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25 - 31 January 2013 | Vol 16 Issue 4
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Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | cphpost.dk THOMAS NYGAARD
Economists expecting the worst as many homeowners prepare to start repaying mortgage principal
All play but no work Immigration rule changes leave theatre school’s foreign students in a tight spot
Trial reopens old scars for students as court tries to place blame for 2010 boating accident
Happiness is ... a shack where you can on a cold day drink beer together with your friends
Greatness beckons Big week for sport as handball teams and football manager Laudrup gear up for key matches
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Disagreement over how to tackle unemployment PETER STANNERS Maersk cheif says cutting salaries will bring back industrial jobs, but union argues a better solution is to create jobs by investing in public infrastructure
EFORE THE daffodils arrive this spring, the government hopes to introduce reforms to kick-start Denmark’s ailing economy and get people back into work. But business and union leaders have already voiced their proposals, and they vary vastly. Like the rest of Europe, Denmark is struggling to shrug off the effects of 2008’s financial crisis before which only around 67,500 people were unemployed. Unemployment rapidly rose following the crisis and levelled off at around 163,000 in early 2010 where it remains today.
Industrial jobs have been particularly slow to return to Denmark, which Nils Smedegaard Andersen, the managing director of shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk, stated is because Danish salaries are uncompetitive. “In order to make it possible for more people to enter the job market, we need to lower salaries. This will enable industry to remain in Denmark and provide work,” Andersen told Berlingske newspaper. “Not everyone is highly educated or qualified enough for more advanced jobs, and Danish salaries are not competitive with those in India, Germany or Sweden. That’s why jobs are leaving the country.” His view is supported by Lars Løkke Rasmussen, the leader of the centreright party Venstre, Denmark’s largest political party. “We need to first and foremost ensure that people increase their education and qualifications in order to be able to
compete for knowledge work, but we also need to ensure that our salaries do not rise faster than abroad, which would reduce our competitive ability.” Venstre and other right-wing parties have also argued that there are plenty of low income jobs available, but that there is little incentive to take a job because unemployment benefits are too generous. One Venstre MP, Hans Andersen, even argued that the unemployed should be forced to move to parts of the country where work is available. Libertarian party Liberal Alliance (LA) argued that simply cutting unemployment benefits was sufficient, however. “Our benefits are too generous,” LA MP Joachim B Olsen told tabloid Ekstra Bladet. “It would make more sense to cut it to a reasonable level rather than make them move. If there is the correct incentive, people will move on their own.” But not everyone agrees that the un-
employed are to blame for the struggling economy. The confederation of trade unions, LO, argue that over 21,000 jobs could be created over the next two years if the government and pension funds invested in Danish infrastructure. “The lack of growth can be blamed first and foremost on the fact that we are not spending enough money,” LO’s chairman, Harald Børsting, stated in a press release. “We need to increase domestic demand in order to create more workplaces.” LO’s proposals include building new public housing, investing in railways and improving energy efficiency, as well as halting proposed cuts to the tax authority Skat. It argues that employing 500 more full-time staff members will result in a 300 million kroner annual surplus after their salaries are paid.
Unemployment continues on page 4
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Week in review
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
CPH Post Word of the Week:
25 - 31 January 2013 THE WEEK’S MOST READ STORIES AT CPHPOST.DK
Afdragsfrilån (noun) – mortgage with deferred principal payments. Where have you heard it: From people blaming each other for the economic calamity the mortgages will cause when homeowners need to start repaying them
Up in smoke: Notorious ‘coffee shop’ closes its doors
Paw of approval
Intense criticism over planned Danske Bank fee changes Being Mr Nice Guy Concerns over possible Scandia Housing bankruptcy Christiania crackdown yielding weapons and drugs
FROM OUR ARCHIVES TEN YEARS AGO. A critical shortage of qualified train conductors means central and western Jutland lines will not run free of delays for perhaps more than half a year. FIVE YEARS AGO. The Danish men’s handball team wins its first ever gold medal at the European Handball Championship. ONE YEAR AGO. Anti-Muslim organisation Danish Defence League announces plans for first major rally in Aarhus.
Polar bears tested the waters in their new digs at Copenhagen Zoo earlier this week. The zoo’s newly-built Arctic Ring pavilion opens in February, and the bears are gradually being given the chance to get used to the larger facility
be replaced. Companies are expected to address the issue during their annual general meetings this spring, and some have begun recruiting more board members with professional experience. Industry analysts said Finanstilsynet’s move indicated it had become impatient with the pace of change.
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper
Some 17 councils are under suspicion for concealing how some farmers bend the rules in order to gain EU subsidies. Farmers must meet requirements in areas such as health, animal welfare and the environment. If the councils report violations to state officials, it can result in subsidies being revoked. Although
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it has no direct control over the councils, it is the state that is issued with the fine if the EU uncovers misdoing, which could amount to hundreds of millions of kroner. In one instance, officials from Aabenraa Council told off 195 farmers in 2012 without reporting a single violation, according to Politiken newspaper.
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Financial watchdogs at Finanstilsynet are preparing to get rid of members of boards of financial companies – including banks, insurance companies and pension funds they feel are not competent. The authority has concluded that some executives are failing to live up to finance industry standards and should
Boards on notice
New channel choices
TV viewers will notice something different about their channel line-up starting on January 28. Public broadcaster DR will be introducing two new channels. The first, DR3, will be marketed towards 15 to 39-year-olds – its first week schedule includes the Danish premiere of the US series ‘Girls’. DR Ramasjang
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Lille will feature programming for three to six-year-olds, freeing the current DR Ramasjang to air more programmes for older children. As part of the change, DR2 will become a news channel. To create space for the new channels, DR will be eliminating DR HD and headline news channel DR Update.
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25 - 31 January 2013 www.masterpiece.dk
Danes: Cameron’s EU speech sets new vision for Europe
Peter Stanners MEP says British PM’s plans for more flexible EU are wishful thinking, though an expert argues Cameron is not alone in demanding greater leeway for member states
The proposed route passes directly through Christiania
Christiania seeking to block bike path Christian Wenande Commune claims the route is unsafe and passes too close to its confines. City is open to changes, but not drastic ones
esidents of Christiania are seeking to alter the path of a proposed bicycle route they say passes too close to the commune. The route, named ‘Christianshavnsruten’, is designed to be a shortcut for cyclists travelling between the city centre and Amager. But Fonden Fristaden Christiania, which represents the commune’s interests, has lodged an official protest out of concerns that it poses a safety risk. “It’s like with windturbines. Even if you support sustainable energy, you can still oppose certain wind turbines being placed in certain locations, if they’re too noisy or pose some other problem,” Knud Foldschack, a spokesperson for Fonden Fristaden Christiania, told Politiken newspaper. “This will result in
too much traffic. The roads are sites. The ramparts surroundtoo narrow where the bicycle ing the disused naval base are listed as historic sites, and any paths are planned.” Plans to build the new path construction that affected them have been discussed for sev- would need to be approved. The city has already spoken eral years and are part of the City Council’s goal of mak- with Kulturstyrelsen about aling Copenhagen a more bike- ternative routes, but to no avail. “If Christiania can speak friendly city by building direct with Kulturstycycle routes relsen and come and bridges up with a differthat will help ent solution then cyclists reach we’d be willing their destinaThis will result in too to look at it,” tions quicker. F o n d e n much traffic. The roads Jens Elmelund, the assistant Fristaden Christiania appealed are too narrow where head of the city’s works dewithout success the bicycle paths are public partment, said. last autumn to “But paths like have construc- planned these have to be tion stopped. It is now looking into the possibil- as straight as possible or cyclists ity of altering the route so that won’t use them.” Aside from the route it doesn’t go straight through through Christiania, new paths the commune. The city said it was open to on Gothersgade and Kristian alternative routes, but said what IX’s Gade/Bremerholm and new ever the final path was, it should bridges across the harbour in Christianshavn are expected to be as straight as possible. A final decision about the alleviate bicycle traffic over the path of the route could lie in the two main bridges, Knippelsbro hands of Kulturstyrelsen, which and Langebro, connecting the manages the country’s historic city with Amager.
he EU has reached a turning point following British prime minister David Cameron’s highly anticipated speech about the union on Wednesday, according to legislators and policy watchers in Denmark. Cameron said the UK would hold a referendum on EU membership in the next five years once the country had renegotiated its relationship with the 27-member union. At the heart of his speech was a call for the EU to allow more space for national differences, while also reducing regulations he argued damaged competition in the single market. “The EU must be able to act with the speed and flexibility of a network, not the cumbersome rigidity of a bloc,” Cameron said. “[We] are a family of democratic nations, all members of one European Union, whose essential foundation is the single market rather than the single currency.” Cameron argued that the EU’s single market was its cornerstone, though MEP Dan Jørgensen (Socialdemokraterne) said that position ignored the value of other areas of European co-operation. “I don’t think he can get what he’s asking for,” Jørgensen told The Copenhagen Post. “He wants the EU to consist only of a single market, but we’ve made the union into something greater, which also protects the environment, social welfare and other areas. He is also calling for less regulation at the worst possible time. The economic crisis showed us the need to regulate markets more, not less.” The financial crisis and Eu-
Cameron’s speech has been called “a historic turning point” for the EU
rozone debt crisis have led to European leaders – spearheaded by France and Germany – calling for increased economic and budgetary integration. The fiscal compact and banking treaties that were drawn up last year are hoped to prevent future crises by providing a greater centralised EU oversight of country’s finances and banks. But the UK under Cameron seems to be moving in the opposite direction. While Cameron said he was currently in favour of remaining a member of the EU, the fear remains that if the UK is not granted the concessions it wants – such as staying out of the fiscal compact and securing opt-outs from justice and home affairs decisions – Cameron will support an exit that will throw the EU into even greater turmoil. Professor Peter Nedergaard, of the University of Copenhagen, argued Cameron’s speech was an attempt to map out a new path for the EU. “Flexible integration is a new discourse in the EU that is presented as an alternative to onesize-fits-all solutions and instead
allows countries to choose what areas of co-operation they do or do not want to be part of,” Nedergaard said. “This is the way ahead for Europe, and I think it would be a failure to view David Cameron as a lonely guy in this game. The major trend in Europe is acknowledging that we have a common core of trade and business regulations, but also accepting flexibility about how integrated countries want to be.” MEP Morten Messerschmidt (Dansk Folkeparti) is a strong supporter of Cameron’s demands for more flexibility within the EU and called his speech a “historic turning point for the EU”. He added that Denmark would be wise to follow the UK’s lead. “We should examine which areas of European co-operation infringe on Danish sovereignty, examine whether Denmark benefits from the co-operation and demand a return of power if they do not,” Messerschmidt told The Copenhagen Post. See related opinion piece on page 8
Not in your backyard, neighbouring council tells City Hall Christian Wenande Copenhagen’s plans to build wind turbines will disturb an EUmandated bird sanctuary, critics in neighbouring Hvidovre say
ocal councillors in Hvidovre are fuming that neighbouring Copenhagen plans to erect four wind turbines in a waterfront area on the border between the two cities. Hvidovre Council opposes the construction of the 148-metre wind turbines, which are four times the height of Copenhagen’s Round Tower, arguing they will spoil the view from their new beach near Kalvebod Syd,
while compromising an adjacent nature reserve. While citizen groups have been battling wind-turbine placements for years, many of the newest disputes have emerged between neighbouring local governments. And in the case of Hvidovre versus Copenhagen, the conflict is one that pits members of the same party against each other. A unanimous Hvidovre Council, including four Socialistisk Folkeparti (SF) members, has joined forces with a residents’ group to send a letter of protest to Ayfer Baykal, the deputy mayor for environmental affairs in Copenhagen – and a member of SF – concerning the turbines. “Our nature areas, with our
new beach, and our many residents living on the coast will be disturbed,” Anders Wolf Andresen (SF), a Hvidovre councillor, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “I simply don’t understand that they can’t find an alternate site for the turbines.” But so far, Baykal has dismissed Hvidovre’s objections, contending that the turbines are going up in accordance with the capital’s goal of becoming carbon-neutral by the year 2025. “We are not putting up the turbines in order to harass the people of Hvidovre,” Baykal told Jyllands-Posten. “And personally, I don’t mind them becoming part of the city skyline.” Hvidovre, however, cited other concerns, such as the im-
pact on the environment, and recreational and property values in the area. The council also expressed concern that up to 5,000 people risk being disturbed by the low-frequency noise and flashing lights emanating from the turbines. An environmental impact assessment carried out by Copenhagen Council did evaluate the effect of noise on residents, but according to Hvidovre officials, the calculations were based on the speed sound travels over land, not over water. Hvidovre Council officials said the Copenhagen report should have been based on Swedish calculation models, which take into account the different speeds.
