Foreigners’ right to vote under scrutiny again
Tourists: Denmark is too expensive, Danes too rude
15 - 21 March 2013 | Vol 16 Issue 11
Your guide to St Paddy’s Day
Denmark’s only English-language newspaper | cphpost.dk PETER STANNERS
Copenhagen once again pushes for legalisation of cannabis and floats idea of importing it from US states
A god-free resting place Atheists want a plot of land in Vestre Kirkegård developed into a non-religious burial ground
“If they got the opportunity they would kill me” Fareed Ahmad Kabeer was an interpreter in Afghanistan; Denmark has denied him asylum
Life’s a beach for a children’s theatre group producing a play aimed at adults
Homer Simpsen? Will ‘The Simpsons’ – the most successful TV show of all time – be the latest addition to Lego’s toys?
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Price: 25 DKK
Greenlanders vote for change in meaningful election Island nation poised to have its first ever female premier
REENLANDIC voters on Tuesday put the self-governing territory on a course towards greater autonomy and higher taxes for foreign mining companies establishing operations there. The election’s biggest winner was the socially-democratic orientated Siumut party, which will return to power after a four-year absence after garnering nearly 43 percent of the vote, giving it 14 seats in the 31-seat parliament. In a vote where turnout was 74.2 percent, incumbent premier Kuupik
Kleist and his Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA) party received just over 34 percent, leaving it with 11 seats. Should Siumut leader Aleqa Hammond be able to form a coalition, which seemed likely at the time of going to press, she would become the country’s first female premier. The results were viewed as a stinging rebuke of Kleist’s policies. “There has been too much secrecy about mining projects and too many problems for fishermen,” Hammond told the press. Kleist countered that his party had been punished for making tough and often unpopular decisions. “I am responsible,” he said. “Our defeat is the result of the tough decisions we have had to make.”
nordic food & cocktails in the meatpacking district ...
coctails & club happy hour & dj’s 10 pm fridays & saturdays ...
Development was the central issue of the election. As climate change thaws the sea ice around the island and creates new Arctic shipping routes, Greenland has emerged as a place of interest to governments worldwide lusting after its untapped mineral potential and offshore oil and gas. Kleist’s government opened up Greenland to oil and mining companies, promising that development would create improved infrastructure, jobs and, most of all, wean the territory off its 3.5 billion kroner annual grant from Copenhagen. Many of Greenland’s inhabitants fear change may be coming too fast, however. Development also carries with it worries of environmental damage that could undermine Greenland’s traditions
of hunting and fishing. The election can also be viewed as a referendum on Greenland’s desire to completely free itself from Danish rule. Even after being granted increased autonomy in 2009, the island’s government still must defer to Copenhagen on foreign policy, defence and security issues. Greenland is far from financially selfsufficient, and the annual block grant accounts for more than half of its national income. The more revenues Greenland earns from mining or oil, the more control it has over its economic future. Many Greenlanders want to use the island’s mineral resources as a way to reduce dependency on Denmark, and during the campaign, Hammond spoke often about wanting to cut ties with the territory’s former colonial master.
Is opening! Strandvejen 169, Hellerup! Saturday the 16th of March
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Week in review
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CPH Post Word of the Week:
15 - 21 March 2013 THE WEEK’S MOST READ STORIES AT CPHPOST.DK
Roskildesyge (noun) – ‘Roskilde sickness’. Where you heard it: Scores of diners got ill after eating at Noma last week (see page 5). And no, the name doesn’t have anything to do with the popular music festival Scanpix / Bax Lindhardt
Snow is a royal pain
Woman stalked by serial bicycle-seat wanker World’s greatest restaurant makes people sick Ministers: Learn Danish or lose unemployment benefits Copenhagen looking to import cannabis from the US Six Danes among world’s richest people
FROM OUR ARCHIVES TEN YEARS AGO. Danske Bank normalises operations after an IT breakdown that cost the bank tens of millions of kroner. FIVE YEARS AGO. Threat of terror rises as government fears action from extremist and militant groups responding to Mohammed cartoon.
Look, we know you’re already painfully aware that just as we all were looking forward to spring, we instead received snow. But we are going to pile on to your suffering by pointing out that the royals have a fleet of guards to shovel snow for them - that’d be nice, wouldn’t it?
A new medical report comparing 20 countries places Danes as the second least healthy population. The report, from the medical periodical The Lancet, illustrated that Danes have, on average, 67.9 healthy years and die at the average age of 78.9, far below Spain and Italy’s averages of about 81.5 years. Among the reasons for the
poor showing is the large number of smokers, high alcohol consumption and an unhealthy diet. In the 1950s, Danes lived longer than almost any other people in the world. Today, they die sooner than almost any other. Danish women rank at the very bottom of Western countries in terms of life expectancy.
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Danish gymnasts in Brazil turned heads this week, although not for their high-flying acrobatics. The national gymnastics team is currently on tour in South America and during some spare time in Rio de Janeiro, some of the female members ventured down to Copacabana Beach to catch some rays with their tops
President and Publisher Ejvind Sandal
Editor-in-Chief (responsible under the Media Liability Act) Kevin McGwin
News Editor Justin Cremer Journalists Peter Stanners, Ray Weaver & Christian Wenande
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ONE YEAR AGO. A Frederiksberg court fines 35-year-old woman 4,000 kroner for spitting at Dansk Folkeparti leader Pia Kjærsgaard.
off. Little did the young women know that topless sunbathing is not permitted in Brazil, which of course is why a local reporter took a photo of the girls and posted it on the news website G1. Although the Brazilians claimed to be offended, they shared the article with the photograph over 8,000 times in just 24 hours.
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More than 20 smartphones are stolen in Copenhagen every day, a 50 percent rise in just a year, according to a new report. The report from the Copenhagen Police showed that 7,749 smartphones were stolen in Copenhagen in 2012, up from 4,961 in 2011 and just 363 in 2009. The police said that part of the rise
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was due to the rapid increase of people who own smartphones, but also that it has become easier for professional thieves and pickpockets to spot the phones because people are constantly flashing them. In February alone, 26 professional pickpockets were arrested, but police say that’s the tip of the iceberg.
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15 - 21 March 2013
Should foreigners be allowed to vote in ‘Hulabula-land’? Many call Dansk Folkeparti’s suggestion to bar foreigners from voting in local elections a counterproductive move as voting rights increases integration
Original photo: Dansk Folkeparti
Mayor: DF’s idea is “pathetic” DF’s view is far from widely held, and Copenhagen’s mayor Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne) quickly condemned DF for being hypocritical. “Dansk Folkeparti is the first to demand that foreigners should integrate, but then they tell foreign residents that they might as well stop engaging in the country they have arrived in because they won’t have any influence anyway,” Jensen told The Copenhagen Post. “It’s pathetic and it doesn’t make sense. International workers, who create many jobs, already find that it is hard to integrate in Denmark. It would be incredibly counterproductive to send a signal that they are not welcome by removing their right to vote.” Why should foreigners vote?
Does having a vote in the council elections really help foreigners find a place in Denmark? Most of those that The Copenhagen Post spoke to seemed to think so. US citizen Camryn Andersen has lived in Denmark for the past six years and argues that her right to vote locally encouraged her to forge closer ties with her community. “I made a real effort to educate myself on the different parties and candidates and the values that I was interested in,” Andersen said, adding that Holger Gorm Petersen, a mayoral candidate for she could still see DF, said he wouldn’t expect to vote in Hulabula- why some Danes land in Africa. But what do foreigners, for whom might feel relucDenmark is Hulabula-land, think? tant to give for-
eigners a say. “Though I’m loathe to agree with DF, I understand and relate to any Dane who is uncomfortable with a foreigner such as myself being given the privilege of voting in any of their elections,” Andersen said. “I haven’t even mastered Danish yet – so maybe it’s rather dubious whether you could consider me a ‘responsible’ voter.” Juliet Birch voted in local elections for the first time in 2003. Originally from Uganda, she moved to the UK in 1999 to escape political instability caused by election rigging. After meeting her Danish husband, they moved to Denmark together in 2000. “It was a very profound experience to vote in Denmark,” she said. “I left Uganda for the UK because of political insecurity, so when I voted it was the first time in my life where it actually meant something and could actually lead to change. I remember feeling quite emotional, even though it was only a local election out in Ballerup.”
For Juliet Birch, originally from Uganda, participating in a local election in Denmark was the first time voting “actually meant something”. She is pictured with her husband Michael and their three children Private Photo
ho should or should not be allowed to vote? It’s a question that sits at the heart of the concept of democracy and one that is far from settled. Excluded from parliamentary elections, many foreigners living in Denmark have the right to vote in council and European elections – EU citizens residing in Denmark are given the vote automatically while others have to wait four years. Not everyone is happy to have foreigners meddling in their affairs, however. Recently, a Dansk Folkeparti (DF) mayoral candidate in Vejle caused a media stir when he told a local newspaper that he thought it was absurd that foreigners could have a say so quickly after arriving in the country. “If I moved to some ‘Hulabula-land’ in Africa, I don’t think I would be in a position to make a political decision and participate in elections,” Holger Gorm Petersen told Lokalavisen Budstikken Vejle. “As an immigrant and new to the country, I imagine that there are many other things that I would be concerned with instead of politics.” Petersen was roundly condemned by all political parties except his own. DF’s immigration spokesperson Martin Henriksen rushed to Petersen’s defence and confirmed that the mayoral candidate was simply voicing the long-held party policy that voting rights should be
reserved for Danes. “The integration process is about becoming Danish,” he told The Copenhagen Post, adding that it was problematic that there were people living in Denmark who couldn’t speak Danish but had the right to vote in elections. “If you come to Denmark from a foreign country, the goal ought to be becoming a Danish citizen,” Henriksen said. “You can’t be a citizen of two countries. So if they want to vote, they need to make a decision to commit to Denmark and become Danish.”
The EU needs a more modern approach to democracy Tim Haigh is head of group for global monitoring for environment and security at the European Environment Agency in central Copenhagen. Being a British citizen, he is eligible to vote in local elections. Many of his colleagues, however, are unable to vote as they are not listed on the population register, Folkeregister, which is the case for many staff members at international organisations. EU law demands that EU residents should be allowed to vote in local and EU elections in their country of residence, so Haigh complained that Danish laws were incompletely implemented. Eventually, an exception was granted for those few people working in Denmark who weren’t on the Folkeregister. Having lived and worked in a number of different European countries, Haigh argues that getting the full experience of living in a country requires taking an interest, contributing and expressing a point of view, regardless of whether one is a minority. “Wherever I move to, I want to ensure that I have a full experience and not live on the edge of society. And the fact is that no matter where you live you’re going to be influenced by your surroundings,” Haigh said. “So on the one hand, I want to get
American Camryn Andersen, pictured together with her husband Martin, conceded that DF has a point
involved with the dialogue locally and be enriched by that experience, but I also may be able to offer perspectives that sometimes would otherwise be ignored or overlooked.” Haigh is interested in the democratic problems faced by the EU. He argues that there remain important questions about whether citizens in Europe do in fact have sufficient influence on the local, national and supranational levels given the increasing levels of transnational mobility among European workers. Haigh is especially troubled by the fact that workers who choose to work in another country can quickly lose their right to
I want to ensure that I have a full experience and not live on the edge of society vote in national elections in their home country. Problems such as these illustrate the need to think about easier and more straightforward voting systems that encourage and ensure as many people as possible are involved in democratic processes. “This year is the ‘European
Year of Citizens’, but we have a system in which people leave Denmark and lose their right to vote even if they’ve only moved across the water to Malmö, and I think that’s a shame. We could introduce a more flexible system that allows people to check in and check out of countries more easily, so that if they are moving and living in different countries, they can make a choice about where to place their vote,” Haigh said. “After all, democracy is about choice and is strengthened by participation, not weakened.” Sigrid Neergaard contributed to the reporting of this story
Online this week Ministers: Learn Danish or lose unemployment benefits
Lykketoft favourite for top UN job
Farmers will not receive cash for dead sheep
The government has proposed forcing immigrants to learn Danish in exchange for continuing to receive their unemployment benefit, kontanthjælp. The proposal was made as it negotiates a reform of kontanthjælp and is designed to target immigrants who passively receive benefits without any demands being
Mogens Lykketoft, the former head of the Socialdemokraterne (S) and the current speaker of parliament, is Denmark’s candidate for the position of President of the United Nations General Assembly. The Foreign Ministry has announced that Lykketoft, 67, will be presented as Denmark’s
There is as of yet no conclusive evidence that wolves have been killing sheep in Jutland, but the environment minister, Ida Auken (Socialistisk Folkeparti), has wasted no time telling farmers that they will not be compensated for their losses in the case
made of them. A recent report revealed that immigrant women from non-Western backgrounds are highly over-represented in this group of kontanthjælp recipients, and now the government has decided that improving the women’s language skills is the first step to reintroducing them to the labour market.
candidate today in New York for the 70th UN General Assembly tenure period lasting for one year starting in September 2015. The President of the UN General Assembly is the individual who leads the General Assembly during meetings. A Dane has never held the position, which dates back to 1946.
of any wolf attacks. “In Denmark, wild animals are regarded as wild, meaning that no-one is responsible for any damage they may cause, so there are no plans to create a fund to replace livestock killed by wolves,” Auken told DR News.
