Facebook dislikes Mama Pia disliking PM
Superliga most tolerant – even if they do say so themselves
18 - 24 January 2013 | Vol 16 Issue 3
They’re dancing on the ceiling
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | cphpost.dk PETER STANNERS
Metro’s fear of fatalities leaked − and we thought late trains was the worst thing that could happen
Light workload and on his feet American expat feels the need to show the love for a country that he says has transformed his life for the better
Up in Smoke Activist forced to close ‘coffee shop’ but vows to continue fight to legalise cannabis
Flink’s tickled pink using the F-word to make Danes live up to their image as the happiest nation on earth
Netto rethinks its decision to import more food from Poland after customers voice disapproval – but not all of them
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Rail operator paid PR company to keep critical journalist busy PETER STANNERS DSB executive suspended as ‘Waterfrontgate’ investigation opens
Dear Danish dilemma
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SB DEPUTY director Peter Nedergaard Nielsen has been suspended in the wake of revelations that he received what are being called “incriminating” emails in his personal account, from the head of a PR firm allegedly hired to keep a critical journalist at bay. The suspension was decided on after a meeting between DSB chairman Peter Schütze, managing director Jesper Lok and representatives from the law firm Bruun & Hjejle. The law firm is now conducting an independent inquiry into DSB’s co-operation with PR firm Waterfront to keep freelance journalist Lars Abild occupied with work so he
wouldn’t have time to write critical stories about DSB. The relationship was exposed in an email sent by Waterfront to Nielsen, which was obtained by the public broadcaster DR’s news programme ‘21 Søndag’. “The bureau has been working together with Abild for several years to ensure that he desists from placing pressure on DSB in the media,” the email stated. In one of the emails, Poulsen told Nielsen intimate details about Abild’s health problems. According to DR, Abild was unaware that the work he had been given by Waterfront over the past two years was being paid for by DSB. “It’s clear they used up time that I could have spent doing other things,” Abild told DR. “I think it’s crazy that DSB was willing to start such an agreement.” Abild’s critical coverage of DSB in-
cluded stories of its failed attempt to break into the Swedish market with DSBFirst, which cost the company hundreds of millions of kroner, as well as its disastrous attempt to buy the specially designed IC4 trains from Italian firm AnsaldoBreda, which have been delayed for almost a decade. In an email to DR, Waterfront’s managing director, Lars Poulsen, denied ever entering into the agreement. According to DR, during the period when Abild was working for Waterfront, the number of freedom of information act requests DSB received fell significantly. DSB has previously used similar methods to hinder Abild’s stories. In 2009, DSB was found to have told DR, just as it was about to air a critical report written by Abild, that he was being paid by Arriva, a DSB competitor. The allegation led to the report being delayed, but
was later proven false. Even though DSB has launched an independent enquiry into the allegations, politicians have been lining up to condemn the company. “It’s completely unacceptable,” Kristian Pihl Lorentzen (Venstre) told EPN. dk. “What makes it especially serious is that it’s a state-owned company that has a special duty to have an open and honest communication with the country.” The time line for the enquiry is still being established, and DSB declined to say if more employees are facing suspension or dismissal. “We will investigate this case quickly and thoroughly and report the findings as soon as they are available, and we will be as open as possible about it,” Lok said in the press release. Nedergaard, according to DSB, will be suspended for at least the duration of the investigation.
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Week in review
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
CPH Post Word of the Week:
18 - 24 January 2013 THE WEEK’S MOST READ STORIES AT CPHPOST.DK
Lorteliste (noun) – an off-colour term used to describe a list of potential public relations problems faced by the Metro’s operator that was accidentally sent to a major daily (see page 4)
Land of the free and home of the … Danes
With full honours
Netto backtracks on buying Polish food She fought the law and the law lost 23,000 expected to lose unemployment benefits Opinion | A tax everyone wants to see cut
FROM OUR ARCHIVES TEN YEARS AGO. Long waiting times, inaccurate information and doors suddenly opening in a tunnel – the first three months of the Metro were beset by problems. FIVE YEARS AGO. High school teachers only teach an average of 1.8 hours a day, Education Ministry report reveals. ONE YEAR AGO. Denmark retains its AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, while nine other EU countries are downgraded. Soldiers bear the casket of special forces solider René Brink Jakobsen, who was laid to rest on Saturday in the Jutland town of Veng. Jakobsen, who was killed earlier this month in Afghanistan, was the country’s first special forces solider to die in combat
reimbursed. Torben Bagge, a partner in the law firm Tommy V Christiansen, called the dilemma “a disgrace to the rule of law”. Laws regarding corporate expenses were changed in 2009. Individual taxpayers are still compensated if the courts rule in their favour against the tax authority.
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper
The Police Museum in Copenhagen has come under fire for its decision to display portraits of 12 murdered women without the permission of their families. The pictures of the women, killed in some of the more notorious murder cases of recent years, were painted by an artist for the exhibition ‘Kvind-
President and Publisher Ejvind Sandal
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.
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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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Editor-in-Chief (responsible under the Media Liability Act) Kevin McGwin
News Editor Justin Cremer Journalists Peter Stanners, Ray Weaver & Christian Wenande
edrab in memoriam’ (Murdered women, in memoriam). The museum said it purposely decided against getting approval from the families because it feared they would place limits. The artist said she was unaware the families had not been told, saying she felt they should have been involved.
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Leading tax experts have recommended that small and large companies alike shouldn’t challenge the decisions of the tax authorities, even if they are likely to win. Under current laws, if a company wins a case against the tax authorities in court, the expenses incurred during the proceedings are not
Scanpix /Jens Nørgaard Larsen
EU sources have reportedly cleared the government to increase deficit spending after new calculations showed the 2013 budget debt would be 2 percent, and not the 3 percent EU maximum, according to financial daily Børsen. Economists had criticised the government’s current spending cap, in part for limiting mu-
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nicipal infrastructure investment to 16 billion kroner at a time when mayors said they would like to spend a total of 18 billion kroner on projects such as school renovation and road construction as a way to stimulate growth. Economists and the opposition accuse the government of making overly conservative forecasts.
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The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
18 - 24 January 2013
The crew of a Danish ship has spent nearly two years in the hands of Somali pirates, but the media has remained silent
n 12 January 2010, the MV Leopard was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. The ship’s two Danish and four Filipino crew members were soon transferred to land and have been held somewhere in Somalia ever since. As the second anniversary of their capture looms, the plight of the seamen has been conspicuously absent from the Danish media, with the exception of tabloid Ekstra Bladet that started a campaign this summer entitled: “Will Søren and Eddy be left to rot in Somalia?” The campaign, which refers to the names of the two Danish seamen, Søren Lyngbjørn and Eddy Lopez, was designed to draw attention to the two men’s plight, and their fears that they will be left to die in captivity. The campaign also brought unwelcome attention to the ship’s owners, Shipcraft. Their campaign portrayed its majority shareholder, John Arne Larsson, as living a lavish lifestyle while his employees languished in Somalia. It is, of course, more complicated than that. The Copenhagen Post has on multiple occasions been contacted directly by the men’s captors hoping to generate media coverage. At the advice of the Foreign Ministry, the decision was made not to report on the matter, based on the argument that coverage of the men’s captivity could spoil negotiations to free them.
scanpix/ Thomas Lekfeldt
Foreign Ministry accused of trying to suppress coverage of pirate captives
The new PET regulations were announced at a brief press conference by the justice minister, Morten Bødskov
Captive seaman Søren Lyngbjørn appearing in a video posted by the pirates in April 2011
Other media outlets followed the ministry’s recommendation. As late as January 9, TV2 News reportedly cancelled a story on their popular evening news talk show ‘Go’ Aften Danmark’ about the MV Leopard hostages. Programme editor Jes Schrøder told Ekstra Bladet that the decision was based on concerns that the story would backfire. “We decided not to run it after I listened to the arguments that the increased attention it would get from a show like ours may end up making the situation in Africa worse,” Schrøder said. But Poul Madsen, Ekstra Bladet’s editor, disagreed. “Silence has not helped Eddy or Søren – if it had they would have come home a long time ago,” Madsen said. “When we started this campaign they had sat in hell for 536 days. They’ve now been there 720 days.” Madsen also criticised the attempts by the Foreign Ministry to suppress the media coverage of the plight of the hostages. “I think the way they are trying to manipulate the public is undemocratic.” The two-year anniversary
was marked by a demonstration outside parliament on Saturday. According to Ekstra Bladet, the organisers of the demonstration were contacted by the Foreign Ministry and urged to cancel the event. The Foreign Ministry declined to speak with The Copenhagen Post, and it is not known what they are doing to help secure the release of the hostages. A representative from Shipcraft was also unavailable for comment. But in a press release on the company’s website, managing director Claus Bech wrote that their thoughts and prayers were with the crew and that they hoped for a quick release “Two years of inhuman captivity in Somalia will soon be the sad reality for our poor colleagues. We recognise the magnitude of the difficulties that they and their loved ones at home must be going through,” Bech wrote that the company was continuing its efforts to free the seamen, but said that even though Starcraft had engaged the help of security advisors, the ultimate responsibility for releasing them was in the hands of the pirates.
New controls over PET announced in wake of ongoing media storm Justin Cremer Following headline-grabbing claims by former PET double agent, agreement is made that parliament should keep a closer eye on intelligence agency
ew rules were presented last week that will give the government increased control over the use of agents by the domestic intelligence agency PET. With an agreement struck between the government coalition and opposition parties Venstre, Konservative and Dansk Folkeparti, parliament’s Kontroludvalg – a committee established in 1964 to oversee PET – will be given more power over PET’s use of agents. The deal was made in the wake of numerous revelations by former PET double agent Morten Storm, who claims to have infiltrated al-Qaeda and worked with PET and the CIA to execute the American-born terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki via a targeted drone strike in Yemen. Storm’s story has generated immense domestic and international attention, culminating
with the former biker gang member’s appearance on the American news programme ‘60 Minutes’ at the end of December. In November, Justice Minister Morten Bødskov said he would be seeking the increased powers for Kontroludvalget, particularly over PET’s use of civilians as agents. Bødskov called the new agreement reached on Friday “the right balance that will ensure that we have an effective intelligence agency and a good rule of law”. He refused to comment specifically on the Storm case. The new rules will include an independent supervisory body that will oversee PET’s use of agents, and the agency’s handling will also impose a time limit on personal information gathered by PET. If no additional information on an individual is collected over a period of 15 years, PET must delete its records. Bødskov was asked by assembled media at today’s ‘door step’ press conference at the Justice Ministry if no rules indicated a lack of trust in PET. “No, definitely not,” he responded. “But when you give
power with one hand, you must increase control with the other.” The official announcement of the deal also stresses that Denmark needs “an effective and wellfunctioning intelligence agency”. “The parties behind the agreement note that the recent decades have brought very significant changes in the foreign policy and security situation with the end of the Cold War, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the reprinting of the Mohammed cartoons in 2008. This development has led to a serious terror threat against Denmark from networks, groups and lone wolves who profess an Islamist ideology.” Five million kroner has been set aside to carry out the tightened supervision of PET. Pernille Skipper, an MP for far-left party Enhedslisten, has been a vocal critic of PET in the wake of the Morten Storm affair. She took to Twitter to voice her disappointment with the announcement. “It is hot air packaged in pretty words when Bødskov called the new agreement ‘increased control’. Unambitious,” she wrote.
The land of the free and the home of the ... Danes? Country scores seventh in world index of freedom, but state-owned media brings down total ranking
s if being the happiest on Earth and the smartest in Europe wasn’t enough, Denmark can now add another high ranking to the list – this time coming near the top as one of the most ‘free’ countries in the world. The survey, recently published by the Fraser Institute, a Canadian public policy thinktank, compiled information from various sources over periods of up to 20 years. The findings listed Denmark as seventh in an index of freedom around the world – a spot it shares with the United States. New Zealand and the Netherlands claimed the number one and two spots.
The research compiled information regarding personal freedoms across four categories: security and safety, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, and freedom of relationships, and broke the four down into a range of indicator subcategories. Of the four categories, Denmark received top scores in the movement and relationship categories, which measured restrictions on a person’s ability to leave or move about a country freely, to the freedom of homosexuals to establish relationships. Denmark also fared well in considerations for security and safety, scoring an average of 7.8 out of ten. The category compiled information regarding governmental and societal threats to human rights, incidences of theft or burglary and a society’s attitude towards foreigners – an indicator for which Denmark earned a top score of ten. The country’s showing in
the ‘freedom of expression’ category, however, was slightly more mediocre, earning just five out of ten under the ‘freedom of speech’ indicator. The report clarified that this subcategory measured the extent to which government ownership or censorship influenced the media or individual speech. Countries in which any media outlets were government-owned or funded automatically received mid-range scores – placing Denmark in the same category as countries which scored near the bottom of the overall list. “Even in democracies, there are restrictions placed on the freedom of speech and the press,” the report explained. But according to Christoffer Badse, a senior legal advisor for the Danish Institute of Human Rights, Denmark’s score is hardly an indicator of any serious infringements. “Denmark generally has a good track record regarding free-
Countries in which the government funded any portion of the media automatically received middle-range scores for freedom of speech
dom of speech, although there of course can be improvements,” Badse told The Copenhagen Post. “But Denmark should be higher on the scale than average, and maybe slightly more or less so than other countries in particular areas – depending on what’s emphasised.”
Badse was also sceptical that the governmental sponsorship of media outlets translated into problematic censorship issues – or at least in Denmark. “[Public broadcaster] DR, for example, is a sound line of journalism, generally speaking,” he said. “We don’t have
the kind of problem where we see issues being severely distorted for the public.” DR’s reputation did take a bit of a beating last week, however, when the broadcaster was forced to admit that it was less than truthful on two separate occasions.
