Adriano: you’re an apology for a player!
New book tries to shed light on ‘Danishness’
7 - 13 December 2012 | Vol 15 Issue 49
Gobble, gobble: it’s Turkey season
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | cphpost.dk COLOURBOX
Government presents its school reform plan, and an increased focus on English is among its tenets
Brits block investigation Army officer charged with civilian death in Afghanistan, but vital video will not be handed over
Beware the Xmas spirits Who’s that in the picture? Who cares! Citizenship test change means historical knowledge is not needed
‘Tis the season to be naughty: How to survive the Danish celebration of excess known as the julefrokost
Culture minister resigns after nepotism allegations JUSTIN CREMER
Radioactive diplomacy A ban on uranium mine is stopping foreign companies from exploiting Greenland’s mineral wealth
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Uffe Elbæk has announced his resignation as culture minister after mounting criticism of his decision to hold repeated events at the art school where his husband was employed
IVE DINNERS totalling 180,000 kroner have cost Uffe Elbæk (Radikale) his job as culture minister. Elbæk found himself in the centre of a political storm this week after it emerged that he had spent 180,000 kroner on five official dinners and meetings at Akademiet for Utæmmet Kreativitet (AFUK), an art school where his husband is employed, and where he himself was a member of the board.
On Tuesday, he was called in to a four-hour meeting that cast further doubt on his explanations for the dinner. Prior to the meeting, Elbæk told assembled media that he had discussed the five lavish dinners with officials from his minstry, who raised no concerns. Following the meeting, however, Elbæk changed his tune and said that he had in fact been warned about the dinners. “There was a ministry official who was good enough to pull me aside and say: ‘Uffe, we need to discuss this. In the long-term, this isn’t very smart’,” Elbæk said. “And I completely agree with him.” That change in explanation led to far-left party Enhedslisten and opposition party Venstre calling for the national auditor’s office, Rigsrevisionen, to investigate the case. It also reportedly cost Elbæk the backing of key allies in the government.
Perhaps reading the writing on the wall, late this afternoon Elbæk decided to step down as culture minister. “This afternoon I have made a very difficult but right decision and have told the prime minister that I wish to resign as culture minister,” Elbæk wrote on Facebook. “The decision was difficult because I love my job, my colleagues in the ministry and the ministerial environment. It was correct because I don’t want this current issue regarding my priorities in regards to AFUK to overshadow the important projects that the government is working to achieve.” The prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne), released a statement shortly after saying that “it was Uffe Elbæk’s own decision” to resign. “I have been happy to have him on
the team and to work with him,” Thorning-Schmidt’s statement read. “He has made a great and very engaged contribution as the culture minister.” Even while stepping down, Elbæk insisted that while he may have “lacked political judgement”, as he told TV2 News on Tuesday night, he did not hold the official dinners at AFUK to benefit his husband’s employer. “As I have said the entire time, I regret what happened with AFUK,” he continued. “I was forward with all of the information and at no point did I make any decisions that were due to cronyism or nepotism.” Elbæk ended his statement by saying that the media attention had gotten too much for his husband and therefore he had decided to step down in order to “stand up for … my husband.”
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Week in review
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
CPH Post Word of the Week:
7 - 13 December 2012 THE WEEK’S MOST READ STORIES AT CPHPOST.DK
Razzia (noun) – Raid. Where you heard it: Now that the city police have stepped up their efforts against the cannabis trade in Christiania, fans of the freetown are tipping each off on police raids through Facebook Scanpix / Jens Nørgaard Larsen
Guardian journalist tries to shed light on ‘Danishness’ Cops net 354kg of pot in Christiania offensive Curtain falls on citizenship test Winter is here Winter is coming
FROM OUR ARCHIVES TEN YEARS AGO. As Copenhagen prepares for the EU summit, opinion poll shows less than 25 percent of Danes support Turkey in EU. FIVE YEARS AGO. PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen fuels Zimbabwe-EU tensions by criticising Zimbabwe’s lack of democracy.
Protesters met up on Monday evening outside of the Ugandan Embassy in Hellerup to protest that country’s controversial bill that is due to appear before parliament this week. If passed, it would subject homosexuals to life imprisonment and in some cases the death penalty
cated in Nordhavn, Refshaleøen, Kløvermarken and Amagerfælled. The tunnel is due to be ready in seven years time and will divert 70,000 cars away from the city centre. The plans, however, face criticism that the tunnel will increase traffic near the access ramps and prioritise vehicles over cycling and public transport.
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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Former Hells Angels leader Brian Sandberg is now playing for the other team. Sandberg, who left the Angels back in August for what he said were personal reasons, has now joined rival gang Bandidos. That move now puts him in bad standing with his former buddies and has caused negotiations for a peace
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
deal between the rival gangs to break down. The two sides have been working on an agreement for the past several weeks, but Hells Angels member Jørn Jønke Nielsen told DR News that those talks have collapsed. Sandberg was released from prison last month after being acquitted on attempted murder charges.
Editorial offices: Slagtehusgade 4 – 6 DK 1715 Copenhagen V Telephone: 3336 3300 Fax: 3393 1313 www.cphpost.dk News Desk firstname.lastname@example.org 3336 4243 The CPH Post welcomes outside articles and letters to the editor. Letters and comments can be left on our website or at: email@example.com
Scanpix / Keld Navntoft
A 27 billion kroner harbour tunnel to divert traffic away from the city centre came a step closer last week after the City Council approved a model proposed by the Transport Ministry. The approved tunnel will run 12 kilometres from Nordhavn in the north to Amager Motorway in the south-west with access ramps lo-
Scanpix / Teitur Jonasson
By og Havn / Ole Malling
ONE YEAR AGO. Statistics indicate that Danes receive benefits they don’t deserve to the tune of 7-12 billion kroner annually.
Cuts won’t work
Central bank governor Nils Bernstein has criticised opposition party Venstre’s plan to reduce taxes in order to achieve lower wage demands and increase competitiveness. Bernstein, who steps down as head of Nationalbanken in January, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper that he doesn’t believe that taxes
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can be reduced much more than the current level without first reducing expenditure. Before Venstre’s national congress last month, former finance minister Claus Hjort Frederiksen proposed reducing taxes to a level comparable with Sweden, while saying wages should be lowered to those offered in Germany.
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Join our Expat Christmas Celebrations Sunday 9th December 2012 from 14.00 - 16.00
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4 The office party: Boozy fun or occupational minefield? cover Story
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
7 - 13 December 2012
Christian Wenande For the most part, Christmas is a jovial time of year in Denmark, but beware of the julefrokost’s hidden perils
hristmas in Denmark is a gleeful time of year, when many enjoy family get-togethers, cosy rendezvous in warm glögg cellars by Nyhavn and brisk evening strolls through Tivoli’s winter wonderland. But it can be a desperate and dark time as well. Aside from the inescapable sounds of Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’, the sun only creeps out for a few hours a day and the wind blows straight through even the heartiest winter garments. And then there is the dark side of that staple of the Danish holiday season: the julefrokost (Christmas lunch), which many Danes holding so dear. Sure, it has its perks, such as the over-indulgence of roast pork crackling, potatoes and red cabbage, all drowned in brown and cranberry sauce. It’s a time for fun and games with family, friends and colleagues, partake in an open chat with your boss, and to enjoy a hot mug of glögg in the warm comfort of the Christmas spirit. While the police only netted 27 drunk drivers over the first julefrokost weekend of the year, December is traditionally a month in which the nation’s roads see an increase in inebriated drivers. The police also have their hands full because of all the partying. In late November, when the julefrokost season began in earnest, police in Hjørring, Jutland were forced to use pepper spray and arrest three people when a 700-person julefrokost turned ugly. It was just one incident in a season that keeps police busy every year. But they’re not the only ones. Marriage counsellors also have their hands full during julefrokost time. As anyone
You may have had your eyes on each other, but resist the temptation unless you want to have a very awkward Monday morning in the office
who has been to one can attest, as the schnapps and Christmas beers begin to flow and the blood alcohol level increases, people have a tendency to abandon their moral standards. A recent survey, undertaken by Zapera for 24timer newspaper, indicated that ten percent of Danes have been unfaithful to their partners at a julefrokost. According to relationship counsellor Martin Østergaard it is no coincidence that Danes end up in the sleigh of someone other than Santa, or their partners. “In the summer the evenings are light and there is not as much alcohol involved. It’s more about barbecues, relaxation and civilised demeanour. Winter, on the other hand, is a depressing
time in Scandinavia. There are many crises in the dark period and more tendencies to embrace the dark aspects of life,” Østergaard told 24timer. Seemingly no-one is immune. Even Copenhagen’s mayor, Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne), got in on the act last year, garnering the nickname Creepy Frank (Frank Klam) after he apparently licked and kissed some young women at a City Council julefrokost. This time of year also sees the unions receiving a high volume of calls from members who have landed themselves in some sort of julefrokost-fuelled trouble. “We do get quite a few phone calls from people who feel bad about something they’ve said or done and are un-
Five things NOT to do at your office julefrokost: • Get too wasted. Yes, it is fine to get boozy and to embarrass yourself on the dancefloor, but passing out in the men’s room after vomiting is not a good career move. • Backtalk your colleagues. When alcohol is involved, attempts at witty retorts can quickly be misconstrued as hurtful and cruel, potentially leading to ostracism at the office. • Mess around with a colleague. Remember, you have to maintain a working relationship with that person and you risk feeling the wrath and gossip of your co-workers, especially if he or she is married. • Drink only alcohol. If you’re not used to drinking, have at least one glass of water or soft drink for every glass of beer or schnapps shot. It’s a long night; pace yourself. • And, finally, what should be very obvious: drive home drunk! Instead, join the hordes of incredibly intoxicated Danes using public transportation. sure of what to do about it,” Svend-Erik Hermansen, an occupational health specialist for HK/Privat, a office workers’ union, told metroXpress newspaper. “It really goes wrong when the employee tells the boss ‘the truth’ while they’re both under the influence of schnapps and Christmas beer.” And for many foreigners, their first julefrokost was one of pure disbelief and a battle to survive a formidable evening of swilling and gluttony. American Brian King, who spent time in Denmark a few years ago, contends that “only the strong survive” a julefrokost. “The pork theme continued into the next course, which was a pork liver pâté and bacon dish. It, too, was a little on the salty side. I began to wonder
whether I was having a stroke, because I was having trouble seeing out of one eye (I think some bacon grease had splattered onto my contact lens) and understanding the person sitting next to me speaking both Danish and English in a single sentence,” King wrote in a contribution to the US newspaper The Oregonian. There is also the disappointment that many foreigners endure when a Danish colleague is overly friendly and gregarious during a julefrokost, only to pretend not to know you the following Monday. Shahar Silbershatz, an Israeli expat who has written about his impressions of Denmark for Politiken and Berlingske newspapers, suggested that Danes just need to let off steam sometimes before returning to their colder, more reserved ways. “Perhaps the conclusion is that the Danes are not as much ‘themselves’ in the office environment as I had always thought, and that therefore they do in fact have a need to let their hair down during the Christmas party. Or maybe the Danes, just like the English and so many others, simply enjoy getting drunk and frisky with their colleagues one night a year,” Silbershatz wrote on Denmark’s official website, denmark.dk. Over-indulgence is an ingrained part of the julefrokost tradition – “At the Christmas lunch, where a lot of alcohol is usually consumed, people traditionally let their hair down and without risk suspend some of everyday boundaries, both in relation to the social hierarchy and generally accepted social conventions,” it concludes. So, yes, the most Danish of traditions can be quite festive. But the julefrokost also offers ample obstacles for the uninitiated. Above is our humble five-step plan for making it through your julefrokost without getting sacked from your job or disowned by your in-laws.
Online this week Denmark and Canada agree on maritime border There is now a definitive border in the waters between Greenland and Canada. Denmark and Canada have made a agreement to settle part of a hotly-contested issue that has been ongoing since the 1970s. Foreign minister Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), who signed the agreement while in Canada, was pleased with the
deal because it settled disputes over fishing rights and the right to explore the seabed for oil and minerals. “Denmark and Canada are showing that we can settle our disputes peacefully. One might wish the same for the rest of the world,” Søvndal told DR News. The deal did not, however, include the disputed Hans Island.
New soldiers help win the ‘War on Christmas’ After weeks of controversy, the Egedalsvænge housing association in Kokkedal held a general meeting last week in which a new board, with an ethnic Dane as the new chairman, was selected. According to reports, the meeting was also attended by TV crews from Russia and France. The mood at the five-hour meet-
ing was described by Politiken newspaper as “aggressive”. In addition to the new chairman, two other new members were also elected to the board, both of whom were described by DR News as being “Christmas treefriendly”. By Friday, a Christmas tree was in place in the housing association’s centre.
Cops net 354kg of pot in Christiania offensive Over the past three months Copenhagen police have confiscated 18 million kroner worth of drugs in and around Christiania, according to DR News. The haul is the result of efforts by the police’s Task Force Pusher Street, which was created specifically to
target the drug trade in Christiania. Since its creation in September, the unit has confiscated 354 kg of cannabis. “It’s fantastic work and exactly the right strategy,” the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), told DR.