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15 - 21 March 2013
Fareed helped in Afghanistan, but Denmark won’t help him Peter Stanners
Peter Stanners A former Afghan interpreter for the international forces says lives are at risk in Afghanistan, but the defence minister refuses to offer sanctuary for those who helped
areed Ahmad Kabeer is not sure how old he is, but he thinks he’s probably 25. Born in western Afghanistan’s Herat province, he became an interpreter for the international ISAF security forces after studying English and finance at the University of Kabul. He then accompanied the ISAF forces around the country for the next four years. But in 2011, while on a training mission with ISAF and the Afghan National Army (ANA) in Germany, he absconded and travelled to Denmark, where he claimed asylum. His life was at risk, he explained, and it was his only opportunity to be safe. “I left because of threats from my relatives,” Kabeer told The Copenhagen Post. “My cousins threatened my father over the phone by telling him they knew what I was doing and that we should all stop cooperating with the international troops. I knew that if they got the opportunity they would harm me and kill me.” In the past year, the Taleban has stepped up its targeted killings of collaborators with the international forces. According to the UN mission in Afghanistan, UNAMA, 698 civilians were killed and 379 were injured in assassination attempts in 2012 – a 108 percent rise from the year before. Kabeer is lucky to have made it out. But many others will remain in Afghanistan after international forces pull out in 2014, at which point organisations, such as Amnesty International and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, say the interpreters are at a high risk of reprisal. Pressure on Denmark to act The Defence Ministry is now under pressure to offer Afghan interpreters the opportunity to travel to Denmark and apply for asylum. This would mirror a deal made with Iraqi interpreters in 2007. But the defence minister, Nick Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), has ruled it out, arguing the Afghan interpreters are at less risk of reprisal because they are not made to work in the local communities they are drawn from, as they were in Iraq. He also says that the interpreters were hired through a private company rather than directly by Denmark. But Kabeer says it’s hard to keep the identities of interpreters a secret because the ANA is riddled with informants that pass on information to the Taleban. “It’s really simple for any
Fareed Ahmad Kabeer was an interpreter for international forces in Afghanistan for four years. When he began receiving threats, he absconded and sought asylum in Denmark
group to get information about me or other interpreters or officers that help [the ISAF forces],” Kabeer said. The night letters Kabeer also explained how the Taleban would post signs and distribute leaflets at night – so-called ‘night letters’ that would threaten locals and discourage them from co-operating with the international forces. “[The Taleban] would post and send the night letters in the city close to our compound. The letters would have the names of interpreters and warnings to locals that they should not work with the ‘infidels’.” Despite the threats, Kabeer chose not to cover himself up or try to hide his identity. As a small child, he remembered his family had experienced the terror of the mujahedin, and now he thought he could help bring stability by co-operating with the international forces. “Most interpreters are highly-educated people, like doctors and engineers, who are independent and have their own opinions, which is why they want to act as a bridge between the ANA and ISAF,” Kabeer said. “We wanted a country free from terrorism and extremists.” The future safety of many interpreters now depends on whether Hækkerup decides to offer them the chance to apply for asylum in Denmark. Over
70 percent of Danes support this move according to a recent poll by Rambøll/Analyse Danmark for Jyllands-Posten, and so too does Amnesty International and the far-left government support party Enhedslisten. “We have an enormous moral responsibility to protect the interpreters who have given Danish soldiers valuable help understanding the conflict,” Nicolai Villumsen (Enhedslisten) told Jyllands-Posten. In an interview with Information newspaper in February, Hækkerup acknowledged that interpreters could be at risk of reprisal attacks from the Taleban, but that the Taleban also had many others in their sights. “The problem is not limited to interpreters,” Hækkerup said. “If we give interpreters asylum, it won’t help the schoolteachers and other public employees that the Taleban is targeting.” Wants to go home but can’t Kabeer’s asylum application was recently rejected, and while he awaits the outcome of his appeal he is attending the further education college KEA, where he is studying multimedia and design. “My goal is to be in a safe environment and be helpful, no matter where that is,” he said. “I want my country to be safer before I return, but it’s obvious that my country still has massive problems.”
Afghan interpreter issue interjects itself into barracks closure decision
he political parties reached an agreement on Monday on which military barracks to close in order to help find 2.7 billion kroner of savings in the annual defence budget. During the final negotiations, however, the issue was temporarily delayed while those involved grilled the defence minister, Nick Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), on the controversy brewing over the military’s use of Afghan interpreters. Agreement was reached on
completely shutting down the Bülows Barracks in Fredericia and barracks in Sønderborg. The barracks in Vordingborg will be partially shut down. Bases in Haderslev, Almegård and Høvelte that were short-listed for closure survived the axe. The decision-making process was held up by lawmakers who wanted Hækkerup to explain why he had apparently given false information about the military’s use of Afghan interpreters from Helmand. In defending
Denmark’s decision to not grant asylum to Afghan interpreters, Hækkerup had said that local interpreters had not been used and that Denmark instead employed interpreters from other, safer parts of Afghanistan. But information released on Sunday seemed to contradict that assertion. “When we are gathered today, it is a natural time to get an explanation on [the interpreters’] case,” Venstre defence spokesman Troels Lund Poulsen told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. (RW)
Defence policy change puts emphasis on national interests
he military will embark on a new strategy based on “objectivity” and “realism”, the defence minister, Nick Hækkerup (Socialdemokraterne), revealed last week during a policy conference at the University of Copenhagen. Speaking to Politiken newspaper before the conference, Hækkerup described a policy that would better reflect the fact that Denmark’s size and capabilities prevent the country from making decisions about where in the world intervention should occur. However, he contended that Denmark must have a say. “That’s the way it is when you are a small country, but we must ensure that law and order will not only be served by the strongest and most brutal powers, so we must be part of it,” Hækkerup
told Politiken. “We must also safeguard our national interests.” Hækkerup added that it was imperative for Denmark to have an active foreign policy, since it is more likely to be consulted by larger countries if it regularly takes part in international operations. Denmark, however, can do nothing without the assistance of the bigger countries, Hækkerup admitted. “When I’m asked about why we are in Mali and not in Syria, I say it’s because the stronger countries aren’t in Syria. We can’t do it alone, and the bombing of Libya showed that even Europe couldn’t do much without the US.” Denmark recently contributed an Air Force cargo plane to the operation against the insurgency in Mali, and it actively took part in the bombing of Libya as dicta-
tor Muammar Gaddafi’s regime came to a violent end. And while Hækkerup believed it was wrong to follow the US into the War in Iraq because the move didn’t serve national interests, he says Denmark must be part of international operations that defend democracy and human rights. While Hækkerup’s new policy proposal is designed to spark debate about the role of the military after it pulls out of Afghanistan in 2014, he said it was difficult to predict whether the country’s forces would take part in new conflicts. “When evaluating whether to send soldiers, we must keep an eye on Danish interests,” Hækkerup argued, pointing to Danish efforts to prevent piracy off the Horn of Africa. (CW)
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
15 - 21 March 2013
Scanpix / Nikolai Linares
Two Christiania assaults in three days
Scanpix / Nils Meilvang
In both incidents, a foreigner was attacked in Copenhagen’s notorious ‘freetown’
Noma was criticised for not disinfecting the kitchen in time in order to prevent contagion
World’s best restaurant makes people sick Christian Wenande A total of 67 guests succumb to vomiting and diarrhoea after dining at Noma, Denmark’s most famous gourmet eatery
oma’s reputation as one of the world’s best gourmet restaurants was blighted last week after it was revealed that scores of people had become ill after eating there. The national food authorities, Fødevarestyrelsen, inspected the restaurant on February 20 after it received reports that a number of the restaurant’s guests had become ill with Roskilde Sickness, a norovirus
that causes vomiting and diarrhoea, after dining there from February 12-16. Out of 78 guests served over the period, a total of 63 fell ill, which prompted Fødevarestyrelsen to make an inspection in which it found hygiene problems. “There has been illness among staff who have handled the food products,” Fødevarestyrelsen wrote in its report. “The inspection visit was due to guests complaining of vomiting and diarrhoea.” An additional 13 people were later reported to have gotten ill from Noma, bringing the total number of ill diners up to 76. Fødevarestyrelsen went on to criticise Noma for not disin-
fecting the kitchen in time in order to prevent the contagion from spreading. It also discovered that there was no hot water in the taps that staff used to wash their hands. Fødevarestyrelsen’s report on Noma said that the restaurant received an official warning. Noma, one of the pioneers of the New Nordic cuisine, was voted the best restaurant in the world for the third consecutive year last spring. The restaurant since 2008 has been featured in the Michelin Guide as a two-star restaurant, which indicates that a restaurant is “worth a detour”. Noma was due to learn its 2013 Michelin fate on Thursday March 14, the day after this issue went to press.
wo violent incidents took place in and around Christiania within a threeday period last week. In the first incident, a 20-year-old Italian man was stabbed outside the entrance of Christiania on Bådsmandsstræde in the early evening of Thursday March 7. An asylum seeker from Libya was arrested a short time after the incident. The man was presented in court on March 8, but police were still unclear regarding a motive for the attack. Ekstra Bladet reports the Italian man was stabbed on the left side of the chest, but was not in a critical condition. “None of his vital organs were hit,” Jensen told Ekstra Bladet on Monday. “He has suffered some internal bleeding that is being monitored, but his life is not in danger.” The second incident occurred two days later, on Saturday March 9, when a man was brutally assaulted on Pusher Street in Christiania. The victim, a 26-year-old eastern European male, was hit repeatedly on the head with a blunt object. He suffered a badly fractured skull and a brain haemorrhage.
Two violent attacks put a stain on Christiania’s image last week
He was first rushed to Bispebjerg Hospital but when the severity of his injuries were made clear he was moved to Rigshospital where he was operated upon overnight. Christiania residents responded to the incident by calling for the assailant – who they say was a visitor to the freetown like his victim – to turn himself in. When the man failed to do so by midday on Monday, the residents provided police with the assailant’s identity. Christiania residents had previously warned that they would identify the man if he did not step forward. On Monday, they made good on that promise. “We gave notice so that the man could turn himself in,” a spokesperson for Christiania, who did not wish to be identified, told Ekstra Bladet tabloid. “We simply cannot sign off on this kind of deadly violence.
We had of course hoped that the man would turn himself in, so that we wouldn’t have to do it. It would have been better for him because it would have cleared his conscience.” Police confirmed to Ekstra Bladet that they had received the assailant’s name and said that they were familiar with the man due to previous run-ins with the law. “I think it is wonderful that they gave us the name,” Jens Møller of the Copenhagen Police told Ekstra Bladet. “Christianites are traditionally against violence in Christiania and are willing to contribute to clear up the violence.” Police acted on the information later that same day, arresting a 20-year-old man and searching a Hells Angels clubhouse in connection with the attack. On Tuesday, the police said they would hold the man on remand for 13 days. He is charged with causing gross bodily harm. (PS/JC)
6 NEWS Copenhagen looks to import cannabis from the US THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
JUSTIN CREMER Part of the city’s plan to legalise cannabis is to explore importing it from two US states that recently legalised the use of the substance
HEAD of a City Council cannabis conference on Friday, Copenhagen officials say they are ready to make another push to legalise the substance. According to prepared documents from the council, the city is proposing a three-year trial, arguing that “the legal sale of cannabis will result in decreased gang criminality, more prevention and a better life for average cannabis users”. Looking at Colorado and Washington AN INTRIGUING element of the plan calls for the possible import of cannabis from the US states of Colorado and Washing-
ton, where voters in November legalised its recreational use. The Copenhagen Post spoke with the deputy mayor for social affairs, Mikkel Warming (Enhedslisten), about the city’s plans. “If we get the three-year trial, it will be important to work as quickly and effectively as possible, so we are looking abroad for where we could import cannabis,” Warming said. “Yes, we are looking at Colorado and Wa s h i n g ton, but we’re also looking at places like Britain, were there is the state-controlled production of marijuana for medical purposes.” “We realise of course that there are a lot of international conventions and regulations to deal with, but we think it is possible,” he said, adding that despite the production of heroin being illegal, Denmark is still
15 - 21 March 2013
attle, Washington. “It would be strange not to use the occasion to address practicalities with Mr Holmes,” Warming said. He added that Copenhagen would not make any arrangements with
able to legally import it for use in municipal injection rooms. “The US states of Colorado and Washington recently legalised marijuana for recreational use, so it makes sense to learn from their experiences and to explore the possibility of importing from them.”