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
18 - 24 January 2013
Internal memo accidentally sent to newspaper exposes information about the corporate spin of potential problems
memo accidentally sent to a major daily has given the public an insight into some of the potential problems facing the 21.3 billion kroner expansion of the Copenhagen Metro. Among the most noteworthy items on Metroselskabet’s list of potential media headaches was that the number of work-related accidents occurring during the construction of the 17-station Cityringen line is above the national average, the memo accidentally sent to Politiken newspaper revealed. The information comes despite Metroselskabet saying as late as last autumn that the number of accidents was below average. The memo, which is reportedly a standard item for large companies, was created by the company’s communication department and stated that there was a high risk of serious and potentially fatal accidents due to a lack of safety measures, and that the problem needed to be addressed. “The wording concerning the possibility of fatal accidents should only be considered the worst-case scenario and not as a professional assessment of the conditions on our construction sites,” Rebecca Auken Nymark, a Metroselskabet spokesperson, told Politiken. “The memo is
scanpix/ BJARKE ØRSTED
With thousands in danger of losing unemployment benefits, employment centres are desperately looking for jobs to put them in
23,000 expected to lose unemployment benefits Peter Stanners An unfortunate release of what is said to be standard corporate procedure
about what could happen if the situation does not improve.” The memo said that if the accident numbers did not begin to fall “significantly”, the company would be forced to “publicly and pro-actively recognise and address the problem”. Nymark said the company has been aware of the increase in accidents “for a while” and that, as a publicly owned company, they have “been considering” releasing the information. The national average for accidents is 25.8 per million hours worked. During the current Metro construction phase, that number is now up to 29.6 accidents per million hours worked. The figures cover everything from tripping accidents and pinched fingers to more serious injuries. Nymark called the release
of the list – which enumerated six potential issues facing the company – “unfortunate”, but said the questions raised are issues that the company may face along with a list of possible solutions and replies to media inquiries. One of the items on the list is how the company should respond if construction on the Cityringen is delayed for any reason. Nymark stressed that the project is currently on schedule, even though timetables are so tight that the company has applied for permission to work around the clock at its Nørrebroparken site, even though there is a risk of high noise levels. The memo also addressed the continuing problem of noise complaints during construction and emphasised that more in-
formation must be offered to the media when they ask. A fourth problem mentioned in the memo is the 15 emergency exits that have been cut from the Cityringen route. The memo says that the fire brigade may “comment critically” about the technical solutions used to replace the emergency exits. Copenhagen fire and rescue chief, Niels Ole Blirup, said there had been initial concern about the missing emergency exits, but that local fire stations now had self-contained breathing apparatus, and that Metroselskabet planned to put fire hydrants in the tunnel and an improved alarm system along with other safety equipment. Blirup said those measures should be sufficient, provided the equipment is delivered as promised.
Air Force cargo plane heading to Mali scanpix/ Peter Mørk
Christian Wenande Denmark joins the US, UK and others in assisting the Frenchled operation aiming to curb the Islamic insurgency in the western African country
n Air Force C-130 Hercules transport plane has been deployed to Mali to assist the country’s embattled government and their French allies in their battle against Islamic rebels. Parliament on Tuesday approved the decision to send the Hercules and its crew of 40 pilots, mechanics and other personnel. The three-month deployment is expected to cost 11 million kroner. The Foreign Ministry stressed that the plane would only be assisting in logistical duties and would not be engaging in combat operations. Its first mission was reportedly to transport ammunition from France to troops in Mali. The foreign minister, Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), said the government was wary of Denmark becoming a larger target for terrorists, but
Leaked Metro list reveals company’s concerns
The Danish C-130 Hercules cargo plane departed Tuesday
that action was necessary in this situation. “I think we let the people of Mali down if we don’t go in and help in the situation. We also risk Mali becoming the next hotbed of terrorism and extremism, and I don’t want any part of that,” Søvndal told TV2 News. But the left-wing party Enhedslisten (EL) was cautious about the decision to send Danish military personnel to Mali. “We have to be careful not to add further fuel to the fire when water is needed. We don’t want to become embroiled in a new military adventure, so we
are very sceptical,” Christian Juhl, a party spokesperson, told TV2 News. The UN Security Council gave its full support for intervention in Mali and so far several countries, including Denmark, Belgium, Spain, the US, the UK and Canada have agreed to assist in the operation, named Operation Serval. French aircraft have been attacking the Islamic rebels since Friday and the French have deployed over 500 soldiers to the former French colony, expecting a further 2,000 to land in the near future.
Mali’s neighbours are also on the verge of deploying an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a peacekeeping force of about 3,000 soldiers that will be led by Nigerian Major General Shehu Abdulkadir and will assist the Malines government in quelling the insurgency. The conflict in Mali began in earnest in early 2012, when the Tuareg tribesmen making up the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) began a rebellion in order to gain independence for the Azawad region in the north, an area about the size of South Africa. In April 2012, the MNLA declared Azawad independent, but by July the MNLA had been pushed out of the region’s cities by the Islamist groups, Ansar Dine and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, who are connected to alQaeda and who began imposing Sharia law in the area. After taking control of the north, the Islamists began moving south towards the capital city of Bamako, prompting the government to ask the French for help.
New figures reveal that twice as many long-term jobless as expected could lose their ‘dagpenge’ benefit before the summer
ew figures from he Employment Ministry show a dramatic increase in the number of people who are expected to lose their unemployment benefits in the first six months of this year. This January, a reform of the dagpenge system came into force that reduced the length of time it can be claimed from four to two years, and doubled the length of time that it takes to earn the right to claim it to a year. The Employment Ministry had previously estimated that between 7,000 and 12,000 people would lose their dagpenge, but that estimate has now been raised to between 17,000 and 23,000 people. “The increased number reflects the fact that fewer people left the dagpenge system in the autumn compared with earlier,” the Finance and Employment Ministries reported, adding that weakened growth forecasts mean fewer people are expected to find work this year. Responding to the news, MP Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen from the far-left party Enhedslisten has demanded that the government introduce a guarantee that those set to lose their dagpenge are offered either a job or job training. “The new figures show that the government has to wake up,” Schmidt-Nielsen told the Ritzau news bureau. “When the right-wing together with [Radikale leader] Margrethe Vestager reduced the length of dagpenge from four years to two years, their main argument was that the unemployed would find work on their own as soon as they lost their benefits.” Without dagpenge, the unemployed have to rely upon the far less generous cash benefit kontanthjælp, which cannot be given to individuals with household assets worth more than 10,000 kroner. Many will end up having to sell their homes or cars before being able to accept
the benefit as a result. The government has been caught in a tight spot, because even though the reform was passed by the former centreright government, one of the parties that helped pass it was current coalition partner Radikale. The reform was planned to come into force in 2012, but was delayed after Socialdemokraterne won the 2011 general election and formed a government with the leftist Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) and Radikale. Ensuring Radikale’s place in the government required a promise by SF and Socialdemokraterne to follow through with the reform despite Enhedslisten – which the government relies upon to form a parliamentary majority – strongly opposing the measure. With thousands predicted to lose their dagpenge after the new regulations came into effect on January 1, the government was forced to find a way to support them without breaking their promise to follow through with the reform. This led to the government introducing a compromise programme that aimed to create 12,500 so-called akutjobs specifically for those about to lose their benefits, and open up greater educational opportunities. The government expects all the jobs to be created by this summer, and despite nearly half being created so far, even the government is admitting that the pace is too slow. “The development demonstrates a clear need to ensure that educational opportunities we have made available are actually available for the whole affected group,” the economy minister, Margrethe Vestager (Radikale), told Jyllands-Posten. Verner Sand Kirk, the chairman of unemployment insurance association AK-Samvirke, said the government had gravely underestimated the effect of the dagpenge reform. “The analysis of the severity of the reform was a failure,” Kirk told Jyllands-Posten, adding that when the reform was passed in parliament in 2010, it was thought that only between 2,000 and 4,000 people would be affected.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
18 - 24 January 2013
Dramatic capture of drug smugglers reopens borders debate COLOURBOX
PETER STANNERS Pia Kjærsgaard banned from Facebook after calling PM “stupid and naive” over unwillingness to increase border control to target smugglers
HE DEBATE over whether Denmark should step up its border control has been reignited after police last week on Sunday stopped smugglers from sailing 250 kilogram of cannabis to Norway. Police swooped in on the three Norwegians after they had transferred the contraband into their boat at a harbour in northern Jutland. One of the smugglers was killed and a policeman was injured in the shootout. Since the high-profile action, Norwegian police have expressed their concern about the role Denmark plays as a key transit land for illegal drugs destined for the Norwegian market, where cannabis can sell for twice the price in Denmark – the 250 kg of cannabis has a Norwegian street value of 25 million kroner. “The smuggling of drugs from Denmark to the Norwegian coast has been a problem for many years,” Leif Vagler, a spokesperson for the Agder police district in Norway, told public broadcaster DR. “They arrive
It’s a sign that smugglers tend not to see on the North Sea
on recreational boats because Norway has a long coastline that offers plenty of opportunity to anchor without being noticed.” The majority of cannabis sold in Sweden also arrives through Denmark, according to Swedish customs agents who spoke to Berlingske newspaper. “My best estimate is that 90 percent of all confiscated cannabis in Sweden has arrived from Denmark,” Swedish customs agent Lars Hansson told Berlingske. The illicit cross-border trade of cannabis to Sweden is on the rise, according to Berlingske, after it was estimated that about 1.2 tonnes of cannabis was confiscated in 2012 – double the haul for 2010 and 2011 combined. The news that Denmark is acting as a vital transport artery for drugs destined for Norway
and Sweden has led to Dansk Folkeparti (DF) party leader Peter Skaarup restating his party’s long-standing demand for stronger border control. “We do not benefit by allowing Denmark to function as a transit country,” Skaarup told Berlingske. “Smugglers cynically choose low-risk routes and Denmark fits the bill because we don’t have much border control and because the penalties for importing cannabis are low.” In 2011, DF made a deal with the former centre-right Venstre-Konservative government to introduce customs agents on the border with Germany, though they were disbanded several months later after the election of the current centre-left government in September 2011. Governmental emails obtained by Jyllands-Posten also revealed that
the former government could find no evidence to support their claims that cross-border crime was on the rise. PM Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne) said last week’s incident showed increased border controls were pointless. “Drug smugglers are not simply driving over the border,” she said, adding that it was better to invest in police resources so that they can investigate and uncover plots to smuggle contraband. “We need to ensure we have a high clearance rate, and also the ability to carry out the investigative work that is needed to discover that someone is on their way to a harbour with contraband.” The three smugglers were apprehended last week on Sunday after a joint investigation by Danish and Norwegian police. The policeman who was injured was a
Port’s search of mobile phone illegal, dismissed workers say Three crane operators say their employer violated their privacy by checking messages on their work phones
HE PORT of Aarhus and its chairman, Aarhus mayor Jacob Bundsgaard, are to be investigated by police for their role in the dismissal of three crane operators after their employer-supplied mobile phones were found to contain ‘disloyal’ messages. The management of the municipally-owned port facility dismissed the three workers after reading through text messages indicating that they were bullying co-workers who had worked overtime against union recommendations. One text message reportedly said a specific employee who worked overtime should be forced to quit. The three – two of whom were the crane operators’ union representatives at the port facility – were let go just before Christmas, and have subsequently accepted an offer to voluntarily resign. But labour unions and legal experts have attacked the port’s management for violating employee privacy, and the three former employees, together with 25
current crane operators, have reported the harbour to the police for breaching mail secrecy laws. “When the port’s management forces access to an employee’s mobile phone, which they said could also be used privately and without limit, they violate the terms of the law,” Bjarne Overmark, a lawyer for the crane operators, said. The management wrote in a letter to employees that the firings came after they found messages “revealing a work culture that was against the commercially-orientated mindset” of the port. Keld Sørensen, a crane operator safety representative for 20 years and one of the three who were sacked, called it disturbing and a breach of trust that the leadership had gone through employees’ personal messages. “It’s a matter of principle. They’ve read our correspondence about the port’s management and what we wrote about our negotiations with them. They’ve gained access to the strategy we’ve used, and that’s a direct assault against the confidentiality agreement we have with our colleagues,” Sørensen told union network Fagligt Ansvar. Nina Wedsted, an employment law specialist, said it appeared that the port was in the
They’ve read our correspondence about the port’s management and what we wrote about our negotiations with them wrong. “When we talk about the mail-secrecy law, then we’re getting into basic, constitutionally guaranteed rights,” she said. The city of Aarhus, which owns the port facility, rejected the charges, indicating it had only read the messages that were sent between work phones. But Overmark scoffed at that explanation and pointed to a similar case involving Copenhagen-based shipper Maersk reportedly spying on union representatives in the US. “We are talking about over 1,000 messages, so that explanation doesn’t hold water,” Overmark told Fagligt Ansvar. All the crane operators at the harbour, including the one who was supposedly bullied, have signed a letter of support rejecting the contention that any bullying has taken place.
While Denmark has 265 agents tasked with uncovering contraband crossing the border, Sweden has around 2,500 agents. This could be why Sweden confiscates significantly more illegal drugs crossing its borders. In the first six months of 2012, Denmark confiscated 3.2 kg of heroin and 118 kg of cannabis. In the same period, Sweden confiscated 8.5 kg of heroin and 449 kg of cannabis. Libertarian party Liberal Alliance has suggested a different approach to tackling cannabis sales, however. “We believe that we should legalise cannabis,” spokesperson Simon Emil Ammitzbøll told Berlingske. “Pharmacies should be allowed to sell it before we can evaluate whether it should be freely available on the market.” The City Council last year had its latest legalisation effort quashed by the Justice Ministry, much to the relief of the 19 local councils in south Sweden that in November signed a joint appeal for Copenhagen to backtrack on its attempt to ease drug laws. In a recent interview with The Copenhagen Post, the city mayor, Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne), argued that legalising cannabis was the only solution to tackling the organised crime that thrives off the annual two billion kroner illegal cannabis trade in the city.
CDC - Basic
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member of the special action task force of the Danish domestic intelligent agency, PET, which was called in precisely because of a perceived risk that the smugglers would be armed and dangerous. But DF’s former leader Pia Kjærsgaard was not satisfied with Thorning-Schmidt’s position and wrote a scathing criticism of the PM on Facebook. “The prime minister is stupid and naive,” Kjærsgaard wrote. “Dansk Folkeparti’s deal to increase border control included more patrolling of sea borders. Denmark’s borders stretch all the way around Denmark.” Kjærsgaard’s harsh words for her PM must have offended a Facebook user as the MP found herself blocked from the social network for 24 hours after a complaint was made. Her account was quickly reinstated, however, and Facebook apologised for blocking her, though she was left shaken by the incident. “I felt like I was in North Korea,” Kjærsgaard wrote. “That Facebook removes posts and blocks pages without checking the circumstances is not good enough. It’s simply not professional.” Putting aside Kjærsgaard’s personal attack on the PM, her position that more customs agents will result in a greater haul of contraband is supported by figures published by the populist online daily, Den Korte Avis.
