The controversial decision to drop the Christmas service at Gribskolen, Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s old school in north Zealand, has taken a new turn.
A number of Danish politicians were quick to condemn the school’s decision on social media. However, Gribskolen’s board of governors has come out in support of the staff’s decision, reports DR Nyheder.
“The board is behind the school’s decision and its desire to create new traditions that include children and young people and helping to create friendships across age-groups,” a press release stated.
“For us, it is a question of creating space for anything that binds the pupils together.”
Glass half full or half empty?
Now something to gladden the heart during the festive season. Apparently, wine glasses are much bigger now than they used to be. A survey carried out by the Guardian newspaper shows that the average capacity of a glass in the 1700s was 66 ml and that has now ballooned to 449 ml today! A typical wine glass 300 years ago would only have held about a half of today’s smallest ‘official’ measure of 125 ml. Frederik Kreutzer, a wine expert with more than 20 years experience as both a seller and lecturer on wine, thinks that this is quite normal. “It has a lot to do with the knowledge that we have on how we taste wine. There has been a lot of research done and in order to fully appreciate the bouquet of the wine, we need a big glass,” he said. We’ll certainly drink to that …
Net purchasers registered on the sly
The internet firm Trustpilot, mainly known as a portal where people can give a review of an online company or service, has been in the spotlight for collecting data on users, DR Nyheder reports. Firms have been using Trustpilot to send messages to their customers asking whether they would rate their purchases. Trustpilot has then saved the names, email addresses, times and names of the companies sending the mails in its own database. “Most of us don’t expect that when we buy something online, some of the information we give will end up with a third party,” said Lars Pram, the head of the consumer council, Forbrugerrådet. “When the information is passed on, as consumers we lose control of our own data. We don’t know what happens to it or what it is used for, and that is a problem.” However, Trustpilot thinks that what they are doing is within the law. “It is vital for us that we abide by the regulations, and we do. Personal data is something we take very seriously,” said Stine Tornmark from Trustpilot’s legal and compliance department.
Dracula rides again …
A 35-year-old woman has been charged by Mid and West Jutland Police of abusing her six-year-old son over a prolonged period. The woman, who has been in custody since September, has been accused of inducing sickness in the boy by draining blood from him, DR Nyheder reports. Allegedly, the incidents took place between August 2011 and her arrest six years later. During this time, the boy was given around 110 portions of blood in order to replace the amount his mother had drained. There is no clear motive in the case, but the boy’s mother may be suffering from a condition called Münchausen’s syndrome by proxy – a mental health problem in which a caregiver makes up or causes an illness or injury to a child under his or her care. In such cases, the caregiver is usually the mother and the child is her own.
Gulls once more in the firing line
A number of cities in Denmark such as Aarhus, Aalborg and Odense have been plagued with large flocks of European herring gulls. As well as leaving lots of unsightly guano, they also make a great deal of noise. For the last four years, the gulls have been protected, but now the minister of the environment, Esben Lunde Larsen, is looking at reintroducing a period in which they can be shot stretching from September to January. “Over the last few years there have been more and more herring gulls, so it makes good sense to reintroduce the culling period,” said Larsen. “By giving hunters the chance to shoot the gulls in areas outside the city, it will hopefully lead to less noise in the city,” added the minister. However, Egon Østergaard from the association of Danish ornithologists has doubts about the effectiveness of the plan. “If you want to reduce the noise, it is important to target the individuals that nest on flat roofs in towns, and these may not be the birds that you shoot over open country. But we will have to see,” he said.
After over a decade of change, the Danish fishing industry reached an impressive milestone this week.
The Danish brown shrimp fishery in the North Sea attained the certificate of sustainability (blue fish label) from the Maritime Stewardship Council (MCS) this week, which means that over 90 percent of the Danish fishing industry is now officially considered sustainable.
“The certificate means the fishing industry will in future have to live up to a number of demands to ensure and document that it is sustainable,” Majken Møller, the head of marketing and communications with MSC Denmark, told DR Nyheder.
