BEHIND THE SCENES BEYOND THE VALLEY DANISH BACON’S SIZZLING SUCCESS | EAT LIKE A VIKING WELCOME CLAS OHLSON | JO BRAND ON SCANDINAVIANS
PROMOTING BRAND SCANDINAVIA
M A G A Z I N E
Scan Magazine | Contents
Contents COVER FEATURE
10 Innovative Minds I Beyond the Valley
14 Say Bo to a good Concept | Danish furniture is alive and well 18 Wild Swans | In Fine Feather 20 We Love This | Stuff that matters
SCAN FOOD 24 Eat like a Viking | Bronte’s Scandinavian Food 28 Restaurant of the Month | Butterflies in my stomach at Papillon!
COLUMN 29 Is it Just Me | Mette Lisby on Fashion Gurus
FEATURE 30 An Evening with Jo Brand | At The Danish Club
SCAN TRAVEL 32 Helsinki | Klaus K Hotel – a unique place to stay
SCAN BUSINESS BUSINESS FEATURES 36 40 48 50 52
Clas Ohlson I Bringing a new level of customer service to the UK Danish Bacon | Pink pigs and green energy “Ru xiang sui su” | Or when in Rome… ISS | Brushing away the gloom Law | Following the letter of the law
49 58 60 61 62 64
Tax | Thinking of working for yourself? Recruitment | Campbell's Column How Was Your Day? | Martin Falch Column | The Board of Directors and Stakeholder Values Hotel of the Month | Radisson SAS Portman Hotel Chamber News | Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Danish Chambers of Commerce for the UK
SCAN NEWS 67 Scandinavian Newsflash
CULTURE 69 Culture Calendar | Your Scandinavian Culture Events Issue 7 | April 2009 | 3
Scan Magazine | Editor’s Note
Dear Reader, Welcome to Spring 2009! I hope that you had a relaxing winter and that you are ready to come out of hibernation and enjoy some warmer weather soon! We have more than a few good things in store for you this month. First in line is the story of how the Icelandic-born Kristjana turned a desperate experiment into an exceptionally successful brand: Beyond the Valley. Since we started this magazine it has become evident just how much exciting Scandinavian entrepreneurship there exists within the fashion industry for us to showcase. The Wild Swans stores (page 18) is yet another such success story: we can promise that there will be many more of these to come. And then we turn to Clas Ohlson, one of Scandinavia´s most well-known and liked chain stores. They have recently opened their first store in the UK with plans for several more to come. A big welcome to them! And have you heard about the new “Nordic Diet”? In a very interesting article Bronte explains this new “cult” within the food industry and how you may be better off if you start eating like a Viking (page 24).
Staying in the food department, this month’s special report is on Danish bacon and meat exporting. Bacon is an integral part of the traditional British breakfast and for many UK consumers bacon does mean Danish. Starting on page 40, Ian Welsh reports how the Danes are producing bacon to high standards that in many respects far exceed what EU or UK legislation requires. As you will have noticed we have new regular humour section and this month we spoke to Jo Brand to hear what she really thinks about Scandinavian people. Apparently we are very clean! Of all the compliments out there, this is a very strange one. But all compliments count, as they say, so compliment accepted. Have a great Easter and see you next month
Scan Magazine Issue 7 | April 2009
Copy-editor Mark Rogers
Sales Director Ture Damtoft
Published 06.04.2009 ISSN 1757-9589
Contributors Barbara Chandler Ian Welsh Signe Hansen Emelie Krugly Bronte Blomhoj Linnéa Mitchell Anna Maria Espsäter Mette Lisby Helena Whitmore Malcolm Campbell Bengt Skarstam Lee-Ann Cameron
Marketing Manager Helene Oxfeldt Lauridsen
Cover Photo Yiannis Katsaris
Next issue 6 May 2009
Published by Scan Magazine Limited Design & Print Liquid Graphic Limited Editor Thomas Winther Art Direction Mads E. Petersen
4 | Issue 7 | April 2009
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Scan Magazine | Contributors
Contributors Barbara Chandler is the design writer for Homes & Property, the weekly Wednesday supplement of the London Evening Standard. She has worked as a specialist writer on interiors and decoration for over 30 years, contributing to many leading UK and European publications. Books she has written include The Home Design Source Book, and Where to Get the Look. She is Journalist of the Year 2007 (as awarded by the National Home Improvement Council). Ian Welsh is a UK-based independent writer and editor with nearly 15 years experience in business publishing. With a background in corporate communications, Ian now specialises in corporate responsibility and supply chain issues. Signe Hansen has just finished her MA in Journalism and is now working as a freelance reporter in London. Having previously worked with television, radio, web and local news, the good story is always her priority. Linnéa Mitchell is a Swedish freelance journalist, who came to London in 2003 as a TV voiceover. Still here, with a fresh journalism degree under her belt, she writes for both Swedish and English magazines and is responsible for Scan Magazine’s architecture column. Bronte Blomhoj runs Scandi Kitchen in London, a Scandinavian deli/cafe. Bronte studied in Edinburgh and has a background in investment banking and entrepreneurial start-ups and has worked across most of Europe. Bronte has been London-based for the past 7 years where
6 | Issue 7 | April 2009
she lives with her Swedish partner Jonas and their “mini-me”, 1 year old Astrid. Bronte is really bad at dancing, but very good at making layer cake. Emelie Krugly is responsible for Scan Magazine's news section and can be contacted any time regarding an event or story. Emelie, a native Swede has been based in London for 3 years. Early on in her career she worked on a number of Sweden's newspapers including Sydsvenskan, Smalandsposten and Norra Skane. After then travelling extensively she settled with her English partner in her favourite city, became a mother and now returns to her passion, writing and journalism. Anna Maria Espsäter, who does the magazine's travel features, is a native of Sweden, although based in London for many years. Anna is a freelance travel and food writer specialising in Scandinavia. Mette Lisby is Denmark’s leading female comedian. She invites you to laugh along with her monthly humour columns. Since her stand-up debut in 1992, Mette has hosted the Danish versions of “Have I Got News For You” and “Room 101”. Mette currently lives in London. A Swede by birth, Helena Whitmore is director of tax at Grundberg Mocatta Rakison based in London. She has been with the firm since 1990, and an associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation since 2002. She writes regularly for Scan Magazine, and over the coming months will examine issues relating to setting up business in the UK, relevant tax laws, how to deal with property purchases and inheritance matters.
Malcolm Campbell. Having read Chemistry at Imperial College London, Malcolm began his career in Research, moving after some years into the Human Resource function. In 1991 he was invited to found an Executive Search Company as a joint venture with a major firm of Actuaries. The business is now independent, being owned by Malcolm Campbell. It has a worldwide client list, and searches globally. Malcolm’s other interests include the Horner’s Livery Company, as a Freeman of the City of London. He is also Chairman of the Imperial College Trust. Bengt Skarstam is an executive coach, who creates brain-holder value for his clients. He has extensive leadership experience in operations and product development within the international arena. Lee-Ann Cameron is a self-confessed Scandiphile who moved to London after finishing a postgraduate degree in History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. Lee-Ann currently works for one of the major auction houses and works in the contemporary art department. Thomas Winther – Editor. Originally from Denmark, Thomas has a background in Economic consultancy and holds a BA and a Master in Economics. Prior to becoming the Editor of Scan Magazine he worked in the City of London. He is now on a personal mission to take Brand Scandinavia to the next level. Thomas lives in Blackheath, London with his much better half and 6 month old son. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
stockholm oslo helsinki gothenburg croydon clas ohlson has followed you to england and opened up a store in the whitgift centre, croydon. the next one is opening in the manchester arndale on april 30th. drop in and say hi.
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Scan Magazine | Letters of The Month
Dear Scan Magazine... Letters of the Month We receive many lovely letters from our readers. As we’re fond of saying, your feedback helps to make all of the time and effort worthwhile. We’ve decided to select a few Letters of the Month - letters that for whatever reason, tickled our fancy.
Hi Thomas, Thrilled to receive Scan Magazine now. Thanx! Obviously London is the happening place, but there are a few of us (Scandinavians) scattered about too, and we like to keep up! I'm one of a group of Norwegians who have lived in Dorset for over 20 years, we meet up once a month and as the next meeting is at my house you might get a few new subscribers after that... Keep up the good work. Best wishes, Kristina
Good morning Thomas, I've just finished reading the latest issue and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you get a moment, you might be interested in a trip that a friend and I completed last March in Norway. Essentially we took a 4x4 and a motorbike (bike only made it some of the way) from Bergen to the Nordkapp, camping most of the route in temperatures that ranged from -10 to -21C. Some of the pictures are absolutely stunning and really exemplify the pure natural beauty of this vast, and in parts quite wild, part of Scandinavia. It was a trip that my Grandfather completed many decades ago and the sad thing was that he died on the very weekend I was going to share my plans, kit preparation and maps with him. The trip therefore took on an extra special significance but to be honest it's hard to top the emotion you feel being out in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of Kms above the Arctic Circle in -15 seeing the Nordlyset for the first time! I was thinking that maybe you could add a Scandinavian adventure section to the magazine. The magazine is such a celebration of all things Scandinavian and natural beauty is a big part of what makes it so special.
Hi Kristina We would like to offer the members of your group a 6 month free subscription to Scan Magazine. In return we hope that you or your group members will get in touch if you come across a good story that you would like us to cover. We hope to get regular updates from Dorset! All the best, Thomas
Have a good weekend Richard
Hi Richard, Thanks for this email. It sounds like a great idea with a “Scandinavian Adventure” section. I suggest we launch this in the May issue, starting with a selection of your pictures. Here is a brand new appeal to all our readers: please send us any pictures from your travel adventures in Scandinavia which you would like to share!
Letters may be edited. Letters are only published with the consent of the sender. Write to the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org
8 | Issue 7 | April 2009
All the best Thomas
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10 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Scan Magazine | Cover Feature | Beyond the Valley
“I just had this feeling immediately when I came here, that this was where I wanted to be… ultimately I knew that here I’d be able to do everything that I want to”
Innovative Minds: Beyond the Valley By Linnéa Mitchell | Photos: Yiannis Katsaris
Beyond the Valley is the result of the three creative minds of Kristjana S. Williams, Kate Harwood and Jo Jackson. Originally set up as a non-profit concept store and gallery to work as a springboard for new designers, it has grown into a trend-spotter considered one of the best in the UK. It is successfully connecting businesses who want to stay in touch with the next generation designers. Icelandic-born Kristjana tells Scan magazine how a necessary experiment became a fantastic brand. Retail success stories are rare in times like these, but one is thriving more than ever thanks to a brilliant idea. Beyond the Valley, which got its name from the old Russ Meyer movies and the idea of a community in a valley, has been listed by the Art’s Superbrand Council as one of the UK’s Coolbrands for three consecutive years alongside brands such as Alexander McQueen and Chanel. It has also been listed as one of the top 50 design brands to watch in The Observer’s ‘The Future 500 line-up’, and most recently been selected as one of Europe’s Top 20 Fashion boutiques for the new online portal Farfetch.com. Taking matters into their own hands It started with a lack of inspiration in the final year at Central St Martin’s college in 2003, when it suddenly dawned on graphic design student Kristjana and her two friends Jo and Kate that the real world was lurking around
the corner. “At that time not much advice was offered about how to actually get your work out there and recognised, it was more about art for art’s sake,” she says as we sit down in the bright Soho store tucked in behind the legendary Carnaby Street. The shelves display everything you can imagine in every form, colour and shape, from fashion clothes and bags through cards, furniture, wallpaper, to jewellery, posters and accessories. Here new designers have the chance to display their work, as an introduction to the market and to see what works. It was this opportunity that Kristjana and her friends were missing back in 2003, so they decided to set up three temporary design stores themselves, which was the start of an amazing journey. Five years later they have established a permanent shop/gallery in Newburgh Street (showcasing more than 100 designers), an online shop, as well as a consultation branch called Beyond the Valley Insight, a combined effort with the brand experts ‘i-am’ and meant to help businesses that want to stay in touch with what’s going on in the buzzing streets of London. Quite a remarkable story for a girl from Iceland who did electronics as her first degree. Having decided that she wanted to be an artist, she went to London to do another degree. “I just had this feeling immediately when I came here, that this was where I wanted to be. I love Iceland and
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 11
Scan Magazine | Cover Feature | Beyond the Valley
Kristjana and Jo at work in the office.
I am dreaming of having a summer house there, but ultimately I knew that here I’d be able to do everything that I want to,” she says. Soon she embarked on her graphic design course at St Martin’s, where she would meet Kate and Jo.
Inside the Soho store.
store and not long after they had high profile names such as Apple and BMW popping in just to pick up some of the latest trends. “We were just getting work through being who we are and what we were doing,” she says. Secrets of success
The first step Three years later, close to graduation time, Kristjana and Jo took matters into their own hands together with marketing and fashion student Kate. Thanks to a generous landlord, they were given the use of three empty shops in Covent Garden. “We encouraged the other students to show their work in these shops,” she says. “It got everybody in the mood of understanding that yes you can be an artist, but you can also make a living from it by supplementing other things alongside it.”
The thing that has probably led to their success is the events, starting with a temporary ‘sister’ guerrilla store in Helsinki, which later led to a big exhibition in London with Finish designers. Other events include an exclusive collection for Top Shop called ‘Darkside of the Valley’, curating Wunderville – a Victorian freak-show – during the London Design Festival, hosting a temporary shop for Benetton’s Fabrika, as well as numerous press nights and other events in their perfectly located Soho spot. And there are many plans for the future.