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The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
25 - 31 January 2013
Ray Weaver While some worry that the expiration of ten-year interestfree periods will plunge the housing sector into a crisis, a former prime minister shrugs off blame for causing the current economic downturn
omeowners who ten years ago became the first people in the country to take advantage of a new kind of mortgage, which gave them the option of only making interest payments over the first decade, are going to try something new in the coming months: paying back the principal – if they can. For these homeowners, the end of these interest-only periods means drastically higher payments – about six times their current monthly payment – not only because they need to start paying back the principal of their loans, but also because they will have ten fewer years to do it. About 5,600 afdragsfrie mortgages kick in this year, but many more will follow in the years to come. “We are not worried about 2013,” Christian Hilligsøe Heinig, the chief economist with mortgage lender Realkredit Denmark, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. The first real increases come in 2014 and 2015, and
we will advise customers of the options they have.” The mortgages, which offered an optional ten-year period of paying only the interest, were introduced in 2003. With the end of those periods nearing, considerable focus has been placed on what might happen when people have to start paying the full amount. Had housing prices continued to rise, homeowners would be in less of a fix, since they could have refinanced and taken out another afdragsfri mortgage. But with precipitous drops in recent years, some homes are worth considerably less than what the owners bought them for, leaving mortgage-holders with one option: start repaying. Nordea Kredit, a mortgage lender, has about 5,000 afdragsfrie mortages due to enter the principal repayment phase next year, while Realkredit Denmark has 11,000 on its books. Realkredit Denmark said in a statement that most of the homeowners who are due to start making their principal payments this year had sound enough finances to refinance their loans should they choose. “These households generally have solid finances and relatively high incomes. Many will be able to establish new interestonly loans,” read the statement. Many such homeowners also benefited by taking out their
Interest free to servitude: homeowners face repayment misery
Your dream home has become your biggest nightmare
mortgages before the housing prices really exploded, meaning their properties have maintained their value. The interest-only loans, coupled with a freeze on property taxes, are blamed for created a housing bubble between 2000 and 2005 that eventually burst. While foreclosures have risen in the wake of the collapse, the wave of mortgages that are about to enter their principal payment phase could have an even greater impact, economists worry. Lenders have been criticised for inflating the bubble
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by not adhering to guidelines that required homeowners to prove they could repay the full amount in order to qualify for the afdragsfri mortgage. This disregard opened up the market to hordes of new buyers. The lawmakers who approved the introduction of the afdragsfri mortgage have also come under attack for their role. But the then-PM, Anders Fogh Rasmussen (Venstre), the current secretary general of NATO, said in a recent interview that the responsibility lies in the hands of the lenders
and homeowners, not with the economic policies put in place between 2001 and 2009 while he was PM. “People are responsible for their own decisions regarding what loans they took,” Rasmussen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “We must have confidence that individuals and families take steps that are possible and reasonable within their own financial framework. I am not a nanny politician who believes that you should hold people by the hand; I believe in personal responsibility.”
Prehistoric Danes to be genetically mapped Christian Wenande The project, which is expected to take at least five years and cost 80 million kroner, would be the first of its kind anywhere
he history of the prehistoric inhabitants of Denmark will soon be genetically mapped using the skeletons of people who lived as far back as 7,000 years ago. Genetic researchers from the Centre for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum say the project, named ‘The Genomic History of Denmark’, will make Denmark the first country to catalogue the genetic profiles of its inhabitants from its earliest known examples up until today. The scientists hope the study will help identify early Danes’ genetic profiles, where they came from and which diseases they suffered from. The team of geneticists who will take part in the five-year project specialise in extracting and analysing DNA from ancient material, and some of the materials they are looking at in this project stem from the bones of hunter-gatherers who lived in present-day Denmark over 7,000 years ago. “When we have analysed
all the material, new and old, we will, among other things, be able to pinpoint when various diseases arrived in Denmark,” Eske Willerslev, of the Centre for GeoGenetics, told Politiken newspaper. “And we can see if large epidemics, like the plague, helped catalyse a unique and genetically-orientated ‘extra resistance’ against, for example, the HIV virus, which we see today in many northern Europeans.” The researchers are negotiating with the National Museum to be able to use the remains. The project has received a 36 million kroner grant from the University of Copenhagen, but Willerslev expected the total cost of the project to exceed 80 million kroner. When completed, the project will have mapped the genomes of 100 Danes from the hunter-gatherer period through the Bronze Age, Iron Age, the Viking Era and the early Industrial Age. It is expected that the DNA of the oldest remains will be heavily decomposed, but the team was confident that it would be possible to map the genome. In 2010, Willerslev led a team that reconstructed the complete genetic blueprint of a 4,000-year-old Greenlander based on DNA samples from a single tuft of hair.
Unemployment continued from front page
Liberal think-tank CEPOS, on the other hand, argue that reducing the tax burden would be a more effective means of increasing private consumption. “The public sector freeze in 2013 freed up eight billion kroner that can be used to reduce taxes on corporations and energy as well as levies on soft drinks, candy and other items that are sensitive to cross-border trade,” CEPOS chief economist Mads Lundby Hansen told The Copenhagen Post. “These will stimulate the Danish economy by increasing private consumption because of price reductions. Decreasing corporate tax rates will make investing in technology and research more attractive, while reducing taxes on energy will increase competition.” Hansen argued that LO’s proposal to increase public investment was not going to work because it took too long for the money to actually get spent. “This is because architects need to first design the projects, and neighbours need to be consulted, before it all goes ahead because this is public money we are talking about.” So far the government has remained quiet about what sorts of reforms it is planning to make. But a statement on Tuesday by economy minister Margrethe Vestager (Radikale) suggests that strengthening the private sector will be the focus of its efforts. “We are going to look at ways of making Denmark an attractive country to bring workplaces,” Vestager stated. “Employees of private businesses create the wealth of the welfare state we all enjoy. More private jobs is a prerequisite for ensuring that we can maintain our children’s education and access to healthcare, and that we can continue to take care of people that cannot manage on their own.” Vestager added that Denmark also needs to become a more attractive country to invest in. However, Andreas Højbjerre, a labour market economist at the think-tank Kraka, argues that it is not realistic to lower salaries in the short-term because wages are agreed through the three-party negotiations between employers, unions and the government. “The most realistic approach is to look at reforms that increase labour supply in order to increase competition in the labour market in the long-term, and thereby suppress the rate that salaries increase,” Højberg told The Copenhagen Post, adding that the government also needed to find ways of moving people from unemployment benefits back into the labour market. “There are different ways of achieving this through the tax system by, for example, creating a special tax credit for low salaried groups such as single parents. They could also find ways to motivate young people to find work by forcing them to apply for more work in exchange for receiving their unemployment benefits.”
New customer service centre for applicants for work or study-related residence On 25 February 2013, the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment will open its own customer service centre. Located at Njalsgade 72C, the Danish Agency for Labour Retention and International Recruitment’s customer service centre will be open to offer assistance with work or studyrelated residence. After 25 February, the Danish Immigration Service’s customer service centre at Ryesgade 53 will no longer offer assistance with work or study-related residence.
Njalsgade 72C, Copenhagen S
Ryesgade 53, Copenhagen Ø
Offers assistance with the following types of residence:
Offers assistance with the following types of residence:
• Family reunification (spouses and children)
• Extension of residence permit (family reunification or asylum)
• Green Card • Au pair
• Visa (short term)
• Permanent residence (all types of applications)
• Working Holiday • Extension of residence permit (above-mentioned case types) • Accompanying family member (above-mentioned case types) • Residence card (work or study)
• Residence card (family reunification or asylum) • Greenlandic or Faroese visa or residence permit
For futher information please visit newtodenmark.dk/contact
6 Immigration circus leaves theatre students in limbo Cover story
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
25 - 31 January 2013
Christian Wenande Despite promises by the Danish state, the foreign students of a theatre school are denied the ability to work part-time while they study. Many are forced to return home due to a lack of funds
Students from the Commedia School search in vain for their promised work permits. Many are forced to return home because they can’t find one
students the craft of physical performance in Copenhagen since 1983. The school offers a two-year creative entrepreneurial performer education in which students learn to write, direct and act in their shows. Most of the students today are foreign. Many come from Scandinavia and the EU and thus don’t require work permits, but there are also students from nations like Cuba, Nepal, the US, Brazil and Burkina Faso. David Roby, a current student at Commedia School, arrived from Seattle, Washington in August 2011 and was among the students not allowed to work despite being promised he could by the Danish consulate in New York. “I’m a saver, but all my savings are gone. Fortunately, I was lucky and able to live for free with some friends, or I would not be here now. I was considering going home because I simply didn’t have any more money, except for a ticket home,” Roby said. “I was lucky, but I see so many students have to leave because they can’t afford to stay.” Roby’s reapplication for a work visa was also recently denied, and despite applying for his residence visa in April of 2011, Roby didn’t even receive that until March the following year. And he is, by far, not the only one. Numerous non-European students have had a hard time in Denmark and some of the students have had to return home again because they simply couldn’t live here without some source of income.
or 30 years, aspiring storytellers, clowns and mimes have flocked to Copenhagen to study at the Commedia School for physical theatre. But thanks to a change in Immigration Service policy, the school’s future may be in doubt. The Commedia School is one of the few private schools in Denmark that is granted a special dispensation that allows it to enrol non-European students. But Immigration Service (Udlændingestyrelsen) decided in 2010 that the dispensation does not give the students the right to work 15 hours a week on top of their studies – a right that non-European students in state-funded higher education enjoy. But despite the rule change, many non-EU students are still given the promise by Danish consulates that they can work in Denmark while studying at the Commedia School. These students then find themselves in a difficult situation when they arrive and find out that the promise of work has been reneged. The dilemma has already circulated ministerial offices once before, which resulted in the Employment Ministry setting up a committee at Udlændingestyrelsen to look into the problem. But when a stage artist who is a former student, Thomas Nygaard, called Udlændingestyrelsen months later, they couldn’t give him a timeframe for their decision. After several more months of waiting, Nygaard met with one of the managers at Udlændingestyrelsen, who informed him that the committee was unable to reach a decision and that he should take the matter up with the politicians. “But we’ve already been through that process. We’ve tried the Foreign Ministry, who sent us to the Culture Ministry, who sent us to the Employment Ministry, who sent us to Udlændingestyrelsen, who sent us back again,” Nygaard said. “So enough is enough, and the absurd thing is that the school has existed for 30 years and there have not been any problems until recently.” Although Udlændingestyrelsen has told Nygaard several times since 2010 that the work permits would be halted, he says that some of his non-EU students continue to receive them. “As recently as December 20, one of our students was awarded a work permit. So they can’t even organise their own system, and they actually told me that they’ve made mistakes in 25 percent of the cases since they discovered that the students shouldn’t be granted work permits,” Nygaard said. “They seem rather disorganised.” Nygaard, who graduated from the same school in 2011, has been working pro bono next to his job as a stage director at Norse Productions for the past year in order to help the foreign students of his former school gain the work permits that they were promised by the Danish state before they arrived. The Commedia School is an international, English-language artist and theatre school that has been teaching
Commedia School’s Nygaard said it’s unfair that students are falsely promised the ability to work in Denmark
“That is a shame, especially since many of them have been promised by Danish embassies or consulates in their home countries that they would be granted work permits as well as residence permits,” Nygaard said. “It’s very problematic because the funds they brought along were inadequate to live off in Denmark.” But while the school and a number of students have made official complaints, the reality is that most of them will have finished their two-year courses before any sort of ruling is made on their cases. While the state-sponsored AFUK (Akademiet for Utæmmet Kreativitet) –
I fear that we’ll miss out on the talent from outside Europe, which is part of the school’s foundation which made its way into the headlines in December thanks to the nepotism allegations made against the former culture minister, Uffe Elbæk (Radikale) – specialises in the ‘hard’ circus disciplines such as trapeze, Commedia School concentrates on the ‘softer’ genres within physical performance, like storytelling, clowns, mime and mask-theatre. The school has produced a number of outstanding physical actors and circus artists, like Scott Nelson (who won the World Championships of Magic in 2000 and has performed with the Big Apple Circus), Kristjan Ingimarsson (‘Blam’), Linnea Haponenen (‘Krepsko’), Dansk Rakkerpak and Sigrid Husjord, who won a prestigious Reumert award last year for her supporting role in ‘Oliver med et twist på’ at Nørrebro Theatre. The ability to work 15 hours a week while studying is imperative for many of the foreign students who come to the school, and the rejection of the dispensation by Udlændingestyrelsen has meant that the school has already begun to experience a drop in foreign
talent. And that, according to Nygaard, is a great loss for the Danish physical performance scene, as well as the students’ home countries. “Many of the graduates from developing countries work in social theatre projects in their homelands, where physical performance and storytelling are essential tools for promoting democracy, the freedom of speech and decent work environments,” Nygaard said. “I fear that we’ll miss out on the talent from outside Europe, which is part of the school’s foundation.” Another unknown in the case for Nygaard is that he was trying to arrange a meeting with Elbæk, but has not made any progress setting a time with Elbæk’s successor, Marianne Jelved (Radikale). “The Commedia School is the longest existing professional education for physical actors in Denmark, and we hope that the new culture minister can find a spot for us in her tight schedule so that our students can achieve equal treatment with other students in government-sponsored higher education programmes,” Nygaard said. The City Council Culture Department has expressed appreciation for the school’s international profile and has promised to look into the matter. It has sent an inquiry to the Employment Ministry, although Nygaard said that the school was yet again waiting for a response. Neither Udlændingestyrelsen nor the Culture Ministry has responded to The Copenhagen Post’s inquiries.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
25 - 31 January 2013
Manslaughter trial underway following boating tragedy Teacher who took children on dragon boat in freezing conditions died after boat capsized. His school and headteacher now on trial for involuntary manslaughter
urvivors broke down and walked out of court during the trial of a school headteacher who faces involuntary manslaughter charges, for his role in the 2011 Præstø Fjord dragon boat disaster. Two teachers and 13 students, aged 16-18, from Lundby Efterskole were in the flat-bottomed dragon boat that capsized in Præstø Fjord on 11 February 2011, spilling them all into the two-degree water. One of the teachers, 44-yearold Michael Jørgensen, died and seven of the students ended up in artificial comas after suffering heart attacks due to spending hours in the freezing water. Many of the students suffered brain damage after their body temperatures dropped as low as 15 degrees. A September 2011 report by Havarikommissionen, the accident investigation board, found the school had underestimated the risk of boating in February. “[There was] a considerable risk of an accident by going out in the dragon boat on Præstø
Fjord given the conditions,” the report stated. Headteacher Truels Truelsen was away in Austria at the time of the tragedy, but is the only individual facing involuntary manslaughter charges. He and the school are also being charged with violating maritime safety laws for not ensuring the students were wearing life jackets that would keep their heads above water in the event they lost consciousness. Several of the children were found floating upright in the sea with their heads below water before they were lifted to safety by a helicopter. Truelsen, assistant head Most of the surviors will testify, though some had to leave the teacher Lars Schou Jensen and courtroom as the events were retold many of the students have giv- gensen was sufficiently qualified the children to swim the several hundred metres back to land. en their testimony at the court to be trusted in his judgement. Several days before the ac“I asked Michael whether we on Nykøbing Falster about the cident, Jørgensen should try to flip the boat but he events leading up took different said he couldn’t,” Klit told the to and following students out on court. “Then he told us that if the capsizing of another dragon we didn’t swim for shore we the dragon boat. boating trip with- would die.” Prosecutor out incident. Students who made it to Michael Boolsen Then he told us that But on the land managed to walk two kilohas focused on if we didn’t swim for day of the acci- metres to a petrol station to call determining dent, the weather for help. whether the stu- shore we would die conditions deteWhile Jensen also stated that dents received sufficient safety training and riorated as they paddled further Jørgensen was a competent and whether Jørgensen was ade- into the fjord. Jørgensen then hard-working teacher, one of quately experienced to take the decided to turn back, and it was the students testified that he was during this manoeuvre that the highly demanding. children out on the boat. The students were trainTruelsen stated he found it boat capsized. According to Karoline Klit, ing for a dragon boat race and, surprising the students had been taken out so early in the year. But one of the students who testified according to student Nickhe added that he thought Jør- on Tuesday, Jørgensen ordered las Bøhm, Jørgensen was not
Increased fines a “clear signal” that illicit sales to teens must stop New law would create tougher penalties for shops that do not enforce alcohol and tobacco laws. Businesses say mandatory IDs would work better
On Friday 11 February 2011, a boat carrying 13 students and two teachers from Lundby School capsizes in Præstø Fjord about 1.7 kilometres from Præstø Harbour. • One of the students alerts the authorities at 12:47. • Seven students and a 33-year-old female teacher manage to swim to shore on their own. • At 15:20, 14 out of the 15 people involved are out of the water and taken to hospital. A 44-year-old male teacher, Michael Jørgensen, is later found dead. • Seven of the students are placed in artificial comas and some of them suffer brain damage to varying degrees. • After the accident, the school is heavily criticised for not following safety regulations. • The administration of Lundby School dismisses the criticism, pointing to an investigation the law firm Bech-Bruun carried out on its behalf. • In September 2011, accident investigators find that Lundby School was not properly aware of the risks involved with dragon boats. • On 1 October 2012, a year after investigators issue their report, the police decide to charge head teacher Truels Truelsen with involuntary manslaughter. The school itself faces a fine.
