Right-wing parties argue that the city’s transport policies unfairly discriminate against motorists and are using the election to win back territory from bicycles.
Whichever party wrestles control of the citys Technical and Environmental Administration will be able to dictate the citys traffic future (Photo: Peter Stanners)
More than half of Copenhageners cycle to work every day using a network of cycle paths and at speeds that are often faster than cars or public transport. The Copenhagen success story has inspired urban planners around the world who are increasingly treating cars as anti-social barriers to the creation of liveable and happy cities.
But while bicycles have gained significant territory on cars since the first cycle paths were built in the 1970s, not everyone thinks motorists are the enemy of a successful city. Ahead of the November 19 elections, the right-wing parties are rallying behind cars and against the city’s bicycle-friendly policies. Continue reading
Not only will non-Danes be voting on Tuesday, some of them will be running for office as well
Green Party candidate George Ge, originally from China, said foreigners need more democratic support
Followers of the national immigration debate could be forgiven for thinking that foreigners are still struggling to gain acceptance. From Dansk Folkeparti’s (DF) Pia Kjærsgaard suggesting recently that foreigners ought to only speak Danish in public, to the far-right Danskernes Parti calling for the deportation of Danes with non-Western backgrounds, some Danes make no effort to hide their disdain of the foreigners living within their borders. Continue reading
The choice of a former ship building wharf as the setting for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest was a calculated gamble by the show’s producers
It might not look like much now, but come next May, Refshaleølen will be the host of the splashiest, cheesiest show in Europe (Photo: Peter Stanners)
The tallest of the two former shipbuilding hangars towers 75 metres above an industrial wasteland on the northerly tip of Refshaleøen. Long grass sprouts from between cracks in the concrete and rubbish drifts about aimlessly in the breeze.
The site is the unconventional choice for next year’s Eurovision Song Contest that Denmark will host May 6-10 thanks to a bare-footed Emilie de Forest sweeping to victory in this year’s competition in Malmö. Continue reading
A mentor and mentee pair explain how integration efforts will suffer if KVINFO’s mentor network cannot secure the funding to continue after 2014
Birthe Berger, 59, and Inna Besserman, 30, met through KVINFO’s mentoring network, which may have to end because of a lack of funding (Photo: Peter Stanners)
Before Inna Besserman met her mentor, she was desperate. The 30-year-old Russian had moved to Denmark with her Danish husband, and after 18 months of studying the language, she was having no luck in finding a job.
In late 2011, she discovered the mentoring programme established by KVINFO, the Danish centre for Information on Gender, and was paired with 59-year-old communications expert Birthe Berger. Within two months, Besserman was employed. Continue reading
Many call Dansk Folkeparti’s suggestion to bar foreigners from voting in local elections a counterproductive move, as the right to vote increases integration
Holger Gorm Petersen, a mayoral candidate for DF, said he wouldn’t expect to vote in Hulabula-land in Africa. But what do foreigners, for whom Denmark is Hulabula-land, think? (Original photo: Dansk Folkeparti)
Who should or should not be allowed to vote? It’s a question that sits at the heart of the concept of democracy and one that is far from settled.
Excluded from parliamentary elections, many foreigners living in Denmark have the right to vote in council and European elections – EU citizens residing in Denmark are given the vote automatically while others have to wait three years.
Not everyone is happy to have foreigners meddling in their affairs, however. Recently, a Dansk Folkeparti (DF) mayoral candidate in Vejle caused a media stir when he told a local newspaper that he thought it was absurd that foreigners could have a say so quickly after arriving in the country. Continue reading
A former Afghan interpreter for the international forces says lives are at risk in Afghanistan, but the defence minister refuses to offer sanctuary for those who helped
Fareed Ahmad Kabeer was an interpreter for international forces in Afghanistan for four years. When he began receiving threats, he absconded and sought asylum in Denmark (Photo: Peter Stanners)
Fareed Ahmad Kabeer is not sure how old he is, but he thinks he’s probably 25. Born in western Afghanistan’s Herat province, he became an interpreter for the international ISAF security forces after studying English and finance at the University of Kabul. He then accompanied the ISAF forces around the country for the next four years.
But in 2011, while on a training mission with ISAF and the Afghan National Army (ANA) in Germany, he absconded and travelled to Denmark, where he claimed asylum. His life was at risk, he explained, and it was his only opportunity to be safe. Continue reading
A small group gathered outside the City Hall, where a conference was held on the city’s ambition to decriminalise cannabis
Samual Pollas (left) and Jannik Andersen, both 17, thought it was “crazy” that cannabis wasn’t already legal (Photo: Peter Stanners)
“I’m not psychotic!” a young man shouts from the back of the City Hall’s banquet room, where around 150 people have gathered to hear about the city’s plan to implement a trial legalisation of cannabis.
The man’s outburst arrived after a politician said she was concerned that more people would smoke cannabis, and subsequently suffer mental health problems, if the trial were to go ahead. Continue reading
The Copenhagen Model will see the production, sale and consumption of cannabis legalised, but many questions remain
The conference was the latest attempt by mayor Frank Jensen (Socialdemokraterne), centre, to legalise cannabis in Copenhagen for a trial period (Photo: Peter Stanners)
The tide is turning against the criminalisation of cannabis. Portugal, the Netherlands and several US states have to varying degrees decriminalised its use and now Copenhagen has decided to join the movement with a three-year trial to decriminalise the drug.
But while city officials envisage Copenhagen undertaking the world’s most ambitious decriminalisation project – both the production and sale would be legalised – large questions remain about what shape the so-called ‘Copenhagen Model’ would actually take. Continue reading
Reform of grant system will encourage students to start university younger and finish faster while cutting amount paid to those still living with parents
Higher education minister Morten Østergaard (Radikale) presenting the governments reform of the student grants system SU today
Students living at home and those who take too long before starting post-secondary education stand to lose the most in the government’s reform of the student grant system (SU). Continue reading
While Hedegaard’s attacker remains at large, many speculate that his attempted assassination was to silence his controversial views on Islam
Lars Hedegaard said he would rather die than give up his right to free speech
Yesterday’s assassination attempt on historian and journalist Lars Hedegaard elicited a strong reaction from Danish media outlets and politicians, who uniformly offered the 70-year-old their support. Continue reading
MEP says British PM’s plans for more flexible EU are wishful thinking, though an expert argues Cameron is not alone in demanding greater leeway for member states
British PM David Cameron called for an EU that allowed member states greater flexibility
The EU has reached a turning point following British prime minister David Cameron’s highly anticipated speech about the union this morning, according to legislators and policy watchers in Denmark.
Police pressure leads to closure of downtown cafe for cannabis users, but its owner’s mission to decriminalise the drug may have only just begun
As is evidenced by the photograph, Khodr ‘Cutter’ Mehri enjoys smoking cannabis and has vowed to keep up his struggle to decriminalise the drug (Photo: Peter Stanners)
Khodr ‘Cutter’ Mehri is a pro-cannabis activist and provocateur. Through his Facebook page he publicly advertises his exploits: growing high-quality cannabis in his cellar, smoking it openly on the street, and rolling smokeable ‘joints’ while travelling on aeroplanes. His campaign is to decriminalise cannabis, and his strategy is to normalise its use to such an extent that laws banning the use of cannabis will seem out of step and obsolete.