The success of the project was enough to make up their minds. “We then went away and decided that we were going to open up a concept store based on promoting new designers. We wanted to be on the street where the advertising executives and everybody around would come around to see,” she says. In 2005, they opened their first
Being best friends and working together cannot always be easy though. “I think we all have different personalities and strengths we take from each other, for sure, but that’s what made it really work in the end. And the fact that we all simply believed that there was a need for a thing like this.” Kristjana has an incredible energy, and there is no
12 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Scan Magazine | Cover Feature | Beyond the Valley
end to her enthusiasm. “It feels great to have helped so many designers. We still help so many designers with their portfolios and give them advice on what will work and not. It keeps us alive and inspired.” Dealing with tough times However, designing is one thing, but how did they get the knowledge to run a business and shop? “We did go into it head-first,” she laughs. “People normally develop a product first and then open a shop, but we’ve done everything back to front, so we learned as we went along.” Having finally got the business going, surely it must be even more frustrating to hit a credit crunch. “Quite the opposite,” she says. “For us, we’re just so used to not having funds so being on this scale is something that just feels natural. Above: The Spring/Summer Collection.
“I just find that – especially with designers – everybody is getting more creative. Everybody feels like there’s more opportunity and more to offer. Customers are feeling very different about what they are buying and I think that they’ve decided to support us because they can see that it’s made by the heart and not in the thousands.
Below: The Winter Collection.
“I would say to young designers to take this time and just relax and design as much as you can with the resources that you have and forget about using diamonds and lacing, just use your mind to create alternatives because that’s what people really appreciate.” It is hard not to get inspired by talking to Kristjana, because she makes it sound so simple. And perhaps it is, I think, as I spot the sun coming through the windows next to their recent product launch on the wall: a wallpaper designed by Cole & Son, the British luxury wallpaper specialists. Next step for Beyond the Valley this year is focusing on their own range ready for wholesale, as well as some big plans on the other side of the Atlantic. I cannot wait to hear the next chapter of this story. In the meantime, if you want to get away from gloomy news and pick up some bright vibes about the future instead, just go Beyond the Valley and soak it in. You will not regret it.
www.beyondthevalley.com www.beyondthevalleystore.com www.beyondthevalleyinsight.com For wholesale enquiries contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 13
Scan Magazine | Design | BoConcept
14 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Scan Magazine | Design | BoConcept
“It's not just about space, it's about how space is used”
Say Bo to a good Concept – Barbara Chandler finds Danish furniture alive and well – and for living in London By Barbara Chandler | Photos: BoConcept
Right in the heart of London, on a long and busy shopping street equally famous for furniture and electronics, is a stylish little bit of Denmark. This is BoConcept on Tottenham Court Road, where enough of the store staff speak Danish to create a haven for any homesick compatriots (and apparently several drop by regularly for a reassuring chat...). The average Londoner, however, is unaware of all that, nor do they realise that “bo” in Danish means “life” – or living, if you like. They are simply attracted by the furniture. It follows in those best traditions of modern Danish design which dominated the middle of the last century, being simple, elegant and well-made. There is a lot of timber, including ash, walnut and oak, but also lacquers, chrome, steel, glass and leather – the impression is elegant and metropolitan rather than chunky and rural. It has a certain sophistication – indeed it is an imposing row of BoConcept high stools on square
steel stands that line the bar in the recent James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace. “Our designs will certainly fit in with your London lifestyle,” promises the company's president and CEO, Viggo Molholm, the second generation of a Danish family firm founded in the 1950s. Now there are stores all around the world, and not just in the major European cities, but also in New York, Auckland, Dubai, Moscow, and Beijing. “We love the energy and vibrancy of urban living,” adds Mr Molholm. In London, a second BoConcept store opened in Notting Hill last year, and there are also concessions in the two most famous London department stores: Selfridges and Harrods. This is, indeed, a big international brand, and here in the UK retail manager Zoe Shields is one of its most enthusiastic advocates (and the longest serving UK employee). “Our style is highly contemporary,” she says, “but classic
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 15
Scan Magazine | Design | BoConcept
at the same time – you won't find our furniture going out of fashion.” Around two thirds of the range stays in production from year to year. A chunky magazine-style free catalogue of 196 pages details the huge choice of products, which include long low modular sofas, elegant dining tables, slim-line chairs, and comfortable beds. In the background are unobtrusive storage units, from sculptural open shelving, to capacious cupboards and wardrobes. “We work within a basic palette of neutrals,” adds Zoe. Colours range, for example, from a smooth white leather to a dramatic black velour. In between is a fine brown tweed flecked with cream, and a charcoal grey felt. Others from the large fabric range resemble navy denim or have a metallic sheen. In store, samples are liberated from the stiff formality of pattern books. Instead, generous pieces of fabric are suspended from hangers on a rack, clearly visible, and easy to spread over furniture instantly to get the look. “We use textiles to soften and update our sofa and chair designs,” explains Zoe, showing her most recent favourite, a stylish yellow felt. Function is of the essence. This is furniture that quietly gets on with the job – indeed sometimes with two jobs – witness the stool that turns into a bed, and the bed with a hidden storage compartment. Coffee tables are for relaxing, eating and storage, with shelves that pull up for TV suppers, revealing useful compartments underneath. Dining tables have robust well-engineered mechanisms to extend their tops, and chairs can tilt back for optimum relaxation. “All the while, we are trying for furniture that is as clever as possible,” says Zoe. Molholm also promises furniture to “express your personality.” And it is the unique flexibility of these designs that achieves this. Many of the ranges comprise a “kit” of components - tops, legs, seats, cushions, bases and so on in different styles/sizes which can be combined into your own individual piece. When you add in all the fabric possibilities, there is a staggering breadth of choice.
From the top: Design your living space at the BoConcept shop. Middle: Sleeping in style. Right: Viggo Molholm Below: Livingroom with storage.
16 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Scan Magazine | Design | BoConcept
Top: UFO pendant, Como Sofa. Below: Bed with Storage and a sideboard.
Indeed, latterly the company has started to worry lest their designs are paradoxically too flexible, with so many options and permutations that the customer is muddled rather than inspired. Accordingly, they have introduced a brand new design service, with consultants operating in all the stores. A special software programme instantly turns room measurements into a scale drawing. Then possible furniture arrangements can be shown to scale, and altered as desired. Finally, you can look at a 3D view. But the best news is that a consultant will come to your home, free of charge. First of all, he or she will talk you through your lifestyle. “The idea is to get a feel for how a client lives,” explains Zoe. “It's not just about space, it's about how space is used.” Maybe a client does not come over as a family man in store, but a home visit reveals three kids who live on the sofa glued to a huge TV. “Sometimes what people think they want isn't really what they need,” adds newly-trained design consultant Nora Leates. (All consultants have several weeks of in-house training). Then comes the measuring – again something which a customer often gets wrong. “Remember, mistakes –
which mean changes – are very costly,” remarks Zoe. “Clients do so appreciate the trouble we take to make sure everything will first of all get through the door, and then fit its space and its purpose.” Consultants can also advise in general terms on colours and materials for the rest of the room Accessories are the finishing touch. A big choice of lighting includes adjustable floor and table models. Vases and bowls have an exotic aura, in glass and mango wood, or with a silver, copper or gold metallic finish. There are also boxes, candlesticks and even a selection of sculptures. Cushions are in leather, fur, linen, felt, velvet and even ethnic kelim weaves, with hand-applied details such as beads, buttons and embroidery. Intricate textures and bold geometric patterns are bang on trend. Rugs are equally unusual, in circles, squares and rectangles in cowhide, wool or polyester loop.
For more information, visit www.boconcept.co.uk
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 17
Wild Swans – in fine feather By: Emelie Krugly | Photos: Wild Swans
Imagine Scandinavia's best designers and all the unknown quirky secrets of Scandinavian design. Then think of up and coming brands that are not yet exposed in the UK combined with a relaxed atmosphere with a trained stylist. Add all of this up and you have Wild Swans.
“Denmark has so many lovely designers and I remember how I always used to do all my shopping when I went home to Denmark. Fashion is the third biggest export in Denmark and we have a very good reputation. Then I decided to add Swedish and Norwegian designers giving the shop more of a concept.”
The Scandinavian fashion designer boutique ‘Wild Swans’ has recently opened up a third shop in Mill Hill. The name comes from the fairytale The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen. Why? It perfectly describes the range of Designers as well as the Customers – beautiful and gracious birds yet 'edgy'. The story behind Wild Swans is almost like a fairy tale: the Chiswick shop in the hip Devonshire Road, which opened in 2006, was so successful that within a year another had opened in Cross Street, Islington and now a third shop in Mill Hill Broadway this March.
Caroline has chosen all the shop locations for their individuality. “Both Chiswick and Islington have a village feel, which is hard to find in central London.”
Dane Caroline van Luthje is the lady behind the successful concept. It all started in 2003 when she opened Trash Couture on Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, with Danish Designer Ann Wiberg. In 2006 she decided to go solo. With a background as a freelance producer for commercials and feature films she decided to try something new and create her perfect boutique.
18 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Caroline and her team like to make a real effort for their customers. It's very much about creating a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere to shop in. Champagne is always served at the weekend and a big basket full of toys is provided for children. They embrace the idea of personal styling and many of the staff are experienced personal stylists. Caroline also organizes special events in the shops; at least twice a year they invite a designer who presents their work, with special offers and discounts. The next events will be on 29th April in the Islington store and 30th April in Chiswick. Swedish jewellery designer ‘Promise’ will be there between 7-9pm. Caroline and her staff will also offer a 10% discount to all customers showing a copy of this article. www.wild-swans.com
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Scan Magazine | Design | We Love This
We love this... There is so much cool stuff that we would like to show you. In fact we love this!
Modular Bed Customise your new bed by choosing frame, surface, headboard and leg design. Example in blackstained oak venner £1456 www.boconcept.co.uk
Red Spot Teapot 1.3Ltr Greengate's unmistakable style and refined simplicity can be used to add warmth and life to your home. This glazed stoneware teapot is finished in red with white spots (dishwasher safe). Retails at £38. www.mithus.co.uk
LUSY Quilt cover and pillowcases by Sigga Heimis. Retails at £17 at IKEA.uk
Roseberry Summer Scented Candle Set This beautiful set of three scented votive candles from Greengate would make an excellent gift or a treat for yourself. Roseberry Summer is a beautiful fragrance reminiscent of warm summer nights & mixed summer berries. £19.50 www.mithus.co.uk
20 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Bicycle Toolkit This kit has everything you need to maintain your bicycle including a pump. Retails at £9.99 www.clasohlson.co.uk
Eco USB Drive USB stick made from bamboo. Keep your documents safe and help protect the environment. www.usbcompany.co.uk
Scan Magazine | Design | We Love This
Kids love this... Taynikma â€“ Danish Childrenâ€™s Books now in the UK A Danish childrenâ€™s book sensation has
child to enjoy reading. With its powerful visu-
come to the UK. Taynikma Books are a huge
als Taynikma is created to appeal instantly to
success in Scandinavia, with over 300,000
boys and girls from around the age of seven
copies sold. Awarded the national Orla
(the possibly reluctant reader), while promot-
award for best childrenâ€™s graphic book as
ing the joy of reading.
voted by Danish children in 2007.
In the books we follow the adventures of the young villager Koto who sets off on a per-
And itâ€™s no wonder that kids love Taynikma.
ilous journey to save his family. He faces chal-
These charming books pioneer a dynamic
lenges and makes new friends in a world of
new combination of words and pictures. By
magic, weird creatures and mystical clans
mixing traditional prose with cartoon-inspired
comic book sequences, the story unfolds with compelling plotlines and exciting action.
Available in all good bookshops and online. Visit Taynikma: www.taynikma.co.uk
Teachers and parents are equally vocal about the Taynikma books. It is one thing to
See the Taynikma drawing competition for
teach a child to read â€“ itâ€™s another to teach a
kids on page 68
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Scan Magazine | Design | Advertorial
22 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Scan Magazine | Design | Advertorial
PAX it all in... By IKEA
How many hours a week do you spend picking up clothes that have ended up in the wrong place? On a chair in the kitchen, on the towel rail in the bathroom, on the floor by the bed, on the sofa by the TV? It’s a small problem you share with many others. But there are solutions to most things in life - especially life at home. IKEA has a point of view about storing and organising in the bedroom. IKEA has spent thousands of hours working out how long a sock is, how much space you can save by folding your jumpers, the easiest way of finding your trousers and how you can put your hands on the pair of shoes you’re always looking for. Storage in the bedroom should be easy. Even activities such as relaxing, resting and sleeping attract accessories around them. That’s why IKEA designed PAX wardrobes and KOMPLEMENT interior fittings. The PAX and KOMPLEMENT range is designed to cope with your everyday storage needs. All PAX wardrobes from IKEA come with a ten year everyday quality guarantee as standard. Why not try and build your dream wardrobe with the online planning tool at IKEA.co.uk/bedroom. There’s even an assembly service if you need it - ask in store for more details. An organised bedroom will solve all of your troubles and makes for a better everyday life. Having the perfect storage solution to meet all your needs will not only give you a tidy mind, but sound sleep too. For more information and useful tips visit IKEA.co.uk.
PS. A man’s sock, by the way, is around 17cm long and two socks rolled up together have a diameter of around 7cm. Just thought you might want to know.
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 23
Scan Magazine | Food | Eat like a Viking
Eat like a Viking By Bronte Blomhoj | Photos: Cees van Roeden
There’s a buzz happening in the food world at the moment and it is all because of Nordic food. Many major diets of the world have had their moment in the spotlight as we try to find the healthiest way of living – not least in the last two decades which have been dominated by the Mediterranean diet and way of eating. However, this all looks set to change with the ‘New Nordic Diet’ which claims to be significantly healthier.
largest of its type in the world and puts Denmark at the forefront internationally in helping to solve problems such as obesity and learning difficulties (closely linked to nutritional intake). It is no surprise that the world’s media have taken serious notice of this and are discussing whether the Nordic way of eating really could potentially help solve some of the world’s health (namely obesity) issues.
