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Danish cities partner up with Manchester in bilateral culture push

Minister of Culture Mette Bock launched on February 25 2019 The International Cultural Panel's cultural initiative in the UK at Utzon Center in Aalborg. The aim of the effort is to tie closer connections between Manchester City in the UK and Aalborg and Aarhus municipalities.

Manchester, Aalborg, Aarhus
From left: Danish Minister Mette Bock, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Director of the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces Morten Lautrup Larsen, Deputy Mayor of Culture from Aarhus Rabih Azad-Ahmad, Deputy Mayor of Culture from Aalborg Mads Duedahl and member of Arts Council England Michael Eakin. 

Minister of Culture Mette Bock says about the partnership:

"With Brexit and the UK's farewell to the EU, there is more than ever the need for us to maintain and cultivate closer relations between Denmark and the UK in terms of export, exchange and mutual inspiration. At the same time, the interest from the UK to learn from Denmark is strong, and cultural exchange is a fundamental element in the historically close ties between Great Britain and Denmark. We must stick to and further develop them.

The special thing about this particular joint cultural initiative is that it connects the cities with long-term partnerships, so that Manchester, Aarhus and Aalborg can inspire each other through international cultural exchanges. This applies both at an artistic level, on an institutional level and in relation to the societal challenges that cities in growth experience in both Denmark and the UK when it comes to, for example, the interaction between culture and health sectors and in relation to urban development."

In Aalborg Municipality, they are looking forward to the strengthened cooperation with the UK.

Health and Cultural Councillor Mads Duedahl, Municipality of Aalborg, says:

"Aalborg is in a rapid development these years, where the cultural area in particular is one of the driving forces. Therefore, we are very happy to be able to participate in the cultural venture with Manchester and Aarhus. The international inspiration is important for the development of our cultural area, and the fact that the exchange takes place directly between cities makes the road to new knowledge and new cultural projects shorter. I look forward to institutions and not least the artists enjoying this unique opportunity"

Aarhus is also pleased to be part of the cultural effort with Manchester.

Councilor Rabih Azad-Ahmad, Culture and Citizens' Services, Aarhus Municipality, says:

"There is a very special cultural connection between Great Britain and Denmark. For example, British films and TV shows have always been very popular in Denmark, and fortunately, Danish TV series such as The Killing, Borgen and the Bridge have created a large audience in the UK.

The word "hygge" even got in the Oxford English Dictionary. Therefore, I am incredibly pleased that the close ties between our countries are further enhanced with even more cooperation. "

Facts about cultural cooperation with the UK

At the launch at Utzon Centre in Aalborg, the Deputy Mayors for Culture from Aarhus and Aalborg, Rabih Azad-Ahmad and Mads Duedahl, Executive Member for Culture and Leisure from Manchester City, Luthfur Rahman, and members from the Arts Council England will participate.

Ten leading British cultural personalities from Manchester also participate in the launch, where they will be able to meet their Danish partners from Aarhus and Aalborg.

The overall purpose of the International Cultural Panel's cultural efforts in the UK is to establish strong networks and strengthen the narrative of Denmark towards the British population and the British business community.

At the same time, the effort is being followed up on the successful, joint Nordic initiative "Nordic Matters in 2017", which took place at the Southbank Centre in London. The cultural effort will therefore focus on the new, emerging cultural centres that are flourishing outside the British capital. The cultural effort is a collaboration between Aarhus and Aalborg municipalities and Manchester City. The Arts Council England, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture support the collaboration. In addition, the Danish Arts Foundation is involved in a number of projects.

It is the Danish Agency for Culture and Palaces and the Danish Embassy in London, which has taken the initiative for the collaboration with the Arts Council England to link closer ties between Manchester, Aarhus and Aalborg, and this is the first time that Danish municipalities have been part of an international cultural exchange organized by the International Cultural Panel.