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Legal? An ID would help answer that question, businesses say
For many teens, obtaining cigarettes or alcohol is as easy as finding a store with a clerk willing to look the other way. But the law, which has broad political support, would seek to change that by putting the onus back on the owner of the shop. A first offence would cost a shop 5,000 kroner, the second 10,000 and the third 20,000. “The new law is a clear signal that it is not okay for shops to sell alcohol and cigarettes to those not of legal age,” the health minister, Astrid Krag (Socialistisk Folkeparti), told Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper. “We expect that by doubling the amount of the fines, it will make the sellers very aware of the law.” Krag also stressed that laws alone would not stop young people from drinking and smoking. “We also need young people and their parents on board, and
we need to discuss with young people how they can limit teen drinking,” she said. While it supports the effort, Dansk Erhverv, a business interest group, was disappointed that parliament had rejected its suggestion that young people be issued an ID card. Such cards do exist, but under current practice, young people have to contact their local council and pay 150 kroner for the card in order to obtain one. “An ID card for anyone under 18 will make it easier to enforce the rules at checkouts, where clerks are already dealing with many different sets of rules and age limits,” Sofie Findling Andersen, a spokesperson for Dansk Erhverv, told Kristeligt Dagblad. If the law is passed, the new rules would take effect in September.
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etailers will face stiffer penalties for selling tobacco or hard alcohol to anyone under 18, according to a proposal currently before parliament. In addition to doubling fines, the measure would also outlaw tobacco advertising and require stores to prominently display notices that customers are required to show a photo ID before they can purchase cigarettes and beer. “We know that it is unfortunately easy to buy tobacco and alcohol – even if you are not of age,” Flemming Møller Mortensen (Socialdemokraterne) said. “The law is very clear, but the checks and sanctions have been weak points.” Mortensen acknowledged that parents must play a major role in curbing teen consuption. He said the law was designed to help both parents as well as retailers by introducing stricter control. Only two fines for violating the rules governing the sale of alcohol to minors were issued during 2011, according to Danmarks Statistik.
pleased with their performance. “He was a bit angry and shouted at us because he didn’t think that we were rowing hard enough,” Bøhm said, adding that he respected his teacher. “But he had a tendency to be tough and could push people’s boundaries.” Bøhm supported the testimony of student Thyra Hvass, who told the court that they were not given any safety training before getting into the boat. While Bøhm was able to make it to shore and suffered few permanent difficulties after the spell in the freezing water, student Casper Weigel was less fortunate. Weigel is unable to remember anything about the accident or the weeks before and after. While he has returned to school, he has had to endure months of physical therapy. The second teacher onboard the boat, 35-year-old, Rikke Jensen, told the court that she knew he was unable to swim before they set out. Jensen, who said that Jørgensen cared about the safety of his students, broke down in tears during her testimony. Several other students became distraught having to relive the tragedy. All but three of the students are expected to testify during the trial. The remaining three are reportedly too injured by the accident to testify.
Præstø accident timeline
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
Crisis 2: this time, it’s homemade For many families, having to repay the principal on their mortgages will be a calamity of their own making. But it is in all of our interests that they get help
25 - 31 January 2013
Cameron’s speech a turning point for EU
UST WHEN you thought it was safe to venture back into the economy, we’re now being told that the worst may in fact be yet to come. But this time, it’s not the banks that we’re going to have to blame. Unlike with the economic downturn that started in 2007, and which now goes under the name ‘financial crisis’, the fault for the approaching economic storm can be placed squarely at the doormats of the tens of thousands of people who accepted interest-only mortgages as a shortcut to homeownership. As any mortgage-holder in Denmark knows, before signing a loan they are presented with a list detailing the exact projected cost of their quarterly payments. For someone taking out a 30year, fixed-rate mortgage and taking advantage of a ten-year interest free period right off the bat, this list probably shows something in the order of a six-fold increase from payment 40 to 41. We can understand if homeowners hell-bent on finding a place to call their own chose to ignore year 11 and beyond. It’s also understandable if they feel duped by a loan officer who sold them on the belief that housing prices would continue to rise. But neither absolves them from the responsibility they assumed when they signed on the dotted line. But while common sense may dictate that people be held responsible for their own financial decisions, in this case, there are two good reasons why they shouldn’t be – at least not in the short-term. The first is precedent. In this day of government lifelines (Danish banks were issued four of them), homeowners can rightly demand that they be extended a similar hand if they find themselves struggling to make their mortgage payments. The second is economic stability. Critics will reject a homeowner bailout as simple social welfare for members of the middle class who failed to live within their means. This may be true, but successive governments extended corporate social welfare to banks with the argument that if they failed, they would bring the economy down with them. Should we believe the economists, the pending wave of mass defaults risks pushing any hope of economic recovery even further over the horizon. Help from the state shouldn’t be a hand-out. Banks like to repeat that not only did they pay back the money lent to them to help keep them afloat, but the government has actually profited from it. Struggling homeowners should follow their example once they too reach sturdier financial ground. In order to get there, though, they’ll need a lifeboat, even if it is their own responsibility for getting in over their heads.
E DANES have a lot to thank the British for. When the Nazis’ Atlantic wall stretched from northern Norway to southern France, it was the British and Churchill who stood their ground and insisted on the war that eventually crushed the Nazis. During the Cold War, it was again Britain, this time led by Margaret Thatcher, who proved Europe’s most staunch defender of Western principles as she maintained that eastern Europe would not be free until its socialist dictatorships were defeated. But now Britain once again finds itself on the outside of Europe’s political elite, the media and experts in Brussels and leaders in other European capitals. If you believed what they said, you’d think that Britain was a self-centred nation that was about to torpedo Europe’s future by seeking to revise a 40-year-old agreement that has outlived its purpose. That is why, when Britain’s current prime minister, David Cameron, clearly influenced by
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Foreign ministry accused of suppressing coverage of pirate captives Actually, there is some wisdom in what the government is doing. Terrorism only works if those committing the acts get coverage in the news. When you take away the coverage, you disarm the terrorists, figuratively speaking. Granted, piracy and terrorism are not one-and-thesame, but there are parallels. This is highlighted by the fact that the pirates want coverage in the Danish news. They are trying to create awareness in order to generate public sympathy and therefore get a greater ransom. If the case is out-of-sight/out-ofmind, then there is a lower urgency for ransom and more time for diplomacy or a military-style rescue. The1youlove2hate By website The land of the free and the home of the ... Danes?
with a fine or a sanction and put them in their place. As it is, we already see two layers within this group itself: those who owe, and those who are owed to. Orbiting this group will be a more loosely connected constellation of countries. To the elitists of the inner group, life here will be barren and parched. But
A country cannot just re-negotiate such things. These concepts are carved in the stone tablets that the goddess Europa handed down to her profits amid the rubble of the Second World War. this group will slowly be weaning itself off agricultural subsidies, structural funds, regional development funds, micro-management, cultural homogeneity and a general disregard for laws passed by sovereign states. These countries can chose, instead, to join together in a relationship centred around free trade, economic co-operation, realistic agreements, a willingness to live up to their word and mutual respect. This will invariably be the outcome if the European elite refuses to accept that British support for the EU has vanished, leaving widespread Euro-scepticism in its place. Many in Britain
have moved beyond scepticism and into outright resistance and, for the first time in 40 years, led to a majority calling for the country to secede from the union, as a recent opinion poll showed. Should that happen, I know which Europe I want Denmark to be a part of. The EU’s frontier is also laden with threats. Starting next January, emigrants from Romania and Bulgaria will have free access to all EU countries. Many regions of Romania are already depopulated. Since 2002, three million people – 12 percent of its population – have left the country. Will this next wave of emigrants have their sights set on Greece, Italy or Spain? No. They will head to Denmark, Britain, Sweden, Finland, Austria and the Netherlands. The British were already caught off guard once by the enormous influx of eastern Europeans from countries like Poland. Now the Romanians and the Bulgarians are coming, but this time, the British have had enough. David Cameron has been blamed for pandering to his country’s Euro-sceptics. But, one could just as well say that he is a statesman who takes his people’s concerns seriously and who is even willing to let them speak their minds in a referendum – unlike in other EU countries, Denmark included, where the EU elite fears a vote that would clear the air about whether Denmark is a member of the Eurozone. The author is an MEP for Dansk Folkeparti, which is a part of the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group in the European Parliament.
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the wishes of the electorate who selected him as their leader, politely warns the EU that a majority in his country have had enough of the union’s bulldozer tactics, it is taken as a slap in the face of European unity. A country cannot just renegotiate such things. These concepts are carved in the stone tablets that the goddess Europa handed down to her prophets amid the rubble of the Second World War. In my mind though, Cameron’s address could go down as a historic turning point for the EU. It could be remembered as the day that member countries realised they could think for themselves, the day they swept away the old traditions, and the day they began to reclaim their money, their power and their authority from the faraway glass palaces where they never should have wound up in the first place. Unless we accept what Cameron and the British have to say, we lose all hope of creating a smaller, less dominant EU that allows free European states to work together on common interests. If we don’t accept what Cameron says, the inevitable result will be a ‘two-speed Europe’, and two types of European co-operation. At Europe’s core, we would find an ever more centralised political and economic union made up of the Eurozone countries. There, at the heart of Europe, the Germans, the French, the Greeks, the Berlusconites and the Spaniards would duke it out as members of an alphabet soup of newlycreated European organisations. Every now and again, the EU Court of Justice would exercise its growing power by slapping them
If you’ve noticed what has happened in the last few years in Denmark, beginning with the COP15 incidents and all the laws that have essentially turned
Denmark into a police state, you will start to understand the level of control the government has and what they can (legally) do whenever anyone steps out of line. Also, since the crisis started, the Danes have begun to show their true colours when it comes to their attitude towards foreigners. And they’re not anywhere near as tolerant or friendly as the media would like you to believe. joemiangelo By website Opinion | Lessons learned by an American in Amager Danish legal limits on what percentage of vegetable matter can be rotting and still be allowed for sale are much higher than in the USA. Ever see a bunch of carrots with three or four rotting carrots in a bunch for sale in the US? I never have. It happens all the time in Denmark. This principle applies across the board food-wise, including Danish grocery chains repackaging meat after its expiration date (it still happens.)I submit that your healthier lifestyle is possible in either country, and the only difference has been your awareness. Tom By website
Absolutely amazing that because this writer’s experiences and opinions do not match the general shower of s**t that pervades the comments, the insults and snide remarks, and the general low-brow quality of the dialogue bursts instantly forth. His experiences may not match your own. Or perhaps, he has a better outlook on life in general than the sad sack, woe-is-me, ‘I am stuck in this horrible place’ crowd that clogs up every thread here. Maybe he realises that happiness is an internal effort and he creates his own sense of well-being. Oldfolky By website Up in smoke: Notorious ‘coffee shop’ closes its doors The question of cannabis being harmful is irrelevant. It is up to the individual to decide for themselves if they want to subject themselves to the risk of harm or pleasure. There is a limit, but cannabis does not reach my subjective idea of what that is. I come down on the side of cannabis being potentially harmful, but so is mountain climbing. I choose to do neither. What you choose should be up to you. However,
Khodr is not so cool: rolling up on a plane subjects others to his smoke, and so does smoking on the streets. Growing his own prevents him from giving money to criminals, gangsters and even terrorists. However, this is not the case when it comes to his friends – one of whom mentions buying it from Christiania. Of course, if it was legal there would be no problem. Traiilertrash By website The Danish FA hails the Superliga as the “most tolerant” league It never ceases to amaze me how every single news story in this country seems to have been fabricated by a spin doctor. So, the Danish FA proclaims the Danish league to be the most tolerant in Europe, thanks Danish journalists for not reporting any racist incidents that do occur, and the very modest conclusion is: there is no racism to be found here! I suppose that if those White Pride skinheads and the neo-Nazi symbols seen at most Danish stadiums are not reported by the sheepish press, they do not exist. DanDansen By website
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
25 - 31 January 2013
‘Are the Danes racists?’