The research project, led by Professor Arne Astrup of Copenhagen University, wants to develop the food concept of the ‘New Nordic Diet’, built around the local ingredients and culture of the Nordic countries. This project is the
South versus North
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How the Nordic diet differs: the Mediterranean diet very much focuses on olive oils – high in monounsaturated fat and omega-3 fatty acids – and high vitamin C vegetables
Scan Magazine | Food | Eat like a Viking
such as peppers. It also features a lot of tomatoes, high in vitamin A and potassium. Monkfish and other similar fish frequently used are high in protein and low in fat. Wheat is present in bread and pasta and provides the additional fibre – and meat and poultry levels are kept relatively low, reducing the intake of unhealthy saturated fats. The Nordic diet uses cold pressed rapeseed oils – high in monosaturated fats and containing much more omega-3 and omega-6 than olive oil. All types of cabbage are popular in Scandinavia and they have huge levels of antioxidants and are thought to reduce cancer risks; they also have Vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids. Add to this the wealth of amazing berries – from cloudberries to lingonberries (cowberries) and blueberries: incredibly rich in vitamins and antioxidants and containing plenty of nutrients like potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. The fish is herring, salmon and cod – you get omega-3 oils from herring and salmon, and cod is low in fat and protein. Instead of being dominated by wheat, Nordic people have more rye, barley and oat in their diets, which contain far more antioxidants. Game would be the preferred meat of the Nordic diet – elk, hare, game birds and moose (basically stuff that has been less intensively farmed).
Vegetables such as cabbage and beets have been found to have been extensively used during that time as well. What Mamma used to say It may come as no great surprise to many Scandinavians that their dietary heritage is in the spotlight: our mothers have been telling us since we were nippers to eat our rye bread and they used to let us loose on the berry bushes in the light summer evenings. We’ve been fed herring and mackerel in abundance and taught that cod roe is a treat, not a punishment. Ask most Scandinavians and they’ll swear allegiance to the humble rye bread and the high fibre crisp bread as their preferred bread over any mass produced white wheat sandwich bread. However, the question is not about Scandinavians continuing to eat what they’ve been eating for thousands of years – but more about if this way of eating is the right way forward for other cultures. The study is expected to take a number of years and incorporates testing food in schools and homes as well as in the lab. However, with such great interest there is little doubt we will see an increasing interest in Scandinavian food products and recipes over the coming years.
Harald Bluetooth loved his herring
So, how do you eat like a Nordic?
Eating from the land has always been central to the Nordic way of life and is present in all our food history and in our present daily living. The Vikings enjoyed a diet of grain, fish, cabbage and game to make them strong and healthy, and fit to travel to explore many faraway places such as Norfolk. Today, Scandinavians in the different regions still reflect this heritage in their eating habits, although we do a lot less pillaging than we used to.
It’s pretty simple, really – and you can make small changes very quickly to your diets to reap the benefits.
The Vikings ate seasonally. Sadly, nobody had time to carve any cookbooks into any stones so we have to rely on archaeological evidence to support assumptions about what the Vikings ate – but it is certain from the evidence that they relied a great deal on fishing in the south and game hunting in the north. They farmed rye and wheat; meat and fish were smoked, dried and fermented so they could keep longer – preserving traditions that still hold true today in some parts of Scandinavia. In terms of fruit and berries, the Vikings relied greatly on anything from apples to blueberries to rosehips and cloudberries.
Here are our Top Ten Tips 1. Swap the wheat bread for rye and fibre crisp bread. You’ll eat less as it is slow releasing and filling. 2. Make open sandwiches. Less bread, focus on what you put on top. No need for big lumps of mayo to hold it all together. You spend time making it look pretty – eating with your eyes is also surprisingly filling. 3. Get into Herring. It’s a great little friend and it tastes really nice and has loads of omega 3. Try the Scandinavian pickled herring – it is less sour than the German and Dutch varieties and more tender. The good news is there’s lots of herring around in the sea still. 4. Mackerel is a fantastic fish any way you prepare it. It’s also reasonably cheap and a great alternative if you’re not ready for herring – but still contains buckets of omega 3 oils. Try mackerel in tomato on dark rye bread as an open sandwich.
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 25
Scan Magazine | Food | Eat like a Viking
5. Eat your porridge. If you don’t like porridge, eat muesli with lots of oats, barley and rye flakes and some tasty dried berries such as blueberries and cranberries. Make your own muesli in a jiffy by buying the ingredients in a health food store (tip: add a spice to make it exciting, such as a sprinkle of cinnamon). 6. Be friends with the berries, especially seasonal ones when they are bursting with flavour and nutrients. Be concerned about food miles out of season, but know that frozen berries are also excellent and do not lose much of their nutritional value at all so you’ll still get great anti-oxidants and vitamins. 7. Cabbage is your new friend. It may make you let out a few sneaky ones in the beginning if you’re not used to it, but your body adapts and you’ll feel great. Pickled red cabbage is great as a side dish with your evening meal, shredded white cabbage in your salad. 8. Catch a moose. Oh well, this might be a bit tricky. But when you choose meat, try to include some game and
26 | Issue 7 | April 2009
ask your butcher for meat that is proper free range and not intensively farmed. Yes, it’s a bit pricier but so full of flavour you don’t need as much. A lot of speciality butchers can order game for you. Game meat is very low in fat. 9. Eat sitting down. Don’t rush. Don’t eat on the go. It’s not very good for the digestion and you’ll never catch a Scandinavian trying to munch an open herring sandwich whilst waiting for Bus 38. 10. Don’t be too strict about it. It’s not a quick fix diet, it’s a way of eating better and giving your body what it needs in order to function well and for a long time.
Bronte Blomhoj is the owner of Scandinavian Kitchen, a cafe/grocery store that truly believes the Nordic diet is the way forward and that soon everyone will eat rye bread for lunch. www.scandikitchen.co.uk
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Restaurant of the Month
Fjärilar i magen på Papillon! (Butterflies in my stomach at Papillon!) I was very excited to try the chic Chelsea restaurant Papillon after hearing great reviews from friends and colleagues. Papillon (which means butterfly in French) is a well-kept neighbourhood secret where locals can dine out for a delectable meal or a special occasion. Danishborn Søren Jessen opened Papillon in 2006, eight years after opening his other exquisite restaurant 1Lombard in the City and the proud bearer of a Michelin star. The interior of Papillon was designed by Russell Sage and is elegant and classy with a wraparound banquette that looks out to the rest of the tables and the street. Green leather chairs and individual table lamps provide additional comfort and subtle lighting to invite diners to unwind and enjoy the experience. Although it was early in the week, we were persuaded by our hostess to have a glass of champagne to start. At the time, it seemed a bit decadent but in fact it was a fitting pre-celebration of chef David Duverger’s culinary performance over the rest of the evening. We settled in quickly to the relaxed, convivial atmosphere and I began my meal with juicy pan fried scallops in a springy leek compote and gentle saffron butter sauce - each bite melting in my mouth. My partner, who lived in France for four years, went with the French classic and Papillon speciality, steak tartare with salad. As a main course, I chose duck, cooked to an enticing rosé colour served with golden turnips and carmelized orange
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By Lee-Ann Cameron | Photos: Papillon
that framed the rich meat and gave an added zing to the dish. My partner had the special of the night, John Dory, a tasty white fish with haricots verts and tomatoes on the side. Our wine was the Blauburgunder Mazzon 2005, also known as Pinot Noir, which tasted of black cherries, truffles and a hint of tobacco and did not overpower our meal in the slightest. This wine comes from Italy near the Austrian border and is one that I have never tried. The wine list at Papillon is extensive and this suggestion was most welcome. To finish, we indulged in the confit of grapes in rum with rum raisin ice cream and le citron “à ma façon,” lemon meringue in a cup made in the chef’s particular way. By the time we left, every other table was taken and it didn’t surprise me at all. An otherwise normal Tuesday night had magically turned into a very romantic evening. Whether it was the charming French staff or the glass of champagne to start, I’m not sure but my mood was lifted so as to enjoy my surroundings and my dinner guest just that much more. I suppose it is the authentic joie de vivre that makes Papillon special and as I floated out the door, for a split second I thought I might just be walking out onto the streets of Paris. Obviously I was still in London but it’s great to know that a little piece of France is so nearby.
Papillon, 96 Draycott Avenue, London SW3 3AD 0207 225 2555, www.papillonchelsea.co.uk
Scan Magazine | Column | Is it Just Me...
IS IT JUST ME... Or does anyone else feel slightly world-weary when fashion gurus, with their usual annoying enthusiasm, announce this Spring’s “new big thing”: Faded blue jeans - 80s Style! Dedicated scientists are working round the clock to increase our life-expectancy to 120, but sometimes you’ve got to ask yourself: is it really all that desirable? I mean, how many times is it humanly bearable to see deadbeat fashion items return, hailed as the “new” thing? I’m talking pastel shade, Miami Vice suits and ponchos! The “new big thing” has always been around before, in clothing, music and fashion. Nothing’s really new. It seems that apart from a few technical subtleties like TV and computers, not one original idea has emerged in the past 100 years! And every time an item resurfaces we have to watch self-important teenagers
By Mette Lisby under the delusion that it’s invented solely for THEM. As I did, 16 years old in my new A-line dress and my Mom said: “Oh, I had one of those when I was your age.” I don’t think so! The A-line was totally new! Designed especially for my generation; we were the peak of humanity. We had ghetto-blasters! When the A-line surfaced years later the second time (in my count) I still thought it fun. I thought a piece of fashion returning was a coincidence. A fun yet rare occurrence caused by the fact that fashion, when I was a teenager, was so cool that the world simply craved for it to come back. But when A-line has come and gone the fourth time around, it dawns on you: Everything is a repeat! The only good news is that our attention span gets shorter and shorter, so the speed with which fashion reappears
escalates considerably. Soon it’ll be on a monthly basis! And when I reach old age, so determinedly fought for by scientists, there’ll be a weekly turnover. So I can wear my A-line dress and be fashionable, punctually on say, Tuesdays. And at a 120, that will probably be how often I can arouse myself to go out, anyway.
Mette Lisby is Denmark’s leading female comedian. She invites you to laugh along with her monthly humour columns. Since her stand-up debut in 1992, Mette has hosted the Danish versions of “Have I Got News For You” and “Room 101”. Mette currently lives in London.
MONEY FOR SALE Welcome to FOREX 107 Baker Street OPEN DAILY – Phone 020-72244440 www.forex.org
Scan Magazine | Feature | An evening with Jo Brand
An evening with Jo Brand – at The Danish Club By Signe Hansen | Photos: The Danish Club
It is not an exaggeration to say that Jo Brand has entertained comedy fans all over the world. Canada, Australia and Norway are just a few of the places she has performed with her sharp punch-lines and hilarious self-deprecation. But she is, as most will know, not only famous for her stand-up performances but also for her participation in numerous TV shows such as Have I Got News For You and IQ. Still, Lizette Bang, Director of The Danish Club – a private members’ club for social and business meetings – scooped an exclusive performance with Brand. Brand, who frequently performs live in front of around 1,500 people, treated 115 dinner guests to an intimate show and shared her thoughts on the experience with Scan Magazine. Taking over from Mette Lisby, who had entertained the guests superbly, Brand still managed to turn up the laughter just by entering the scene in her inimitable way. To prove that she had, as she said, done her homework,
30 | Issue 7 | April 2009
she started out with a couple of remarks on the Danish Crown Prince’s recent sledge accident. Reflecting on what would have been the reaction to something like that in the UK, she noticed: “If that had been Prince Charles you know, we would have pissed ourselves over here. But you Danes actually seem to have respect for your Royal Family.” Adding: “Really you should move on!” But that was about it when it came to pointing out any Scandinavian oddities and actually the one who got the hardest beating in Brand’s show was Jo Brand herself. The self-deprecation was received well by the audience and when leaving the stage, Brand was, in true teen-star style, swarmed by enthusiastic dinner guests, who wanted her autograph or picture. So how do you think your performance at the Danish Club went tonight? The Danish Club was great, a really friendly crowd and very appreciative. They joined in so it all felt very comfortable,
and I thought Mette was great too. Her comedy is very sharp, very intelligent and very witty. I liked the way she delivered, there is no way I could do a stand-up comedy show in a language that was not my own. How do you find Scandinavian people in general? They are very clean and very smart people! English people can be very scruffy and dirty. As a nation we are not that bothered about how we look, only the rich people and no-one likes them anyway!
There are private hospitals
and there is St. Anthony’s
How does your husband feel about all your jokes about him and your life together? He does not mind really. That is the whole thing about comedy; the things I say are not really true, I don’t mean them - that’s what I tell him anyway. Are there any negative sides of life as a stand-up comedian? That would be the occasional male dominance. I get really irritated about male domination. A lot of people make the assumption that women are not good comics and there are really low expectations of female comedians. So is it hard to keep your femininity whilst being funny? Yes very. Women are judged on appearance. If you are very feminine in your appearance, it will distract from your performance because that will be on the mind of the audience. When asked if she is a feminist Brand answers with a resounding “but of course!” There is no doubt she is a lady of strong opinions and luckily for the audience at the Danish Club and up-and-coming female comics all over the world, she does not mind sharing them.
Whilst our practising consultants and advanced medical technology are outstanding, it is the very special caring ethos that truly defines St. Anthony’s Hospital. St. Anthony’s specialises in complex cardiac cases, orthopaedics, urology, vascular, breast and colorectal cancer surgery – and is also the only independent hospital in its area having full intensive care. Reassuringly, St. Anthony’s adheres to a strict ‘Culture of Hygiene’ – with a single room for every patient, regular infection monitoring and a dedicated housekeeping team.
PREVENTATIVE HEALTH SCREENING Does your bodywork need an MOT! St. Anthony’s offers a range of health screens designed to review overall health and wellbeing – and to detect potential problems at an early stage. Request a brochure before 31.3.09 – and we’ll send you a discount booking voucher worth £25.
FOR THIS AND ANY OTHER ADVICE, CALL THE HELPLINE ON 020 8335 4646 To become a member of The Danish Club: Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call The Danish Club on 07545 11 9339. www.danishclub.co.uk
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Photo: Kari Palsila
Scan Magazine | Travel | Helsinki
Downtown Helsinki and the waterfront.