Colorado or Washington without discussing the issue with the appropriate federal authorities in the US. “It is vital that the production and import is legal on all levels,” he said, adding that although cannabis is still an illegal substance at the federal level in the US, he still thinks a solution could be found. “It’s possible if there is the political will for it in
Warming said that at this point there has been no formal outreach to officials in Colorado or Washington about the legality or practicality of importing cannabis, but one of the main speakers at Friday’s conference will be Peter Holmes, the city attorney of Se-
Police raid 42 addresses in gang crackdown Co-ordinated action results in 15 arrests, but reason behind increased gang violence remains unknown
POLICE raid was carried out on Tuesday morning by North Zealand Police, Western Copenhagen Police, Task Force East and Copenhagen Police. The police visited 42 addresses believed to be involved in gang activity. “With the raid [Tuesday] we have chosen to send the gangs a clear message: that we under no circumstances will accept violent conflicts that endanger neighbours and citizens,” said Copenhagen Police chief superintendent Jørgen Skov, who organised the raid. A total of 15 people were arrested in the action. “We arrested people who have participated in violent encounters, including attempted murder, and searched particularly for weapons and other objects that can be used as weapons,” Skov said. Ten of the arrestees appreared in court on Wednesday to face charges including violence, attempted murder, rob-
Police search a vehicle in Nørrebro as part of their co-ordinated raids
bery and blackmail. Most of them are involved with the gang Loyal to Familia (LTF). One of the arrestees, a 26-year-old man, is believed to be a leader of LTF. He is charged with attempted murder, robbery and assault with a knife. He appeared in court on Wednesday morning and denied all the charges against him. The police do not know why there have been so many violent conflicts in the gang environment this year, and according to Skov, they may never find out. “Unfortunately, we think that [the gangs] don’t even know it themselves. A spiral of revenge is created in which one takes re-
venge for the sake of it. Someone wanted to start a conflict and then others talk back and then we have the spiral,” Skov told Politiken newspaper. During the raid, the police also confiscated weapons, ammunition, drugs and money. Despite the arrests and the confiscations, Skov fears that this will not end the violent conflicts between the gangs. Apart from arresting people during the raids, the police also talked to the young gang members and tried to convince them to leave the gang environment and get a job or start an education. The gang members were encouraged to visit the police or
the City Council in order to get the help they need to move on. Since January 11, there have been several disturbances in the Copenhagen area’s gang environment, including six shootings so far this month. The most dramatic of the shooting incidents occurred on Sunday evening when more than 20 people were involved in a shooting on Lundtoftegade in Nørrebro. At least 20 shots were fired from three different weapons. While police are not certain that anyone was hit in the shooting incident, they do suspect it after finding blood at the scene. “We have found trails of blood out there, but not a lot. We do not think that anyone was severely wounded,” Dan Aakerhjem Sørensen, the head of investigations for the Copenhagen Police, told Politiken. On February 28, the police carried out another raid, which resulted in seven arrests and the confiscation of weapons, ammunition and drugs. In connection with Tuesday’s raids, the police have also decided to extend their stopand-search ordinances in Copenhagen and Kokkedal until March 26.
Ironing out details REGARDLESS of the feasibility of importing cannabis from the US, Warming said that the conference aims to put pressure on the national government to convince parliament that the legalisation of cannabis is a good idea. “This is common sense,” he said. “As local politicians, we are closer to reality. The ban on cannabis has failed. People can get it anywhere, it is mixed with harder drugs and it finances crime.” “If we get the trial, which would be a three-year experiment, we will try it and then see what the results are,” Warming said. “If it is successful, we will
work towards permanent legalisation in Copenhagen and the whole of Denmark.” Warming said that, in addition to questions about how to get legal cannabis if the proposal is approved, there are still several details to work out, including who would be allowed to purchase cannabis from city-run dispensaries. Warming said that due to concerns over “hash tourism”, sales would only be made to residents of Denmark over the age of 18. However, Warming said sales could further be restricted to residents of either the Greater Copenhagen area or just residents of the city itself.
Cannabis conference On Friday, the City Council will host a conference on the legalisation of cannabis. A simultaneous rally has been arranged by cannabis supporters at Rådhuspladsen
Heroin addicts’ state-funded fixes leave them bored rigid Junkies used to searching for their next fix have nothing to do when it is given to them
SCANPIX / BAX LINDHARDT
the United States.”
RUG ADDICTS accustomed to spending their time scuffling and hunting for their next fix wind up with too much time on their hands when they are admitted into a heroin clinic and receive twicedaily prescription doses of statefunded heroin, according to Fyens Stiftstidende newspaper. Many of them just don’t know how to handle the free time, according to Mette Guul, the head of Reden Odense, a YWCA centre for abused women and prostitutes. “They say they are lonely, bored and do not know what to do now that they do not have to chase the drugs anymore,” Guul told Fyens Stiftstidende. The centre has started a biweekly programme of activities for the group, including things like cooking classes, internet lessons, cycling, museum visits and crocheting. So far, 18 of the 20 women using the clinic have signed up for an information session. The staff at the Reden heroin clinic in Aarhus have also
Junkies say state-sponsored fixes leave them with too much time on their hands
noticed more women showing up to sew or knit now that their time is not spent looking for their next fix. “They have more time when they do not have to go out and hunt for drugs,” said Guul. There are heroin clinics in Copenhagen, Hvidovre, Esbjerg, Aarhus and Odense, where 58 addicts are supplied with state-sponsored heroin. (RW)
ONLINE THIS WEEK US criticises Denmark over former Guantanamo detainee A TOP US official has criticised Denmark for allowing a former Guantanamo prisoner to travel to Syria, where he is thought to have been killed several weeks ago. Slimane Hadj Abderrahmane, a Danish citizen, was captured by the Americans in Afghanistan in 2001 and was transferred to the US military base in
Guantanamo, Cuba. Now the American negotiator who helped secure Abderrahmane’s release in 2004 has criticised Denmark for failing to ensure that he did not return to fighting. “The point of the deal was that Denmark would ensure that the prisoner did not return to the battlefield,” Pierre-Richard Prosper told DR.
Gunrunner talks fail to make any headway in India
For working women, Denmark near the top
TALKS last week between Danish and Indian officials about Danish gunrunner Niels Holck failed to make any headway. Holck is accused of dropping weapons from a plane for rebels in Purulia in the Indian state of West Bengal in 1995. Attempts by the Indian authorities to have him extradited have failed
DENMARK is the tenth-best country in the world to be a working woman, a recent index from the Economist reports. Primarily using statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), the index compiled
after Danish courts ruled that Holck risked being tortured in an Indian prison. India Today reported that the Danish delegation asked the Indian authorities to make a new proposal for how to try Holck and imprison him if found guilty. Sources in the Indian delegation suspect that Denmark is using delaying tac-
information from 26 countries and compared factors such as the male-female wage gap, the proportion of women in high-ranking jobs, the numbers of women with tertiary education, the participation of women in the labour force and the cost of childcare.
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Beating bases into ploughshares
Cheated out of our sovereignty POUL IB HENRIKSEN
Councils should greet base closures with open arms, not selfcentred arguments in favour of the status quo
15 - 21 March 2013
HEN THE military announced earlier this month that it was recommending that parliament close five bases as part of a plan to save the Defence Ministry 2.7 billion kroner annually, the reaction from the councils that host the bases was sadly predictable. Voicing their opposition to closing bases in their area, mayors hauled out every argument they could: from historical ties between their region and the military to their importance for the local economy. About the only argument not heard was that the locations were strategically necessary. Hosting a base has a major psychological and economic impact on councils, many of which are already grappling with a shrinking tax base, so it should come as no surprise that they are interested in having the military stick around. What is disappointing is that faced with the loss, local officials failed to look at two successful examples of alternative strategies. In considering their counter strike, local officials should have first considered a collective defence. Such has been the strategy of the six councils currently being reviewed by the Health Ministry as the possible home of a nuclear storage facility. These councils have come together to protest against the opening any such facility, anywhere in Denmark. Whether their group effort will be successful remains to be seen, but with the government now considering alternative plans, it is looking increasingly likely it will. For the six councils facing base closures, a similar response would have been to draw up a list of proposals that would on the one hand accommodate the military’s need to save money, while on the other make a case for some form of continued military presence. There might still be winners and losers, but the risk of some losing everything would be significantly reduced. Secondly, instead of struggling against closure, the councils could have volunteered to have their base closed. Less an act of heroism than self-interest, such a move would have allowed mayors to negotiate the terms of the military’s withdrawal. In doing so, local officials could have followed the example of Furesø Council, which saw the closure of nearby Værløse Air Field in 2008. Furesø was granted the rights to the 450 hectare suburban property that includes a runway, pristine natural areas and a number of buildings. Valued by the military in 2005 at 25 million kroner, if carefully developed to allow for residential, commercial and recreational use, its worth could far exceed that amount. Base closures can mark a sad transition for their host towns, but instead of wringing their hands over their loss, councils should celebrate being allowed to forge their own economic ploughshares.
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WAS PART OF a group of citizens who brought a lawsuit against the former prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and the former foreign minister Per Stig Møller. The question we brought before the court was whether the most recent EU treaty (the Treaty of Lisbon) amounted to a loss of sovereignty to the EU. Had that been the case, Article 20 of the constitution, requiring a referendum if such a measure does not pass parliament with a five sixths supermajority, would have applied. Instead, parliament ratified the treaty by simple majority. This is something that should concern all of us. The Supreme Court handed down its decision on February 20, nearly five years after it began. We lost. Superficial lawmakers and the
media have since used the court’s decision to support their argument that we did not surrender sovereignty. Without saying it directly, they paint us as a group of incompetent grumps. For the majority in parliament who voted for the treaty, the decision provides them with the fig leaf they need to be able to claim that the process was legitimate – even though nothing could be further from the truth. The Treaty of Lisbon changes the voting procedure in the Council of Ministers, and in the case of about 60 policy areas it requires that decisions need only a qualified majority to pass, not unanimity, as was previously the case. These areas include energy, services, employment, environment, climate, social affairs, healthcare policy and transport. Since the change from unanimity to qualified majority means countries lose their de facto veto right, and Denmark could find itself being forced to accept policies it didn’t vote for, it goes without saying that we, in practice, have handed over our independence in a number of areas. In its decision, the Supreme Court chose, in classic fashion, to adopt a formal interpretation of Article 20, concluding that the policy areas in question had been handed over to the EU. (Which is true, but only in trea-
ties that give countries the right to veto proposals.) Continuing, the Supreme Court found that sovereignty has not been transferred to the EU in any new policy areas. The only change was in voting procedure. While that may not violate the letter of Article 20, the court could have found that it violated it in spirit. I won’t criticise the court for its ruling. The consequences of finding in our favour would have been immense. The same thought must have run through the minds of the judges in the Supreme Court since in their decision they took the unusual step of issuing a warning that a government has the obligation to prevent further losses of sovereignty as a result of the Lisbon Treaty, unless the conditions of Article 20 are fulfilled. Such a statement hardly instils a sense of confidence in the government’s ability to work within the bounds of the constitution. Finally, in its conclusion the Supreme Court underscored that it is still a matter for Danish courts to decide whether the Lisbon Treaty’s decree that EU regulations take precedence over national law amounts to a transfer of sovereignty. Okay then, Supreme Court, we accept your decision, even if we don’t like it, but we say thanks for drawing a line in the sand
when it comes to sovereignty. During previous EU referendums, pro-EU groups argued that we could vote for approval in good conscience, since we retained our veto right in key areas. Our right was untouchable. Now, though, our veto is gone, taken away by a simple majority of parliament and a court ruling that Article 20 did not apply. If people voting in previous EU referendums had known their veto right wasn’t so untouchable after all, they might have voted differently. It only adds insult to injury if you consider that Rasmussen promised to hold a referendum on the EU constitution. Such a vote never materialised, his argument being that the EU constitution had been replaced by the Lisbon Treaty, even though, despite a few cosmetic changes, the two were the same. My personal opinion, when it comes right down to it, is that lawmakers who support giving more power to the EU should be more honest about the extent of their proposals. The best way to show respect for Danish sovereignty and our democratic system is to govern by the motto “rather one referendum too many than one too few”. The author is a member of the People’s Movement Against the EU.
READER COMMENTS Foreign aid: it makes us feel better, but does it work? I would give more to these sorts of things if I honestly felt that more than 50 percent of it all was actually going to the cause that prompted me to donate in the first place. I do sponsor a child in Africa currently and enjoy the mails I get from her, but question the seemingly huge number of people from my own society who seem to need to be involved in the transaction. Charities should look at that aspect first: corruption at the receiving end is worrisome too. In terms of whether foreign aid is just an interference at ground level, I’d leave that to greater minds than mine. Tenyeardkexp By website More SU cheaters getting caught In Denmark students receive grants and don’t pay tuition fees. I think that’s fine, as long as they’re genuinely students who intend to follow their courses and finish their degrees. Unfortunately there’s a significant proportion who are uncommitted, don’t attend class, skip exams, and hang onto the system, collecting SU until they find something they prefer. The fact that they don’t pay must give them the impression that university education is free, but actually it’s expensive for everyone but those students who can get away with wasting expensive resources without costing them anything. Currypowder By website
If students had to self-fund, then this would stop a lot of it. If they had to pay their own way, then this would free up a considerable amount more for other things. Offer the students a very low interest loan that can be paid over the years at university – then they pay it back over several years after graduating. This is like the UK system, and it actually works. It also focuses the degrees, reduces the free riders and makes people seriously think about their future. The people from poor backgrounds can apply for this help to remain with this grant. Rhubidium By website Mayors reject local cannabis proposal Legalise it, regulate it, and tax the crap out of it. There are ways of making it work without resorting to hash bars. I always thought it’d be a good idea to require people to go to the chemist to buy it, and also require them to show a photo ID. If it’s sold at apothecaries, then the THC content can be better regulated and the odds of youngsters buying it decrease. People with many different ailments benefit from cannabis; it’s not just people who want to get high who wish to be able to legally obtain it. Nicole Grzeskowiak By website Report: Buying local may be cheaper than crossing borders Only slightly cheaper? I load up on beer and soda in Germany. The petrol cost and ferry ticket is nothing compared to my savings.