You’re Still Here? BY KELLY DRAPER Kelly Draper is a British teacher who came to Denmark four years ago for work. She has been acting informally as a critical friend to Denmark. This has not gone down particularly well with Danes, who often tell her she should like it or leave it. Her blog is at adventuresandjapes. wordpress.com.
RE THE DANES RACISTS?’ a new book by Henning Bech and Mehmet Ümit Necef asks. As with all titles that are questions, their answer is “no”. Which is just as big a generalisation as it would have been had their answer been “yes”. So how did they arrive at “no” and why are they even asking if there are no problems in Denmark? Unfortunately for the social sciences, those interested in equality, and people of foreign backgrounds living in Denmark, they arrive at their conclusion using shoddy logic (if their publicity material is anything to go by). One problem for young men of colour in Denmark is that they cannot be sure that they can go out for an evening like their white peers. This is because nightclubs feel it is justifiable to refuse them entry. The authors of the report excuse this and try to rebrand it as a purely economic consideration because as soon as white customers see there are ‘too many’ people of colour in a nightclub, they do not want to give their custom. So if this report had been written by nightclub owners, the answer to the book’s title would have been a resound-
When stereotypes are used to decide what treatment someone gets, this is discrimination. Doing it on the grounds of race is racial discrimination ing “Yes, our customers are racist.” White guys also cause problems in nightclubs, but nobody ever suggests turning them away at the door due to the colour of their skin. This is because patrons apparently do not feel threatened by a nightclub full of white guys. For the kids at the back, this is what racism is. Racism is pre-judging The Others while giving your group a free pass. All the while ignoring it is a minority from both groups causing problems. Another ‘non-racist’ thing they talk about is a father being concerned about his daughter dating a dark-skinned young man. Apparently, this is justified because certain groups are known
for subjugating their women. Now, the irony of a father forbidding his daughter to date someone because he might repress women aside, just saying “This is not racist” does not make it not racist. It is, indeed, racist. It is the definition of racism. Looking at a young gentleman caller and worrying that he will mistreat your daughter because of the colour of his skin, or his religious background or his culture, is racist. It’s only natural that parents will worry about controlling and abusive people dating their children, but I’m afraid racial profiling is not a foolproof method of catching them. White people can also be guilty of domestic violence, emotional abuse and controlling behaviour. Domestic abuse (and violence against women in particular) is widespread everywhere. Making it a crime that only The Others commit is what helps it become so ubiquitous. Some commentators in India have been recently blaming the West to avoid confronting the problems in their own culture that lead to violence against women. Danish fathers blaming “the Arabs” or “the Muslims” for the mistreatment of women are likewise sidestepping and
ignoring the scale of the same problem in their own culture. Saying “it is not racism if some of them are like that” is faulty logic. It justifies every racist action throughout history and concludes that no humans in the history of humanity have ever been racist. After all, no stereotype came out of nowhere. When stereotypes are used to decide what treatment someone gets, this is discrimination. Doing it on the grounds of race is racial discrimination. The issue with stereotypes is not that they exist, but when they are used to ruin lives. Can’t date certain people, can’t get into a nightclub, can’t get a job, can’t drive without being stopped, can’t walk the street without getting searched. This is intolerable and unfair. If those were the conditions of your life because the minority you belonged to had a bad reputation, you could side with your oppressors and blame The Others for ruining it for you. Or you could make them see that you are an individual and deserve a fair chance like everyone else. Trying to rebrand racial discrimination as ‘understandable concerns’ only worsens the conditions we all have to live under.
Am I booring you?
To Be Perfectly Frank BY FRANK THEAKSTON Born in 1942 on the Isle of Wight, Englishman Frank Theakston has been in Copenhagen 32 years and is on his second marriage, this time to a Dane. Frank comes from a different time and a different culture – which values are the right ones today?
that other boorish qualities, such as (social) clumsiness and clownishness, and a somewhat familiar picture emerges. Clarke also remarked on how backward life seemed in Copenhagen at the time, describing it as a city where “every thing being found as it existed in [London] a hundred years before”. He concluded that the Danes were averse to introducing innovative ideas from abroad. In fact, this had already been noted by Mary Wollstonecraft in 1796. “The Danes, in general, seem extremely averse to innovation,” she wrote. “And if happiness only exists in opinion, they are the happiest people in the world; for I never saw any so well satisfied with their own situation.” Ring a bell? But can that really be true today? Surely Denmark is a paragon of modern, open, progressive society. Well, yes, if you don’t scratch the surface or you succumb to the subtle propaganda. Take DSB, for example (yes, please do take DSB). Everybody, including the Danes, knows that it’s totally useless at running a railway. It costs the state a fortune to provide the country with a third-rate railway system that would not have been tolerated in most other countries a century
S SOMEONE who’s lived in Denmark as long as I have, I like to hear newcomers’ impressions of the country and its inhabitants. Thus I was most interested to read Sarita Rajiv’s column a couple of weeks ago. She, with her fresh eye, immediately sensed on arriving in Denmark that something was not as she had expected. And her description of the behaviour of Danes towards people they don’t know is spot on: you really do feel invisible. No, they don’t intend to be rude, but on the other hand they don’t intend to change. That’s the nature of boorishness. ED Clarke, travelling through Denmark by horse and cart in 1799, described the carter as a pleasant enough fellow, though tending towards the boorish. It seems that things haven’t changed much in the last 200 years! ‘Boor’ and ‘boorish’ are words that are not commonly used in the English language these days, but a boor is generally understood to be a rude or insensitive person. The word apparently stems from the Dutch word boer (farmer or peasant), ie an unsophisticated person, and this provides an interesting association with the traditionally rural Danish way of life. Add to
And if happiness only exist in opinion, they are the happiest people in the world; for I never saw any so well satisfied with their own situation ago. And it’s getting worse! What sort of public service company actually removes the (already sparse) amenities from stations by, among other things, reducing waiting rooms to 7-Elevens and locking the toilets? But DSB is a state institution, and the country would lose face if it were to admit that the company was a failure. And the fear of losing face is a symptom, in my book, that there really is something rotten in the state of Denmark. The Brits had no such compunction in doing away with British Rail when it was found to be too costly and inefficient. And what’s this rejsekort system that DSB is plugging, but doesn’t work? If you know the London underground,
you’ll know that it’s a copy of the Oyster card system that has successfully catered for millions of passengers every day for ten years now. But instead of openly announcing that it’s introducing an Oyster card-like system, DSB pretends it’s developing its own. That’s because it’s important for the national ego that things are seen to be invented, discovered or developed in Denmark. Another example is that of Vestas: wind power is perhaps one of the least efficient ways of generating ‘green’ energy, yet it’s promoted as the saviour of mankind because it’s Danish! We know you’re suffering under the burden of the jantelov, but come on Denmark, join the ranks of the open societies that you pretend to be part of. This boorish behaviour just won’t work in the long term. Pulling the wool over your own eyes and that of others has limited life expectancy. Maybe you’ll lose some of your ‘happiness’ (read: smugness and self-satisfaction) in the process, but just think how much there is to be gained in not having to pretend all the time. Open up to the world, admit you’re not perfect and see how much real happiness that brings.
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THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
25 - 31 January 2013
UZI FRANK Defining happiness is difficult, but for those who’ve seen their share of hard knocks, it starts with a cold beer and good company
HE BLACK labradour barks fiercely for about three seconds before giving up and returning to the warm spot next to the propane heater. “Don’t worry ‘bout Bella. She just has to let everybody know she’s the queen here,” says Michael as he invites The Copenhagen Post into Skuret (The Shack). Made from a disused changing room the local football team discarded, the 50 or so people who hang out at Skuret have transformed the structure into a kind of clubhouse and low-cost watering hole. Located in the Islands Brygge neighbourhood, the ramshackle hut clashes with the surrounding luxury apartment complexes, where monthly rents start at 14,000 kroner. And where just a few blocks away, ‘the world’s happiest people’ flock to the popular harbour park on warm summer days for a
Happiness depends on what criteria you use. For me, it’s all about feeling good about yourself and the people around you swim or to enjoy a BBQ on the lawn. Skuret reveals a different reality on the chilly January day we visited Michael, and brothers Svend and Leif, to discuss what their life in ‘the happiest country in the world’ is like. “The happiest people on Earth? That sounds like a bit of an overstatement, if you look around here,” says Leif, who takes a swig from his bottle of Maribo pilsner. After a thoughtful pause and a long drag on his cigarette, he adds: “And when you think about it: how should I know what it’s like to live
in Ecuador or Canada? There’s no basis for comparison.” He explains he hasn’t been able to find work since his job at the cigarette factory in nearby Gladsaxe got shipped out of the country a few years back. “You got a job for a 57-year-old?” he asks. His brother Svend, who also hangs out at Skuret, used to work as a harbour hand, sailing out to incoming boats to check their cargo. But he has likewise found it hard to find work since the big container ports changed the shipping business. Michael, who regularly opens Skuret around noon, was maimed when he was hit by a motorcycle as a teenager, making it impossible for him to hold a job involving manual labour. Their stories weigh heavily on the atmosphere in the shack, but there is little sign of bitterness or resentment in their voices as they describe their lives. The three men explain how Skuret has become a home away from home for anyone looking for a place to enjoy a beer and some camaraderie. The rules are simple: no fighting. Anyone caught fighting is shown the red card that hangs on the wall and banned for three months. “Otherwise we’d be breaking up fights all the time,” says Svend. A bottle of beer goes for six kroner, making it more affordable than the local pub, “and warmer than sitting on the steps over by the park”, explains Michael, a lifelong resident of ‘Bryggen’. The three explain how Skuret came to be when a group of drinkers was displaced when the playground they congregated at was being renovated a few years back. There was talk of seeking funding from the city, but the group realised they would be better off if they could take the shelter and make it their own. “Otherwise the city would send someone to check up on us once a month. We don’t get any funding, and nobody makes any money on this. But it’s our own place.” Skuret is neither well-lit nor clean – there is no electricity and the brica-brac on the shelves could use a dusting – but the shed’s small
Down, but not out
Brothers Leif (blue jacket) and Svend Rasmussen (centre) enjoy a beer and a smoke together with Michael Risberg and dog Bella
kitchen is tidy, and on Wednesdays, a meal is cooked up for 25 kroner. “Michael’s brother Olfert makes the best frikadeller,” explains Leif. In the summer, they bring out a grill and cook sausages. Leif takes a look out of the frostencrusted window: “Summer is always nice.” The conversation returns to the subject of ‘the good life’ and what are some of its essential elements. “For some people it’s enjoying a good meal, for others it’s getting plastered,” says Leif. “Other peo-
ple are happy counting their money.” “And good health is of course an important part of being happy,” adds Svend. They don’t hesitate to praise Denmark’s social welfare system that ensures everybody has access to decent medical care. “We could of course take steps to being more healthy,” Leif says, as he empties his bottle. Despite their satisfaction, the men are well aware of the disapproving looks the parents from the nearby daycare centres send them as they walk by with their children, but Leif shrugs them off. “They don’t really know anything about us, who we are or what we do.” There don’t seem to be any real job prospects on the horizon for these men, but Leif argues that those who hang out at Skuret make a positive contribution to the neighbourhood by keeping an eye on the hardcore alcoholics among them who are really down and out. “I think the city is happy we can give those people a place to drink and keep them off the street corner. Without us, the city would have to pay some fancy social worker to take care of them. We look after them and make sure they get home safe.” During our visit, it becomes clear that while Skuret might not fit the shiny, happy image pitched by Den-
mark’s official media channels, the shelter provides a ragtag but important form of community. As Svend puts it: “Happiness depends on what criteria you use. For me, it’s all about feeling good about yourself and the people around you.”
