Censorship howls after Apple bans hippie book
Rule change puts Bjarne’s season at serious Riisk
9 - 15 November 2012 | Vol 15 Issue 45
Stone the crows! Hitchcock’s crazy!
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | cphpost.dk ASHLEY BRISTOWE
Please, oh please, can’t someone bring down the price of cheese? Consumer prices in focus
Brotherly love? Political debate around incest flares up after Aarhus siblings face jail time for having a love child
The city builder
Inspired by Strøget – which turns 50 this month – Jan Gehl has helped people the world over to “win their cities back”
Once headed for the scrap pile, city bikes are coming back after all, and they’ll be better than ever
Another one bites the dust Tønder Bank’s collapse puts independent bank auditor under scrutiny and has customers fuming
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Zero-tolerance police approach to cannabis criticised After police reveal new machine to detect cannabis in drivers, many argue that it will catch traces of the drug long after its effects have worn off
XPERTS are questioning the severity of a zero-tolerance policy towards those caught driving with detectable levels of illegal drugs in their bodies, as some drugs, such as cannabis, can be detected long after their effects have worn off. The experts have voiced their concerns following the news last week that the police have started using a new mobile drug testing kit called the ‘Narkometer’ (see related story, page 5), which can detect traces of seven dif-
ferent drugs in people’s saliva. Those testing positive while driving face a three-year driving ban and a fine equivalent to four percent of their gross annual pay. But according to Sundhedsstyrelsen, the national health authority, traces of the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, can be detected in a person’s body for up to eight weeks after they have used the drug. The result is that people can be fined and lose their driving licence long after they have sobered up from the effects of the drug. According to Henrik Rindom, a doctor specialising in drug abuse, the legal limit for cannabis use has been set so low that it amounts to harassment. “Because the authorities can’t impact the cannabis trade through policing efforts, they are instead targeting consumers,” Rindom told Information news-
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paper, adding that the regulation had nothing to do with traffic safety. This position is supported by Inger Marie Bernhoft, a senior researcher at the Technical University of Denmark who participated in a large European study examining the risks associated with driving under the influence of illegal drugs. “The Danish limits are set so that almost any trace will mean a positive result,” Bernhoft said. “But there is no evidence that the influence of the drugs at this limit will increase the number of traffic accidents.” Furthermore, according to the EU study, cannabis use in general does not lead to a substantial increase in the number of serious traffic accidents. The increase was no greater than the increase in accidents involving drivers with legal
levels of alcohol in their blood. The study did, however, show a noticeable increase in the risk associated with mixing alcohol with illegal drugs and medicine. Rindom has called for a commission to establish a legal level of THC in a person’s body while driving. While this move has received some political support, opposition party Venstre is against reducing the punishment for driving with detectable levels of THC in the blood. “I would want to hear the arguments first,” Venstre MP Karsten Nonbo said. “It’s a dilemma that people can be charged with having small amounts of [THC] in the blood. But then you should not drive if you want to smoke cannabis. We should not put traffic safety at risk.” Mayor Frank Jensen (Social-
Narkometer continues on page 6
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Week in review
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
CPH Post Word of the Week:
9 - 15 November 2012 THE WEEK’S MOST READ STORIES AT CPHPOST.DK
Stemmeret (noun) – The right to vote. Where you heard it: In the never-ending barrage of lame jokes about how, given the amount of coverage it has received, Danes were surprised to hear they couldn’t vote in the US elections Scanpix/Jens Astrup
Aarhus siblings’ love child sets off incest debate
Down it goes
The Words of Öz | What does it take to make someone Danish? Crazier than Christmas | Nobody plans like a Dane The Lynch Report | Kate and her feminist breasts When it comes to English, Danes are second to one
FROM OUR ARCHIVES TEN YEARS AGO. New figures from the Danish Financy Ministry reveal Denmark as the most-taxed nation, toppling neighbour Sweden. FIVE YEARS AGO. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Venstre) wins reelection. ONE YEAR AGO. DNA evidence produced in court helps identify the ‘Amager Attacker’ as Marcel Lychau Hansen.
The skyline of Greater Copenhagen changed forever on Sunday when the 108m high Valby natural gas silo – Denmark’s second tallest building (the tallest is the 120m Herlev Hospital) – was demolished. It was built in 1967 and was taken out of use in 2007 by its owner, Københavns Energi
– and engrossed citizens alike – were active on Twitter through the wee hours of the morning until President Barack Obama gave his victory speech at around 8am. Prominent politicians, including PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt and former PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen, promptly offered their online congratulations to Obama.
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper Since 1998, The Copenhagen Post has been Denmark’s leading source for news in English. As the voice of the international community, we provide coverage for the thousands of foreigners making their home in Denmark. Additionally, our English language medium helps to bring Denmark’s top stories to a global audience. In addition to publishing the only regularly printed English-language newspaper in the country, we provide up-to-date news on our website and deliver news to national and international organisations. The Copenhagen Post is also a leading provider of non-news services to the private and public sectors, offering writing, translation, editing, production and delivery services.
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Fifty-three percent of Danes think that China will be the world’s economic superpower by 2022, according to a new Megafon poll. Some 30 percent believe that the US will remain the world’s economic powerhouse, while five percent tip Europe to overtake both. The survey also found that 43 per-
President and Publisher Ejvind Sandal Chief Executive Jesper Nymark Editor-in-Chief Kevin McGwin Managing Editor Ben Hamilton News Editor Justin Cremer Journalists Peter Stanners, Ray Weaver & Christian Wenande
cent of respondents were nervous that China’s growth could hurt the Danish job market. Aalborg University professor Per Madsen indicated that if China took over the top spot, it could affect Danes with lower levels of education. “The working classes will have to be realistic as it’s their jobs that risk being shipped out to China.”
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Americans weren’t the only ones glued to their televisions as the US presidential election results rolled in early Wednesday morning Danish time. Nearly 500 revellers were on hand at Politikens Hus for an election party co-sponsored by Democrats Abroad, Carlsberg and CNN. And many Danish journalists
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Danes for Obama
CORRECTION Jacob Riis was a social reformer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, not the 18th century, as we wrote in last week’s Relocation Guide. Also, CPH Post’s distributing manager Dima Paranytsia will be among our Movember participants.
A political deal was struck on Wednesday for the funding of Kriminalforsorgen, the nation’s prison and probation system. The government parties were joined by Enhedslisten, Liberal Alliance and Konservative in a solution that will see the establishment of 200 new prison cells, a special prison unit for hardcore
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gang members and a concrete goal set for sending as many foreign criminals back to their home countries as possible. The agreement will also see additional safegaurds, including more drugsniffing dogs, against the smuggling of contraband into prisons. The deal will cost 1.7 billion kroner over the next four years
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The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
9 - 15 November 2012
Danish urban planner Jan Gehl explains his succesful blueprint for building cities around people
‘Copenhagenizing’ the world, one city at a time
Now 76, Gehl has helped transform cities from Melbourne to Moscow
Just as Strøget is vastly different to how it was in 1962, Gehl has helped cities such as New York (below) cater to the pedestrian over the ‘motorcar’
including Gehl, to avoid Strøget and wander through its more charming offshoots. In his opinion, the nicest places, like Strøget or Venice, get crowded and commercialised because they are in such short supply. Gehl’s solution: more Venices and more nice streets in cities. “There is nothing we like more than a city with a flourishing public life, where people use the squares, sit in cafes and stroll on the promenades,” he said. Legacy of a lifetime Now 76 years of age, the urban planner spends 100 days a year overseas, teaching others how to “win their cities back from the ‘motorcar’”, as he calls it. His consulting firm’s résumé includes reshaping post-earthquake Christchurch in New Zealand, advising almost every Australian capital city and, most recently, reinvigorating post-Communist Moscow. These cities appoint Gehl to improve their public spaces and conditions for pedestrians, or to ‘Copenhagenize’ urban life. While some hurriedly take Gehl’s recommendations on board – “They did the things we suggested for New York before we even finished the sentence” – other plans get shelved, like in London: “They have done nothing. Because that’s not the British way,” he said.
We were the ones who started to take this interest in people and then export it around the world
In New York – where his firm’s suggestions included introducing new bike lanes and blocking off parts of Broadway to cars – they even dub the new bike paths ‘Copenhagen lanes’, Gehl said. While cyclists are speedily overrunning the Big Apple’s streets – nearly 20,000 locals, more than double the 2006 tally, routinely cycled to work last year – the change in Copenhagen was far gentler. “If you do it slowly and don’t tell anyone, no-one will notice it,” Gehl said. And that is exactly what happened. Gehl remembered it being easy to find a car park in Copenhagen’s city centre at the start of his career, but it gradually became impossible for cars to drive through the centre, and car parks started disappearing. “If the cars can’t park, they won’t come,” Gehl remembers one of his former colleagues saying, adding that Copenhagen had come a long way since the ‘70s when the bustling tourist stretch, Nyhavn, was indeed a parking lot. Planning for people In his living room plastered with artwork, and with a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf stacked full – quite possibly with books that he wrote – Gehl explained everything diagrammatically. He drew maps on the table with his fingertips, and he moved this reporter’s dictaphone to characterise a building on his imaginary grid. Labelling the layout of central Copenhagen as a “walking system”, Gehl said the speciality of combining cities and people was originally “a Danish thing”. “We were the ones who started to take this interest in people and then export it around the world,” he said.
Department of Transportation NYC
very Tuesday for a whole year, a young architect named Jan Gehl sat in Strøget and recorded everything that took place around him. It was 1962, and Copenhagen’s main shopping street had recently been closed off to cars – a move so controversial that the then-mayor received death threats and had to be protected by bodyguards. “We’re not Italians, we’re Danes; we need our cars” that was how the discussion went, Gehl told The Copenhagen Post in his 8m x 8m x 8m house in Vanløse. Back then, when the daisies were flying and the acid was dropping around him, the time was ripe for changing cultural patterns, so the curious Gehl did something pioneering: He peoplewatched, observing pedestrians on Strøget. From summer to autumn, winter to spring. When there was a parade, or a protest, or when the queen waved her gloved-hand, Gehl was there to record it. And it was largely based on his findings that Copenhagen made the shift towards bicycles and pedestrians, today earning it the right to jostle with Melbourne (another of Gehl’s protégés) for the title of the world’s most liveable city. In Gehl’s view, making a city liveable means breathing life between the buildings. People will always fill the space, he discovered. And Strøget, which celebrates its 50th anniversary on November 17, is a perfect example of that – every year, the street crams in up to 120,000 people on the last Sunday before Christmas. Scandinavian tourists and Jutlanders make up a large portion of that crowd, causing most ‘clever’ Copenhageners,
Times Square before and after its people-friendly makeover
And Gehl is still exporting his people-focused philosophy today. “I only do it because I love it and I think what I can bring is valuable,” he said. There were several reasons Gehl first started exploring the ‘people issue’ in cities. One was marrying his wife Ingrid, a psychologist who engaged him in countless conversations about the human side of architecture. They wondered how what we build influence our lives and what we do. Another was when a Christian man from the firm Gehl worked for in 1962 demanded a home that was “good for people”. “We went into a panic because we thought: what would that mean?” Gehl said. “And we ended up designing something that was never built because it was too progressive.” Copenhagen has taken a lot of small steps since then. Steps that mean Gehl’s eight-year-old granddaughter can now
follow a footpath all the way to school. Seeing children in the streets is a telling sign of how liveable the city is today, according to Gehl. He illustrated his point by re-enacting a conversation with a Vietnamese woman who had recently visited Copenhagen. “She asked me, ‘Are you having a baby boom? I saw so many babies when I was there.’” She had seen toddlers in bicycle buggies, kids learning to ride, clusters of kindergarten children and mums and dads pushing prams around while they, Gehl added, “endure a year of parental leave, and what more can you do than push a pram around?” Though the woman’s hypothesis was incorrect, it got Gehl thinking. “I suddenly realised that what she saw was different from what she was used to,” he said. “I think it was a beautiful way of explaining what a people-orientated city Copenhagen is.”
Online this week Kindergartens positive about regional management Local councils that bundled the management of numerous kindergartens together under a single regional manager are seeing positive results, according to Danmarks Evalueringsinstitut (EVA). Nearly 98 percent of mayors questioned say the move has improved the quality of education at their kindergartens. Managers them-
selves were 70 percent positive about the change in management style, but fewer than half of the teachers questioned said that the change made their jobs any easier. “The teachers are less positive,” EVA project manager Nanna Lindeberg told Berlingske newspaper. “It is possible that teachers are not seeing many changes.”
Old-fashioned to pay child allowance to mothers, MPs say The quarterly child allowance payments that all mothers receive from the government – regardless of their income – can help defray the costs of nappies and daycare, but it is also a remnant of an old-fashioned mindset, a majority of MPs say. According to Jyllands-Posten newspaper, MPs from across
the political spectrum would like to see the rules changed so that parents themselves can determine how the quarterly payment, commonly known as the børnecheck, should be paid out. A Socialdemokraterne spokesperson said he would push the tax minister, Holger K Nielsen (SF), to change the rules.
Storm: I wasn’t alone Morten Storm, the former PET agent who became internationally known for his claims that he infiltrated al-Qaeda’s inner circle, said over the weekend that he was not the only Dane to get up close and personal with top terrorists. Storm told Politik-
en newspaper that on a 2006 trip to Yemen, he was joined by two other Danish converts to Islam at al-Iman University in Yemen – a school with links to al-Qaeda – one of whom joined Storm in getting private lessons from the terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.
Read the full stories at cphpost.dk
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
9 - 15 November 2012
Peter Stanners Government gets support from Enhedslisten and Dansk Folkeparti, while opposition party Venstre is criticised for not voting one way or the other
he government’s emergency package to create 12,500 jobs in the new year, the akutjobpakke, passed on Tuesday despite being roundly criticised by the opposition. Opposition parties Konservative (K) and Liberal Alliance (LA) voted against the earmarking 115 million kroner of next year’s budget to finance the package. Venstre (V), the largest opposition party, elected to vote neither for nor against the package. Around 38,000 Danes will lose their unemployment benefit, dagpenge, next year when a reform kicks in that halves the length of time it can be claimed for, and doubles the length of time it must be earned. Only the unemployed who pay into unemployment insurers, a-kasser, are entitled to dagpenge. Otherwise they must claim the far less generous cash welfare benefit kontanthjælp. The akutjobpakke is designed to tackle this problem by allowing the long-term unemployed to have first crack at some 12,500
emergency jobs’ by paying employers 25,000 kroner to create a specifically for someone who has run out of dagpenge. But the plan was criticised by a number of different groups, including economists who argue many people will still fall through the gaps. Torben M Andersen, an economy professor at Aarhus University, told Politiken newspaper that the government has calculated that only 12,500 extra jobs are needed for the least qualified unemployed, because the more qualified unemployed do not need as much help finding work. But, he argued, it is actually the most qualified unemployed who will now get hired for the emergency jobs’. Andrea Højbjerre, a labour market economist at the thinktank Kraka, agreed with Andersen’s appraisal. “It is the strongest – those with the best skills – who will stand at the front of the queue when employers are filling the emergency positions,” Højbjerre told Politiken. Even if the programme works, it may not even be legal according to LA’s Joachim B Olsen, whose party voted against the plan on the grounds that it discriminates against the unemployed who do not lose their unemployment benefits. “According to the law, you cannot discriminate based on
whether people are a member of an association or not,” Olsen told Politiken. “But the proposal gives a bonus to employers who employ members of an association, in this case an a-kasse.” V’s reasons for not supporting the measure were altogether different. V announced that it abstained from the vote because the programme wasn’t doing any harm, but also wasn’t creating new jobs. “We don’t think the akutjobpakke hurts anyone,” V’s finance spokesperson, Peter Christensen, told Ritzau. “But our message by abstaining is that this package will not solve the problem for the many unemployed Danes. Because it doesn’t.” V and K are instead in favour of extending the tax deduction for home improvements, the boligjobordning, that the government wants to abolish. “We need to extend the boligjobordning that has created thousands of jobs in the construction and service sectors,” Ellen Trane Nørby, V’s political spokesperson, told Ritzau last week. “We risk that entrepreneurs and businesses will have to lay off employees who have their jobs because of the boligjobordning.” The construction industry’s lobby group, Dansk Byggeri, also supports extending the boligjobordning, saying it has created 5,500 jobs across the country.