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The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
7 - 13 December 2012
School reform calls for English in first grade Afghan civilian death trial A major component of the government’s school reform is to start teaching foreign languages earlier
M Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne) was speaking Danish when she unveiled the government’s school reform on Tuesday. But, in line with the recommendations made by the workgroup that helped develop the proposal, she announced that the nation’s school children will be required to start learning English from the first or second grade. The workgroup’s 2011 report focused on foreign language education and recommended introducing languages earlier, starting in the form of compulsory English from the first grade (six to seven-yearolds) in school. “This will lead to a generally higher level of education and a more nuanced language profile, particularly in relation to students mastering English.” “It is a great idea,” Vera Rosenbeck, a spokesperson for Danske Skoleelever, a student advocacy group, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “Compared with many other Europeans, Danes are not very good at English. But Anders Bondo Christensen, the head of Danmarks Lærerforening, the Danish teacher’s union, isn’t so sure. Christensen, who last week criticised the government’s propsal to add
510 extra hours of classroom time during children’s first ten years of school (see inset), pointed out that there is not sufficient evidence that teaching English at such a young age improves student’s skills. “We could spend money With the reform, Danish students would get an without knowing extra two years of English language learning whether we get the desired effect,” he told Jyllands- that they get a basic knowledge Posten. “It is not very sensible, of the language so it is easier to especially at a time when money grasp when they get older.” Rosenbeck added that as is so tight at our schools.” Lotte Rod, the education the world becomes more global, spokesperson for Radikale, English will become even more important. disagreed. First grade students at Brårup “The workgroup was clear that one of the ways that we can School in Skive already started improve foreign language educa- English lessons in September. tion in Denmark is to start Eng- Teachers at the school took the lish in the first grade,” Rod told initiative on their own. There are no lessons in Berlingske newspaper. “When our students leave school after grammar or spelling. Students the ninth grade, they must be learn about things like numbers, able to cope in the world, so it is colours and the weather through crucial that we help our students play and songs. “We believe that it helps become proficient at English.” Pupils today start learn- make it easier to learn graming English in the third grade. mar later on,” headteacher Jette In Sweden, however, English Præstholm told DR News. There are currently no is already taught in the first grade. The government hopes teaching materials available, so to copy that country’s example, the teachers created their own but Rosenbeck said making it a curriculum. The workgroup’s report also part of the curriculum two years earlier will require careful imple- suggested that instruction in French and German start earlier mentation. “They should not be conju- – beginning in the fifth grade ingating English verbs in the first stead of the seventh grade, as it grade,” she said. “It is important does currently.
Kids to get three more years in school Teachers will be spending more time in the classroom in the years to come if the government is able to pass an education reform aimed at giving students an additional 30 percent more learning time during their first ten years of schooling. The government’s plan, which has the support of opposition party Venstre, will set the minimum school week at between 30 and 37 hours, depending on the age group. Instead of increasing school budgets to pay for more classroom hours, the government will work with councils, who are responsible for operating school districts, to force teachers to spend more of their working hours in the classroom. With the reform, councils say they hope to be able to “modernise” the way schools are run by allowing administrators to determine what tasks individual teachers spend their time on. Teacher representatives said the measure would decrease the quality of teaching, since it would reduce the amount of time teachers had to prepare lessons and to meet parents. They also expressed concern that the reform had been put together without their input. A vote on extending the school day will probably take place in the spring.
refused key evidence Danish officer charged with breaking NATO’s rules of engagement, but Brits will not allow the use of vital video
case against a Danish Army officer charged with the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan has suffered a setback following the British military’s refusal to allow vital video evidence to be shown at his trial. The officer was responsible for ordering an attack against an Afghan compound near a Danish military base that killed one civilian and injured two others. The military prosecutors, Auditørkorpset, accused the officer of gross misconduct, and he could be sentenced to three years in jail for failing to abide by NATO’s secret rules of engagement (ROE). The Danish military base in question, Bridzar in Afghanistan, is reliant on British surveillance. According to the officer’s lawyer, Torben Koch, the officer used the surveillance to observe four men in a nearby compound who he thought were acting suspiciously and possibly in the process of burying a roadside bomb. The officer then requested two British Apache helicopters to fire a hellfire missile at the men, which killed one and injured two. When it transpired that the men were civilians, NATO compensated the men’s families. After the attack, Danish military police, who were present in the room when the officer requested the attack, made a copy of the surveillance and sent it to
the Auditørkorpset in Denmark. After showing it to military experts, they found that the attack broke NATO’s ROE, which led to them bringing charges against the officer. The case is shrouded in many levels of secrecy, however. The names of the accused officer and military experts are secret, and so too are the ROE that the officer allegedly broke by ordering the attack. The ROE, according to Politiken newspaper, are secret in order to prevent giving the Taleban an advantage. However, the underlying principle is to avoid civilian deaths, and therefore attacks should only be ordered when it is certain only militants are being targeted. Experts who have seen the footage told Politiken that the men posed no immediate risk to NATO troops, and that the object the men were burying bore no resemblance to a bomb. With the British unwilling to permit the surveillance video as evidence, some experts worry that the transparency of the military is being sacrificed in order to not harm Denmark’s relationship with the UK. “If the Brits give permission [to use the footage], it would create a precedent that they should hand over material that may in the future incriminate their own soldiers,” NATO expert Sten Rynning from Syddansk University told Politiken, adding that it was unlikely that Britain would allow this to happen. (PS)
Former minister faces ‘stateless’ scrutiny Union blockade – if not actions – deemed legal Ray Weaver Commission underway to determine if Birthe Rønn Hornbech wilfully violated UN conventions
commission looking into the actions of the former immigration minister, Birthe Rønn Hornbech (Venstre), who persistently rejected the naturalisation applications of stateless youth born in Denmark in violation of UN conventions, got underway on Monday. In March 2011, ten young ‘stateless’ Palestinian youths born in Denmark filed charges against the Immigration Ministry and Birthe Rønn Hornbech for rejecting their citizenship applications – applications which should have been automatically approved according to UN conventions. An investigation revealed that Hornbech and ministry officials were aware of the UN rules, yet Hornbech directed the officials to continue with the inappropriate rejections. The ministry failed to inform more than 400 stateless youths of their rights and rejected the citizenship applications of dozens more. Hornbech had initially shrugged off criticism of her role
in the affair, pointing out that the rejections were made under previous immigration ministers, and that she only became aware of them afterwards. However, anonymous government officials said Hornbech had been made aware of the problem in 2008, revelations which Hornbech later confirmed. Her role in the ‘stateless’ saga eventually led to her job dismissal. The commission is charged with uncovering if the ministry’s actions were political in nature or merely the result of administrative apathy and carelessness. Hanne Agersnap (Socialistisk Folkeparti), who was SF’s citizenship spokesperson at the time the case broke, said that she believes that Hornbech intentionally hid the issue from other government officials because Venstre had “promised too much” to the right wing Dansk Folkeparti (DF), which opposes Denmark honouring the UN rule. The commission will attempt to clarify whether previous immigration ministers Bertel Haarder (V) and Rikke Hvilshøj (V) were aware of the problem. Former prime ministers Anders Fogh Rasmussen (V) and Lars Løkke Rasmussen (V) are also due to testify. Hornbech herself is ex-
pected to appear on the witness stand in May. A former justice minister, Hans Engell, said that the case will have no consequences other than further tarnishing Hornbech’s already shabby legacy. “When the inquiry is complete, the report will be forwarded to the government, which will forward it on to parliament. I imagine that parliament will then issue a sharp reprimand, but I do not think that there will be any legal aftermath,” Engell told Berlingske newspaper. Eva Ersbøll, from the human rights organisation Institut for Menneskerettigheder, called the whole case “weird”. “I do not think there was any conspiracy, but this must be investigated to find out how things could go so wrong,” Ersbøll told Berlingske. Søren Krarup, a former DF MP, said that the real scandal is that parliament chose to honour UN conventions above Danish law. “This commission means nothing,” he said. “It may be damning that a minister and ministry were not aware of a problem, but it is also damning for those of us who believe that the UN conventions have no real significance.”
Justin Cremer Labour court rules that some of 3F’s tactics went too far in action against Restaurant Vejlegården
he union 3F’s blockade against Restaurant Vejlegården and its owner, Amin Skov, was completely legal, the labour court, Arbejdsretten, ruled last week. However, some of 3F’s tactics – which included calls for customer boycotts, no rubbish removal or post delivery, and threats against the local Vejle newspaper for publishing the restaurant’s ads – went too far, the court said. The case was brought before the court by Kristelig Arbejdsgiverforening, an employers’ association that is a partner organisation with Krifa, the trade union with which Skov entered into a collective bargaining agreement in November 2011 instead of 3F. It was this deal that was behind the blockade, which began in March and over the summer turned into a bit of a political sideshow, as numerous politicians went to the restaurant to show their support and make sure that they were caught by
cameras enjoying Vejlegården’s stegte flæsk med persillesovs. The deal with Krifa, struck after Skov annulled a collective bargaining agreement with 3F, allowed him to play his employees less than what he would have paid them under the 3F deal. All of Vejlegården’s employees agreed to the Krifa deal. A comparison of the two agreements over the summer revealed that all of the employees at Restaurant Vejlegården were earning 110.50 kroner per hour under their Krifa agreement. Under the restaurant’s old deal with 3F, trained waiters made 139.50 kroner per hour and trained chefs 125 kroner per hour. Following the ruling that 3F’s blockade against Vejlegården – if not its tactics – was within the law, the employment minister, Mette Frederiksen (Socialdemokraterne), said that the right to picket was a valued part of the Danish work model. “Even though the vast majority of conditions within the labour market are settled amicably at the negotiating table, the right to strike is essential for the functioning of the labour market,” Frederiksen told Ritzau news bureau. When the action against Ve-
jlegården hit its peak in the late summer, opposition parties Venstre and Dansk Folkeparti (DF) suggested that unions should be banned from engaging in boycotts against businesses that are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. While the parties then backed off that suggestion, Liberal Alliance MP Joachim B Olsen appealed to them in the wake of Arbejdsretten’s ruling to join his party in pushing for it again. “This decision means that 3F’s unjust war against Amin Skov can continue,” Olsen told DR. “We need to change the rules so that the Danish model can be adapted to a modern labour market. We are putting the finishing touches on a proposal that will make it impossible to establish sympathy actions against a business if less than 50 percent of its employees are union members. I very much hope that at least Venstre and Dansk Folkeparti will support it.” Speaking to DR, DF’s labour spokesperson Bent Bøgsted didn’t specifically address Olsen’s proposal but stressed that his party “still thinks it is wrong to blockade a company that has a thorough collective bargaining agreement”.
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
7 - 13 December 2012
Setting a good example The sour taste of Europe’s hypocrisy COLOURBOX
Having teachers spend more time in the classroom is an offer noone should be dissatisfied with
N DEFENDING international statistics showing that Danish teachers spend less time in the classroom than teachers in other countries, the DLF, the national teachers’ union, loves to point out that the most widely cited report, produced by the OECD, is misleading because it compares apples with oranges. They may be right, but there are other statistics that clearly illustrate room for improvement when it comes to both studentteacher interaction and school results. The first statistic can’t be reputed: teachers spend an average of 16 hours per week in the classroom. The remaining 21 are spent on preparation, meeting with students and parents, and other school-related work such as helping with computers and in the library. After the reform, teachers’ classroom time would rise to 18 hours a week. No-one doubts the teachers when they say they aren’t idling their time away in the faculty lounge, but it’s hard to see how they, with the support of their administrators, wouldn’t be able to devote an extra five percent of their working week to their primary task. What’s also worth keeping in mind when considering the teachers’ resistance is that no-one is asking them to work more or to take a pay cut. Just a few weeks ago, employees at SAS had to do both, and many other companies are considering at least one, if not both, measures. The other statistic that’s hard to ignore is that while Denmark has one of the most costly school systems to run, its results in international tests are mediocre. While those kind of tests purport to give an objective assessment of student performance, what they don’t take into account is that much of what is emphasised at Danish schools is difficult to measure. In a system where class cohesion and socialisation are valued just as highly as factual knowledge, any learning that hints at memorisation is flatly rejected. But being good at making friends will only get you so far in life. At some point, you’ll have to prove that you know something. Acquiring that knowledge starts with learning the basic facts, and learning the basic facts starts with adequate teaching. Also of concern are the high rates of functional illiteracy, particularly for boys, among those completing primary education. For some at-risk children, an age-appropriate reading level may only come through remedial education and parent counselling, but more teaching certainly wouldn’t hurt. More teaching isn’t the same as good teaching, but recent evidence shows that giving students more class hours may raise their interest in being at school. Such an attitude adjustment would be of immeasurable benefit to all students, not just the weakest.
EAR READER, I hope you have the patience and sympathy to read the following 926 words about the situation facing Greenlandic seal hunters. First though, as the president of KNAPK, Greenland’s union of fishermen and hunters, I would like to extend a word of thanks to Torsten Nielsen, the managing director of Kopenhagen Fur, for generously footing the bill to run a booth selling sealskin products at Tivoli’s Christmas fair this year. You support us now just as you, together with the Greenlandic government and the tannery Great Greenland, supported us during our effort to raise awareness about Greenlandic sealskin, first when Copenhagen department store Magasin announced its ban, and then this May during Labour Day celebrations in Copenhagen. We’re thankful that you, once again, have chosen to support Inuits and seal hunters in Greenland. You aren’t the only ones that support our sustainable seal hunt.
