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Danish report Danish report
by Euro Reporter
2010-04-14 07:29:54
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Copenhagen becomes COPENhagen

City tries to rebrand itself as an international destination open for business following perceived failure of the climate talks. The epithet Hopenhagen, adopted by the city during last year’s COP15 climate conference, is to be dropped according to officials. The idea behind the branding at the time was that a powerful binding treaty would be signed as a result of the conference. When this failed to happen critics mocked the name change, dubbing it ‘Nopenhagen’ and even ‘Flopenhagen’.

In recognition of this fiasco Copenhagen City Council has dropped Hopenhagen and come up with a new name: COPENhagen.  The rationale behind the rebranding is to promote the city as an international destination that is open for business. One unnamed city official told explained the idea to Politiken newspaper: ‘If the city of Copenhagen wishes to support recent efforts aimed at internationalisation and raise our profile as an open city then we need to create a broad and sustained international brand that is endorsed and accepted by Copenhageners and used by leading companies and organisations around the region.’

The rebranding campaign is in part a reaction to the perceived success of Stockholm rebranding itself ‘Capital of Scandinavia’ , which was promoted heavily by tour companies and news services, bringing in millions in extra business. It is this kind of branding success that officials hope to achieve with COPENhagen. ‘We believe that by sticking with this new brand we will arouse international interest in several different sectors, such as tourism and business, and will attract foreign workers and students, which will benefit the whole city,’ said the spokesman.


Businesswomen against gender quotas

Attempts to follow the lead of other Nordic countries and introduce gender quotas to company boards are being met with opposition. Female business leaders have come out in force against a proposal to introduce gender quotas for board of management posts. The opposition’s proposal to force company boards to ensure a certain percentage of board members are women will come before parliament later this year. The aim is to increase the number of female board members to 40 percent by the end of 2014.

It follows similar initiatives in other Nordic countries such as Norway, where legislation was passed to increase female board members. When the laws were changed in 2003, the boards of public listed Norwegian companies were seven percent female. That figure rose to 40 percent in 2008. Iceland also recently passed a law that demanded boards that are comprised of more than three people have each gender represented by at least 40 percent before the start of September 2013. But leading Danish businesswomen feel a similar move here in Denmark could have a negative effect and further alienate women from pursuing a management career.
Bolette Christiansen, deputy director general of the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI) told Berlingske Tidende newspaper that their organisation is against the introduction of gender quotas arguing that appointments to boards should be based on competence alone.

‘As a woman you also have to make yourself visible. Fight your way up to management level and let them know you want a board position,’ she said. Ingelise Bogason, chief executive of consultancy firm Alectia also stood firm against gender quotas, saying they could lead to boards appointing members who don’t necessarily have the right experience, just to fill a quota. Bogason recommended that young women be made aware of the requirements for reaching board level. ‘If they want a career path, they’ll have to lay down the law on the home front. Choose a partner with care and make sure he’ll take on half of the tasks at home, because it requires a lot of work to forge out a career and end up sitting on a board,’ she said to Berlingske Tidende.


Director gets an English education

‘Finally we have an audience in Denmark who can really appreciate the film,’ declares Lone Scherfig with equal sarcasm and seriousness to the Grand Cinema audience. ‘I was proud that the film didn’t get killed by the British press. The reviews in the English papers can be awful. It’s an art form in itself to be as cruel as you can.’

At this special pre-premiere screening of ‘An Education’, co-organised by Expat in Denmark and the British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark, Scherfig unravels the challenges of capturing on camera a teenage girl’s rite of passage in 60s London, which was, according to her, hardly ‘swinging’. Twenty minutes earlier, the Danish director had been upstairs with me, perched upright on a flowery chair with a woven back. The room was minimalist though not to the standards championed by the Dogme95 film movement - one which neglects props, lighting and costume – and the studio which released her career-pivotal film, ‘Italian for Beginners’ in 2000.

‘I wanted to shoot the An Education because of the script,’ she spells out. ‘ I went to London and was represented by an English agent who also represents Nick Hornby (the English writer best known for his novels Fever Pitch and High Fidelity) and that’s how I got to read it. It was warm, fun and profound and I just wanted to get my hands on it. It’s a handicap to be shooting in a language that isn’t my own, but travelling opens your eyes more and it’s easier with a role not too close to yourself.’

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