The relevant minister, Mai Mercado, is concerned by the figures, admitting that things could be better – specifically by making sure the first foster placement is the right one.
“I’ve met a number of them [foster kids] who have been moved many times, and it’s telling that they say that better help early on would have significantly helped them,” Mercado told DR Nyheder.
“It’s not enough just to provide a family framework; some children have special and challenging needs that foster families need to be adequately prepared to tackle.”
Mercado said she has a number of initiatives in the pipeline regarding foster care, including the introduction of a new method to organise foster families.
Today, about 1 percent of all children aged 0-17 are in foster care in Denmark.
There are several reasons why children would move from foster families, including not thriving, the foster family not being able to handle the situation, and municipalities in certain situations placing kids with foster families on a temporary basis until a better match is found.
A survey from the Danish Center for Social Science Research (VIVE) showed that about 80 percent of foster kids aged 0-17 who switched foster families in 2014 said life was better after the change. But the moving about is still a problem, according to experts.
“It could be two, three or four moves, and it often impacts children and youths who are most encumbered and come from vulnerable backgrounds,” Inge Bryderup, a professor of social work at Aalborg University, told DR Nyheder.
In Denmark’s biggest cities, Aarhus Municipality accounted for the highest rate of foster care moves with a staggering 56 percent, followed by Odense (38), Copenhagen (28) and Aalborg (18).
The district court in Herning has fined a restaurant manager 5,000 kroner after he accepted a large cash payment for catering services at a wedding anniversary celebration.
The chef received the fine after being paid 53,000 kroner in cash for preparing the meal at a silver wedding celebration in central Jutland.
Herning’s district court found that, by accepting cash in payment for the service, he was in breach of laws designed to prevent money laundering.
According to the law, businesses are prevented in principle for accepting payments of over 50,000 kroner in cash.
Prosecution authorities had asked for a fine of 10,000 kroner, the minimum that can be given for infringements of this type.
But the court found a smaller fine to be adequate, since the purpose of the payment had been clearly demonstrated, the court wrote on its website.
The chef, who also runs a restaurant, was paid in cash by the customer and deposited the money at his bank shortly afterwards, where he stated that the money was a payment for catering services.
He had asked to be acquitted of the charges, claiming he had not acted negligently.
Previous cases of sanctions being handed out for marginal breaches of Denmark’s money laundering rules have been reported.
These include a car dealership which was in 2017 charged after taking a cash payment of 50,030 kroner for the sale of a vehicle.
The Union of Danish Car Dealerships (Dansk Bilforhandler Union), speaking at the time of that sanction, was critical of the strict application of the rule.
“We’d like to see this limited by triviality. It cannot be right that such a small infraction can result in such a big fine,” the union’s chairperson Karl-Ove Pedersen said of the punishment, which was the result of an excess of 30 kroner being taken in cash by the car dealer.
Sled dogs at work in Greenland. File photo:Lea Meilandt Mathiesen/Ritzau Scanpix
Carriages pulled by dogs are set to be made a legal form of transport on Danish roads.
Minister for Transport Ole Birk Olesen confirmed on Wednesday that Denmark will allow carriages pulled by dogs to travel on roads regulated according to the country’s traffic laws.
The legality of dog-drawn transport had previous been in doubt, resulting in the issue being addressed by Olesen’s ministry.
Traditionally associated with pulling sleds over ice in sub-zero conditions, sled dogs can also pull light carriages on wheels.
“Driving carriages with dogs is a healthy and rewarding recreation and sport that should be allowed in Denmark. And now that I have looked into the issue, I can confirm that it is, in fact, legal on areas covered by the traffic laws,” the minister said in a written statement.
“I have also noted that the industry wishes to be regulated in order to remove doubt about the rules,” he added.
The ministry announcement was welcomed by Dansk Polarhunde Klub (The Danish Sled Dog Club), an association with around 80-100 members who drive dog sleds in forests and other areas in Denmark.