Being MSC-certified will not just help Denmark’s fish populations thrive, but it will also further open the doors of trade.
Sofie Smedegaard Mathiesen, a consultant with the Danish fishing association Danmarks Fiskeriforening, contends that more and more consumers around the world are demanding fish that have been caught sustainably.
But even though the Danes are tantalisingly close to being 100 percent sustainable, becoming perfect is a challenge that may be too steep to overcome.
“It requires immense knowledge about the fish populations to obtain the MSC certificate, and there are a number of species that we know too little about to be certified under the current rules,” Mathiesen told DR Nyheder.
When Danish soldiers die fighting abroad, their families are well looked after under the terms of a special compensation scheme.
But increasingly Danish soldiers are finding themselves deployed within Denmark to guard its borders and potential terror targets, where they would not be eligible for the package, even though police officers who die in service are.
Money and recognition
Some 300 of them have now signed a letter sent to Danish Defence demanding better remuneration.
The letter makes three demands: a higher salary; the special compensation package that will look after the financial needs of their families should they die; and the same kind of recognition should they die on Danish soil – for example, inclusion on the memorial plaque at Kastellet.
And the chief of defence, Bjørn Bisserup, has already indicated that he agrees they should be entitled to the special compensation – he said as much last month, according to DR.
“We feel badly treated”
At present, the soldiers receive the same level of pay given to police officers manning the posts, despite working seven days in a row and hours that often vary from one day to the next.
“We feel badly treated. We think we are solving a task in Copenhagen and at the border that is very similar to the tasks we carry out abroad,” a spokesperson for the soldiers, Michael Høy Nedergaard, told DR.
“In Denmark, we are deployed during a terrorist threat. Therefore, we think we should be honoured accordingly.”
According to Nedergaard, there is a danger some of the soldiers will quit.
“I’ve heard colleagues say that if this continues, they will seriously consider finding something else to do,” he said.
“We do not feel we are being heard, and motivation falls when you are not heard by your boss.”
A new survey carried out by the Danish society of engineers, IDA, shows that around 6 percent of students have considered resorting to drugs in order to get through their exams.
Harald Gade Andersen, the studies spokesperson for IDA, says that the main reason is that students nowadays have enormous personal expectations to live up to.
“I don’t think that people are very different compared to how they were 20 years ago. But the education culture has changed and there is an awful lot to live up to,” Andersen told Metroxpress.
The survey shows the most common drugs of choice are beta blockers, which are substances that lower pulse rates and blood pressure; ritalin, a medicament used primarily to treat people with problems concentrating such as those with ADHD; and modafinil, a performance-enhancing drug also used to treat ADHD.
The race to the top
Around 3 percent of students have used one of these three medicaments and another 6 percent have considered doing so. A similar survey published by Djøf, the Danish association of lawyers and economists, has revealed that 7 percent of their members have used drugs.
The chairperson of Djøf’s student wing, Christian Nør-Larsen, explained: “It’s definitely a problem that so many use drugs during exam periods. It shows that people feel they ought to be better and do more than they are really capable of.”
Nør-Larsen also points out that one of the main reason that students might resort to drugs is the enormous pressure to obtain high grades.
Use of these drugs can cause severe side-effects such as depression, sleeplessness, nausea and reduced appetite.