Helsinki By Anna Maria Espsäter I Photos: Visit Finland and Klaus K
The Finnish capital of Helsinki has been growing steadily as a city break destination, both for business and pleasure in recent years. “Helsinki is both fun and manageable,” says Marc Skvorc, General Manager and owner of Klaus K Hotel, a unique place to stay. Originally from the U.S., but with five years in Helsinki under his belt, Marc is happy to sing the praises of his new home. “The city has a vibrant, energetic nightlife; many excellent museums and art galleries; design is paramount; fashion is stunning; you are surrounded by nature; it’s just FUN at different intellectual levels,” he enthuses. Helsinki as a city is easy to get around, compact and friendly, without that overwhelming “big city feel”. Instead
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you get the impression of being close to the countryside and the great outdoors, with water and wilderness on your doorstep. The winter season is great, but in spring and summer Finnish people and the Finnish landscape itself come alive like no other time of year. Boats ply the waters of Helsinki harbour, the parks start filling up with sunstarved Finns and it’s a great time to be out and about. Over a number of years Helsinki has become one of the world’s most popular conference and incentive destinations and as more business travellers discover the city’s charms, more are returning on holiday to see what the city has to offer the leisure traveller. Hotel Klaus K is equally popular with both, having catered to all kinds of
Scan Magazine | Travel | Helsinki
Toscanini dining area.
Top: Baltic Herring. Below: Leather seating at Klaus K.
different visitors during its time as a hotel. Opened in 1914, it has a long and illustrious history as a unique building in Helsinki. A hotel since 1932, it acquired the name Klaus Kurki in 1938, hence Klaus K. “The property became available and we targeted it for significant renovation and reopening in November 2005,” says Marc Skvorc. “It’s unique in the sense that it’s independently owned and unaffiliated to any chain.”
Although there’s plenty to see and do in the city, a few days are adequate to get a good feel for the place. “You can come to Helsinki on a two or three day trip and really get to see a lot and not feel rushed or tired,” Marc Skvorc comments. He adds with a wry smile; “Remember to catch up on your sleep before coming to Helsinki. It’s a fun town at night and clubs, such as the Klaus K’s own Ahjo, are open until 4 a.m.” If sight-seeing and shopping all day, followed by partying all night is your thing, Helsinki has plenty of options from visits to Sauna Island and Suomenlinna World Heritage Site, to Cossack Nights and midnight cruises. For those with a bit more time on their hands, there are a number of outdoor activities of a slightly more strenuous kind that can be sampled either on the outskirts of Helsinki, or in the centre, from sailing and fishing to hiking and cycling.
There’s a special ethos at Klaus K that gives it its good atmosphere and staff are very involved since many of them have been there since the opening of the hotel. The hotel philosophy is based on the Finnish national epic, The Kalevala, and there’s a strong historical theme in evidence. It’s also refreshingly different to the big chain hotels and although there are many business travellers who choose to stay here, these often fall into the categories of small businesses and the creative professions, who enjoy its ambience.
Helsinki is increasingly becoming a year-round destination with business travellers preferring the winter
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 33
Scan Magazine | Travel | Helsinki
The spa lounge.
Top: The beautiful passion room. Below: Toscanini
months and leisure travellers focusing on the warmer seasons from spring to autumn. A rather new addition to the options for the visitor is to have a wedding in Finland and Klaus K, with its 137 individually designed rooms, also caters to wedding parties. Helsinki can be a romantic city any time of year, with spas, cosy restaurants, cruises on the archipelago or even the possibility of combining the city with one of its well-known neighbours – Stockholm, Tallinn or St Petersburg.
plying the waters, or even a horse-drawn carriage or you can rent a bike and work those muscles, before tucking into Finnish nosh, such as Baltic herring washed down with quality vodka brand Koskenkorva, and dancing the night away with the Finns until the wee small hours.
Exploring the city is easy. “We have a couple of special ‘beach cruiser’ bicycles for a leisurely ride around the city,” says Marc Skvorc. “Our guests love them because they’re not so typical.” Then there are the numerous boats
34 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Klaus K Hotel: www.klauskhotel.com Finnish Tourist Board: www.visitfinland.com Finland Convention Bureau: www.fcb.fi Helsinki City Tourist and Convention Bureau: www.visithelsinki.fi
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â€œI have always been proud to work for Clas Ohlson and I am proud to bring it to another country.â€?
36 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Scan Business | Business Profile | Clas Ohlson
Clas Ohlson – Bringing a new level of customer service to the UK By Signe Hansen | Photos: Yiannis Katsaris
With more than 100 stores in Scandinavia and almost just as many years in business, Clas Ohlson is no novice in the retail business. It is, however, new to the UK market and Scan Magazine went to see how things were going at its new store in Croydon, London, and have a chat with its employees. Clas Ohlson has more than 10,000 products in its stores divided into five categories: home, hardware, multimedia, electricals and leisure products. Most competitors only cover one or two of these categories and you would normally have to go out of town to find this kind of product range. But that is not its biggest advantage in the UK, claims store manager Ian Saville, its service culture is. He is right because when you enter the Clas Ohlson store in Croydon’s Whitgift Centre, your first thought is how big, light and clean it is. The second is the unbelievable quantity of products it has: everything from odd little screws to toasters and stereos. But the third impression, and the one that stays with you after you leave, is that of an incredibly passionate and dedicated staff.
Clas Ohlson, however, is rated as Sweden’s most customer friendly retailer and its employees are eager to spread its famous service culture. When the 1,900 square metre store was about to open, five Scandinavian employees moved over to Croydon to help out. They will be staying for 18 months and have already made a deep impression on Saville. “There were no managers or team leaders among the people who came here, but everybody had a massive passion and commitment to the business,” he says. “For me it highlighted the quality of the team in Scandinavia, and it is great that they have shown such a level of flexibility to come over and support our expansion in the UK.” One of the Scandinavian employees is 22-year-old Sandra Salama from Sweden, who says she came to the UK to spread the Clas Ohlson spirit. “I have always been proud to work for Clas Ohlson and I am proud to bring it to another country. We are trying to implement what we feel is the Clas Ohlson spirit. It is about great customer service and the fact that everybody is always friendly, and we really want to re-create that culture over here.”
Spreading the Clas Ohlson spirit In all stores you expect staff to be friendly and helpful, but that’s not always the way it is: “UK Companies regularly talk about customer service and promote or advertise their policies, but in reality you’re often disappointed with the service levels you receive,” says Saville.
Back to the roots The new English team also got the chance to do a little travelling when they visited Clas Ohlson’s head office in Sweden. All the full time employees spent two weeks in Insjön, where Clas Ohlson was founded in 1918. There
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 37
Ian Saville is Store Manager of the first Clas Ohlson shop
Erica Ahvenkosk and Sandra Salama love their job at Clas
outside Scandinavia, soon another will open in Manchester.
they received extensive technical training which has proved invaluable to the success of the store, but Saville was even more impressed by the unique Clas Ohlson culture. “It was all about mutual respect and when I visited Insjön, I realised that everybody at the head office breathed that culture, whether it was the CEO or the guy cleaning the floor,” he said.
ter in April, and during the next year the plan is to open between four to eight new stores. Another big step in their development was the recent launch of the first UK catalogue, which the retailer hopes will be just as popular as in Sweden, where it has become almost a collector’s item.
The experience and environment impressed Saville, who brought home an ice-hockey shirt from the local team sponsored by Clas Ohlson and, of course, a wooden moose to decorate his office. “It was an amazing place. Insjön is a really small village with a population of around 2,200, but they have a very state-of-the-art head office there,” he says. The significance of Clas Ohlson in Insjön and the rest of Sweden is maybe best demonstrated by the fact that the village has its own Clas Ohlson museum and a nearby retail park for tourists. New opportunities for everybody It might be a long journey for Clas Ohlson to achieve the same kind of status in the UK, but the ambition is clearly apparent. A new store is scheduled to open in Manches-
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One of the team who is going to help the Manchester store get up and running is 26-year-old Erica Ahvenkoski from Finland. She has just been promoted to store supervisor and is very excited about the many possibilities her job has brought forward. “There are a lot of opportunities here and if it means relocating, I am happy to do that. I just want to be a part of it all and help out,” she says. She is just one of many happy employees. The company has the lowest staff turnover among retailers in Sweden. One of the reasons is that they provide a good basic salary, but they also take very good care of their employees in general, says Saville: “From the volume of applications we received, the word is spreading that Clas Ohlson really care about their staff and treat people as equals and with mutual respect. We also provide free fresh fruit for them everyday, and a communal staff room and kitchen for
Scan Business | Business Profile | Clas Ohlson
Clas Ohlson has more than 10,000 different products in its stores.
breaks, which in turn really helps them bond as a team. It is just a small token, but it makes such a difference.” The ethic has definitely worked for Erica, who loves her job. “I have never had a morning when I thought: ‘Oh no I have to go to work.’ We have fun together and care for each other and that makes it a special place to work,” she says adding with a smile: “I know it sounds cheesy, but it is true!” Judging from the reactions of the customers, they too are pleased with the special environment and service. Saville tells us the story of one man who came into the store for an unavailable cable and was utterly surprised when the assistant started putting it together from different pieces and spare parts. “Afterwards, the customer came back to congratulate us and told me that he had never had service like that before. At first, he said, he had been so surprised that he didn’t even realise what the assistant was doing – that is what differentiates us from the competition.” Turning bad times into good times It all sounds almost too good to be true, and considering the fact that many retailers are having to close down just
now, some might think the timing is a bit off. Saville, however, is not one of them. “It is really an advantage to be starting up right now as there are so many new opportunities in terms of locations and staff. Many retail spaces are empty and if you can make something successful of them, it is a good thing for everybody,” he says. Clas Ohlson has also recruited employees from some of the closed down retailers. “One of our new team members in Manchester was recently made redundant from Woolworths, and another has come from an ex-Ilva store. It really is a shame for all those affected but it’s also great that we can bring on board some of these exceptional people.” It all leaves little doubt that Clas Ohlson brings good news for both UK retail staff and customers, but what about sales, will the UK bring good news for Clas Ohlson? The future will show, but judging by the amount of will-power it took for this reporter to leave the store without buying everything in sight, that too seems likely.
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 39
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Scan Business | Business Profile | Danish Bacon
PINK PIGS AND GREEN ENERGY By Ian Welsh
Generations of British breakfasts have contained Danish bacon, and the industry is adapting to keep up with consumer demands for quality assurance and innovation that lowers environmental impact Ahh! The sizzle and smell of frying bacon is something that we all recognise and many of us relish. It is an integral part of the traditional British breakfast and for many of us in the UK, bacon does mean Danish. In fact, Danish bacon has been imported into the UK for over 150 years and over the decades has become a major part of the British diet. In 2008 over 300,000 tonnes of Danish pigmeat were sent across the North Sea and consumed in the UK, mostly in the form of bacon. Indeed, such is our love of the cured pork product, and not just at breakfast time, that we get through over 8kg a head of bacon each year. But it’s more than that. UK consumers don’t just love their bacon, they also want to be confident about where it’s come from and that the right environmental and animal
welfare boxes have been ticked. John Howard is marketing director for the Danish Bacon and Meat Council. He’s confident that the Brits are happy for their bacon to come from Danish pigs because “it’s a consistently high quality product that consumers can trust”. This trust may have taken a knock in the past few months. The Danish industry has been hit by allegations in the UK that animal welfare standards are not as high as they could be (see page 46). Certainly, in an evolving industry there are some practices, such as the use of certain types of stalls for pregnant sows, which need to be phased out quickly. The industry says it has accepted this and these practices are on the way out fast. John Howard says: “What we are keen to point out to UK consumers is that Danish bacon is produced to high standards that in many respects far exceed what EU or UK legislation requires.” Howard highlights the fact that Danish pig rearing facilities built since 2001 must have water showers or misting systems to help the pigs cool themselves during hot weather, something that is not required in the UK.