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
18 - 24 January 2013 PETER STANNERS
Up in smoke: Notorious ‘coffee shop’ closes its doors PETER STANNERS Police pressure leads to closure of downtown cafe for cannabis users, but its owner’s mission to decriminalise the drug may have only just begun
front door to dozens of mostly young men who pass in and out of the shop. Sitting with us around the table is 27-year-old photography student Mikkel Rask, who says he is tired of the harassment that cannabis users suffer in the city.
that he invited the shop’s users to put up their own sign. A message painted in red graffiti above the entrance now declares: “Some people want free [cannabis] for the people, we want a free people for [cannabis].” While the message may be a little lost in translation, Rask and Mehri seem to agree that people ought to be entitled to make their own decisions about whether or not to consume cannabis products. “I acknowledge there’s harm, but not permanent harm. If you’re over 18, it should be your own decision. If you’re not acting responsibly, your friends should help you to not smoke every day. It shouldn’t be completely banned,” Mehri says, adding that he didn’t start smokeing regularly until he was in his early 20s. Support for the decriminalisation of cannabis is growing. Mayor Jensen is a vocal advocate and so is a majority on the City Council. Mehri also enjoys plenty of grass-roots support. More than 60 of his friends each chipped in 1,500 kroner to join Smokenhagen as members in order to secure the deposit for the building. A survey from last summer also indicated that a majority of Danes supported a state-controlled cannabis market. However, possessing and selling cannabis remain criminal offences. The Justice Ministry last turned down the
If you can get peppersprayed for smoking cannabis, then there’s something wrong with Denmark “If you can get pepper sprayed for smoking cannabis, then there’s something wrong with Denmark,” Rask explained. “I don’t want to worry about the police busting me on the Metro after visiting Christiania. I’m not hurting anyone. It should be up to the individual to decide how they treat their body. It might not be for everyone, but if it were legal, people could more easily get help and it would also eliminate a lot of criminality. I can’t see what the problem is.” Mehri was denied permission to put up a sign outside the shop. According to Rask, this infuriated Mehri so much
city’s application to trial a period of cannabis decriminalisation. As a result, Smokenhagen’s chances of surviving were all but extinguished. But Mehri says that was hardly the point. “The coffee shop raised a lot of awareness and started an important debate. I don’t know if it was a success, but it created a closer bond between smokers. And my goal was to gather all the people together who are really fed up with the system and the laws. I’m still working on the project, and in time it will be a success, but we are still getting there.” Despite its short-lived existence, it was not in vain. Without it, it’s unlikely that Mehri would have managed to develop his personal clothing brand, Smokenhagen (he told the Copenhagen Post that he took no salary from the shop). It also served as a convergence point for the city’s cannabis smokers that helped him generate support for his association PropaGanja, which will act as a political platform for Mehri’s future pro-cannabis activism. The shop is unlikely to be his last attempt to create a social platform for cannabis users, however. “We need a place like this. It’s like a social club for the old youth. There’s no hidden agenda or criminal mastermind,” Mehri says, before adding thoughtfully: “Besides, it’s f***ing cold outside.”
Mehri, Rask and friend at Smokenhagen shortly before its closure
HODR ‘CUTTER’ MEHRI is a pro-cannabis activist and provocateur. Through his Facebook page he publicly advertises his exploits: growing high-quality cannabis in his cellar, smoking it openly on the street and rolling it into smokeable ‘joints’ while travelling on aeroplanes His campaign is to decriminalise cannabis, and his strategy is to normalise its use to such an extent that laws banning the use of cannabis will seem out of step and obsolete. The 32-year-old faced a setback this weekend, however, after he was forced to close his nine-month-old shop, Smokenhagen. Modelled on a Dutch-style ‘coffee shop’ that permits cannabis smoking, its location on Lavendelstræde is a stone’s throw from City Hall where the mayor, Frank Jensen, recently told The Copenhagen Post that legalising cannabis was the only solution to tackling the crime associated with its illegal trade. “I’ve wanted to own a coffee shop since I first visited Amsterdam,” Mehri told The Copenhagen Post days before Smokenhagen’s closure. “I realised that Denmark also needed a controlled environment for cannabis smokers. I think that if we had this, then many of the people who became criminals never would have done so. There are no weapons or trouble here.” In its prime, Smokenhagen extended over two floors and included a café and a shop that sold merchandise and paraphernalia for growing and smoking cannabis. But when The Copenhagen Post arrives to meet Mehri, little remains except murals depicting Bob Marley and the deceased Danish dancehall singer Natasja. Mehri is sitting with three young men around a lone table at the back of the upper room. They are playing backgammon and smoking a joint while a puppy bounds around our feet. As he throws the dice, blue smoke wafting out of his nostrils, Mehri says he’s not upset about the shop’s premature closure.
“I’m relieved actually. It was about time,” he says. Mehri is closing down voluntarily after pressure from the housing association and landlords who he claims were threatened with criminal charges by the police. The police have been regular visitors to Smokenhagen. But while most encounters were friendly, their relationship turned sour one recent evening. A policemen had demanded to enter after claiming he could smell cannabis out on the street. Mehri refused to to let him in and the police proceeded to batter down the door and pepper-spray Mehri and his guests before confiscating some cannabis. The door is now roughly boarded up and, as he rolls another joint, Mehri admits that it would have been smarter to open the door. “But I think I should have the right to deny police entry to my property unless they have a warrant,” he says. “I started the coffee shop to send a message. There’s still nowhere warm you can go and smoke a joint and play backgammon and we need that. We have a lot of young people ending up in the wrong environment because there’s no good place to hang out and socialise and smoke. The only warm, indoor spaces available to smoke cannabis in brings them into contact with criminals.” The interview is repeatedly interrupted as Mehri has to open the locked
Mehri rolls a joint as he talks to The Copenhagen Post’s reporter
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
18 - 24 January 2013
Headed for disaster Lessons Learned by an American in Amager are designed to make a profit for the producer – not to make you healthy. They hide the symptoms and ultimately make you a weaker individual. So I give kudos to the Viking mentality here for the proper approach to over-thecounter medicines. If you are sick you should stay home, rest – and endure the symptoms. Thank you Denmark, for not allowing these medicines to clutter your shelves and coddle your citizens.
DSB can make the trains run mostly on time, but poor decisionmaking is a sign of the rail company’s deep-seated problems
F DSB’s executives were to spend as much time trying to get their trains to run on time as they apparently spend on silencing critical journalists, this country might have the world’s best train service. Instead, travellers find themselves slowed down or just plain stopped by decisions the company has made in recent years. DSB certainly isn’t the world’s worst train service. Its trains arrive on time 95 percent of the time (an improvement over recent years), and passenger satisfaction is above the EU average. But then again, it shouldn’t take a clockmaker to run the trains on time here. Denmark is a small, flat country with a comparatively simple rail network and a relatively temperate climate. Especially after the construction of the Great Belt Bridge, which eliminated g the need to include ferry travel on a cross-country trip, a 95 percent on-time rate ought to be a minimum standard. But if punctuality is one measure of a rail company’s management, another measure is its ability to prepare for the challenges down the road, and here DSB’s record makes for uneasy reading. The most grotesque example of the company’s problems is its purchase of a new series of trains in 2000. A total of 83 of the custom-designed IC4 combined engines and carriages were ordered, due for delivery starting 2003. The first train was delivered in 2007. So far 52 have been delivered, and eight are in service. Copenhagen commuters will also remember offers to have DSB’s S-train sell them mobile phone services and provide weekly food recipes in collaboration with an online supermarket. DSB is a business, just like any other, and it needs to make money – either by cutting costs or increasing revenue – and many of these initiatives showed that the company was thinking commercially by trying to come up with new revenue sources. None of the initiatives have panned out though, and DSB still isn’t making money, even though its ticket prices remain among the highest in Europe. In fact, DSB is nearly 18 billion kroner in debt, and just before Christmas, parliament granted it permission to borrow another 8 billion kroner. By way of comparison, the government in December was ready to let SAS, a partially state-owned airline, go bankrupt if it was unable to find a way to pay off part of its 4.7 billion kroner debt. As part of its marketing to advertisers, DSB once referred to passengers as “moving targets”. We’d like to propose a slogan of our own for rail executives caught up in ‘Waterfront-gate’: “sitting ducks”.
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HIS MONTH marks the completion of my seventh year living and working here in Denmark. Since I am a bit of a nostalgic I felt compelled to take a look at how my life has changed after being submerged in a foreign culture for nearly a decade. Chill with the pills TURNS OUT that I don’t need a pill for every symptom I have (or think I may have at some point in the near future). I can remember the first time that I went to a pharmacy here in Denmark and being shocked at the lack of selection on their shelves. Where were the pills for my back aches or the liquid capsule flu medicines to help mask my symptoms and energise me through a feverish day at the office? Back in the US I had hundreds of medications to choose from for each area of my body, but here in Denmark I had to choose only between pain relievers and lozenges for a sore throat. Even the doctors were part of this conspiracy – writing prescriptions only for higher dosages of painkillers! It took time, but slowly I began to realise that the Danish mentality is healthier. All of the medicines in the US
All work and no play ... WHO KNEW that it’s actually okay to take a vacation? When I was part of the US workforce, I was at my desk before 8am and usually didn’t leave the office until after 6pm – and I usually came in for at least three or four hours every weekend to stay ahead of the workload. It was frowned upon to actually use all of your vacation and almost a badge of loyalty to amass large quantities of unused holiday over the years. When I did take a vacation it was usually a long weekend or a week maximum in duration. Granted I was younger and ambitious in my career, but my example is similar to many in the US. The fundamental difference I find working in Denmark compared to the US is that I am working to live and not living to work. It seems like a slight difference when you say it quickly, but it makes all of the difference to the quality of life. In general, the Danish corporate world is very supportive of a work/life balance that welcomes flexible scheduling, working from home as needed and encouraging a summer holiday that occupies a calendar month! The world does not cease to exist when one is away from work for more than a week, and an extended leave is really refreshing to recharge your motivation and mindset. The
Danes say that it was a good vacation if you can’t remember your log-on password when you get back to the office – even better if you need a GPS to remind you where the office is located. Thank you Denmark, for giving me my life back. An apple a day ... WHEN I moved here seven years ago I was a bit heavier and certainly less healthy overall. I can remember thinking that everything in Denmark was so manual, cumbersome and downright inconvenient. I was horrified at the realisation I needed to walk to a grocery store and carry things up the stairs when I got back to my flat. Back in the US I drove a car to the parking spot closest to the supermarket and, after filling my trolley with fattening processed foods, I would drive home. Now in Denmark, I was forced to either walk or ride my bike to get around the city – and the foods here are much healthier overall. Let’s face it – we live in a country that blatantly taxes fat products, in case there was any doubt about their stance on eating healthy. After seven years, the result is a slimmer and healthier me. I’m no chiselled Greek statue, but I am certainly better off than I was living the lazy life in the States. And God Bless the civil engineers that designed the city streets so thoughtfully for bikes. Barring any horrible weather conditions, one can ride a bike anywhere in and around the city with ease. And by living a slightly more ‘manual’ life one gets a steady dosage of exercise without even thinking about it. Thank you Denmark, for sneaking healthy into my lifestyle. Tax for det ... I GET A lot of grief and ques-
tions from friends and relatives back in the US who ask about the high taxes and socialist approach here in Denmark. What’s it like paying more than 50 percent of your income in taxes? Isn’t the social medical system horrible? After seven years I’ve learned that it’s all relative. In Denmark you pay higher taxes, but higher education and medical care are free. In the US you pay lower taxes, but college and medical insurance are expensive. I also don’t mind paying higher taxes here in Denmark because I can see where the money is spent for the most part: the streets are clean, violent crime and crime in general is minimal, public transport works like a Swiss clock, the general level of education is quite high in the society and the healthcare system works when you need to utilise it. Socialism is a fantastic experiment in a small community where everyone pays their part – even if it’s unwillingly through the VAT flat-tax on every good or service. It won’t work in the US because only a small portion of people actually pay into the system. But the good news is that it works here in Denmark – and I live here. Thank you Denmark, for helping me see that capitalism is not the only model. It’s a small world ... WITHOUT a doubt, I am most grateful to Denmark for being an open society that welcomes foreigners to work here in order to gain a global perspective. How else could a small-town Texan have met a beautiful Brazilian girl who would eventually become his best friend and wife? Thank you Denmark, for Brena. The author works for A.P. MollerMaersk and is a writer of children’s books.
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Opinion | Banning prostitution a way to control women’s sexuality Is it true that countries that have legal prostitution have a lower amount of rapes in that country? If the state runs it, will they charge moms? Ziggedwhenishouldazagged By website “Charge moms with what? If prostitution is legal, there’s nothing to charge them with, unless you’re suggesting that mothers should not work as prostitutes.” am2go by website – in response to comment above [editor’s note: moms=VAT] People buy sex without much care as to whether the sex worker is trafficked or addicted to drugs or otherwise vulnerable. There are obviously exceptions where the customer makes every effort to make sure he is making a transaction with a fully consenting adult. But it’s like anything else that sometimes involves exploitation, it takes effort to give a s*** and most people cannot be bothered.
Sex work is nothing like cutting hair or driving professionally. I can imagine a taxi driver or a hair dresser getting bored or irritated with washing hair or making chit chat or driving to the train station every day, but that is not the same as having to suck a dozen c***s one day to have enough money. Adventures and Japes By website
fied year round, but the happiness comes in the spring in May and stops at the end of September. If they just say Danes are the most satisfied people on earth, they would be correct. Zapppa By website
Honestly, I’d like to see a return to a brothel environment, which would keep workers off the street and provide those who run the brothels a means of sifting through clientele in order to reduce violence. Brothel owners would have to prove they are in Denmark legally with the ability to work legally and have a clean criminal record (we don’t want brothels being used for human trafficking, drugs, or other illegal activity.) Nicole Grzeskowiak By website
It’s always amusing when these poorly educated white-boy sports dolts rise to the occasion of citing their work place as resembling slavery. If you don’t like the terms in a personal performance contract, then don’t sign it. Of course that would first require learning how to read printed text carefully – something few jocks ever master. SNCO By website
Emotionally compromised or happy with their lot?
One could plot a distribution of news stories – characterising benefit to society, cost to produce that information, potential revenue via various distribution methods. My point is that we are putting all ‘news’ into a single
They use the word ‘happy’ when they should instead use the words ‘satisfied’ or ‘content’. I do think Danes are quite content or satis-
Selling footballers to investors a form of slavery, DBU says
For many Danish papers, the writing is on the paywall
basket as we think about it. That is a mistake, and prevents more fine-grained solutions from being discussed which might make sense for some types of news. Better characterisation might suggest different funding blends for different news assignments. Tony Duarte By website Peruvian mother granted right to work This isn’t a happy ending at all, it’s a reprieve and that’s all it is. Foreigners living here need to stop being so grateful that they think this was a generous act on the part of the government for agreeing not to ruin a family’s life. The one thing I will say about the woman in question: she has acknowledged her (temporary) reprieve, and instead of going off and partying like some of the other social media cases, she’s still speaking out about the thousands of immigrants in similar situations who may not have the social media campaigns and connections that she and her family were able to use. Bless her for continuing to speak out. HeidiakaMissJibba By website
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
18 - 24 January 2013
Thoughts of ‘us’ and ‘them’ have changed with time
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.