Opposition feels “thrown out” of budget talks Justin Cremer
Emergency job package passes
Door seems to close on Venstre and Konservative, but Dansk Folkeparti and Enhedslisten are still at the negotiating table
he ongoing budget negotiations took several turns on Tuesday as the finance minister, Bjarne Corydon (Socialdemokraterne), held meetings with the opposition parties and seemed to inch closer to a “red” budget with support from left-wing party Enhedslisten (EL). After afternoon negotiations with Corydon, Peter Christensen, the financial spokesperson for Venstre (V), said the finance minister had presented an ultimatum to V and Konservative (K) that the opposition parties could not support. “As it stands now, it would suit the finance minister to say that he has thrown us out,” Christensen told DR News. According to DR News, the government’s proposal to V-K included dropping both the sugar and fat taxes – which the opposition parties, and several business groups, have long argued should be scrapped – as well as agreeing to drop a proposed law change that would mean that Danes who work abroad for more than 183 days a year would be forced to pay Danish taxes from their earnings – an expense they have been
Venstre’s Peter Christensen and Ellen Trane Nørby following their meeting with the finance minister on Tuesday
previously exempt from. But for V-K, it wasn’t enough to secure the parties’ support for the budget. “The government had a suggestion to finance the scrapping of the fat and sugar taxes by, among other things, raising bundskatten [the bottom tax rate],” Christiansen told DR. “We asked if the government is prepared to negotiate on that, and the government is not.” Although V and K now feel they’ve been “thrown out”, another key opposition party, Dansk Folkeparti (DF), continues to negotiate with the coalition parties. After DF’s chairman, Kristian Thulesen Dahl, met with Corydon this afternoon, he told DR News that the two sides were still working on an agreement. “The government has come with its suggestion for finding the
money [to finance the removal of the fat and sugar taxes],” Dahl said. “We are considering it, and we have asked the government to consider our suggestions.” Corydon told DR that his meeting with DF was positive. “It was certainly more constructive than what we got from Venstre,” he said. Jyllands-Posten newspaper reported late on Thursday last week that its sources indicated that the SocialdemokraterneRadikale-Socialistisk Folkeparti government will now look to secure a budget deal with farleft support party EL, a party that has frequently threatened to not support a budget if various demands were not met. Less than one month ago, the government seemed prepared to snub EL in favour of cutting a budget deal with V.
Peter Stanners Council says better guidelines are needed for genetic testing that can reveal whether people are predisposed to developing cancers or diseases
s genetic tests become increasingly cheaper, the temptation to take one, principally to find out what illnesses we may be predisposed to, also grows. If the secret to how we will die is hidden in our genes, isn’t it worth getting our genome (our entire DNA) tested to find out?
But according to Etisk Råd, a council of ethics experts that advises parliament on bio-tech issues, the tests raise a number of questions, both because of the trustworthiness of the information, and because of the potential impact that the tests might have on people’s lives as a result. In a report on the consequences of genetic testing that the council presented to parliament last week, it recommended increasing the availability of counselling for those considering a test. “The council recommends that gene tests are used with caution, as a full genome test is
quite different from traditional genetic tests in which one or a few genes are tested at a time,” the council wrote on its website. “A person’s entire DNA is studied in a genome test, which can result in a lot of unsure information about the risks people have for developing different illnesses.” The council adds that in most circumstances, genome tests on healthy people could have negative consequences. “It is doubtful that there will be any value in healthy people taking genome tests, as the results could lead to false alarms or the taking of unnecessary
precautions, thereby increasing the risk that people may make bad health decisions,” said Gunna Christiansen, the chairman of the council’s genome test workgroup. The council’s recommendations come at a time when genetic testing has become increasingly cheaper, while also offering the potential to discover vast amounts of information. This information is far from conclusive, however, and while some genes can indicate the risk of contracting certain diseases and cancers later in life, experts do not yet understand how and why genes affect our bodies and
Ethics panel urges cautious approach to DNA testing
Genetic testing is getting cheaper, but is it useful?
our health. “Most of the widespread illnesses − such as type 2 diabetes, chronic heart disease and cancer − involve a combination of genetic and non-genetic causes,” the council writes. The council recommended that people seeking genome
tests should be offered a ‘genetic counsellor’ who can advise them about the ethical dilemmas they might face after taking a test, and that patients should have the right not to know particular aspects of their test that would reveal the risks of developing certain diseases.
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The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
9 - 15 November 2012
Consumer prices – feeling the pinch, searching for solutions Ray Weaver Stores talk about deep discounts and the government talks about more competition, but can they bring down the price of cheese?
f you’re a dairy food lover, you’ll know that the price of a decent-sized block of your average Danbo cheese is close to 100 kroner these days. A tax on fat and rising food prices has the cost of cheese and many other staples noticeably higher than in years past. That has consumers scouring weekly sales flyers more than normal and increasingly heading across the border to save a few kroner on their grocery shopping. Facing the bad economy and price-sensitive shoppers, stores large and small are searching for a way to keep customers in their aisles. In one of the most blatant moves to give its customers the lowest price possible, Føtex – a supermarket that has been steadily losing ground to small but mighty discount supermarkets like Fakta, Aldi and Lidl – has introduced a new strategy called Price Match in an attempt to
slow down the bleeding. The idea is that representatives from the company will visit their competitors each week and record their prices. They will also keep an eye on competitors’ flyers. When a customer checks out at Føtex, the cash register will automatically calculate any price differences between Føtex’s prices and those of their competitors. The difference will be calculated and the discount applied automatically. “Customers will not have to run all over town or spend time ploughing through newspapers to find the lowest prices,” Mette Maix, who recently took over as managing director of Føtex, told the tabloid BT. “We are making sure that they always get the lowest prices.” Although discount chains like Aldi and Lidl only account for six percent of the total market, their price-cutting philosophies have clearly had an effect on the nation’s shopping habits. By slashing prices on necessities like milk and other products, the discount chains lure customers in to make other purchases. Dansk Supermarked, Coop and SuperGros, which operates the Super Best chain of supermar-
Føtex price matching policy scrutinised by competitor Føtex’s promise to automatically match the prices of discount chains will not change customers buying habits, according to a Lidl spokesperson. Lidl executives called the rules “confusing” and said the campaign will have little effect on its business. “Our business model is to give our customers the confidence that we always sell all of our goods at competitive prices,” said , Finn Tang, Lidl Denmark’s managing director, to Jyllands-Posten. “Føtex kets, are the biggest players in the Danish market. Føtex, together with Bilka and Netto, is a part of the Dansk Supermarked chain. But while part of the price war between grocers is being carried out in full view of consumers, there is another front that suppliers say people don’t see. They complain that with just three major players, supermarkets have disproportionate leverage to force them to lower wholesale prices, as well as to dictate in-store product placement. The chains, suppliers say, threaten to
cannot seem to match that, and now they want customers to figure out a math problem to get a discount.” Tang said that the Føtex campaign was too hard for customer’s to understand and that if the chain really wanted to make a difference it should permanently lower prices. “Their discount is taken on the total purchase price, not individual items, so a customer has no idea what they may be saving until they check out,” said Tang. (RW) drop a supplier if they aren’t given the sweetest deal. “Suppliers are feeling the pinch and cannot afford to take the consequences, which may mean that they have to leave the Danish market,” consumer economist Henning Bahr told Jyllands-Posten. The moves by retailers like Føtex come as the amount consumers are spending in Germany and Sweden is on the rise. After declining for several years running, the amount is expected to increase by one billion more kroner this
year to 10.6 billion kroner. Rune Mortensen, a musician who makes regular trips to perform in the southern Jutland town of Tønder, often crosses the border to shop in Germany. “The prices and selection are much better,” he told The Copenhagen Post. “I got everything I needed for a party last month at less than half the price. I load up my car every time I go.” Mortensen said that all Danes know that there are bargains to be had in just about any direction if a shopper is inclined to take a trip out of the country. And while trips south were normally made to stock up on items like alcohol and sweets, many hypermarkets on the border have begun marketing their grocery items as well. “I know many people who are even ordering perishable things like fish over the internet. It is much cheaper than your local fishmonger.” The government late last month came out in support of retailers’ efforts to keep shoppers at home by battling price fixing and gouging. Among its 25 initiatives are tougher penalties – including jail time – for businesses that engage in anti-competitive activity.
“We want more competition, lower prices and a showdown with monopolies,” the business minister, Annette Vilhelmsen (Socialistisk Folkeparti), said as she presented the plan. In addition to food stores and other retailers, Vilhelmsen said the government has its eye on chemists, dentists, builders and cable TV providers. Peter Møllegaard of the Copenhagen Business School believes that the initiatives have the potential to lower prices across the board. “Denmark has been late in introducing increased fines and tougher penalties for cartel activity,” Møllegaard told Berlingske. Opposition party Venstre, however, said that higher taxes levied by the government on alcohol, sweets and tobacco have fuelled the increase in crossborder shopping. Some of those taxes, however, were initiated while Venstre was in power, and the tax minister, Holger K Nielsen (SF), shook off the criticism as an exaggeration of the scale of the problem. “It is overkill to say that cross-border shopping is a major problem for the economy at the moment,” he told Berlingske.
Justin Cremer As part of renewed efforts to crack down on Pusher Street, the ‘Narkometer’ is used to nab drivers outside the freetown
openhagen Police stopped vehicles around Christiania last week on Thursday as part of a co-ordinated effort to crack down on drivers who operate their vehicles under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Police announced earlier in the day that they would be initiating a nationwide effort to catch revellers who may have indulged in too much Christmas beer on ‘J-dag’ (November 2), the day on which Tuborg’s mass-produced Christmas beer is released. But police also used the opportunity to debut a new piece of equipment they’ve dubbed the ‘Narkometer’, which can measure the presence of various substances in the body including THC, the active chemical in cannabis. Police put the new tool to
work around the alternative freetown of Christiania, where cannabis is sold openly and where police have vowed to increase their efforts to cut down on the drug trade through its Task Force Pusher Street. “Our strategy is to hit sellers, buyers and suppliers so that we can get the organised criminality in Pusher Street under control,” Poul Kjeldsen, of the Copenhagen Police, told DR News. “If you drive under the influence [of cannabis], the hammer will fall and the hammer will fall hard.” The penalties for driving under the influence of cannabis are indeed rather harsh (see related story, page 1). A first offence results in a fine equivalent to four percent of the offender’s yearly salary and the loss of their driver’s licence for three years. A second offence carries with it a ten-day jail sentence and a five-year loss of licence, while a fourth offence results in 30 days behind bars and a ten-year loss of licence. In a few short hours, the police tactic nabbed dozens of drivers for driving under the influence of cannabis.
The use of the new ‘Narkometer’ follows another new tactic revealed early last month when police carried out a large-scale operation at Christianshavn Metro station targeting the customers of nearby Christiania. A mass inspection of nearly 6,000 Metro travellers netted 258,275 kroner in ticket fines, several arrests and the confiscation of 21 joints, 243 grams of hash and about eight grams of pot. The police’s renewed focus on Christiania came after reports over the summer that revealed the freetown’s largely-unchecked drug trade amounted to a billion kroner black-market industry. Several local politicians, including Copenhagen’s mayor, Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne), have called for the legalisation of cannabis, but the national government has thus far refuted the city officials’ efforts. In September, Jensen argued that the city needed a “paradigm shift” in its approach to cannabis and Christiania, contending that police crackdowns would be at best a temporary solution.
Scanpix / Andreas Beck
Police target drivers around Christiania
Mogens Knudsen of the Copenhagen Police shows off the ‘Narkometer’
Narkometer continued from front page
demokratene told the Ritzau news bureau that he was not opposed to the police’s use of the Narkometer, but argued that legalising cannabis use was the
best way to reduce the negative impact of the two billion kroner annual trade in the drug. “I don’t think there is any contradiction between the use of the Narkometer and the pilot programme to legalise cannabis,” Jensen said. “We need to consider alternatives to the control strategy that we have
used for several decades without making any impact on the cannabis market.” Police are expected to make regular use of the Narkometer because it is much quicker and cheaper than blood tests, which must be processed in a laboratory. The machine only takes eight minutes to register a result.
Online this week Christmas beer release fills up jails and emergency rooms Last Friday’s release of Tuborg’s Christmas beer, Julebryg, and the accompanying free samples at bars, resulted in a busy weekend for police and emergency workers. Extra cops were called in across the country and others worked overtime in anticipation of problems during the annual giveaway, which introduces the
high-alcohol seasonal brew. In Copenhagen, police arrested revellers for fighting, public urination and destruction of property. “This is always a busy day,” Henrik Olesen, of the Copenhagen Police, told Politiken newspaper. “There are more people in town and there are always some who do not know how to behave.”
Military proposes management cuts The military’s three operative commands − the upper management responsible for overseeing the operation of the army, airforce and navy − may be combined to help find the 2.7 billion kroner of savings the government has outlined for the military’s annual budget. The proposal was made by the military’s chief of
defence, General Peter Bartram, following findings made by a committee he established to help find necessary savings. According to Bartram, combining the separate operative commands of the army, navy and air force will both improve co-ordination within the military and also enable savings of 82 million kroner a year.
Rebild Council consistently fails children Rebild Council in northern Jutland, home to the one of the worst cases of child sexual abuse in Denmark’s history, makes errors in its handling of four out of every five cases involving children, a report from the Social Ministry reveals. “There
isn’t anybody who can think that this is good enough,” Lisbeth Wilms of the children’s rights group Børnerådet told DR, in reference to the 82 percent error rate. The council doesn’t fare much better with adult cases, having a 62 percent error rate.
Read the full stories at cphpost.dk
7 Councils to embrace English to assist foreign companies NEWS
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
9 - 15 November 2012
CHRISTIAN WENANDE New guidebook will help councils be better prepared to attract and retain international companies, though there is still no word regarding help for foreign individuals
LTHOUGH only one percent of businesses in Denmark are foreignowned, they employ 20 percent of the private sector workforce nationwide and account for close to 30 percent of total exports. However, foreign investment in Denmark is at its lowest level since 2007. In response, Pia Olsen Dyhr (Socialistisk Folkeparti), the trade and investment minister, and KL, the interest group for the country’s councils governments, have presented recommendations in the form of a guidebook to councils for how to better cater to foreign companies.