We are proud that the Danish chapter of the World Wildlife Foundation came out this May and stated publicly that the Greenlandic seal hunt is sustainable and humane. Greenpeace Denmark also did the same. We thank them for that. What they say is true, and it is high time people start realising that. We have chosen to continue our fight against the EU’s ban on the import of sealskin, as well as its so-called ‘Inuit exemption’. The ban itself criminalises the import of all sealskin except those sold by Inuits. But here, three years after the ban was put in place, Inuit seal hunters sell 90 percent less to the EU than they did in 2006 when the ban first started to be discussed in Brussels. The blanket ban, as well as animal rights activists’ inhumane and misunderstood concern for the animal hunters’ prey, has gradually eroded the market for sealskin over the past three decades. As a result, Greenlandic identity and the way of life of Greenland’s 60 towns are seriously threatened. To those of you reading this who are trying to understand what I am trying to say, let me make it clear: we believe that understanding and tolerance are better than a ban, as it would give consumers the opportunity to come to their own conclusion before buying this year’s Christmas gifts. What we are asking for is fair and equal access to the market and to consumers. Blanket bans and failure to recognise seal as a natural resource appears to us in the Arctic to be not only hypo-
critical but also demeaning towards our culture and our identity. In truth, I see this as nothing less than a clear violation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. For modern Inuits, the seal is an irreplaceable part of our life and our identity. In our world, close to nature, our lives are closely tied to the seal. On the one hand, we offer it our respect and our admiration; on the other hand, we shoot them, we eat them and we have nothing against selling their hides. I repeat what I said during my address in Copenhagen in May: we shoot seals in Greenland. Seals that have lived a life in the wild are shot by skilled hunters who treat their prey with the full respect they deserve. The first Inuits would not have survived in Greenland had it not been for the seal; they provided food, blubber for fuel and hides for warmth. This is why we respect the seal. To this day, the seal is an essential part of our diet, and the sale of sealskin is an important source of income for hunters and their families. What makes the EU’s blanket ban and its consequent criminalisation of the sealskin trade even harder to understand is the fact that today’s seal hunt is 100 percent sustainable. The two most important species, the harp seal and the ringed seal, have a combined population of 12 million and rising. Each year, some 150,000 seals are shot. There are, in fact, so many seals that they threaten fishing stocks and the livelihood of another group of Greenlanders, our
fishermen. Even the EU’s own fishing authority is seeking to regulate seal populations on the union’s own coasts – only without actually making use of their meat or hides. My dear readers, can you see the logic here? We Inuits sure can’t. My wish is to be able to inform people about Inuits and seal hunters so that they can be knowledgeable, tolerant and at ease about our seal hunt. We also hope that Danish lawmakers will stop sitting on their hands and work to gain sympathy for our situation and to show that tolerance and understanding are better than a ban for us: Inuits and the EU. Before ending, I’d like to cite another of the experts who voiced his support for us during our demonstration in May. Professor Michael Böos of the Centre for Canadian Studies at the University of Aarhus wrote, in an oped entitled ‘Give us this day our daily seal’, that “even though it might not be the most politically correct thing you could do, buying a sealskin jacket next winter is actually the most ethical thing you can do.” Lastly, it’s interesting to point out that in May, Magasin, which is owned by the UK’s Debenhams, implemented an animal welfare policy. The policy stipulates that it will only sell fur from animals slaughtered in the food industry. According to Debenhams, then, Inuit seal isn’t a source of food. The author is the president of KNAPK, the Greenlandic union of fishermen and hunters.
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Sweden urges city not to legalise cannabis The only reason cannabis is dangerous is because dangerous criminals control the market, and everything is always more competitive with guns. Adam Devecseri By website What ground-breaking evidence for the dangers of cannabis has Helle Thorning-Schmidt discovered? I didn’t know she was a biochemist in her spare time. Rohan Heatley By website New law allows doctors to make unemployed wait I am curious as to how this works. I am self-employed, so do I get in front of a part-time employee? What happens if someone gets laid off before a surgery – do they get bumped down the list? What about those who have more than one job? Is there any difference if I get fired from a job or if I get laid off? Gabriel Sebastian Merovingi By website Someone please help me out here – what’s the point of this? Why is someone who is employed, or a single parent, better than any-
one else and therefore entitled to preferential treatment? With all the human rights laws floating around, there’s no way this could be legal. Besides, how exactly do doctors and their receptionists have access to information about me like whether I work, have kids or am in a relationship? Shufflemoomin By website New bike laws proving difficult to enforce There is nothing wrong with the regulations. The light manufacturers should be legally required to test their own lights and to state on their packaging that the lights are approved for Danish use. Other countries do this all of the time. As far as enforcement, if the cops cannot see your light at 300 metres, even if it is approved, you should get a ticket. It is your responsibility to properly maintain your bicycle and lights, and if you don’t, you should be taken off the road. This is simple stuff. Battery time? Test it. Certify it. State it on the package. If you run your lights out of battery, put new batteries in. Simple. Again: no light, you get a ticket. It is not the cop’s or Denmark’s fault if you did not get five hours out of your lights.
It is either the light or the battery manufacturer’s. Where Denmark should get some intestinal fortitude is in the court system. Bicycle light case? We will not even bother. Pay your fine and fix your bike. Tom By website Panel: Cold Danes need to warm up to expats I have a little piece of advice for my fellow foreigners: please don’t go about complaining about the unfriendliness and cold nature of Danes. The more foreigners complain about this issue, the more Danes become arrogant and nonchalant about it. After all, it’s a free world, they would say. It’s about having the right to choose one’s friends, they would also say. Believe me, it is only the government to whom you give so much cash in taxes that appreciates your stay here. An ordinary Dane would rather be more unfriendly to you so you can get fed up, pack your things and leave. After all, Denmark is not yet ready to handle the challenges of multiculturalism. The truth is that Danes are very suspicious of people who approach them first. The Danish friends that I have at the moment ap-
proached me first after carefully watching my activities for a while. The ones I approached myself took to their heels shortly after. Making people believe that they are indispensible to one’s existence and to one’s ability to live in a place would rather increase their arrogance and pride. You never beg people to be your friends, do you? So dear foreigner, go about your livelihood, do your thing, be proud of who you are and what you do. The Danes who deserve your company will notice you and approach you. If you have family here, bond more with them and cherish your time with them. Dan_Mark by website I don’t think it is the ‘cold’ Danes who are primarily responsible for driving out expats. It’s the in-your-face nasty xenophobes that are. Am2go By website End of the road for the fix on wheels Great idea! Next step, let’s all give free vodka to alcoholics and free guns to suicidals. That should cover the rest of the Danish population. DanDansen By website
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
7 - 13 December 2012
A little ditty about Jesper and Ahmad
The words of Öz BY ÖZCAN ARJULOVSKI Özcan Arjulovski was born in Sweden but has lived in Denmark since he was five years old. His parents came to Denmark in the late 60s from the Turkish part of Macedonia. He has a passion for writing poetry and has written political columns for metroXpress and other publications. See more at www.ozcana.com.
HERE IS a big party at Ørestad Gymnasium. After having looked forward to it all week, everyone in school is there and having a good time. Well, almost everyone. Second-year student Jesper does not like to go to parties. In fact, he doesn’t like to socialise at all. At the party, some of Jesper’s classmates talk about Jesper and his antisocial behaviour. Jesper has a classmate named Ahmad. Like Jesper, Ahmad did not attend the party. However, the way his classmates talk about him is different. They do not talk about Ahmad’s behaviour as being antisocial – to them Ahmad is not well integrated. They speculate that he isn’t attending the party because he is not allowed to by his parents. What we are witnessing here is different interpretations of the same behaviour by two young adults – one who is ethnically Danish and the other who has another ethnic background. Ahmad’s behaviour is seen as being based on his cultural background, while Jesper’s is viewed as stemming from his personality. A couple of years ago, I would have called this discrimination, but I no longer see it that way. Instead, I think it is the
unfortunate common assumption that one’s cultural background directly relates to one’s behaviour. In my opinion, this is where a lot of problems occur. It is, if you ask me, one of the main reasons why many ethnic minorities in this country do not feel or define themselves as Danish, even if they are. The actions of ethnic minorities, especially Muslims, are judged according to their cultural and religious backgrounds. These assumptions and fast judgements, or course, did not exactly come out of nowhere or by coincidence. The picture was painted by the media. Sure, I know that it is a cliché to blame the media, and it has been done so often that it has lost its meaning, but nevertheless it is true. Just as the young students concluded Jesper to be anti-social and Ahmad as being poorly integrated, the media gives us the same kind of explanation for the ethnic minorities’ behaviour and the difference between them and ethnic Danes. If Jesper had committed a crime, he would be portrayed as simply a young adult who has difficulties and social problems. But if Ahmad commits a crime, it is because he is not integrated
well and has brought his criminal culture to Denmark. Once again, same behaviour but different conclusions. With the help of the media, society has turned to the same explanation for all of the actions of ethnic minorities. If you do not attend parties, it is because you or your family are too religious and therefore poorly integrated. If you commit a criminal action, poorly integrated. If you do not get an education, poorly integrated. I think you get the picture. It is a big social problem because it results in many people feeling left behind. They feel they are being looked at and treated differently. They are constantly reminded that they are not from here and do not belong here. It leaves them with an uncomfortable feeling and a sense of insecurity, knowing that they are not a natural part of the country that they see as their home. Let us take myself as an example. Personally, I have never been the party type. It has just never been something for me. Does that make me a poorly integrated resident of this country? Like I wrote in my previous column, ‘What does it take to make someone Danish?’, there are many young
With the help of the media, society has turned to the same explanation for all of the actions of ethnic minorities adults who grew up in a ‘Danish’ way and consider themselves Danish. By describing every one of their problems or actions as being a result of poor integration, they are being pushed away instead of being included in society. This particular problem will be solved the day we leave the old ways behind and start describing and treating the minorities as individuals instead of labelling them by their ethnic backgrounds. And just for the record: the story about Jesper and Ahmad is authentic only the names and the school have been changed.
On nostalgia, fighting and reach-arounds
The Lynch Report BY STUART LYNCH English-Australian theatre director Stuart Lynch has lived in Copenhagen since Clinton impeached his cigars and writes from the heart of the Danish and international theatre scene. He is married with kids and lives in Nørrebro. Visit his Danish theatre at www. lynchcompany.dk.
HERE are three things that produce in me a strong sense of nostalgia: alcohol, getting into a fight and seeing a James Bond film. Last week, during a mates’ night out to watch the film ‘Skyfall’, I was allowed the indulgence in all three. The purpose of my going to see ‘Skyfall’, apart from giving my body the chance to pause from the copious amounts of alcohol I had swilled, was to find out how Daniel Craig’s third outing as Bond would fare on the back of Sam Mendes. Would it be a triumphant call to arms for a first ever Oscar, or a simple 150 kroner reach-around* at a gay bar? Waiting for the film to start, with the beer, wine and schnapps in my belly threatening to put in an impromptu appearance, I endured two things: the totally crap trailer to what looks like the totally crap ‘The Hobbit’, and a young Danish lad-about-town sitting behind us bleating repeatedly: “I’d rather see ‘The Hobbit’ than a piece of Bond shit.” I turned and told him that if he felt that way, we’d all welcome that he left. He responded with a kick to the back of my chair. I was struck unexpectedly by
strong waves and thoughts of nostalgia as the following words issued instinctively from my less-than-sterile mouth: “Why don’t you take your Hobbit and shove it up your arse?” I sat and wondered if an expat’s experience of nostalgia is stronger than one who stayed in their home country. As nostalgia is often described as a feeling of homesickness this would make sense. I thought of the more eloquent Milan Kundera, who wrote that “The Greek word for ‘return’ is nostos. Algos means ‘suffering’. So nostalgia is the suffering caused by an unappeased yearning to return.” As I was lost in that thought, my chair was kicked again. My mind continued now on to the thought that homesickness is often different from the reality of the return. It is one thing to develop a nostalgia for home whilst boozing, baiting a fight and watching James Bond, but quite another to actually return to that place and realise with concrete force that time has passed. It is gone, not because those who you left resent that you left – they do
Your best and oldest friend is no longer your best and oldest friend and your favourite grandparent can no longer remember your face not – but rather that they and you have both moved on. Your best and oldest friend is no longer your best and oldest friend and your favourite grandparent, who loved and nurtured you, can now no longer remember your face. It is disturbing to realise that there are parts of your life that are completely and utterly dead. It is not that they died that troubles you, but that you didn’t even notice. A third kick. The expat’s experience of nostalgia is perhaps different from one who stayed close to their place of birth, but the roots of this both pleasant and un-
pleasant emotion are perhaps the same: a sense of loss. “Who you calling an arsehole?” the seat-kicker bellowed. My nostalgic train of thought now completely broken, I stood and turned. I ignored the fact I did not call him an arsehole, but merely suggested that was where he should place his misguided film opinion, and retorted: “You”. Pissed, and as ready for a fight as a Dane can be, he stood up. I gave him the Lynchy Fighting Stare. His face drained of anger and he sat down with a quietly mumbled “whatever”. Satisfied with my powerful staring capacity, I returned to the screen. And there I sat, sure that his sitting down had everything to do with my intimidating stare and nothing at all to do with the fact that my film-going companion, a two-metre tall Irish mixed martial artist, had also motioned for him to sit. * Google ‘reach-around’ and view the first ‘Full Metal Jacket’ YouTube video you find. You may want to ignore the others that come up.