EN YEARS ago, when I was 15 years old, I often considered myself as a problem of society, and for that I blame the news. Today, ten years later, I sometimes stop watching the news altogether because all too often the headlines give me a headache. Especially when they include a person’s ethnicity, as if that had something to do with their actions. When I was 15, I was walking around paranoid, thinking that ‘they’ all hate ‘us’. I often read negative stories about immigrants and foreigners, and because I matched the foreigner/ immigrant description, I felt ‘they’ did not want ‘us’ to be a part of society, since ‘they’ were always talking so badly about ‘us’. Back then, the ‘they’ I referred to meant all of Denmark. Because for me, the media was Denmark. And that made my teenage mind produce very anti-society thoughts because, well, ‘they’ all hated ‘us’ anyway. Today, ten years later, I have a different perspective. ‘They’ do not hate ‘us’. Well, some do, but you can’t avoid people that hate, so it doesn’t bother me anymore. I know better. The head-
lines and negative stories don’t represent Denmark having a problem with ‘us’, but rather highlight the news media’s problem. Although my perspective has matured, I still see the younger version of myself in kids today. And I understand it – been there, done that. If you are bombarded with news reports describing troublemakers and criminals, as people you identify yourself with, then you think that this is how the Danish population sees you. You get the impression that if your grandparents aren’t Danish, and your last name doesn’t sound like Rasmussen, then you belong to a dangerous group, alternately known as immigrants, ‘new Danes’ and other descriptions that help to draw a line between ‘them’ and ‘us’. The news works as a reminder that you are a problem of society. Assumptions are created by the media, especially in the small cities that are isolated from inhabitants with backgrounds other than Danish. In those communities, they only hear about ‘those people’; they don’t have the chance to get to know ‘them’. And of course you create an image in your head that combines all
of the negative stories you have heard in the news about ‘dangerous’ immigrants who have come to Denmark ‘to steal’, and so on. When the news media continues to present statistics that purport to show that immigrants commit more crime, are more often unemployed and less educated, it creates a negative and untruthful image of the immigrants in Denmark. It sets up a mindset that if someone has dark skin, they are a criminal. If they are white, they are not. Because, guess what, usually they’re not talking about the Swedish, German or American immigrants when they present these statistics. Of course, it is not that immigrants are not committing crimes. But criminal behaviour is not culturally conditioned. According to the numbers, immigrants commit more crime than native Danes, but if you analyse and dig deeper into the stats to find the social layer from which the criminals come, it becomes clear that crimes are more closely linked to social standing than ethnicity or culture. So why aren’t the newspapers full of headlines that tell the public that most crimes are committed by those from the lowest social class, instead of spreading
Although my perspective has matured, I still see the younger version of me in kids today poison with headlines that indicate that crimes are mostly committed by immigrants? Why mention cultural background at all, when most of these young adults have been born and raised here in Denmark? The social standards are more relevant to discuss than the background of one’s parents. If it is just a cultural thing, then why didn’t the parents of the young adults commit crimes? To make my message clear, I am not saying that there aren’t criminals among the immigrant population. But I am saying they are not criminals simply because they are immigrants. If one lives in socially-deprived areas, the road to crime starts right in front of your door, and your skin colour and cultural background don’t matter.
Complaints and explanations
EAR READERS, looking to start the New Year off uncluttered, I was going through my inbox when I found the following correspondence that I thought you would find entertaining.
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.
10 December 2012 at 11:22AM, U Elbæk wrote: “Dear Stuart Lynch, in your previous column you made two severe errors. Firstly, you clearly suggested you would give an opinion on the James Bond film ‘Skyfall’ and then did not. Secondly, you compared its potential failure in a disparaging way to a sexual practice that you clearly know little about. Regarding the film – please finish your column! I am finding the success of the film confusing given its clearly haphazard storyline. And, concerning a reach-around, or RA as it is more commonly known, this is an exquisite and beautiful erotic act. If used judiciously in the arsenal of one’s lovemaking portfolio, it is a delight for both man and sheep alike. You grossly undervalue its cost with your suggestion that a RA costs a mere 150 kroner. That
is absurd and demeaning. A good RA costs a minimum of 300 kroner. Yours faithfully, Uffe Elbæk”. 11 December 2012 at 4:47PM, S Lynch wrote: “Dear Uffe, apologies, on both counts. You are absolutely correct. When it comes to sexual favours, I am woefully out of touch with the current street costs. I apologise profusely and vow to henceforth rigorously test all forthcoming field data. As my next column will be concerned with the Danish attitudes towards felching, wishboning and poodling, your critique is perfectly timed. The ‘Skyfall’ film is proving hugely popular around the world in terms of reviews and box office sales. In Denmark alone it is on the way to breaking all previous Bond records. This is quite an achievement considering how Daniel Craig’s previous Bonds were so heavily Mikkelsen’ed and Jensen’ed. Despite the appeal, the film is quite confusing as you state. The cunning plan of Javier Bardem’s villain is so intricate it requires either divine intervention or the inclusion of a time machine.
However, in this way the film fits current film studio trends wherein movies, like performance art, need not make logical sense but must take themselves very seriously. This commitment alone seems to provide the success. In the preceding summer, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘Prometheus’ exemplified the trend. Both films were extremely successful despite plots seemingly concocted by cocaine-snorting chimpanzees in the back of a limo. But, all things considered, I loved the film. Whilst Craig’s Bond is the furthest from Ian Flemming’s original characterisation, he perfectly captures the cynical rawness of a man facing the agonies of the past and the hazy division between good and evil. His draggedthrough-the-hedge-backwards portrayal is, for me, masterly. In the first half of the film he looks like he would not be out of place working on a building site or driving a truck. I care little that the villain’s plan is more Homer Simpson than master criminal. I choose to hop on for the ride with the most ‘Everyman’ Bond seen since the first three films. I am an absolute thumbs up.
On a more personal note, I should like to offer my condolences for the fact that you are no longer the culture minister. You were fantastic and will be sorely missed. Your clearly forced resignation was so very unfair. When one is in a position of power such as you were, one is bound, only by pure chance of course, to give funding or jobs to one’s family, lovers, ex-lovers, lovers of one’s ex-lovers and the friends of the friends of the friends of those ex-lovers. Do people not understand that Denmark is a small country and that these coincidences are bound to occur? That they occurred for you at such a frequency and in such a short space of time was truly bad luck. I wish you well in all your future endeavours. Best – Stuart Lynch”. 12 December 2012 at 9:31PM, U Elbæk wrote: “Hej Stuart, thank you for your reply on the film and your commitment to proper research. I’m not sure what you mean – I am not the previous culture minister, merely an estate agent and sheep farmer.”
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
18 - 24 January 2013
RACHEL PAYNE Studies consistently rate Danes as the happiest people on Earth. But sometimes it can be hard to tell. One man is determined to change that
INDNESS and politeness is the new ‘cool’ in Denmark. Those who have battled their way onto a bus in Copenhagen or jostled for their position in a supermarket queue might find this hard to believe. But the American-born Danish author, consultant and kindness warrior Lars AP (the AP is short for Andreas Pedersen) is determined that his countrymen and women should embrace this statement and make it prevail, and he has plenty of people onboard to support him. In 2010, Pedersen published his book ‘Fucking Flink’ (‘Fucking Friendly’) as a key to unlocking one of the biggest paradoxes he saw in society: Denmark consistently ranks at the top of global happiness indexes, but the surplus of happiness that should accompany this status isn’t all that noticeable in its people’s daily interaction. To native English speakers the title might sound like an aggressive way to raise the subject – how can using the Fword encourage Danes to be friendlier towards each other? “In Denmark it’s an okay way to do it,” Pedersen said, pointing out that the F-word is less offensive in Danish. “The idea was to serve up a theme that has become unsexy and lacks coolness. It’s actually not my own idea; it was a colleague who suggested that I give it more ‘oomph’ and I’m so glad she did.” Pedersen’s active promotion of
The happiest people on earth? Everyone knows it – even Oprah. Danes are the happiest people on Earth, or so they say anyway. The Copenhagen Post is taking a look at the ‘happiest’ designation in an attempt to decipher what is real and what is myth when it comes to happiness in Denmark. Next week, we look at Denmark’s down and out. The first article in the series can be read at cphpost.dk
Being Mr Nice Guy
friendly behaviour and research into Danish politeness culture has turned his book into a movement. His Facebook page is one of the fastest growing pages in Denmark with almost 162,000 followers, and he most recently featured as a mentor for Thomas Skov Gaardsvig in DR2’s series ‘Høflighed på 100 dage’ (Politeness in 100 days). Since starting the initiative, Pedersen has also been in increasing demand as a conference presenter and ideas consultant for Danish businesses. “It started out as a very personal project, and to be able to make it more or less a full-time occupation is like a dream come true,” he said. “It’s one of those projects which you feel that you’re doing something for the greater good, and therefore it feels worthwhile on a larger scale.” Unlocking the paradox IT SHOULDN’T be an uphill battle to turn the world’s happiest people into the friendliest. But sometimes reality defies the equation. First of all, is it really true that Danes are happy? “Danes, and Scandinavians in general, are heavy users of Prozac and we are very high on the suicide ratings. Does that go hand-in-hand with a high level of happiness? I don’t think so,” Pedersen noted. Politeness is also difficult to express in a language that does not have a word for ‘please’ and has fewer markers of etiquette than other languages and those that have are more subtle. On a personal level, Pedersen observed that he even expressed himself in a friendlier and more open way when he spoke English rather than Danish. But despite the grim statistics and linguistic limitations, Pedersen still believes Danes are happy – or if not truly happy in an outward sense, then at least content. “I think there’s a correlation between how much we actually expect from life, which is perhaps not very much, and what we get out of it. The positive gap that we end up with between those two is what makes us content or happy on the happiness index,” he explained. By bouncing his ideas and experiences off linguists, psychologists and academics specialising in politeness theory, Pedersen has discovered that friendliness is not just embedded in the pleasantries used in different languages but in the culture behind those languages, and that Danes have evolved with a collective “defensive pessimism” and “negative politeness culture” in their approach to everyday life. “Our negative politeness stems from our rural politeness culture. What characterises ‘negative politeness’ is that you acknowledge that someone has
In 2010, Lars AP set out to “bring some coolness back to friendliness”. Now he has around 162,000 followers on Facebook
things to do, so you leave them alone and you get on with whatever it is you’re working on. When you think about it, that’s actually quite polite; there’s nothing wrong with that.” Pedersen recognised it was the Danes’ negative politeness that created an impression of hostility, especially among newcomers trying to settle in. “When a foreigner is standing on the street with a map in need of help, that’s a sign for Danes to act differently, and I actually think that Danes are relatively helpful in this sense. However, when you’re walking around the streets of Denmark and you look like a local, that’s when you really experience the lack of openness and the lack of helpfulness.” Embracing a friendlier outlook WHEN PEDERSEN started his initiative, he took to the streets of Copenhagen to experiment with Danes’ reactions to random acts of kindness, such as issuing rewards for good parking as a bogus parking inspector, helping people carry
I think there’s a correlation between how much we actually expect from life, which is perhaps not very much, and what we get out of it their bicycles and prams up the stairs at Nørreport Station and giving sweets to bus drivers. To him, the results were encouraging. “I have not yet experienced a single one of these actions go badly – when people didn’t respond positively. People really do want to be playful in the way we interact. They just need the excuse.” As his work has expanded and drawn more attention from international audiences, it could now be said that the challenge ahead is not only to give Danes the excuse to carry out more
kind gestures among each other, but to extend that friendliness even further. “You can’t really employ a negative politeness culture when people aren’t necessarily doing their own thing, but are perhaps newcomers to the country and need help. They basically need you to give them a helping hand and show them how things work and include them in whatever you might be doing. So a more inclusive politeness culture is needed,” he said. But foreigners and locals alike can take heart from the large number of Danes who have already thrown their support behind what started out as a one-man movement. Pedersen has even heard of people competing to ‘out-flink’ each other. “It’s just wonderful to see how it has more or less become a term for doing something unexpectedly nice towards other people and, in a sense, become a badge that you’re willing to put on, because it’s cool to be ‘Fucking Flink’. I wouldn’t say that my mission is accomplished, but we’re definitely on the way and that makes me really happy.”
ONLINE THIS WEEK New victim support fund announced
Police establish stop-and-search zones after shootings
Hate your boss? You’re not alone
A NEW fund to provide financial assistance, counselling and insurance to victims of crime has been proposed by the Justice Ministry. If the law passes, those convicted of crimes in which there is a victim will be forced to pay 500 kroner into the fund. The measure could generate 27 million kroner a
AFTER THREE shootings in three days last weekend, police in Copenhagen have extended their stop-and-search zones, which give police temporary powers to stop anyone without probable cause, to include the whole city. Police suspect that the three shootings were due to a gang-related conflict, as burning vehicles were
EVERY third employee – nearly one million Danes – feels their immediate manager is doing a lousy job, according to a survey conducted by consulting firm Ennova. Nearly 35 percent of the country’s workforce were extemely critical of their immediate
year to support victims. “We also need to help victims, rather than simply focusing on the rights of criminals,” the justice minister, Morten Bødskov (Socialdemokraterne), wrote in a press release. “The new victims’ fund ensures that we are better equipped to help victims get back on their feet.”
found following all three shootings and some of the individuals involved had gang connections. In addition to the Copenhagen stop-and-search zone, police have implemented similar measures in the north-western suburbs of the city and in the area around Kokkedal. The zones will remain in effect until January 28.
superiors, saying that their work days were poisoned by unclear objectives, poor planning, and a lack of feedback and staff development. Management experts cited a lack of training and knowledge of best practices among the nation’s managers as the problem.
READ THE FULL STORIES AT CPHPOST.DK
18 - 24 January 2013
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
Fresh off the plane, DIS students looking forward to a term of endearment Photos: Christian Palvad wORDS: Ben Hamilton
You’ve been on a plane for eight hours and then somebody sticks a camera in your face. No, you’re not Leonard Cohen on yet another visit, but a new student arriving to study at the Danish Institute for Study Abroad. The photo shoot was all part of a whirlwind welcome for 978 students on Sunday as they negotiated customs, met school representatives and their host families (in some cases), and settled into their new homes. And then on Monday, it was time for After a long day that started for most students EST, it was time to relax, and warm up, with a cup of Joe the official opening ceremony of the term at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Frederiksberg
It doesn’t get more lavish than the Royal Danish Academy of Music – enjoy it while you can students as the rest of Denmark doesn’t The opening ceremony included a performance by a string octet look like the set of ‘The Age of Innocence’
Hannah’s ready for her close-up now Mr DeMille
Hands off! Matthew’s joining our handball team – we saw him She brought a brolly – someone give this lady a gold star! first
We appear to have interrupted what could be the start of a beautiful friendship
The Larsens were among the host families who will be providing a home to one The Kuhrs were also delighted to finally meet who (second left) they would be taking Exciting times lie ahead, particularly in Nyhavn for (left-right) DIS students Nicole Strauss, Carole home with them Rosenberg and Jenna Sackman of the students while they study here – in this case, Grace (right)
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
18 - 24 January 2013
ABOUT TOWN PHOTOS BY HASSE FERROLD UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED
Prince Henrik was among the guests at the opening of ‘Grønlands Slips’ on January 9, a new exhibition at Nordatlantens International Club Copenhagen’s first gathering of 2013 at Paustian on Monday welcomed the architect Jan Utzon (left), the son of Brygge in Copenhagen by Greenlandic artist Aka Høegh. The the legendary visionary Jørn Utzon. He spoke about his life growing up under the shadow of his father, and no doubt for some time piece behind them is called ‘Sky Journey – Journey to the Sky’, the shadow of the Sydney Opera House – his father’s most famous creation a creation made from juniper branches
Nordatlantens Brygge was also the venue for a New Year reception hosted by Greenland’s premier Kuupik Kleist (left). Pictured with him is fellow national Minik Rosing, a professor in geology, who is the chairman of Geus (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland)
The Bella Center was the place to be last weekend for blushing brides (pictured left) and grumpy grooms (too distraught to be) at the Marriage Fair. Among those in attendance was a magician, Niels Enersen (centre), who specialises in making your mother-in-law disappear for the day, and cake decorators from Kage Butikken (right)
One of the country’s most enduring rock groups, DAD, on Monday released a new photo book, ‘Live Shots’, which was compiled by Henrik Damgaard (centre). DAD are currently preparing for a forthcoming tour of the US
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.