“It’s important that all efforts are moving in the same direction. We need to become better at building competency clusters, quality research institutions and networks for foreigners across councils and regions,” Dyhr said. “It is imperative for attracting foreign companies to Denmark.” International competition over foreign investment is stiff. Sweden and other northern European countries have attracted far more foreign-owned companies than Denmark in the past five years, largely because of Denmark’s high taxes and small market, according to KL. But potential investors are attracted to the high level of welfare, education platform and quality infrastructure prevalent in Denmark – areas in which the councils play an important role. The guidebook, which has been developed by Invest in Denmark, a part of the Foreign Ministry, together with KL and three re-
When it comes to English, Danes are second to one A STUDY conducted by the international education company Education First (EF) ranked Denmark second only to Sweden in English-language proficiency. The Swedish-based company published its second English Proficiency Index (EPI) in October: a compilation of data from 1.7 million adults across 54 countries in Europe, Asia, and Central and South America. Sweden and Denmark claimed the two top spots, while the Netherlands, Finland and Norway were the only other countries said to have “very high proficiency” in English. Proficiency in English is
imperative for personal and national success in today’s interconnected world and is positively correlated with The World Bank and IFC’s ‘ease of doing business’ score, the study said. Anna Leclercq Vrang, a consultant with Dansk Industri, agreed that English proficiency is an important aspect of maintaining international business. “A large number of companies need candidates who can use English as a working language,” she said. Vrang added that, while most of these companies are able to fill the positions with Danes proficient in English,
more can be done to improve Danes’ employment at companies with English as their principal language. “Children start learning English in the third grade. We’d like to see that start earlier, like in the first grade,” she said. She also advocated for more language assessment in higher education. “It’s possible now for students to do a number of masters programmes in English without actually being assessed on their language skills. These candidates should be assessed on their English-language skills as well,” she said.
gional governments in western Denmark, will help councils assist companies interested in establishing themselves in the area.
“Councils throughout Denmark offer great potential for the running of a company, creating attractive work environments
and living conditions for families,” Carsten Kissmeyer, a KL member and the mayor of IkastBrande, said. “When it comes
to attracting foreign companies, councils have to think commercially and focus on what the ‘customer’ needs.” While the foreign companies look set to receive a helping hand, there is still no news about whether local governments will adopt English in correspondence and application forms. However, Helle Eckeroth, a business and political consultant for KL, indicated that it is on its way. “Councils are already considering us having English as a working language, as we have recommended,” Eckeroth said. “In terms of communication with the individual, the councils are currently transforming to a digital platform, and although they have decided to offer different languages in their communication in the future, they are still undecided which languages to use – whether it is English, Spanish, French, Farsi or other languages.”
Aarhus siblings’ love child sets off national incest debate RAY WEAVER Enhedslisten says government should change “old fashioned” laws, and professor argues that sometimes inbreeding can be a good thing
he recent case of a brother and sister in the city of Aarhus, who said that they are in love and have a five-monthold child together, has raised a national debate about sibling sex. The couple, who share the same father but have different mothers, face jail time for violating Denmark’s current statute prohibiting incest and inbreeding. Far-left party Enhedslisten said Denmark should look at decriminalising incest.
“It is not the government’s job to interfere in who should have children with whom,” party spokesperson Pernille Skipper told Politiken newspaper. “It is a grotesque and old-fashioned approach to sex and families.” The possibility of passing on genetic defects and damaging the social order have been the main reasons cited for making it illegal for siblings to have sex and produce offspring. But Niels Tommerup, a professor of genetics at the University of Copenhagen, said that mutations resulting from inbreeding can be both positive and negative. “Our focus is always on the negative consequences like diseases and malformations,” he told Information newspaper. “But positive mutations help de-
Those famous Danish blue eyes could be a result of inbreeding, a professor contends
velop the species.” Tommerup said that mutations like those that occur due to inbreeding can be “biologically positive”. “It is hard to imagine that there would be the formation of new species without some form of inbreeding,” he said.
He said that the famous Danish blue eyes are a mutation that could only have occurred via inbreeding sometime in history. “If inbreeding is banned, the possibility of promoting new, positive variants could be lost,”
he said. Tommerup would not go as far as changing the law prohibiting sex between a brother and sister, however. He recommended that family sex get no closer than cousins. Vagn Greve, a law professor at Copenhagen Business School,
would like to see even more taboos removed. Greve said there is “no logical reason” that sex between parents and their children should be against the law. “In my view, we should decriminalise sex between a father and daughter as long as they are both adult and the relationship is voluntary,” Greve told metroXpress newspaper. “There is no reason to treat the biological family different from the social family, but the age limit should be 18 or 20 years old.” Greve said that sex among immediate family members has been legal in countries like Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and France for 200 years, and that there is no evidence that it has damaged either families or society. Currently, section 210 of the
These are moral questions Danish Penal Code prohibits “sexual intercourse with a descendant” and is punishable by up to six years in prison. According to Greve, the arguments for maintaining the ban on sex between siblings and parents and their adult children do not hold up. He compared them to past laws that banned homosexuality and infidelity. “These are moral questions, and it is not the government’s job to interfere with the sexual relationships of adults,” he said.
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This beautiful apartment is located in a highly desirable neighbourhood right by Frederiksberg allé. The building is close to scenic areas like Frederiksberg Park, but also close to public transportation, cafes and good shopping facilities. Behind the building there is a nice little common courtyard, and for every apartment there is a private storageroom in the basement. The apartment features: Hall. Guestbathroom with shower. Two spaciurs beedrooms. Big master bedroom with good closetspace and access to bathroom with a shower. Two fatastic livingrooms. Spacious and bright kitchen with all domestic appliances and a small dinningspace.
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
9 - 15 November 2012
Will it play in Cupertino? Why Denmark is great and why more people need to know Apple has the power to act as judge, jury and censor, but it ought to accept that not everyone is as easily offended as an American
MERICANS, WHEN asking whether something might be too controversial for ‘mainstream’ America, will ask: ‘Will it play in Peoria?’ Nowadays, authors of both creative and historical works find themselves asking not whether the fruits of their labour will be acceptable in America’s heartland, but in Cupertino, California, the headquarters of the computer firm Apple. That creative types should be concerned about Apple’s modesty is ironic. For its entire history, the company has demonstratively eschewed the corporate mentality of its rivals. Even more embarrassing, though, is that Apple is rooted in the same hippie movement that the Danish books it rejected sought to document in a sober, if occasionally graphic, manner. It’s understandable that a company that orchestrates its corporate image as thoroughly as Apple would also seek to strictly regulate which products it accepts in its online stores. And, were a bricks and mortar bookseller to decide not to stock Peter Øvig Knudsen’s book because it contains semi-pornographic material, the decision would be accepted as the store’s right. Apple is no simple bookseller however – neither in volume of sales nor in global reach. It is worrisome that a single company can use a set of pre-programmed instructions to filter out material that, by any measure, is a serious work. In Apple’s case, it’s also deeply hypocritical. Pick up any iPad, iPhone or any other piece of Apple hardware and search for a term even loosely related to sex, and you’re certain to be inundated with pictures and videos every bit as graphic as those in Knudsen’s book. Danes – whether their products are as serious as Knudsen’s books or as lascivious as Ekstra Bladet with its page 9 girl – are, of course, not forced to put their content onto Apple’s retail outlets. Danish online booksellers exist; none though are as widely used as Apple platforms, none are as versatile and none are as readily available to consumers. There are instances of Danes who’ve pulled their content from Apple platforms when they felt the company’s Puritanism went too far. Such was the case with Thomas Helmig, who felt Apple was just being too asinine when his song ‘Stupid Man’ was retitled ‘S****d Man’. It’s to Apple’s credit that it has managed to create an uncompromising global brand while, at the same time, keeping intact its image as an icon of counterculture. But with global power comes an obligation to respect global differences. Instead of content providers asking whether their creations will play in Cupertino, Apple should be asking whether content providers’ creations would play in Copenhagen or Kiev or Karachi.
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper
WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU
ANDREW S. CUTLER
READ WITH great interest a column by Christian Wenande in The Copenhagen Post entitled: ‘I am not afraid to say it: I love Copenhagen!’ In this piece, Christian goes on to say: “As part of the international community, we’re all aware of Denmark’s deficiencies. Many of my foreign friends and colleagues are eager to point out that, amongst other things, Danes are rude and unwelcoming, service is non-existent, the weather is abysmal, taxes are a disgrace to mankind and the welfare system is a massive waste of money.” He then goes on to say why he indeed loves Denmark. Now let me tell you why I think Denmark (and the Danes) are great and why more people around the world need to know that! In 2001, I spent six weeks in Denmark, meeting locals, writing and experiencing Danish culture. This began a love affair with Copenhagen as my mistress. Why you ask? There is no shortage of great cultures and cities around the world, right? The real answer to that question is: “Yes, but …” During my time in Denmark, I had the opportunity (really pleasure) to meet with former United States congressman Tom Lantos of California (who has
since passed) at Denmark’s celebration of American Independence Day (otherwise known in the States as July 4). At the event ,Congressman Lantos told me why he thought Denmark was great. “They are the most civilized people on this planet,” he said. Those words were not lost on me as I looked into the culture and history of this place. After all, the Danes were responsible for saving the vast majority of Denmark’s Jews during the Second World War. In fact, over 99 percent of Denmark’s Jewish population survived the Holocaust. When I commended a local teacher for the actions taken by the Danes during the war, he returned my compliment by saying: “Yes, but we could have done more.” It is that sense of humility that I admire most about the Danish people and culture. During my visit, I learned about a great Dane by the name of Victor Borge, whom I remember seeing on American television with my grandparents as a child. Beyond his comedic behaviour, he was credited with one of my most favourite quotes: “A smile is the shortest distance between two people.” How right Borge was, and what a great ambassador he was for Denmark! I also learned about the somewhat controversial Janteloven (or Law of Jante) created by Danish-Norwegian author Asksel Sanemose, who espoused the collective good over all individual success. His 11 principles, as I understand them, are: 1. You are not to think you’re anything special. 2. You are not to think you’re as good as us. 3. You are not to think you’re smarter than us. 4. You are not to convince yourself that you’re better than us. 5. You are not to think you
know more than us. You are not to think you are more important than us. 7. You are not to think you are good at anything. 8. You are not to laugh at us. 9. You are not to think anyone cares about you. 10. You are not to think you can teach us anything. 11. You are not to think that there aren’t a few things we know about you. I can understand why to some, these ideals are controversial and even frustrating, but in them one can also find a theme of unity and collective spirit rarely seen within a culture or people. I remain astonished at how Denmark has integrated its appreciation for art and design into its culture: something other countries and cities around the world could learn a lot from. In addition, I respect the great pride taken in the way the online promotion of all things Danish (particularly in the areas of art and design) is communicated across the globe each day by the likes of Marie-Louise Munter of MissDesignSays.com, OpenCopenhagen.dk and Visitdenmark.com – all of which have a strong social media presence highlighting the beauty, ingenuity and creativity of Denmark. Denmark’s work in the area of sustainability is second to none. Eleven years later, my appreciation for the Danish people has taken on new meanings as I have gone on to do much work in the areas of communications design, civic engagement and place-making (cultivating a sense of place, and how that is communicated to locals and non-locals alike). I now call Providence, Rhode Island my home and dream again of going back to Denmark to build bridges between such places 6.
as Copenhagen and creative communities elsewhere, such as Providence. ‘Sister cities’ connecting Copenhagen and Providence would serve to introduce each of those communities’ most creative and innovative individuals and ventures with their international counterparts. Experts from Denmark could and should be advising US cities like Providence on its foray into making its city more cycle-friendly; while Providence’s art, design and entrepreneurial communities are among the best I have ever encountered, and could offer advice, counselling and mentorship to their Danish counterparts, thus developing substantive engagement between the two cultures. Providence is also home to ‘A Better World by Design’, the world’s premier student-led design conference on socially conscious design. As someone who has helped guide the students in that effort (which is now becoming a movement), Danish designers and students are most welcome to participate and join us in this effort, serving as a platform for socially conscious Danish designers to gain new followers and momentum for their projects. There are many more examples I could give, but suffice it to say, there are no shortage of opportunities that exist in establishing a new kind of international relationship. I am of the firm belief that Borge was correct about the shortest distance between two people. Now who would like to join me in establishing a new kind of ambassadorship: one that connects Denmark to creative talent across the Atlantic while showing the rest of the world how truly great Denmark is? The author is the founder of Cutler & Company, a communications design consultancy
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Heated ‘Muslim’ outburst earns headteacher reprimand In my opinion, this article is very one-sided, as it only focuses on the teacher as the problem. From my perspective, we cannot focus on what really happened in the classroom without considering the role of the parents of the students involved. Based on this I’d recommend the authoring journalist contacting Shaib Monsoor, the father mentioned, and clarify the following: What did Shaib Monsoor do aside from contacting the police? Did he, through talks with his son or others, try to find out what happened in the classroom? Were the young men very provocative and disruptive? Were all the young people in this group from families with a Muslim background? If Monsoor’s son behaved provocatively, did he have a serious talk with him about his behaviour in class? Was it the first time Shaib Monsoor had known that his son had taken part in disruptive ac-
tivities in the classroom? Did the father talk to his son about the risk of not getting an education and jeopardising his future in Denmark? The school system in Denmark has a big role teaching students how to behave, but the parents have a duty to instill a sense of communual responsibility and respect for others in their children. Children do not grow up to be good citizens when neither the school nor the families condone and protect their bad behaviour. Erik Lemeke by e-mail
just as toxic, both for the maginalised people, categorised as ‘the Muslims’, and for society at large, which seems to be growing more and more intolerant. The fact that it has been normalised to the point where we can even discuss whether or not this is racism is so deeply disturbing. Yes, it is racism. Yes, yes, yes. Sarah Casey Rasmussen by Facebook Jewish groups angered at absence of Israeli flag
The reprimand seems inadequate, to say the least. Hopefully the police investigation will get to the bottom of this and not treat it as an isolated incident, also taking into account the potential for systematic racism in the school and/or school system. am2go by website
Doesn’t say anything good about diversity if one group is ‘advised’ not to fly their flag. Also goes to show that multiculturalism isn’t only singing ‘kumbaya’ around the fire and cooking. If it is to work, there has to be universtal tolerance, which obviously, at this stage, there isn’t. sorryaboutthat by website
This is an example of cultural racism. Sure, it may not be based on biology, but the results are
Being a Muslim myself, I strongly condemn the organiser’s cowardly stance. Everyone should
be allowed to have their country projected in the so-called ‘diversity’ event. On the other hand, it would have been a good idea to nab these extremist groups if they had started a brawl in backlash. Robby80 by website From what I can see, diversity [in Denmark] means allowing something ‘non-Danish’ to be moderately tolerated within the kingdom of Denmark, but with healthy suspicion and at an arm’s length from Danes and ‘Danishness’. Integration means foreigners should strive to be ‘Danish’, but foreigners should themselves understand they will never totally be accepted by the Clan, no matter how much they strive. [In response to the Sjerlykke school incident], they have proposed to group all immigrants into the same classes, rather than integrate. Life in Denmark will continue to be divided along the Dane/immigrant fault line. Thorvaldsen by website
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
9 - 15 November 2012
Stereotyping is one lesson best left untaught
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.