The group said it had seen permits withdrawn by the Ministry of Environment and Food’s Nature Agency on a number of occasions last year. The ministry announcement now provides clearer guidelines on the issue.
“We are extremely positive over being given this approval to continue practicing our recreational interest,” the association’s chairperson Marianne Schlüter said.
“It would be a full-time job to, for example, train the dogs individually while cycling (instead of using a sled),” Schlüter added.
Olesen said that the Nature Agency would still have the ability to regulate use of dog sleds in its role as land administrator. As such, the sled dog club will be required to contact the agency regarding future conditions.
The Nature Agency also reacted positively to the ministry’s statement.
“The Nature Agency is very pleased that the transport ministry has made it completely clear that dog sleds can travel on roads where traffic laws apply,” director Peter Ilsøe said on a statement.
“That means we can once again permit dog sled drivers to, for example, drive along roads in state-owned forests that are suitable for this,” Ilsøe said.
Certain circumstances will continue to preclude the use of dog sleds.
“The national forests have many users, so it’s important that the Nature Agency is able to define conditions in specific places as the landowner,” Ilsøe said.
Olesen said he expected a provision outlining the rules on dog sled use to come into effect on January 1st.
A file photo showing Apple’s data centre at Foulum near Viborg under construction in 2017. Photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix
Planned data centres in Denmark owned by Google, Facebook and Apple appear in conflict with government policy to improve sustainability.
A review by specialist media Ingeniøren has looked into prospective energy use at major new data centres in Denmark.
Facebook’s centre near Odense will provide surplus power to local heating infrastructure Fjernvarme Fyn, according to the report, with up to 100,000 megawatt hours, enough to heat 6,900 homes expected to be gained from excess from the data centre.
Other data centres will be located too far away from district heating networks, placing a prohibitive cost on authorities building cables and new installations to use power from the centres, Ingeniøren writes.
Facebook is building a second data centre near Esbjerg, reported to be the largest in Denmark.
The need for stable and cheap electricity was a major factor in the companies’ choice of locations close to major electricity supply lines, according to documentation provided to Ingeniøren by Invest in Denmark and Apple.
Professor and energy researcher Brian Vad Mathiesen of Aalborg University stressed the need to make use of surplus power and said failing to do so in the case of the data centres was a serious mistake.
“There is unfortunately a tendency for politicians and officials to wrap things up in green packaging without checking that they are actually green and without following up,” Mathiesen said to Ingeniøren.
Christian Ibsen, director of green thinktank Concito, told the magazine that it was vital to ensure minimum environmental impact by data centres.
“Data centres have a very high energy consumption, so steps should be taken to ensure new wind and solar power production. That could be made a requirement,” Ibsen said.
“Furthermore, any surplus power should be used as far as possible in local energy infrastructures, and consideration should be made as where to locate (data centres),” he added.
No rules currently exist regarding use of surplus energy from data centres. Minister for the Environment Lars Christian Lilleholt told Ingeniøren in a written statement that the issue was “on his mind”.
Lilleholt said that he would be disappointed if surplus power from only one of six data centres in Denmark was used, but added it was too early to draw conclusions and thereby place demands on tech giants over use of energy surplus.
Why settle for talked-about craftsmanship when it can be walked above? From ‘Elephant’ to ‘Five Birds’, we’ve got you covered!
Anne Mette Dixen with her poignant ‘Five Birds’ design (photo: Ron Graybill)
October 20th, 2018 6:00 am| by Ron Graybill
A manhole cover featuring a leafy tree and five birds is a regular on the pavements and streets of Copenhagen. It was created by designer Anne Mette Dixen for the HOFOR utility company in 2013. Few people know that for Dixen, the cover has a special meaning, as the bird standing on the bottom edge of the cover is a representation of herself. Just above her fly three other birds: her son and two daughters. And way up in the tree is a little bird – a baby she lost years ago.
Withstanding our weight
Her company Dixen Design has created many prize-winning logos and designs for businesses and cities. Her ‘Five Birds’ cover comes in two styles. On many of the covers, the tree and the birds create the raised surface. But that style proved a little rough for bicycles to cross, so a negative copy was made with the birds and tree depressed into the surface. These are installed on bike paths and elsewhere. It’s just one more way Copenhagen promotes cycling.