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The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
7 - 13 December 2012
Danske Bank pulls #Occupy image from ad campaign
anske Bank has withdrawn imagery of the Occupy movement protestors from its new advertising campaign after widespread criticism. The bank recently launched a high-profile advertising campaign, entitled ‘New Standards’, that attempted to show the new world we lived in. It featured a range of imagery that included amputated athletes, children using iPads, solar panels being installed in Africa, and protesters throwing stones at the police. The campaign was launched to coincide with the bank’s new strategy in which it hopes “to restore trust in the bank and ensure that we live up to our new vision of being recognised as the most trusted financial partner”. They added that the campaign was supposed to show that “the fragility of the financial markets, continuing globalisation, energy and sustainability have all become permanent issues that no-one can ignore.” But the bank’s use of an image of a man with a dollar bill
Danske Bank withdrew this image from its advertising campaign after intense international criticism
site specialising in viral content, called the advert “shameless”. “It would – maybe – feel less hyper-hypocritical if Danske presented some evidence in this TV ad that it is not like every other financial behemoth in the world,” the website stated. “Because, right now, it just looks like Danske has done nothing but make a pretty, outrageously meaningless commercial.” Even financial daily Børsen joined the choir, with a columnist writing that the campaign weakened the bank’s integrity by aligning itself with global movements it did not evidently support.
Not in anyone’s backyard Ray Weaver Government’s plan to build a permanent radioactive waste facilty has been panned by a top Swedish official, who says the waste should stay right where it is
t is unrealistic for Denmark to attempt to establish a permanent storage facility for 5,000 cubic metres of low-level radioactive waste currently sitting at the Risø National Laboratory near Roskilde, according to the head of Sweden’s own radioactive waste authority. Denmark has no nuclear power plants, but it operated three test reactors between 1954 and 2000. Some of the waste also comes from hospitals. Six rural locations are currently being reviewed as possible sites, but any further discussion is pointless, according to Johan Swahn, the head of Sweden’s Office for Nuclear Waste Review.
“Not one single country in the entire world has constructed a depot for this kind of waste, so it is inconceivable that Denmark can do it,” Swahn told Danish newspaper Information. Denmark has been seeking a country for the past ten years to find a site outside of the country to store its radioactive waste. The health minister, Astrid Krag (Socialistisk Folkeparti), said at a public hearing last month that even though the ultimate goal is still to ship the waste out of the country, there have been no takers, and until that happened the process of finding a site for a storage facility would remain underway. Parliament decided in 2003 to build a facility that could hold the waste for 300 years, until it no longer posed a health threat. The councils on the current shortlist have united in a common effort to see that the waste is either shipped abroad or remains where it is.
Flemming Eskildsen, the mayor of Skive Council, which has been identified as having two possible locations that could house the facility, expressed scepticism about Krag’s claims that the waste is essentially harmless. “Even though she jokes that the storage facility would be so safe that you could sit on top of it for a year without getting more than the normal amount of radiation, there are no major population centres on her list of depot sites,” Eskildsen told The Copenhagen Post. Eskildsen said that burying the waste somewhere in the countryside may put it out of sight, but would not solve the problem. “We should ask other countries with more experience at this sort of thing to help us.” A major fear of all of the councils on the list is that the waste would eventually seep into the groundwater.
“Danske Bank is riding on the back of the hard-won gains achieved after years of hard work and risk-taking by handicapped athletes and solar panel makers. Danske Bank makes it appear as though they are part of the same hard-working and risk-taking community. But they are not. On the contrary.” With websites mocking the bank’s ‘New Standards’ message, many identified an incongruity between the advert’s message and the actual direction the bank was taking. On the one hand, the bank aligns itself with the struggles of ordinary people, but in an effort
to increase its profits it recently announced that it would close many branches in smaller towns across the country and lay off about 3,000 employees by 2015. While the bank justified the move by arguing that the prevalence of online banking meant there was less need for actual branches, an article on Kommunikations Forum suggested the bank was simply behaving the way any profit-orientated businesses would. “[The bank’s] neo-liberal and shareholder focus is kept at any price, even at society’s and the customer’s cost. Like [Republican presidential candidate Mitt] Romney, the bank does not care about the lower 47 percent of their customers because they are bad business,” the article stated. “That is why the bank’s campaign cannot involve the 99 percent without it ending up as a new standard for hypocrisy.” The final word came from a video by #Occupy supporters. “Your bank grows richer as poverty and inequality are growing,” the video states. “Bank directors are getting great bonuses, but ordinary people cannot afford mortgages because of the bank bailout.” The video added: “We hope you are happy with your bank bailouts – just remember who paid for them.”
Scanpix / Niels Ahlmann Olesen
Bank withdraws anti-Wall Street photo from the after criticism that it was insensitive to the goals of the movement
taped across his mouth with “#OCCUPY” written on it sparked international outrage. “Many have criticised us for using images that depict the Occupy Wall Street movement in our new campaign,” the bank stated in a press release. “That is why we have decided to remove the images from the campaign. It was not our intention to offend anyone, only to show that the world is changing and that we are changing with it. We have only used the images in order to illustrate the criticism directed at the banks after the financial crisis.” The bank faced widespread criticism for using the image as it seemed to undermine the fact that the original #Occupy WallStreet movement was driven by outrage at the irresponsible risks taken by the banking sector that contributed to the global financial crisis. One commenter on Danske Bank’s Facebook page wrote: “Hello, bankers, do you think we are going to belive that you are a socially aware business rather than one driven by profit? And do you think we have forgotten that as part of the banking industry you are one of the world’s super villains?” The advert made its way to the US, where the website Buzzfeed, a highly recognised web-
Ole Kastbjerg Nielsen (centre), shown here inspecting storage drums, doesn’t share the concerns that moving the waste is unsafe
“If, as the government says, the waste poses no danger, then why not put it near Copenhagen?” Stig Vestergaard, the mayor of Lolland-Faster, another potential candidate, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. Despite the criticism, Dansk Dekommissionering, the group responsible for radioactive waste in Denmark, is keeping the possibility of a Danish storage facility open. “Our analysis showed that
it can be done safely,” Ole Kastbjerg Nielsen, the head of Dansk Dekommissionering, told Information. Danish experts want the radioactive waste moved from Risø to an area that is more geologically stable, but Swahn said Denmark should let the radioactive waste stay there for the time being. “It is not a problem for Denmark to take a timeout for 50 or 100 years,” he said.
Calls for more compensation for egg donors Fertility clinics argue women should receive more than 500 kroner for donating ova, but the health minister warns against turning them into commodities
ertility clinics are demanding that the government change the law and allow greater compensation for egg donations, according to Berlingske newspaper. Danish law states that ova and sperm donors may only be compensated 500 kroner, but an investigation by Berlingske revealed that clinics were routinely giving women more to adequately compensate them for helping them meet the high demand for eggs. The law limiting the financial compensation for donations is to prevent the creation of a commercial trade in human tissue, health minister Astrid Krag (Solcialistisk Folkeparti) said. “It is vital that we don’t turn [eggs] into commodities,” Krag told Berlingske. “People should not start to donate their eggs because of financial hardship.” But Peter Lundstrøm, who runs Fertilitets Klinikken IVF in Ballerup, argues that the remuneration for women is far too low given the time, pain and inconvenience that egg donation incurs. “There is a religious and ethical misunderstanding that has led to something as unpleasant as having an egg removed being compared to sperm donation,” Lundstrøm said. Female donors have to take a course of hormones to encourage their ova to mature, and go to clinics for several meetings and ultrasounds before the eggs are finally removed using a thin needle inserted into an ovary. The 500 kroner compensation does not, in many cases, cover the costs of the women’s transport to and from the clinic, or their lost earnings. The procedure is painful and women are expected to take at least a day off work for the procedure. In order to encourage women to donate, Berlingske reported that many clinics bend the rules and give women 500 kroner every time they attend the clinic. Others pay women as much as 5,000 kroner and make them sign a contract saying that the sum equals the costs incurred because of the donation. (PS)
Online this week Copenhagen nightlife a safe place to be, revellers say Despite a rash of recent reports about stabbings and grisly murders, a new City Council survey indicated that 90 percent of Copenhagen revellers feel safe at night in the city. The survey, carried out by Userneeds, is based on the responses of 601 men and women between the ages of 18 and 40 who live in Copenhagen
and have been out to a nightclub or bar at least twice in the past year. “We are very happy that people feel safe in Copenhagen, but we can’t let this news cause us to relax. We must continue to focus on safety in the city,” Lea Bryld, a spokesperson for the city’s safety commission, Center for Sikker By, told Politiken.
The show cannot go on: Carnival calls it quits Organisers of the Copenhagen Carnival announced that this year’s carnival was the last after the City Council slashed funding by more than half. The amount the city gives was cut from 500,000 kroner this year to 202,000 kroner next year, Copenhagen Carnival head Morten Sørensen said the annual event, which has been
running since 1982, had become too expensive. “Running such a large event is costly and we have had to concede that the council support of 202,000 kroner we have been granted for next year’s Carnival is insufficient to cover the millions of kroner it costs to responsibly run such a large event,” Sørensen said.
‘Mama Jane’ appalled by prison sentence for extortionist Jane Petersen, the owner of Nørrebro’s Café Viking, says she is “appalled” that a 19-yearold gang member who tried to force her to pay protection money was sentenced to eight months in prison. “It is wrong to put a young man in prison,”
Petersen told Berlingske newspaper. “I would have preferred that he received something like community service.” The man wanted money from Petersen to guarantee the safety of her business. When she refused, he threw a brick through her window.
Read the full stories at cphpost.dk
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
7 - 13 December 2012
Christian Wenande Library’s director-general brushes aside the criticism, saying that a Turkish version of the events will go ahead as planned
he Royal Library has attracted heavy criticism after agreeing to let Turkey co-arrange an alternative exhibition about the Armenian Genocide. The library has complied with the wishes of the Turkish ambassador Berk: Dibek to be involved with the exhibition, ‘The Armenian Genocide and the Scandinavian response’, which is currently on display at the University of Copenhagen. The Turkish Embassy has been granted the opportunity to stage a Turkish version of the historical events in a move that has generated criticism from a number of circles, including politicians, historians and the Armenian Embassy in Copenhagen. “This is giving in to Turkish pressure and it won’t do. Without comparing the two events, it’s like asking neo-Nazis to arrange a Holocaust exhibition,” Søren Espersen, a spokesperson for Dansk Folkeparti (DF), told Berlingske newspaper. Turkey refuses to use the term ‘genocide’ to describe the deaths of over an estimated one million Armenians who died during the mass extermination carried out by the Ottoman Empire be-
Wikimedia Commons / Henry Morgenthau
Royal Library under fire for allowing Turkish take on Armenian Genocide
tween the years of 1915-1923. Turkey counters that the deaths were a by-product of the First World War and that the issue should be left to historians. But Matthias Bjørnlund, a historian and leading Danish expert on the Armenian Genocide, is perplexed over the Royal Library’s decision in the case. “If you believe that all versions of history are equal, then you’ve undermined your role as a research institution,” Bjørnlund told Berlingske. “It was genocide and not all interpretations of this history are correct.” The Armenian ambassador, Hrachya Aghajanyan, who is a co-host of the original exhibition, is disappointed by the move. “I hope that the Royal Library will reconsider its decision and not give in to
Søvndal: Israeli Former PM: Put settlement plan foreigners in “dangerous” worse prisons Denmark joins European condemnation of retaliatory move
Rasmussen says nation too “naïve” in its approach to foreign criminals
enmark’s foreign minister, Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), summoned Israel’s ambassador for consultation on Monday to discuss Israel’s decision to build 3,000 new settlements east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank. The settlements would be illegal under international law and are widely considered to be a retaliatory move following the decision by the UN to grant Palestine the status of non-member observer state. Israel is also withholding over 500 million kroner in tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority that Israel gathered on its behalf. “Israel’s decision to build more illegal settlements and punish President Abbas and his Palestinian government is a very sad and dangerous reaction that makes it difficult to see the connection between Israel’s expressed goal for a two-state solution and a political will to enable it,” Søvndal told the Ritzau news bureau. “The EU and Denmark have firmly stated that all Israeli settlement on Palestinian land is illegal according to international law and limits the opportunities for peace.” Søvndal was not alone in condemning Israel’s decision, and Israeli ambassadors in France, the UK, Sweden and Spain were all summoned over the move to build the new settlements in the E1 area east of Jerusalem. (PS)
ars Løkke Rasmussen, the former prime minister and leader of opposition party Venstre (V), has said that foreign criminals should not be entitled to the same quality of incarceration as Danish inmates and criticised the government for not doing enough to deport them. “The standard of treatment they receive in Danish prisons is far higher than they would expect in eastern Europe,” Rasmussen told Sjællands Nyheder newspaper. “Foreign criminals are a major problem. We have just been so very naïve about how to tackle the challenge that foreign criminal networks pose.” Rasmussen said that Denmark should follow Norway’s lead and find ways to have foreign criminals serve their prison sentences in their home countries. According to Sjællands Nyheder, Norway deported 52 foreign criminals last year while Denmark only deported two. Rasmussen’s statements were criticised, however, particularly as V did not support the recent prison services bill that focused on tackling the rising number of foreign criminals in Danish prisons. The bill passed without V’s support. “Venstre did not want to join the deal, so I think it is rather incredible that Lars Løkke Rasmussen is now proposing essentially the same thing,” Ole Hækkerup, the legal spokesperson for Socialdemokraterne, told Berlingske. (PS)
A photo from ‘Ambassador Morgenthau’s Story’, considered to be one of the primary sources on the Armenian Genocide, shows the bodies of dead Armenians
the possible Turkish pressure,” Aghajanyan told Berlingske. But Erland Kolding Nielsen, the director-general of the Royal Library, denied that the institution buckled under pressure from Turkey. “One can’t pressure us, and we have not spoken about removing the Armenian exhibition. We have simply given them the opportunity to show their alternative exhibition,” Nielsen told Berlingske. Currently, 24 nations – including France, Germany and Russia – officially consider the killings as genocide, but Denmark has yet to make that assertion. It is not yet known when the Turkish exhibition version will debut, but the Turkish Embassy said that preparations were underway.
