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Danish Report Danish Report
by Euro Reporter
2009-06-13 10:31:00
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Elephants Denmark’s tourist attraction

New figures from the national tourist organization Visit Denmark show that amusement parks are a firm favourite with tourists. Visitors to Denmark are most enamoured with the elephants at Copenhagen Zoo, the fairground at Tivoli and the installations at Lousiana Museum of Modern Art, according to the latest visitor figures from Visit Denmark.

The national tourist organization Visit Denmark has compiled its list of the top 50 tourist attractions across the country and the top five attractions remain unchanged from 2007. Despite a drop in visitor numbers of three percent, Tivoli held on to the top spot with almost four million guests last year. Dyrehavsbakken in northern Zealand also saw fewer visitors in 2008, but its 2.6 million guests were enough to hold on to second position. Legoland in Billund remained unchanged in third place with 1.6 million visitors, while Copenhagen Zoo in fourth place was the biggest winner last year. The zoo increased visitor figures by 20 percent in 2008, or an astounding 232,000 extra visitors.

With almost 1.4 million people checking out the zoo’s polar bears, flamingos and elephants last year, 2008 saw the highest visitor figure in the zoo’s 150 year history. Visit Denmark attributes the increase in visitors to the zoo’s newly constructed Elephant House, completed last June. The 10,720 square meter elephant enclosure now covers 10 percent of the zoo’s total area, completed at a cost of 280 million kroner. ‘It draws people in because they can experience the elephants in a whole new way, which takes the animals’ welfare into consideration, gives the public some good experiences and contains a house with fine architecture,’ said zoo chief executive Lars Lunding Andersen.

Saves you the tickets from all the way to …Africa!


Refugees trip to …Iraq

Many Iraqis who have received asylum in Denmark have travelled back to their homeland over the past several years, according to the National Police. Asylum has almost exclusively been granted to Iraqi applicants based on the Middle Eastern country being too dangerous for the refugees to return to. And many Iraqis who have been granted residency now risk that status being revoked, if it is found they have travelled home.

The National Police has been monitoring the situation since 2000 and has made Immigration Service aware of it. Since Saddam Hussein’s fall in 2003, around 370 Iraqi refugees are known to have returned home, putting their reasons for originally being granted asylum in question. But Immigration Service has no reliable figures for exactly how many Iraqis have returned to their homeland in recent years. Now Birthe Rønn Hornbech, the integration minister, will have her office look into the situation more closely, possibly resulting in some Iraqis having their residency permits taken away.

‘I’ve strongly reiterated to my departmental workers that they need to look at these cases again, especially if we’re dealing with those on temporary residency status,’ said Hornbech. Claus Gade Sørensen, a former Immigration Service employee, worked with Iraqi refugees and travelled back and forth many times from the Middle Eastern country, investigating refugees’ alleged abuse of their residency status in Denmark. Sørensen said asylum seekers who had eventually secured both an Iraqi and Danish passport were the most common travellers to Iraq.

And exporting also tourism, this time to …Iraq!


The parks to cyclists

News that the Copenhagen City Council is to allow cyclists to cycle through Fælledsparken and Østre Anlæg parks has the Danish Pedestrian Association up in arms. The council’s trial initiative, which will begin on Monday, will run until October, when it will be evaluated and the inclusion of other parks in the project considered. The initiative is part of the city’s efforts to become the ‘world’s best cycling city’ by 2015 and increase the number of people commuting by bike to work and school from 37 percent to 50 percent.

Mikael le Dous, chairman of the Danish Pedestrian Association, told MetroXpress newspaper that the move will negatively impact pedestrians, with inconsiderate cyclists transferring their bad habits from roads to the intimate confines of parks. ‘It’s an insult against those who use the park on an everyday basis. How can they continue to let their children toddle around the pathways when cyclists will come rushing past,’ questioned Le Dous.

Cycle it all the way …

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Emanuel Paparella2009-06-13 17:24:56
I suppose we ought to be a bit surprised at the harsh measures against Iraqi asylum residents and indeed most Muslim immigrants in Denmark. Wasn’t Denmark the non plus ultra of the welcoming liberal welfare state, a bastion of free speech and tolerance (remember the Danish cartoons?), where “political correctness” was valued and where racism was alien? What happened? Actually there was always more than meets the eyes. What may be going on is the slowly forming recognition in the EU that what the Muslims radicals could not win on the battlefield they may eventually win culturally in Europe by the slow erosion of the national identities and indeed the EU identity, whatever there is of it, of the countries in which they reside to eventually overrun the whole continent. It sounds like paranoia parading as a conspiracy theory but it surely beats the Da Vinci Code and the Opus Dei in the US. It may be the real or simply perceived threat in several EU countries resulting in far right extremists such as Le Pen in France, Bossi in Italy and the spectacle of radio stations (one in Denmark) advocating the persecution and even the extermination of all Muslims in Europe. Something went terribly wrong with “enlightened” integration and assimilation theories , two concepts often egregiously confused in EU countries. Only three years ago the nation's best-selling book in Denmark was Islamists and Naivists by Karen Jespersen and her husband Ralf Pittlekow. In an interview she said that "We compare Islamism to Nazism and communism because they are all three of them a totalitarian ideologies." (continued below)

Emanuel Paparella2009-06-13 17:25:20
One would think that such is the pronouncement of a right winger. To the contrary the authors are diehard Social Democrats -- proud veterans of the student protests of the 1960s. Jespersen, a feminist and a former interior minister in charge of immigration issues, is convinced that the radicals' goal is the Islamization of Europe. When she was in government, allegedly many Muslims told her they were not free to adapt to Western society. Espersen points out that thanks to new laws, annual immigration has declined to 2,000 a year from 27,000 in 2001. Asylum for refugees has also dropped sharply. Could it be, could it just be, that when a polity, especially a federal polity, is unsure of its overall cultural identity (the so called Lisbon Treaty certainly fails to reveal it) it invariably ends up in xenophobia and racial scapegoating? Food for thought!

ap2009-06-14 03:59:00
‘The dog barks but the elephant moves on’

Emanuel Paparella2009-06-14 22:57:33
Would by chance that be the elephant in the living room that nobody sees in the EU?

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