The cast-iron manhole covers, mostly circular, protect water, electrical and sewer lines while allowing access for workers from HOFOR. Most of the covers show geometric designs. In the street one might see a ‘40’ in the centre of some covers. These are super-strong covers built to withstand the weight of a 40-tonne truck. The covers on the train platform at Nørreport have a much lower rating. They only have to carry the weight of some hefty travellers.
Never forgotten art
Near Hans Christian Andersen’s statue beside City Hall, two covers illustrate his story of ‘The Steadfast Tin Soldier’. They show Andersen in his top hat, the tin soldier, a twirling ballerina, a rat, and the fish that swallowed him. On some copies the one-legged tin soldier is missing – prised off by selfish souvenir hunters. A ‘Tin Soldier’ cover on Strøget, not far from City Hall, is encircled by an iron ring featuring eight mermaids. Andersen’s tale of the ‘Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep’ graces 14 little drain covers at the bottom of the downspouts along the street-side wall of Rosenborg Castle. And favourite Andersen hangout Tivoli, which inspired him to write ‘The Nightingale’ after he attended its 1843 grand opening, has two charming covers of its own.
Line drawings of 20 elephants march around on another set of manhole covers. They’re not out by the Carlsberg brewery where one might expect them, but in front of Hotel d’Angleterre on Kongens Nytorv and beside Holmens Kirke, near the canal where the tour boats pass. Both the Tin Soldier cover and the elephant cover were created by Peter Hentze (1943-2017), an accomplished Danish sculptor, painter and graphic artist. When Hentze died last year, his funeral was conducted in the chapel of the Holmens church graveyard. It is fitting that a copy of his elephant cover rests beside that church.
Fear not as Hentze has some worthy successors. In 2007 Copenhagen’s sewer system was celebrating 150 years of making the city’s water cleaner and cleaner to the extent the harbour is so clean people can swim in it. A contest was announced challenging children to design a manhole cover.
The winning 11-year old schoolgirl, Fiona, drew a simple version of the three towers from the city’s coat-of-arms and sketched some waves below, adding flowers, fish and raindrops. Fiona is a university student now, and one can still see her manhole covers near the Round Tower and in front of the Design Museum.
A coat of arms is also the inspiration for a splendid cover near the zoo. The three depicted hawks come from the coat of arms of the city’s Frederiksberg section.
Copenhagen’s Metro system put a big ‘M’ in the middle of their iron covers, but they fastened photographic prints of other manhole covers on the floors of some stations. The one on the platform at the Kongens Nytorv station is a picture of Anne’s ‘Five Birds’ cover. Most travellers will never notice that the cover is fake. Looking closely, one can see the cracks between the paving stones running right through the cover.
All over the world people are creating artistic manhole covers and creating art from the covers. Sometimes they are inked then used to block-print t-shirts or tote bags. Sometimes rubbings are made of them. Any number of YouTube videos respond to a search for ‘manhole cover art’.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Jason Lempieri, who studied art in Copenhagen and elsewhere, uses his RethinkTank website to sell an array of cork coasters with images of covers from all over the world. His Copenhagen set of four features the Tivoli, Elephant, Metro and Five Birds covers.
Many of the covers around Copenhagen are made by iron foundries in Norway – either Furnes or Ulefos. Others come from Germany or China.
Anna Mee Allerslev. Photo: Philip Davali/Polfoto/Ritzau
Copenhagen municipal councillor Anna Mee Allerslev has withdrawn from her party’s shortlist of mayoral candidates after it emerged she held her wedding reception at the Rådhuset city hall without paying.
Allerslev wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that she was withdrawing her candidature, after she had faced a barrage of criticism for misuse of power over the issue.
At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Allerslev said that she was leaving Copenhagen politics for good.