New Year – New Career
A Pia Allerslev, the deputy mayor for culture, and Marianne Jelved, the culture minister, were among those present for the opening of a new archaeology exhibition, ‘Fortiden under os’, at Københavns Museum last week on Friday. The exhibition mainly consists of artefacts found under the streets we walk every day. Pictured here (left-right) are Jelved, Allerslev, the museum’s director Jette Sandahl, Professor Niels Lynnerup and exhibition co-ordinator Camilla Morthorst
The handover of the EU presidency from Cyprus to Ireland – has it been six months already? – was marked by a transfer ceremony at Europe House last week on Friday involving the Cypriot ambassador George C Kasoulides (left) and Irish ambassador Brendan Scannell (right)
FTER WEEKS of celebrating, overeating and boozing, your body and mind are begging you for some TLC. And the post-Christmas January blues are the perfect mood-inducer to convince you to start new things: a new diet, a new fitness routine, a new job, or renewed energy for the neverending job search ... But are these real resolutions or simply a short-term, kneejerk reaction to the realisation that time is flying by and a new year has sprung upon us again? Nevertheless, the New Year can definitely inject a good dose of reborn enthusiasm into your plans to recraft your life. So let’s take advantage of it! Maybe it is time to retrain and launch an exciting new period in your life. Of course, it is never too late to retrain. Everyone has heard of the 60 to 70-year-old university student who felt like trying their hand at something different.
However, what should you do if career that is more flexible and you have already studied for years recognised across borders. It is for a career that you enjoyed, very inspiring. but has suddenly come to a halt I have moved around and because you agreed to follow your lived in many different countries partner to a new country, where throughout my life, and it seems you are struggling with the new that every time that I settle down language and having real diffi- somewhere new, a new inspiraculty finding a new job? tion takes hold of me and I am Many people welcome this more ready than ever to try someopportunity to take a step back thing I have never experienced and do a combefore: either plete career a job in a commakeover. In pletely new field, co-ordination or retraining in an with the Dan- Many people welcome industry where I ish Montessori hadn’t previously Society, we are this opportunity to worked. It is very planning to and take a step back and refreshing start a training exciting, and the course for peo- do a complete career options are endple to become less. makeover Montessori So welcome teachers. I sent 2013 with new out a feeler to eyes and don’t friends and acquaintances to see hesitate to take a course, either if there was a demand for such a in a field with skills shortages course. The response was over- or one that you know will take whelming! So many people are you where you really want to be. ready to retrain and find a new Enjoy your career detox!
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
18 - 24 January 2013
Meet the expat with the inspiration and dedication to succeed BEN HAMILTON How the world’s longest physical banner could be coming to a street – make that a motorway – near you sometime soon
James Ackroyd is aiming to beat an Indian record
OW HERE’S some viral for the virile: a man setting a new world record for unopening the most bras in a minute. But while it’s fun TV, it’s also extraordinarily random. That’s the problem with the Guinness Book of Records … sorry, Guinness World Records (which rather annoyingly changed its name a few years ago). It’s got too many pointless records that only a small proportion of the world have ever contemplated, let alone tried.
Then again, we tend to be suckers for all that biggest, smallest, longest, shortest malarkey – there was obviously something in the theme tune of the 1970/80s GBofR programme that indoctrinated us all into wanting to “be a record breaker”, or maybe that was just in GBR. Anyhow, here’s a chance to finally get your name on the scoresheet. It’s true that so far this morning you’ve already smashed the 11.75cm arm reach record to silence the alarm clock and set a new standard in cat kicking in the 6.4336kg class, but here’s your challenge to immortalise yourself, albeit as part of a team effort. Imagine how it’s going to look on your CV! The record in question is a worldwide attempt to create the world’s longest physical banner, and the man in charge is James Ackroyd, a British entrepreneur who currently lives in Copenhagen. He’s confident his simple idea will appeal to people’s imaginations and has the potential to be a record breaker. To take part, all you need to do is visit the banner’s web/mobile site at www.longestbanner. com and upload your preferred logo/text onto the online banner. While it’s primarily aimed at companies, at just $30 a slot (100cm by 100cm), it’s afford-
You can imagine something like this spanning the Øresund Bridge (and then some) − at the very least, it will give you something to read while you’re running across it
able for all, so Ackroyd expects many to simply upload their faces, personal messages and all sorts of unusual material. “I’m not applying any restrictions,” said Ackroyd. “Anything goes as long as it’s not discriminatory or indecent: basically no porn or hate speech. I’ll be vetting every upload myself so the Guinness World Record’s guy isn’t confronted with a 500-metre ‘White is right’ slogan.” Once the banner is filled – there’s room for 50,500 slots – Ackroyd will have the banner printed. Initial quotes suggest that the physical banner, which will be printed on vinyl and be 55.5km long – to beat the existing record of 55.4km in India – will cost him $500,000, but he is hopeful of
A heart-felt choice JESSICA HANLEY How one Copenhagen non-profit is bringing foreign-language HIV services to internationals because it believes patients need to be able to discuss difficult matters in their mother tongue
OR THE estimated 1,500 foreigners living with HIV in Denmark, there are two pieces of good news: a diagnosis with the disease isn’t a death sentence anymore, and thanks to the efforts of AIDS-Fondet, free testing and counselling services are now available in English, Turkish and French. “Contrary to popular thinking, HIV is no longer a virus you die from,” explained Kirsten Madsen, a counsellor at AIDSFondet, a non-profit organisation that works to prevent, educate and treat those infected with the disease. What many people misconceive, according to Madsen, is that HIV doesn’t necessarily prevent a person from living their life. And an early detection, in fact, can
considerably prolong a patient’s life. “A person living with the virus can have a normal life, keep a job, have children, have a normal diet and pretty much live a regular life,” she said. The problem, Madsen contended, is that many of those infected don’t know how to seek treatment or don’t even know they’re infected. In addition to the approximate 5,000 HIV cases already known to exist in Denmark, 300 new cases are reported annually – and according to Statens Serum Institut, a research institute specialising in infectious and congenital diseases, as many as 1,000 additional cases go undetected each year. Foreigners and ethnic minorities account for an estimated third of all cases, and according to Ravi Chandran, a project manager at AIDS-Fondet, his organisation believes it is equally important to provide services for internationals and natives alike. That’s why AIDS-Fondet has started Cross-Over, a group of HIV-checkpoints throughout Copenhagen offering free testing and
counselling services in English, Turkish and French on request. In addition to free STI testing and counselling, Cross-Over offers educational seminars on current HIV and STI research, social gatherings that combine group therapy and network building, and a ‘visiting friends’ programme in which staff visit HIV-positive people at home to assist in practical and psychological matters. All of these services, Chandran explained, are provided in English and other languages. “Everyone has a ‘mother tongue’ or ‘heart language’ in which we communicate,” Chandran said. “In times of crisis or challenges, it is natural and easier to communicate in that language.” Chandran hopes that regardless of their circumstances, the services offered at Cross-Over will make internationals in Denmark feel a little more at home. “We hope that foreigners, in spite of their language or cultural barriers, will receive the same amount of knowledge, information and services as any other Dane,” Chandran said.
getting it for much cheaper. The eventual choice of printer might depend on where the banner is located. With each slot purchase comes a vote to determine in which country the banner will be unveiled (as well as the selection of one of seven charities to receive a $100,000 donation once the banner is complete). Once a country is chosen, and that country agrees to hosting the banner, Ackroyd will scout the country for suitable locations. “As it’s an international effort, it couldn’t just be set in one country, or otherwise people wouldn’t be interested in contributing,” explained Ackroyd. “The eventual location will need to fulfil two criteria: be media friendly and abundant in space.
I’d prefer somewhere warm, as well, so hopefully Greenland doesn’t get the most votes, although I’m guessing there won’t be a space issue there.” While it might sound problematic, Ackroyd is not averse to finding solutions in difficult circumstances – indeed, he relishes the challenge. “This is one of the more ambitious projects I’ve tried to execute, and since the idea came to me, I’ve been dealing with problems from all angles, but honestly I can’t get enough of it, he said. “With every business idea, there’s always ‘problems’: some are small and others big enough to capsize everything, but so far they’ve all been solvable.” Possibly Ackroyd’s biggest challenge so far has been the
COMING UP SOON SOSO Fifth Anniversary Celebration Ruby, Nybrogade 10, Cph K; Tue Jan 22, 17:30-22:30; free adm Sophisticated Social (SOSO), Copenhagen’s mix-and-mingle Meetup group, aims to bring internationals and Danes together while exploring Copenhagen’s best cocktail venues. In the spirit of celebration, Ruby is offering complimentary welcome cocktails between 17:30 and 19:00 and cocktail specials at reduced prices all night. Mindfulness Course for Expats Natural Mindfulness Course; Human Being Center, Skindergade 23, 2. Sal, Cph K; starts Jan 23, six-week course on Wednesdays 18:00-20:00; cost: 1,200kr, concessions: 800kr; contact 2292 5304; www.mindfuldreaming.org Stressed-out expats now have a chance to reclaim their calm and relaxation with a new mindfulness course in English. Natural mindfulness is a radical approach based on tantra to connect with your innate ability to put your mind at ease. Participants will use silence, self-inquiry and dialogues to become aware of how they can move between expanded states of awareness in times of emotional turmoil. The price includes training materials.
CPH Investment Club Meetup La Esquina, Ryesgade 76, Cph Ø; Wed Jan 23, 19:00; www.meetup.com/Copenhagen-InvestmentClub/events For anyone interested in the share market and socialising, this is the Meetup event for you! All levels of expertise and interest are welcome, so join in and share your knowledge and insight along with a drink or two. EU Development Co-operation in a Changing Global Context Danish Institute for International Studies, Main Auditorium, Strandgade 71, Cph K; Mon Jan 21, 14:00-16:00; free adm; registration required by Jan 18 at noon; www.diis.dk; contact 3269 8751 or email@example.com The changing global environment requires us to rethink our approach to co-operation and international relations. Attendees at DIIS’s upcoming seminar on this topic will be briefed about challenges to EU development co-operation, global public goods, and evolving EU relations with middle-income countries from DIIS researchers. The event wraps up with a coffee break and discussion.
sizing issue involved in uploading the images onto the banner’s web/mobile site. “I found a free online software that allows anyone to convert their logo into a vector form with the click of a button, which is great because a few weeks ago I knew nothing about vectors,” Ackroyd revealed. “Vector images can be scaled up to any size without losing their quality – the fact that it’s possible to convert an image with the click of a button is essential for the project’s success.” As is companies recognising the potential of the banner. “The attention this banner will receive when it reaches completion will more than justify companies including their logo,” said Ackroyd. “I’m hoping that people will see the novelty of adding their own to what could officially become the world’s longest banner.” Is the record important? Of course it is! “With the marketing strategy I’m implementing, I’m certain it’s only a matter of time before we’re unfurling the banner and collecting that record,” predicted Ackroyd. “Maybe it’ll be in Denmark, but hopefully in the summer though.” The web site will be launched in Februrary. Find out more at www.facebook.com/longestbanner.
Establishing a Professional Network with LinkedIn Dansk Industri, Room Mont Blanc, Hannemanns Allé 25, Cph S; Mon Jan 28, 13:00; free adm, no-show fee 500kr; contact sash@ di.dk to register Expat in Denmark and Spousecare invite you to a workshop on professional culture and networking in Denmark using LinkedIn. The event will include a short introduction to Danish work and professional culture, and how to use networking in your career search. All participants will have time to work on their own profile, ask individual questions and will receive a copy of Spousecare’s ‘Guide to LinkedIn’, a step-by-step handbook for the website. Refreshments will be provided. CTC auditions for The Importance of Being Earnest VerdensKulturCenter, Nørre Allé 7, Cph N; Tue Jan 22 at 19:00; contact nathaliebessonnetyahoo.fr The auditions for the Copenhagen Theatre Circle’s spring production of Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. Roles are available for all ages, ranging from 18 to 65. The production will run from April 1727 at Krudttønden in Østerbro.
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
18 - 24 January 2013
w w w.boesenfoto.dk
Danish FA hails the Superliga as the “most tolerant” league in Europe
Most of the media’s attention in Denmark is thankfully reserved for the ball
BJARKE SMITH-MEYER Football association thanks its country’s media for its positive contribution to tackling racism
he year 2012 saw a plethora of reports from the European press on racism in football, especially from the Premier League in England. Denmark, on the other hand, hardly seemed to have any. “That’s because Danish football has the most tolerant league in Europe,” Lars Behrendt, the communications chief for the Danish FA (DBU), told The Copenhagen Post. “There is no racism to be found here.” Behrendt is not alone on this position. FC Nordsjælland defender Jores Okore, whose parents migrated to Denmark from the Ivory Coast, has never seen it as a problem. “I’ve grown up playing football in Denmark from a very young age,” the 20-year-old said. “And I’ve only been welcomed by Danish fans with open arms.