Danish Christmas lunch for 80kr
Curious about the Danish Christmas? Start with glögg and æbleskiver and learn about traditions before enjoying a Christmas feast followed by games, presents and dancing (Dec 25, 15:00-23:00; Studenterhuset, Købmagergade 52, Cph K; 80kr, studenterhuset.com)
Latin American classical music
Enjoy a night of Cuban, Mexican and American-Creole classical music played on the piano by Jens Jakob Kjær Hansen in the concert hall of the piano company Juhl-Sørensen (Dec 21, 17:00; Juhl-Sørensen Brofogedvej 10, Cph NV; free adm)
US music and æbleskiver
Listen to Americana and folk music from the likes of Workers in Sings and Swedish group Lakely, while enjoying gløgg and æbleskiver. And don’t miss the present lottery (Dec 16, 20:00-02:00; Studenterhuset, Købmagergade 52, Cph K; 40kr)
Carols and mince pies
Join the Farnham Youth Choir from the UK for carols, cheer and mince pies. All proceeds go to charity! (Dec 18, 19:00-21:00; Books & Company, 1 Sofievej, Hellerup 2900, Denmark; over-10s: 50kr)
SØNG, a rhythmic choir whose songs range from pop to rock to experimental music, are performing a winter concert. Arrive early to enjoy homemade treats (Dec 19, 19:00; Ukirke, Dannebrogsgade 53, Cph V)
CTC play reading
Try out your talents at this CTC play reading event. Test your versatility by playing multiple characters or just sit and listen (Dec 18, 18:30-21:00; The Globe, Nørregade 45, Cph K; free adm)
US President Donald Trump might have withdrawn from the Paris Climate Accord, but Denmark and the business community are now pushing even harder for the UN goals – and especially for the Paris Climate Deal.
And as CPH POST discovered at COP23 in Bonn, they are getting help from a real-life action hero!The stunning set-up in Bonn (© GIZ/matzke-foto“ or. „© HeikoSEIBEL)
A driven Denmark
“In 2050, Denmark will be totally independent from fossil fuels,” predicted Finn Mortensen at COP23. As executive director of State of Green, he is in charge of co-ordinating Denmark’s transition to a green future. “It is doable!”
This would make Denmark the greenest country on the planet, and right now its ambition and know-how are badly needed.
The shockwaves caused by Trump’s attempt to kill the Paris climate deal and many other UN agreements can be felt around the world. The spirit of millions of climate activists, as well as of the scientists who monitor the alarming rise in the earth’s temperature, has reached an all-time low.
Denmark has plenty of incentive for its cause. Its capital Copenhagen is one of many coastline cities that would be flooded if current emission rates are not dramatically reduced.
But Europe’s major players are stalling. Instead of starting a global emergency plan, leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron are once again agreed on postponing major funding and climate action to 2020.Christophe Nuttall, the executive director of R20, Kerry Constabile, the sustainable development advisor at the office of the UN secretary general, and Jens Nielson, the CEO at World Climate (photo: Irene Hell)
The Danish private sector is also playing a significant role.
“Some 80 percent of the financing of the Paris Agreement must come from the private sector,” contended Jens Nielsen, the founder of World Climate Limited, who connects, mobilises and motivates major players in politics, business and finance.
Trillion dollar investments are needed to reach the climate goals, urges Nielsen who in co-operation with the UN, Regions 20 (R20) and ICLEI – a union of sustainable local governments – is organising a major investment platform at COP24 in Katowice, Poland next year.
And he has some help from the commando-in-chief of R20 – its founder Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former California governor, Hollywood star and aforementioned action hero.
“The Climate Investment Platform will work with R20 attracting public and private investors for sustainable low-carbon deal flow at a sub-national level,” he explained.
“I am an action hero! I don’t wait when there are forest fires, and I won’t wait when it comes to taking action to fight climate change.”
The governator walks his talk. R20 signed letters of intent for green infrastructure projects in developing countries and presented, in collaboration with Blue Orchard Finance, a 350 million dollar target fund during COP23.
Meanwhile, Christophe Nuttall, the executive director of R20, and Armand Jost, the president of the R20 Foundation, are about to raise billions for green projects.
“We aim to support the implementation of a project pipeline of at least a 100 green infrastructures by 2020,” revealed Nuttall, who confided that such innovation and a massive shift of capital towards green technology could prevent a climate collapse.The ‘Green Terminator’ cheers up delegates in Bonn (photo: Irene Hell)
Money is green
If the mood at Bonn was anything to go by, the private sector is clearly picking up steam in its bid to tackle climate change and build the world a better future.