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 41
Scan Business | Business Profile | Danish Bacon
Another area is the use of antibiotic growth promoters, which have been widespread in global meat production. The Danish pig industry agreed to eliminate their use in 2000, with the EU following suit in 2006. The co-op concept All stages of the Danish industry’s production chain are critical to delivering a quality product, from farm to butty, and the highest standards are maintained and coordinated throughout the chain. With decades of experience developing a domestic and export industry, Denmark’s farmers have established a remarkable system of cooperatively owned facilities for processing and preparing the meat. The fact that the pig producers themselves own the factories means that the production chain can be fully integrated and that quality and consistency of product can be maintained throughout. The importance of the UK for Danish pig farmers – over 20% of the export market – has been recognised and since the late 1990s there has been a specific set of guidelines for farmers producing pigs destined for export to British
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markets, known as the Contract for UK Production. These guidelines were established to ensure that the meat complied with all UK legislation. Much of this was already enshrined in the strict Danish rules and regulations, but specifically the guidelines cover areas including traceability, herd health and hygiene standards, housing and equipment, and feed and water provision. There are two main Danish co-operatives producing bacon and pork meat for the UK market: Danish Crown and TiCan. Danish Crown sells unprocessed pork into the UK market and also operates via a UK-based subsidiary, Tulip. With 18 production sites in the UK, Tulip has a significant stake in the British domestic pig industry, and owns a number of well-known brands including the market leader Danepak, which has current retail sales worth £43m. TiCan is a smaller player, operating through UK subsidiaries Direct Table Foods and ProPak. As TiCan’s vice-chairman Bob Hitchin says, the Danish industry has “earned its position through flexibility and first class customer service.” Rob Nugent, technical director of
Scan Business | Business Profile | Danish Bacon
Sustained investment in R&D has made Denmark a market leader in pork and bacon production
Direct Table Foods says that “sustained investment in research and development” combined with “knowledge and expertise have made Denmark an industry leader in pig farming and the production of pork and bacon.” Reflecting the pride that the Danish industry feels in the history of the relationship with the UK, Hitchin points out that they are ready to meet the future needs of British consumers. “Danish producers will meet the requirements of a market that will increasingly demand a more responsible approach to the environment from all its food suppliers.” This is an area where the Danish industry has really taken a lead. Historically, tough regulations have controlled pollution levels and other waste products from the industry. Now the focus is on using the waste and byproducts of the industry for positive benefits. Clean energy Denmark is leading the agricultural industry in developing biogas plants that convert animal waste products into energy. The dry matter in animal manure contains significant amounts of carbon. The biogas process transforms this and other organic waste from industry, sewage treatment plants and private households into a compound of methane and carbon dioxide that can be used as fuel, while retaining useful nutrients in a residue that can be used as fertiliser. John Howard says: “Biogas technology does mean that the livestock industry has an opportunity to benefit national carbon footprints.” The gas produced by the biogas process can be used by the farmer or a local cooperative plant to generate heat and power, or to be sold and piped to a utility company for use at larger power stations. Currently there are 60 farm-scale biogas plants in Denmark, exploiting farmyard animal waste, other organic matter or biomass, and in some circumstances
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 43
Scan Business | Business Profile | Danish Bacon
Danish farmers lead the way in minimising environmental impact
energy crops. Future expansion will more likely be in larger more centralised plants, typically run by farmer cooperatives, taking in waste materials from up to 200 farmers. It really is a classic win-win situation. Carbon emissions are reduced as the biogas substitutes for fossil fuels that would otherwise be used in heat and power production. The gas itself is created from a waste product, and the process of its extraction provides organic fertiliser that can be put straight back onto the fields. Even better, the degassed fertiliser smells significantly better than the untreated slurry traditionally spread on fields Bruno Sander Nielsen from the Danish Biogas Association highlights the potential that biogas production has for making a significant contribution to Danish energy supply. “Up to 25% of current natural gas use could be supplied from biogas produced from livestock manure and other organic waste material,” Nielsen says. During the
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late 1980s and the 1990s there was a period of growth in the biogas sector, but the fluctuating economics of other energy sources and a drawback in the political willingness to promote renewable energy have meant little development since around 2000. Recently, though, the Danish government has stated a desire to triple the amount of biogas production in the next five to ten years. This move has been backed up by a series of changes in pricing structures to make investing in biogas production more attractive. Nielsen points out, however, that Denmark’s new mini dash for biogas has not come at a good time for investors. “The lack of available finance has become the main obstacle to the sector’s growth,” he says. However, while biogas currently provides only 0.5% of Denmark’s energy needs, in the right economic circumstances the potential for growth is significant. Preferential tax rates on energy from biogas make it an even more attractive proposition. Another energy-related by-product of the pig industry is
Scan Business | Business Profile | Danish Bacon
Danish pork and bacon have been enjoyed in the UK for over 150 years
the creation of biodiesel. While this perhaps does not have the potential impact of biogas, it still can make a significant dent in emissions and provide a useful fuel source that doesnâ€™t require arable farming land being turned over to energy crops. In essence, biodiesel can be created from the waste animal fats and materials left over at slaughterhouses. According to Danish alternative fuels producer Daka Biodiesel, in purely price terms biodiesel from animal waste competes favourably with vegetable biodiesel, and it also lowers emissions and improves engine lubrication. Clever use of products and materials that previously were thrown away or treated as waste perhaps harks back to earlier, harder times when nothing was wasted. Particularly in an uncertain economic climate, consumers do see the basic common sense in this approach, which ultimately benefits everyone, and just as importantly means that popular foods such as bacon, and other meat products, continue to be made available at a reasonable
financial and environmental cost. And this is good news if it helps keep bacon in the good old British breakfast.
One of Danepakâ€™s top-selling Perfect Pork range
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 45
Scan Business | Business Profile | Danish Bacon
THE JAMIE OLIVER EFFECT By Ian Welsh
Like many parts of the agriculture industry, the past few years have been tough times for pig farmers in the UK and Denmark. Consumers in the UK have become increasingly aware of some differences in farming techniques and practices through press reports and not least a recent Channel 4 television programme hosted by chef and entrepreneur Jamie Oliver, which promoted the UK pig meat industry. Jamie Saves Our Bacon highlighted a small number of areas where the Danish industry differed from the UK in terms of animal welfare, specifically the use of stalls for sows during pregnancy and the practice of castrating male piglets to remove the so-called “boar taint” flavour from the meat of fully-grown animals. According to the Danish Bacon and Meat Council, the Danish pig industry is in a phase of transition between use of sow stalls and open, loose sow housing. It has been accepted by the industry that sow stalls are not an acceptable long-term solution, and less than 25% of pregnant sows are now kept in traditional stalls in Denmark. There is a deadline of January 2013 imposed by the EU at which point sow stalls will be banned, and the DBMC is confident
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that the vast majority of Danish producers will have ceased using them well in advance of this. Regarding the castration issue, extensive research has shown that castrating male piglets significantly reduces the incidence of “boar taint”, an unpleasant smell that can arise when cooking pork from male pigs. The taint is something that is regarded as unacceptable in many nonUK export markets, especially in Germany and south east Asia. The castration is usually carried out in the first week of the piglet’s life, and while it inevitably causes some temporary discomfort, it can be carried out quickly and safely by a trained stockman. However, recognising the animal welfare issues this practice raises, new Danish regulations will require pain relief for castration from January 2010 at the latest. Moreover, the industry in Denmark has committed to phasing out castration altogether and devise alternative strategies to counter the taint. This will be welcomed by farmers as it will have the added benefit of increasing the lean meat yield and growth rate for each pig as castrated animals typically grow more slowly and with more unnecessary fat content.
Scan Business | Business Profile | Danish Bacon
Top: Pigs are reared under a special ‘Contract for UK Production’ that ensures compliance with all the nuances of UK legislation. Below: Danish farmers like Michael Moeller produce pigs to the requirements of strict Danish legislation. Right: Farmer Michael Moeller on his pig farm.
Danish bacon’s Contract for UK Production In Autumn 1998, the Contract for UK Production was introduced which, in addition to meeting all the requirements of Danish legislation and industry agreements, stipulated that the production of these pigs must meet the special requirements of UK legislation. In particular, the UK Contract stipulates that there may be no confinement of sows throughout the period of pregnancy, and this requirement became embodied in UK legislation from January 1999. The Product Standard for UK Contract producers lays down a number of other requirements to which they
must conform. Regarding feedstuffs, the use of animal fats, meat and bone meal is not permitted.
The UK Contract is in compliance with the EN45011 standard and all UK Contract producers are subject to an annual audit carried out by an accredited certification body. A premium is paid by the Danish co-operative slaughterhouses for all pigs produced under the UK Contract. Source: Danish Bacon and Meat Council
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 47
Scan Business | Column | Communication
“Ru xiang sui su” or when in Rome… By Dr Deborah Swallow
Doing business abroad is much more than flying out, staying in posh hotels and eating different food. It’s entering into a different world where everyday business events have different rules. To be a successful international business executive you need to know what these rules are, and how and when to adapt your style. Any country’s business behaviour reflects its societal values. The Chinese proverb “Ru xiang sui su” (Enter village, follow customs) advises us to manifest these. But how are we to know what they are? How is an international manager to know how to behave in Beijing or Beirut? In Trondheim or Toledo? Fortunately, we don’t have to learn 101 different rules for 101 different counties. There are frameworks to guide us. In negotiating, we can discern differences in negotiating styles to understand our foreign counterparts through asking: are they • Deal or Relationship focused? • Informal (egalitarian) or formal (hierarchical)? • Rigid-time followers (monochromic) or fluid (polychromic)? • Emotionally expressive or emotionally reserved? • Direct speakers or indirect evasive communicators?
counterpart wants to know and trust us first (relationshipfocused). Nordic business cultures share a deal-focused, informal, monochromic, reserved and direct approach. However, there are nuances between the degrees of difference. Danes are closer to the deal-focus extreme. Swedes are regarded as the most formal and hierarchical in management styles and Danes the least. Finns and Norwegians characterise Danes as ‘the Italians of the North’ because they are more touchy feely and noisier (expressive). Swedes see Danes as ‘more forward/assertive’ and Finns as ‘more modest’. Finns see themselves as the most reserved (they are the most reserved of all European cultures). Danes and Finns (very direct) have to ‘soften’ or ‘sugar coat’ communication to avoid offending Swedes who are a smidgen less direct. The transaction costs in international trade are high, which means that anything that prevents success can cost thousands. Organisations cannot afford to get things wrong. Put cultural communication on your learning list. After all, there are just subtle differences between the Nordics, but a world of difference between the rest of us!
These few indicators give us many permutations to place cultures along a sliding scale between extremes. • British negotiators are deal-focused, moderately formal, monochromic, reserved and moderately indirect; • Finns are deal-focused, moderately informal, monochromic, reserved and direct; • Egyptians are relationship-focused, formal, polychromic, expressive and indirect; • Indonesians are relationship-focused, formal, polychromic, reserved and very indirect. Knowledge allows us to modify our expectations and set realistic objectives for meetings – we are not going to sign a deal in one session (deal-focused) if our Singaporean
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Dr Deborah Swallow is an expert in intercultural communication and can be emailed at Deborah@4Cinternational.com
Scan Business | International Services | Tax
Thinking of working for yourself? By Tax Columnist Helena Whitmore | Photo: Yiannis Katsaris
If you are thinking of setting up a business to be your own boss, you need to know what your options are and what tax rules are immediately relevant. The simplest form of carrying on business is through selfemployment as a sole trader. This is an unincorporated business which is not a separate legal entity from the trader. It is very simple to start a business in this way, but the main downside is that if the business goes under there is no protection for the trader. A sole trader needs to register with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) within three months from the start of the business, and failure to register on time will result in a late notification penalty. The sole trader will pay income tax at the normal rates on the profits of the business as they arise. If qualifying losses are made, there are provisions to relieve these against other income or against future profits of the same trade. Losses in the opening years can be carried back for relief against, for example, previous employment income resulting in a tax refund. The sole trader must submit basic accounts information and tax returns to HMRC but unlike limited companies, the accounts are not made public. The accounts must be prepared in accordance with proper accounting principles. Not all business-related expenditure is allowable for tax purposes, and the appropriate tax adjustments must be made. The trader can make up the accounts to any date of his or her choice, but unless the accounts are drawn up to 5 April annually it will be necessary to match the accounting period to the tax year using special basis period rules. These often have the result that overlap profits are created, where income of the opening period is taxed more than once, and relieved later either on a change of accounting date or on cessation of trade. These rules mean that most sole traders will benefit from the assistance of a tax accountant or tax adviser to prepare the return and computations. However, it is much better to be an informed customer, and it is possible to gain a lot of free
information on HMRCâ€™s website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/ selfemployed. Please note however, that the information provided there represents HMRCâ€™s view and practice, and may not be the full story or the only solution. Traders will also need to consider if they are required to or should register for VAT. If they take on an employee they will also need to consider the consequences of being an employer, such as operating PAYE and other responsibilities under employment legislation. There may also be various tax and other consequences if the business is operated from their home, including for example the need to obtain consent from the mortgage company or landlord. They should also consider other commercial matters such as having appropriate contracts in place with customers and suppliers. It is important to note that the tax rules do not allow someone to be taxed as self-employed, if the relationship with their client or customer is such that they are working on terms that are more similar to an employment relationship. Customers may be reluctant to pay a freelance worker gross without deducting tax first, as HMRC may challenge the employment status of the worker and demand payment of PAYE tax and National Insurance Contributions. The customer may therefore prefer to hire freelance workers who are supplying their services through a limited company. I will look at that subject in a later article. firstname.lastname@example.org
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 49
Top left: Henrik Andersen has just become CEO of ISS, where he has worked since 1999. Below: London Underground is one of the many places where ISS services can be seen. Right: ISS is well known for security services.
ISS - brushing away the gloom By Signe Hansen | Photos: ISS
Danish-born Henrik Andersen has recently been appointed as the new CEO for ISS UK, one of the largest facility service providers in the UK. In an interview with Scan Magazine he revealed his thoughts on his new role and the current economic crisis.
focused on the positive things,” he says, adding: “There are plenty of things that can be improved upon and delivered in a smarter, more efficient way and probably with enhanced quality.”
A self-confessed born optimist, Henrik Andersen, is facing the recession with the assured belief that ISS will come out of it much stronger.
Andersen therefore believes that ISS will continue growing as it has done up to now. In 2005 the company had a turnover of around 550 million pounds; by the last annual review this had increased to 800 million pounds.
After almost four years as Chief Financial Officer, 41-yearold Andersen was promoted to Chief Executive Officer in January 2009. But for the new CEO, the responsibility for 42,500 employees in the middle of an economic downturn is not something to get downbeat about. “Everything is very negative in the papers and television, but, as I keep saying to both employees and managers, it is just so important that in the current environment you keep
Although the UK branch, in terms of turnover and number of employees is larger than the Danish ISS, it’s not as well known, says Andersen, despite the fact that ISS is literately present everywhere. As a facility service company with national coverage, ISS can supply everything from security and catering to landscaping, cleaning and office support, as well as full facilities management. “We are very broad in our approach to
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Scan Business | Business Profile | ISS
ISS can supply everything from catering to landscaping, cleaning and office support.
customers. We operate in all kinds of sectors: financial, legal, IT and telecoms to name just a few, and we have a large presence in the public sector as well.” Some of the areas where ISS services can be seen include the London Underground, where they are responsible for cleaning the tube lines, and in over 300 NHS hospitals, where they provide everything from catering and cleaning to security and car parking services. They are a leading provider within the PFI market too. The success of the company has, however, not led Andersen to take his responsibilities lightly. “Becoming a CEO and responsible for the team and business is quite a change for me but for the employees too. They look at me and worry that things will change,” he says. “Therefore I think the most exciting aspect of my new job is that I have the opportunity to continue the strong development we have had in past years. I want to continue that success and support employees and managers to succeed.” Mutual support is very important to Andersen, who says that he has himself had fantastic mentors, who helped him reach his current position in ISS. His hope is now that he can help his own people reach their and the company’s goals in the same way. “My own project for 2009 is to get
the management team up and running, with myself leading from the front. It is essential, especially in the current environment, that the team is confident and focused on winning rather than being uncertain about its own positions,” he says. “If you empower people and managers you will excel, I believe that goes for any business.” With regard to his own position Andersen is confident that the people who supported him will keep on doing so. The job does however, admits Andersen, come with some sacrifices like spending less time with the family. But even that and the changes Andersen, his wife and two daughters faced when moving to the UK can, he says, be overcome with a positive attitude. “When you have kids, it is of course a bit of a rollercoaster moving to a new place. The first six months were a challenge, but as in many things in life if you have a positive attitude, it will work out,” he says. “When we moved here, we promised to give it a year and I think that year was definitely enough.” Professionally Andersen has not set a specific timeframe for his next goal, but he does reveal that he will not be surprised if ISS reaches a billion pound turnover in the near future.