I get three crates of drink for the price of one here. How can they even attempt to spin that? Shufflemoomim By website Dumb, dumber, Danish The author should get his facts straight: the EU exam is not a test that one ‘passes’ by getting a certain score – it is a competition against the other candidates, of which there are tens of thousands. Statistically, one might have expected one or two Danes to succeed, but zero is within the range of error. Could the Danish educational system be improved? No doubt – but it is not proven by these EU exam results. Back to school for Mikael Jalving. The Authorities By website WTF is it with Danish swearing? This is typical behaviour. Swear words in a foreign language (even one you’re fluent in) never have the visceral force that they do in the mother tongue, and the f-word has become common in most European languages now (thank you, Hollywood and hip hop!) as far as I can tell. It’s frequently used in Polish too (despite having a very rich pre-existing vocabulary of curse words). I don’t really mind hearing it as a loanword in other languages, but I take vigorous exception to non-native speakers who think it’s clever to sprinkle their English with the f-word as well. It just makes them sound crude, stupid and socially inept. Cliff Arroyo By website
Demonstrators: “It is not only a breach of promise, it is treachery” It’s amazing how out of touch with reality Danish people are. The fact that they get more money to study than most Europeans make by working is impressive. The fact that all Danish students receive a salary without any criteria of performance is surprising. The fact that they receive it even when they don’t study is insane. And the fact that they think that their future will be destroyed without a slacking year is plain ridiculous. Whether they like it or not, even Danish students must eventually grow up and try to behave (and be treated) like adults. Money doesn’t grow on trees nor does it fall from the sky, despite what most Danish people seem to think. I strongly support the welfare state, but the state budget is not infinite. Every kroner paid towards slacking time is a kroner removed from research and development, medical care, and the universities that are educating the slackers themselves. It is the most insane thing anyone has ever conceived that someone would be entitled to receive six years of salary for studying five years. Imagine if doctors and bus drivers demanded the same! Whenever it is that you might start making your own money, dear Danish students, will you be willing to spend it on financing a slacking year for every other employee in the country? DanDansen By website
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
15 - 21 March 2013
Danes are frontrunners in gender equality
The Balancing Act BY SARITA RAJIV Sarita Rajiv recently moved from sunkissed India to snow-topped Denmark. Having hopped from east to west, she finds herself performing a balancing act between her old and new lives. A communications specialist in the past, she is now a gifting specialist. For more, visit ilovegifting.me
SEE MEN.” This confession is in no way as scary as Haley Joel Osmont’s “I see dead people” in the movie ‘The Sixth Sense’. I’m simply talking about something I witnessed that was ordinary yet remarkable. When I got back from a recent trip to my home country, India, I was greeted by a sight that warms the cockles of my heart – one I never tire of. I remarked happily to my husband how nice it was to see so many men. But it was not just looking at men that delighted me (handsome as some of them were), it was the sight of men ... with children: men pushing their babies in prams, men playing with their toddlers at playgrounds and parks, and men cycling while keeping a close watch over their little boys and girls cycling alongside. I see them everywhere: at restaurants, on buses and trains, and in the streets and schools. I once saw a man patiently trying to coax his restless and bored six-year old to sit still in a crowded bus, while simultaneously trying to soothe an ‘I’m tired and sleepy but will wail away’ snot-nosed baby on his back. Perhaps not an uncommon sight in
It was not just looking at men that delighted me (handsome as some of them were), it was the sight of men with children Denmark, but nevertheless, significant to me. Never before have I seen so many men so involved in the day-to-day upbringing of their children. Heartwarming as it is, it is also symbolic of a much more important element of Danish society – one in which men and women have equal responsibility when it comes to being a parent. It is representative of a society in which fathers are just as actively involved in parenting, and a society in which gender equality is at work. An offshoot that is just as wonderful to witness is the number of males who work at my daughter’s børnehave, which is also true of other vuggestuer and
børnehaver in the country. This is no coincidence, as this is a society in which men are comfortable being around children and taking care of them, both on a personal and professional level. This impresses me. I come from a country that is quite patriarchal and male-orientated. While there is a tiny trickle of men who have begun to reverse the trend, it will be a while before it swells to a gushing torrent. And it will be even longer before it becomes the norm. Sure, things were not always like this in Denmark, and I wouldn’t go so far as to attribute the present scenario to only the progressive attitude of Danes. The state has done its job of nudging them in the right direction and offering the necessary support. To me, this is not just about the role of men in parenting; it is also about the role women play in society. Women are encouraged to get back to the world of targets, deadlines, meetings and breaking the glass ceiling, just as men are encouraged to dunk themselves into the world of diapers, poop, playtime and school. Two weeks paternity leave, following the birth of a child, with the option of several more
weeks of parental leave, certainly gets fathers off to a good start and on the right parenting track, in my mind. Data validates the connection between the active role of men in parenting and gender equality. At about 70 percent, Denmark is one of the countries with the highest employment rates among women in Europe and the OECD countries. According to Eurostat, one of the indicators of gender equality is the proportion of low-wage earners. Denmark – along with Sweden, France, and Finland – is one of the countries with the lowest proportion of female low-wage earners (less than ten percent). Nevertheless statistics don’t impress me as much as what I see day in, day out. And yes, there are other Nordic countries that are doing just as well. But for me, seeing is believing, and right now, I’m seeing this in Denmark. This wonderful balance of yin and yang is heartening – something I hope and wish to see in my home country. While this may be commonplace here and not a cause for excitement, I’d say the Danes deserve a pat on the back for getting this right.
We survived another winter … I think
Christian Values BY CHRISTIAN WENANDE Christian Wenande’s Danish/American background caters well to a city brimming with cultural diversity and strife. The CPH Post journalist loves life in Copenhagen but yearns for the indomitable mountains, rolling prairie and starry nights of his Wyoming sanctuary.
MET AN old friend the other day and we shared an intense emotional moment. We hadn’t seen each other since August, and as we met once again we embraced, looked at each other and nodded to one another knowingly. We had experienced hardship, he and I, and shared that sort of unmistakable bond that is forged between two people who endure a traumatic experience together. We couldn’t believe it. Was it really true? Yes, it was. We’d survived another Danish winter. There is something a little bit more special about springtime in Denmark than the other places I’ve lived in the world. It’s not only due to the end of the continuous darkness and gloom – how we leave for work when it’s dark and return home when it’s dark – although that certainly contributes. You really savour springtime here, and so many aspects of life seem to blossom in unison with the vintergækker (snowbells) that herald the arrival of spring. For starters, and believe me this does make a difference to us men, it
really helps when women come out of their winter hibernation like a bear appearing from their annual slumber. Shedding the layers of clothing that have hidden and concealed them for several months does absolute wonders for the psyche of us primitive beasts. People begin to return to the streets and cafés, and you can really feel the city peeling off the morose skin that has enveloped it over the past months. People even, dare I say, become slightly friendly ... at times. A smile here. A giggle there. A more gentle push in the supermarket. A tak for holding the door for someone. It’s as if the sun and warmth act as some sort of enabler for social response. Copenhagen transforms into a green city when the trees, foliage and birds decide to make their return. Kongens Have, Frederiksberg Have, Fælledparken, Østre Anlæg, Ørstedsparken and Kastellet are just a few of the parks and green areas that dot the central area of the city. A quaint little weekend stroll or a feeble attempt to jog off the winter pounds is always
There is something a little bit more special about springtime in Denmark much more enjoyable amongst the greenery and lakes. It almost makes me forget about the horrendous bouts of hay fever I’ll be enjoying in the near future. Almost. Another major issue is the lack of football, as a player and as a fan. Most amateur leagues here end in October and don’t start up again until the following March or April. That’s nearly six months! At the same time, the professionals halt play for nearly four months. Granted, you can always count on English football carrying you through the cold months, but I yearn for a stadium and a live match come February. You know you’re desperate for some football when you get excited about watching FC Midtjylland take
on mighty Sønderjyske in the spring opener. Yes, it was a dark time for me. And I can’t help but feel that the end of winter brings with it new life in spheres other than nature. Last week, after ten gruelling months of waiting, my missus finally received her work permit from Immigration Service. I was half expecting the papacy in Rome to approve it as an official miracle, but then I remembered that a new pope hasn’t been selected yet so I deemed it unlikely. I’m sure, however, that for a great many others, immigration and visa applications continue to remain in the unrelenting throes of winter, and probably will for some time. It’s always winter at immigration ‘service’. But for now, get out there and enjoy the spring. And you newbies should take full advantage of this potentially dazzling time of year in Denmark, because as many of the hardened veterans will tell you, it’s more than likely to piss down all summer. In fact, the way things looked when I was finishing this column, winter could have returned in full force by the time this goes to print.
CPH POST VOICES
CRAZIER THAN CHRISTMAS
THE WORDS OF ÖZ
THE LYNCH REPORT
YOU’RE STILL HERE?
TO BE PERFECTLY FRANK
BRICK BY BRICK
GRAIN OF SAND
IN 2 WEEKS
IN 3 WEEKS
IN 4 WEEKS
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
15 - 21 March 2013
Denmark a less attractive tourist destination Tivoli
Christian Wenande Visitors score Denmark poorly when it comes to price and friendliness, but they like our environmental initiatives and infrastructure
We rank very low when it comes to prices, which is an important factor for tourists
enmark’s ability to attract tourists has fallen drastically over the past year, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum. The report, which gauges travel and tourism competitiveness around the world, ranked Denmark number 21 globally, five spots lower than in 2011. ‘The Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013’ evaluated 140 economies worldwide based on how their policies make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector. On a scale from one to seven, with seven being the best, Denmark received a score of 4.98, dropping it from 16th to 21st in the rankings and putting it well behind its Scandinavian neighbours Sweden, Iceland and Finland. Denmark did, however, edge out Norway, which came in at number 22. “It’s simply not good that Denmark has fallen down that list. It means that we lose out on essential income and jobs,” Lise
Tivoli Gardens remains incredibly popular with tourists, but as we locals can attest, it sure is pricey
Lyck from the Center for Tourism and Culture at Copenhagen Business School told JyllandsPosten newspaper. “And at the same time we find it more difficult to utilise the massive potential that a globally-growing tourism industry offers.” The report revealed that
Denmark has its strengths and weakness when it comes to attracting tourists. One of the major hindrances is the price level that tourists encounter. Denmark is the fifth-most expensive country in the study, with only Australia, Norway, Switzerland and Zimbabwe ranked as pricier.
“The report documents that we rank very low when it comes to prices, which is an important factor for tourists. The permanent challenge in Denmark is that it is expensive to be a tourist here, and we won’t get around not coming to terms with our high taxes and fees,” Christian
Ingemann, the CEO of labour advocates Dansk Erhverv, told Jyllands-Posten. But price isn’t everything. Switzerland is even more expensive than Denmark, but is ranked number one overall on the list. Switzerland has been able to develop its tourism in a
way that the Danes have not, including its treatment of tourists. Denmark ranks a paltry number 117 when it comes to the locals’ treatment of visitors. “Regrettably, we are not as friendly towards our tourists as we think. Our attitude to them is usually measured and that is a problem that is difficult to correct in a short space of time, because it demands a behavioural change,” Lyck told Jyllands-Posten. The report, however, highlighted several positive aspects including solid placements within environment and sustainability, as well as a functional infrastructure, solid human resources and a trustworthy police force. Tourism in Denmark accounts for a total revenue of 74.6 billion kroner and creates 109,000 full-time jobs directly and indirectly. Some 31 percent of tourism funds come from hotels, and ten percent comes from rented vacation homes.