The happiest people on earth? Everyone knows it – even Oprah. Danes are the happiest people on Earth, or so they say anyway. This is the third and final article in The Copenhagen Post’s series looking at what is real and what is myth when it comes to happiness in Denmark. The previous two articles in the series, ‘Emotionally compromised or happy with their lot?’ and ‘Being Mr Nice Guy’, can be read at cphpost.dk. We’ll be running further articles about happiness and Denmark on an occasional basis.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
25 - 31 January 2013
Where dream-destination delights dissipate our dark-day doldrums PHOTOS: HASSE FERROLD
WORDS: BEN HAMILTON
The fair provides a tremendous opportunity for the city’s embassies to draw attention to their homelands – most particularly their biggest tourist attractions. Among those present were (left-right) Burkina Faso’s ambassador Monique Ilboudo, Indonesian ambassador Dr Bomer Pasaribu, Armenian ambasThere’s nothing like some bucking bronco to get you in the mood, and judging from the reaction of the thousands sador Hrachya Aghajanyan, Bolivian ambassador Bishop Eugenio Poma, KUKS president Eleanor Bomholt, Argentine chargé d’affaires Marcelo Joaquin of visitors to the Travel Fair at Bella Center last weekend, the holiday spirit was alive and kicking all over the venue Pujo, and the Indonesian Embassy’s Parbadiani Poppy Tobing
Once again the Bella Center could proudly salute another well organised and attended fair. Among those present were (left-right) As the ambassador of the world’s largest and, some would say, Did you know that Albania was the number one destination on Bella Center chief executive Arne Bang Mikkelsen, Turismens Bolivia may be land-locked, but its ambassador Bishop Eugenio most interesting archipelago, Indonesian ambassador Dr Bomer Lonely Planet’s top ten list for 2011. Albania ambassador Arben Vækstråd chairman Mads Lebech and the fair’s organiser, Malina Cici (right) was at hand to explain why Lebrecht Hye Poma wasn’t tongue-tied when it came to espousing its virtues Pasaribu had a pretty easy task in front of him
Rumour has it that the secrets of Cuba’s tourism appeal have been rumbled. In attendance to talk about all things rum and rumba was the Caribbean island’s ambassador Caridad Yamira Cueto Milian (right)
We didn’t find out if Armenian ambassador Hrachya Aghajanyan (second left) knows that Kim Kardashian is half-Armenian, although her surname does means ‘son of a stonemason’ – apt for somebody who probably says “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone” a lot
Beyond the touristy stands, there were plenty of things to watch, including the CPH Diveshow
They gave the world Alexander the Great, who in turn gave the world a good thrashing. Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia ambassador Asaf Ademi (right) now wants the world to come back to its former capital
While the kids were well catered for by two worlds: Legoworld …
Part of the fun of visiting Burkina Faso is pronouncing the place names, starting with the capital Ouagadougou, followed by Koudougou, where you can find the sacred crocodiles of Sabou, creatures so docile you can sit on them, or at least that’s what ambassador Monique Ilboudo promised
and Pippiworld, just a short hop across the Øresund away
No crying for Argentina, just sighing at the enormous choice it Among those making their debuts at the fair was Palestine, has to offer, on which its chargé d’affaires Marcelo Joaquin Pujo whose tourism is flourishing. Bethlehem, its most popular des- Gorgeous Georgia − no not the US state, the eastern European As was magical Malta, although given its size to visitor ratio, it’s difficult to know how they could fit any more in (left) was happy to fill us in tination, attracts over a million tourists a year country! − was well represented
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
25 - 31 January 2013
ABOUT TOWN PHOTOS BY HASSE FERROLD UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED
ANN CHARLOTTE VENGSGAARD
Thousands of Francophiles flocked to Øksnehallen over the weekend to attend the Paris-København Festival, which was organised by French Art Day. The joint venture between French and Danish artists presented the best of both cultures – sometimes, like in the installation (see left) created by Frédéric Dilé (left) and Jean-Marie Babonneau (right) where it was possible to ‘cycle’ down a street located both in Copenhagen and Paris, at the same time. Pictured centre left (photograph: Ann Charlotte Vengsgaard) are the organisers (left-right) Kristoffe Biglete, Fanny Le Gall, Julie-Marine Guérin and Nicolas Bonvalet. Behind them is Danish photographer Anders Askegaard, whose photographs of exotic women in Paris proved popular with visitors, as did the metro line exhibit (centre right)
Among the new exhibitions opening across town over the weekend was ‘The American Photograpy by Torbjørn Rødland at Nils Stærk (featuring Ronald Reagan) … Room’ by Marcel van Eeden at Galleri Bo Bjerggaard …
And Koloristerne at Den Frie Udstillingsbygning, featuring several artists including Carsten von Wurden
DATING THE DANES
And then there was one ... Swapping New Zealand for Zealand for her second tour of duty, Emily McLean isn’t, as far as we know, getting hitched anytime soon. She’s out there kissing frogs to find her prince - nobody ever said Dating the Danes was going to be easy.
Know thyself … Know thy Danes
T French-born Princess Marie on Monday was the apt choice to present the Francophone Ambassadors’ Literature Prize for 2012 to Sissel-]o Gazan − who is best known as the author of the 2008 book ‘Dinosaurens fjer’ (‘The Dinosaur Feather’) − at the residence of Belgian ambassador Jean-Francois Branders on Monday. Pictured here (left-right) are Czech ambassador Zdeněk Lyčka, Swiss ambassador Denis Feldmeyer, Estonian ambassador Katrin Kivi, Princess Marie, DR culture journalist Tore Leifer, Benin’s ambassador Arlette Claudine Rita Dagnon Vignikin, Canadian ambassador André François Giroux, Gazan, Ivory Coast ambassador Mina Balde Laurent, French ambassador Veronique Bujon-Barre and Branders
On January 10 it was the turn of parliament to hold a reception for the city’s Diplomatic Corps. It might look like hundreds turned up, and a fair number did, but if you look closely you’ll see a fair proportion of the attendants are actually in a painting
HERE SHOULD be a small handbook given to any foreign woman who comes here and attempts to date the Danes. Along with your ‘How do I get a CPR card’ brochure, you should also receive the ‘How to date Danish men’ leaflet. Now I don’t consider myself an advice-giver in the arena of Danish men. My past credentials clearly prove that. However, in the past month, several women have approached me around town … not to comment on what I’ve written, but to ask for advice. So on behalf of those women, and for all of you still stumbling in the dark, I will attempt to impart a few small and very humble pieces of advice. 1. It’s not you. Because there are no dating rules here, you may be tempted to second-guess yourself ALL the time. Stop. The equations we use at home don’t work here. Two dates + two smiley faces on a text + one ride on the back of his bike do not
equal what we think it does. Even ‘xo’ you put on your text message six months of ‘hanging out’, as does NOT translate in Denmark Danes call it, may not even mean to “I’m ridiculously into you, he’s into you. Danes have a dif- think you’re hotter than Oliver ferent way of doing things. The Bjerrehuus and can’t wait to see you again.” Here it means an ‘x’ solution? See #3. 2. Don’t try to be Danish. He is sitting next to an ‘o’. 4. Learn something about probably likes you because you’re Denmark. At not. You don’t have the heart of to go and dress in every Dane is an oversized black an introverted tunic or wear those patriot. So little ear warmers. Even though you may while I stand Only you can in- feel like a harlot, you by point #2, troduce him to you have to new phenomenon don’t come across as make yourself such as ‘talking one to a Danish guy at least credito checkout opble here. Learn erators’, and for heaven’s sake, don’t try to play how to say “du er for lækker” or the Danish dating game − you’ll at least learn the difference beend up more confused than the tween Mikkel Kessler and Mads last time you filled in your SKAT Mikkelsen. You’ll not only score extra points for being interested form. 3. Make it obvious. If you’re in a country that very few people from the motherland or a subse- are, but your poor Danish acquent colony, you’ll feel pretty cent will actually come across as brazen doing this. Don’t worry. ‘charming’. Ny i Danmark is clearly in Even though you may feel like a harlot, you don’t come across as need of my services – expect to see one to a Danish guy. That extra a leaflet around town very soon.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
25 - 31 January 2013
Yippie Kai-Yay ! Here’s hope for internationals seeking to network CASPER TYBJERG
Molly Durham recommends Danish lessons, social events, joining a club and doing volunteer work as great ways for YIPs to network
DAVE SMITH According to a new survey, the country’s YIPs (young international professionals) can find plenty of socialising opportunities if they know where to look
EVELOPING a social network as a young international professional (YIP) in Denmark can be challenging, according to a new survey carried out by International Community, an international organisation that was established by Erhverv Aarhus (Aarhus Business Network) in 2008 to provide a shared plat-
form for businesses, educational institutions and public authorities that deal with international employees in Jutland. However, there is hope. According to the survey’s conclusions, learning Danish, joining an association, becoming a volunteer and attending international events provide excellent opportunities for socialising with other internationals and Danes. The primary focus of the YIP Survey by International Community – which was carried out via a focus group, interviews with HR employees and interviews with internationals at several informal events – was how international companies, organisations and public institutions can become better
at attracting and retaining YIPs. “At International Community we felt the need to take a closer look at the wants of this specific group within the expat community in Aarhus, since they clearly value other things than the typical expat family or accompanying spouses,” explained International Community’s project manager, Tiny Maerschalk. “Both in order for us to target our services to them even better, but also to the benefit of the companies and organisations within our network that seek to attract and retain the most talented employees and need the tools to do so.” According to the survey, YIPs like the 37-hour working week that leaves them with plenty of time to socialise and other pastime activities. However, according to the International Community’s Molly Durham, who is herself American, establishing a network can be a challenge, especially if you don’t know how to approach Danes and their sometimes closed-off behaviour. “YIPs are characterised as young international knowledge workers who came here by themselves,” she said. “Not surprisingly, they emphasise networking more than people who bring their family and are very interested in connecting with other internationals as well as Danes, which often demands an effort from you. The survey participants
recommend learning Danish, attending social events, joining an association or doing volunteer work as great ways to get a network outside your office and make your stay more enjoyable.” The survey also highlights how YIPs are focused on getting a headstart when arriving in Denmark. Therefore, they appreciate all the help they can get with their paperwork − for instance, at the International Citizen Service. Moreover, they suggest that a ‘social buddy’ could be helpful upon arrival and that practical online information should be a ‘one point of entry’ instead of being scattered across various websites. “The idea of a buddy who can assist you with practical stuff and connect you with other internationals and Danes outside the workplace is great,” said Damien Castaignet, a loads engineer at Vestas. “For example, I wish someone could have talked to my landlord in Danish and supported me with other practical and social matters. I would definitely have settled in quicker if someone had pointed me to relevant events and network opportunities.” International Community also supports the many international companies that seek to attract YIPs in order to stay competitive. Both large international companies and SMEs are part of International Community’s network. According to DuPont’s HR
director, Lene Skyttegaard, international diversification creates better conditions for innovation. “The needs of the YIP are of course important to us, and since we don’t have the resources to be updated on the latest knowledge all the time, we turn to International Community when needed,” she revealed.
“We consider International Community as an extension to our HR department. For instance, we participate in seminars where we can network with other internationally-minded companies, get access to valuable knowledge and best practice solutions, and be inspired by the latest knowledge in the field.”
Factfile | International Community an independent and nonpolitical organisation.
A network for international employees, their families, internationally-minded Danes and companies that work to attract and retain international talents. It offers events, seminars, practical info and personal support to all its members. Established in 2008 by Erhverv Aarhus (Aarhus Business Network) – an independent business organisation working to strengthen the business community in the Aarhus area – in co-operation with Aarhus Council as
Supported by some of the biggest companies and organisations in Denmark such as DuPont, Vestas, Arla Foods, Bestseller, Grundfos and Aarhus University.
Lead partner of a regional frontrunner project, which includes all 19 councils in the region and is partly financed by the European Social Fund. The project was initiated by Central Denmark Region’s Department of Regional Development.
Won the Integrations Award from Aarhus Council in 2012 for building bridges between international residents and companies.
COMING UP SOON
Join the book club ! JESSICA HANLEY Books & Company’s latest endeavour aims to bring together readers of all backgrounds
OOK aficionados, internationals and Danes alike need look no further than Hellerup’s Books & Company. After years of requests from customers, the international book cafe is launching its own book club in February Lara Miller, the newest addition to the team at Books & Company, will be heading the new club. A native Australian who moved to Denmark ten years ago, Miller describes herself as a “happy customer” of the bookshop who wanted to get involved. “I asked Isabella Smith, the owner, if there was a book club at the shop,” Miller said. “She said that there wasn’t, but it was something she would like to do, so I offered to help start one.”
According to Miller, the response has been overwhelming already. “We had to post online after one day of advertising that the response had been very positive and that places were full and we were already starting a waiting list,” Miller told The Copenhagen Post. Although details and numbers are still being finalised – and will largely reflect the desires of the club members –12 participants have already signed on, and the shop plans to hold monthly meetings. All of the book discussions will be in English. Miller and the others at Books & Company find it important for the new club to provide an opportunity for all lovers of literature to share their ideas in a relaxed, positive environment. “Books & Company focuses as much on the ‘company’ as the ‘books’,” Miller said. “The book club creates a space for internationals and Danes to meet together and share their love of books.”
The Plant Hunters: Explorers, Botanists & Forgotten Heroes Folk Universitet, Niels Bohr Institut, Blegdamsvej 17, Bldg D, Cph Ø; Thursdays 17:15-19:00, starts Feb 14, ends March 14; www. fukbh.dk This course, taught in English, will explain how our exotic house plants travelled across Asia, Australia and the Americas to find homes in European gardens. Participants will meet the plant hunters, a group of adventuring botanists who endured vast hardships and illnesses to explore remote areas of the world, with the sole purpose of discovering new plants for home gardens. Professor Toby Musgrave will tell their stories and investigate the impact of their plants on Europe’s gardens. Vertical Wine Tasting Kent Kaffe Laboratorium, Nørre Farmiagsgade 70, Cph K; Wed 18:00-20:00; 250kr, 30 spots available, sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org; www.omnielsen.dk Join Copenhagen International Expats at a tasting featuring OM Nielsen’s newly-arrived ‘Domaine Pascal Bouley 1. Cru’ wines. This will be a guided wine tasting in which participants explore the regional differences between these unique wines, as well as differences between the 2009 and 2010 versions.