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 51
Scan Business | International Services | Law
Following the letter of the law Knowing the nooks and crannies of the legal system of one country may be difficult enough, but if you, or your company, operate in more than one country it may be almost impossible. Employment contracts, bankruptcy, and licensing are just some of the proceedings which are carried out in very different ways in the Scandinavian countries and the UK. There is hope, however, because many law firms located in both the UK and Scandinavia can help you sort out the legal confusions likely to occur in cross-border operations.
Scan Magazine talked to six different law firms to find out what, how and who they can help. The result showed that whether you want English or Scandinavian lawyers, small or large firms, specialised or general advice, there are plenty of possibilities out there. Many English companies employ Scandinavian lawyers and some are even founded by Scandinavians. But there are also some big Scandinavian law firms with branches or partners in the UK. Lastly, there are some firms that will not help you directly with legal matters but specialise in finding the right assistance for you. The following pages present a selection of the different possibilities and their benefits.
transactions, liquor licensing, all aspects of employment law and much more. Several of the firm’s clients have been with the company from the beginning and so has some of its staff. Some of Bevan Kidwell’s staff is multilingual. Amongst the languages spoken at Bevan Kidwell are Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Italian, German, Russian and Ukrainian. Bevan Kidwell is a member of the Danish, the Swedish, and the Italian Chambers of Commerce. One of Bevan Kidwell’s international profiles is Claus Andersen, who is qualified in both Denmark and England. We asked him what makes Bevan Kidwell a good choice when looking for legal advice. What makes you stand out compared to other law firms?
Bevan Kidwell Long and loyal relationships with their clients, cost effectiveness and a wide variety of clients are some of the features that make Bevan Kidwell stand out among other law firms. Founded in 1996, the company specialises in commercial law, assisting businesses with the acquisition and disposal of companies, joint venture agreements, property
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By Signe Hansen
Being a smaller law firm means that we are able to offer a more personal service. Clients speak to the lawyers who actually deal with their matters, making our service efficient and cost effective. Our first and foremost task is to get the job done and meet our client’s business goals. Crucial to this is understanding our clients’ business and aims, both in the short and long term. Although we concentrate on current
needs, we will always have an eye on possible future developments. What kinds of businesses and people are your main clients? We provide legal advice to all types of companies from start ups to quoted plcs. Our client base is drawn from all sectors including financial services, the leisure sector, the pharmaceutical and medical industry, property developers and IT companies.
Useful information Areas of expertise: Company Commercial, Liquor Licensing, Commercial Property, Commercial Litigation, Residential Conveyancing, Employment, Insolvency, and Intellectual Property Location: 113-117 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3BX Contact: Phone: 020 7843 1820 Email: email@example.com www.bevankidwell.com
Scan Business | International Services | Law
We had a talk with Troen, who is also the Chairman of the Danish UK Chamber of Commerce, the Chairman of the Royal Danish Guards Association, on the development board of St.Catherine’s College at Oxford University and on the board of the listed company Latchways PLC, to find out what makes Corren Troen a good choice when looking for legal advice.
Corren Troen If you are looking for a single law firm that can take care of all your legal matters private or commercial - Corren Troen may be the answer. Corren Troen’s 22 employees can assist with everything from marriage contracts to commercial contracts. Besides, they have a special service for companies affected by the credit crisis: their credit crunch package. This comprises help with all problems a business may suffer during a credit crisis. Corren Troen was founded by Danish Advokat and Solicitor Per Troen and Paul Corren in 2002.
Grundberg Mocatta Rakison LLP If you or your business operates within different jurisdictions, Grundberg Mocatta Rakison LLP (GMR) may be the place to go for advice. GMR aims to be the pre-eminent cross-border English law firm and 80% of its practice has a cross-border element. The international aspect is prevalent everywhere in the firm, with lawyers qualified in 12 jurisdictions; their 36 lawyers speak 24 languages and have connections in 120 cities spread across 50 countries. Despite its international characteristics, the firm is essentially an English law firm dealing with a wide range of problems. Many are caused by the current economy, such as redundancy and other employment claims or insolvency. The Senior Partner is Anders Grundberg, former Chairman of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, who started the firm in 1978 as one of the first Swedes to practice as an English solicitor. We had
What makes you stand out compared to other law firms? Firstly, we have been in the country for 25 years practising law so we feel that we can offer the advice our clients need. Secondly, we cover all things that one needs to have dealt with when you are a person resident in England or are involved in business in England. We take care of people privately, their family and their business – whether it is their own company or their employer. The third thing is that we are only here to listen to what the client wants to do and then do it as quickly and commercially as possible.
a talk with his brother Bengt Grundberg, Marketing Manager at GMR, to find out what makes GMR a good choice when looking for legal advice. What makes you stand out compared to other law firms? GMR is one of London’s most cosmopolitan English law firms. We have an impressive worldwide reach, benefiting not only private individuals, but also their companies. We distinguish ourselves by offering a partner-led service with established international relationships. We speak all the Scandinavian languages and are qualified in all their jurisdictions. So what kinds of clients come to you for advice and why? They mostly have some kind of international connection, and scale of businesses varies between the different individuals and practise areas. From the corporate and commercial side they are all the way from small and medium
What kinds of businesses or people are your main clients? It is very important to understand how legislation between our countries interacts when carrying out our work. As a consequence we have especially strong client relationships in Denmark and the Nordic regions as well as the US. Useful information Areas of expertise: Corporate and Commercial, Finance and Banking, Technology and Communication, Expatriation and Secondment, Private Client, Litigation, Nordic and International, Residential Property, Commercial Property. Location: 35 Catherine Place, London SW1E 6DY Contact: 0207 592 8900, firstname.lastname@example.org 0207 592 8931, email@example.com www.correntroen.com
sized business to really major corporations. On the private client side they tend to be private individuals or entrepreneurs owning medium-sized to large corporations.
Useful information Areas of expertise: Corporate & Commercial, Litigation, Insolvency, Employment, Tax, Property, Private Client and Family matters. Location: Imperial House, 15-19 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6UN Phone: 020 7632 1600 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.gmrlaw.com
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 53
Scan Business | International Services | Law
Goodwille Limited An extensive business network, multilingual, international employees and depth of experience are just some of the features which make the service consultancy Goodwille Limited a good solution if you need help to make the most of your business in the UK. Focused on Nordic companies, Goodwille was founded in 1997 by Chairman Annika Åman-Goodwille. She saw a serious gap between the services needed by overseas companies and those available locally. Typically the companies would go to separate legal, accounting, HR and other specialist firms, which was both costly and time
Thommessen As Thommessen is ranked first in the Elite category among Norwegian law firms, it is an obvious choice when looking for legal assistance. The aim of the company is to offer services within all business law areas and at the same time ensure in-depth knowledge within each of the specialised fields. Thommessen has more than 150 years on its back in Norway, where it has around 250 employees in the Oslo and Bergen offices. But the firm also has a small office in London and thus has something extra to offer international businesses. The London office has existed for 25 years and was established to help out Norwegian companies that moved abroad. As times have changed, the focus of the London office has widened and now to a large extent involves helping international clients doing business in Norway.
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consuming. Consequently Goodwille created Goodwille Limited to take care of these areas in an independent, consistent and cost-effective way. The rapid growth of Goodwille is today testimony to the success of her idea. As well as HR functions, legal and financial administration, the company offers serviced offices and meeting facilities. The company also has a network of 5,000 organisations providing advisors and consultants with skills and experience in many fields from recruitment to sales. All on the Goodwille team have international backgrounds and between them they speak more than 10 languages. Most employees are of course from Scandinavia. Daniel Parry, the Swedish Managing Director, who has worked for the company for four years, explains why getting Goodwille involved in your business may be a good idea. Why Goodwille for support and advice in UK markets? Our strength is that we can resolve the problems and sort out the legal issues
and cultural differences which can get in the way of a company’s core functions when entering a foreign market. We have a close partner relationship with all our clients – a very hands-on approach. What kinds of clients come to you for advice? Our focus is on Nordic companies. We have helped more than 500 companies establish business enterprises in the UK. Our Clients range from small entrepreneurs to large corporates like Clas Ohlson, who have just launched in the UK.
Useful information Services: Corporate Legal & Company Secretarial, Human Resources Strategy and Financial Location: St James House, 13 Kensington Square, London W8 5HD Phone: 0207 795 8100 Email: email@example.com www.goodwille.co.uk
Thommessen has three Norwegian lawyers in London: one of them is Jon Kristian Sjåtil, who has been head of Thommessen’s London office since 2006. We asked him who and how Thommessen can help. What makes you stand out compared to other law firms? Thommessen is one of the biggest and most highly respected law firms in Norway and we offer a full range of services within business law. We also stand out by having a London office. We are one of only two Norwegian law firms that have an office in the UK. So what kinds of clients come to you for advice and why? Our expertise is Norwegian law, and the main bulk of our work relates to international companies, banks and other clients doing business in Norway. The other part of our business is to assist
Norwegian companies that are establishing themselves or operate in the UK.
Useful information Areas of expertise: All areas of business law, for more details see website. Location; 42 New Broad Street, London EC2M 1JD Contact: Phone: 0207 920 3090, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.thommessen.no/en
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Scan Business | International Services | Law
LETT – Making innovation and tradition go hand in hand As one of the oldest law firms in Denmark dating back to 1869, one might expect LETT to be a company ruled by old men and conservative views. This is far from the truth. In one sense LETT can actually classify itself as one of the youngest law firms in Denmark as well, and this ambiguity defines the business very well. Marketing and Communications Manager at LETT Michael Valentin says that the special structure of the law firm is a bit like that of a good football team: “Inside the firm we have young employees and partners and in that way we are a very young firm. But when you are a young, talented and ambitious lawyer, it is good to have some traditions to lean on. It is a bit like when you have a young footballer playing for a club like Liverpool. The players are young and talented, but the importance of the pride and honour of playing for the club is tremendous.” Valentin is one of 350 employees at LETT, which, with its offices in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Kolding, is one of the
56 | Issue 7 | April 2009
leading law firms in Denmark. But LETT does not only operate within the Danish borders. Many of its 165 lawyers have worked or studied abroad and a rising number of cross-border assignments put their skills to use. “The cross-border business has developed in the last 10-20 years because globalisation has changed the way things are done. When international companies operate, it is not just a national matter anymore. You have to be able to understand the different countries’ legal systems.” LETT is expert in both Danish and international law, and is often contacted by foreign law firms and clients who are in need of LETT’s expertise and capabilities. “When operating as an international law firm, it is important to have a good reputation and good clients to demonstrate results. In that way you get ranked in an international ranking system where law firms that have special qualities are highlighted,” Valentin explains. “This ranking system means that when an American law firm is looking for a partner in Denmark, it will be able to view the
Scan Business | International Services | Law
ranking of LETT based on its credentials and areas of expertise.” LETT covers all areas of commercial law such as banking and finance law, EU and competition law and taxes. This, in addition to the scope and scale of its practice, means that LETT has a wide variety of clients as well. “We take care of everything within business law and consequently we also have all kinds of clients from all kinds of different sectors. For instance we work with quite large private companies and organisations but also with clients from the public sector. With regard to size, our clients include everything from newly started companies to some of the largest companies in Denmark.” In 2005 one of LETT’s goals was to become one of the top five law firms in Denmark. That goal was reached last year and new goals are now under development. But there is one more thing that LETT has achieved and that is to unite the ambiguity of new and old, tradition and innovation, thereby turning a potential source of conflict into a strength. Michael Valentin
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Scan Business | Recruitment | Campbell’s Column
Campbell’s Column By Malcolm Campbell | Photo: Magnus Arrevad The uplifting prose of my last column does not appear to have revived the global economy but perhaps the decline is less steep than it has been. Thinking that I was going to benefit from a cheerful event I set off full of anticipation for a Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce pancake lunch recently. It is of course well known that it takes a pancake or two to make a Finn cheerful. However the times we live in made it impossible for me and a number of others to enjoy a leisurely lunch and we had to leave before the pancakes appeared. You may have noticed that London has been full of morose Finns recently. You now have the explanation. Pancake deficiency. For Head-hunters the explanation is more likely to be client deficiency. My firm is fortunate in that we have a wide range of clients from several sectors which are well spread geographically. This leads me to offer a suggestion to anyone considering engaging a Head-hunter. It is always prudent to enquire about any restrictions they may be obliged to place on the proposed search. Restrictions can arise in a number of ways. For example a Search firm will not generally search for candidates within an organisation that has been a client for a period of at least a year after an assignment for that client. The reason is that in undertaking a Search, a Search firm is in a privileged position with regard to information about the client and it would be a breach of trust to then use that information to target a person within that client as part of a Search for another client. It is a widely held belief that you should engage a Head-hunter specialising in the area you wish to recruit in, but from the above you will see that this could be a mistake. Another factor influencing the selection of a Head-hunter is the strength of the Brand. “No one got fired for choosing IBM” is how management folk lore describes the importance of Brand in the decision process. However “strong Brand” generally equates with “many clients”. Remember what I said about restrictions? The more perceptive amongst you will by now have realised that I write from a Search firm that does not have these problems! Enough of restrictions! On to someone for whom the outer reaches of the planet are no restriction. My networking activities brought me in touch with Per Wimmer recently, whose appetite for space travel knows no limit. He seems to have an Oyster Card for Space, having booked flights on all the Space Tourist flights currently planned. At my suggestion we met for a drink at the 58 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Royal Institution, 21 Albemarle Street W1 which is one of those “hidden gems” of which London has so many. “Hidden” may not be the correct description, as it has a very prominent classical column façade, but these hide a world-class scientific research establishment founded in the 18th century. It has been “home” to 14 Nobel Prize winners and 10 chemical elements were discovered there. The interior has been transformed recently to incorporate restaurants and a bar, open to all. There is added value in that you can also visit the laboratory where Faraday discovered electromagnetism hence enabling the development of the electric motor. I recommend a visit. The venue was appropriate for my chat with Per as we spoke about adding scientific experiments to Per’s space tourist activities. As a result I will be introducing Per to Prof. Steven Schwartz, Head of Space and Atmospheric Physics at Imperial College. Per may become not only the first Danish space tourist, but also make an important scientific contribution. We all know that a few glasses of wine lead to unexpected outcomes – but seldom as bizarre as this! Faraday worked at the Royal Institution with a chap called Davy, who invented the miner’s safety lamp, used to detect toxic or explosive gases underground. Prior to that miners carried canaries in cages down the mine and when they fell over the miners knew it was time to get out. The mine had become a toxic asset. Perhaps if the bankers of the world had carried canaries around with them banks might have amassed fewer toxic assets. Any detection system would have been better than that which they employed. Did I hear someone say: “Carry bankers around in a cage and see when they fall over”? Shame on you! Tweet Tweet! Malcolm
Scan Business | Business Directory
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Issue 7 | April 2009 | 59
Scan Business | Column | How was your day?