Curtain falls on history-rich citizenship test Proponents of new citizenship exam say it’s about time that the test was modernised, while detractors lament the move
hen over 2,500 people took the citizenship test on Monday, it marked the last time that the exam, known as ‘Indfødtsretsprøven’, will be used in its current form. The government is due to present a proposal in January that will create a more modern version of the citizenship test. The new test, to be named ‘Statsborgerskabsprøven’, is still being developed, but will reportedly focus on aspects of daily life and politics. In addition, the Danish language proficiency demands will also be eased as part of the government’s ambition to relax immigration laws. “We’re doing away with the current citizenship test. The new test will focus more on societal issues than the old test did,” Lennart Damsbo-Andersen, a spokesperson for Socialdemokraterne (S), told Berlingske newspaper. “The test taker won’t have to know all about Denmark’s history, the royal lineage or all the little towns in Funen, because all that is being removed.” Immigration lawyer Aage Kramp hailed the change but said he felt the new test should have been introduced earlier.
“It’s definitely a move in the right direction. Whether the first Holstein War began in 1848 or 1849 doesn’t reflect someone’s ability to be a Danish citizen,” Kramp told The Copenhagen Post. “It’s only reasonable that the new citizenship test reflects a Being as Danish as these guys will no longer modern view on require arcane knowledge becoming a Danish citizen.” hear the government’s proposal The test has been a part of on the new test before assessing the naturalisation process for the move, but Christian Langforeigners since 2005, when the balle (Dansk Folkeparti) called it former Venstre-Konservative a “sad day”. government, together with its “It’s a shame and I simply key ally, the right-wing Danish cannot believe that they would People’s Party, managed to push want to scrap the citizenship through a law requiring that ap- test. We Danes are a product of plicants for citizenship should our own history, and it’s essential be tested on their knowledge of that people who come here know Danish society and history. that history,” Langballe told BerIn 2008 the test was made lingske. “Dansk Folkeparti will even more difficult when appli- do everything it can to reinstate cants were given less time to an- the test in its current form.” swer the questions and more corTo obtain citizenship in rect answers were required to pass. Denmark, applicants must have The opposition at the time permanent residence, currently argued that the test was so diffi- live in Denmark, have no debt, cult that many ethnically Danish be self-sufficient and speak Dancitizens couldn’t even pass it. A ish. The primary difference besurvey by weekly publication A4 tween permanent residence and in 2010 showed that every fifth citizenship is that citizens have Dane would fail the citizenship the right to vote. test if they had to take it. Should parliament approve Jan E Jørgensen (Venstre) the new test, it would come into indicated that he would wait to effect in June 2013.
NGG International School
Teacher Vacancy Grade 4 Primary Teacher Teacher vacancy is a Grade 4 class teacher position of 24 lessons per week. The position is from February 18th through to June 30th Interested applicants are invited to inquire with a cover letter and current CV to: Vice-Headmaster Karen Johansen on firstname.lastname@example.org Applicant must be a native English speaker with relevant teacher qualification, preferably with knowledge and experience of the international Primary Curriculum. Qualified applicants should apply by deadline December 7th 2012
NGG ID Cirklehuset Christianshusvej 16 2970 Hørsholm +45 45 57 26 16 www.ngg.dk
Ansættelse sker i henhold til organisationsaftale af fællesoverenskomst mellem finansministeriet og Lærerne Centralorganisation. Skolen bestyrelse har besluttet, at ansættelse sker under forudsætning af ren straffeattest.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
7 - 13 December 2012
Toasting the best of British art in the company of two assured hands PHOTOS: CLIVE THAIN
WORDS: BEN HAMILTON
You’re right! Only an Englishman could make art this daft! Iven Gilmore, who many of you might remember as being the most convincing Ugly Sister in the history of panto in the Copenhagen Theatre Circle’s production of ‘Cinderella’ last Christmas, is also a talented artist, and together with Tim Jones, a fellow Brit, is currently displaying his work at Københavns Kulturcenter (Drejervej 15-17, Cph NV). The opening was a night to remember: let’s all toast that
Gilmore took to the stand to address those who turned up for the grand opening …
As befitting an exhibition by two Brits, a broad range of nationalities turned up to admire the art and enjoy some live music …
Jones has been spending too much time at the Waterfront
Gilmore needs to get out more …
It was mostly a young crowd who turned up to lend their support …
But next time, not the zoo …
While Jones was happier to let his art do the talking
including Natalia from Poland and Marijn from the Netherlands
Definitely, not the zoo
Youngest of all was little Elin, here with parents Andrew Blackwell and Lise Hannibal
Together they could open a sea-world
And it was also a family affair at this table, although Poul, Jytte and Eva Kristensen (the panel) appear undecided over whether Bernt Kastberg can join their clan
13 ABOUT TOWN COMMUNITY
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
7 - 13 December 2012
PHOTOS BY HASSE FERROLD UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED
Some 150 students gathered at the NGG International Department (NGGID) on November 20 to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the passing of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child with drama sketches, a Q & A and a huge chocolate cake. Photo: NGGID
Copenhagen Cathedral held a candlelit service for refugees from all over the world on Tuesday. The service was led by the Bishop of Copenhagen. Many refugees attended the service, which was held in many languages including Danish, English, French and Arabic. Photo: Bev Lloyd-Roberts
The Copenhagen Theatre Circle has presented the Hematology Department at Rigshospitalet with a cheque for 20,000 kroner – proceeds from its successful October run of Calendar Girls, a play that traditionally raises cancer awareness. Pictured here are (left-right) Maria Lundbye, Hanne Ryge Nielsen, Maureen Egerup, the play’s director Barry McKenna, CTC chairman Frank Theakston, Tai Segel, John Shennan, who shaved his hair off for chemo scenes in the play, Lars Kjeldsen, the head of the Hematology Department, Sarah Cox, head nurse Pernille Welinder and Vanessa Poole. Photo: Kare Moll Christiansen
COMING UP SOON Scandia Christmas Party
Sun 14:00-16:00; free adm, register at www.scandiahousing.com/winterexpatevent Scandia is once again hosting a Christmas party for expats and their families. The occasion will include gløgg, æbleskiver, a surprise for the children – we wonder what that could be! – and “fun activities for all”. You will need to sign up to find out the location.
Family Christmas Party
Marriott Hotel, Kalvebrod Brygge 5, Cph V; Sun 14:00-17:00; free adm, sign up at email@example.com Come on down to the Marriott for this year’s Family Christmas Party and join us around the tree at The Copenhagen Post’s traditional Danish-style celebration, which we are organising in co-operation with DTU and Expat in Denmark.
Roskilde Brewery Trip
Central Station, Banegardspladsen, Cph K; Sat 12:15; 150kr for the brewery tour; www.meetup.com/Wine-AndBeer-Society-ACTIVE-Meetup-Group Join international friends and visit the city cathedral where Danish kings and queens were buried in medieval times, and have lunch in one of the cosy restaurants in the city centre. Enjoy a visit to the Viking Ship Museum and take a trip on a viking boat in the bay nearby. Be ready to get a train to Køge to visit the Braunstein Microbrewery and take part in a tour inside to taste its holiday juløl!
Impacts from the Space
Byens Lys, Christiania, Thu 20:00; free adm; www.scienceandcocktails.org Henning Haack, the curator of the Natural History Museum’s meteorite collection, will discuss with the audience how the rocks can be studied to understand the origin and history of our solar system.
The Highest Point
Ørestad Station, Ørestad boulevard, Cph S; Sun 06:30-15:00; jb@altan. dk, 2228 3025, www.meetup.com/ photo-cph/events Meet new people and see the most beautiful side of nature! You will drive to Mørkemosebjerg (one of the highest points in Zealand), Åmosen (the national park close to Skellingsted and Vinskoven), and the astronomical centre Brorfelde.
Love in the Time of Cholera
Café Mocca, Friisgatan 4, Malmö; Mon 18:00; www.meetup.com/malmointernationals Join this meeting and discuss with friends Gabriel García Márquez’s famed novel of the luminous atmosphere of South America. A battle between earthly passions and high ideals, between storms and peaceful skies, between love and lust and family, this novel is a must-read. Don’t miss this high-brow book club!
Christmas Hygge with Friends
Copenhagen Culture Center, 15, 1 Drejervej, Cph N; Thu 19:00-22:00; 10kr for unlimited tea/coffee; www. meetup.com/Friendsproject/events Help wrap Christmas gifts for women in refugee centres. Or bring a small gift or 20kr to help this effort. Enjoy international Christmas greetings, decorations, fun, treats and unlimited coffee with new friends.
Blog Walk in Nørrebro
Nørrebros Runddel Cafe, Nørrebrogade 151 A, Cph N; Sun 12:00-17:00; free adm; www.michaelbang.com/danskversion/2012/11/blog-walk-2012/ Various competitions and fun will turn you into a photography nerd during this walk through Nørrebro. Blogger Michael Bang will weave the group in and out of the streets of this neighbourhood, so be sure to bring your camera!
The new Palestine representative in Denmark is Amro Alhourani. Merhaba!
The Argentine ambassador Raúl Alberto Ricardes (fourth right) is bidding farewell, and late last month, on November 29, many of his diplomatic peers attended a reception at his residence in Hellerup to say goodbye. Ricardes is returning to Argentina to retire
The Belgian ambassador Jean-François Branders celebrated his country’s King’s Day last month with a reception at his residence in Østerbro. Pictured here are (left-right) Maltese chargé d’affaires Deborah Attard Montalto, Switzerland’s new ambassador Denis Feldmeyer (Salut, Grüezi, Buongiorno, Bùn Gi!), Branders and his wife, outgoing Argentine ambassador Raúl Alberto Ricardes, and Estonian ambassador Katrin Kivi
National Museum of Art Photo Session
Statens Museum for Kunst, Sølvgade 48-50, Cph K; Sat 13:00; free adm; www.meetup.com/photo-cph What better way to experience Denmark’s history than through photography? Capture the atmosphere inside one of the most important museums of Copenhagen. You’ll be treated to art workshops, photo walks and social meet-ups at this visual visit to the past.
Business Development in the Arab World
Mon Dec 10, 15:30-20:00; register at firstname.lastname@example.org; www.bccd.dk/Events/ BCCD is pleased to invite you to join this seminar on the challenges faced by international companies trying to do business in the Middle East. You will be briefed about Danish business in the Arab World, the legal workings and various business opportunities in the Middle East. Additionally, you will hear from people with first-hand experience, and it all wraps up with a Q&A and refreshments.
‘The Family of Man’ Lecture
IT University of Copenhagen, Auditorium 4, Rued Langgaards Vej 7, Cph S; Mon 14:00; free adm; www.itu.dk Fred Turner, a highly-acclaimed professor of communications, science and technology at Stanford University, will hold this public lecture that aims to clarify the concept behind one of the most widely seen photography exhibitions of all time. Turner will discuss the exhibition and the politics of Cold War America and hopes to enable visitors to embrace every kind of diversity.
MARIA ANTONIETTA RICCI
AT WORK AND AT PLAY
Isabelle Valentine’s husband works at a video game company and gets to play at work. She also wanted to play for a living so she started the Montessori International Preschool. She moved to Frederiksberg in May 2008 where she lives with her young family.
Living in Copenhagen and speaking Danish – why am I so bad at it?