Among them is Rockwool, which has invented a unique technology that is able to turn stone into a wool-like insulation.
“Cities are responsible for about a third of global carbon emissions,” explained its chief executive, Jens Birgersson.
“Our insulation enables the saving of hundreds of millions of tonnes of carbon emissions each year, and our goal is to multiply the savings by 15 times by 2030.”
Other companies such as Blackstone Energy, a Canadian company that saves massive amounts of CO2 by optimising the energy efficiency of more than 7,000 clients, and the Danish high-tech company Kamstrup are examples of a new generation of enterprises that define value by progress created for the environment.
“Money is green,” observed Jesper Daugaard, the senior vice president global marketing at Kamstrup. Every third high-tech water meter in the world already comes from the Danish co-operative.
Kamstrup’s high-tech solutions help to monitor water and energy losses and maximise the efficiency. “This way in Denmark alone precious resources and up to one billion euros can be saved every year,” added Daugaard.Jesper Daugaard, the senior vice president global marketing at Kamstrup, with Franz Untersteller, the minister of environment for German state Baden-Württemberg (photo: Irene Hell)
Trump is CO2
It is a race against time, though, as Trump has been busy this year killing green energy projects and revitalising what his critics describe as ‘zombie-industries’, such as highly polluting coal, oil and tar sand projects.
The rise of populist leaders as well as wars and conflicts that paralyse climate action are also a challenge. But hope comes from young visionaries and scientists, such as Patrick Furlotti, the founder of Globalmania.
Together with Graciela Chichilnisky, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her carbon emission trading scheme, Furlotti co-ordinates meetings at Stanford University that result in breakthrough technology.
“We have the solutions to the world’s problems,” he contended, citing the likes of ‘Global Thermostat’, a new technology that extracts CO2 directly from the air.
Pollution is accordingly turned into cash. Scaled up and built globally, these CO2 harvesting plants could help to win the battle against global destruction – and serve the trillion dollar carbon industry. The captured CO2 can be sold and used for carbonated beverages, or turned into ultra-light material for airplanes, bio-fertilisers and building materials.R20 colleagues Dino De Francesco and Denise Welch, Patrick Scheurle, the CEO of Blue Orchard, and Armand Jost, the president of the R20 Foundation (photo: Irene Hell)
Unnoticed by the mainstream press, a scientific and financial revolution is unfolding. According to 350.org, institutions representing more than 5 trillion US dollars are now committed to divesting assets from fossil fuel.
The movement to pull out of dirty energies has doubled in size in the past two years, and green companies in Denmark will benefit from this trend – particularly as the corporate world faces more scrutiny.
The UNGSII – the UN-supported Global Sustainability Index Institute – analyses if the performance of a company is serving the UN Goals, and it would appear your balance sheet will not thank you if you’re found wanting.
Mediatenor, a Swiss-based strategic media intelligence institute, has already analysed millions of business reports and news articles for the index, and it is the belief of its founder Roland Schatz that sustainable companies are more profitable.
Why you may ask? “They don’t lose billions with scandals,” responded Schatz.
In the current crystal internet age with an incoming young generation of nature-loving, passionate, globally-connected millennials, “corpses” are hard to hide.
Consumer boycotts could kill a business. Therefore thousands of CEOs are developing a passion for the UN goals and publicly converting from sinner to saint.Explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau and Ryan Duffy, the CEO of Blackstone Energy (photo: Irene Hell)
No-brainer for boards
“Some 2,000 companies have already implemented an internal carbon prizing,” revealed Peter Bakker, the founder of the Swiss-based World Business Council for Sustainable Development.
“CEOs of major companies no longer ask why their business should move into the low carbon economy,” he said. “The focus in most boardrooms is currently how – and how quickly!”
While Washington DC and many world leaders appear to be paralysed by Trump’s tweets, Danish leadership and innovation is very much appreciated in the UN.