Atheist association petitions City Council to set aside the necessary funds to create a secular section of Vestre Kirkegård
A man sends the ashes of his dead dog and the next day Ag Ministry proposes changes – just coincidence, official says
theists have started a petition to help secure them a secular cemetery in Copenhagen. A 6,000-sqm corner of the cemetery Vestre Kirkegård was set aside in 2008 for atheists but the 2.5 million kroner needed to transform the plot into a non-religious cemetery never materialised. The petition, which was started by the atheist association Ateistisk Selskab, is designed to place pressure on the City Council to set aside the necessary funding during the summer’s budget negotiations in order to develop the burial site. “Many of us Copenhageners are not religious and don’t live our lives according to a religion,” Ateistisk Selskab’s chairman Joachim Robert and deputy chairman Tommy Petersen said in a statement on the organisation’s website. “I have chosen to live as a non-believer, but when I die I am forced back into the Christian narrative despite hav-
Atheists want a plot of land in Vestre Kirkegård developed into a nonreligious burial ground. Pictured are graves in the cemetery belonging to German refugees
ing rejected it my whole life.” Ateistisk Selskab points out that over 6,500 Copenhagen residents leave the Church of Denmark each year, and less than 50 percent of the newborn children in Copenhagen are registered as church members. The 535,000 sqm Vestre Kirkegård is located in the southern district of Sydhavn and already has areas set aside for Muslim and Jewish burials, as well as a mass grave containing the remains of German refugees who travelled to Denmark following the end of the Second World War. The plot of land set aside for atheists has not been used before for the burial of other religious
groups, which Petersen argues is preferable as, on ethical grounds, they would rather not have to desanctify ground that had been set aside for religious burials. “The site is currently being used for a couple of containers and some gravel and was set aside as a burial place for us nonbelievers,” Robert and Petersen’s statement reads. “Unfortunately, politicians at City Hall don’t approve of the use of the land for that purpose. Therefore we nonbelievers need to put pressure on the politicians. Promoting and protecting diversity in Copenhagen requires among other things that we non-believers have the opportunity to be buried as we have lived – free from religion.”
ho said alternative modes of protest don’t work? Just one day after a distraught dog owner sent the cremated remains of his dog to the food and agriculture minister, Mette Gjerskov (Socialdemokraterne), as a protest against the nation’s dog laws, the Food and Agriculture Ministry sent out a press release announcing initiatives to change the rules related to the ownership of dogs. Gjerskov announced a ‘dog pack’ with four new initiatives, the first of which is to scrap the rule that allows the shooting of stray dogs. “I don’t think it is a viable solution to allow citizens to shoot dogs that are roaming but not harming other animals or people,” Gjerskov said. “Therefore, this vigilantism should be removed from the legislation. Such cases should be handled by the police.” The second initiative relates to the management of aggressive dogs. Gjerskov said that the ban against particular breeds of
The list of banned breeds will be evaluated, the minister said
dogs would be evaluated to see if any of the 13 breeds currently banned should be removed from the list or if any new ones should be added. The list of banned breeds includes Pit Bull Terriers, American Bulldogs, Kangals and American Staffordshire Terriers, which was the breed owned by Lasse Bøgvad, the man who sent his dog’s ashes. Owners of dogs on the banned list are required to muzzle their pets when in public. Bøgvad claims that wearing the muzzle destroyed the spirit of his dog, which led to his decision to put it down in July 2011. “The dog laws have made many people uncomfortable,”
Gjerskov said. “I want to restore the public’s peace of mind and take into consideration the dog’s welfare, the rights of dog owners and also of those who fear dogs.” The final elements of Gjerskov’s initiative are a ‘service check’ of various dog-related regulations and an increased public information campaign to educate people on choosing a breed and being a responsible pet owner. A ministry spokeswoman told The Copenhagen Post that the law changes are expected to come into effect by the end of the year. She also denied that the announcement had anything to do with the special delivery received by the ministry.
Atheists want eternal rest One dead dog delivery later, in a non-religious cemetery ministry proposes pooch package
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
15 - 21 March 2013
Welcome one and all to a fraction of what this city has to offer PHOTOS: HASSE FERROLD
WORDS: BEN HAMILTON
Last week on Tuesday, the City Hall, specifically the Ceremonial Hall on its first floor, was once again the venue for a Welcome Reception for the city’s new foreign residents. Organised by the City Council’s CPH International Service, it’s a great chance for new arrivals to Copenhagen to find out more about their new home, whether it’s finding a new job, learning Danish or finding activities for themselves and their kids. And, of course, to sample its world-famous pancakes!
At hand to make an address and join in the fun photo was Pia Allerslev (sixth right), the deputy mayor for culture and leisure
She’s looking at him, he’s looking at him and he’s … what is this, some kind of MexiThe Copenhagen Career Program was among the organisations present. Need a job can stand-off? Make that Costa Rica, the homeland of the prospective client (left) who anyone? seemed impressed with the services København Sprogcenter had to offer
This Ethiopian gentleman managed to raise a smile at the Kultur Valby stand. Not sure how, but sometimes a photo doesn’t tell the full story
The City Council’s legeplads stand were delighted to assist these two young Italian visitors on an important assignment
Wrong stand, this is Copenhagen Business! The ‘Oliver!’ auditions are down the aisle!
This family from India found plenty to do at the Sports in Copenhagen display, but there was no ballooning! All together now: Ahhhhh!
A multitude of different nationalities were present, including residents from Bangladesh and Pakistan, seen here enjoying the pancakes …
Peru and India (centre and right) at the Copenhagen International Service stand ….
Germany (the couple on the left) at the CBSI Sprogcenter stand …
and most exotic of all, Northern Ireland, thanks to Mark Millen, the sales manager of the Copenhagen Post
And the explosion of culture didn’t stop there. At the Verdens Kultur Centret stand we had visitors from Kazakhstan (seated), Guatemala, Canada, Italy and Germany …
at the Husets stand there was representation from Spain, Colombia and Pakistan …
and at the Museum of Copenhagen stand, happy campers from the UK, China, Mexico, the UK and Ireland
And in case they got bored, there were performances by Rytmisk Børne- og Ungdomskulturskole
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
15 - 21 March 2013
ABOUT TOWN PHOTOS BY HASSE FERROLD UNLESS OTHERWISE STATED
Two of the world’s foremost scientists were in town last week to give keynote addresses at two major conferences. Dr Pamela Hartigan (left) of Oxford University on Thursday attended the Danish Social Innovation Club’s event ‘DANSIC13’ at Porcelænshaven, while Professor Gary Hamel (right), of Harvard Business School and London Business School, on Friday was the guest of Implement Consulting Group to speak at its ‘Implement Thought Leaders’ event at DR Koncerthuset. Photos: Alexander Almegaard and Robin Skjoldborg
The Age of Aquarius is here, or at least it’s at Østre Gasværk theatre. Pictured here, striking a blow for redheads everywhere, are two of the stars, Sara Viktoria and Sanne Salomonsen
Anne Marie Dalgaard, the general secretary of Danes Worldwide, celebrated her 50th birthday in style last week on Thursday with a reception at Asia House. Among those in attendance were (left-right) Georgian ambassador Nikoloz Rtveliashvili, Ukrainian ambassador Mykhailo Skuratovskyi, Estonian ambassador Katrin Kivi, Czech ambassador Zdeněk Lyčka, Icelandic ambassador Sturla Sigurjónsson, Dalgaard, Danes Worldwide chairman Michael Metz Mørch, Latvian ambassador Gints Jegermanis and the UK ambassador Vivien Life
Øksnehallen in Vesterbro was the venue last week on Friday for another Karrieredagene event organised by Manova, the youth employment branding specialists. Among those in attendance were these engineers from Bangladesh, along with several representatives from the DTU. The event was one of four organised by Manova last week − the other three were held in Aalborg (March 5), Aarhus (March 6) and Odense (March 7)
The Copenhagen Theatre Circle (CTC) and the International Theatre of Malmö on Saturday presented a double bill of Strindberg at Krudttønden theatre in Østerbro. Pictured here (left-right) are the cast members Vanessa Poole (‘The Stronger’), Sophie Reijman (‘Simoom’), director Etzel Cardeña (also acted in ‘Simoom’), Hanna Nilsson (‘The Stronger’) and Henrik Anagrius (‘Simoom’), and also CTC chairman Frank Theakston
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AN ACTOR’S LIFE A resident here since 1990, Ian Burns is the artistic director at That Theatre Company, and very possibly Copenhagen’s best known English language actor thanks to roles as diverse as Casanova, Oscar Wilde and Tony Hancock.
Saints and ministers defend us ...
HAVE THE honour of being Saint Patrick on Sunday for the parade through the fair streets of Copenhagen. I have to address the gathered crowds. I might begin with something that he might have said: “Once again the poor are being made to pay for the wickedness of the rich.” Although to be fair, it will be more of a reflection on life in my home country than the one I now make my home in. Back in Britain, the new archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has justifiably criticised the coalition government in the UK. The draconian cuts in welfare payments and the general hardening of attitudes towards the unemployed are giving support to the Conservatives to be seen as ‘tough’ on the weakest members of our society. My own younger sister has a back problem. It’s something she was born with: four of her vertebrae have fused together. An operation remains as risky now as it ever was: 50/50. If it were to go wrong, she’d have
to live the rest of her life in a wheelchair. She worked for over 30 years but has been unemployed now for three years, and she has been one of the prime targets of the government. Recently she was assessed by one of their new ‘spot-thefraud’ officers. He kept her waiting in the waiting room for an hour longer than her sched-
Oh, you feed the birds in your garden and you walk to the library? uled appointment. The cameras allowed him to observe her on his monitor walking from the waiting room up the stairs and along the long corridor to his office. When she arrived he announced that she seemed to be “walking alright”. His in-depth interrogation, without once referring to her medical records, focused on what she did with herself during the day. “Oh, you feed the birds in
your garden and you walk to the library?” he asked. “It’s only 400 yards away from my front door,” she replied. It may not come as a surprise to you, dear reader, to learn that this individual stamped my sister as ‘fit-for-work’, and as a result, her disability allowance has been cut. It has now become a ‘case’ and I urged my sister to contact her local MP, who despite being a Conservative can see that my sister is being unfairly treated. Even so, her ‘case’ might take six months to reach a conclusion ... The unfairness angle is worth looking at. The ones fortunate to be relatively rich or very rich seem to be getting all the benefits. Don’t get me started about bonus payments to bankers who take irresponsible risks with our money with impunity … The archbishop said a “civilised society” had a duty to support the vulnerable. “When times are hard, that duty should be felt more than ever, not disappear or diminish.” He’s a good man to get involved in this, and I hope that it will encourage us to think about the greater good.
THE COPENHAGEN POST CPHPOST.DK
15 - 21 March 2013
Eleven schools and five years later, they’re treating themselves to the beach AMY STRADA The setting for a new play featuring the founders of the kids’ theatre school Scene Kunst Skoler is strictly a child-free zone
OY MEETS girl. Boy asks girl out. Boy and girl move to Copenhagen and, five years later, run a thriving and well-established group of performing arts centres for children. Classic story, isn’t it? Meet Russell Collins, one half of the couple behind Scene Kunst Skoler, a successful establishment for kids interested in music, dance and theatre in Denmark. An Englishman, Collins moved to Copenhagen five years ago with his Danish wife, Christina Anthony, with two goals: to start a children’s theatre school and to start a family. Since then, Scene Kunst and two daughters have come into the world. When Collins met Anthony, they were both students at the Academy of the Science of Acting and Directing in London, learning under Russian stage director Sam Kogan. “Christina was just graduating when I started, so I was very brave asking her out on a date,” Collins said. The two come from very different backgrounds, but “when you scrape away the surface, we’re like two peas in a pod.” Idea in the rain THE IDEA to start a children’s performing arts school stemmed from the couple’s shared love for the arts, but the move to Copenhagen was more pragmatic. “London is a great city, but life can be very hectic and not wellsuited to family life,” Collins observed. “And it is a very expensive
city to live in at the best of times. We had been having a difficult time trying to make ends meet.” As if by divine intervention, a clear image of what the school would look like came to Anthony while she was jogging in the rain. “The idea completely crystalised for her, and after that day, we were 100 percent certain about what we were going to do,” Collins said. Collins and Anthony left London in February 2008 and moved to Copenhagen. A month later, they started Scene Kunst. But knowing exactly what they wanted to do was only one part of the equation; the other was a positive response. “We were unsure about how [the school] would be received in Denmark,” Collins admitted. “Especially since every Dane we knew was telling us it would never work.” After running a handful of ads around town, the school was flooded with requests for a free trial class. After that, Collins and Anthony had enough students signed up to properly open their first school in Køge. Still thriving HALF A decade later, the enterprise is entering its sixth year this month, having expanded from one school to eleven at locations in Køge, Hellerup and Roskilde. Collins is aware of just how fortunate he and his wife have been with Scene Kunst: “We have been very lucky in the sense that our schools have just kept on growing and getting better.” Nine of the eleven schools are Danish and two are international. Altogether, the schools have over 350 full-time students, and all eleven schools have waiting lists. Classes take place on Saturdays for three hours, and
One of the cast members, Alexandra Ternstrøm, is a former Mrs Denmark
the day is split evenly between dance, drama and singing, all taught by working professionals with a desire to inspire their pupils. Kids aged four through six go to ‘mini schools’, and the rest of the schools are for children between the ages of seven and 18. The backgrounds of the children vary greatly, and the only necessary requisite, Collins promises, is a desire to learn. “All young people are full of creativity, talent and the potential to become whatever they dream of,” said Collins. “We can help them create the confidence and joy of life needed, and they can learn new skills, meet new friends and have fantastic experiences.” Throughout the year, each school puts on one demo show and one big musical at a professional theatre, which they prepare for over six months of Saturdays. From ‘Oliver!’ to ‘Guys and Dolls’, the shows put on at the schools are full-scale musicals that tend to be international hits. About 50 students are involved in each performance, all in full costume and in front of full sets, and some shows even feature live bands.
Shyness not a problem
Lunch with Stine Bosse British Chamber of Commerce luncheon; Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Hammerichsgade 1, Cph K; March 22, 11:45-13:00; free adm for members, 400kr nonmembers; register at www.bbc.dk At this British Chamber of Commerce lunch, businesswoman Stine Bosse will discuss her book ‘Det handler om at turde’ (it’s about daring) and her approach to no-nonsense communication and societal engagement. The event will include welcome drinks and a buffet lunch.
meditation and reflection, led by Levine, will focus on cultivating wisdom and compassion and developing a greater sense of care for the self. Instructions in meditation and guidance in the Buddhist path will also be offered. The retreat is suitable for both beginners and long-term practitioners and will be held in English.