“My name will still be on the list [of candidates], it is too late to change that, but let there be no doubt: It’s farewell to politics in Copenhagen,” Allerslev said at the press meeting, reports Politiken.
The Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre) party councillor also confirmed that she would leave her position as leader of the Social Liberal representation on Copenhagen Municipality’s employment and integration committee within the next four days.
“I am leaving for personal reasons. I have requested a meeting with the lord mayor within the next four days, and then I will leave Copenhagen politics. If I am elected my answer will be the same,” she said at the press meeting.
The councillor’s position came under increasing question after it emerged that she held her wedding reception at Copenhagen’s showpiece City Hall without paying to hire the facilities.
Although Allerslev later paid the 65,000 kroner (8,700 euro) rental costs, several of her party colleagues withdrew their support for her candidature for the city’s mayoral post in recent days.
Former chairperson for the Social Liberal party in Copenhagen Bo Nissen Knudsen accused Allerslev of spending her time on lies and intrigues as he left his post on Tuesday.
Knudsen later declined to elaborate on those accusations, which were denied by Allerslev.
Regional councillor with the party Charlotte Fischer on Wednesday accused Allerslev of corruption.
That accusation followed reports published by daily BT claiming Allerslev sent a series of questions to civil servants in Copenhagen relating to cases involving construction company Øens Murerfirma, which is owned by a personal friend of Allerslev’s.
Sten Bønsing, a professor in administrative law at Aalborg University, told news agency Ritzau that the issue relating to the building firm did not constitute corruption.
Bønsing said that he did not necessarily view Allerslev’s conduct as evidence of her being unfit for her position.
Animal welfare volunteers made a less-than-fluffy discovery in an apartment in Denmark last week when they found 46 rabbits.
Many of the rabbits had been mauled by the others in the apartment, reports TV2.
The rabbits were found running freely around a one-room apartment on November 16th, according to the report.
They were not suitable for living together and many had bitten each other, said the Dyrenes Beskyttelse (Animal Protection) organisation.
The charity was made aware of the overcrowded rabbit apartment by a report registered on the 1812 animal welfare emergency number.
The animals were removed from the apartment and brought to an animal shelter in Roskilde, writes TV2.
“An unusually high number of rabbits are involved. This is a serious case in which the rabbits’ needs were far from being met. Many of the rabbits have been unwell for some time, and some had been savaged,” animal protection director Henrik Bucholdtz of Dyrenes Beskyttelse told TV2.
Many of the animals were treated by veterinarians at the shelter and six were put down due to their injuries.
Staff and volunteers at the shelter are now working hard to help the remaining rabbits recover so that new homes can be found for them, according to the report.
Talk about fluid tunes: A group of innovative Danish musicians submerged like fish in an aquarium have created an underwater concerto with instruments specially adapted to resonate in a silent world.
In Aarhus, a concert hall at the Godsbanen culture hub looks more like a fish farm than a music set, with its jumble of water tanks, canisters, tubes, pipes and retrofuturistic objects.
One after the other, the five members of the Between Music band — Laila, Robert, Morten, Dea Maria and Nanna — descend into their own individual glass-paned water tanks for their latest project AquaSonic, where they play the violin, cymbals, bells, a crystallophone with a pedal, and a kind of hurdy gurdy with a long neck.
Hydrophones, or special microphones that pick up the sound of the music in the water, amplify the soundwaves, producing music that resembles the sounds whales make.
A pioneer in the field of aquatic music, Laila Skovmand wears several hats with the ensemble: she is artistic director, music and lyrics writer, and vocalist. She sings both underwater and at the water’s surface.
Like a siren, her lips at water level, Skovmand releases a captivating chant.
“I’m an educated singer and I wanted to explore new songs. I got the idea that if I sang into the surface of the water I might get some other timbre, some delays, so I tried that,” she explains.
The group collaborates with engineers and makers of musical instruments to develop water-resistant instruments whose sounds respect the harmonies composed by Skovmand.
“There are a lot of musical limitations. There are so many things we can’t play because of the struggle with the water, the struggle with the sound, but I think that what the water gives is that special kind of timbre that you can’t get in air,” she says.