Just last week, the Danish Foreign Ministry announced a co-operation with the UN on a workshop that aims to bring more companies into the fold. The Danish development minister, Ulla Tørnæs, stated that it was critical that the business sector gets involved and sees that “sustainable development and good business go hand in hand”.
“In order to change the world, we have to change the way the world does business, where sustainability is measured transparently and is the driver of investment,” urged Michael Møller, the director general of the United Nations Office in Geneva.
One of the side-effects of Denmark’s improving economic robustness is the rather unwanted one of traffic queues on the way to and from work.
“When companies produce more, there are more people who have to go to work, more lorries needed to transport goods, and various service functions needed around the country. All in all, that produces more traffic,” explained Andreas Egense, a traffic analyst from the Danish road directorate Vejdirektoratet, to DR’s TV program ‘Penge’.
As well as the booming economy, car prices have fallen and people tend to commute longer to work.
Figures from the association of Danish car importers, Danske Bilimportører, show that on November 19 there were 2,983,500 cars registered in Denmark – more cars than ever before, reports DR Nyheder.
Since 2010, there has been an increase of 25 percent in the number of cars on motorways.
Being idle in traffic costs us all a lot
Mogens Fosgerau, a professor at the institute of transport at DTU, has been investigating how much the time spent crawling along in traffic costs society from a financial point of view.
In the capital region alone it is estimated that the total amount of delays for private motorists adds up to around 30,000 hours per day. That equates to about a billion kroner’s worth of time per year.
“It’s not as if you lose a billion kroner on the streets exactly, but you do lose time to the value of a billion kroner,” he explained.
At the confederation of Danish Industry, Dansk Industri (DI), there is broad agreement with Fosgerau’s findings. DI estimates that delays and road congestion cost society around 20 billion kroner in 2017.
More motorways, more lanes
And it is not only a problem in Copenhagen. “I’m sure anyone who has driven across Funen has experienced congestion, and if we look at the motorway in eastern Jutland, there is also a massive strain – especially on the stretch between Randers and Aarhus,” said Michael Svane from DI.
According to Svane, more motorways should be built and there should be more investment in public transport. However, he admits that it is not possible just to ‘build your way out’ of the problem, and he suggests that the width of the lanes could be reduced on certain stretches.
“So rather than having just two lanes, you could convert that to three. Combined with a reduction in speed, that would create a better traffic flow and allow it to disperse faster,” added Svane.
Denmark’s biggest charity comedy show, Comedy Aid, is celebrating its 25th anniversary with shows at Musikteatret in Aarhus and at Copenhagen’s Royal Arena.
In addition – in a curveball move, perhaps, although there are an estimated 50,000 Danes living in the UK capital – they are also set to play the legendary London venue The Comedy Store on January 8.
The London venue will be a rather intimate show compared to the Danish ones as it only has space for 400, so the performers can get really close to the audience. There is no word on what language the performance will be in.
The Danish hosts of Comedy Aid this year are Carsten Bang and Jesper Juhl. They will be presenting Adam & Noah, Ane Høgsberg, Dan Andersen, Elias Ehlers, Jacob Taarnhøj, Mikkel Klint Thorius, Simon Talbot and Thomas Hartmann. All the performers are working for free and the proceeds will go to the children’s charity Red Barnet.
The dates are December 27 at 15:00 and 20:00 in Musikhuset, Aarhus, December 29 at 15:00 and 20:00 at the Royal Arena, and 8 January 2018 at The Comedy Store, London.
… and London-born musical legend to play Danish venue
It’s been four years since the synth-pop singer-songwiter Gary Numan released his last album. Now, he’s ready with new material and a tour to promote it.
‘Savage: Songs from a broken world’ is his 22nd album and Numan contended: “The songs are about the things that people do in such a harsh and terrifying environment. It’s about a desperate need to survive and they do awful things in order to do so, and some are haunted by what they’ve done.”
