoy, Eugenides has
tried to breathe new life into old themes. The passage he read aloud depicted a couple falling in love in their early 20s. The male character asked his lover why she never “took a dump” at his place. Anna Karenina probably took a dump every now and again too, but no-one really talked about it. On a more cultured note, another US-based writer, Kiran Desai, talked about notions of belonging and dislocation, as explored in her 2006 Booker Prize-winning novel, ‘The Inheritance of Loss’. Born and bred in India, Desai explained that she had to undergo the process of dislocation to become an author there. After all, the novel was an English tradition introduced to India during colonial times. “We loved our dogs like a British person loves their dogs … We would eat a tuna fish with cheese sauce,” she said. It has been a long time since Desai’s last book, but she is midway through writing a new one. She has written 4,000 pages – about 3,600 too many and describes the anxiety she feels every single writing day. It was a message for the writers among us to take home: prize-winning authors are human too. They experience moments of doubt, frustration and anger. They bin their books and start over. But they persist. And our bookshelves are all the better nourished because of it.
linn lemhag He’s a 40-year-old Danish singer who rose to (somewhat) fame in 2004 with his first single, ‘Den glade pizzabud’ (the happy pizza delivery), a duet he did with Ida Corr. This autumn he will be starring in ‘Vild med dans’, Denmark’s version of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. What’s he done? He’s released four albums. The last one was all about how he’d cheated on his girlfriend, and how much he wanted her back. Did it work? No. Her new boyfriend beat him up and nearly broke his arm. Ouch. So what’s he done lately? He got some good press earlier this month when he jumped into a river to save a drunken Spaniard, who then tried to beat him up after regaining consciousness.
Another beating! Why? He was probably scared. If an extra from ‘Deliverance’ was leaning over you, you’d freak out too. It’s the teeth, isn’t it? Definitely. He seems to be a pretty decent guy, though – infidelity and gambling aside, of course. It was an anxious wait to discover if Aarhus had beaten Sønderborg
Henry Butman Jutland city will be a European Capital of Culture in 2017
he Danish government has confirmed that Aarhus is its choice to carry the title of European Capital of Culture in 2017. Every year, a European Union selection panel chooses two countries, giving them one year in which to select a city to hold the honour in a further five years time. And in the end, Aarhus was preferred to the other candidate, Sønderborg. Aarhus, which is Denmark’s second largest city, has of late carved out a strong cultural reputation thanks in part to Aarhus University, the Aarhus International Jazz Festival and Aarhus Festuge. The Capital of Culture programme began in 1985 as a
way to highlight the vibrancy and diversity of different cultures throughout Europe while celebrating cultural links that unite European nations. Since its inception, more than 40 cities have been selected as culture capitals, including Copenhagen in 1996. The 2012 capitals are Guimarães, Portugal, and Maribor, Slovenia. Being selected a Capital of Culture has proven highly beneficial, revitalising the cities themselves while boosting their international and local image. The year-long programme also brings substantial tourism and with that a financial stimulus. Before being selected, Aarhus Council posted on its official website its vision of Aarhus as a Capital of Culture as “a process that will challenge and change, stimulate and strengthen the city and the region from a number of perspectives”.
The iconic image of Armstrong’s shadow that has inspired millions ... of conspiracy theorists
Armstrong’s giant leap in HD Henry Butman How a Danish-based photographer has redefined the 20th century’s most memorable moment
hen Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, he travelled somewhere no man had been before, somewhere men had hardly dared to dream about visiting. But thanks to Swedish photographer Hans Nyberg, who has lived and worked in Denmark since the 1960s, we can all now visit the moon with Armstrong – in a way. The panorama Nyberg cre-
ated in 2004 stitches together high-resolution versions of photographs that Armstrong took himself at the lunar module landing site in 1969. It offers viewers a 360-degree view of the moon as Armstrong himself saw it, including perhaps the most powerful image: Armstrong’s shadow creening towards fellow astronaut Edwin E ‘Buzz’ Aldrin Jr before an infinite darkness lurking in the background. Armstrong’s death on August 25 has once again created a buzz about Nyberg’s eightyear-old tribute to the Apollo 11 commander and his crew. Nyberg improved upon similar panoramas with higher resolution images, also adding Armstrong’s voice and his legendary
remark: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Despite being able to land on the moon, such photographic technology did not exist in Armstrong’s time – the camera he used on the moon lacked even a viewfinder. At a moment in time when it is possible to carry a high-definition video recorder in your pocket, Nyberg’s panorama offers a reminder inherent in Armstrong’s moonwalk: what before seemed impossible is always only a series of small steps away, until finally one step becomes one giant leap. Armstrong saw a world the vast majority of us will never see, but he could not possibly imagine the future of the one he leaves behind.
Gambling? He once had dreams of becoming a professional backgammon player, although he probably wouldn’t have been very well suited to that lifestyle. His first manager conned him out of 50,000 kroner, and a Las Vegas club owner likewise stung him over a $5,000 ‘deposit’. Maybe he’s not all that bright? That would explain his recent penchant for reality TV contests, which includes being one of the choir leaders on the 2010 programme ‘All Stars’. Highlights? He cried when he was voted off. Poor Rasmus! Hopefully he’ll have better luck on the dancefloor this time around. At the very least he can look forward to being the second-most famous C-list celebrity on the show after actor Thomas Bo Larsen. The remainder are as anonymous as an AA meeting.