The resulting effect is a sound closer to an accompaniment for Tibetan meditation than it is to chamber music. And it’s far from other well-known tributes to water such as Maurice Ravel’s “Fountains” or Luciano Berio’s “Water Piano”.
While the water transports the sound, it also stifles it and slows it down considerably: the effect is a bit like playing Pink Floyd or Jean-Michel Jarre in slow motion.
Musician and producer Robert Karlsson plays the violin — made of carbon fibre — and the crystallophone, a distant relative of the glass harmonica invented by Benjamin Franklin.
Nanna Bech performs the rotacorda, an instrument inspired by a traditional Byzantine hurdy gurdy. It has six stainless steel strings which can make sound either with a sustained pulling of the string or when fingered.
“It’s the only one in the world so I don’t even have a teacher. And that’s a shame!,” she jokes.
Skovmand also plays the hydraulophone, a type of underwater organ.
“We want to show that the impossible is possible, to discover a new element with live music,” says Karlsson.
The band spends the entire performance under water, surfacing regularly as part of the choreography to take breaths of air.
Ahead of the recent Aarhus concert, the ensemble spent almost six hours in the tanks in one afternoon to prepare for that night’s 50-minute performance.
The water is kept at 37°C (99°F).
“We do some diving training, practicing to hold our breath under water,” Bech explains.
And she has developed a special technique to sing under water.
“I can’t let the air bubbles get out of my mouth, because they will become bubbles (in the water) and that makes a lot of noise under water. So I can only make short notes.”
For Karlsson, making music in water has a magical effect on him.
“I’m actually not very fond of water personally. I can feel claustrophobic in a bathtub. But somehow when I get into this tank and am playing an instrument, I get calm and really secure,” he says.
Between Music is currently performing AquaSonic across Europe. After a world premiere in Rotterdam last year, the band is now touring Denmark, and will take part in the International Diaghilev Festival in Perm, Russia in May.
Four different international studies have pointed the finger at Denmark for its record on religious freedoms.
Harassment of Christians in asylum centres, social pressure against circumcision, intimidation of religious minorities and religion-related terror attacks were all cited as causes for concern in the Scandinavian country.
Denmark received a slap on the wrist for its record on religious freedom in four separate reports, writes news agency Ritzau.
The latest of the reports was released by American research centre Pew earlier this month.
The Pew reports states that religious freedom in Denmark regressed significantly between 2007 and 2015, leaving the country amongst Europe’s worst 25 percent of countries in the area.
“Denmark experienced in 2015 several religion-related terror attacks, an escalation in relation to previous years,” Katayoun Kishi, head researcher on the Pew report, told Ritzau.
“In August 2015 an assailant threw a Molotov cocktail at a mosque in Copenhagen, and in February that year Omar Abdel Hamid al-Hussein attacked a cultural centre that was hosting a debate on freedom of speech and synagogue during a bar mitzvah,” she added.
Anti-Islam demonstrations by organisations such as Pegida and Stop Islamification of Denmark are also cited as causes of Denmark’s poor position in the report.
Denmark, which is named in the highly-regarded report for the first time, is also criticised for a 2014 law change forbidding ritual slaughter of animals without anaesthetic as well as increased pressure against the right to circumcise baby boys.
Other organisations that have called out Denmark on religious freedom include Catholic NGO Aid to the Church, which stated its concern about harassment of Christians in Danish asylum centres.
A 2016 UN reported also criticised the Church of Denmark as well as the concept of ‘Danishness’ as being exclusive towards religious minorities, according to the Ritzau report.
Brian Arly Jakobsen, professor in religion and politics and the University of Copenhagen, told newspaper Kristeligt Dagblad that the criticism of the Danish church might be closely related to its unusual status compared to many other countries.
“The high score on state discrimination is due to the high status of the Church of Denmark, which gives it privileges that other religions don’t have. This is classified by Pew and others as being a restriction on religious freedom,” he said.