How was your day? These are our busy lives! We ask a Scandinavian businessman or business woman the question: How was your day? The answer is never that straightforward.
Martin Falch: Partner at Nexec Partners and the European Leadership Programme. President of the NorwegianBritish Chamber of Commerce After more than 10 years in this city it still feels like coming to a new, exotic place every morning. Certainly the short tube ride is exotic enough with people of all sizes, looks, cultures, more crammed together than would be tolerated back in Scandinavia. I come in from Wimbledon Park with a brisk walk followed by a swift train and tube ride to Green Park where I stroll through Bond Street, Burlington Gardens, Savile Row etc., leaving their extravagant temptations until I reach our offices in the middle of Regent’s Street. From 5th floor offices overlooking most of London, I spend most of my life finding talented executives all over the world. Nexec Partners is a leading executive search firm and has for the past 10 years been helping companies grow beyond their home market. Whether it is a US technology company entering Europe or a Scandinavian company wanting global presence, we will help build boards and management teams. Many of my clients are companies from Scandinavia and they often need help with finding great people. Typically, I am asked to make introductions to Venture Capital and Private Equity companies of potential first reference clients before establishing business in the UK, or other service providers that can help in their quest for global market leadership. After several head-hunting campaigns, we recognised a need to support CEOs of growth companies in Europe, so 2 years ago we founded a new company called the European Leadership Programme (ELP). This has grown into a community network of over 200 talented CEOs across Europe. In a trusted environment at quarterly workshops, leaders are trained to raise their game as CEOs, and we also run networking and industry events where the members have a unique opportunity to canvas unbiased views from other experienced leaders.
60 | Issue 7 | April 2009
So to find our candidates and populate the ELP network I need to speak to lots of people. In fact I meet 5–10 people a day, in addition to numerous telephone calls and too much time spent on my Blackberry. Whether it’s interviews, client meetings or lunches with our investor friends in Mayfair, I get to meet some of the brightest and most interesting people in London. When the evening comes I start my other job. In January this year I took over as President of the Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), so daily I attend to matters to ensure we continue to serve our members. Located in Charles House in Lower Regent Street, it is with NBCC I have spent my “spare” time for the past 8 years. The NBCC aim is to build business connections between members across all industries. With over 700 members and multinational corporations and start-ups counting amongst our company members, we facilitate business networking opportunities through events and seminars. We often arrange joint events with the other Scandinavian Chambers, creating an evening of valuable networking in a typical Scandinavian atmosphere. So 2–3 evenings a week I will be presenting the NBCC at some event. It is tempting to go home to food and a good rest, but how could one possibly say no to meeting so many great Scandinavians over a drink?
Scan Business | Column | The Board of Directors
The Board of Directors and stakeholder values
Think of it, it isn’t an easy task to pursue. Today, the signals they are sending to the public are confusion and “do not blame us” for that which is falling apart around us! Take one step back and look at what has happened during the last decade: global deregulation of the financial and commercial market. At the same time, you see in full swing a complete dismantling of the control systems underpinning a global financial Tsunami. Sailing blindfolded, drunk on the globalisation tonic, misled by shareholder greed, and unable to see the ethical icebergs – these are the conditions they have to act in. The responsibilities of a board are firstly towards the stakeholders and secondly to
behave as a prototype for corporate culture. The present shareholder focus is based on the idea that bonuses for senior management create wealth for the shareholders. The doctrine of unlimited growth might also be a factor to consider in this drama! What can be done to rebuild trust and regain a stakeholder focus? I believe the first step is to look at facts: it is as it is! Hiring and firing members of the board is not a solution. A more fruitful and creative way for them is to start an inward journey and use recent history as a stepping-stone to the emergence of a full stakeholder oriented attitude! The ingredients in an inward journey are: reading books and books about history, leadership, evolution, human behaviour, strategy, art and philosophy etc.. By dipping their minds in this brew, they will sober up. Their fresh eyes and mind can then conceptualize and act on the re-
Photo: Mads E. Petersen
What is the responsibility of the board of directors? How do they show it? What tentacles do they use to connect to the big picture of reality?
By Bengt Skarstam
ality in a more nuanced way. Then, they can serve as reliable role models! What can you do to help? I have two suggestions. First, buy 2 copies of “Ethics” by Mel Thompson, read one of them. Send the other to the chairman of a company board: a company with a considerable impact on your daily life. Secondly, visit www.ted.com and look at Barry Schwartz when he talks about: “The real crisis? We stopped being wise!” Mind the gap! Bengt Skarstam
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 61
Scan Business | Regular | Hotel of the Month
Hotel of the Month
Radisson SAS Portman Hotel – Something for everybody… and a little extra for Scandinavians With 272 rooms designed in styles varying from Scandinavian to Oriental, the Radisson SAS Portman Hotel offers something for everybody. The four star hotel has five different categories of room including standard rooms, business class rooms and penthouse suites. And according to the new General Manager of the hotel, Tim Cordon, this combination gives the hotel a diverse customer base. “I would say we probably have about 65 per cent business travellers and 35 leisure travellers here,” he says. The unique room designs give visitors the chance to pinpoint exactly what they want and thus provide an extra service to customers. “All rooms have different decors and colour schemes and clients who come back can pick their favourite. We then put it in their profile so that we can try to get them that,” says Cordon.
62 | Issue 7 | April 2009
But it is not only the broad variety of choice inside the hotel that makes it special. Just as important is the location with many attractions right on the doorstep. Located in the heart of London’s fashionable West End, the hotel offers easy access to tube and bus connections. Besides, just a short walk away you find the ponds and lawns of Hyde Park and in the other direction Oxford Street’s shopping heaven. Cordon, who has also managed the Radisson SAS in Edinburgh and Stansted, says, “We have a fabulous location and a great history of being one of London’s great hotels. Besides, we are the only SAS Radisson in London, so it is a real flagship.” The hotel has its own renowned restaurant with an impressive breakfast buffet and also houses one of the largest conference and banqueting facilities in London. The large ballroom offers a perfect setting for both business and pleasure. “Last weekend we had a big event for a charity organisation here and we have weddings as
Scan Business | Regular | Hotel of the Month
well, the space is very flexible. We can have conferences for up to 600 people and as the only cross-European hotel we offer free internet access to all guests,” Cordon says. He is very pleased to have Nordea, Novo Nordisk, and Statoil among the clients who regularly use the hotel and its facilities. “It is great to be able to have business from key Scandinavian companies.” After a long day of work, or perhaps shopping, tired guests can unwind in the hotel bar or maybe re-energise in the hotel’s gym and outdoor tennis court. The hotel is within an hour’s drive from all London’s major airports, so getting well on the way back home should be trouble-free too. The hotel thus offers a good deal for most travellers but, as the hotel is part of the Euro Bonus system, maybe in particular for Scandinavians. “Besides, of course we have Scandinavian room style and you are very likely to meet a Scandinavian speaker at the desk,” Cordon says. “And of course, I should mention the fact that we have an issue of Scan Magazine in all rooms,” he adds with smile.
Radisson SAS Portman Hotel 22 Portman Square London W1H7BG For more information visit: www.radissonsas.com or call 44 (0)20 7208 6000 For reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
LETT LAW FIRM LETT is one of the largest full-service law firms in Denmark. We are also one of the oldest, with a history dating back to 1869. We employ more than 165 lawyers across our offices in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Kolding.
strive to present the entire scope of options available to them within their legal context.
Besides our strong presence in Denmark, LETT works closely with a number of leading international law firms. This means we can provide high-quality advice to clients engaged in cross-border business.
As part of this approach, our lawyers often go on secondment to foreign law firms and our clients. These arrangements are highly effective. Clients see advantage in the fresh perspective that this in-house expertise brings to their business - longstanding client relationships are our hallmark.
We aim to dispense highly-practical results-orientated advice. This means we do not only advise our clients on what they may or may not do, but
Copenhagen Raadhuspladsen 4 DK-1550 Copenhagen V Tel +45 33 34 00 00 Fax +45 33 34 00 01
Aarhus - Raadhusgaarden Vester Allé 4 DK-8000 Aarhus C Tel +45 33 34 00 00 Fax +45 33 34 00 01
Kolding Jernbanegade 31 DK-6000 Kolding Tel +45 33 34 00 00 Fax +45 33 34 00 01
At LETT we provide solutions and create possibilities.
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Scan Business | News | Chambers of Commerce
Danish-UK Chamber of Commerce A night of career interest and career intellect By Stine Vejen Eriksen, Danish participant at Joint Nordic Career Seminar 3 March 2009 It was actually quite a dull and rainy Tuesday afternoon. That was until the Nordic Career Seminar at Radisson SAS Portman Hotel started. From the moment I stepped into the seminar people were already networking and sharing their knowledge with each other. I instantly realised that my 30 minutes walk in the rain had not been fruitless. The career seminar was held by the Nordic Chambers of Commerce and offered three exciting speakers representing three very different but very engaging companies. The evening supplied me with some great ideas on how to structure and plan my career in the future and it also
gave me the opportunity to develop contacts with other Scandinavian professionals based in the UK. Altogether a great night of career interest and career intellect! To read more about the evening’s topics and the three speakers, please find DUCC’s Newsletter March 2009 on www.ducc.co.uk
Danish-UK Chamber of Commerce | Phone: +44 (0) 20 7259 6795 | Email: email@example.com | www.ducc.co.uk
Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce First of all we would like to say a big thank you to the team at Paull & Williamsons in Aberdeen for hosting and sponsoring the first Aberdeen Wednesday Drinks. It proved to be a popular and sought-after initiative for NorwegianBritish business people in the region, and we hope it will continue to prosper. The next will be on 22 April. March also saw the joint Nordic Career Seminar. The topics focused on career development and how to
advance, some from a companies’ perspective, others from a personal level. They left us with a few pointers to remember when going after the dream job: communication is key, make your application short and effective and make sure to bring your values to the table. In April you can look forward to the annual joint Nordic ICT Seminar on 22 April. The topics will revolve around clean technology; how clean technology can help consumers and the industry save costs and the environment at the same time, and how we can use technology as a tool in times of recession. UPCOMING EVENTS Nordic ICT Seminar – 22 April Aberdeen Wednesday Drinks – 22 April Nordic YP Party at the Kensington Roof Gardens – 24 April Nordic Thursday Drinks – 30 April
Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce | Phone: +44 (0) 20 7930 0181 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.nbccuk.com 64 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Scan Business | Business Directory
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Issue 7 | April 2009 | 65
Scan Business | News | Chambers of Commerce
Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK In March the Swedish Chamber hosted events spanning a broad range of subjects. Erik Penser Bankaktiebolag gave a much appreciated tax seminar and over 100 guests gathered to discover more about how UK tax changes for nondomiciles affect Swedes living in the UK. Casa Decor London, the internationally acclaimed design show, invited the Chamber’s Members to a networking reception at their beautiful offices in Notting Hill. Members also got the opportunity to receive useful tips and tools on how to get the most out of their networking. “Making Conversations Count” was a popular event gathering more than 70 guests. UPCOMING EVENTS The Chamber has an array of events coming up in the next months with a continued focus on how to strengthen your business in the current climate. Save the dates in the calendar below and go on to our website to read more and sign up.
Crisis and Business Risk Management - 15 April Speeding up in the slowdown with Google - 21 April Joint Nordic ICT Seminar - 22 April Seminar with Grundberg Mocatta Rakison - 14 May AGM & Members’ Luncheon - 5 June
Swedish Chamber of Commerce for the UK | Phone: +44 (0) 20 7224 8001 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | www.scc.org.uk
Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce The Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce has interesting events coming up in April. A guided tour will be arranged in the Houses of Parliament on 17th April. The tour will last 1.5 hours so you’ll get a good introduction to how Parliament works. Invest in Finland Seminar will be organised at the Ambassador’s residence on 21st April. The seminar introduces business opportunities in Finland for international investors and companies in the travel and tourism sector. If you are interested in participating in this event, please contact our office for more information.
FBCC Members and guests are welcome to a Joint Nordic Party at Roof Gardens on 24th April. This event is aimed at young professionals and it is a great opportunity to enjoy a night out in a beautiful club and network with members from other Nordic chambers. The traditional Vappu Lunch will be held this year at the Ambassador’s residence at the end of the month on 29th April. Don’t forget to sign up.