Never have I been subjected to racism.” According to Behrendt, a big reason why racism is rarely an issue in Danish football is the open-minded approach Danes have towards foreign players and the rational way the press puts isolated incidents into context. “The Danish media deserves a lot of credit as well,” Behrendt explained. “I think that a lot of other media outlets outside of Denmark have a tendency to sensationalise small events to get a story. We do very little of that here in Denmark.” Thomas Delaney, a half-Danish, half-American midfielder at FC København, agreed. “Racism seems to be a bigger problem in other countries,” Delaney said. “The English Premier League may be having an issue with it lately. But then it’s the media that dictates the nature of the game − I think that plays a big part. They have to write about something after all.” The BBC’s Panorama documentary ‘Euro 2012: Stadiums of
Hate’, for example, was heavily criticised by interviewee Jonathon Ornstein, the executive director of the Jewish Community Centre in Warsaw. Speaking to British newspaper the Guardian, Ornstein directly accused the channel of “exploiting him as a source” and “sensationalising” the issue. Danny Lynch, the press officer of the anti-racist organisation ‘Kick It Out’, conceded that the issue of racism seems to be all the rage within the British media at the moment. “There is a level of sensitivity in the press that might not have been there a few years ago,” Lynch admitted. “The minute an incident occurs that could be related to racism, we get a whole host of journalists looking for a comment. And part of that reason has to do with the press’s tendency to over-exaggerate an event, while not necessarily acknowledging the progress that has been made over many years when an incident occurs.” The apparent lack of racist sensitivity in the Danish press is
something that Behrendt is very grateful for, and one he hopes will not develop in Denmark. “Racism is definitely a serious subject,” Behrendt explained. “But it’s also dangerous to make mountains out of molehills, especially when the issue is much more of a concern in other countries.” Piara Powar, the executive director of ‘FARE Network’ (Football Against Racism in Europe), was also of the opinion that an over-sensitive media can often distract from the larger picture. “The main problem is that stories become too insularbased,” Powar told The Copenhagen Post. “What happens is the press become overly obsessed with the likes of Luis Saurez and John Terry, leaving the real problems in Italy, Hungary and Bulgaria largely ignored and unreported.” The Bulgarian Football Association, for example, was earlier this month punished by FIFA after a section of the Bulgarian crowd racially abused Danish
defender Patrick Mtiliga during a 2014 World Cup qualifier in Sofia in October. The Bulgarian FA was fined €30,000, and the national team will have to play its next qualifying game on March 22 against Malta in an empty stadium. The abuse on the pitch did not receive a great deal of attention from the European press as a whole. However, Jan Jensen, the sports editor of Esktra Bladet, insisted that the lack of coverage doesn’t automatically mean journalists are doing a bad job. “A country’s media will always have a certain focus on their own country,” Jensen said. “An insular approach isn’t necessarily a bad one. Danish football was riddled with racism some 15 years ago. But it’s intense focus on racism in the media that results in discrimination being stamped on the minute it rears its ugly head. So there’s nothing wrong with what the British press are doing. How can there be?” Whether a less sensitive Danish media plays a large part
in Denmark’s success against racism or not, Powar did take time to congratulate the DBU for the manner in which it has used football to help integrate a multicultural society − a strategy that countries like Bulgaria and even England could very much benefit from. “We need to put the subject into context,” Powar explained. “The Danish League is a very young one compared to the English one for example. But what Denmark has done very well is use the sport as a means to be inclusive of all backgrounds and nationalities. And that’s had a great effect.” And it’s players like Okore who are living proof that Denmark, like Behrendt claimed, has one of the most tolerant leagues in Europe. “I play for the Danish national team,” Okore said. “That would never have been possible if this country weren’t a tolerant one. I have only ever seen Danes as open-minded people. And I’m a prime example of that.”
Sports news IN brief Woz has Sabine licked
Cut pains Great Dane
Okore rejects Fulham bid
Froch fight confirmed
Carlsberg nets EPL deal
Dane makes Deutsch debut
Caroline Wozniacki saw off her tough German opponent Sabine Lisicki in three sets on Tuesday at the ongoing Australian Open. At 2-6, 0-3 down, the Dane looked beaten, but she then reeled off six straight games and won the final set 6-2. She hit 12 winners to Lisicki’s 45, who made 57 unforced errors to Wozniacki’s eight. She faces Croatia’s Donna Vekic on Thursday.
Denmark’s legendary kicker Morten Andersen has missed out on a place in the NFL Hall of Fame. The Great Dane was among 27 semi-finalists named in November, but following 12 cuts last week, did not make the list of finalists in what was his first year of eligibility for a place. Not only would he have become the first Dane to win a place, but also only the fourth kicker.
FC Nordsjaelland defender Jores Okore, who has made it clear he wants to move to England this summer, has rejected a move to Premier League outfit Fulham, according to various media reports. The 20-year-old’s agent Nikola Juric confirmed the offer to Expressen.se. “For him, the most important thing is that a new club has a plan for him,” he said.
Mikkel Kessler will fight Carl Froch in Britain later this year, both super-middleweight boxing champions confirmed on Tuesday. The details are unconfirmed, although some media claim it will be on May 25 in London. Froch, who lost to Kessler back in 2010, received permission from the IBF to duck mandatory challenger Adonis Stevenson in favour of WBA ‘regular’ champ Kessler.
Carlsberg has signed a threeyear deal to become the official beer partner of the English Premier League from August 2013. The brewer was previously best known in English football as the sponsor of EPL club Liverpool from 1992 to 2010. It is also the official beer sponsor of Arsenal and a secondary sponsor of Tottenham, and a long-term sponsor of the European Championship.
Pierre Emile Højbjerg, 17, another of the teenage generation of Danish talents tipped for the top, made his debut for Bayern Munich last week on Tuesday in a winter break friendly against Schalke 04. The midfielder came on in the 66th minute, replacing none other than Bastian Schweinsteiger. Højbjerg, who is half French by birth, signed for Bayern from Brøndby last February.
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
18 - 24 January 2013
Ray Weaver Chemists’ lockdown on the sale of prescription drugs could doom a potential Matas takeover
ollowing an intense lobbying effort by the nation’s chemists, it appears likely that parliament will allow them to retain their centuries-old monopoly on selling prescription medicines. Although no formal decision has been reached, the mood among MPs seems to indicate they will side with chemists’ union Danmarks Apotekerforening, which argues that only a tightly controlled network of pharmacies can ensure sufficient levels of drug safety. “We are talking about a modernisation and not a liberalisation of the industry,” Sophie Hæstorp Andersen, the health spokesperson for the PM’s Socialdemokraterne party, told Berlingske newspaper. “We must remember that the distribution of medication works very well and is very safe under the current model.” Camilla Hersom, a spokesperson for coalition member Radikale, agreed that there were elements of the current system she wanted to see preserved. “We have focused on ensuring a safe system that continues to allow us to have control over
Plenty of hand cream; prescriptions ... not so much
prices with good availability, and the current system meets those criteria,” Hersom told Politiken newspaper. Under current laws, pharmacies must be owned by chemists, and there are limits on the number of pharmacies a single chemist may operate. Earlier this year, Konkurrencerådet, a consumer watchdog, said it could find no good argument for maintaining the current structure. Calls for loosening chemists’ grip on dispensing drugs have been ongoing for several years. In 2010, a growth forum sponsored by the then Venstreled government recommended
liberalising the sale of prescription drugs. In June of last year, Konkurrencerådet sent a letter to the health and business ministers arguing that chemists’ statesanctioned monopoly on the sale of pharmaceuticals should come to an end, adding that consumers stood to save upwards of 250 million kroner annually through the liberalisation of the industry. Chemists have campaigned ferociously against the idea. One of the companies that stands to gain from liberalised pharmacy regulations is the high-street retailer Matas. Already the nation’s leading seller of over-the-counter medication
and other health products, over the past year the chain has exploited a loophole that allows it to sell prescription drugs by allowing a chemist to set up a drug dispensary inside its stores. The company has already established 50 dispensaries, all served by a single chemist. Meanwhile, Matas says it is ready to open full-service pharmacies as soon as the industry is deregulated. The prospect of chemists retaining their monopoly is the latest setback for the private equity firm CVC Capital Partners in its efforts to sell the Matas chain. Throughout 2012, CVC tried to find a buyer for its 258 Matas outlets in Denmark and Sweden, but found no takers at the estimated six billion kroner price tag. Only being allowed to operate as full on chemists would justify the asking price to a potential buyer. CVC purchased Matas in 2007 for 5.2 billion kroner with an eye towards the government relaxing the prescription stranglehold. Breaking the chemist’s monopoly is seen as a key growth engine for the company – otherwise it is believed CVC will have a tough time selling Matas. Even though the company has increased its earnings significantly through improved efficiency, sales have remained stagnant at about three billion kroner annually.
Netto backtracks on buying Polish food Public outcry forces supermarket to change its tune on imports
etto is backing down on its previouslyannounced intention to stock more food from Poland on its shelves. The supermarket chain, which operates under the Dansk Supermarked umbrella along with Føtex and Bilka, met with criticism from customers when it announced its plans. The company said it was looking east in an effort to keep prices low. “[We’ll bring] anything that can fit in a truck and be here in 12 to 14 hours,” Claus JuelJensen, the head of the discount chain, told Jyllands-Posten. “That covers our entire stock, including fresh fish.” The negative customer response to the store’s plan to purchase the “best and cheapest” food available, regardless of where it came from, forced JuelJensen to change his mind. “We can see that customers
want Danish products, and it is the customers who ultimately decide what we stock in Netto,” Juel-Jensen told Berlingske newspaper. Although many posted on Netto’s Facebook page that they were “finished with Netto”, others called the reaction “pure nationalism”. “Should Netto also drop its French pate and Spanish oranges?” asked one poster. Netto already stocks a variety of products from Poland, Germany and Sweden. And while the store will still stock foreign-made foods, the reaction does mean, however, that some Polish products – such as fresh meat – will not make it to the store’s shelves. It was not only customers who weighed in against Netto’s Polish plans the nation’s agriculture, food and consumer council also opposed the idea. “Netto can, of course, do as they please, but [Denmark] pro-
duces safe food without medical waste and salmonella,” Annette Toft, a food policy specialist, told Berlingske newspaper. “In the latest study on pesticides, we were miles ahead of our competitors abroad, and we think that is important to consumers.” The agriculture minister, Mette Gjerskov (Socialdemokraterne), expressed her distaste for Netto’s plans on her Twitter feed. “Netto will buy Polish goods. Hmm. That means more pesticides, bad animal husbandry and less pay. You choose!” she wrote. Netto said the original decision to purchase more goods from Poland would strengthen its position against foreign discount chains like Aldi and Lidl, which buy goods from a much wider variety of suppliers than Netto. The move would have also put Danish food suppliers in direct competition with those from Poland. (RW)
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An airport of larger, more efficiently filled jets
Over 23 million passengers travelled through Copenhagen Airport in 2012, despite fewer flights and several bankruptcies
record number of passengers passed through Copenhagen Airport in 2012, despite a reduction in the number of flights. The final total of over 23 million passengers was 2.7 percent up on the year before. A 7.3 percent increase in international transfers and a 10.2 percent rise in the number of intercontinental passengers contributed to the increase, according to Thomas Woldbye, the managing director of Copenhagen Airport. The rise underscores the airport’s position as the “most important traffic hub in northern Europe”, Woldbye said. December, however, which traditionally is a busy travel month, saw a 0.4 percent decline compared to the same period in 2011 – a decrease the airport attributed to people taking long
winter breaks away from Denmark and not returning until early 2013. The news of the passenger records came as a surprise considering that the European airtravel business suffered several bankruptcies in 2012, including Danish regional carrier Cimber Sterling. The jump in passengers indicated that airlines are now flying with larger and more efficiently filled airplanes. London remained the top passenger destination for Copenhagen Airport travellers in 2012, with over 133,000 passengers, followed by Oslo (95,597) and Stockholm (90,955). July was the busiest month, with over 2.3 million passengers, followed by June (2.2 million) and August (2.14 million), while January was the quietest with only 1.58 million passengers. Just a month ago, the airport completed a 225 million kroner construction project aimed at accomodating the rise in foreign passengers. (CW)
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 January 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
Price in kroner for one unit of foreign currency
If you would like to attend then please send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call +45 31 18 75 58 • official media partner
Date: 16 January 2013 Denmark’s only English-language newspaper
Arne V. Petersen, Københavns Lufthavne A/S
No break in sight for pharmaceutical monopoly Record year for Airport
THE COPENHAGEN POST THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK SPOUSE EMPLOYMENT PAGE
SPOUSE: Dolon Roy FROM: India SEEKING WORK IN: Sjælland QUALIFICATION: Masters in Science(Chemistry), BEd. (Teacher training course). EXPERIENCE: St. John Diocessan School February-May 2005, Kolkata, India. The Assembly of God Church School April-May 2006, Kolkata, India. Disari Public School June 2006-October 2007, India. Research project work Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Copenhagen University, March-July 2009. LOOKING FOR: Part time or full time work teaching in primary,secondary or higher school level (Chemistry, Mathematics, Science). LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, Hindi, Bengali, Danish (modul 3/modul 5). IT EXPERIENCE: Microsoft office. CONTACT: email@example.com. Tel: +45 60668239 SPOUSE: Chao Wen FROM: China SEEKING WORK IN: Great Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Language teacher (German, Chinese. 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CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +45 503 904 60 SPOUSE: Keshab Nidhi Pantha FROM: Nepal SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Masters in Mathematics EXPERIENCE: 4 years Mathematics teaching in secondary level and 2 years Mathematics teaching in Bachlor level. LOOKING FOR: Full time/ part time Mathematics teaching in international scool or College/ University LANGUAGE SKILLS: English,Nepali,Hindi and little Danish IT EXPERIENCE: 6 months diploma in computer with MS words and excel. CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel:+45 71579893 SPOUSE: Munawar Saleem FROM: Pakistan SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: MBA logistics and supply chain management (Jonkoping University, Sweden) M.Sc. Computer Sciences (Punjab University, Lahore Pakistan). EXPERIENCE: 4 years, Lecturer in computer sciences. LOOKING FOR: Full time or part time job in Logistics and Supply. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English (fluent), Urdu (mother tongue), Swedish (Basic). IT EXPERIENCE: Proficient in MS Office (word, excel, power point etc.). CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 71412010 SPOUSE: Ylenia Fiorini FROM: Italy SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Post Graduate Master’s Degree in Peace Studies, Development Cooperation, International Mediation and Conflict resolution EXPERIENCE: I have ten years experience as social worker in Italy,and experience in various fields, in the social and third sector and I feel that my educational background combined with my campaign assistant practice in the Ngo Burma Campaign, in Barcelona, has been an excellent preparation. In the same way also my job experiences in the social field made me open to different situations and to see them as a source of knowledge. LOOKING FOR: Entry Level jobs in the third sector field, in international organization or NGO’s LANGUAGE SKILLS: Italian Mother tongue, fluent in Spanish, English, French, Swedish (basic) IT EXPERIENCE: Ms Office (Mac,Windows) CONTACT: email@example.com SPOUSE: S.M. Ariful Islam FROM: Bangladesh SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: PhD student (2nd year) in Language Policy and Practice in Aalborg University, MA in Bilingualism, MA in English Linguistics, BA in English. EXPERIENCE: 18 months as a University lecturer in English in Bangladesh. Taught advanced grammar, four skills (listening, speaking, reading & writing), ELT courses, Second Language theories, Psycholinguistics, Sociolinguistics. LOOKING FOR: A position of English teacher/lecturer in English Medium Schools, Colleges and Universities. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Bengali (mother tongue), English (second language), Danish (fluent) Danske Uddannelse PD3, Hindi and Urdu (Spoken) and Swedish (basic). IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Tel: +45 42778296 SPOUSE: Lorena Augusta Moreira FROM: Brazil SEEKING WORK IN: Great Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Interior Designer. EXPERIENCE: + 3 of experience with interior design and sales of furniture and decoration products. LOOKING FOR: Position in an Organization/Company in the fields of: Interior design, lay-out and organization of vitrines, sales and assistance management. IT EXPERIENCE: Microsoft office (word, excel, outlook, access and power-point) access to internet. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English (fluent), Portuguese (native) and Spanish (pre-intermediate). CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: + 45 52177084