Empowering qualified expats in Denmark IT Volunteers of Denmark Information Session, Symbion Science Park, Fruebjergvej 3, Cph Ø; Jan 31, 17:00; register at www.itvd.dk/ registration-form.php; www.itvd.dk Are you an expat in Denmark looking for a professional career via alternative options? Join IT Volunteers of Denmark (ITVD), a non-profit organisation working to facilitate opportunities for internationals in Denmark. ITVD endeavours to nurture expats’ knowledge while searching for a job, generate income opportunities and career possibilities, and maximise expats’ exposure to prospective businesses. This seminar will discuss how a self-driven, business-minded person can create opportunities to secure a better living. The seminar will start at 17:30, but ITVD will begin welcoming guests at 17:00. Copenhagen Tour for new expats Starts at Vor Frue Kirke, Nørregade 8, Cph K; Feb 2, 10:0013:00; 150kr, free for children under 14; max 20 people, registration required at www.copenhagentours.dk/expat Consider this your personal introduction to Copenhagen. This walking tour will cover some of the major sights in the city and is a perfect way for newcomers
to get a sense of Copenhagen and its offerings. The guides maintain a leisurely pace, leaving plenty of time to stop and marvel at sights like Nyhavn and Amalienborg. Family and Succession Law in Denmark European Professional Women’s Network Seminar, Offices of Lund, Elmer and Sandager, Kalvebod Brygge 39-41, Cph K; Wed Feb 20, 18:30-21:30; 150kr for non-members, register at www. epwn.etheryl.net/events/4382 Lawyers Janne Køster and Pernille Ørskov team up with the European Professional Women’s Network to share their combined expertise about the challenges of border marriages and inheritance law in Denmark. This seminar will focus on the international principles regarding prenuptial agreements and divorce settlements as according to governing Danish law. The event will largely be based on participants’ questions and specific challenges. English Book Club Østerbro Library, Dag Hammerskøld Allé 19, Cph Ø; Feb 6, 17:30; contact Aishwarya Gawaskar at aishgawaskar@gmail. com to sign up; www.expatindenmark.com Join Expat in Denmark’s next
book club meeting, which will cover Rachel Joyce’s ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold’ this month. Coffee, tea and cookies will be offered while participants discuss the book. The discussion will be in English, but participants should feel free to read the book in any language. Contact Aishwarya Gawaskar if interested to ensure there are enough arrangements for all. Mindfulness course for expats MBSR Course, Østerbrogade 56D, Cph Ø; eight-week course on Mondays, 18:30-21:00, not April 1, starts Feb 11; 4,500kr; contact Carina Lyall at kontakt@ mindfulground.dk or 3142 4404; www.mindfulground.dk Stressed-out expats now have a chance to reclaim their calm and relaxation with a new mindfulness course in English. A course in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) can help aid you in decision-making abilities and increase your awareness and perception. Participants will be introduced to Hatha yoga, communication and other awareness exercises during the eight-week course. The course is 26 hours long overall, and the price includes training materials and an additional all-day silent workshop on Sunday March 17.
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
25 - 31 January 2013
Mikkelsen wants a world gold to underline his world #1 status
Christian Wenande Bidding for the final four, Denmark’s handball team is hungry for more success
t the time of going to press, Denmark were heavily favoured to beat Hungary in the quarterfinals of the World Handball Championship on Wednesday night. Russia, Iceland, Macedonia, Chile and Qatar all fell to the red and white sword in the group stage, and on Sunday, they easily beat Tunisia in the round of last 16 knockout phase. Denmark, undefeated thus far, are 3/1 second favourites (Ladbroke’s), behind hosts Spain, to lift the trophy, and they are 2/9 (Bet 365) to beat Hungary – the shortest price of any of the quarter-finalists. Heading into the tournament, they were the fourth favourites, but since then the draw has opened up for them. While their group was the easiest of the four, they’ve so far managed to avoid the toughest nations: France, Germany, Croatia and Spain. If they beat Hungary, they will probably face France on Friday in what will be a replay of the 2011World Handball Cham-
pionship final, which Denmark lost in heartbreaking fashion 3735 in overtime. The potential rematch offers a mouthwatering battle between two of the world’s best handball players: Denmark’s Mikkel Hansen and France’s Nikola Karabatic. But let’s not get carried away! Although Hungary lost to Spain and Croatia in the group stages, they won’t be a walkover, particularly if their beast of a playmaker, the 2.09m, 113kg Lazlo Nagy, has anything to do with it! “I think he is the world’s best left-handed player. Kim Andersson is good too, but because Laszlo also plays defence, he is a more complete player and valuable to his team,” Danish player Jesper Nøddesbo told Ekstra Bladet tabloid. Nøddesbo is one of just five remaining players from the squad that won gold at the 2008 European Handball Championships – an encouraging sign for the future. The Danish squad this year is one of the youngest in the competition. Aside from its handful of veterans, 11 of the 17 Danish players are under 29, and seven of them are under 25. But while they may be young, coach Ulrik Wilbek is adamant that his team is up for the challenge. “It’s a young team, to be
Mikkel’s eyes are on the crown … as are Michael’s, Wembley-bound
Laudrup never played in England, but has taken to its game like a swan to water
sure, but it’s not an inexperienced team. Many of these young players have been here before, but it is a much younger team than we’ve had before,” Wilbek told DR News. “And it’s also a team lacking the defensive specialists − the players that only play at one end of the pitch.” It’s impressive how Denmark have managed to switch generations with little attrition to their results. Sweden and Russia, for example, who dominated the handball scene in the 1990s, winning between them four Worlds and five Euros, have failed to make a final since Sweden won the Euros in 2002. They have simply failed to make the transition. Denmark, on the other hand, have already enjoyed a decade as one of the dominant forces in the game and now look set for another one. Since finishing third in the 2002 Euros, they have won the Euros twice and finished third twice, and also finished fourth, third and second in the Worlds. Denmark look a good bet to make a second consecutive final. With the likes of Hansen, Niklas Landin, Nikolaj Markussen and Rasmus Lauge patrolling the Danish line for the next six to ten years, the future looks very bright indeed.
Christian Wenande Bidding for the final two, Laudrup is quickly becoming a Swansea legend
orget local Danish legends Hummel and Jan Mølby. At the time of going to press, Michael Laudrup was on the verge of breaking into the very highest echelons of his host city’s folklore, right up there alongside Dylan Thomas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. And even if his side fails to capitalise on their 2-0 win away at Chelsea in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final on Wednesday night and doesn’t make the final, rest assured: a Swansea sainthood is in the post. Quite simply, Laudrup and Swansea City look to be a match made in heaven. The Dane has led the Welsh team to a solid placing in the Premier League, and immortality is his for the taking. Nevertheless, the Danish legend was his usual modest self when commenting on whether the Chelsea match was the most important in Swansea’s history. “I don’t know,” he admitted to the BBC. “I’ve only been
here seven months. Obviously for me it is: it’s a cup semi-final, the last step before a final. But I think that question should be asked to people who have been following this club for five, ten or 50 years − they could put this game on Wednesday into perspective.” A glance at the club’s history would appear to suggest that this is indeed one of the most important games in Swansea’s 101-year history. Founded in 1912, Swansea have won neither the FA Cup nor the League Cup and never even made a final. The closest they have come are the FA Cup semi-finals in 1925 and 1964. Considering 43 of the 92 clubs in the English League have won one of the big three, that’s quite an omission. But now they’re on the cusp of their first final appearance after disposing of Barnsley, Crawley Town, Liverpool and Middlesbrough in that order before beating mighty Chelsea two weeks ago. It was their first win at Stamford Bridge for 87 years and puts the Swans firmly in control ahead of the second leg in Wales. Should the Swans make it to the final, they will face League Two outfit Bradford City, a team that will be bidding to become one of the biggest underdogs in
English Cup history. Should they make it, Swansea would be strong favourites to win. As well as the Cup, Laudrup also has another record in his sights: Swansea’s highest ever placing in the English top flight. The current record is sixth (1982), and Swansea, in ninth place, are just five points behind Everton who sit in the Euro League-claiming fifth position. But despite the glowing ever-growing reputation, Laudrup wouldn’t be drawn into judging the season until all 38 league games are played. “In regards to myself over here, I am naturally very satisfied with the season thus far. But there are still four months left, so the final evaluation will not be until May,” Laudrup told The Copenhagen Post. When that appraisal comes, Laudrup faces tough opposition becoming the most influential Dane in the history of Swansea City. The aforementioned Jan Mølby took the Swans to the Division Three playoff final as player-manager in the 1996-97 season. And Hummel sponsored the club during the 1984-85 season. Only joking! Laudrup has already eclipsed them both.
Sports news IN brief K6 outs ‘secret footballer’
Woz’s woes in Oz continue
Big tick from Nike
Kanal 6 on Sunday revealed the identity of ‘The Secret Footballer’, the pseudonym for an unknown English League-based footballer who since early 2011 has written a blog for British newspaper The Guardian, as Dave Kitson, a forward with Championship club Sheffield United, who previously played in the Premier League − most notably for Reading. The segment showed Danish journalist Kian Fonoudi eliminating all the potential candidates one by one until only Kitson remained, and K6 duly translated it into English. When the news reached Sheffield United, it immediately threatened legal action if the channel didn’t retract the segment, which is has subsequently done. Fonoudi said the club’s action “just further proves my point”.
Caroline Wozniacki bowed out of the Australian Open on Monday, losing 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 to Russia’s unranked double grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, a player the tenth seed lost to earlier in the month in Sydney. Wozniacki disputed a decision by the umpire at a critical moment in the final set, but in the end she could have few complaints, firing 23 winners to Kuznetsova’s 52, losing 23 of the 25 points that Kuznetsova contested at the net. In total, Wozniacki hit 53 winners in four matches, compared to 133 by her opponents, and 62 unforced errors – barely a third of her opponents’ 178. Her elimination will see her lose 180 ranking points for failing to match her quarter-final appearance in 2012.
Thorbjørn Olesen has handed Rory McIlroy a lesson in how to adapt to a set of new Nike clubs by finishing second at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship on Sunday – a tournament at which the Northern Irishman, and new fiancé of Caroline Wozniacki, failed to make the cut. “Rory’s had a long break, ”Olesen told the Irish Independent. “Next time he’s back, I’m sure he’ll do great.” After a stuttering start to his final round, Olesen shot three birdies on the back nine, but was unable to sink a putt on the last to force a playoff. The result sees him officially become Denmark’s top golfer, as he is now number 42 in the world rankings, five places above compatriot Tomas Bjørn, and 23 above Anders Hansen.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
25 - 31 January 2013
Scandia Housing “not going anywhere” BJARKE SMITH-MEYER Managing director apologises and reassures renters and property owners the company is still in business
Danske Bank will actually benefit from losing some of its less well off customers, analysts say
Bank panned over plans to introduce quarterly charge RAY WEAVER
Most customers will have to pay to keep their money in Danske Bank once it replaces various fees with a single charge in the autumn
EGINNING this autumn, it could cost customers as much as 480 kroner a year to have an account with Danske Bank. The nation’s largest bank has already begun the process of replacing its various banking fees with a flat quartely fee that will see customers pay up to 120 kroner every three month by the end of the year. Tonny Thiery Andersen, the head of retail banking – the bank’s largest division – said last week on Friday that customers would be placed in one of six groups based on the size of their accounts, and those with the least amount of activity would pay the most. “That will increase both customer satisfaction and profitability going forward,” Andersen told media. He said 40 percent of the bank’s customers had been “unprofitable” for the bank. Customers who do business with the bank worth 750,000 kroner or more – for activities like mortgages, car loans, retirement savings or deposits paid – will not be charged. Students are also exempt from the new fees. In recent years the country’s biggest bank has been dealing with a bad debt problem caused by the manily burst property bubble and writedowns on loans to struggling farmers. The bank issued new stock worth seven billion kroner and cut over 1,000 jobs as recently as last October in an effort to turn itself around.
The bank has also been trying to rebuild customer trust following the financial crisis and last year launched its ‘New Standards’ rebranding programme. The campaign – which featured a range of imagery that included athletes with amputated limbs, children using tablet computers, solar panels being installed in Africa and protesters throwing stones at the police – drew international ire for its use of an image of a man with a dollar bill taped across his mouth with ‘#OCCUPY’ written on it. The bank was criticised for using the image as it appeared to undermine the fact that the original #OccupyWallStreet movement was driven by outrage at the irresponsible risks taken by banks that contributed to the global financial crisis. Danske Bank has apologised to the Occupy movement and removed the image from its campaign. Now, the new fee structure has the bank again at the centre of a PR storm. Questions have been raised about whether it is fair for banks to charge customers for basic accounts, particularly when the state requires individuals to have a bank account. The bank’s customers blanketed its Facebook page over the weekend, expressing their anger at the fee plan. “So now you introduce another way to take money from small customers – no wonder they do not feel welcome with you,” wrote one poster. “We will remember this when it is time to buy a home,” wrote another. A third expressed outrage over the discrepancy of the
charges between high and low volume accounts. “The less money you have in the bank, the more you have to pay? So the rich don’t pay anything? Not smart.” More than one customer threatened to change banks. Professor Finn Østrup from Copenhagen Business School said that losing some customers could actually be the best outcome for the bank. “They are probably happy to lose the smaller customers,” Østrup told the freesheet MetroXpress. “If they are not willing to pay a fee and leave, Danske Bank will profit.” Andersen denied that the bank is looking to get rid of marginal customers, adding that he believed flat fees were easier to understand than transaction fees. The bank, he said, was not looking to profit from the charges, only to cover its basic costs to run the accounts. “I have no doubt that some people will leave, but I hope they look closely before they do,” he told MetroXpress. “Other banks charge fees, and we believe that our new model is the most transparent.” Some industry analysts suggested other banks could follow Danske Bank’s suit, but so far, most major banks had said they did not plan such a move. Danske Bank’s single-digit profitability in the third quarter last year leaves it far short of Swedish and Norwegian rivals, which have all produced doubledigit returns. Andersen said that regaining the trust of customers would take time. “We have two million customers – you don’t fix this in one week.”