A weekend spent in the company of literary giants Who is ... Rasmus Nøhr?
DENMARK THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
31 August - 6 September 2012
The philandering pioneer whose profligacy left him a pauper
Christian’s legacy is also highly visible in today’s Oslo WWW.TRINITATSKIRKEN.DK
SEAN COOGAN His legacy today are the magnificent Renaissance buildings in central Copenhagen; in 1648 they were the empty coffers he had drained on unnecessary wars
Remembered for the Round tower, by astronomers and romantics
The Museum of Copenhagen, apparently modelled on farm buildings ROSENBORG SLOT
hopeless wars, which left the would never interfere with Gernation weak and impoverished, man affairs again. Meanwhile, Denmark’s percannot be overlooked. The king’s decision to drag ennial rival Sweden was in the Denmark into the Thirty Years’ ascendancy, growing in strength War (1618-1648) was an enor- and successfully championing mous mistake, which would the Scandinavian Protestant change the course of Danish cause, thanks to generous fundhistory. Despite countless warn- ing from their French allies. It ings from his advisors, the king represented a definite shift of in 1625 decided to defy the power in the region, and in 1643 Privy Council and side with the Swedes attacked Denmark. Soon all the Protestant of Jutland beforces against came occupied, the Catholics. and the now He promptly 67-year-old declared war against the pow- The king’s love life was Christian decided to lead erful Catholic as ambitious as his his naval forces German emthe peror, calling building plans. He had against Swedes at the on all the Germore than 20 children Battle of Kolman Protestant berger Heide off princes to join with a number of the coast of prehim. He even sent day Kiel in decided that he women Germany. would lead the On the deck of his ship, in troops into battle. But his abilities on the bat- the midst of battle, the unfortutlefield didn’t match those on nate king lost an eye as a Swedthe construction site. This was ish cannonball struck the deck a different type of mortar. He and sent shrapnel splintering in rode the forces into a deathtrap all directions. The king bravely set by the Catholic troops, from fought on and did not receive which he fled while most of his treatment until after he had led troops perished. Of the 20,000 the Danish forces to a narrow horsemen who took to the field victory. He then kept the shrapin the king’s first battle, only 80 nel once it was removed to make earrings for his lover. returned! Despite the narrow defeat, And it didn’t stop there. Within two years Jutland was the Swedes won the war, and occupied by the Catholic forces, Denmark’s dominance in the and the king’s war efforts, com- region was over. Just two decbined with the Catholic raids in ades earlier, Christian’s economic Jutland, threatened to bankrupt policies had made him one of a nation that had been richer the richest kings in Europe. But than rich when Christian IV when he died in 1648, after 52 first came to power. He eventu- years in power, his heir, Fredally surrendered to the victori- erik III, was left with an impovous Catholics in 1629, but mi- erished and weakened nation raculously avoided surrendering – and a powerful enemy across any land, on the proviso that he the water.
MUSEUM OF COPENHAGEN
E HAVE A lot of reasons to be thankful for the reign of Christian IV, who was crowned king of Denmark and Norway in 1596 at the age of 19, although most of them are buildings. Take a short walk around inner-city Copenhagen, and his legacy is all-too evident in the form of the muchadored Renaissance structures. Shortly after his coronation, he launched ambitious building projects to transform the city of Copenhagen from a slum into a metropolis. While his inspiration to bring Copenhagen out of the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance came from southern Europe, he was also influenced by countries closer to home. A visit to northern Europe’s biggest armory in Dresden was enough for him to decide to build an even greater one in the heart of Copenhagen, which could equip an army of 60,000 men and naturally had a dock, so ships could sail straight in. The Dutch were also an inspiration for the king, who saw it as his duty to attract skilled traders to the city. This led to the creation of a manmade island designed to resemble Dutch settlements with tall narrow houses and canals running through the streets: Christianshavn.
But Christian IV was hardly your typical Renaissance man. He was not very interested in studying or discussing the theoretical aspects of life. Instead, he was a practical man, who took great interest in technical subjects such as mechanics, shipbuilding and architecture. And he was extremely hands-on when it came to his building projects. He liked to keep an eye on the labourers’ work – often complaining to the foremen about the lumps in the mortar. The king’s love life was as ambitious as his building plans. He had more than 20 children with a number of women. He married Anna Kathrine of Brandenburg in 1597, but soon invited the queen’s maid into his chambers, who ended up giving birth to the king’s son just one day after the queen did the same. A few years after Queen Anna Kathrine’s death in 1612, Christian got married to Kirsten Munk, 17, who he was headover-heels in love with. They lived together in his love nest – Rosenborg Castle – and she managed to give birth to at least ten children before their relationship ended in 1628, when Christian IV accused her of being unfaithful. He was probably right, as it normally takes one to know one. Historians describe Munk as the love of his life, and the king never recovered from the break-up. Despite Christian IV’s status as the most famous and longest reigning king in Danish history, he is also known among historians as one of the worst leaders in European history. Despite his majestic building projects, which included the creation of the Norwegian capital Oslo, his decisions to take Denmark into
Christian’s proudest creation: Rosenborg Slot, still magnificent today
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
Donâ€™t miss our free Expat Networking Event
Saturday 1 September 2012 from 11-16 in Gladsaxe
Join us for a day of FREE expat family fun which includes food, drinks, bouncy castles, creative balloons and a soccer tournament for kids. Register for the event at: www.scandiahousing.com/soccertournament