18 - 24 January 2013 SPOUSE: Fernando Carlos Cardeira da Silva FROM: Portugal SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Accounting course from Danish Institution (Regnskabs medarbejder at Niels Brock), previous frequency of Accounting and Management courses in Portugal. EXPERIENCE: I have more than 5 years of experience in accounting. LOOKING FOR: Job as accounting assistant. IT EXPERIENCE: Microsoft Office (Excel, Word and Power point) and accounting software such as Navision C5. LANGUAGE SKILLS: I can read and write Danish, English, Portuguese, Spanish and French. CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: +45 50437588 SPOUSE: Bhargavi Lanka Venkata FROM: India SEEKING WORK IN: IT industry- Software - Manual & Automation Testing. QUALIFICATION: Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science Engineering. EXPERIENCE: Part Time/Full Time work in Software Testing, 4 years and 9 months experience as Senior Software Engineer – Testing in a US based MNC in Bangalore, India. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, Hindi, Enrolled for Danish classes. IT EXPERIENCE: Manual testing, Automation Regrwession testing using QTP, Web service testing using SOA Tool, HP Quality center, Unix, SQL, XML, Basic shell scripting. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 50376689 SPOUSE: Chiara Stevanato FROM: Italy SEEKING WORK IN: København or nearby areas QUALIFICATION: Bachelor degree in Physics. EXPERIENCE: Now completing the Master’s degree in Physics at Københavns Universitet. LOOKING FOR: Research in Physics. Research projects related to scientific areas. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Written and spoken Italian, written and spoken English, written and Spoken French, very basic written and spoken Danish (still attending a second level course). IT EXPERIENCE: Operating systems: Windows, Linux. Programming languages: basic C, C++; Python. CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: 41681741 SPOUSE: Maihemutijiang Maimaiti FROM: China SEEKING WORK IN: Aarhus area, Denmark QUALIFICATION: M.Sc. In Computer Science, Uppsala University, Sweden; Bachelor of Engineering in Computer Science, Southwest University. LOOKING FOR: IT jobs. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, Chinese, Uyghur. IT EXPERIENCE: 1 year experience in Java programming and modelling in VDM++. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org SPOUSE: Mr Prenit Kumar Pokhrel FROM: Nepal SEEKING WORK IN: Anywhere in Denmark QUALIFICATION: Masters degree in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (3 years), Bachelor in Dental Surgery (On the Process of Danish Education for International Education, for independent practice). EXPERIENCE: 12 years in Dentistry and related research field. LOOKING FOR: Jobs in Dental Clinics, assisting dental specialist in his/her work, researches in oral health, oral health awareness programs and private clinics, Teaching health in schools. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English (fluent written and spoken), Enrolled for Danish Language classes, Nepali, Hindi. IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: +457182 1485 SPOUSE: Monika Sysiak FROM: Poland SEEKING WORK IN: Greater Copenhagen / eastern Zealand QUALIFICATION: Master degree in Environmental Engineering from Cracow University of Technology. Major in Water Supply, Sewage and Waste Treatment and Water Quality Protection. Completed one semester in Environmental Engineering at Engineering College of Aarhus. EXPERIENCE: Internship during studies in designing water supply systems and sewerage systems. LOOKING FOR: Graduation programme, internship, training, part time or full time job related to my qualifications. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Polish (mother tongue), English (fluent), Danish (starting). IT-EXPERIENCE: AutoCAD, MOUSE DHI, MS Windows, MS Office. CONTACT: EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +45 50 43 70 43 SPOUSE: Sadra Tabassi FROM: Iran SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Master of Business Administration (MBA) LOOKING FOR: Any full time job related to my qualification field LANGUAGE SKILLS: Languages Fluent in English; Native in Farsi (Persian) and elementary level of Arabic. IT EXPERIENCE: Basic knowledge about computer (Windows), Office 2010 (Word, Excel, Power Point),Statistical software (SPSS) CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel:+4550337753 SPOUSE: Dr Tessa Kate Anderson FROM: UK SEEKING WORK IN: University, education, research, social science, geography, GIS, spatial analysis, urban geography. EXPERIENCE: PhD from UCL (UK) in GIS and road safety, Assistant Professor at University of Canterbury, New Zealand for 3 years, Assistant Professor in GIS at University of Queensland for 1 year, Research Fellow at University of Hong Kong for 3 years. I have experience in project management and working in both the private and public sector. I have taught up to Masters level and have design courses and taught extensively. LOOKING FOR: Research, teaching, consultancy positions. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, French (small amount), Chinese (beginner), I am enrolled at Danish language school IT EXPERIENCE: ArcGIS, MapInfo, GeoDa, Global Mapper, GWR, Python, Image J, SPSS, Excel, Work, PowerPoint, Access, Dreamweaver, Adobe, SAS, open source GIS programmes. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org SPOUSE: Nina Chatelain FROM: Vancouver, BC, Canada SEEKING WORK IN: Midt - og syd jylland QUALIFICATION: BA courses in English and anthropology, certificate in desktop publishing and graphic design, internationally certified yoga teacher since 1999. EXPERIENCE: Over 7 years experience as the assistant to the director (what would correspond to a direktionssekretær position) at an international university museum where i also was seconded to act as the program administrator – a project management internal communications role – for the museum’s major renovation project. I acted as the director’s right hand and the museum’s communications hub where I had daily contact with the visiting public, community stakeholders, volunteers and students. I have earlier worked as an editor and writer in various capacities, as well as a desktop publisher/graphic designer. LOOKING FOR: An administrative role in a creative company that needs someone who can juggle a variety of projects and use excellent English writing and editing skills LANGUAGE SKILLS: English (mother tongue) and Danish (fluent comprehension-studieprøven / university entrance exam). IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office Package, PC and Apple, have earlier worked with various desktop publishing software, quick to learn new software and systems. CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: +45 29707430
SPOUSE: Kamali Ganesan SEEKING WORK IN: Jylland, Denmark QUALIFICATION: IT engineer. EXPERIENCE: LEGO systems. LOOKING FOR: IT and Multimedia jobs. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Tamil, English and Danish. IT EXPERIENCE: 3 Years in LEGO systems. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
SPOUSE: Teja Priyanka FROM: India SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: MBA in Finance and marketing, bachelor in Biotechnology. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Telugu(mother tongue), Hindi, English, Danish(beginner). IT EXPERIENCE: Familiar with Microsoft office (word, excel, Powerpoint,access), Photoshop. CONTACT: email@example.com SPOUSE: Clotilde IMBERT FROM: France SEEKING WORK IN: Greater Copenhagen Qualification: Master of town planning and development and master of urban geography (Paris IVSorbonne) EXPERIENCE: 5 years in field of town planning and development: Coordinator in urban project in a semi-public company: supervised a major urban project in Paris area (coordination of studies, acquisition of lands, worked with Planning Development of the Town Council, architects, developers to define the master plan and implement the project); Officer in research and consultancy firm (urban diagnosis, environmental impact assessments, inhabitants consultation). LOOKING FOR: A job in urban project field: planning department of Town Council or consultancy firm in town planning, environment and sustainable development, architecture firm, real estate development company. LANGUAGE SKILLS: French (mother tongue), English (professional usage), Spanish (basic), Danish (In progress). IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office, Abode Illustrator, AutoCad (basic), PC and Mac. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org SPOUSE: Yelynn Kim FROM: South Korea SEEKING WORK IN: Greater Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Craftsman Cook, Korea Food,2004/Craftsman Bartender,2005/ Craftsman Cook, Japanese Food,2006(Certified by Human Resources Development Service of Korea). EXPERIENCE: I’m educated and trained chef who can make Korean Japanese and Chinese food. I have strong cooking skills on healthy Korean food. But I think the food that I cook is not only tastes good and healthy but also should be art on a dish. I can develop and implement of new dishes for the menu. I’m experienced chef and can work under multifaceted and busy environment. I am accurate, fast and precise in my work and I’m also a flexible and stable person. I can do supervision of the kitchen in general, including control of cleaning, hygiene, stock and other ad hoc tasks. LOOKING FOR: Chef LANGUAGE SKILLS: Korean(native),English(fluent),Chinese(good), Japanese(a little bit), Danish(currently learning) IT EXPERIENCE: MS office CONTACT: email@example.com SPOUSE: Chiara Rodighiero FROM: Siena, Italy SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen or nearby areas, Greater Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Ph.D. in Microbiology (Univeristy of Bristol, UK), Laurea (Degree) in Pharmaceutical Chemistry (University of Padova, Italy), Project Manager Professional Certification (George Washington University, School of Business). EXPERIENCE: 5 years as Senior Project Manager for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics. Responsibility for managing multiple global projects at various stages of Research and Development. Experience coordinating activities within cross-functional teams and ensuring that internal research activities are fully aligned with project goals. Experience also includes managing a team of scientists, controlling research budgets and resource allocation. Also have experience working for Biotech (in United Kingdom) and academia (Harvard Medical School). LOOKING FOR: Full time position in the Pharma/Biotech Industry in Research, Project Management or related fields suiting my qualifications and experience. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Italian mother tongue , very good command of English and a working knowledge of French. IT EXPERIENCE: Microsoft Office package. Excellent command of internet and ability to find information on the web. Excellent command of word-processor and spreadsheet applications. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +39 348 790 7554 SPOUSE: Raffaele Menafra FROM: Italy SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: A degree as Prevention techniques in Work and Workplaces. EXPERIENCE: I worked 4 years in a rehabilitation clinic. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Italian (native), English, Danish (currently learning). IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office. CONTACT: email@example.com SPOUSE: Victor Bosie-Boateng FROM: Ghana SEEKING WORK IN: All of Denmark QUALIFICATION: Master of social science (Development studies & International relations) from Aalborg University in Denmark EXPERIENCE: 5 years of wide experience working as a consultant to some NGO’s, a past JPO and intern at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Very organised and well abreast with project management, Good communication strategists, indepth study and understanding of climate change issues, Former teacher and teaching assistant at a university, well abreast with the use of the microsoft operating systems LOOKING FOR: Work as a consultant, assistant project officer, programme officer, development analysts, administrative officer. Also open to a position at an NGO, danida and other development oriented organisations LANGUAGE SKILLS: English (fluent), French (moderate), Dutch (moderate), Danish (Good) IT EXPERIENCE: Microsoft word, excel, powerpoint, microsoft project and many more. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 28746935, 53302445
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper
WHY: The Copenhagen Post wishes to help spouses looking for jobs in Denmark. We have on our own initiative started a weekly spouse job page in The Copenhagen Post, with the aim to show that there are already within Denmark many highly educated international candidates looking for jobs. If you are a spouse to an international employee in Denmark looking for new career opportunities, you are welcome to send a profile to The Copenhagen Post at email@example.com and we will post your profile on the spouse job page when possible. Remember to get it removed in case of new job.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
18 - 24 January 2013 SPOUSE: Lillian Liu FROM: Taiwan SEEKING WORK IN: Marketing/Public Relations. QUALIFICATION: Bachelor of Foreign Language and Literature (Major in English, and minor in French) EXPERIENCE: 5+ years of professional experiences in Marketing and PR. I am a dynamic and creative marketing communications talent with substantial international working experience in large corporation and in agencies, possessing Integrated Marketing Communication ability. Proficient in analyzing market trends to provide critical inputs for decision-making and formulating marketing communication strategies. Familiar with brand image build-up, channel marketing, media communication, issue management, etc. Possess in-depth understanding/knowledge of APAC market and Chinese culture. LOOKING FOR: Marketing jobs in Jylland. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Mandarin Chinese, English, Danish, French. IT EXPERIENCE: Familiar with Windows O/S and MS Office. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper
Key Account Manager (maternity cover)
SPOUSE: Jawon Yun-Werner FROM: South Korea SEEKING WORK IN: Healthcare, Hospitals, Elderly/Child Care (in Greater Copenhagen Area). QUALIFICATION: B.A. in Nursing, Masters in Public Health. I am AUTHORIZED to work as a Nurse in Denmark. (Have Danish CPR and work permit). EXPERIENCE: 1O years of experience as a nurse and midwife from the prominent hospitals. LOOKING FOR: Any healthcare related jobs (hospitals, clinics, elderly/childcare places). I am open to any shift or day. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, Korean, Danish (Intermediate, in progress, Module 3). IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office, SASS Statistical Software CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: +45 30 95 20 53
MUSIC FESTIVAL 7 - 20 NOVEMBER 2011
FROM SCHÜTZ TO GEIST
Early German Baroque Music 1600-1700 In commemoration of Christian Geist (c.1650-1711)
Discovering Israel: Inside the Holy Land Special advertising section INSIDE!
Photo: Karsten Movang
Copenhagen Renaissance Music Festival Special advertising section INSIDE!
THEATRE OF VOICES
4 - 10 November 2011 | Vol 14 Issue 44
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | cphpost.dk ILLUSTRATION BY PETER STANNERS
Dane unable to obtain family reunification for his Thai girlfriend says residency rules are a Catch-22
Are you interested in becoming part of one Denmark’s most exciting media workplaces? The Copenhagen Post is on the move, and we’re looking to break into new advertising markets. As maternity cover for one of our current employees, you could become a part of that effort.
Exploiting ‘fat tax’ Supermarkets are scamming their customers under the guise of the new national ‘fat tax’
NEWS | 3
Get in or get out
This is a full-time, temporary position starting as soon as possible.
Is now the time to join the euro, or to run like hell?
National coach Morten Olsen’s new contract will keep him in the job until after the 2014 World Cup.
A new budget to ‘kickstart’ the economy JENNIFER BULEY
SPOUSE: Katarzyna Szkaradek FROM: Poland SEEKING WORK IN: Mental hospitals, voluntary(Ngo) organisations, kindergartens, nurseries, babysitting QUALIFICATION: Ma in Psychology (2008), post graduate studies in psychotherapy (4th year/ 5 year). EXPERIENCE: I am a highly motivated and creative individual with excellent communication skills. From January 2010 till August 2010 I worked independly in private practice. For the last 2 years (January ,2009 -October, 2010) I worked with children (also with special needs -Autism, Asperger, Down syndrome etc) and their families as a psychologist. My duties included organizing games, monitoring children’s development , consulting teachers and parents where appropriate and providing individual therapy. For the last 10 years I was member of NGO organisation and I was a volunteer in Israel, Italy, Portugal and Romania. LOOKING FOR: Internship in mental hospitals, part – time or full time jobs in kindergartens, nurseries, job as a babysitter, voluntary job in hospitals. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English–advance level (C1), Danish – (module 3 /module 5), Polish-native speaker IT EXPERIENCE: MS Windows, basic MS Office, Internet. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 50828802
How Christianity borrowed from Norse mythology and branded Jesus as a tough guy in order to woo the pagan Vikings
HISTORY | 19
9 771398 100009
Price: 25 DKK
SRSF’s first budget will spend 17.5 billion kroner on infrastructure and abolish previous taxes and restrictions
AN YOU HAVE your cake and eat it too? Conventional wisdom says no, but with their first budget plan since the shift of power, the new Socialdemokraterne-RadikaleSocialistisk Folkeparti (SRSF) coalition appear to be giving it a shot. Many of the elements of the new budget – which is expected to be released in its entirety on Thursday – will increase state spending at a time when the budget deficit has increased. But where the money would come from remained a mystery. A number of the new budget items reinstate spending cuts made by the pre-
vious Venstre-Konservative (VK) govern- the number of students. Moreover, stument. Here are a few of the major points: dents will no longer pay administrative Families: VK limited the state’s fees, and prospective Master’s students monthly child support handouts (bør- will have prerequisite course tuitions necheck) to 35,000 kroner per fam- paid. The government will also fund ily. That limit has now been abolished, 1,500 more state-supported internship meaning that many families will get positions. Infrastructure and job creation: larger child benefits. The government will also pay for fertility treatments and Some 17.5 billion kroner will be invested over two years in infrastructure voluntary sterilisations. Welfare: VK and Dansk Folkeparti projects, such as a new rail line between (DF) introduced specialised welfare pro- Copenhagen and Ringsted, a project to grammes that reduced the cash benefits widen the Holbæk motorway, erosion for new immigrants. Those programmes protection efforts along Jutland’s west have now been eliminated and going coast, and renovations to public housforward all residents in need of state ing. Prime minister Helle Thorningsupport will receive the same welfare Schmidt has said that these ‘kickstart’ projects will create 20,000 new jobs benefits. Higher education and research: from 2012-2013. The Danish ConstrucUniversities will get an extra one billion tion Association predicts 10,000. Tax break:meeting The unpopular ‘mulkroner over two years to cover costs as- a personal Organise sociated with a predicted increase in timedia tax’ introduced by VK will be
FULL TIME MBA and sit in on a class.
abolished, saving some 525,000 Danes with business laptops and mobile phones 3,000 kroner per year. Not everyone, however, can look forward to a cash infusion. Smokers and junk food lovers will be taxed higher on their vices, while international corporations will also see higher tax bills. SRSF plans to raise revenue by closing a number of tax loopholes going back nearly 20 years that allowed international corporations in Denmark to escape paying corporate taxes (see more on page 15). All told, the spending increases in the new budget are not as big as the minister of the economy and interior, Margrethe Vestager (R), would like. She noted that VK under-reported the deficit for 2012, making it imprudent to spend more. But Denmark will still meet the EU’s financial responsibility benchmarks, despite the larger deficit, she added.