IRGITTE Sonsby, a head teacher at an Odense school, recently told off a group of children and made national news. These children had apparently ruined a lesson and were laughing at her as she disciplined them. She lost control and said some things she regretted. I have been a teacher for a long time, and such losses of control are common in the first few years of teaching and can still occur occasionally after years of experience. What is most interesting about a slip of professionalism like this is what they reveal about the teacher. We all had teachers who lost it with a class and said something stupid. Maybe they swore, maybe they made a Freudian slip, maybe they were violent. What Sonsby is reported to have said was: “I am so bloody tired of you Muslims ruining lessons.” I think the “you” is the most worrying word in the whole sentence. If she had said “tired of Muslims”, this would have been unprofessional, but “you Muslims” seems very much intended as an insult. Her school has a large percentage of Muslim students and only a handful of them cause trouble. This slip of the mask gives the impression she thinks of this background as a negative, even when
We all had teachers who lost it with a class and said something stupid the child is well behaved and respectful. With that sort of mindset, is it a surprise that her school has a discipline problem among the children from the very background she undervalues? Children pick up on their teachers’ expectations. I remember one fascinating study in which some teachers were falsely told that their average ability students were gifted. Lo and behold, they then began to observe increases in the children’s abilities. People of all ages respond to ‘stereotype threat’. If one has absorbed a certain message – like “girls are bad at maths”, for example – they will respond by living up, or rather down, to that stereotype. It has been proven that girls do worse in maths tests after reminders that they are female (and do better when they are not reminded of this!). If a teacher believes that ‘all Muslims’, ‘all children of alcoholics’, or ‘all handball
players’ are a certain way, then they will inevitably find out that they are right. If society further exposes children to the view that certain children are worthless, criminal, intelligent or kind, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Children are incredibly sensitive to the messages adults send them. Danish popular culture often reinforces negative stereotypes about children and teens from certain backgrounds. This is normalised and presented as plain talking, rather than prejudice. I met a man who told me he would never send his kids to “one of those ghetto schools”. Then he said that this was not racism because the “they” he referred to are a social group. Plenty of ‘ghetto’ schools demonstrate that with good teaching and high expectations, they can get the very best out of their students. In Fredericia, the school in our ‘ghetto’ has very good results, particularly in English. This is because the teaching team are fabulous and dedicated. They show respect to their students, and the students respond in kind. Research from the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University shows that better teaching and leadership are what raises standards, not blaming students or their upbringing.
Many armchair school improvement experts suggest that ‘spreading them out’ is the answer. This suggestion speaks only to their lack of higher cognitive ability. An easy quick fix is tempting for its simplicity, but unintended consequences are inevitable. Treat a group of people like animals, or tell them they cannot choose a school for their child because of their social group, and the harm is long-lasting. Research from other countries, not least the US, bears this out. Schools with challenging students can be the best schools in their area. The way to achieve this is far from simple. It includes strong management, high expectations, teacher accountability and excellent teaching. There are many schools that are exemplary despite what the community thinks of them because of their student make-up. Sonsby may be a good teacher. She might be a good school leader – she won an award for successfully merging two schools into one after all. But without full and critical reflection on her leadership – particularly on her prejudices regarding her students and the potential harm these ideas cause – she will never have a school that doesn’t have a hardcore group of lesson ruiners.
Three score years and ... ?
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?
If so, where is the other side and how the hell do I get there? What if, when I get there, there isn’t any grass? It could be concrete, or plastic, or shit come to that! If I don’t like it, can I come back, say I’m sorry to all those whose lives I’ve messed up and carry on as though nothing had happened? “How pathetic is that!” I hear at least half of the population saying. “Weren’t you listening when the rules were announced at the outset?” Well yes, they did tell me that life was a finite thingy, but well, there’s a whole lot in front of you if you’re lucky so why think about the end? It’s a long way off – three score years and ten (or so) makes about 25,000 days! Plus a bit more for good behaviour, say 30,000 or so. And days were sooo long when we were young, weren’t they? Actually, I guess 40 was the really big one: the grand watershed. After that, things did get a bit easier, I must admit. And perhaps that’s the appropriate word: ‘admit’. Admit to yourself that you’re not immortal, that a miracle cure for death will probably not be
N A FEW short days I will be 70 years old. There, I’ve said it! This exercise in denial is a regular occurrence; insofar as I am still able to retrieve memories from the black abyss of time, they started when I was 40. Up until then, I was still growing up and exploring this wonderful world. Or at least the world that I, as a western European, was privileged to be born into. But 40 was a wall: brick, stone, blancmange, it matters not. I was confronted with the knowledge that I had probably lived at least half of my lifespan, had settled down into conventional cosiness, and had been seduced into believing that this was what I wanted to be and do for the rest of my time on this mortal coil – reflecting the (no doubt apocryphal) ambition of the petit bourgeoisie to get though life and safely into one’s grave without ever once having been embarrassed. “There’s more to life,” the cry goes. “Yes, but what is it?” comes the inevitable reply from the troubled psyche of the male menopause. Is the grass perhaps actually greener on the other side?
Is the grass perhaps actually greener on the other side? If so, where is the other side and how the hell do I get there? found in your lifetime and that, even if it were, you’d be highly unlikely to be chosen as one of its beneficiaries. And come on, admit this: would you really like to live forever? Not long ago, I was talking with one of my boyhood chums. He had been my best friend at school, but I’d lost contact with him for a couple of decades, coinciding in fact with the worst of my mid-life crisis. For some reason, I asked him what he thought the purpose of life was. He was in no doubt: to pass on one’s DNA to one’s children. I didn’t say anything, but it
all seemed too simplistic. If that’s all there is to it, why spend all these years searching for something fulfilling to justify one’s existence, or trying to find happiness? But then again, acceptance must be the key. Not trying to find anything grand in the scheme of things by inventing gods and the like. Perhaps more like embracing the natural world, as the New World peoples did before being subjugated by self-righteous, god-fearing Europeans. What a way to live your life: fearing a god that you’ve made up yourself! So maybe that is the way to justify one’s existence and feel that it is not all in vain. In that way, by passing on our genes to others who can try to make a better job of living than we did, we do become to some degree immortal. Until Doomsday of course, which could be the result of a huge meteorite, a nuclear war or simply the end of the universe. So I’ll just get on with it. I might even live to see some great-grandchildren, and how good is that?
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
9 - 15 November 2012
Calls to combat corporate censorship as Apple bans book having sex. “It’s crazy,” Muff said. “The censored content is not just some provocative material we’ve thrown in for a laugh; it’s historical and cultural documentation that’s vital to this project. I don’t understand it. Censoring porn on the computer so my kids don’t see it – I get that. But historical photographs of the hippie movement? There’s no Apple apparently didn’t care much for the original versions or the cheekily censored versions sense in it.” Muff and Knudsen covered over a total of 47 images said. “We had created an app of the full they worry such decisions in general with apples. But while those images may product, which included music, photog- have broader implications. In an open letter to the culture minnot have been suitable for Apple, Muff raphy, audio, text and video. That’s been pointed out that they were created by prohibited too by Apple. How else are we ister, Uffe Elbæk, Knudsen called on the celebrated Danish photographers and supposed to educate the growing digital government to move against the notion that digital content gatekeepers can dicartists, including Bjørn Nørgaard, who generation?” In 2010, Apple forced tabloid Ek- tate what content is acceptable. is currently constructing Queen Ma“You [Elbæk] and the government stra Bladet to remove the picture of its grethe’s tomb. The books are available in hardback ‘Side 9 Pige’, a naked or scantily clad need to ensure that cultural content in in their original, uncensored formats. woman shown on page 9 each day, if digital form is made available to online Knudsen and Muff, however, are par- the newspaper wanted to be carried in readership and parties interested in DanApple’s App Store. And while Muff and ish history and culture,” Knudsen wrote. ticularly eager to get their work online. Muff was convinced that one of the “Kids don’t read books for informa- Knudsen fear Apple’s most recent decition anymore; they Google it,” Muff sion may curtail access to their material, main reasons for Apple’s unexplained
Unexplained rejection of book by respected non-fiction author raises concerns about power of digital content gatekeepers
HE AUTHOR of two books pulled from Apple’s virtual bookshelf last week, Peter Øvig Knudsen, is urging the culture minister to do more to ensure that Danish culture does not get filtered out by the corporate policies of foreign companies. The controversy emerged last week when the respected non-fiction author’s two books about the hippie movement, ‘Hippierne 1’ and ‘Hippierne 2’, were removed from Apple’s iBookstore, presumably because they contained nude content. The two-volume set was originally rejected by Apple, as well as a total of eight reworked versions of the book, including one in which apples were placed over images of women’s breasts, men’s buttocks and the genitals of both. All of the revisions, according to Knudsen’s creative director, Christian Kirk Muff, were rejected without any specific explanation of what the company disapproved of. Muff said he assumed the books were rejected because they contained pictures of naked people and of people
HIPPIERNE 1’ / ‘HIPPIERNE 2
BJARKE SMITH MEYER
rejection was due to the system that has been put in place to automatically filter out material that could be deemed too explicit for general viewing. “It’s like there’s a machine that determines what’s morally publishable and what’s not. It’s Big Brother in action,” he said. “The bigger the company, the more powerful their mechanic moral denominator becomes. It’s not just our problem – it’s a global problem.” Apple’s Danish representatives failed to reply to multiple requests to provide a comment on this story.
New city bikes on the way after all Tivoli aims for the stars GOBIKE
One of city’s biggest attractions is about to get a little larger, adding three astronomy-themed rides
City Hall has decided to invest in a modernised city-bike system that will be on the streets from next year and will feature a tablet PC
INCE 1995, Copenhagen’s colourful citybikes have been a mainstay of the city’s landscape, often seen in bike lanes, leant up against city buildings, next to train stations or, sometimes, in a rusty, mangled mess in one of the city’s lakes or along the railway tracks. But after being introduced as one of the world’s first public bike systems, the citybike was discontinued on October 31. Initially, City Hall decided earlier this year against implementing a new citybike system due to financial constraints, but widespread criticism has resulted in the city investing in new bikes after all. The system will be far more modern and accommodating that its predecessor, offering riders a built-in tablet that can be used to follow directions, listen to music and purchase public transport tickets. Furthermore, the bike’s aluminium frame means it will weigh less than the old ones. “It is great news that there will be a city-bike system after all. Anything else would have been silly,” Frits Bredal of Dansk Cyklistforbund, a bike advocacy
The models will be more modern and will feature a GPS-enabled tablet PC
group, told Politiken newspaper. “It also helps maintain Copenhagen’s image as one of the world’s leading bicycle-friendly cities.” The new bikes will be located by train stations, giving people who commute to Copenhagen by car or train the opportunity to cycle the last distance to their places of work as well as catering to tourists. While the old bikes were useful in their own right, they did have their pitfalls. Many of the bikes ended up outside their designated area or, worse, discarded and trashed in lakes and parks, as it only required a 20 kroner deposit to release one from its shopping trolley-like lock-
ing system. But the new bikes will circumvent this problem as users will be required to register electronically, something that will hopefully lead to more responsible use, Bredal said. “In principal, you could toss the old bikes into a lake and all you would lose would be 20 kroner,” he told Politiken. “Fundamentally, the new bikes are sound, although there will probably be a few issues that need adjusting when they hit the streets.” While the City Council continues to round up the old bikes, around 1,250 of the new bikes will hit the streets some time in 2013.
HEN TIVOLI Gardens amusement park in the heart of Copenhagen opens up for the 2013 summer season in April, guests will be able to enjoy a brand new astonomythemed area. ‘The Cheerful Corner’, as the 1,200 square metre area will be named, will consist of three rides catering to all ages and be inspired by 16th century Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. In addition to the new rides, the new area will also feature a sweets shop constructed in a Dutch Renaissance architectural style, much akin to Copenhagen’s Rosenborg Castle and the Børsen stock exchange building, an ice cream parlour and an establishment called the Drunken Moose. The three new rides offer a little something for everyone. Daredevils can experience centrifugal forces of up to 4G on the still nameless ride that features giant eagles twisting and turning at heights of up to eleven metres. The ride is also found in New York, Portugal and North Korea. The second ride is an eight-metre drop tower, where children are lifted up in spaceships before dropping vertically
Tivoli’s new space-themed corner
while being rotated. The third new ride is a variation of The Little Flyer, which has been modified and redesigned as an interactive flying carousel where smaller kids can use a control stick to adjust the height of their flights up to four metres. Managing director Lars Liebst was pleased that Tivoli would be opening its first new ride since 2009, when fastflying Vertigo debuted. “Since 2009 we have updated a number of the existing rides, but we think that the time has come to give our portfolio a lift with new amusement-ride experiences,” Liebst said. The un-named ride, described by Liebst as “fun and wild”, has a capacity of 400 trips an hour, while the other two rides have a capacity of 240 rides an hour each. The new area will cost close to 100 million kroner. (CW)
ONLINE THIS WEEK Bad gas deal puts pressure on DONG ENERGY regulators ruled last week that the transportation tariffs charged by Denmark’s leading energy company are too steep. The subsequent tariff reduction could result in increased natural gas activity in the North Sea. The case was initiated in 2011 by AP Moller-Maersk, which complained that state-owned Danish
Oil and Natural Gas (DONG) was overcharging to transport natural gas in the country. Initially, DONG reduced the tariffs from 0.13 kroner per cubic metre to 0.10 kroner, but Energitilsynet found the reduction inadequate and ruled that the tariff should be somewhere between 0.05 and 0.07 kroner per cubic metre.
Rich people break more traffic laws, statistics show RICH DANES are far more likely to be charged with a traffic violation than the general population, according to a new study by left-leaning economic think-tank AE. According to the study, 3.6 percent of the richest segment of society has been convicted of a traffic violation, compared with two per-
cent of the next bracket and 1.8 percent of the lowest bracket. One of the authors of the study argued that the wealthy were responsible for the most traffic violations because the financial impact of a traffic fine was less likely to affect them. The study was based on data from 1985 to the present
City apologises for Zionist flag flap ONE OF the city’s Deputy mayors, Anna Mee Allerslev (Radikale), has publically apologised to Danske Zionistforbund (DZF) after the organisation was barred from flying an Israeli flag at a Copenhagen multicultural event.
“I apologise for the way things were handled. It’s obviously a problem that needs to be taken seriously. I’ve also had a serious discussion with the man who was in charge at the time of the incident,” Allerslev said in an open letter to the DZF.
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LIFESTYLE: WINTER SPORT THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
9 - 15 November 2012
A plan for all seasons JONATHAN SYDENHAM
Winter sports? In this weather?
S WINTER ENCROACHES, how do we physically prepare for the onslaught on our health and sanity that is the Danish Christmas? With difficulty! But while it is tempting to spend three months in the comfort of our workplaces and homes, there’s a world of sporting opportunity out there: both indoors and out. Anyone fancy a dip? ANYONE WHO’S not actually a native Viking tends to shiver at the thought, often dismissing the very idea of their existence as some kind of chilly urban legend best retold with a glass of nice hot gløgg in hand. But they are indeed for real, these intrepid ‘winter bathers’, and not only is the season approaching when they jump into the ice floes around Copenhagen, but one club has taken the whole business up market at Vinterbad Bryggen (www. vinterbadbryggen.dk/english), the new winter bathing club in the heart of Copenhagen. International architects Bjarke Ingels Group BIG and Vinterbad Bryggen are joining forces to extend the existing Copenhagen Harbour Lido with saunas, a café and facilities for winter bathing. This scheme will be a welcome addition to winter bathing in the capital as the traditional association known as Det Kolde Gys has already closed its waiting list for 2012/13. However, there’s nothing to stop you trying out this amazing activity for yourself if you approach De Dragør Vandhunde on the last Saturday of the month from October to March between 11am and 1pm at Dragør Søbadeanstalt (www.dedragoervandhunde.dk). Closer to town there is Svanemøllebugtens Vinterbadelaug, with 1,500 members and generally speaking a long waiting list. But at the time of writing you can sign up for membership for the new season at www.svanevinterbad.dk/Blivmedlem and enjoy the benefits of immersing yourself in the freezing depths while fast-tracking your way to absolute integration into the community.
and to train for the office party. One of the biggest clubs offering fun classes for the winter is ODK, a club started in the 1920s by a group of former students from Ollerup Gymnastikhøjskole (www.odk.dk) who just couldn’t face not seeing each other again once they had returned to the capital. There are classes for kids, but these are often oversubscribed. However, if you make your way to the last pages of the 2012/2013 catalogue, you’ll come across a number of classes for grown-ups including such exotic challenges to the physique as powerhoop, floorball and ACT (Advance Circuit Training). They do more traditional things like yoga/pilates and zumba too.