NO STUDENT is forgotten in the performances; everyone has a part, whether it involves singing, dancing or acting – or a combination of the three. While Collins and Anthony support children who are serious about performing, even shy youngsters have a place at Scene Kunst. “[With nervous kids], we just take it very slowly and let them know they will not have to do anything they don’t want to,” Collins assures. “Some of our most inspiring moments have come from seeing students who were extremely shy when they joined us develop their skills and confidence and go on to perform leading roles to a packed theatre.” Many students have gone on to perform professionally, from the lead in ‘Mary Poppins’ at Det Ny Theatre to integral roles in ‘Forbrydelsen III’ (‘The Killing 3’). The success inspires to keep on expanding. They’ve just opened two summer schools, where students can take lessons in dancing, drama and singing for a full week, and another school is
Husband and wife team Russell and Christina in character
slated to open this August. Some ‘me’ time NEVERTHELESS, they have made room for some ‘me’ time and are currently making final preparations for a play of their own. The four-actor drama will be co-produced by the Nordic Theatre Company and Rear View. The play in question is ‘The Beach’, written by Peter Asmussen, who is best known as the writer of Lars von Trier’s ‘Breaking the Waves’. Written in Danish, the play has been translated into and will be performed in English. Collins will be both directing and performing, and Anthony will also be in the small cast alongside Danny Thykær (‘Skizo’) and Alexandra Ternstrøm, a former contestant in Mrs World.
He’s been keeping busy here, but Collins does find himself a bit wistful for London. “I miss the theatre scene in London, especially not getting to see my friends perform,” he said. “There are also so many smallscale productions going on that you have many more opportunities to keep working or putting on your own plays.” But Copenhagen has brought much joy as well. “I suppose you could say we wanted to improve our quality of life,” he mused. “And thankfully we’ve done that.” For more information on Scene Kunst Skoler, visit www. scenekunstskoler.dk. For ticket information regarding the forthcoming production of ‘The Beach’, visit www.billetten.dk and look out for our preview in InOut in two weeks’ time.
COMING UP SOON Values in Global Education Challenges Hotel Marriott, Kalvebod Brygge 5, Cph V; Wed March 20, 16:0019:00; free adm; register at www. bbcd.dk/en/Events Educators across the globe recognise that academia alone will no longer suffice to prepare the world’s youth for adulthood. Today’s event, led by education experts from around Europe, will discuss how to combine traditional learning conventions with the human qualities necessary for leadership and management, creativity and how to prepare young people for employment in a global world. Car Fair Bella Center, Center Boulevard 5, Cph S; Thu March 21 & 22, 14:00-18:00 and 23 & 24, 10:00-18:00; tickets: 90 kr (adults), 45kr (kids 4-12), 60kr (65 and over) Experience the world of cars at Bella Center.
5V5 Indoor Football Hal C, Grøndal Centret, Hvidkildevej 64, Cph NV; Sun March 17, 12:00-13:00; tickets: 40kr; 24 hours notice required for cancellation; register at www.meetup. com/MUSC-Meetup-Sports-Copenhagen/events/108562582 Itching to play soccer, but put off by the biting cold? Meetup Sports Copenhagen (MUSC) is hosting an indoor football outing. Meet behind the goals at Hal C at 11:55. Please note that signup is a commitment of 40kr. Tax Seminar Expat in Denmark event, location TBA; Wed April 3, starting at 16:00; www.expatindenmark.com/events Do you find yourself baffled by the Danish tax system? Get your questions answered by the group that knows best at this seminar, hosted by Expat in Denmark. Tax authorities Skat will give a general introduction, followed by a Q&A session from tax advisers and a small group or oneto-one sessions if needed. More details to follow.
The heart of Buddhism: a weekend with Noah Levine Phendeling, Nørregade 7B, Cph K; Sat March 23, 10:00-17:00 & Sun March 24, 10:00-16:00; tickets: 1900kr; contact kontakt@ mindfulground.dk; mindfulground.dk/mindfulness-retreats/ noah-levine-copenhagen Noah Levine is an Americanborn Buddhist teacher known for his fusion of Buddhism and punk ideology. This weekend of
Experiencing History in Copenhagen Danske Bank Headquarters, Holmens Kanal 2, Cph K; Thu April 4, 17:15-19:15; free adm; register at europeanpwn.net/copenhagen The European Professional Women’s Network will host a personal guided tour through the neo-classical interior of Danske Bank’s headquarters, parts of which date back to the 17th century. Adam Grandjean, the art curator for Danske Bank, will lead the group through the bank’s two buildings and the buildings’ art collection. Participants will be treated to light refreshments afterwards.
Organisation and leadership across cultures Folksuniversitet course, Njalsgade 12-148, Cph S; April 20 & 21, 10:15-16:00; tickets: 616kr; www.fukbh.dk Diverse cultural backgrounds can bring on differing mindsets and behaviours and make interaction a challenge. In a globalising world where cultures are constantly meeting and shaping each other, a more complex understanding of these differences is becoming increasingly important. Join lecturer Syed Salman Ahmad from Copenhagen Business School as he discusses issues of organisational and occupational cultures, cultural intelligence, and other topics in this two-day course. Foreigners in Finance: KPMG Osvald Helmuths Vej 4, Frederiksberg, Fri March 15, 18:0021:00; free adm; register at www. kpmg.com/DK/da/arrangementer/ Join KPMG for an evening of fun and networking with global finance professionals! Learn
about Danish company law, Job Vision’s career counselling and spouse assistance programme, and collaborate with other internationals in a trivia quiz. Prizes will be awarded to the winners! Drinks and a light buffet will be offered. Louisiana Lecture on Pop Art Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Gammel Strandvej 13, Humlebæk; Tue March 19, starting at 19:00; more info at www.meetup. com/New-to-Copenhagen-Meetup-Group/events/108536762 Join the New to Copenhagen group for a lecture on the rapport between painting, photography and design in pop art. The event will be led by worldrenowned art historian Hal Foster of Princeton University, who has recently published a book presenting a new interpretation of pop art through artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Attendance to the lecture includes free entrance to the museum.
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
15 - 21 March 2013
No! Not the Olympics!
Marco L Sørensen will be out to beat Magnussen again this season
isgraced cyclist Michael Rasmussen has allegedly claimed that members of the Danish Olympic road cycling team at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens were doping, reports Politiken. Rasmussen, who came clean about his habitual doping as a pro cyclist in late January, apparently made the admission to representatives of the international doping agency, WADA, as well as authorities in the Netherlands, Denmark and the US. One of the five members of the team – which also included Frank Høj, Bo Hamburger, Nicki Sørensen and Lars Michaelsen – allegedly smuggled the drugs into the Olympic camp in a syringe hidden in a battery compartment. The riders shared an apartment in the Olympic Village, and it is alleged three of them injected a cortisone product. “Wow. We need to get to the bottom of this because it’s absolutely insane if that actually happened,” Jesper Worre, the head of the Danish cycling authority, the DCU, who led the entire cycling team in 2004, told Politiken newspaper. “We will try to get an overview before commenting. We were not present during Rasmussen’s questioning and don’t have insight into the case. But I know nothing of such occurrences.” Jens Evald, a law professor at Aarhus University and a former head of Anti-Doping Danmark, confirmed to Politiken that no action could be taken “until the information has been verified”. Three of the accused riders – Hamburger, Michaelsen and Sørensen, who is still active as a rider for Team Saxo-Tinkoff – have already denied the accusations. Speaking to sporten.dk, Sørensen called them “very unpleasant” and “unfounded” and said he was willing to co-operate with Anti-Doping Danmark and the cycling union. Niels Nygaard, the head of the Danish athletics association, Danmarks Idræts-Forbund, said that it would be very sad if the news were indeed true, and “even more of a shame if the Danish cyclists were doping during the Olympic Games”. (CW)
Magnussen in action before his switch to DAM - the new season starts on April 6
Following in his father’s footsteps all the way to Formula One While Kevin Magnussen is making inroads as a trainee driver at McLaren, a fellow Dane at Lotus, Marco L Sørensen, is outperforming him on the track: could this be a great sporting rivalry in the mix?
here will be no Danes on the grid at the start of the 2013 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this Sunday, the first race of the Formula One season. This will be the fifth in a row that is unlikely to feature a homegrown driver. However, following in the footsteps of his father Jan Magnussen, the last man to represent Denmark in F1 back in 2008, is a young 20-year-old currently attached to the racing powerhouse McClaren. He is widely tipped to succeed or, at the very least, better his country’s dismal record of just one point from 32 starts in the top tier of motor racing. Kevin Magnussen’s career is in the ascendancy. In November, he earned his F1 superlicence after impressing in a F1 young driver test drive in Abu Dhabi, where he set the quickest time of the three-day event in the McClaren MP4-27. And earlier this month, McLaren’s sporting director Sam Michael told Sporten. dk that Magnussen, who joined McLaren’s Young Driver Pro-
gramme in 2010, had the potential to be world champion. Sure, Michael says that about all his trainee drivers – they wouldn’t be at McClaren if the team didn’t think they could one day fulfil their promise. But at least he’s still there, as he would be swiftly rejected if his ambition didn’t match McClaren’s. “We have no interest in developing and supporting Kevin Magnussen to become one of Formula One’s also-rans,” Michael told Sporten.dk. “At McLaren we have only one goal and that is to educate the new world champion in Formula One. And if we find that a young driver like Kevin Magnussen no longer aims to become world champion, we’ll immediately change our view of him.” Michael dismissed the possibility that Denmark’s lack of success in F1, compared to for example Finland, might weigh against Magnussen. “It may be hard for some people in Denmark to believe that they might have a homegrown champion in the near future,” he said. “But from my point of view, a driver’s background and nationality count for nothing. The most important thing for us is that he is fast.” For now, Michael wants Magnussen to focus on the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 Series in which he will be racing for a new team, after leaving Carlin at the end of last season. Competing for
French outfit Driot-Arnoux Motorsport, he will be seeking to improve on his seventh place finish in 2012, which included one win and three second-place finishes, in a championship generally perceived to be the tier directly below F1, which starts on April 6. Seventh place would have disappointed a young driver who
The most important thing for us is that he is fast is used to winning. After winning the Danish Formula Ford Championship in 2008, aged just 16, and coming third in the 2010 German Formula Three Championship, he enjoyed a fantastic season in 2011 in the British Formula Three Championship, landing eight poles and seven victories on his way to second place overall. And to add insult to injury, he finished one position below a fellow Dane. Marco L Sørensen, 22, racing for Team Lotus Junior Team, won in Spa and finished second in two other races in a season beset by technical difficulties, which cost him victories at Aragon and Silverstone. Despite this promise, Lotus left it late to renew his contract for this season, but last month his place was con-
firmed and he is set to lock horns with Magnussen once again. Could this be another famous sporting rivalry in the mix? But despite his mediocre results on the track last year, Magnussen’s impressive performance in the Abu Dhabi test means that he is likely to be promoted this year to work on the actual race car, inching him ever closer to becoming a test driver for the team’s two designated drivers. That would put him an untimely injury away from getting a Formula One start – an eventuality that would make him the fifth Danish driver to do so. It would be recent history repeating itself as it was an occurrence like this that led to his father making his Formula One debut for McLaren in 1995,
when he stepped in to replace an unwell Mika Hakkinen. However, he didn’t get another drive and left two years later to race for Stewart in 2007 and 2008. Kevin will not want to emulate his father’s F1 record. Despite being a four-time winner of Le Mans and winning the 1994 British Formula Three Championship at a canter, in 25 F1 races, Magnussen Snr picked up just one point – in his final race, the 1998 Canadian Prix – before he was sacked. Magnussen’s recruitment by McLaren in 2010 was criticised at the time for being sentimental, and his father conceded last year that there was probably some truth in this, as did some of the senior personnel at McLaren.
Sports news IN brief Laudrup lauded by all
Tine goes all-out in style
Fitter than the Brits
Contador third in Italy
Shaken but still served
Good for toys, bad for tops
Swansea City manager Michael Laudrup has signed a new deal that will keep him at the English Premier League club until June 2015. Meanwhile, 46 percent of his peers have named him the “most impressive” EPL manager this season, according to a survey by the League Managers’ Association, which confirmed his £2.2 million signing of Michu last summer as the “best new recruit”.
Badminton player Tine Baun, competiting in her final ever tournament, on Sunday became the oldest ever winner of the women’s singles at the All England Championships. Seeded seventh, the 33-yearold defeated Thailand’s Intanon Ratchanok 21-14, 16-21, 21-10 to claim her third crown following wins in 2008 and 2010. Elsewhere, China dominated, winning the four other titles.
A multi-national survey conducted by YouGov in five European countries has revealed that Danish women are more physically active than their counterparts in Germany, France, Sweden and the UK. In the week they were interviewed, only 19 percent failed to do the recommended amount of physical exercise to stave off cardiovascular disease, and just seven percent did nothing.