AVING BEEN in Denmark for four years, sometimes I wonder why my Danish is so bad. I have taken years of lessons, yet my skill with (especially spoken) Danish remains distinctly below what I would ordinarily expect from myself. I am bilingual in French and English and I have learned Spanish, Italian and Japanese to a higher level than my Danish, so there must be some difficulty here that I never had elsewhere. I am always so busy. My husband is not Danish. Everyone speaks such good English. Danish pronunciation is so difficult. Are these just excuses? Danish is a Germanic language and certainly does not come easily to me. However, when I was a foreign language assistant in Japan, I had absolutely no connection to the language, and yet I learned. I was younger then and certainly had less on my plate,
but when I think of the many people who make no attempt to learn Danish, I feel as though more is at play than being busy with family and work, or having difficulties saying rødgrød med fløde. I was also able to start my preschool with my limited Danish ability, and I don’t feel that I was at a disadvantage. Of
But just because it is easier to speak English here (and let’s not complain, it is definitely a good thing), it still doesn’t mean that we should throw in the towel with Danish course, I got a lot of help from the Danes who work with me and from friends, but I still feel
that I should be a better Danish speaker. Everyone here speaks English. Ah yes, that one. This argument certainly holds more water. As this is not the case in Japan, for example, where English is not spoken widely, there would be no choice but to learn Japanese. Even in France or Germany where English is more widely used than in Japan, there would still be more need to learn the local language. This is harder here as everyone will automatically switch to English if they see you struggling or if you say something they don’t understand. But just because it is easier to speak English here (and let’s not complain, it is definitely a good thing), it still doesn’t mean that we should throw in the towel with Danish. So enough with these excuses, which are overused so that we do not have to challenge ourselves, and perhaps because we enjoy the easy way a little too much. And let’s speak some dansk!
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
7 - 13 December 2012
Another AmCham-pagne occasion as Americans gather to give thanks PAMELA JUHL
The volunteers from DIS excelled once again
DAVE SMITH Now in its eleventh year, the Annual Family Thanksgiving Dinner at the Marriott is quickly becoming a city institution
HE BEAUTIFUL Vesterhavet Ballroom at the Copenhagen Marriott was the backdrop for AmCham’s 11th Annual Family Thanksgiving Dinner on Sunday November 25. A sell-out crowd of 360 participants this year contributed to a great festive atmosphere.
This year’s main sponsor, Microsoft, once again provided some fantastic children’s entertainment in the shape of two Xbox 360 Kinect stations, which saw the kids (and a few parents!) take part in some seriously competitive sports and dance games. The US ambassador, Laurie S Fulton, took to the podium to express her thanks that we live in a democracy where we have political, religious and personal freedoms − something we cannot take for granted. She also engaged participants in a Thanksgiving quiz, prompting the audience to shout out their answers. Following the ambas-
AmCham executive director Stephen Brugger announces the winner of the top prize in the raffle: two return trips to the US courtesy of AirFrance/KLM
The presentation of the turkey saw Ambassador Fulton joined by sponsors from Microsoft and chefs from the Marriott
sador, Reverend Ronald Rentner of the International Church of Copenhagen and Kevin Locke, a Native American performer, both gave spiritual blessings, reminding us of all the things we have to be thankful for during the holiday. American-Danish singer Tamra Rosanes and her son Noah then entertained the guests with a set of down-home country tunes. Marriott chef Irene Mai indulged guests with an authentic and extremely tasty Thanksgiving meal, including all of the traditional favourites: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and green bean
ic tricks and balloon creations. Many kids also enjoyed the supervised arts and crafts room as well as a movie room for those who needed a little quiet time. The evening concluded with the popular raffle, which included a fantastic line-up of prizes including return tickets for two to the United States (sponsored by Air France/KLM); two sets of professional Motorola walkietalkies; a Microsoft Xbox Kinect; an Asus tablet from Møbeltransport Danmark (now ‘Aspire Mobility’); an overnight stay including dinner and breakfast at the Marriott; dinner for four at the Marriott; two overnight stays for
casserole, as well as an impressive dessert buffet including pumpkin pie, apple crisp and cheesecake. This year was touted as one of the best on record. This year’s table quiz was all about US presidents, past and present. Tables worked together in teams to answer all the questions, which led to a drawing for chocolate advent calendars courtesy of Mars. In the meantime, the kids kept busy with activities that were supervised by volunteers from the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS). Ronald McDonald was at the party, courtesy of McDonald’s, and kept kids entertained with mag-
two at the Radisson Blu Royal in the Kappenburger Suite; and a club card worth 75,000 points from Crowne Plaza. Other prizes were donated by the Hard Rock Café, Amway, Hess, The Diplomat Restaurant, Coca Cola, Budweiser, and Tom’s Chocolates. Children parted with a special McDonald’s Happy Meal ‘goody box’ filled with special treats – including toothpaste and toothbrushes kindly donated by Colgate-Palmolive – to keep the parents happy! The proceeds from the raffle went to the AmCham Education and Integration Fund.
Treat them to turkey this Xmas BEN HAMILTON Fresh from an exhausting doorstep challenge that threatened his livelihood, the Codfather is bouncing back to reinvigorate your Christmas
The traditional Thanksgiving Buffet – another absolute winner
FIRST INTERNATIONAL BAPTIST CHURCH OF COPENHAGEN
PEACE HOPE AND JOY FREE CHRISTMAS CONCERT
S U N DAY , D E C E M B E R 9 1:00PM, AT BAGGESENSGADE 7, 2200, COPENHAGEN NORTH
ALL ARE WELCOME. COME EARLY, SPACE IS LIMITED. QUESTIONS? CALL +45 39 64 36 79 WWW.FIBC.DK
T’S BEEN TWO years since we last visited Fisk & Færdigt on HC Ørsteds Vej in Frederiksberg, but while a lot has changed on the street, it’s clear once we enter that owner Simon Longhurst’s passion for food is alive and kicking. Longhurst, a former London restaurant owner and Michelin star chef, is now a fishmonger. It sounds like a step-down, but for fish lovers, foodies and fans of traditionally-made tucker, it’s a definite step-up for this city. However, it’s been a couple of tough years for the shop during which it has made exhaustive efforts to stop the council from building a new cycle lane that would have prohibited doorstep deliveries (200-300 kilos per day) and greatly reduced passing trade. After five public meetings, “in the end, they finally listened and gave us an option that allowed deliveries and some parking”, reveals Longhurst. Nevertheless, takings are down 25 percent – 50 percent at others – and it took a great collective effort from the business owners, who every night blacked out their windows with plastic so local residents could wake up to an impression of what a street without shops would look like.
Turkey: “So where do you want me to put the bearded man?”
But enough about the past. Looking forward to Christmas, Longhurst will once again be supplying traditionalists with free-range turkeys as big as a truck (see photo), sourced from Silkeborg. To find out more, why don’t you come to the shop’s open house from 12:30 to 14:00 on Sunday 16 December at which Longhurst and his wife Camilla will be serving gløgg, Piscator beer from Mikkeller, tastings and – wait for it – freshly-made mince pies, eaten in the company of carol singers. It will give you food for thought before you order your turkey (the deadline is the next day). And if you’re being adventurous this year (duck again, **** that!), why not have a fish starter. Longhurst has an excellent range, including fresh fish caught off the east coast of Jutland, herring, eel and, in the summer, taramosalata. Two specialities to look out for are Longhurst’s home-prepared fois gras
(60kr a slice) and his all-spice (“No, not old spice you …”) marinated salmon from Fanø. And looking ahead to 2013, many of our readers will remember Fisk & Færdigt’s excellent monthly fish & chip offer they took advantage of in 2010. “Watch this space,” promises Longhurst, who has resolved an electrical problem to soon make it a permanent fixture. “Your readers will be the first to know.” Fisk & Færdigt is located at HC Ørsteds Vej 37B in Frederiksberg. It is open Wed-Fri 10:00-17:30 and Sat 10:00-14:30. Contact the shop at email@example.com, 3535 1729 or 2143 5803, or visit www.simonfisk.dk for more details. Sign up on Fisk & Færdigt’s Facebook page and get alerts on special offers with photos so good it will be hard to resist. Fisk & Færdigt is open on Sunday 23 and 30 December – convenient for picking up your Christmas and New Year goodies.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
7 - 13 December 2012
Adriano’s a sorry excuse for a sportsman, claims defender Brøndby riot fans spoil win SCANPIX/ TORKIL ADSERSEN
Two weeks on, FC Nordsjælland’s Jores Okore is still fuming over a goal that defied every ethic in the game, but did it break any rules?
E’S NOT sorry,” FC Nordsjælland’s star defender Jores Okore told The Copenhagen Post last week. “When he scored he was celebrating. And when we went up to discuss getting a goal back, he came back screaming ‘STOP! STOP!’. He knew exactly what he was doing.” It may be two weeks since Adriano scored a hugely controversial goal following a dropball in FCN’s 2-5 Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donestk, but the incident will live long in the defender’s memory. “And the worst thing is that it hardly feels like he’s getting punished for it,” Okore said. UEFA, European football’s governing body, handed Adriano a one-match suspension last week on Tuesday, which saw him miss this Wednesday game against Juventus. The ban, however, held little importance to Shakhtar as it had already qualified for the knockout stage.
It was the yellow card he deserved but didn’t get until later in the game
Shakhtar released a press statement in which it accepted the ban, while stating that “everyone associated with the club is deeply disappointed with the incident”. Its owner Rinat Akhmetov described the goal as “unacceptable” and said he was “deeply disappointed”. And even Adriano, the day after the game, expressed his sincere apologies, promising that he would “be more focused and attentive on
the pitch and would abide by the rules of Fair Play”. But Okore isn’t convinced. “He came out straight after the game and openly said he didn’t regret it. That’s on record! How can you take an apology in hindsight seriously when you consider everything he did and said up to that point?” Okore said. And now it emerges his club holds misgivings about the ban.
Adriano was disciplined under Article 5, UEFA Disciplinary Regulations. But despite accepting the ban, the Ukrainian club has requested for more details behind the legal reasoning behind the suspension. While Shakhtar refused to comment on the subject, UEFA’s press officer told The Copenhagen Post that the topic was not open to “comment or communication” as “the fully-reasoned decision concern-
ing Adriano has not been sent to the club in question as of yet”. What makes this legal procedure difficult for UEFA to explain is that technically speaking, Adriano didn’t break any rules. And according to Jan Jensen, the sports editor at Ekstra Bladet, the only reason why UEFA acted on Adriano’s actions was because it felt under pressure to set an example for Fair Play and sportsmanship. “They can point to whatever article they want, because it just doesn’t exist,” Jensen said. “The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. If it was a clear breach of regulation, Adriano would have been fined and banned for several matches. It’s all a bit of a farce really.” If Jensen had it his way, the whole notion of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct would be completely disregarded, as he feels too many people take advantage of the good nature of other players. Adriano included. “Adriano’s claim that his natural goal-scoring instinct was to blame for the incident is ridiculous,” Jensen said. “Everyone else on the pitch knew what was going on. He clearly took advantage of the situation. Let’s just stick to the rules that do exist, and forget this notion of playing the gentleman’s game.”
Markussen,” Kessler told Ekstra Bladet newspaper. “So Magee, this is personal. I’ll take this one for Denmark and for myself – I still have much to prove before I’m through with boxing.”
I’m not Santa! The only knee you’ll be sitting on is your own! Northern Irish opponent makes festive rallying call ahead of his bout against Mikkel Kessler this Saturday in Herning
HERE WILL be a lot at stake for Mikkel Kessler this Saturday night when he fights Brian Magee at the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning, Jutland. While the WBA supermiddleweight title stands vacant and is there for the taking, the Dane is particularly keen to hand out a dose of vengeance in the name of national pride. Magee, 37, is brimming with confidence following his two previous successful trips to Denmark to beat Mads Larsen and Rudy Markussen. Magee, a product of the much-acclaimed
Northern Irish school of boxing, has won 34 of his 39 bouts, 24 by knockout, while sustaining just four losses. The Belfast man is hoping that his southpaw stance and tenacious style will silence the crowd in Herning while quashing Kessler’s dreams of a merry Christmas. “I’m no Santa,” Magee said cheekily as he arrived in Denmark. “Kessler won’t be receiving any gifts, only a couple of hard packages in the ring. Denmark is a special place to box. The fans are passionate and are fantastic at supporting the Danes. But it doesn’t intimidate me, it fires me up. If you’re a footballer, I think you’d love to play in front of a packed Old Trafford or Camp Nou.” But 33-year-old Kessler has youth and statistics on his side. Magee’s last two losses, to Lucian Bute in 2011 and Carl Froch in
SCANPIX/ TONY BRØCHNER
The only present Kessler is hoping to give Magee is the gift of sleep
2006, have come against opposition who Kessler has beaten. Although Kessler, who has 45 wins and two losses, may be rusty after returning from a series of injuries. He sustained a career-threatening eye injury before injuring his hand in training and hasn’t fought over six rounds since
defeating Froch in 2010. All of Magee’s losses, on the other hand, have come after at least ten rounds, so the Dane could be facing a marathon of a fight − something he hasn’t endured for several years. Pundits have been quick to point out that Kessler should consider retiring if he loses on
HE DANISH football association, DBU, has opened a disciplinary case against Brøndby following the crowd trouble during its 1-0 Danish Cup quarter-final win against rivals FC Copenhagen last week. Hundreds of Brøndby fans spilled onto the Brøndby Stadium pitch after the match finished to confront the visiting FCK fans, before the riot police stepped in and restored order. Fans also used illegal pyrotechnics and threw various items onto the pitch and at FCK players. DBU’s disciplinary committee will collect information and material from both clubs, as well as the police, but indicated that both clubs will endure disciplinary action. But Brøndby will face stiffer punishment over the debacle. It is the second time in a month that Brøndby fans have invaded the pitch – the first followed a victory over Silkeborg – and Brøndby’s head of security, Emil Bakkendorff, was outraged at the fans’ behaviour. “It’s a disgrace and completely unacceptable behaviour that has no place anywhere, let alone a football match. This is not a way to celebrate sporting success,” Bakkendorff told TV3+. “It is grotesque that it has developed into this and it’s no way to represent a football club. We really need to find out how this happened. It’s very shameful.” And the club has taken drastic steps to convey that the behaviour of its fans was unacceptable. The club initially suspended ticket sales for its last games before the winter break – away games against FC Nordsjælland and SønderjyskE but has since relented. Esbjerg and Randers also won their quarter-final fixtures, while OB host Horsens on Wednesday night. Brøndby, though, must wait and see who they will meet in the semi-finals, or whether they’ll even be allowed by DBU to progress after the troubles. They’ll know the answer to the latter question in two weeks’ time when the the DBU is expected to reveal its disciplinary findings. (CW)
Saturday, but the Viking Warrior has no plans to hang up his gloves just yet, indicating that he still has many goals in the sport. “First step in the mission will happen on Saturday. Brian Magee has beaten two of my old friends, Mads Larsen and Rudy
Kessler won’t be receiving any gifts, only a couple of hard packages in the ring
SPORTS NEWS IN BRIEF Goody-bady start
D-day next week for Riis
Michael’s swanning it
FCK pulling away
An unwelcome full house
“I need a gay hero”
THE MEN’S national side are hanging on at the Kabaddi World Cupafter a win and a draw in their opening games. They followed a 25-58 defeat to England on Saturday with a 61-21 defeat of Afghanistan on Wednesday. Their final group game is against favourites and hosts India. The slightly more fancied women’s team, meanwhile, were due to begin their campaign on Thursday against India.