The Savage Tour will be stopping off at Pumpehuset on March 5 next year. Ticket sales start at 10:00 on December 15 and tickets cost 355 kr plus a booking charge through ticketmaster.dk.
Given the price of pet food, vet visits and boarding kennels, you wouldn’t have thought free poop bags was the deal-breaker that persuaded many dog-owners they could afford their four-legged friend.
But for residents in Copenhagen, the dog waste bags have been freely distributed at various points around the capital, often next to contained areas where Fido can roam freely without a lead.
However, from January 1 they will no longer be available, confirms Morten Kabell, the outgoing deputy mayor for technical and environmental affairs.
Saves half a million kroner a year
According to Kabell, it costs 500,000 kroner a year to make the bags available, and this money is needed elsewhere in the municipal budget.
The news has not gone down well with dog owners, according to TV2 News.
“I think it sends a bad signal,” Birger Andersen from Copenhagen told the broadcaster.
“We’re always talking about how Copenhagen is a dirty city. It makes me really angry. Every single dog turd rescued from lying on the ground helps to increase hygiene.”
Danish shipping companies are expanding. Over the last six months, the Danish-flagged fleet has increased by 800,000 GRT (gross register tonnage) and also moved up the world rankings from 14th to 13th place in terms of total tonnage, reports DanishShipping.
The shipping organisation sees this as a very positive sign. “When we move up the list of flag states, it is an indicator we are an attractive country in which to have ships and that having many ships creates more work in Denmark, including jobs on land,” said Anne H Steffensen, the CEO of the Danish shipowners’ association, Danske Rederier.
Although there is still some way to go to reach the top of the table, where Panama is first with 220 million GRT, there are good reasons to pick Denmark as a flag state. One of these is the fact that the registration fee for ships that are sold on has recently been abolished.
“If we want to grow further as a flag state, Denmark has to remain competitive. In that regards, it is extremely important that a majority in Parliament has decided to scrap the registration fee for ships as this is a major factor when ship owners choose where to flag their vessels,” said Steffensen. “With this change, we expect the Danish fleet to continue to grow in the coming years.”
Danish aid to Niger stepped up …
Yesterday, at an international conference in Paris, Denmark announced the inauguration of a new 380 million kroner aid program to Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world. The development minister, Ulla Tørnøas, said that with the program “we will continue our efforts to strengthen the rights of women and girls and combat poverty in Niger.” The aid should also contribute to stabilising the country and the Sahel region in general. Since the collapse of Libya, this region has been in the international spotlight, not least as Niger is an important transit country for illegal migrants from West Africa on their way to Europe. The country also has the most rapid population growth and youngest average population in the world.
… and more money to Syrian refugees
Today, the Danish development minister, Ulla Tørnæas, will open a Danish Red Cross conference in Syria. Due to the conflict there, which has now been going on for seven years, 5.5 million people have fled the country – with the majority going to neighbouring countries. It is estimated that around 18 million people remain in the country and of those around 13 million need aid. The situation is especially dire for vulnerable groups, such as the 5.3 million children. “I’ve decided to contribute an extra 85 million kroner to help alleviate the tremendous humanitarian needs that the Syrian conflict has created,” said Tørnæs. The money is to be shared amongst the aid organisations Dansk Flygtningehjælp, Red Barnet, Dansk Røde Kors, Folkekirkens Nødhjælp, Caritas and ADRA.
Danish pension company snaps up Swedish rival
Denmark’s largest pension firm, Danica Pension, has just bought SEB Pension from the Swedish banking concern SEB Bank for 6.5 billion kroner. The Danish company, which is owned by Danske Bank, has now acquired 235,000 new customers as well as 275 employees, reports DR Nyheder. “The deal will allow us more room for development so that in future we will be able to deliver the right product to our customers in the pension and insurance sector,” said Per Klitgård, the CEO of Danica Pensions. In the first nine months of the year, SEB Pension made a net profit of 389 million kroner and manages resources of over 103 billion kroner.