Pounding the ground in the city parks THIS IS AN ideal set-up if you are not old enough to play games with Motionsklubben Amager twice a week, where a 22-year-old DGI instructor has been helping Tå r n b y’s m o r e mature
OTHER DANES may not fancy the Øresund ice, but they have their own brand of boldness even so. They do things with kettle bells and tractor tyres – exercises preferably performed by consenting (young) adults in gloomy underground car parks. But they too are a welcoming lot,
Naturopathic Nutritionist & Reflexologist
Natural health and detox specialist guiding and motivating you to create optimal, lasting health. tel: 50 19 76 06 www.carolinecain.dk
population to rediscover their childhood with a scientifically engineered training programme full of fun and, to be honest, serious interval training. You can sign up the easy way ( www.dgi. dk/201221063500), or you can save a few kroner by turning up on the day (Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:306:15pm) and button-holing Grethe Kristensen, the club’s chairperson of 25 years. Training starts at the clubhouse, and ostensibly the scheme is a ‘runner’s academy’, preparing its students to take part in the Amager Strandpark parkrun every Saturday at 9 am, but is more like an excuse to boost your fitness and improve your lipid profile so you too can beat the ‘julesul’ (www.parkrun. dk/amagerstrandpark/ hjem). The parkrun is easy to find (see the website), but the clubhouse might not be: it’s a low building somewhere along Amager Strandvej 285, just before the turning into Kastrup Strandpark. D o n’t rely
For four weeks at a time, four times a year, our aim is to give you all the seasonal lifestyle advice you need to thrive in the areas of gardening, health, food and sport. When should you plant your petunias, when does the birch pollen season normally start, which week do the homegrown strawberries take over the supermarket, and which outdoor sports can you play in the snow? All the answers are here in ‘A plan for all seasons’.
on Google to help you locate it! Similar runner’s academies will be starting in Ørestad this autumn and Østerbro in the spring. A world of opportunity at your fingertips
Indoor gymnastics: ideal prep for the julefrokost NOT ALL Danes are so intrepid. Many prefer indoor leisure pursuits as the nights draw in. Again, signing on for classes with a gymnastics association is a great way to meet people
Jonathan Sydenham, originally from the UK, enjoyed getting muddy on the rugby pitches in his youth, which might explain why he today enjoys cross country running. He is a sports consultant at the DGI (the Danish Gymnastic and Sports Association), an umbrella group for around 5,000 local associations, which massively vary in size, from the dozens to the thousands.
usually giving the impression of being so gobsmacked by their own intrepidness (www.daek2.dk), that if you show up once, you are unlikely to find your way out of the car park until you’ve promised to show up next time too.
Braving it out in the underground car parks
Halmtorvet 19 • The Bosch building • DK-1700 Copenhagen V Tlf: +45 33 31 20 00 • email@example.com • www.biomio.dk
THERE ARE plenty of other activities to help dispel the winter blues and keep you in shape. If you are short of inspiration, try the DGI på kanten website (www.dgi.dk/Udover/paakanten). Who knows: with enough hits from expats, DGI might even translate the site into English! If your Danish isn’t quite up to the job, feel free to get in touch with the bright young things at the DGI Storkøbenhavn office (7940 4900). They’ll point you in the right direction.
Health Food Lifestyle will return in two months!
Halmtorvet 19 • The Bosch building • DK-1700 Copenhagen V 19 • The Bosch building • DK-1700 Copenhagen V Tlf: +45 33 31 20Halmtorvet 00 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.biomio.dk Tlf: +45 33 31 20 00 • email@example.com • www.biomio.dk
BioMio is Denmark´s largest 100% organic restaurant. Flavoured with love, passion & purpose
GET YOUR OWN PERSONAL SPORTSGUIDE – FOR FREE! www.medarbejdermotion.dgi.dk/SportsGuides
Get your own personal guide to the local sports clubs and maybe the beginning of a Danish network Mail: CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
9 - 15 November 2012
ABOUT TOWN PHOTOS BY HASSE FERROLD UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED
The dance event Sensation once again took over Parken on Saturday night. It was an excuse to drag the Boyz II Men suit out of the attic and hit the football stadium’s massive dancefloor
J-Dag last week on Friday was another hit at the nation’s pubs, although the number of arrests was apparently up on last year – was it something they drank?
The Mexican community celebrated Dia de Muertos last week on Friday with a special ‘Day of the Dead Danes’. It involved a procession at the Assistants Cemetery where they visited ten famous personalities of the Danish culture of the last 200 years – wow, have there really been that many?! The event was organised by a new intercultural organisation, CkulturA, in collaboration with the Mexican Embassy and Culture Center Assistens. Pictured here with one of the traditional altars are Mexican ambassador Martha Bárcena, Mexican artist Juan Valles and a couple of surprise guests
The focus of the November meeting of the International Club Copenhagen at Restaurant Bellahøj on Tuesday was the BRIC countries, and the event included an address by Brazilian ambassador Gonçalo Mello Mourão. Pictured here are some of the colourful Iguazu dancers who lit up the occasion with their Brazilian moves, and behind them are (left-right) Mourão, Chilean ambassador Juan Salazar Sparks, Portuguese ambassador ambassador João Pedro Silveira de Carvalho and Jesper Moller Sorensen from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
COMING UP SOON Adventure group meeting
your city of choice in the subject line.
The cold weather isn’t stopping the Meetup group from going outdoors on one of their journies! It promises to be a real adventure so wrap up warm!
Grunnet Casting & Speak, Rothesgade 6. st., Cph Ø; 4010 4900, email@example.com www.grunnetcasting.com
Cafe Langebro, Islands Brygge 1B, Cph S; Fri Nov 9, 20:00; www.meetup. com/CopenhagenAdventureGroup
Bordeaux wines tasting
Skovgaard Vine, Vallensbækvej 6, Brondby; Thu Nov 15, 16:45; free adm; www.meetup.com/Wine-AndBeer-Society-ACTIVE-Meetup-Group
If you love wine and Bordeaux is your favourite, this event is for you! Taste red, white, dry, fortified and rosé. This event is free, but you must pay a 100kr deposit that you will get back. Sounds like a vin-vin! Spousecare Career Fair 2012
Mariott Hotel, Kalvebod Brygge 5, Cph K; Fri Nov 15, 13:00-16:00; register at www.spousecareerfair.dk
Spousecare is pleased to invite you to this event, which aims to build a bridge between employers and universities and the spouses of highly-skilled foreigners working in the Copenhagen area. Building expats job opportunities
Symbion Fruebjergvej 3, Cph Ø; register by Nov 20 via 2855 5688, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; www.novum-net.dk
Novum’s clarification programme will help you understand how it bridges the gap between companies that want to expand into the global market and the highly educated newcomers residing in Denmark, and the untapped resources that they can offer. Apply by sending your CV no later than 20 November, with ‘forlob’ and
Grunnet Casting is searching for English-speaking girls and boys, aged nine to 12, to perform voiceovers for Danish companies. Copenhagen Cultural Dinner
Østerbro Biblioteket, Dag Hammarskjölds Allé 19, Cph Ø; Fri Nov 9, 17:30-20:00; 3538 1648, register via firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bibliotek. kk.dk
Cook your favourite national dish and join this event. You will meet people from all over the world and taste their countries’ food during the dinner.
Social Media & Business
PA Consulting Group, Tuborg Boulevard 5, Hellerup; Wed Nov 14, 18:3020:30; prices: members free, non-members 150kr; email@example.com, www.europeanpwn.net/copenhagen
The European Women’s Network invites you to discover how companies can take advantage of social media and network potential to attract customers and professionals, develop new products, optimise internal systems and exchange technologies and ideas. PA Consulting Group will be present to show the results of its latest research in the area of interest. Entrepreneurship in Denmark Award 2012 Axelborg, Vesterbrogade 4A, Cph V; Tue 13 Nov, 09:30– 15:30
The British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark is pleased to invite you to this solemn commemoration, devoted to all the soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the two World Wars.
Release your inner entrepreneur at Axelborg in the centre of Copenhagen. The day will be split up between lectures, workshops and lunch, giving you the chance to meet and mingle with some of the top up-and-coming businesspeople in Denmark. Registration for the event is necessary (closed on Wednesday), but it is free to take part, so it’s probably worth checking out in any case.
BA in the global market
The Rocky Monster Show
Bispebjerg Kirkegård, Frederiksborgvej 125, Cph NV; Sun Nov 11, starts at 12:00; www.bccd.dk
Conference Suite, Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Hammerichsgade 1, Cph K; Fri Nov 23, 11:45-13:00; prices: members 325kr, non members 400kr; register at www.bccd.dk/Events The British Chamber of Commerce
in Denmark invites you to join this event where the guest speaker
is Denize McGregor, the head of customer service and operations for Europe, Africa, Middle East, UK Regions, Ireland and South America at British Airways since January 2011.
NGGID, Cirkelhuset Stor Hal, Christianshusvej 16, Hørsholm; Wed, Nov 14, 17:00-19:00; tickets 20 kr; When a mad scientist, two innocent kids, a couple of nasty monsters, some superstitious villagers, and Elvis rise from their graves, you don’t know what to expect but the unexpected. Add in a dash of rock ‘n’ roll and a heap of fun and you get the recipe for The Rocky Monster Show. Don’t miss this treat of a show at the NGGID school, which is open to the general public.
MARIA ANTONIETTA RICCI
Turkey celebrated the 89th anniversary of the proclamation of its republic with a reception last week on Monday hosted by the country’s ambassador, Ahmet Berki Dibek, and his wife
Algeria celebrated its national day with a celebration last week on Thursday at the Hellerup Park Hotel. Among those in attendance were (left-right) Mostafa Benyahia Overlæge, the chairman of Dansk Algersk Venskabsforening, Algerian ambassador Abdelhamid Boubazine, US ambassador Laurie S Fulton, and French ambassador Veronique Bujon-Barre
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.
Where have all the Vikings gone?
AST WEEK, as a friend filled me in on her recent outing to a wine bar, one line stuck out like a sore thumb. “And not long after I arrived, four men sat down behind us and started ordering pinot.” Now to me, the thought of four straight men walking into a wine bar sounds like one of those terrible Irish jokes, except this time the punchline ends with: “And then they all left for a gay bar.” It reminded me of the day I was once asked out on a date by Mr Metrosexual. I could tell he was fairly metro as his skin looked smoother than a baby’s bottom, but I comforted myself with the fact that perhaps his masculinity was expressed in other ways. Finding those ‘other ways’, however, proved difficult – on our first date he eagerly informed me we would be attending a pop concert of a well-known female singer. Expecting myself to be the bigger fan, I was a little put-off when he started singing along to ‘Kun For Mig’.
Now it’s only recently I’ve add in there that the Kiwi male come to the conclusion that doesn’t cook. He once made this the search for authentic mascu- well-known to ‘Mads’, who was linity in Denmark is extremely staying with me in NZ. It was Christmas time and elusive. It appears that the Peter Schmeichels of this land have Mads and I had decided to cook been replaced by a plethora of pebernødder. Just as Mads was wannbe David Beckhams wear- placing the final pebernødder on the tray, Dad announced his ening oversized hipster glasses. When I first arrived, I was trance into the kitchen with the rather intrigued by the fact the following: “Are you gay Mads?” To which Mads men here frequentreplied sheepishly: ly used exfoliator, “No Stuart … I just could recite three like cooking.” lasagne recipes by At this point heart and knew that And then they all ‘40 denier’ didn’t you’re probably refer to a type of left for a gay bar thinking New Zeashotgun. Fast-forland men sound like ward nearly two years, and I’ve backward, unevolved cavemen. begun to crave the type of man But for all they lack, they do ofwho wants to trek across Africa fer women an authentic mascuwearing nothing more than a linity that’s unrivalled anywhere lion-skin loin cloth. else in the world – especially As a Kiwi, my definition here. of masculinity is rather stockIt’s apparent to me that standard – Wikipedia explained for all the Viking history Danit well when it stated: “The ste- ish men boast about, there are reotypical New Zealand male very few real Vikings actually is rural, unintellectual, strong, left. Even if they do exist, it’s unemotional and democratic … a fair bet to say that these days he’s good with animals and ma- they’d be applying hairspray unchines, and can turn his hand to der their helmet to keep their nearly anything.” luxurious blonde braids in tact. My dad would also like to Enough said.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
9 - 15 November 2012
Tailor-made to suit the need of internationals around the clock JESSICA O’SULLIVAN
OUNDED IN 1981, Nørrebro’s IA Sprog is one of Denmark’s largest and oldest language schools. But don’t let its age deter you. For it is also one of the most flexible and technological schools in the country. With around 3,000 students from more than 100 different countries, it’d be easy to imagine that IA struggles to meet the needs of every single student, but luckily this is far from the reality. It is in fact one of the most flexible, high-tech and innovative schools when it comes to meeting the needs of its students. Having dedicated much of his life to teaching Danish, Jørgen Jespersen, the school’s superintendent, knows a thing or two about managing a language school successfully. “Learning a language isn’t just one thing, it requires an understanding of each student’s individual needs and capabilities, and that’s something we do really well at IA.” With options to study intensively, online, during weekends or at a slower pace, IA has carved out a name for itself in tailoring courses to suit a person’s every need. For Khalid, a highly-skilled 37-year-old Moroccan national, it was IA’s unique teaching methods, flexibility and reputation that attracted him. “I was looking for a place where I could learn Danish efficiently without wasting time. Friends I asked said IA was the best and, having studied here for two years, I would definitely recommend them.” Whilst many language schools are quick to proclaim their flexible approach to teaching, one only has to look at the plethora of options available to students at IA to know they aren’t even coming a close second. One fantastically practical option for many of those who find themselves in Denmark for work or study is IA’s online Danish course. It allows students the opportunity to study at their own pace and when it suits them, although the dedicated IA staff are always on hand if needed. As part of this online course, students and teachers meet via Skype once a week. Weekends may typically be the time of rest for many Danes, but for the hard-working team at IA it’s just another normal workday. With approximately 130 students currently enrolled on their Saturday courses, IA is one of very few schools to offer weekend classes. Ideal for the busy student, these courses focus mainly on oral communication and pronunciation, with students self-studying on their own time. Also eager to help even the furthest flung (and often most neglected) of foreigners succeed, IA’s Agro Online Danish course
is at the forefront of innovation and flexibility. Tailor-made for foreigners working in the agricultural sector, this course aims to help those working on Danish farms to learn Danish. With benefits such as increased safety in the workplace, enhanced job satisfaction and mutual understanding, this course benefits students who may be milking the cows when traditional lessons are taking place. Another unique offering of IA’s is specialised Danish courses for foreign students. Using technology to offer lessons for foreign students at Danish educational institutions, IA already has partnerships with a number of established higher learning facilities such as the Copenhagen Business School, Danish Royal Academy of Music and the IT University of Copenhagen. With courses designed
In modern-day language instruction there are many important factors, such as well-trained professional teachers, a good and proven product and an inspiring environment specifically for fellow Scandinavian students and students from other countries, these courses have already been greeted with great success, with around 400 CBS students already participating this year. With years of experience, IA knows that for many of its students, learning the language requires more innovative methods of teaching. One such method that is gaining them praise is their own professionally produced Danish soap operas. Running for seven to eight hours, and covering a multitude
Happy with how IA’s intensive Danish course has helped him progress, Khalid Haddi, 37, from Morocco says half the battle now is convincing Danes not to switch to English
of everyday situations, from job interviews to going to the supermarket and cinema, these films offer students an insight into not only the Danish language but also the realities of life in Denmark. Available in conjunction with these soap operas are impressive language films that explain words, phrases and common language problems in the students’ own native tongues. Using humour to keep students interested may not seem like rocket science, but it’s this – and many other innovative teaching methods – that has students choosing IA. Well-known for its technological approach to teaching, IA has realised that computers are an integral part of its methodology. But Jespersen is quick to point out that when it comes down to it, IT is just a tool. “If one makes the mistake of thinking it’s more than that, they can’t offer an efficient product. In modern-day language instruction there are many important factors, such as welltrained professional teachers, a good and proven product and an inspiring environment. Only when technology is added to this does it work.”