Team Saxo-Tinkoff’s star rider, Spain’s Alberto Contador, on Tuesday finished third in the Tirreno-Adriatico, the ‘Race of the Two Seas’, a seven-stage race that follows a route between the Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts of Italy. Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali won, with Britain’s Chris Froome in second. Last month, Froome edged out Contador to win the Tour of Oman.
Although Caroline Wozniacki conceded that witnessing an earthquake before her third round match at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells had made her “nervous”, it didn’t put her off the next two rounds. She dispatched two Russians, Elena Vesnina and Nadia Petrova, in straight sets to make the quarter-finals, where she will face world number one Victoria Azarenka on Thursday.
A Copenhagen bookstore has used its leftover Nicklas Bendtner figurines from Euro 2012 to create a toy that pokes fun at his drink-driving exploits. Grouping a figurine with a Tuborg beer magnet and a toy car, the Bog og Idé outlet on Købmagergade was surprised by how quickly they sold. In contrast, Sporten.dk claims Bendtner’s club Juventus has still not sold a shirt with the Dane’s name on it.
The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
15 - 21 March 2013
Factfile | Green growth
Latest economic stimulus package seeks to create jobs through investments in environmental technologies
The green growth plan consists of 40 different initiatives spread out over five areas: Water technology: Increased focus on water management and efficiency
he government on Tuesday released a 250 million kroner plan it hopes will stimulate economic and job growth by promoting green technology exports. The plan, drawn up by the Environment Ministry and the Business and Growth Ministry, aims to help Danish companies grab a larger slice of the growing international market for water, biological and environmental technologies. “Denmark must be a pioneer and role model for new environmental technology. We must stimulate technological development and inspire the rest of the world to buy Danish,” the environment minister, Ida Auken (Socialistisk Folkeparti), said. One of the ways that will be accomplished is by establishing so-called “green paths” that will showcase Danish businesses to foreign investors. Even though the government’s own panel of economic
Biological technologies: Efforts to promote a European market for biological technologies Resource efficiency and waste: Encouraging manufacturers to be more resource-effective and promoting a more competitive and innovative waste treatment industry Clean-air technology: Efforts to demonstrate technologies to improve air quality in urban areas Other green initiatives: Funding for improved research and education, increased marketing and export as well as the promotion of investment into green technology advisors, Det Økonomiske Råd, has warned against “choosing winners” by promoting one sector over another, the minister of business and growth, Annette Vilhelmsen (Socialistisk Folkeparti), argued that the plan is purely based on the potential for growth and export. The government estimated in 2010 that about 53,000 people in Denmark were employed in companies that work with wa-
ter, biological and environmental technology. “That’s an area that we will strengthen considerably,” Vilhelmsen said in a press release. Another of the plan’s initiatives, the so-called industrial symbiosis, will, according to Vilhelmsen, “put focus on how one company’s waste can be another company’s resource, which is good for the environment and for production”.
Government proposal to improve mobile and internet coverage Councils will soon be able to force suppliers to provide better internet connections
obile phone and internet coverage are expected to get a boost from a package of government proposals that were presented on Wednesday afternoon by the business and growth minister, Annette Vilhelmsen (Socialistisk Folkeparti), and the minister for housing, urban and rural affairs, Carsten Hansen (Socialdemokraterne). “When I drive around the country, I often hear communities complain that it is hard to run businesses when the internet is unstable,” Vilhelmsen told Politiken newspaper. “What we can do is ensure better conditions for improving coverage, and that’s the goal of
20th Century Fox
250m kr plan to promote green technology exports
the broadband bill.” The government will now allow councils to demand that suppliers bidding for large contracts must offer reasonable broadband solutions to the communities they are providing the coverage to. “Many councils have considered using their purchasing power in large calls for tender [to improve broadband speed], but they have been in doubt about whether it was legal,” Vilhelmsen said. “We are now removing the doubt and telling them they can do that.” Another major change concerns mobile phone masts. According to Politiken, companies that erect phone masts on council ground have often experienced the rent skyrocketing after the initial contract expires. The government is now pro-
posing new standardised contracts that will provide companies with the security that their rent won’t suddenly jump. The government hopes the extra security will lead to companies installing more masts where mobile signals are weak. But even if there is mobile phone coverage, the strength of the signal will often depend on what mobile phone you use. So the government wants to start a study that looks at variations in mobile phone antennas and to push the EU into establishing a standardised rating system for mobile phone antennas. Finally, the government wants to develop an app that can show real-time mobile phone coverage across Denmark. Politiken does not report how the app will work when there is no coverage, however. (PS)
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Will the Simpson family be coming off the sofa and into Lego boxes?
Leg-d’oh! Toymaker looks to make Simpsons deal Lego in talks to create products based on one of the most successful TV shows in history
ego is close to making a deal to licence Simpsonsbranded toys, Børsen financial daily reports. According to Børsen, Lego is in talks with 20th Century Fox Television, the company behind ‘The Simpsons’, which is now in its 24th season, making it the longest-running animated series and sitcom of all time. Mads Nipper, Lego’s market-
ing director, confirmed to Børsen that Lego was “in concrete discussions” with Fox, but did not give any concrete details. He did, however, make it clear that Lego was very interested in the deal. “‘The Simpsons’ has a cult status both among children and adults and that is a clear advantage [for Lego],” Mads Nipper, Lego’s marketing director, told Børsen. “An eight-year-old boy just thinks that ‘The Simpsons’ is fun, while his mum, and in particular his dad, thinks it is howlingly funny.” Lego didn’t divulge its plans
for Simpsons-themed products, but Børsen’s sources said that the earliest that Lego versions of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie would hit the market would be 2014. Lego has already had enormous success with toys themed around popular movies – particularly its ‘Star Wars’ line. Its ‘Star Wars’, ‘Batman’, ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ lines of toys have also been turned into video games, a strategy one would imagine the Danish toymaker would try to repeat with ‘The Simpsons’. (JC)
BRITISH CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN DENMARK
Values in the Global Education Challenge Educators worldwide recognize that academic pursuit, whilst vital, is no longer sufficient to prepare the youth of today to be the adults of tomorrow. Today’s global environment presents business with new challenges to the human resources they need to be successful and achieve their aims. Come and hear the differents perspectives which our speakers have on this topic and contribute to the discussion with the panel:
Danish Minister for Children and Education, Ms. Christine Antorini
Head Master from Herlufsholm Boarding School, Mr. Klaus E. Jakobsen
Former Herlufsholm student - now Group Chairman at Grundfos, Mr. Jens Moberg
Programme: • 15.30: Registration • 16.00: Welcome by Mariano Davies, President, British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark who will also moderate the event • 16.10: Ideals of learning in tune with development by Head Master Herlufsholm, Klaus E. Jakobsen in dialogue with former student - now Group Chairman at Grundfos, Jens Moberg • 16.35: The Round Square Philosophy by Deputy Director European Region, Dr. Mike Walker • 16.55: Human Resource Perspective by Senior Vice President, Novo Nordisk, Lars Christian Lassen • 17.20: New Nordic School by Danish Minister for Children and Education Christine Antorini • 17.40: Panel debate and questions from the audience • 18.00: Networking and refreshments • 19.30: Close
Deputy Director European Senior Vice President, Region, Round Square, Dr. Novo Nordisk, Mr. Lars Mike Walker Christian Lassen
Date: Wednesday, 20 March, 15:30 – 19:30 Venue: Hotel Marriott Kalvebod Brygge 5 1560 Copenhagen
Non-members are very welcome. Please contact BCCD or go to www.bccd.dk for further information.
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Date: 13 March 2013
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15 - 21 March 2013
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15 - 21 March 2013
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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
The International People's College (IPC) is a Danish folk high school for adult students (18+) from all over the world. We promote active global citizenship and this requires comprehensive learning for the total person; head (knowledge and understanding), heart (values and attitudes), hands (skills) and legs (commitment and strength/power to act).
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’
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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.
A new budget to ‘kickstart’ the economy JENNIFER BULEY
Warrior Jesus 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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We publish a weekly print newspaper (circulation 15,000), operate the website cphpost.dk and have a number of new on-line products in development. Our offices are located in Copenhagen’s Kødbyen district and we offer an international work environment and a social atmosphere. We seek an experienced B2B and media salesperson who is fluent in English, Danish would be an advantage. The ideal candidate will be able to work independently, be goal-oriented and capable of seeing opportunities. Your role will be to service existing customers and develop new relations, while at the same time help us open new markets.
InOut The CPH Post Entertainment Guide | 16 - 22 Sep
KIDS ON FILM YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT BUSTER! THE CHILDREN’S MOVIE FEST IS HERE page
We offer a flexible position and the opportunity to work according to your strengths. The position offers a monthly salary with commission and sales incentives. BLUES w w w. c o p e n h a g e n b l u e s f e s t i v a l . d k
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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
See full programme: w w w.copenhagenbluesfestival.dk & w w w.kultunaut.dk
For more information, please contact sales manager Mark Millen. Applications with CV should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, writing Key Account Manager in the subject line.
We see our school as a neutral place in relation to politics and religion. A respectful place where everybody can express themselves freely. Our student body usually includes more than 25 nationalities and our teaching language is English. Currently the school is searching for 3 new teachers. Maybe you are one of them? You have solid knowledge and competences. You are creative and energetic. You understand and value the pedagogical thinking and tradition of the folk high schools. You have a burning commitment to facilitate learning and personal development processes among a diverse group of young people from all over the world. » You are willing to live on campus. We have several fine apartments available for our employees. » You are a good and loyal colleague who teaches with commitment and passion.
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Your competences could be: Solid experience and knowledge from NGO work in developing countries Practical and theoretical knowledge about climate and environment - globally and locally Historical, cultural and social knowledge about the Danish welfare state Qualifications and knowledge within design and architecture Other competences in connection with active global citizenship that might add to competences already present among our teachers.
» » » » »
IPC aims to have at least 50% of our teachers with non-Danish origin. Depending on qualifications we can offer temporary 75 - 100% position for the school year 2013/14 starting from August 7th 2013. Salary in accordance with the salary scheme for folk high school teachers in Denmark. Read more about our curriculum and profile at http://www.ipc.dk/vacancies
APPLICATIONS SHOULD BE SENT TO IPC@IPC.DK NO LATER THAN MARCH 25TH 2013
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The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
15 - 21 March 2013
ndustry insiders claim that the diversity, quality and accessibility of Danish literature are threatened and want politicians to reintroduce fixed retail prices on books. On Monday, representatives of the publishing companies, booksellers and authors met with the Cultural Affairs Committee and the culture minister, Marianne Jelved, to discuss the situation of the Danish book market, which is claimed to be critical. The meeting was based on a joint motion prepared by the Danish Publishers Association, the Danish Booksellers Association and the two associations for Danish authors. According to Bjarke Larsen, the editor of the trade journal BogMarkedet, it is very surprising but positive that the four associations have been able to agree. “This was unthinkable half a year ago and shows how seriously the industry believes the situation to be,” he said. The associations believe that the root of the problem is the liberalisation of the Danish book market in 2001, when retail prices became free and the bookshops lost their monopoly on selling books. This led to supermarkets using bestsellers as loss leaders, forcing the bookshops to lower their prices in order to compete. A recent example of this is the latest book from the popular author Jussi Adler Olsen, ‘Marco
Government not helping matters by maintaining its 25 percent VAT on books and refusing to introduce fixed retail prices for a limited period
Cecilie Bech Christensen
Cecilie Bech Christensen
Book industry united in resolve to address liberalisation damage Who is ... John Kelleher?
Marianne Jelved is booked to attend another meeting before Easter
effekten’, which sold extremely well over the Christmas period and became the bestselling book of 2012. In spite of this, nobody (apart from Jussi presumably) made much money on the book because the supermarkets cut prices so much that the profit was minimal. Traditionally, bookshops have spent the profits made on bestsellers to invest in other types of literature, thus sustaining a literary diversity and a wide selection of books for customers. However, the competition from the supermarkets has reduced the prices on bestsellers so much that the bookshops cannot sustain their selection if they want to compete, causing the death of one bookshop after another. And the financial crisis has not helped matters either. Since 2000, the number of physical bookshops has dropped from 423 to 338, with no fewer than 18 shops closing down in 2012 alone. Looking at the experiences
of other countries, there would appear to be two main ways to regulate a book market. One of them is to lower the VAT on books, which a lot of EU countries have done. Denmark has the second highest VAT on books in the world (25 percent), but the politicians have made it very clear that this is not going to change. The other option is to introduce fixed retail prices on books for a limited period. This means that a book will cost the same for the first three months, whether it is bought in a supermarket, a bookshop or online. Denmark and Bulgaria are the only two EU countries that do not make use of either of these regulation methods. In their motion, the four associations from the Danish book industry suggest a book law with fixed retail prices for a limited period on new books, supplemented with “assortment obligations and subscription models” as well as “other initiatives that promote books and reading”. Larsen
A true Irishman who moved to Denmark in 1994 from Dublin. He can currently be seen in an ad for the media service provider Fullrate as Scotsman McCluskey, and he is the resident quizmaster at The Globe. The bookstores struggle to compete with the supermarkets
agreed that a reintroduction of fixed retail prices is the most appropriate proposal to the politicians. “I cannot think of other proposals that would not result in a lot of other problems,” he said. “It is the only solution that can really make a difference.” However, not everybody believes that the liberalisation is the cause of the book crisis and that the best way to solve the problems is reintroducing fixed retail prices. On February 20, the Competition Watchdog Forbrugerrådet sent an open letter to the culture minister in which they advised her against reintroducing fixed retail prices as this “will negatively affect the consumers”.