AHEAD OF a decision next Monday that will decide whether Saxo-Tinkoff will compete in the UCI World Tour in 2013, Peder Pedersen, the Danish representative at the UCI, has said the actions of its manager Bjarne Riis have been “very damaging to the sport and its credibility”. Some 17 teams have been granted licences for 2013, leaving Saxo-Tinkoff vying with Argos-Shimano for the remaining place.
MICHAEL Laudrup on Saturday led Swansea City to their biggest ever Premier League scalp. A brace by Michu saw them win 2-0 at Arsenal – their first away against one of England’s big five. It was their third away win of the campaign – just one less than the four it managed last season – and they are now seventh. Fan sites were awash with praise, with one calling Laudrup “the best Danish export since Carlsberg”.
AHEAD OF the start of the Superliga’s three-month break next Monday FC Copenhagen lead the table by nine points from last season’s champs FC Nordsjælland. Until recently, FCK’s lead was a slender one, but five wins in a row have seen them pull away from rivals AaB, who have lost three of their last five to slip to third. Brøndby, meanwhile, are last, but only three points adrift of safety.
THEO Jorgensen, a pro poker player, was left in dire straits on Sunday when he was shot three times in the leg by robbers at his home who thought he would be flush with winnings. The 40-year-old was confronted by three English-speaking men who stole a reported 35,000 kroner. “I know that the outsiders may have a mistaken idea of how much cash I have in my home,” he later wrote on Facebook from hospital.
WHILE Manchester United keeper Anders Lindegaard received flak for his performance in his team’s 4-3 win at Reading on Saturday, his profile off the pitch is rising thanks to his blog. Last week he made a call for a “gay hero” to come out, arguing that while “the players would not have a problem”, many “fans are stuck in a time of intolerance”, which would make it a difficult step befitting of a hero.
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The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
7 - 13 December 2012
Mining company fibs about Danish support for uranium extraction Pushy foreign companies want Denmark and Greenland to allow the mining of the radioactive metal, but major diplomatic hurdles need to be cleared before the ban is repealed
multi-billion kroner rare earth mineral mine in Greenland could break China’s near-monopoly on the minerals and bring enormous wealth to the Danish autonomous territory. But while the mine’s operator, the Australian company Greenland Mineral and Energy (GME), is eager to get going, they can’t until a ban on uranium mining is lifted. Uranium would be an inevitable by-product of the mine in the Kvanefjeld region, and GME has been placing pressure on Greenland’s Self-Rule government to lift the ban so it can invest an additional 15 billion kroner to get the mine started. Lifting the ban is not simple, however. While Greenland has full jurisdiction over which resources it allows to be mined, if the mines affect the security of the Kingdom of Denmark, then the central Danish government also has a say. As a result of the join interest, the Greenlandic Self-Rule government and the Danish government recently agreed to establish a commission that will access the impact of lifting the ban. But while the results of the study won’t be ready before the spring when the Self-Rule government will vote on whether to allow uranium mining, GME had a different interpretation of the recent developments. “The Danish foreign minister Villy Søvndal […] has indicated that Denmark will support Greenland in pursuing uranium production,” GME’s manag-
ing director Roderick McIllree wrote in a press release. The statement caused a stir. A science and technology website, Ingeniøren, published a story based on the press release with the headline: “Mining company: Søvndal gives green light to uranium production in Greenland.” The problem is it wasn’t true. “The zero-tolerance principle applies to Greenland, in which the exploration of radioactive material is still forbidden,” the Foreign Ministry replied in a press release before condemning Ingeniøren for running the article. GME did not reply to a request to comment, but McIllree’s enthusiasm could be connected to the fact that GME has so far invested over 350 million kroner into exploration and feasibility studies for the Kvanefjeld project that the company describes as “an asset of immense global strategic significance”. China currently holds a near monopoly on rare earth minerals, which are vital for the production of components in everything from cars, to smart phones and windmills. Providing about 20 percent of the global supply, the mine would be the largest rare earth mineral mine outside China. And strategically located between Europe and Asia, and beside deep fjords enabling the ore to be shipped directly to clients, it would be a global game changer. Regardless of whether McIllree’s statement was actually “an attempt by the mining company to manipulate Greenlandic politicians” – the view of Greenlandic MP Sara Solvig (IA) – his statement at best over-simplifies the complexity of abolishing the uranium ban that would allow the mine to go ahead. Firstly, while it is up to Greenland whether to mine for uranium, the Kingdom of Denmark has responsibilities and
Greenland Minerals and Energy
Rare earth minerals and uranium are mixed together within Greenland’s mountains, presenting a conflict over whether to overturn the ban on mining uranium to get hold of the rare minerals
obligations under international treaties and agreements concerning uranium. It is currently uncertain how allowing uranium mining would affect these responsibilities, which is why the two governments have established the commission to map these international obligations. According to an official at the Foreign Ministry, the debate about allowing uranium mining ought to be had after the commission has presented their findings. “Greenland’s parliament will need to decide what it wants to do with its zero-tolerance policy on uranium. And we are awaiting this decision. But in view of the decision it has to take, it needs to be aware of the international constraints that uranium mining would involve,” the official stated. Secondly, mines in Greenland could affect the security of the Kingdom of Denmark. For
Business news and briefs More working overtime Taking South Africa by storm
Every fourth Dane works considerably during their spare time, and only 50 percent of people don’t work at all outside their scheduled work hours, according to an Epinion/DeFacto survey. The main reason cited by employees was their failure to complete their assigned tasks within working hours. A representative for Djøf, a union for lawyers and economists, called the news “eye-opening”.
According to analysis by Copenhagen Economics, the level of private sector investment in Denmark is at its lowest level since the Second World War. The lack of investment is credited with the loss of 25,000 jobs nationwide – a number that could climb to 50,000 if the trend doesn’t reverse, Copenhagen Economics warned. The investment level is low for the third consecutive year.
Danish wind-turbine producers look to have successfully tapped into the South African market. The three Danish wind-turbine producers Vestas, Siemens Wind Power and LM Wind Power are on the brink of a billion kroner contract with the South African government as part of the country’s ambitious sustainable energy plan to produce 20,000 MW of electricity by 2030.
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example, the buyers of uranium need to be carefully chosen, and a large rare earth mineral mine could put Denmark on a collision course with China by breaking its near monopoly. This means that the central Danish government actually retains a say in whether the mines go ahead. “Greenland is responsible for decisions regarding the extraction of their raw materials, except
when doing so would affect the foreign and security policies of the Kingdom of Denmark, in which case we have a joint responsibility,” the official said. There are further issues. Even if Greenland and Denmark decide to allow uranium mining, researchers at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) point out that Greenland does not have the necessary infrastructure and bureaucracy to
manage the radioactive material. “Greenland currently does not have the necessary official bodies that can regulate exports that satisfy national and international commitments to nuclear security,” DIIS researchers France Bourgouin and Cindy Vestergaard stated in an article for Jyllands-Posten. “Regardless of whether uranium is permitted as a by-product or not, a supervisory body, which abides by international commitments that are observed by both Denmark and Greenland, is needed before mining for uranium can occur.” The very fact that GME was allowed in 2010 to conduct exploratory studies of minerals which included uranium suggests that there is some political support for allowing uranium mining. As it stands now, the current governing party IA opposes it, though opposition party Siumut is strongly in favour. “We need to move on from the zero-tolerance policy,” MP Karl Lyberth (Siumut) told Sermitsiaq newspaper. “Siumut thinks it’s necessary to allow for the mining of minerals that contain uranium.” McIllree will have to wait for the spring to find out whether the mine gets the green light. But given the complexity of handling the uranium, he may have to wait even longer before his company is digging up Greenland’s mineral wealth.
BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN DENMARK
The Fehmarnbelt Fixed Link – Opportunities and Challenges Technical Director Femern A/S Steen Lykke graduated in 1978 with an MSc from the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), majoring in civil and structural engineering. He is a highly qualified project manager and has considerable experience from major international projects, including as Contract Director of the immersed tunnel and the dredging & reclamation contracts for the Øresund Fixed Link. He was subsequently appointed Project Director and the client’s representative on the Marmaray Tunnel and Railway Project in Istanbul. Steen Lykke is currently Technical Director at Femern A/S where one of his main responsibilities is to manage the development of the concept design and the contracts, and the construction and commissioning of the 18 km long immersed tunnel under the Fehmarnbelt. Programme: • 11.45: Registration and welcome drinks • 12.00: Welcome and introduction by Mariano A. Davies, President, BCCD • 12.10: Guest speaker - Steen Lykke • 12.40: Questions and discussion • 12.55: Announcements by Penny Schmith, Executive Director, BCCD • 13.00: Buffet lunch and networking
Venue 18 Januar 2013 11:45 Conference Suite on 1st floor Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Hammerichsgade 1 Copenhagen K
Non-members are very welcome. Please contact BCCD or go to www.bccd.dk for further information. Buy
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Date: 5 December 2012
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The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
7 - 13 December 2012
n a Monday morning earlier this year, a short skinny man was riding the S-train to Farum. As he tried to get a seat at the back of a packed carriage, his gaze fell upon the cover of the in-train magazine featuring a charming, assertive-looking woman in her late 20s. The man in question was Patrick Kingsley, a young British journalist. At only 23, he’s a features writer for The Guardian, and was recently voted one of the top five young journalists to watch in 2012. He was in Denmark writing a book about contemporary Danish culture. The woman on the cover, meanwhile, was none other than Enhedslisten’s Johanne SchmidtNielsen, a popular figure on the Danish left. Kingsley had received his first cultural shock. “In the UK the idea of a train company interviewing a big leftie is out of this world!” he said. Subsequently King-
Let’s see, a Nørrebro cafe, a bike ... yep, Patrick Kingsley seems to have found ‘Danishness’ alright
kroner a month – less than twice as much as what a rubbish collector earns (34,400 kr). “It’s staggering that the gap between the rich and the poor is so small,” Kingsley said. “Equality isn’t absolute, but Denmark is more equal than many other places, except that immigrants to a certain extent are left outside that overall equality.” Among the people Kingsley interviewed, he was especially struck by his conversations with Fatih Alev, the chairman of the Danish Islamic Centre. “Alev gave me such a fascinating insight into what it is like to be a Dane who has lived all his life in Denmark and yet
Depth in class yields a beauty every night Franziska Bork Petersen
The Sleeping Beauty HHHHHH
beautiful production of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’ is back at the Royal Danish Ballet as this year’s Christmas ballet. The contemporary interpretation by one of today’s most-in-demand ballet choreographers, Britain’s Christopher Wheeldon, premiered two years ago and will once again be performed by the company’s current top-class dancers. The production is traditional – Wheeldon’s choreography is often close to the 1890 original that Marius Petipa’s created at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg – without being stale. While the fairytale is left intact, Wheeldon has added a framework plot that links the tale about Sleeping Beauty to the real contemporary world. Instead of someone opening a fairytale book and the characters in it coming to life, this link is created by means of a painting of Sleep-
ing Beauty. A young boy sees it during a museum visit with his family, returns years later and is invited into the canvas. Upon entering the fairytale world, he gradually transforms into Prince Desiré who kisses Sleeping Beauty and awakes her and the court. The danced fairytale is visually anchored in the era it was written by Charles Perrault. Scenographer Jérôme Kaplan evokes French baroque and designs a Versailles-inspired court with baroque costumes for the courtiers. Mary Louise Geiger’s lighting adds depth to the two-dimensionally drawn scenography. In addition, a subtle video projection animates the stage when it, for instance, lets a hawthorn hedge grow to indicate the 100 years of sleep. Amy Watson, who played Sleeping Beauty in the re-premiere, is a magnificent principal who has been with the Royal Danish Ballet for over a decade. However, she is almost too sure of herself in her dancing and dramatic in her expression to convincingly dance the
role of a 16-year-old. She is technically superb, but becomes truly dazzling only in the scene when she pricks herself with the spindle and falls asleep. Her coquettish refusal to drop the spindle, the subsequent gradual loss of control over her movements and ensuing panic is a fabulous example of telling a scene through extraordinarily expressive movement. Gregory Dean makes a fine and very princely prince. But it is Jonathan Chmelensky as the Bluebird who really has the big night. His remarkable combination of agility and balance make the audience’s frenetic cheers well-deserved. It might seem wasteful to cast outstanding dancers like the Alban Lendorf or Ulrik Birkkjær in roles that require almost no dancing. Although they are scheduled to dance Prince Desiré on other nights, they are not the only ones to whom such reasoning applies. However, the company’s corps de ballet is mainly made up of dancers who are so superb that a smaller part seems
still feels somewhat an outsider,” Kingsley said. “He was very illuminating on the challenges that immigrants and Muslims face. It was an eye-opener to the perhaps slightly more hollow side of Denmark, which was very moving.” His time spent working on the book led Kingsley to believe that Denmark, and ‘Danishness’, is changing. “The people who are making Denmark really exciting at the moment are in a way also subverting what it is to be Danish. People like Rene Redzepi and Bjarke Ingels aren’t Danish in the traditional way of believing yourself to be no better than
anybody else. They see no reason for Denmark to remain a backwater. That ambition didn’t exist 20 years ago.” Kingsley contends that one of the challenges Denmark currently faces is to figure out how to maintain its sense of togetherness whilst trying to branch out and be a player on the world stage. “Danishness evolves with time,” he said. “Many people aren’t digging the whole Jante Law thing anymore and are basically creating a different kind of Danishness. Meanwhile, if Denmark continues to be wary of newcomers, it risks losing one of its greatest tenets.” While Kingsley’s book may have some harsh words regarding Danes’ ability to open up towards others, it ultimately casts the country in a fairly positive light. “A couple of Scots got in touch with me about the book,” he said. “They have been inspired by it because it shows people coming from a small country what you can do to put yourself on the map, be it focussing on low budget films or the local food scene. It’s possible to turn all that into something that makes people really excited about your country.”