ESPITE REPORTS to the contrary, property management agency Scandia Housing is reassuring clients that it is not on the brink of bankruptcy. Fears of the company’s demise were stoked last week by a statement on its website that it had “stopped payments” and was reorganising. “There’s been a huge overload of business that simply became unmanageable,” Peter Høyer, the company’s managing director, told The Copenhagen Post. “So in order to contain the situation, I decided to strategically freeze company activity.” “Whether that was a bad idea or not, we’ll see. I’ll have time to re-evaluate my actions after we’re up and running again.” Reports in the media had stated that 50 employees had been laid off as a result of the company’s financial situation. Høyer, however, was quick to refute that claim as well as other speculation about the company’s health. “I want to be clear: I’m not fleeing to Barbados with the company’s money. We’re not firing anyone. And we’re not going bankrupt.” Despite those reassurances,
many of the company’s 9,700 swered as soon as possible. clients remain uncertain about “We’ve received a huge their situation. amount of emails and calls,” he Renters have reported be- explained. “It is simply imposing unable to get into contact sible to address each individual with the company’s office, while inquiry in one go. Everyone will homeowners letting their prop- get a reply once we’ve been able erties through to restructure the agency said the company they had not accordingly.” been paid for W h i l e months. Høyer reassured I’m not fleeing to “We’ve not tenants and received any Barbados with the landlords that money since company’s money. they are in no No v e m b e r,” danger of losing Tony William- We’re not firing anyone. their money, he son, who owns And we’re not going admitted it was a suburban Counderstandable penhagen home bankrupt if clients had being rented out become upset. through the company, told The “I know it has antagonised Copenhagen Post. people and I am very sorry,” According to the terms of Høyer said. “It’s an unacceptable Scandia’s agreements with prop- situation, but we’re doing our erty owners, tenants pay rent to very best to sort everything out Scandia Housing, which with- as soon as possible and regain holds 15 percent as its fee and the clients’ trust.” then transfers the remaining In the event that a property amount to the owner. management agency goes bank“They have power of at- ruptcy, Jan Schøtt-Petersen, a torney over our rent finances,” lawyer and spokesperson for Williamson explained. “There’s Danske Boligadvokater, an asa huge amount of financial trust sociation of lawyers specialising that goes into these sorts of in property law, said renters were agreements. And the fact that “very protected”. we have received no explanation, In such cases, rental contracts no reassurance and no apology is would remain valid and tenants’ just scandalous.” deposits would still be returned Høyer, however, insisted that to them. The expense of paying everyone who is owed money by them, however, would fall to the his company will be repaid, and owners themselves, and not the that all client queries will be an- property management agency.
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SPOUSE: Nitisha Sinha FROM: India SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Masters in Geography and B.Ed EXPERIENCE: 4 years 3 months in teaching geography in schools for the middle to senior level. I was also a foreign expat teacher and General Education Officer at Ministry Of Education,of Singapore in Singapore. LOOKING FOR: Full time / Part time jobs in International School/Colleges/Universities to teach Geography. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, Hindi and Bengali ( reading, writing and speaking) IT EXPERIENCE: Familiar with MS Office (Word, Powerpoint,) and Photoshop. CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: +45 71496579 SPOUSE: Isaac P Thomas FROM: India SEEKING WORK IN: East Juthland preferably Århus QUALIFICATION: Bachelor of Engineering (Computer Science). EXPERIENCE: Process Consulting, Quality Assurance, CMMI, ISO, Quality Audit, Process Definition, Software testing, software development, data analysis, best practice sharing, quality gap analysis and “sharepoint” expertise. LOOKING FOR: Process Consulting, Quality Assurance, CMMI, ISO, Quality Audit, Process Definition LANGUAGE SKILLS: Danish beginner, English, Malayalam, Hindi and Tamil. IT EXPERIENCE: 8 years experience in IT Industry in software quality assurance, software quality control, software development. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +4552225642 SPOUSE: Rita Paulo FROM: Portugal SEEKING WORK IN: Great Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Architect . EXPERIENCE: I am an architect and I have experience in Project and in Construction Supervision. In the past 7 years, I have worked mainly in housing, master planning and social facilities buildings. My last employer was a Project and Construction company where I had the opportunity to complement my experience in projects together with construction related tasks, developing myself as a professional. LOOKING FOR: Job in Architecture or Construction Company. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Native Portuguese, Proficiency in English, Basic user of Spanish and Danish IT EXPERIENCE: Strong knowledge of AutoCad and ArchiCad. Experience in Studio Max, CorelDraw, Photoshop, Office tools. CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: +45 2961 9694 SPOUSE: Anisha Kanjhlia FROM: India SEEKING WORK IN: Arhus in Teaching/Training/Administration/Media/Public Relations QUALIFICATION: Post Graduate in Advertising & Communication. EXPERIENCE: 6+ years of professional experience in Training, Customer Service, Promotions, Brand Marketing, Content Analysis and Team Management. Strong experience in planning and executing initiatives. Extensive training experience and influencing skills that will assist me in building a high potential, motivated and an effective team. Hands-on training in soft skills like crucial conversations and people management Branch Manager & Head of Training for Cosmo Aviation Training School in New Delhi, India. Proficient in analysing market trends to provide critical inputs for decision making and formulating training strategies. LOOKING FOR: Part time or full time in Aarhus. IT EXPERIENCE: Comfortable with all the basic computer knowledge like Excel, Word, Power Point, Internet browsing. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 4522305837
25 - 31 January 2013 SPOUSE: Erik Metzger FROM: San Francisco, CA USA SEEKING WORK IN: Drug & Alcohol Counselling QUALIFICATION: Masters degree in addiction counselling from Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies; Currently preparing for the IC&RC counselling exam. EXPERIENCE: Drug & Alcohol Counsellor; Masters in Addiction Counselling from Hazelden Graduate School in Minnesota, USA, August 2012. Ten years of active work in various 12-step programs. I can meet with you and/or your family to develop a custom recovery plan; all ages welcome. Registered Yoga Teacher through: www.yogaalliance.org since July, 2010. I can supply yoga mats and supports; my apartment or yours! Teacher of business English with training from Berlitz, Virksomhedsskolen and Denmark’s Library School (Cand.scient.bibl., 2007). *All diploma’s and certifications available upon request LOOKING FOR: Part/Full/Freelance/Volunteer work at treatment center and/or outpatient clinic. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English: Native; Danish: Fluent verbal skills and intermediate reading and writing. IT EXPERIENCE: PC and Mac – trained in many software packages and databases. CONTACT: email@example.com SPOUSE: Malgorzata Tujakowska FROM: Poland SEEKING WORK IN: Aarhus and the surrounding area QUALIFICATION: Masters in Ethnolinguistics with major in Chinese and English, Chinese HSK and Business Chinese Test certificates, 2-year long studies at Shanghai International Studies University and National Cheng Kung University,Taiwan. LOOKING FOR: Working for companies hiring Polish and Chinese employees, teaching Chinese, Polish, Business English, linguistics, translation and interpretation, proofreading, Chinese business and culture consulting, administrative work. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Polish (native speaker), Chinese – simplified and traditional (fluent), English (fluent), German(intermediate), Danish (intermediate-currently learning). IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office. CONTACT: Tel:+45 28702377, firstname.lastname@example.org SPOUSE: Christina Ioannou FROM: Greece SEEKING WORK IN: Central Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: MA in HRM London, UK. Bsc. American College USA. EXPERIENCE: Worked as a manager for 11 years in the retailing sector - fashion industry for a big international corporation. I had budget and personnel responsibility. I was in charge of the purchasing department. LOOKING FOR: Any kind of industry.Not simply in fashion.Where I will apply my leadership, sales, communicative and purchasing skills. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, Swedish,Italian, French, Greek IT-EXPERIENCE: MS Office CONTACT: EMAIL: email@example.com, Tel: +46768435211 SPOUSE: Mohammad Ahli- Gharamaleki FROM: Iran SEEKING WORK IN: Copenhagen QUALIFICATION: Master degree in chemical engineering. EXPERIENCE: 5+ years as a chemical engineer in R&D oil/gas projects as a team leader or member in Iran. LOOKING FOR: A position in an Intrnational company to expand my experience and expertise. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Azeri (native), English (fluent), Farsi (fluent), Arabic (good), Turkish (good), Danish(beginner). IT EXPERIENCE: Professional (MATLAB, Hysys, Aspen plus, Auto Cad, others (Office, Minitab). CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: (+45) 71 63 12 85
SPOUSE: Geet Shroff FROM: Bangalore, India SEEKING WORK IN: Midtjylland / Copenhagen / Odense QUALIFICATION: Bachelor’s degree in Communicative English from Bangalore University, India. EXPERIENCE: 8+ years of experience as Senior Copy Writer, Assistant Manager – Marketing Communications, Executive – Customer Loyalty & Communication, Customer Service Associate respectively. Through these years, I have developed content, handled complete marketing communications, organized numerous corporate (internal & external customer), private and institutional events ranging from 50 to 1000 people and also handling special projects that have included training & internal communication campaigns. LOOKING FOR: A Corporate or Marketing Communication (Internal or External) position or that of a Copy Writer at an advertising agency or a corporate house. Also open to a position at an event management company. LANGUAGE SKILLS: English, Danish (Beginner). IT EXPERIENCE: MS Office, Adobe In Design CS3 (Basic). CONTACT: email@example.com, Tel: +4550834024 SPOUSE: Chia-Pei CHEN FROM: Taiwan SEEKING WORK IN: Business Chinese/ Tutorial Chinese teaching in corporations, institutions or International schools. QUALIFICATION: A certified teacher of teaching Chinese as a second language. A degree in Social Science discipline. Continuously participation in training program (organized by Beijing Hanban of CHINA and CBS) to teach Chinese to foreigners in western context. Enrolment to distance Chinese teaching education system that keeps professional Chinese teachers resourceful. EXPERIENCE: I am a certified teacher of teaching Chinese as a second language to foreigners. And I have started teaching Chinese with English in my class for 2 years. I design suitable materials to teach Chinese with different phonetic systems (PinYin for China and Hong Kong, and Mandarin Phonetic Symbols for Taiwan) as well as to interpret differences between simplified and traditional Chinese characters. My past positions were Chinese language-related, such as: reporter, translator and social science researcher. Students who I taught before regard me as a sincere, discreet teacher who helps learners to progress in short time. LOOKING FOR: Business Chinese/ Tutorial Chinese teaching. LANGUAGE SKILLS: Chinese (mother tongue), English (Fluent), French (basic), Danish (beginner). IT EXPERIENCE: Word Office, SPSS statistic software, Basic Video and Audio editing, Blog writing. CONTACT: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 25 81 65 18
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WHY: The Copenhagen Post wishes to help spouses looking for jobs in Denmark. We have on our own initiative started a weekly spouse job page in The Copenhagen Post, with the aim to show that there are already within Denmark many highly educated international candidates looking for jobs. If you are a spouse to an international employee in Denmark looking for new career opportunities, you are welcome to send a profile to The Copenhagen Post at 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.
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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
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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.
How Christianity borrowed from Norse mythology and branded Jesus as a tough guy in order to woo the pagan Vikings
HISTORY | 19
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SRSF’s first budget will spend 17.5 billion kroner on infrastructure and abolish previous taxes and restrictions
AN YOU HAVE your cake and eat it too? Conventional wisdom says no, but with their first budget plan since the shift of power, the new Socialdemokraterne-RadikaleSocialistisk Folkeparti (SRSF) coalition appear to be giving it a shot. Many of the elements of the new budget – which is expected to be released in its entirety on Thursday – will increase state spending at a time when the budget deficit has increased. But where the money would come from remained a mystery. A number of the new budget items reinstate spending cuts made by the pre-
vious Venstre-Konservative (VK) govern- the number of students. Moreover, stument. Here are a few of the major points: dents will no longer pay administrative Families: VK limited the state’s fees, and prospective Master’s students monthly child support handouts (bør- will have prerequisite course tuitions necheck) to 35,000 kroner per fam- paid. The government will also fund ily. That limit has now been abolished, 1,500 more state-supported internship meaning that many families will get positions. Infrastructure and job creation: larger child benefits. The government will also pay for fertility treatments and Some 17.5 billion kroner will be invested over two years in infrastructure voluntary sterilisations. Welfare: VK and Dansk Folkeparti projects, such as a new rail line between (DF) introduced specialised welfare pro- Copenhagen and Ringsted, a project to grammes that reduced the cash benefits widen the Holbæk motorway, erosion for new immigrants. Those programmes protection efforts along Jutland’s west have now been eliminated and going coast, and renovations to public housforward all residents in need of state ing. Prime minister Helle Thorningsupport will receive the same welfare Schmidt has said that these ‘kickstart’ projects will create 20,000 new jobs benefits. Higher education and research: from 2012-2013. The Danish ConstrucUniversities will get an extra one billion tion Association predicts 10,000. Tax break:meeting The unpopular ‘mulkroner over two years to cover costs as- a personal Organise sociated with a predicted increase in timedia tax’ introduced by VK will be
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abolished, saving some 525,000 Danes with business laptops and mobile phones 3,000 kroner per year. Not everyone, however, can look forward to a cash infusion. Smokers and junk food lovers will be taxed higher on their vices, while international corporations will also see higher tax bills. SRSF plans to raise revenue by closing a number of tax loopholes going back nearly 20 years that allowed international corporations in Denmark to escape paying corporate taxes (see more on page 15). All told, the spending increases in the new budget are not as big as the minister of the economy and interior, Margrethe Vestager (R), would like. She noted that VK under-reported the deficit for 2012, making it imprudent to spend more. But Denmark will still meet the EU’s financial responsibility benchmarks, despite the larger deficit, she added.