Using IT in teaching also makes instruction more flexible, according to Jespersen, as it allows students to work towards their own goal in their own time. “Many students will come and use the computers before class, or at home, which can really help to strengthen what they learn in class.” IT is also helping IA to excel in time efficiency. “Some students will need to hear a listen-
ing exercise three or four times, whilst others will only need to hear it once,” explained Jespersen. Through interactive computer programs that allow students to target their own needs, the actual face-to-face time between students and teachers becomes much more valuable. Not happy to rest on their well-earned laurels, IA also sets itself apart from the crowd of language schools with its unique
teaching materials – most of which are made in-house. In addition to an amazing library of almost 1,100 interactive computer programs, 21 hours of grammatical explanations in several languages, numerous books and an unparalleled collection of film material, there are plans to add to this collection, with a special focus on extending the amount of languages in which materials are available.
MOVEMBER UPDATE Kevin
A Liya Chen, 35, came from China to Denmark after meeting her Danish husband. Initially choosing IA because of its positive reputation, she hasn’t looked back since. Currently enrolled on IA’s standard module three course, she says great teachers and a productive working environment have helped her master the language
Knowing how important it is to stay motivated when learning a language, Somayeh Rajaeinejad, 30 from Iran, enjoys the excitement of IA’s teaching materials. She too is in IA’s standard module three course
WEEK HAS passed since the health issue charity ‘Movember’ called on its brothers-in-arms to partake on the journey of moustache growth. Our brave crusaders at the Copenhagen Post have brought pride to the paper’s dwellings, conjuring up a total of 765 kroner in total, putting
them in 92nd place out of 625 teams nationwide. The warrior with the most impressive moustache support so far is Christian the Half Dane (not pictured), who has so far managed to draw in 415 kroner in support for his facial hair growth. Denmark as a whole has
managed to amass a total of 430,000 kroner in its bid to aid the cause. However, the Danish effort is eleven spots off the leader, Canada, which has assembled just under 50,000,000 kroner. The moustache growth goes on. Support our cause at dk.movember.com and search for The Copenhagen Post.
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
9 - 15 November 2012
Christian Wenande Whether it’s bad timing or a vendetta, but a new rule introduced by the International Cycling Union has put Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank’s participation in next season’s World Tour in serious jeopardy
scanpix/ Kristian Juul Pedersen
espite winning the Vuelta de España, overperforming in the Tour de France and signing a number of new quality riders, Bjarne Riis and his Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank (TSBTB) are struggling to renew their UCI World Tour licence for next year. TSBTB is, along with three other cycling teams − Team Argos-Shimano, Lotto and Francaise des Jeux − in danger of not having its licence renewed for the 18-team UCI World Tour next season. Failure would leave the team requiring invitations to compete in the top events. With 15 places already assured, the four teams are battling it out for the final three
places and, at the moment, Riis and his riders are holding up the rear (ranked 20th – one team has already said it won’t compete) − an amazing turnaround of events from the team’s Vuelta de España just two months ago. Laust Kruse, a journalist from Danish cycling magazine Cykelmagasinet, believes that the licence threat is very real due to the team’s fragile relationship with cycling’s embattled world governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI). “There is a real chance that Riis won’t get the licence; he is among the teams that are currently in the dark. I think that this illustrates the strange way in which the UCI operates and the lack of transparency in its decision making,” Kruse told The Copenhagen Post One of the major obstacles to Riis’s team regaining its World Tour status is a recent law change made by the UCI, which stipulates that ‘victory points’ won by a rider returning from a drug suspension do not count until the rider has ridden again for at least another two years.
UCI president Tom Lund has also weighed into the affair, accusing Riis of running out of lies
scanpix/ Nils Meilvang
Back-pedalling: Retroactive rule puts Bjarne’s season at serious Riisk
As hard as Bjarne Riis wills it, the allegations of Tyler Hamilton (left) aren’t going to completely disappear
Victory points go a long way to determining the aforementioned ranking of the teams, and this rule change means that Alberto Contador’s spectacular win in the Vuelta means nothing in terms of World Tour points as it came just a month after he had finished serving his ban, even though the UCI law came into effect after Contador had begun serving his ban. Riis is furious that the UCI’s law is retroactively denying his top rider the victory points gained this summer and has threatened to take UCI’s decision to the international arbitration body, the CAS. He also pulled Contador out of several races in China in protest at the UCI’s decision. Kruse wouldn’t call UCI’s
Factfile | Why TSBTB will get a World Tour licence
Riis and his team have been competing at the highest level for years and are a mainstay in the large races, winning the Vuelta as recently as September. They have arguably the best stage rider in Alberto Contador who has won the Tour de France and the Vuelta in recent years. Financially, the team is a strong player in the cycling
actions an outright vendetta against Riis and his team, but admitted that the two factions have clearly had their differences. “Riis criticised the point system for a long time, and [UCI
There is a real chance that Riis won’t get the licence; he is among the teams that are currently in the dark chief executive Pat] McQuaid grew tired of it. Many riders have a lot of respect for Riis in
the cycling community, such as Bradley McGee, and it doesn’t make sense that one of the best teams next year – remember, he signed Kreuziger, Roche, Bennati and Breschel – won’t be racing,” Laust said. Aside from the victory points haul and evaluation of sporting pedigree, the fourman UCI Licence Commission, which is expected to make a final decision regarding the final three teams on December 10, also weighs up organisational, financial and ethical aspects of each team. And although TSBTB has its bases covered in terms of its organisation and finances, particularly with the addition of Tinkoff Bank as a sponsor, it is the ethical query that Riis and co may have trouble satisfying.
Even though Riis has stated that he practises a zero-tolerance policy towards doping now, his admission to doping while he was a rider, and the number of riders coming forward claiming they’ve doped while riding for Riis, have left a dark stain on the Dane’s reputation. A former American rider, Tyler Hamilton, even went as far as saying that Riis knew and had met with notorious doping doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, who was heavily involved in the Operation Puerto doping scandal in 2006. But it’s difficult to decipher what the truth is. While some former riders, including Jörg Jaksche and Hamilton, have indicated that Riis knew and supported the use of doping for his riders, Ivan Basso, Frank Schleck, David Zabriskie, Bradley McGee and Bobby Julich all deny Riis being involved. If TSBTB fails to secure a World Tour licence for next year, it will have to rely on wild card placements to participate in the big races, such as the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and the Vuelta de España. “Even if he doesn’t get the licence, he could still race via wildcards, but the licence, and being a member of the top league, is essential as it provides sponsors with security. The team could potentially lose sponsors if the World Tour licence is not granted,” Kruse said.
Factfile | Why TSBTB won’t get a World Tour licence
world – a position that was further consolidated with the addition of Tinkoff Bank as a sponsor. Riis is a well-known, respected personality in the sport and the UCI approves of Riis’s zerotolerance stance and fight against doping. The team has added a number of high-quality profile riders for next sea-
son, including Nicolas Roche, Roman Kreuziger, Matti Breschel and Daniele Benatti Riis’s riders, notably Contador, are very popular and have considerable fan bases. Denying TSBTB a licence could have negative effects for the sport’s popularity and TV licence revenue − something UCI wants to avoid.
Aside from Contador’s triumph in the Vuelta and some spirited Tour de France riding this summer, Riis and co haven’t won many races (including stages) in the last couple of years: only eight in 2012 and ten in 2011. Caught up in the aftermath of the Lance Armstrong scandal, all of the doping allegations and
rumours surrounding Riis recently have once again tarnished the Dane’s reputation. The UCI may want to make an example out of Riis by denying him the licence Riis has been critical of the UCI points system in the past and has pulled his top riders out of races in protest. TSBTB is currently
ranked 20th according to the UCI’s assessment of the prospective teams’ ‘sporting values’, and only the top 18 will make it. However, one team has already said it will not compete. Nevertheless, it makes TSBTB the outsider to advance – they might prove to be difficult odds to overcome.
Sports news and briefs Delusions of grandeur Viasat, one of the Superliga’s TV rights holders, has responded angrily to Morten Olsen’s criticism of the timing of a league game between AGF and FC Nordsjælland on November 16 – which is due to kick off less than 48 hours after Denmark’s international friendly against Turkey – condemning the national coach’s “superior” attitude. The broadcaster’s head of sport, Peter Nørrelund, complained that it was an “unprofessional”
attitude and dismissed concerns about the players’ welfare. “They’re professional footballers – they’ll survive well enough,” he told sporten.dk. Three players from FCN and one from AGF were called up for the game, but there was no place for veteran winger Dennis Rommedahl, who is being rested. The only debutant is NEC Nijmegen left back Kevin Conboy, who is currently on loan from the Dutch club at Esbjerg.
Another final for Woz
Host cities confirmed
Laudrup out of rut
Doubling up in London?
Caroline Wozniacki made it through to her third final in as many months over the weekend at the Tournament of Champions in Sofia, but was thrashed 6-2, 6-1 by the in-form Nadia Petrova, who won last month’s Toray Pan Pacific Open. The seasonending tournament is effectively a ‘shield’ event: it is contested by the world’s top-ranked players who failed to qualify for last month’s WTA Championships and won a WTA event in 2012.
The country’s handball federation, the DHF, has chosen Aalborg, Copenhagen, Århus and Herning as the four cities to host the Men’s European Handball Championship in 2014. Denmark, who will enter the tournament as defending champions, has never before hosted the Euros. However, it did host the World Championship in 1978, where it finished fourth. Denmark will host the Women’s World Handball Championship in 2015.
Unlucky for some, Michael Laudrup is now the 13th least likely English Premier League manager to lose his job, following Swansea City’s 1-1 draw against high-fliers Chelsea on Saturday. Just four weeks ago, reports emerged of player discontent as Swansea went five games without winning, but since then Laudrup has steadied the ship, beating Wigan in the EPL, and knocking Liverpool out of the League Cup.
Frederik Løchte Nielsen is back in action this week alongside doubles partner Jonathan Marray – with whom he won the 2012 Wimbledon title – at the season-end Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London. Ranked eighth, the pair kicked off their campaign on Tuesday with a win against Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, and are next in action on Thursday.
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
9 - 15 November 2012
Stagnating economy set to grow in 2013 Georg Jensen sold to Bahrain investors Peter Stanners
Economic council predicts 1.6 percent growth
The economy minister, Margrethe Vestager (Radikale), had a more optimistic appraisal than the Economic Council
grethe Vestager (Radikale) argues that growth will be closer to 0.9 percent this year. “There are different points of view,” Vestager told the Ritzau news bureau. “Our assessment is still that 2013 will see a turnaround and unemployment will start to drop.” The council has increased its expectations for the economy in 2013, when they expect the economy to grow by 1.6 percent – a figure that Vestager agrees with. “Looking at 2013, the [council], the national bank and the government all seem to agree.” There is less good news where employment is concerned, however, as the council expects unemployment to grow by 9,000 people in 2013, partially as a result of the government’s reform of unemployment benefits – a reform that apparently has a silver lining. “The enacted reform will in
Scanpix / Jens Nørgaard larsen
enmark’s economy will only grow by 0.2 percent in 2012, according to a new report by the government’s independent economic advisory board, Det Økonomisk Råd. The council says the lack of growth can be partially blamed on the lack of increase in personal consumption, despite the 26 billion kroner that was paid out by the government to the Danish public this year after the reform of the early retirement scheme, efterløn. “The Danish economy remains stagnant [and] GDP has hardly grown for the past two years,” the council writes. “Early retirement contributions have been reimbursed to members of the scheme, but so far there has been no significant effect on private consumption and, in spite of public housing renovations that have been moved forward and a temporary tax credit on expenses for home improvements, investments in [homes] remain at a low level.” The lack of growth in private consumption made the council mark down its expectations for the Danish economy this year, though economy minister Mar-
the longer run reduce the structural unemployment rate, as the shortened maximum duration of unemployment benefits will encourage the unemployed to search for work,” the council writes. “The reform is overall expected in the longer run to increase structural employment by 13,000 people and improve public finances by 4.5 billion kroner yearly.” Not everyone agrees that the reform will encourage people to find work, especially if there is no work to be found. The metal workers union, Dansk Metal, reported in September that there were only 13 available jobs for the 6,000 unemployed metal workers. The council’s statement effectively backs the government’s decision to this January implement the reform that was passed by the former centre-right government. The reform doubled the length
Tønder Bank’s bankruptcy leads to sector-wide scrutiny Ray Weaver Board of directors resigns as scandal-ridden southern Jutland bank collapses
ydbank has agreed to take over all the activities of local rival Tønder Bank. The deal came after Finanstilsynet (FSA), the financial supervisory administration, said last Friday that Tønder Bank didn’t have enough capital to continue as an independent company. Under the agreement, Sydbank will take over around 18,000 customers and a balance sheet of roughly 2.3 billion kroner. Over the past few weeks, regulators inspected Tønder Bank’s books and found that they were 300 million kroner short. FSA inspectors said the bank drastically over-estimated the value of its investments on behalf of its
customers – particularly in the areas of agriculture and real estate. The inspectors accused the bank of a lack of oversight and said that it underreported the number of bad loans it had on its books. Although representatives from the bank said they did not agree with the regulators’ assessment of its worth, the bank could not raise the missing funds in time to remain independent. The scandal has caused the bank’s independent auditor, BDO, to come under scrutiny. BDO had assessed the bank as being sound. BDO head Henrik Brüning would not comment specifically on the case, but said that the company takes its reputation seriously. “We are always aware when someone criticises our work, but first we have to determine if the criticism is genuine,” he
told DR News. BDO has about ten other banks as customers. Brüning said that the problems at Tønder Bank should not lead to his other customers being scrutinised. “Our work is in order,” he said. The Ministry of Business and Growth said in a statement that no unsecured creditors would suffer losses, but is unclear how, or if, the missing capital would be recovered. Depositors are insured up to a maximum of 750,000 kroner, but many Tønder Bank customers with less than that amount lost the entire amount of their deposit after buying uninsured certificates of deposit. Some of those customers are now putting together a lawsuit against Tønder Bank for failing to provide adequate financial consultation.