Amy Watson: “dazzling” in the prickly spindle scene, average elsewhere
ill-suited to them: it faces the luxurious dilemma that it doesn’t have anyone obvious for the notso-challenging parts. For some time now, ballet master Nikolai Hübbe has been giving corps de ballet dancers the chance to prove themselves in leading parts. In addition, training them in the Danish Bournonville style – which is known for its expressiveness – has helped foster a troupe of outstandingly charming artists. As a consequence, regular ballet-
goers will in each performance remember a fair proportion of those who appear in smaller roles as last month’s dazzling leads. So there are three reasons to see this production of ‘The Sleeping Beauty’. See it if you’ve never been to the ballet, see it if you’ve seen a hundred other productions and think you are done with the piece, and see it if you’ve seen this version already, because with so many fabulous dancers sharing the lead roles, it’s differently splendid every night.
Erik Scavenius? DR/Bjarne Bergius Hermansen
Intrigued by ‘The Killing’, Patrick Kingsley explores the positives and negatives of the country’s national culture in his new book, ‘How to be Danish’
sley went back to his seat and picked up a newspaper whose main article was about Roskilde Dagbladet’s – by now infamous – headline: ‘N****r steals car from 80-year old’. “Within only a few minutes I was exposed to a very progressive and a very conservative side of Denmark,” he later observed. It has now been over six months since that train ride and Kingsley is back in Denmark in order to promote his newly-published book, ‘How to be Danish’. We met up with him in a Nørrebro café for a brief chat. After becoming interested in Danish culture after watching ‘The Killing’ (‘Forbrydelsen’), Kingsley set out to investigate key aspects of contemporary Danish culture, including design, architecture, food, transport, integration and the welfare state. ‘How to be Danish’ is based on a series of interviews with over 70 Danes including Noma co-founder Claus Meyer, ‘The Killing’ screenwriter Søren Sveistrup, and fashion designer Henrik Vibskov. What most impressed the young British journalist in his research was the level of equality in Danish society. According to Statistics Denmark, Danish lawyers earn on average 54,700
Guardian journalist tries to shed light on ‘Danishness’ Who is
linn lemhag Or was! He was a Danish politician who died 50 years ago. Most notably he was prime minister during the German Occupation in the Second World War. So … why are we reading about this man now? Despite being dead for half a century, Scavenius remains one of Denmark’s most controversial politicians (Pia Kjærsgaard aside) and last month the city denied him a street in a new all-PM-named area of Islands Brygge in Copenhagen. Why is he so controversial? Scavenius is remembered as being a Nazi collaborator. To be fair, he did negotiate the terms of the German Occupation in 1941, a year after it had started. Anders Fogh Rasmussen, another former PM, called him naïve and immoral. Scavenius would have called him an ungrateful wuss. Umm, why? Scavenius, who became PM after the former government was dismissed, didn’t care much for politicians who went through the trouble of actually being elected. He saw himself as Denmark’s greatest protector, and many historians praise him for getting Denmark through the war as well as it did. Ideologically-blind and a bit of an arse, he saved a lot of Danish lives nevertheless. But still no street? Nope. The Copenhagen Board of Street Names says he is too controversial and that nobody would want to live on Scaveniusvej. Aksel Larsen – the former leader of Denmark’s Communist Party and a founder of Socialistisk Folkeparti − gets to keep his street name despite being a loyal supporter of Stalin and covering up his colleagues’ deaths at the hands of the Soviets.
Online this week Julekalender, 50 years old this year, adds an extra day
Wacko Jacko’s locks generate one thriller of a competition
Desert rockers to grace Roskilde stage again
The Christmas Julekalender show has been entertaining audiences with its tales of festive cheer since 1962, and on Saturday, both DR1 and TV2 began broadcasting their versions. While TV2 is showing two repeats – ‘Jul I Valhal’ for the kids and ‘The Julekalender’ for the adults – DR’s ‘Julestjerner’
Most people are content to let old locks wash down the drain. They’d also prefer monetary prizes for winning competitions. But for one Danish online gamer, the mainstream methods didn’t quite cut it. In an online competition last week hosted by BestOnlineCasino.com, he won a roulette
US desert rockers Queens of the Stone Age will in 2013 make their third Roskilde appearance in ten years, promoting a new album that frontman Josh Homme promises will harken back to the band’s earlier albums, with guest drummer Dave Grohl (Foo
(Christmas Stars) is brand new and for the first time ever includes 25 episodes. Written by scriptwriting veterans Michael Wikke and Steen Rasmussen, the show follows the exploits of a family who have recently relocated from the city to the countryside and will spend December unlocking the mysteries of Christmas.
ball made from a sample of Michael Jackson’s hair, bought for $10,871 at an auction last December after it was pilfered from a New York hotel. The gamer now plans to auction it off and donate the proceeds to charity. So while the King of Pop is long dead, his hair continues to help good causes.
Fighters, Nirvana) on board. Meanwhile, French turntable quartet C2C and the American electronica producer Daedelus have also been confirmed. Tickets are now on sale, costing 1,790 kroner until March 1, and 1,890 kroner thereafter.
Read the full stories at cphpost.dk
Denmark through the looking glass The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
7 - 13 December 2012
Mark Walker Valdemar Psilander, a philanderer and prolific performer, predated the Latin Lover by a decade and, like him, died in his early 30s
The inspiration for Frank Hvam’s ‘Klovn’ surely?
performers he shares the screen with. His gestures are naturalistic, uninflected and less considered than those around him. It’s clear he had an innate intuition how to act before the camera at a time when many around him were transitioning from the stage, still performing for the benefit of the cheap seats. In one of his very few inter-
views, given to København Avis in 1913, Psilander spoke admirably about his process. “We so often see fine stage actors become nothing on film because they don’t understand that it depends upon concentration,” he said. “The interesting thing about film is that we play to all social classes and in all parts of the world. We must in our
means of expression appear nearly primitively genuine, truly original. One can perhaps learn to become an actor, but you can never learn to be filmed. Studied emotions on film become artificial and false. Film relentlessly demands truthfulness and sincerity.” Psilander’s early life saw him work (after school) for a wine-seller, but it wasn’t long before he made attempts to become an actor. This of course was not in film but on stage − at 15 years old, he joined the Casino Theatre as an apprentice and began to audition around the wider Copenhagen theatre scene. He succeeded in performing regularly at the Dagmar and Frederiksberg theatres between 1907 and 1909 but, perhaps ironically given the above quote, nothing of his performances are noted and they apparently earned him little attention. It was during these early days that Psilander met and fell deeply in love with the actress Edith Josephine Buemann, despite her being married to journalist Hans Obbekjær. They met whilst at the Frederiksberg Theatre performing Holger Drachmann’s ‘Det Grønne Håb’ (‘The Green Hope’) and shortly after performed together in ‘Oliver Twist’. At this time, Psilander
was much less known than she was. They got married at Frederiksberg Church, shortly after his break-out success at Nordisk Film, in December 1911. They remained together for some time, and Psilander became stepfather to Edith’s son Sven from her previous marriage. But they grew estranged as time went on, eventually separating shortly before his death in 1917. The nature of Psilander’s demise is a matter of some controversy. For many, it is a forgone conclusion that the actor, despite enjoying unprecedented success at the global box office, had taken his own life. It might have had something to do with his recent split from his wife, or possibly a heated disagreement with Nordisk Film following Psilander’s request for a dramatic 150,000 kroner rise in his salary. That request was deemed to be unreasonable and promptly declined by managing director Ole Olsen. Psilander consequently left Nordisk Film and set about forming his own production studio, Psilander-Film. Others insist that suicide was highly unlikely. Psilander’s death certificate indicates a cardiac arrest. In 1966, Edith Buemann, by that time twice remarried, claimed that at the time of his death, Psilander was taking prescription drugs that his doctor had warned would prove to be fatal should he consume them alongside alcohol − advice which, she claims, the actor had ignored. A more outrageous claim suggests he was shot by an obsessed Russian lover who, having travelled from St Petersburg to Valby, found her idol in the arms of another woman. All we can be certain of is that Denmark, and cinema the world over, had lost one of its greatest stars − at the very moment he burned brightest.
Photos by Nordisk
photo from www.dfi.dk
n the relatively young and rapidly changing artform we call cinema, many of its early triumphs are fast becoming forgotten. One could be forgiven for not knowing that the Copenhagen-based Nordisk Film is the world’s oldest stillfunctioning film studio and that, a century ago, its most bankable star was in fact the biggest name in the business and one of the most beloved screen actors in the world. After his debut in a minor role in a small-scale adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’ (1910, Axel Strøm, no prints remain), Valdemar Psilander entered the public consciousness in 1911, heralding a golden age for Danish cinema. Nordisk Film had become a public company, establishing itself as the nation’s dominant production house. It was also building a solid reputation overseas, particularly in Germany, where it would soon establish several branches, but also as far-flung as Russia and the US. Psilander’s first film at Nordisk was ‘Ved Fængslets Port − At The Prison Gate’ (‘Temptations Of A Great City’). Directed by August Blom, Nordisk’s star director at the time, the film concerned a rich stateswoman whose son (Psilander) falls for Anna, the daughter of a lowly money-lender. The stateswoman disapproves of the relationship and so, now disowned, the son and his beloved move away together. However, unable to acclimatise himself to a more modest lifestyle, the son contin-
ues to live lavishly but utterly beyond his means. Before long, he’s borrowing more and more money from Anna’s father. Unable to repay him, he considers suicide before eventually forging a cheque in his mother’s name ... This character became the blueprint for Psilander’s roles: a vulnerable but heroic romantic with frustrated morals. Essentially belonging to the genre of ‘erotic melodrama’, the film’s three themes of blind love, monetary greed and suicide could easily be applied to his own life. Between 1911 and 1917, Psilander performed in no less than 83 productions for Nordisk Film. With global hits such as ‘A Revolutionary Wedding’ (‘Revolutionsbryllup’, August Blom, 1915), ‘The Black Dream’ (‘Den Sorte Drøm’, Urban Gad, 1911) and ‘The Clown’ (‘Klovnen’, AW Sandberg, 1917), which is widely considered to be his best role, he became the highest paid actor of his generation, earning an annual salary of 100,000 kroner (the second highest paid Danish actor was Olaf Føns, who earned just 14,000 kroner). Then, in March 1917, at the apex of his career, he was found dead in his room at the Bristol Hotel. He was just 32 years old. Psilander’s appeal can be attributed to two factors, the first of which was timing. Silent cinema was unique in that a film or an actor could attract a global audience unhindered by the language barrier. His films could command huge audiences anywhere, while contemporary categorisations such as ‘foreign language’ or ‘art-house’ had yet to be implemented. The second factor was that he was actually very good. Watching even one of his earliest works such as ‘Den sorte drøm’ (1911), it’s easy to see how his style contrasts with the other
Photos by Nordisk
Denmark’s answer to Rudolph Valentino was arguably a bigger star
A man’s man: he rode, made a mean tie-knot and his skål was legendary
In erotic melodrama it was the suggestion of hidden limbs that sent audiences into a tizzy – although Psilander’s appears to be on the wall, top left
Unwrappping the box is just the beginning
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