UPCOMING EVENTS Economic Update at J-M Capital – 2 April Visit to Houses of Parliament – 17 April Invest in Finland Seminar – 21 April Joint Nordic Party at Roof Gardens – 24 April Vappu Lunch at the Ambassador's Residence – 29 April Nordic Networking Drinks at Scandinavian Kitchen – 30 April
Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce | Phone: +44 (0) 20 8741 6352 | Email: email@example.com | www.fbcc.co.uk 66 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Scan Magazine | Scan News
Sophie Dow is a journalist, a former London resident, the founder of the charity ‘Mindroom’ and is mother to Annie, 17, who is mentally handicapped. Sophie attended the Women’s Group at The Swedish Church in London on 12th March and presented a moving lecture concerning how lives can drastically change without warning. Sophie, a former film journalist was once immersed in a glamorous world surrounded by celebrities. Today she is trying to change the world for children with learning disabilities in Britain. Sophie Dow’s daughter Annie was diagnosed as “mentally handicapped” when she was three years old but this was only the beginning of many long and tortuous consultations. “When I realized that Annie’s problems would not go away with some Abidec-drops or physical therapy I decided to find out more. Being a journalist, I started to search for information online and went to conferences throughout Europe. I wanted to know what we could do for her.” What she found was an array of disjointed and confusing information, even
conferences handling the subject were unimpressive. Over the years, her vision to provide information and a network clarified. In 2001 she started her organization ‘Mindroom’ to explore Euro-developmental issues in learning difficulties, raise awareness, and help other parents seeking diagnoses for their children. Mindroom has produced a series of brochures, in collaboration with leading researchers, on ADHD, DAMP, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, dyslexia and Tourette syndrome. The brochures are called “It takes all kind of minds.“ Mindroom has also managed to establish a relationship with the Royal Mail which is set to distribute 30,000 of Sophie’s information packs to every school in Britain. Mindroom has also influenced this major company’s employment strategy and policy. Up to 20% of their employees now have some kind of learning difficulty. Sophie encouraged the postal service to focus on the advantages, for example someone with Asperger’s syndrome might be ideally suited to sorting mail, while another with ADHD would be better at delivering it. In addition to brochures Mindroom has also organized three international
Photo: Sam Goldstein
Edited by Emelie Krugly
conferences on learning disabilities. Her ambition is to set up a one-stop diagnostic centre for children with special needs. Scotland’s first Mindroom will bring together facilities for assessment, diagnosis, research, development, education and training. It will cost about £8m to build and she has the backing of a number of the world’s leading experts. “I have no idea where the money will come from,” Dow says. “But I know I will find it. I’d like to raise it within the next three years. There are so many children and families that need help and we have to do it as fast as we can.”
New WeSC store on Carnaby Street WeSC stands for ‘We are the Superlative Conspiracy’. This Swedish streetwear label continues its expansion, opening a flagship store in London. The new store carries the brand’s entire collection for the first time in the UK as well as showcasing fine artists. The location? 38 Carnaby Street, W1 London. . The company was founded in Stockholm in 1999 by Greger Hagelin, a former professional skateboarder, and is quoted
on the Swedish stock exchange. It has outlets in 20 countries. Entrepreneur and BBC Dragons’ Den Deborah Meaden has a 30% stake in the UK operations of the Swedish fashion label. Turnover last year was £28m, with 25% coming from the US.
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 67
Scan Magazine | Culture
Scandinavian Music From this month onwards, I’ll be writing about the latest and greatest music coming out of Scandinavia. There’s lots of it – and that’s why I started the monthly Scandipop club night, and its corresponding website, www.scandipop.co.uk. The Scandinavians are producing far too much high quality music for it to go unnoticed! This month sees the return of Norwegian electrophile duo, Royksopp, and their new album ‘Junior’. And where their previous LP ‘Melody AM’ was all down-tempo, electronic beauty, ‘Junior’ speeds up the pace and finds the boys in a full-on disco mood! Lykke Li and Anneli Drecker guest vocal, but the standout track (and forthcoming single) is the stunning ‘The Girl and The Robot’ – with vocals from internationally successful Swede, Robyn. It sets the tone of the poppier, more dance orientated album. And it seems that Scandinavian dance music is flavour of the month in the UK at
By Carl Batterbee the moment. BBC Radio 1 are giving heavy rotation to the latest round of exports: ‘Can’t Get Over’ by September; ‘Chemistry’ by Velvet; ‘In The Heat Of The Night’ by Star Pilots; ‘Every Word’ by Ercola & Daniella. Both September (pictured left alongside me!) and Velvet are performing on the ‘Dance Nation’ tour, which makes its way around the UK throughout April.
club anthem of a chorus. It’s magical. You can listen to it on youtube.com, where it’s already had over 700,000 views. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org www.scandipop.co.uk
Alphabeat’s music finally has a UK home again. After leaving EMI in December, they’ve now signed to Polydor Records. And they’ve already started working on a new album. The first album from the Danish band sold over 100,000 copies in the UK last year. And finally, a new discovery in Denmark. ‘Kun For Mig’ has spent the last few months nestled in the Danish top 10, a lot of that time at number 1. It’s by a lady called Medina, and it’s an epic piece of electronic wizardry. A string laden intro, calm melodious verse, and a thumping
Children’s Drawing Competition: ScanMagazine gives you a chance to win the first 4 books in the Taynikma series. We have 5 sets of Taynikma 1-4 to give away! Taynikma is a universe full of unusual creatures and characters with special powers. Send us your finest drawing of creatures or action such as they appear in Taynikma before the 20th of April 2009 to: Scan Magazine, 53A Clapham High Street, London SW4 7TG. Please mark your envelope: Taynikma We will contact the winner via phone, so remember to include your phone number. For inspiration visit Taynikma: www.taynikma.co.uk (Conditions apply)
68 | Issue 7 | April 2009
Scan Magazine | Culture Calendar
Scandinavian Culture Calendar – Where to go, what to see? It’s all happening here! APRIL
Gro Thorsen (until 8 May) Norweigan artist Gro Thorsen’s paintings reflect the constant, ever-changing movement of urban lives. Her work gives figures a sense of identity and purpose while creating busy, yet subtle, cinematic, fragmented cityscapes. The Jill Gallery is delighted to announce her second UK exhi-
Eppu Normaali By: Emelie Krugly Eppu Normaali are not your stereotypical hotel-trashing superstars. Their fans are also well-behaved: they listen instead of screaming. Eppu Normaali sing about relationships and are the only band to have written a love song called “I’m going to make mashed potatoes out of you.” They say they are “more Finnish than the Finns”: they certainly have a Finnish rock-steady calm. We meet at the 100 Club on Oxford Street where they conclude their “Klubiottella” tour. Their last gig in the UK was Liverpool, 1986. “We have many
bition, which will present new works, including the largest composite painting shown by the artist in this country, entitled ‘Seasons’, and a new approach to lawn tennis at Wimbledon. www.jillgeorgegallery.co.uk Admission free. Monday-Friday 10am6pm, Thursdays until 8pm, Saturday 11am-5pm. Jill George Gallery, 38 Lexington Street, Soho, London W1F 0LL. Raising the bar: Influential voices in metal (until 10 May) Innovative Danish jewellery artist Kim Buck, an influential metal worker, exhibits her silverwork this spring at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art as part of
English music heroes, The Who, Sex Pistols and Rolling Stones to name a few.” The band formed in 1976, when 16year old Juha Torvinen and Martti Syrjä decided they had what it took: “Juha had the looks and I thought I was a funny enough guy to be a rock star,” says lead singer Martti Syrjä. “Back in those days punk had taken a grip on Finland and that inspired us. None of us could either play or sing very well, but to be a punk band you didn’t really need to.” Martti’s brother Mikko, Aku Syrjä and Mikko Saarela joined later. In 1977 they named themselves Eppu Normaali, Finnish for a character in Mel Brooks’s “Young Frankenstein”. They sent out demos and soon the independent POK Rekords signed them up. While they got good reviews, they did not break-through until 1984. The album “Rupisia riimejä karmeita tarinoita” was released then, followed by “Kahdeksas ihme” in 1985 (which features their most legendary song, ‘Kitara, taivas ja tähdet’ (guitar, heaven and stars); the third, “Valkoinen kupla”,
a large craft exhibition from IC: Innovative Craft. After success in Edinburgh, this exhibition is now in Middlesbrough: the exhibition focuses on senior artists who have established significant international reputations. Tues, Weds, Fri and Sat 10am-5pm, Thurs 10am-8pm, Sun 12noon-4pm, Mondays closed. Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art Centre Square, Middlesbrough TS1 2AZ. email@example.com Norwegian design and architecture (until 14 June) Along with several other spectacular buildings, Snøhetta’s Oslo Opera House is on the shortlist for the Brit Insurance De-
was also a hit. The three albums combined to 300,000 sales, a huge number in a country of 5 million people. Eppu Normaali have never tried hard to break through abroad. “Being respected in Finland and touching native souls is something we’re perfectly happy about.” Another reason is the lyrics, which, Martti says, “are almost are impossible to make any sense of in English.” Over the years there have been many times when they have had enough of each other and the limelight. They take indefinite breaks, which “has been the reason why we’ve survived all these years as a band and have not ended up hating each other.” The guys are getting itchy to finish their sound check so our meeting ends. “Yes, we will probably end up like The Rolling Stones playing until we drop but we will be healthier,” says Martti. They would like to be remembered “as the guys who were so stubborn that they couldn’t stop, always doing exactly what they wanted to do, not caring about what others think.”
Issue 7 | April 2009 | 69
Scan Magazine | Culture Calendar
Book launch (6 April) Swedish-speaking Finn poet and illustrator, Karin Dahlbacka, is launching “Unwashed but willing” her latest work at ‘Boat Ting’, a London Music and Poetry Club. Temple Pier, Embankment £6 / £4 concs. 8:30pm. www.boat-ting.co.uk
The Rasmus (6-11 April) To date the teen rock band (whose first gig was their school hall) has sold 2.5 million albums worldwide. Lauri, then 17, left school because of the overnight success. Rasmus will be performing throughout the UK at the following venues - 6/04/09 Brighton Concorde, 7/4/09 Leeds, The Cockpit, 8/04/09 Manchester Academy,9/4/09 London, Heaven, 10/4/09 Wolverhampton, Wulfrun Hall, 11/4/09 Nottingham, Rescue Rooms. www.therasmus.com
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Movie: Let the Right One In (Released 10 April) A horror movie with a difference, and winner of numerous awards, it follows Oscar who is bullied at school and his new friend Eli - who is not quite human. Based on a novel by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindquist and directed by Tomas Alfredson. Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducts the Philharmonia (15-16 April) Saraste is one of the exceptional conductors of his generation. The programme contains: Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto. Written after being restored to composition by hypnotherapist Dr Dahl (to whom it is dedicated), the concerto is overwhelmingly optimistic. Stravinsky's Firebird Suite moves through enchanted lullabies and demonic dance to a blazing finale. This is music to lift the spirit. 15/4 Bedford Corn Exchange, Bedford at 7.30pm St. Paul’s Sq., Bedford, MK40 1SL. www.bedfordcornexchange.co.uk 16/4 Royal Festival Hall, London at 7.30pm www.southbankcentre.co.uk The Danish Club: Queen Margrethe II’s Birthday (16 April) The Danish Club will bring out the champagne and celebrate in style with black tie dinner and dance. This is a very popular event, so book early! Venue: the dining room/restaurant. Guest of Honour: H E Ambassador Birger RiisJørgensen. Time: 7 to 7.30 Price: £62 - includes welcome drink, 3 course dinner, wine, coffee and entertainment. Booking: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07545 11 9339 Scandipop (16 April) Live DJ playing Scandinavian pop music to a dance floor of friendly revellers: lots of pop, dance, and schlager Eurovision-style - with cheap alcohol all night! Zen Bar, Denmark St, WC2H 8LP 8.30p.m. - 3a.m. £3 entry or free for students. Lost Soul Brothers (23 April) Danish headed soul & blues band Lost Soul Brothers will be performing a set of classic hits at Jazz After Dark in Soho. Think: Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, BB King and James Brown.
7.30-9pm. Followed by an evening of blues until 1.30am. Table reservations are recommended. Jazz After Dark, 9 Greek Street, London W1D 4DQ. Entry is £5 after 9pm. www.jazzafterdark.co.uk www.myspace.com/lostsoulbrothers
Photo: Magnus Arrevad
sign Awards for architecture. The awards coincide with an exhibition at the Design Museum, presenting the finalists for several categories, including two other Norwegian contenders: car manufacturer Think, which is currently developing car interior design with the Royal Academy of Arts; and Kode Design for its mine clearing gear, now being produced by Rofi Industrier. The world’s most interesting and forward-looking designs have been nominated by industry experts spanning seven categories: Architecture, Fashion, Furniture, Graphics, Interactive, Product and Transport, to be judged by a panel chaired by Alan Yentob and including designer and environmentalist Karen Blincoe, and architect Peter Cook. Brit Insurance Designs of the Year Exhibition 12 February- 14 June 2009 Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD www.designmuseum.org
Mikko Alatalo (25 April) Family Concert with Mikko Alatalo, a forerunner of Finnish rock music together with his band mate Juice Leskinen. Since 1970, he has recorded 46 albums and written over 600 songs. His output covers social criticism, humour, children’s songs and pure pop. The concert is organised by Finn-Guild and the Finnish Church in London. 33 Albion Street, London SE16. Tickets available from Finn-Guild 020 7387 3508, www.finn-guild.org or from the Church.
Michala Petri & Lars Hannibal (25 April) Danish recorder player Petri is sought after as a soloist by many orchestras, including the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. She has released 34 recordings, toured extensively over 4 continents, and has had dozens of pieces written for her. Michala Petri & Lars Hannibal bring their East meets West Quartet Project to Cadogan Hall, reflecting the possibilities in combining Western and Chinese classical traditions. 7.30pm Cadogan Hall, Sloane Terrace, London. Tickets between £12-£25. Tel. 020 7730 4500, www.cadoganhall.com
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