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of time that people had to pay into an employment insurance and halved the length of time that people can claim the benefit, dagpenge. As a result, over 20,000 people are expected to lose their dagpenge next year. But despite the rising unemployment, the council argues that it is no more difficult to find a job now than it was in 2005 and 2006 before the crisis kicked in. “Even with a decline in employment, there has been a considerable job turnover in the most recent years, and despite the economic situation, there has been a monthly transition from unemployment to employment of at least 11,000 people,” the council writes. “At the same time, the departure rate from unemployment to employment over the past few years has been at about the same level as for the period 2005-06, which are usually considered neutral or even boom years.” According to economics lecturer Birte Larsen, from the Copenhagen Business School, the Danish labour market is responsible. “The positive side of the Danish labour market is that it is extremely flexible and it is possible to get a job even when there is a crisis,” Larsen told metroXpress newspaper, adding that the ease at which companies can hire and fire means that many people lost their jobs at the onset of the crisis.
New owners are luxury brand experts that hope to break Georg Jensen into the Chinese market
uxury jewellery and design brand Georg Jensen is being bought by the Bahrainbased Investcorp for 813 million kroner, it was announced on Monday. The Copenhagen-based company is being sold by the private equity group Axcel Capital Partners, which bought Georg Jensen in 2001. As part of the deal, Georg Jensen will get a new creative director: David Chu, a luxury brand entrepreneur who earned millions building and selling the clothing company Nautica. Guy Leymarie, the former managing director of DeBeers Diamond Jewellers, Cartier International and Dunhill, will also be joining the board. It is expected that the new owners will attempt to break Georg Jensen into the lucrative Chinese market, where it has yet to make an impact despite 40 percent of its sales stemming from Asia. With a portfolio worth about 67 billion kroner, Investcorp is a specialist in luxury brands and owns Gucci and Tif-
fany and Co. Its experience in the luxury markets means that expectations under its ownership are high. In a press release, Ulrik Garde Due, the managing director of Georg Jensen, said: “Investcorp’s commitment to developing the brand will ensure we are able to further strengthen Georg Jensen’s position globally as the leading Scandinavian luxury lifestyle brand.” Investcorp’s head of European investments, Hazem BenGacem, also added that the company’s fate rested on its new management. “We believe that in partnership with the current solid management team, led by Ulrik Garde Due, and luxury retail legend David Chu, Georg Jensen stands to become one of the leading hard luxury brands in the 21st century, leveraging on an over 100-year brand legacy and a unique Scandinavian design DNA, which stems from the early work of Mr Georg Jensen himself.” Designer and silversmith Georg Jensen founded the company in 1904 and now has about 100 shops and 1,200 employees around the world. In 2011, the company had sales of approximately 930 million kroner. (PS)
BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN DENMARK
A British Company Operating in a Global World Our guest speaker at the November Lunch event will be Denize McGregor, Head of Customer Service and Operations for Europe, Africa, Middle East, UK Regions, Ireland and South America at British Airways since January 2011. She will cover some of the key issues facing companies when their operations span the globe, with experiences and stories from British Airways Denize is responsible for delivering a safe and secure operation, whilst maintaining the highest levels of customer service at more than two thirds of the airports across the British Airways network, dealing with 310 departures a day. Previous roles she has worked in since joining British Airways in 1990 include: Sales Team Manager, Industrial Relations Manager, Head of International HR and Area Customer Services Manager. During her time abroad Denize was responsible for restructuring of the overseas organisation including the introduction of a supplier managed operating model.
Venue 23 November 2012 Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Hammerichsgade 1 1611 Copenhagen
Non-members are very welcome. Please contact BCCD or go to www.bccd.dk for further information.
Price in kroner for one unit of foreign currency
If you would like to attend then please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call +45 31 18 75 58
Date: 7 November 2012
• official media partner Denmark’s only English-language newspaper
THE COPENHAGEN POST THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK SPOUSE EMPLOYMENT PAGE
SPOUSE: Monika Sysiak FROM: Poland SEEKING WORK IN: Greater Copenhagen / eastern Zealand QUALIFICATION: Master degree in Environmental Engineering from Cracow University of Technology. Major in Water Supply, Sewage and Waste Treatment and Water Quality Protection. Completed one semester in Environmental Engineering at Engineering College of Aarhus. EXPERIENCE: Internship during studies in designing water supply systems and sewerage systems. LOOKING FOR: Graduation programme, internship, training, part time or full time job related to my qualifications. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Polish (mother tongue), English (fluent), Danish (starting). IT-EXPERIENCE: AutoCAD, MOUSE DHI, MS Windows, MS Office. 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QUALIFICATION: B.A. in Nursing, Masters in Public Health. I am AUTHORIZED to work as a Nurse in Denmark. (Have Danish CPR and work permit). EXPERIENCE: 1O years of experience as a nurse and midwife from the prominent hospitals. LOOKING FOR: Any healthcare related jobs (hospitals, clinics, elderly/childcare places). I am open to any shift or day. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, Korean, Danish (Intermediate, in progress, Module 3). IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office, SASS Statistical Software CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: +45 30 95 20 53 SPOUSE: Margaret Ritchie FROM: Scotland, UK SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: BA Business Administration majoring in Human Resource Management EXPERIENCE: Worked in the field of Education within a Scottish University. 12 years of experience. Administrating and organising courses and conferences and also worked as a PA to a Head of School. Great communication skills. LOOKING FOR: Administration work, typing, audio typing, data input. Can work from home. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Mother tongue: English, very basic Danish IT EXPERIENCE: A good user of Microsoft Office package, access to Internet CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 71182949 SPOUSE: Jennifer Bouma FROM: The Netherlands SEEKING WORK IN: Egedal Kommune, Copenhagen 30 km. QUALIFICATION: Managers Secretary, hands on, reliable, structured, self reliant, social, team player). LOOKING FOR: Secretary job. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Dutch, Danish, English, German, French, Italian. IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office ( Word, Excel), Outlook, SAP. 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LOOKING FOR: Full and part time job opportunity in Energy, Robust Electronics design, PCB Design, Thermal Analyst, Design & Modelling of power systems, power optimization, simulation and also in constructional, architectural consulting organization. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English (Fluent), Hindi (Mother Tongue), Swedish (Basic) and Danish(Basic, Currently learning). IT EXPERIENCE: MS-Office (word, Excel, Power point, Visio), CFD (Mentor Graphics FloTHERM, FloVENT, Noesis OPTIMUS, Electrical CAD, Assembly Programming (PIC 16f77, 8086,8051), WireMOM, Telelogic SDL-99, C and VHDL. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 71561151 SPOUSE: Teja Priyanka FROM: India SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: MBA in Finance and marketing, bachelor in Biotechnology. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Telugu(mother tongue), Hindi, English, Danish(beginner). IT EXPERIENCE: Familiar with Microsoft office (word, excel, Powerpoint,access), Photoshop. CONTACT: email@example.com
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WHY: The Copenhagen Post wishes to help spouses looking for jobs in Denmark. We have on our own initiative started a weekly spouse job page in The Copenhagen Post, with the aim to show that there are already within Denmark many highly educated international candidates looking for jobs. If you are a spouse to an international employee in Denmark looking for new career opportunities, you are welcome to send a profile to The Copenhagen Post at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will post your profile on the spouse job page when possible. Remember to get it removed in case of new job.
THE COPENHAGEN POST 9 - 15 November 2012 SPOUSE EMPLOYMENT PAGE
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SPOUSE: Christina Koch FROM: Australia SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Drama, 1997 University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. Experienced actor and voice coach for speakers, with parallel high level experience in written communications. LOOKING FOR: Voice coaching for corporate presenters and speakers, Writing and Communications work, work in theatre organisations. IT EXPERIENCE:Microsoft Office, Office for Mac. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English – Native speaker, excellent written and oral expression. German – good reading and listening skills. Spanish – fluent oral communication, good reading and listening skills. Danish – beginners level speaking and writing skills. CONTACT: Christina@hermionesvoice.com, Tel: +45 52 77 30 93, www.hermionesvoice.com.
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SPOUSE: Victor Bosie-Boateng FROM: Ghana SEEKING WORK IN: All of Denmark QUALIFICATION: Master of social science (Development studies & International relations) from Aalborg University in Denmark EXPERIENCE: 5 years of wide experience working as a consultant to some NGO’s, a past JPO and intern at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Very organised and well abreast with project management, Good communication strategists, indepth study and understanding of climate change issues, Former teacher and teaching assistant at a university, well abreast with the use of the microsoft operating systems LOOKING FOR: Work as a consultant, assistant project officer, programme officer, development analysts, administrative officer. Also open to a position at an NGO, danida and other development oriented organisations LANGUAGE SKILLS: English (fluent), French (moderate), Dutch (moderate), Danish (Good) IT EXPERIENCE: Microsoft word, excel, powerpoint, microsoft project and many more. CONTACT: email@example.com Tel: 28746935, 53302445
SPOUSE: Lorena Augusta Moreira FROM: Brazil SEEKING WORK IN: Great Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Interior Designer. EXPERIENCE: + 3 of experience with interior design and sales of furniture and decoration products. LOOKING FOR: Position in an Organization/Company in the fields of: Interior design, lay-out and organization of vitrines, sales and assistance management. IT EXPERIENCE: Microsoft office (word, excel, outlook, access and power-point) access to internet. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English (fluent), Portuguese (native) and Spanish (pre-intermediate). CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: + 45 52177084 SPOUSE: Shilpa Lingaiah FROM: India SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense and nearby areas of the mentioned cities. QUALIFICATION: PG Diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (JSS University, India); Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (RGUHS, India). Danish agency for international education has assessed the above qualification and corresponds to Danish Master’s degree in Health Sciences. LOOKING FOR: Research related to health science, jobs in pharmaceutical industry or new challenging career opportunities. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English(fluent written and spoken), Enrolled for Danish language classes, Indian languages(Kannada and Hindi). IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office. CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: +4552742859 SPOUSE: Maihemutijiang Maimaiti FROM: China SEEKING WORK IN: Aarhus area, Denmark QUALIFICATION: M.Sc. In Computer Science, Uppsala University, Sweden; Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science, Southwest University. LOOKING FOR: IT jobs. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, Chinese, Uyghur. IT EXPERIENCE: 1 year experience in Java programming and modelling in VDM++. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
SPOUSE: Mohammad Ahli- Gharamaleki FROM: Iran SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Master degree in chemical engineering. EXPERIENCE: 5+ years as a chemical engineer in R&D oil/gas projects as a team leader or member in Iran. LOOKING FOR: A position in an Intrnational company to expand my experience and expertise. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Azeri (native), English (fluent), Farsi (fluent), Arabic (good), Turkish (good), Danish(beginner). IT EXPERIENCE: Professional (MATLAB, Hysys, Aspen plus, Auto Cad, others (Office, Minitab). CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: (+45) 71 63 12 85 SPOUSE: Isaac P Thomas FROM: India SEEKING WORK IN: East Juthland preferably Århus QUALIFICATION: Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Science). EXPERIENCE: Process Consulting, Quality Assurance, CMMI, ISO, Quality Audit, Process Definition, Software testing, software development, data analysis, best practice sharing, quality gap analysis and “sharepoint” expertise. LOOKING FOR: Process Consulting, Quality Assurance, CMMI, ISO, Quality Audit, Process Definition LANGUAGE SKILLS: Danish beginner, English, Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil. IT EXPERIENCE: 8 years experience in IT Industry in software quality assurance, software quality control, software development. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +4552225642
SPOUSE: Debjani Nandy Biswas FROM: India SEEKING WORK IN: Would like to join in kindergarten, School teacher in English, official work in English. QUALIFICATION: B.A., M.A in English literature and language (American, European and Indian). EXPERIENCE: Temporary school teacher in Bongaon, India and involved in social work (handicapped society). LOOKING FOR: A possibility in getting practical experiences in kindergarten or any international school, official work (administration) in English, voluntary work also. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, Hindi, Sanskrit, Bengali, little Danish (currently learning). IT EXPERIENCE: Diploma in basic computer applications. CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: +45 50219942. SPOUSE: Heike Mehlhase FROM: Berlin, Tyskland SEEKING WORK IN: A job opportunity in Copenhagen (administrative position, research assistant or psychosocial care). QUALIFICATION: MPH, Master degree in Psychology, Lerntherapeutin. EXPERIENCE: Five years experience in psychological research and child psychology. LOOKING FOR: A position to expand my experience where I can use my excellent organisational, social and communication skills. LANGUAGE SKILLS: German (mother tongue), English (fluent), Danish (Module 2). IT EXPERIENCE: I am proficient in software such as word processing, spreadsheet, presentation software and basic graphic editing programs (Microsoft Office, Open Office) plus statistical software (SPSS). CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org SPOUSE: Mr Prenit Kumar Pokhrel FROM: Nepal SEEKING WORK IN: Anywhere in Denmark QUALIFICATION: Masters degree in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (3 years), Bachelor in Dental Surgery (On the Process of Danish Education for International Education, for independent practice). EXPERIENCE: 12 years in Dentistry and related research field. LOOKING FOR: Jobs in Dental Clinics, assisting dental specialist in his/her work, researches in oral health, oral health awareness programs and private clinics, Teaching health in schools. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English (fluent written and spoken), Enrolled for Danish Language classes, Nepali, Hindi. IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: +457182 1485 SPOUSE: Dr Tessa Kate Anderson FROM: UK SEEKING WORK IN: University, education, research, social science, geography, GIS, spatial analysis, urban geography. EXPERIENCE: PhD from UCL (UK) in GIS and road safety, Assistant Professor at University of Canterbury, New Zealand for 3 years, Assistant Professor in GIS at University of Queensland for 1 year, Research Fellow at University of Hong Kong for 3 years. I have experience in project management and working in both the private and public sector. I have taught up to Masters level and have design courses and taught extensively. LOOKING FOR: Research, teaching, consultancy positions. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, French (small amount), Chinese (beginner), I am enrolled at Danish language school IT EXPERIENCE: ArcGIS, MapInfo, GeoDa, Global Mapper, GWR, Python, Image J, SPSS, Excel, Work, PowerPoint, Access, Dreamweaver, Adobe, SAS, open source GIS programmes. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
9 - 15 November 2012
Who is … Aura Dione?