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We publish a weekly print newspaper (circulation 15,000), operate the website cphpost.dk and have a number of new on-line products in development. Our offices are located in Copenhagen’s Kødbyen district and we offer an international work environment and a social atmosphere. We seek an experienced B2B and media salesperson who can speak English and Danish. The ideal candidate will be able to work independently, be goaloriented and capable of seeing opportunities. Your role will be to service existing customers and develop new relations, while at the same time help us open new markets.
InOut The CPH Post Entertainment Guide | 16 - 22 Sep
KIDS ON FILM YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT BUSTER! THE CHILDREN’S MOVIE FEST IS HERE page
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18 - 24 January 2013
Ben Hamilton Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp HHHHHH
A Jacopo Martini
quick straw poll among the group I took to the Copenhagen Theatre Circle’s ongoing production of ‘Aladdin and his Wonderful Lamp’ revealed the difficulty of appraising pantomime: everybody had a different
Mario Paganini: “Just looking at him was enough to make me laugh.”
favourite character – proof that it really is for all-comers. Michel, early 40s, a Dane, liked Huangshan (played by Mario Paganini), the son of a lord who will employ villainous means to marry the princess. “Just looking at him was enough to make me laugh,” Michel chuckled. Karla and Rosa, both eight, British-Danish and Danish, were won over by the zany energy of Wishy-Washy (Kaan Arici), the brother of Aladdin and ‘friend’ of the audience, just like Buttons in ‘Cinderella’. Sitting on the front row, they screamed with laughter when he frontally probed them – young girls today, they’re so fickle. Billie, five, British-Danish, was obviously still in dreamland when asked the next day. Given the one word edgeways she rations me a day at home, it was amazing to see her sit so still, wondrously dumbstruck by the proceedings. Her only audible words in three hours were a softly-spoken, rehearsed “He’s behind you” – the villain’s disguises were that good we only had cause to use it once. Her favourite character? She changed her mind four times before opting for Aladdin (Sebastien Bagot), a good choice, not just by Billie, but the producers, who in Bagot have bagged another title character to bring the same heart-felt sentiment that was at the centre of Cinderella’s success a year earlier.
Catching up with an old china has never been this much fun
Abanazar (Martin Popplewell) hilariously fights off the advances of Widow Twankey (Iven Gilmore)
And Daddy, so close to 40 you can smell the fear, British, really enjoyed the performance of Abanazar (Martin Popplewell, the landlord of St Nicks, which from February 1 will be reopening as the Red Lion), an evil magician whose plans to rule the universe depend on the acquisition of a certain lamp. He, like the genies, mostly spoke in rhyme and interaction with the audience – preferred prose styles overall to gags (some worked, some didn’t) and word play. And while I’ve never really noticed this across the bar before, Popplewell’s really quite sinewy and bulbous-eyed
and uses these features to great comedic, comic book effect. And as it is my review, I think I’ll quickly add that I enjoyed watching Debbie Taylor who played WPC Pang. Her performance recalled those of Joyce Grenfell as the policewoman in the early St Trinian’s films. When the characterisation’s that good, you don’t notice the weak lines. However, entering the Krudttønden theatre, we’d kind of expected we’d encounter some characters we’d like more than others – what made this particular pantomime stand out was its surprise element. The puppetry
above the curtains to convey that Abanazar was looking down into the darkness of the cave was inspired. As was the installation that took us on a whirlwind magic carpet ride from China, via a rollercoaster, to Egypt. There were some truly memorable ensemble moments, particularly those led by the Genie of the Lamp (Josh Shires), whose infectious rhythm and rousing stage presence had everyone bobbing along Bollywood-style, and no doubt some of the ladies swooning. And the costumes and props this year were marvellously intricate – hats off to the designer Maria Lundbye and creative coordinator Nathalie Bessonnet who should give up their day jobs if this isn’t what they do already. Some of the disguises used by Huangshan and his father – our very own columnist Frank Theakston, who during his impression of an ape proved that at the age of 70 he truly is the oldest swinger in town – were so ingenious, they fooled some of the audience, or at least me at any rate. The CTC has certainly found a winning formula in panto, and staging it at such a small theatre (just 100 seats) put the audience so close to the action, they become part of it. It really is intimate – like spending an evening with old friends. Not everyone will laugh at the same time, but laugh you most certainly will.
Apologetic if anything The battle ‘royal’ is on F
ollowing on from its acquisition of Bruce Springsteen in 2011, the Roskilde Festival has confirmed it will be welcoming another superstar of music to its stage this year – at least in terms of record sales. Because love her or hate her, the Barbadian R&B/pop/dance/ hip-hop songstress Rihanna, will very arguably become the biggest individual act to ever appear at the festival this July. In just eight years, she has already sold 100 million plus albums – the same number as Prince (who appeared at Roskilde in 2010) and Springsteen, who have been active since 1976 and 1972 respectively. The festival’s official confirmation described Rihanna as “a poppy queen of hearts”, promising a “spectacular party under the Nordic summer sky”.
“Rihanna’s talent, charisma, dance moves and long line of hits dominate a show filled with glamour, sex appeal and inescapable choruses,” it enthused. And perhaps in anticipation of some complaints from the hordes of fans who attend the festival predominantly to rock out, the festival added that while Rihanna is “from the poppy end of the genre scale”, it has already announced “more rock-orientated bands”, including Queens of the Stone Age, Slipknot and Volbeat. Nevertheless, it hasn’t stopped many fans taking to the festival’s official website forum to criticise the choice. “Is this a joke,” one commenter wrote in disbelief, while another warned fans to expect her to be late. And a third blasted the festival for hiring someone who he felt would be more at home at the family-friendly Langelandsfestival. “What are your future goals?” he demanded. Similar concerns about Rihanna’s suitability were voiced by
a commenter on the festival’s official website back in December. “Rihanna sucked ass on her festival tour last year,” he wrote, drawing readers’ attention to a Swedish review written for Gaffa magazine last year, which only gave Rihanna one star out of six. Rihanna is touring the UK extensively this summer, both before and after Roskilde, to promote her latest album ‘Unapologetic’, which she released last month. She is scheduled to appear at another festival, T in the Park in Edinburgh, from July 11-14. (BH) Scanpix
Roskilde Festival unveils performance of pop superstar Rihanna with veiled apology to rock fans, who attack the announcement as “a joke”
They break down the gates for a campsite – how far will they go to get close to a megastar?
Jessica Hanley ‘En kongelig affære’ is nominated for best foreign language film, while hopeful short ‘9 Meter’ is snubbed
ikolaj Arcel's historical romance 'En kongelig affære' (‘A Royal Affair’) has been nominated for an Oscar in the best foreign language film category. The line-ups were announced last week on friday in Los Angeles. After being selected as Denmark’s submission for the award, ‘En kongelig affære’ made the nine-film shortlist for the award on December 21. The historical romance – which depicts a love triangle between a young Danish queen, her royal physician, and her increasingly insane husband, the king of Denmark – has already received a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign language film. The film will go up against its Norwegian neighbours for the
Oscar, who secured a nod for ‘Kon-Tiki’. The other contenders for the award are Canada's 'War Witch', Chile's 'No', and Austria's ‘Amour’, which is a strong favourite to win. The French-language film from Michael Haneke is nominated for Oscars in three other categories, including best picture. ‘En kongelig affære’ is the ninth Danish film to be nominated for an Oscar for best foreign language film – a category it has won three times before. Denmark last took home the award for 2010 with Susanne Bier’s ‘Hævnen’ (‘In a Better World’). The country’s second Oscar hopeful of 2012, ‘9 Meter’, however, did not fare so well. The film, directed by Anders Walter Hansen, was in contention for best live action short film, and it had made the category’s elevenfilm shortlist in late November – but ultimately it failed to secure a nomination. The 85th Academy Awards will take place on February 24.
Who is … Mette Frederiksen
She is the employment minister and an MP for Socialdemokraterne. Currently, she’s got her hands full trying to come up with a way to find jobs for the tens of thousands of people losing their unemployment benefits due to a reform that took effect this month. So, she’s a cabinet member. Will this be the zenith of her career? She may well wind up leading her party one day. Around the time a new party leader was being selected in 2005, some were already looking to her as a replacement, but at that time she was only 29 and considered to be too young. Recently though, rumours have been swirling of internal dissatisfaction with Helle ThorningSchmidt as party leader. The rumours gained credibility after three other leading members of the party (but not the PM) penned an op-ed that outlined what it means to be a modern social democrat. Is she liked? She has a straightforward approach that voters seem to be able to associate with. She recently went against the grain by stating that the economy can’t survive on ‘creative jobs’ alone and calling for greater focus on manufacturing during discussions about job creation. Any skeletons in the closet that might haunt her? She did find herself in the tabloids back in 2010 after it was discovered that her children were enrolled in a private school, despite a scathing attack five years earlier on parents who sent their children to private schools. Oops. How did she explain that one? Admitted that having kids had made her realise that being a parent isn’t as black and white as she once thought. Said like a true politician.
DENMARK THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
18 - 24 January 2013
ANDY RUGG Whether they held Nazi sympathies, disliked communism or were drawn by the financial benefits, many Danes escaped the German occupation to fight for their enemy during the Second World War
HE RECENT theft of Second World War documents from Rigsarkivet, the state archives, garnered international attention. Over the course of a decade, two men had set about deliberately pilfering key documents that related to the participation of Danes in volunteer German units. Nazi sympathisers, apparently motivated by the desire to ‘rewrite history’, the two men have inadvertently reminded us of one of Denmark’s less than noble historical truths. Over the course of the war, thousands volunteered to fight for the Nazis, seeing action on the battlefields of Europe and the Soviet Union, from Berlin to Leningrad. Following the occupation of Denmark in 1940 under the guise of ‘protecting’ the Danes from a British invasion, the Nazis set about recruiting from the population. The Danish Nazi Party was a leading force in the recruitment drive, and through its newspaper ‘Fatherland’ it attempted to extol the virtues of fighting for the Germans. Not surprisingly, few took up the initial offer; however, numbers increased following Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. Although some volunteers were recruited from the ethnically German parts of Denmark, these were still firmly in the minority as the men who fought for the Nazis were drawn from a wide cross-section of Danish society. Some ascribed to the same
extremist ideology as the Nazis, while others joined for financial reasons. Surprisingly, the regular army officers of the Danish Royal Army were permitted to join – encouraged to do so by the German diplomat Cecil von Renthe-Fink, who all but ran the Danish government. The Danish ‘Free Corps’ was one volunteer Danish force, formed in June 1941. Sporting a Danish flag with the words ‘Frikcorps Danmark’ in the upper left corner, the corps was disbanded in 1943 after seeing action in Latvia and the Soviet Union, fighting alongside veteran German units including the 1 SS Infantry Brigade. When the corps first returned to Denmark after their initial experiences in combat, they received a hostile welcome from Danish civilians. Street fights were not uncommon. Considering that many Danes were either supportive of the Danish resistance, or actively involved in it, this was not surprising. Another more notorious unit involving Danes was the 11th SS Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division Nordland. Comprised of mostly Scandinavians, the unit also included a wide range of other nationals from countries including Spain, Switzerland, Estonia and France. Under Hitler’s direct orders, the division was remodelled in 1943 under foreign officers and put into action for the first time, fighting Tito’s partisans in the former Yugoslavia. By 1944, the Nordland division had been moved to the Eastern Front, seeing action in and around Leningrad. As the Soviets broke out of the German encirclement, the Nordland division retreated, eventually moving with the rest of Hitler’s forces out of the Soviet Union and into eastern Europe. The unit withdrew repeatedly until 1945 when
WEILL. DET TYSKE FORBUNDSARKIV
Traitor Danes: most soldiers return heroes, but this lot came home total zeroes
Simonsen swapped den store Bastian (below) for Struwwelpeter (top right), but wisely decided to keep the Scissor Man (above)
The Danish Free Corps even wrote its name on the Danish flag – a bitter reminder that Denmark was anything but free
it became clear that the Soviet advance couldn’t be halted. It is sadly ironic that by the end of the war, there were Danish volunteers fighting to defend Berlin while their countrymen in the resistance were escalating their attacks in cities across Denmark. By May, the Nordland division had been decimated, but they still attempted to fight on, no doubt aware of the repercussions of defeat should they be handed back to their respective governments. Following
the unconditional surrender of Germany on 8 May 1945, many of the Nordland volunteers were taken prisoner by the Soviets and marched east, while others attempted to make it to Allied lines. Those who did were taken prisoner and sent home, facing newly hostile governments that tried many of them as traitors. While the participation of Danish volunteers in Nazi units is a sore point in Danish history, it must be remembered that fascism and Nazism were not
unique to Germany alone, and that there was some support for Hitler’s ideology in other countries around the world. Many countries, including Britain, Australia and the United States, had extreme right-wing political movements in the 1930s – the Great Depression precipitated by the Wall Street Crash of 1929 had lent weight to their anticommunist stance. While some of its countrymen fought for the Nazis, the Danes were not the only ones to do so – a point that
is easier to understand considering that Denmark was under occupation for most of the war. However, attempting to steal evidence of the past is no way to change that. The fact that more Danes sympathised with the resistance than the Nazis speaks for itself; to deny historical truths is a dangerous and damaging exercise. In the end, it pays to recognise history, no matter how shameful, as only then are we able to reconcile ourselves with it.
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