According to Forbrugerrådet, the liberalisation “has not been to the detriment of cultural considerations”. It claims that studies have shown that after the liberalisation “more people buy and read books, more books are being sold, more fiction is being published, the numbers of sales outlets have gone up and books have become relatively cheaper.” These claims are contested by the studies presented by the trade associations, which makes it hard to establish the reality of the situation. This will be the parliament’s task in the coming weeks, and will also be the subject when the culture minister meets the Cultural Affairs Committee just before Easter.
Tosca a hit despite the coughing fit Once smitten, twice the fun Tosca HHHHHH
... and it ends TWICE HHHHHH
he Danish National Opera took to the Old Stage last night to perform Giacomo Puccini’s ‘Tosca’ to a packed house that hacked and coughed its way through a gripping performance of this classical opera. Flu and opera season may have proved unhappy bedfellows, but no matter. As soon as The Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Puccini specialist Giordano Bellincampi struck up their first note, we were transported to the Rome of June 1800 and the studio of the artist Cavaradossi, Tosca’s doomed lover. While the set design by Herbert Murauer was unadventurous (perhaps partly because the opera is being lugged from one Danish town to another over the course of February and March) and the production by Elisabeth Linton was far from groundbreaking, this was still a mesmerising performance of the tragic tale of love, jealousy
It ain’t over until the fat lady sings ... oh, she appears to be singing
and betrayal. Puccini’s genius for weaving arias and choruses into one incredibly powerful and moving whole, combined with standout performances by key cast members, kept us gulping down lumps in our throats throughout the second and third acts. Victoria Nava, romping around the stage in indecently tight outfits that threatened to unleash her ample bosom, was the real star of the show. From flirtatious lover to demented victim, she sang and acted beautifully. The audience was captivated as was the evil scheming
Scarpia, sung by Robert Hyman and Cavaradossi, performed extremely well by Danilo Formaggia. In fact, it was the chemistry between Tosca and Cavaradossi that sealed the performance’s success. With crowd-pleasing music, a tragic if predictably predictable plot and a large lady who really can sing, this is an enjoyable and accessible opera. Catch it if you can before the final performance in Odense on March 20. This performance of Tosca is on tour throughout Denmark until March 20.
he spotlight focuses on the stage where a man is lying on the floor and slowly starts moving. A second glance reveals that the man is actually two men who appear to be melted together. The scene serves as a powerful introduction to Tina Tarpgaard’s ‘Tørst’, the first part of ‘... and it ends TWICE’. It deals with the emotions that emerge when humans find themselves in a desperate situation. The two male dancers make the audience feel the pain, frustration and basic human needs that naturally occur in such a fight for survival. Clever lighting turns the stage into a burning hot, dry desert in which the dancers fight, scream and sweat as well as hold and stroke each other. At first, one of them seems more dependent on the other, actually crawling around on him to get his attention, but as it will transpire, he is not the
only one who longs for human touch. It is beautiful to see human instincts like this come alive through such stunning choreography. Tarpgaard has really managed to express the animal within man. Nelson Rodriguez-Smith’s ‘Mente’, the second part, deals with the subconscious. Constant voices and sounds in the background trigger the delicate movements of the dancers. They are in a surreal world where nothing else matters but their own heartbeat. The clock is ticking, and the dancers take in every sound and respond with exquisite moves. The dancers move around effortlessly. But it sure isn’t as easy as it looks. Their flexibility, strength, balance and trust in one another add up to a perfect performance. Simply put, this is beautifully odd. The lights astonish, the choreography charms and the dancers mesmerise, although it does get a bit repetitive at times. Overall though, it is a triumph. Human nature has been thoughtfully transposed to dance, and the added bonus? It ends twice!
CPH POST: So what does it take to have an Irishman put on a kilt? Not much. I like a fun challenge, and Irish and Scottish people are very similar. In fact, several Scottish people went to the audition but admitted their defeat fast as I looked more Scottish than them. What a shame people in Ireland don’t see it Well, actually it is so popular that it has been sold to other countries, one of them being Ireland. My mother called because she had seen it on TV. Nice to have a proud family Well, my 14-year-old daughter is embarrassed. They call her McCluskey at school. But as I always say: it’s a father’s job to embarrass his kids and if he doesn’t manage that, then he has failed. So your kids aren’t proud of your Scottish debut, but what about their Irish roots? They are very proud of them. This St Patrick’s Day my daughter is planning on getting green highlights and of course wearing green. She and my son will help out at the 3-Legged Charity Race, which is organised by my sister and me. Are you going to participate? No, I am too old to run around Copenhagen drinking beer, although I have won it twice. So drinking for charity is in the past for you? Well, maybe I will have to do it one more time some day. Right now, my kids are too young to participate in the race, but someday they should do it. And maybe that will be the day I do it again. Have you done any other acting? I used to do some ads back in Ireland and when I came here I started doing theatre in Copenhagen with an Irish group called IDEA. I would like to do more, but it is a tough business, so I work full-time in IT.
Denmark through the looking glass The Copenhagen Post cphpost.dk
15 - 21 March 2013
Desperate to leave their homeland, for many it was their last port of call Between early 1945 and November 1946, Denmark housed a quarter of a million German refugees at camps that quickly became cemeteries
n 20 March 1945, the heavily pregnant German citizen Erna Perlmann arrived exhausted and weakened in Aalborg. Together with 3,600 wounded German soldiers and 4,000 civilian refugees, she had crossed the Baltic on the Potsdam, sailing from Danzig to Copenhagen Freeport, where she was kept on board an extra week by the authorities. She was eventually accommodated at Kjellerupgade School, which like many schools had been temporarily redesigned as a makeshift refugee camp. Here she gave birth on 26 March to two boys. One died immediately and the other a few hours later. Three days later she died herself. The dilemmas persisted: practical and of principle The tragic story of Perlmann is just one of many from the period in 1945 when Denmark faced not only the seemingly impossible problem of dealing with a sudden huge influx of German refugees, but the moral dilemma of how to treat them humanely in the overwhelming atmosphere of post-war hatred for all things German. In the period from 11 February until 5 May 1945, around 250,000 refugees fled across the Baltic Sea to Denmark to take up temporary refuge − numbers that actually saw them make up five percent of Denmark’s total population. A high number of them were children, and many were adopted by Danish families, touched by the plight of the orphans, but in July 1945 all such children were ordered by law to be returned to the camps, despite protests from the adoptive families. In 1945 alone, 13,500 of these refugees died, of which 7,000 were children under the age of five.
The HQ of the Petergruppen on Blegdamsvej cast a shadow over the city
Better off torpedoed Arriving safely in Denmark was no mean feat in itself. Besides the unbearable overcrowding and unsanitary conditions on board the ships, the refugees had to contend with attacks from the British and Russian fleets – it has been estimated that up to 20,000 refugees lost their lives at the bottom of the sea. On the night of 30 January 1945, three torpedoes fired by a Russian submarine sunk the Wilhelm Gustloff in a mere 50 minutes, killing between 5,000 and 9,000 people. During a Not many parks can claim previous reincarnations as an air strip and a refugee camp, but Kløvermarken in Amager, today a home for amateur football, can chaotic early period, around 1,000 camps were set up around ing every day in Copenhagen” known Dane was murdered by that the Danish Medical Asso- believe that one group of people ciation took its hard-line stance. is better or even different than Denmark, and by July 1945, paradoxically told the story of way of revenge. On 20 February 1945 at another.” 10,000 Danes had been gain- the “paradise life” led by refugees fully employed as guards at the in Copenhagen. The journalist 6am, cold-blooded executioners Priests and poets in opposition Key questions persist camps. A home of amateur foot- visited the refugee camps, typi- from the Gestapo broke into the ball, the Kløvermarken playing cally schools or sports halls, and bedroom of Poul Kühnel, the Not all organisations folfields in Amager, was one enor- pointed out that those living in head of gynaecology at Odense lowed this line of thought. A But the few dissenting opinmous refugee camp. High fenc- squalour had only to thank their Hospital. He had already re- group of 60 priests spoke out ions were clearly in the minores and barbed wire protected fellow countrymen for their un- ceived a tip-off from the Re- in a plea for humane treatment ity and largely criticised or citizens from the refugees, and bearable crimes. Enghaveparken sistance that he was a potential of the refugees in June 1945. contemptuously ignored, just an existing law from 1871 was was the scene of a demonstra- target and was hiding in an attic The priests emphasised that the like the stories of the refugees re-enacted that strictly forbid tion in August 1945 when 3,000 room. Downstairs, his wife slept refugees were overwhelmingly themselves. They remained supany fraternisation whatsoever parents held a demonstration to with their eight-year-old son. Christian, forced against their pressed until only relatively rewith the internees. By 1946, the have the Copenhagen schools Mrs Kühnel pressed the button own will by a government to cently, but have since been wellnumber of camps totalled 465 immediately free of German that rang a bell in the attic room, leave their homes and families. documented by historians. Many questions have been Already in June, the priests were and the official refugee figures refugees. A popular underground newspaper, Free Denwarning of high child mortal- asked. Could Denmark have 196,518. mark, referred to the refugees as ity rates in the camps. Despite implemented a more targeted “parasites”, concluding that the agreeing that the refugees should humanitarian effort that might A climate of vengeance government should make it clear be kept apart from the general have prevented so many refugees 40 Germans dying population and repatriated as dying in camps? Given the terror The camps were under the that help should never volunsoon as possible, the priests actions their profession was suboverall control of Johannes tarily be offered to the German every day in boldly stated: “We fought jected to, was it reasonable to exKjærbøl. As a previous minister refugees and injured soldiers. This resistance and resent- Copenhagen against Nazism because they did pect doctors to show a more huin the unpopular Scavenius govnot regard the Jewish race as fel- manitarian approach? Was the ernment that had presided dur- ment towards the homeless Gering the Occupation, he probably mans from the media was in no and her husband narrowly es- low human beings, and we will, government under enormous by the same token, fight against pressure to prove its total comhad no choice but to take a hard uncertain terms reflected by a caped death. In search of a new target, the a new Nazism that does not re- mitment to the Allies after their line in his administration of the controversial statement from the camps to avoid accusations of Danish Medical Association on hitmen then went to the doctor’s gard the German race as fellow capitulation to the Germans and favouring the Germans. Dona- 25 March 1945: “Due to pre- residences at the hospital, shout- human beings.” A scathing edi- subsequent collaboration? These are all valid questions, tions of food, toys and clothing vailing circumstances, we are of ing out warnings of a bomb in torial in Information the followwere not allowed, and all emer- the opinion that we are not able the building. Four young doc- ing day wholly rejected the opin- but are difficult to answer withgency help came from Swedish to provide any form of medical tors ran out, only to be gunned ions of the priests: “We despise out being able to experience the and American charities. The help to German civilians.” The down on the spot. In this period, the Germans just as much as we spirit of the times. After all, it Danish Red Cross refused to hatred for the Germans was thus the Gestapo executed at least ten did in times of war − now they was only after the Second World are pathetic and grovelling. We War had ended that the full horhelp and even went as far as to articulated not only in the popu- doctors and imprisoned 30. Prior to the arrival of refu- want them treated harshly, as we rors of the Nazi atrocities started support the Danish authorities lar press, but also in academic in their attempt to exclude the circles. The Hippocratic Oath gees in Denmark and the lib- know that they can only behave becoming public knowledge. The first refugees were fieration, all newspapers had been when they receive orders.” critical International Committee did not apply to Germans. ordered to publish details of Another high-profile Dane nally sent home in November of the Red Cross from supervisthe executions on page 3 of the who argued for compassion was 1946, 1,000 at a time on speDoctors remember their dead ing the refugee camps. newspapers. In the period from the beloved author and poet cially commissioned trains. The unforgiving and vengeErna Perlmann was not ful mood had already been put However, this declaration 21 February to 19 April 1945, a Tove Ditlevsen, who appealed into words by Information by the association must be seen total of 64 executions took place in Politiken in March 1946 for among them. She ended her a more compassionate treat- short life on 29 March 1945, newspaper on 1 May 1945. Its in the light of the so-called in just 58 days. And all the while, behind ment. “These are dark times, far far from home on a makeshift article contained dark predic- ‘clearing murders’ committed tions of the inevitable danger of by the ruthless Petergruppen, a closed-doors negotiations be- darker than those of the Occu- bed in a converted school in epidemics and spread of disease German paramilitary group cre- tween Denmark and Germany pation,” she wrote. “It is foolish Aalborg. Her story is a small in the wake of such an invasion. ated in 1943 and active during continued regarding medical as- to believe that the instincts that slice of history: an innocent And in Aftenbladet newspaper the final two years of the Occu- sistance for the expected influx Hitler so successfully awakened part of a political power play in the German population do in which she was just one of on 21 June 1945, an article with pation. For each German soldier of refugees. It was in this atmosphere not exist in our own. Foolish to many victims. the headline “40 Germans dy- killed by the Resistance, a well-
All photos: Wkipedia
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