SCANPIX/ BJARNE BERGIUS HERMANSEN
Forget Alice, this wonderland’s for adults LINN LEMHAG
The Seeress’ Prophecy
HE CREEPY meets the beautiful meets the delicious in Republique’s latest theatre production, an elaborate Icelandic-Danish ‘food theatre’ collaboration, described as a “Nordic food expedition”. This, however, doesn’t come close to capturing the enrapturing three-and-a half hour experience that is like an all-out assault on the senses, delving into Old Norse mythology and the story of earth’s creation and destruction. The evening begins at Dansehallerne, where guests are
met with a glass of champagne, the first of a nine-course wine menu (lightweights beware!). We are introduced to our guides, an old woman and a young girl, one wise and the other innocent, who are to lead us from the world’s creation through the fires of the Earth’s end, also known as Ragnarok. The staging throughout the journey is spectacular – Loki’s banquet scene, our next destination and the most bombastic part of the production, boasts what has to be the most exquisite table setting (a Viking-style long table made entirely out of old books, with lit candles and tree stumps for chairs) this reviewer has ever laid eyes on. As we are welcomed by the
Glut of films leads to colossal flop PETER STANNERS Only 556 people see Zentropa’s new movie on its opening weekend, putting the distribution of film subsidies under scrutiny after nine films were scheduled for release in September and October
FILM SUBSIDISED with seven million kroner of government money flopped on its opening weekend after only 556 people bought tickets to see it. ‘Viceværten’ is a tale about a janitor who happens upon a fallen angel with special powers with whom he develops a sexual relationship. While the film went down well with the critics, it bombed in the cinemas and recorded one of the worst opening weekends ever. The film’s producer, Zentropa, now anticipates that the film, which cost 10 million kroner to make, will lose at least one million kroner. Part of the blame for the low turnout can be attributed to the fact that the new James Bond film, ‘Skyfall’, opened on the same weekend. But while this was anticipated, another of the film’s producers, Ib Tardini, was still surprised by how few people went to see it. “James Bond has filled a lot of screens, but we hadn’t anticipated that it would affect our audience,” Tardini told JyllandsPosten newspaper. “I simply cannot understand what went
wrong. You’ll have to ask the distributor.” The film’s distributor is Nordisk Film and its head of distribution, Jan Lehman, said he was also disappointed. “Viceværten’ is a good film, but it has no commercial content,” Lehman told Jyllands-Posten. “It’s a small arthouse film with limited potential, though it has done worse than expected. The public have spoken, and I can’t explain why no-one wants to see it.” Danish cinema is subsidised by the government, but questions have been raised about whether the money is being properly administrated. Nine Danish films that collected a total of 56 million kroner of subsidies, and accounted for 42 percent of all Danish releases this year, were scheduled to premiere in September and October. “It runs contrary to all our cultural and business principles to drown the market like we did this year,” Kim Pedersen, the chairman of Danske Biografer, a cinema owners’ association. Peter Aalbæk Jensen, the managing director of Zentropa, also disagreed with the timing of the films. “It’s pathetic that the films are timed so close together,” he told Jyllands-Posten. Det Danske Filminstitut, a state-funded body responsible for promoting Danish cinema and distributing the subsidies, tried to encourage distributors to spread the films out through the year, but failed.
enigmatic Loki (Morten Burian) to his “temple of knowledge”, his nymphs emerge dancing from behind pillars and take us by the hand to seat us, serve us, and feed us a most luscious feast (highlights included glazed pork, flæskestej and oysters). It’s the Alice and Wonderland tea party you’ve been dreaming of since childhood, but this time the Mad Hatter is a wondrously hedonistic god of mischief who urges you to drink and be merry while distributing passionate lipto-lip kisses to both guests and actors (both female and male). Meanwhile, roasted fennel arrives in antique-looking book boxes while the nymphs, who suddenly all answer to Mimi, join you for the meal and make
sure your wine-glass is always full, and your plate never empty. All this merriment comes to an end, however, when Loki tricks a blindfolded guest into killing the god Baldr. This, we are told, is the start of Ragnarok, the end of the world, and we are duly taken to the depths of Carlsberg’s brewery and dropped off at the gateway to hell for a host of chilling yet stunning experiences. Throughout our theatrical journey, ‘culinary artist’ Mette Sia Martinussen offers creative foods in innovative combinations that aptly, and sometimes disturbingly, mirror the theatrics. At the world’s creation we are served a bright yellow egg yolk resembling the sun with a pearly pink langoustine. Deep in Ragn-
arok, my formerly jolly nymph Mimi, now a bloodstained mess, stretches her hand out from behind a fence of burning flames and hands me a lollipop she’s collected from one of the many hanging corpses behind her. It’s made of warm goat’s cheese and the sugar coating crackles in my mouth. The programme later revealed that the delicate gourmet cold cuts at Loki’s decadent feast were smoked pig’s tongue and the delicious sourdough rolls were spiced with pig’s blood. Fall into the rabbit hole and get lost in a wonderland of Nordic myth. You’ll leave with a full belly, a mind enchanted by folklore, and if you’re anything like this reviewer, a new-found crush on the god of mischief.
Exiled in Denmark, author opens up ‘Can of Worms’ at home BJARKE SMITH-MEYER Zimbabwean living in Aarhus wins award at Nice film festival for his eight-minute cartoon about African politics
VERY JOURNEY starts with an idea, but for some it starts with caviar. Not the expensive type that is. Dictators like Robert Mugabe might dine on $80,000 worth of the gourmet fish eggs, but for the likes of exiled Tendai Tagarira, an exiled Zimbabwean writer living in Aarhus who is a columnist for The Copenhagen Post, he’ll have to settle for a cheaper version from the supermarket. “I never tried caviar, but was appalled that Mugabe would happily splash out on an insanely expensive delicacy for his own birthday,” Tagarira explained. “So my friend decided that for one night, I should eat like a dictator but at a slightly lower price.” In 2010, Tagarira became the first writer to be granted refuge in Denmark as a persecuted writer. He had to flee his country for criticising Mugabe. His open criticism of the dictator led to his home being ransacked, threats against his family and his friend’s suicide. But it was that lavish dinner in 2010 that led to Tagari-
ra’s meeting with a Portuguese director and animator, Vitor Lopes, with whom he created the short film, ‘Can of Worms’. “We just made it,” Tagarira said. “It took a year to put together, but once it was done, we didn’t know what to do with it, so we sent it to the Cannes Film Festival.” The film missed the submission deadline for the prestigious festival’s short film category, but it made its mark, and was circulated around to other film festivals and organisations in France. Much to his surprise, it won the ‘Special Jury’ award in Nice. “The film has a real emotional message to it. And its story of liberation, I think, resounds well amongst the French,” he told The Copenhagen Post. While the message of revolution may be very appealing to Europeans, it’s not a subject that’s easily integrated into African mainstream media. “Mugabe’s still a hero to many Africans for his neocolonial chants and hard-line policies against white entrepreneurs,” Tagarira said. “This animation won’t go down well with his supporters. I mean, it has him ejaculating into a cup for example. Not a pretty picture.” This animation is sure to reignite Tagarira’s PR battle with Mugabe’s press agents, who have routinely written damning arti-
cles about the Zimbabwean artist in a bid to belittle his cause. But Tagarira remains defiant. “The message has to get out. The internet has done wonders to create cracks in Mugabe’s wall of propaganda,” he said. “And if you couple that with political art that has critical recognition as well, those cracks can become crevasses.” Tagarira likened winning the award to a rural tradition in Africa that represents a boy’s transformation into a man. “When a boy comes of age, he must go out into the wilderness and hunt a majestic creature, like a rhino. When he has killed this creature, he then goes back to the village and proudly shows off his prize. Then he is accepted into society as a grown man. This award is my rhino. And now Africa will see me as a value to their society.” The film has already caused a stir. Independent African newspapers based in London have already taken notice and are writing about it, and Tagarira feels it’s only a matter of time before his message reaches Africa. “A film festival in Zanzibar turned the film down because of its political nature. But African society is run by a bunch of old guys whose days are numbered,” he said. “It’s a very different reality amongst the young guys, who are increasingly well-read, educated and see through the bullshit of politics.”
LINN LEMHAG She is a 27-year-old Danish singer-songwriter most famous for her current singles ‘Friends’ and ‘Geronimo’. She doesn’t have a very Danish name … Dione is indeed an international Dane, born to a Faroese/French mother and a Danish/Spanish father. She also spent the first seven years of her life travelling around with her parents before they settled in Bornholm when Dione was eight. She later spent time in Australia, where she was heavily influenced by Aboriginal art and culture. Her real name, however, is Maria Louise Joensen, but Aura Dione is probably a more fitting name for a pop star! What’s her music like? Dione likes to describe her sound as “progressive pop poetry” … but you might need to be a fellow singer-songwriter to understand that because it sounds like pretty standard pop to us. You’ve probably heard both ‘Friends’ and ‘Geronimo’ on Danish radio. The latter is supposedly about the “audacity of love and freedom”, but is best identified as the song with a completely nonsensical chorus with monosyllabic, repeated sounds as opposed to words: “Ge-ge-e jo jo uh lala”. Ivor Novello, watch out! Oh, that one! Unintelligible sounds aside, it’s a catchy tune. So catchy in fact, that she’s been nominated for a Danish Music Award, as well as for Best Danish Act at the MTV European Music Awards, both of which are taking place this coming week. Considering that her latest album, ‘Before the Dinasaurs’, was released on Sunday, Dione is a busy bee these days! Add a lawsuit on top of that and things look positively hectic … Lawsuit?! Dione is currently in the process of suing her former manager in a Los Angeles court for trying to steal the rights to her latest album. Among other things, the lawsuit alleges fraud, negligent misrepresentation and unjust enrichment. Sounds like just another Tuesday for an LA talent manager.
DENMARK THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
9 - 15 November 2012
The Hans who rocked Catholicism to reform the church JAYA RAO
Remembered today by Lutheran congregations as an “angel”, Hans Tausen was a gifted theologian, preacher and agitator
LARS AHLMANN OLESE
HROUGHOUT history, religious reformations have changed the way people look at the concept of faith and a higher power. Denmark has been no exception in this respect. In the last 1,100 years, the country has experienced two major religious reformations that have changed the course of its history. And today, with church attendances dwindling and calls growing for a separation of church and state, the country would appear to be on the verge of a third. While the first reformation took place when King Harald Bluetooth embraced Christianity in the 10th century, it is the second − which saw a religious insurgency and the subsequent adoption and spread of Lutheranism across the Scandinavian region − that we are looking at in this article, and specifically the instrumental role played in this movement by Hans Tausen. As the main protagonist of the Danish reformation, he went on to become the architect of today’s Lutheran Denmark. Born into a peasant family in Birkende on Funen in 1494, Tausen went on to question the very foundation of Roman Catholicism with his revolutionary
preaching. A gifted teacher and writer, he was a powerful preacher and agitator. He was one of the first reformers to use Danish instead of the conventional Latin in church services. He also went on to take a special place in Danish history as the first priest to get married. Tausen attended schools in Odense and Slagelse before becoming a friar at the monastery of the Order of Saint John of Antvorskov. He then completed his university studies at Rostock and was ordained as a priest. He also attended the University of Copenhagen for a brief period of time before being sent overseas by his abbot to accumulate further knowledge in his field. B y
this time, Tausen had mastered both Latin and Hebrew and was considered a good linguist of his times. In 1523, Tausen went to Wittenberg where he met Martin Luther, the founder of the then controversial Lutheran church. The length of the stay is debated – as are many of the facts concerning his life, presumably by conflicting Protestant and Catholic historians. But some time into his second year there, he was called back to Antvorskov by his superiors, who had heard he had joined the Martin Luther reformation movement. On his return, Tausen was kept under a close watch at Antvorskov and then transferred to the Grey Friars’
cloister in Viborg in Jutland. Once again, the nature of how close a watch is debated, with some historians even suggesting he was imprisoned, although it seems more likely that he was merely, as most monks were, encouraged to stay within the confines of the monastery’s walls. One story, detailing how an everincreasing crowd of followers nightly congregated outside his ‘prison cell’ to listen to his ‘Even song’ and Lutheran preaching, is straight out of the pages of the Lutheran version of the New Testament! Thanks to his preaching, and no doubt the kind of propaganda religions have been spouting for aeons, his popularity among the masses grew to such lengths that the church relented to him using the podium of the monastery’s Saint John’s Church. From here, Tausen’s efforts went into overdrive. With the help of Hans Vingaard, a former priest, he printed and distributed pamphlets of Luther’s ‘Opuscula’, translated into Danish with a few unmistakeable Tausen additions. Tausen meanwhile married Dorothea, the sister of his colleague Jörgen Viberg (a locallybased kindred spirit, also known as Sadolin). The act was looked upon by some as the greatest scandal of all time to hit the Catholic church, and it brought more fame, and infamy, to Tausen’s Lutheran ambitions. Tausen’s preaching appealed so much to the local populace, particularly the youths, that they swiftly ousted their young bishop, Jörgen Friis. Tausen, meanwhile, left the confines of the Grey Friars’ cloister – he had begun to feel vul-
nerable among the Franciscans (in an atmosphere not dissimilar to the one that prevails in ‘The Name of the Rose’) and sought protection from the burgesses of Viborg. Nevertheless, Tausen continued to preach at the church of the monastery, while Sadolin, whom he had ‘consecrated’ a priest and had left Viborg, presided over the church of the Dominicans. But soon, his following was so large that the church was no longer big enough, and he started addressing everyone gathered in the market area from the church tower. However, the Franciscans banned him from preaching from their church – a decision that led to riots. A bizarre compromise ensued in which the friars would preach in the morning and Tausen in the afternoon. The sharedcongregation scheme then came to a head when a senior member of the Danish Catholic Church sent armed men to the church to arrest Tausen, who were driven back by armed bourgeoisie. The church, now it would seem, was Tausen’s. From his base, Tausen started to change the way people worshipped. Hymns were sung in Danish rather than in Latin, church services were also translated, and the liturgy was reformed. And Tausen’s efforts attracted the attention of the most important person in Denmark, if not Scandinavia. King Frederick I, the Catholic king of Norway and Denmark, was apprehensive that his ‘Lutheran’ predecessor, his nephew King Christian II, a religious mercenary who changed his faith to suit his needs, would use Lutheran support to try to win the throne back he lost in 1523 – the fears weren’t unfounded, as Christian attempted to invade in 1531! So this explains why Frederick, during a visit to Aalborg in the autumn of 1526, took Tausen under his wing and appointed him as a Lutheran chaplain. With his open support for
Tausen’s teachings, the king of the land had legalised Protestantism and embraced the religion. Three years later, in 1529, Tausen accepted the king’s invitation to take over the pulpit of the church of St Nicholas in Copenhagen. With the king’s support and Tausen in the capital, the Reformation was gathering pace. However, upon the death of Frederick in 1533, Tausen was convicted of blasphemy and banished from the dioceses of Sjælland and Skåne by Bishop Joachim Rønnow at the Assembly of Nobles. Once again, there were riots, which were only dispelled by Tausen himself – an intervention that probably saved the life of the bishop. This act of nobility gave Tausen a friend and supporter in Rønnow. The bishop withdrew his condemnation and granted Tausen permission to preach in the diocese on the condition that he used a moderate tone. Meanwhile, Tausen was increasingly busy at his writing desk. Among his achievements was a full translation of ‘the Pentateuch’, the first five books of ‘The Old Testament’, which are often accredited by theologians to Moses. Denmark officially adopted Lutheranism as its official religion in its constitution in 1537. Tausen was appointed professor of Hebrew at the University of Copenhagen in the same year. Six years later he was made the Lutheran bishop of Ribe, a position he held for the next 20 years until his death. Tausen is well remembered by the church. One of his psalms, ‘Fra himlen kom en engel klar’ (From heaven came an angel clear), is still sung today, and in 2004, to celebrate the 475th year of the reformation of the town of Viborg, a modern monument was constructed in memory of the leading reformist theologian at the place of the now demolished church of the Franciscan monastery.
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Published on Nov 7, 2012