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InOut The CPH Post Entertainment Guide | 16 - 22 Sep
KIDS ON FILM YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT BUSTER! THE CHILDREN’S MOVIE FEST IS HERE page
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A new budget to ‘kickstart’ the economy JENNIFER BULEY
SEPT. 28 - OCT. 2 · 2011
John Primer w. Nisse Thorbjorn Band [US/DK] Joe Louis Walker [US] | Holmes Brothers [US] Mud Morganfield w. Peter Nande Band [US/DK] Louisiana Red & Paul Lamb [US/UK] | Janice Harrington w. Kenn Lending Blues Band [US/DK] Keith Dunn Band [US/NL] | Johnny Max Band [CA] Delta Blues Band | The Healers | Shades of Blue Thorbjorn Risager | Troels Jensen | Alain Apaloo H.P. Lange | Mike Andersen & Jens Kristian Dam Tutweiler | Fried Okra Band | The Blues Overdrive Bluesoul | Grahn & Malm | Ole Frimer | Paul Banks Jacob Fischer Trio | Svante Sjöblom | Jes Holtsoe
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25 - 31 January 2013
No longer just a US state thanks to its new TV channel rikke k mathiassen
Museums are spreading their wings online, demonstrating that art appreciation needn’t be a preserve of just the elite and exhibitions
here is no documented proof that watching a video of an artist swinging a brush at his canvas makes more people want to visit an exhibition. Still, the region’s museums, competing to extend our art experience beyond the exhibition walls, are producing web-TV like never before.
Video’s cool and all that, but there’s no substitute for experiencing the beauty of Louisiania’s surroundings first-hand
Louisiana is just the latest in a line of museums that are allowing you to keep updated on the work of artists without ever passing their doorsteps. Following in the digital footsteps of major international museums such as MoMA in New York and the Tate Modern in London, free online video and TV channels are increasingly becoming a ‘must’ on museum websites, even though no evidence suggests it affects how many people actually pay the entrance fee to see an exhibition. “We didn’t launch the channel to make more people visit the museum,” explained Christian Lund, the head of Louisiana Channel, which was launched by Louisiana at the beginning of December. “The channel is not supposed to offer the same content as the exhibitions. It is supposed to offer something different − an extra bonus.” The viewers of Louisiana Channel can access a wide range of content from the museum, which is located half an hour’s
drive north of Copenhagen: from a 15-minute interview with the British artist David Hockney to a live performance by American poet and songwriter Patti Smith – all just a click of your mouse away. In Denmark, Louisiana is playing catch-up. Arken Museum in Ishøj has been distributing free video via its channel, Arken Channel, since 2011. “The videos are made for people who want to keep up-to-date with what is happening at the museum and who want to get more in-depth with some of the artists or themes that are represented here,” explained Karin Skipper-Ulstrup, the marketing and online manager at Arken Museum. And Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen already has four years of experience in the web-TV field. The head of its web-TV department, Mathilde Schytz Juul, agrees with the other museums that the video production has a different purpose from making more people pay to visit the museum.
“Our goal is to stimulate people’s appetite for art,” she said. “A click has as much worth to us as a visitor.” Louisiana accordingly measures the success of its new webTV channel in clicks instead of ticket sales. The goal is to reach a much bigger audience than the museum’s usual activities. By tracking the clicks on the channel’s website and social media platforms such as Twitter and YouTube, they have found out that people in the USA and Canada are actually the most frequent users of their videos. “What we want to do is to communicate the values that Louisiana stands for,” said Lund. “Maybe sometime while watching one of our videos on YouTube, people in the US will become curious about what this place ‘Louisiana’ is besides being a state in their own country.” Louisiana’s new channel currently attracts between 600 and 800 views a day, compared to 4,000 visitors on a very busy day through its doors.
Mad for the movies Amy Strada Cinemas salute their best year since 1982
ast year saw the highest number of cinema tickets sold for 30 years. In total, 14.2 million were purchased – nearly three per every person in the country and a 12 percent rise on last year. Cinema-goers rushed to see blockbusters like ‘Skyfall’ – the year’s most popular film, with 914,000 tickets sold – ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ (566,000 tickets) and Peter Jackson’s adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s geek-pleasing ‘The Hobbit’. Meanwhile, Danish films also prospered, selling 4.1 million tickets – their second highest tally since 1981, just 100,000 adrift of the 2008 figures. Leading the way were two films by female directors. Anne-Grethe Bjarup Riis’s Second World War resistance film ‘Hvidsten gruppen’ (‘The village: One family’s sacrifice will let a country live’)
was the most watched, selling 765,000 tickets, followed by Susanne Bier’s ‘All You Need is Love’ (645,000 tickets). In third place, Nikolaj Arcel’s ‘En Kongelig Affære’ (‘A Royal Affair’) sold 528,000 tickets – the first time three Danish films have sold over 500,000 tickets since 1986. “The films also showed their strength internationally, winning awards at major festivals such as in Sundance, Berlin and Cannes,” Henrik Bo Nielsen, the CEO of the Danish Film Institute, told media. From 272 festival nominations, Danish films won close to 30 percent of them. No fewer than four Danish films were featured in Sundance’s World Cinema categories; ‘En Kongelig’ won the awards for best actor and best script at the Berlin International Film Festival and is nominated for ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ at next month’s Oscars; and Thomas Vinterberg’s ‘Jagten’ (‘The Hunt’), which will be eligible for the Oscars next year, won the best actor award at Cannes.
‘Skyfall’ is the most popular ever Bond film in Denmark
Changes on the way for some TV owners Soon-to-be obsolete digital signal and decades-old antenna fee on the way out
lans by cable TV provider YouSee to change its broadcasting format could force as many as 50,000 of its customers to buy a new television. The company is planning to switch from the MPEG-2 format to MPEG-4 by April 30 in order to be able to carry more highdefinition content. The change means that those who purchased early-model digital televisions or receivers equipped with only MPEG-2 receivers will be unable to receive YouSee’s signal. Since 2010, virtually all devices can decode the MPEG-4 signal. “We have been reluctant to make this decision because it may force a small number of customers to buy a new TV,” Lars Techen Nielsen, a YouSee spokesperson, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. Nielsen said YouSee, which has 1.2 million customers and is the nation’s largest cable company, wanted to upgrade all of its digital broadcasts to highdefinition by 2015, and to do so it needed the bandwidth now consumed by broadcasting some programmes in both formats. The change will affect only those channels that are broadcast
Hector Martin He is a former Church of Denmark vicar popularly known as the priest who didn’t believe in God. Bad career choice, huh? Well, saying he didn’t believe in God is something of an oversimplification. In his 2003 book ‘En sten i skoen’ (‘A stone in the shoe’), he wrote that he didn’t believe God created or played an active role in the world. Doesn’t that still go against some kind of church teaching? It does, but it wasn’t enough to get him kicked out of the church – at least not right away. He was given the chance to explain himself to his bishop, who then made sure his sermons stuck to church dogma.
Now you see it, now you don’t
Who is … Thorkild Grosbøll
digitally. Analogue signals will still be able to be seen, even on older model televisions. An easy way to test whether a set can receive MPEG-4 broadcasts is to tune into DRHD (which becomes DR3 on January 28). Since the channel is broadcast in the MPEG-4 format only, any set that can receive it will be able to receive YouSee broadcasts when they switch over to MPEG-4. In another sign of the changing television times, the decadesold forced marriage with local antenna associations, which many people are required to enter into, may now be coming to an end. The environment minister, Ida Auken, announced she will introduce a bill next month that will put an end to the law requiring people living in certain areas to pay for a connection to a common antenna – something that has been a part of municipal planning since the 1970s. “Of course people should be able to decide which TV provider they want to use without having to pay for a communal antenna,” Auken told JyllandsPosten newspaper. There are no official figures on exactly how many households are currently paying to be members of an antenna association. According to official estimates, it is between 50,000 and 100,000
households, but a study conducted by members of the consumer electronics industry indicated that 650,000 households were currently locked into what they called “television handcuffs”. Dansk Energi, the lobby group for the energy industry, has fought against the common antenna requirement for years on behalf of a number of major utilities companies that have invested billions in broadband and TV services. Although the group was happy the change was finally taking place, they were angry the bill calls for a two-year transition period. Both the European Commission and Konkurrence og Forbrugerstyrelsen, the national consumer watchdog, have pushed for years for the abolishment of the common antenna rules, saying they hurt competition and consumers. Broadcasters like Viasat, Canal Digital and Boxer TV all supported that position. Carsten Karlsen, who heads antenna association group Forenede Danske Antenneanlæg (FDA), said he welcomes the new rules, even if they mean war for some of his association’s members. “We have no interest in being perceived as a prison by our members,” Karlsen told JyllandsPosten.
Did they? Not really. He wound up being suspended in 2004 and relieved entirely of his priesthood the next year, despite having the full support of his parish. He really didn’t do much to help his own case though – especially not when he repeatedly fed the press with quotes like: “God belongs in the past. In fact, he’s so old-fashioned that it astounds me that modern people can even believe in his existence.” At the same time, he blamed the press and his superiors for taking his quotes out of context. He was eventually allowed back, but only after he reaffirmed his faith, including the parts about God being the “all-powerful creator of Heaven and Earth”. He retired for good in 2008. Is he trying to make a comeback? No, but his moment of public doubt has apparently made such an impact that a church in Viborg, Jutland recently advertised an opening for a vicar, including as one of the requirements was that the successful candidate needed to be ‘a believer’. Are there more like the Rev Grosbøll? According to the church looking to hire, yes. Given the stink put up by the vicars’ union and the church minister over the requirement, they would appear to be right. Tolerance is apparently divine.
Denmark through the looking glass The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
25 - 31 January 2013
The explorer who came in from the cold to wallow in squalour C&GS Season’s Report Pierce 1952
A umiak, just like the one Walløe used on his expedition. It was ideally suited to navigating shallow water and creeping up on unsuspecting harbour masters to ask for directions
Jaya Rao How an Arctic hero’s documentation of the geography of Greenland went unheralded in Denmark until 134 years after his death
ike sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives, and when they run out, few of us leave a visible trace. But in the same way that extreme weather might suddenly expose a forgotten settlement in the desert, the footprints left in the sands by 18th century Danish explorer Peder Olsen Walløe lay unseen for centuries until a historian in 1927 republished his diaries, bringing renewed attention to them. The entries championed the efforts made by Walløe in Greenland between 1751 and 1753, during which time he docu-
mented much of the geography of the southern part of the island’s east coast – information that has since proved to be invaluable to those working and settling in the region. Walløe first came to Greenland in 1739 as a colonialist – one of five recruited to the country by noted Lutheran missionary Hans Egede. Aged 23, he began an apprenticeship as a cooper – a traditional employment choice in pre-Industrial Revolution Europe. He learned to speak the Greenlandic language of Kalaallisut and qualified as a trader with permission to operate outside the Godthåb colony. He then worked for Cooper Colony Christianshåb from 1740-1742 before becoming a trading assistant in 1743. But great explorers aren’t cut out to sit indoors all day. Walløe grew restless, and when an op-
portunity came to work for Jacob Severin, a Dano-Norwegian merchant nearing retirement, and actively take to the seas, he jumped at it. It put Walløe in the right place at the right time. The same Mission College in Godthåb that had brought him over to the country in the first place recruited him to lead a five-man exploration team tasked with discovering the former Eastern Norse Settlement on the eastern coast of the island. Walløe, along with two Danish sailors and two Inuit rowers, left Godthåb in August 1751 in an umiak – a native boat known for its ability to navigate the shallow waters commonly found between the coast and the sea ice. It enabled the expedition to successfully locate the Norse settlement identified by Egede along with the remains of other
hitherto unknown settlements. The team were greatly assisted by Inuit locals who helped guide them to the settlements as well as brief them on the weather patterns of the region. Over the first year, the team explored the area that later came to be known as Julianehåb District and the regions of Tunulliarfik Fjord and Hvalsey. And in 1752, they crossed Cape Farewell and travelled further up the east coast to an island, which Walløe called Nenese. They then went further north past the Lindenovs inlet but not much further due to the constant drift-ice and bad weather. The team ruled against returning the way they came and subsequently decided to return through the Prince Christian Sound – the shortest route for ships to avoid the rough waters around the tip at the southeastern point of the islands – to Frederik-
shåb. However, when Walløe returned to Denmark shortly afterwards, his mission was branded a failure, most hurtfully by the Greenland Trade Company. He sought solace on his home island of Bornholm where he started a grocery store and settled down into family life. He never went back to Greenland again. In 1765, he finally put pen to paper, making use of the extensive diaries he kept during his travels to document the nature and ice conditions on the East Coast. Despite waiting over a decade, he became the first European to describe the region in print – the observations regarding the movement of goods through ice were of particular interest to the maritime industry. And likewise anthropologists and historians have learnt a lot thanks to his insights regarding Greenland’s indigenous population and their
living conditions under Nordic colonialism. Nevertheless, his treatment in Denmark did not improve. When he returned to Copenhagen and applied for a small pension, he was unsuccessful, and his remuneration for his memoirs was minimal. He lived the rest of his days in miserable conditions, eventually dying at the age of 77 in the workhouse of the Vartov Church Hospital in Copenhagen in 1793. Little did he know that 134 years later, his dairies would finally receive the recognition they deserved when they were published by the renowned Danish archivist and historian Louis Theodor Alfred Bobé. This led to renewed interest in his work. Walløe’s footsteps, lost in the sands of time – or snowy wastelands if you like – had finally been discovered again.
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