Denmark’s newest prince christened Henrik

The name of Denmark’s newest prince was revealed as Henrik during his christening ceremony on Sunday, ending a long wait for royal family watchers.

The baby, almost three months old, was baptised “Henrik Carl Joachim Alain” in a church in the village of Moegeltoender, where his parents were married.  The prince, seventh in line to the Danish throne, was born on May 4 and is the third son of Prince Joachim, 40, who is the son of Denmark’s Queen Margrethe.

The youngster’s mother Princess Marie, 33, is French-born but took Danish nationality when she wed Joachim.  The young Henrik takes his name from his grandfather French-born Prince Henrik, who is Queen Margrethe’s husband.  Joachim is the second son of Margrethe and Henrik.

In April 2005, Joachim divorced Princess Alexandra, originally from Hong Kong, after around 10 years of marriage.  The couple had two sons, nine-year-old Nikolai and seven-year-old Felix.  Joachim has a residence in Moegeltoender, a small village in southwest Denmark close to the German border.

Danish media also made mention on Sunday of the confusion caused by a German magazine dedicated to royalty, called Freizeit Royal.  The publication believed it had come across a major scoop with the revelation the prince would be called “Farvel”.  This was the word Princess Marie uttered as she left the maternity unit, and the magazine was convinced this was the new prince’s name.

But just one minor problem: “Farvel” means “goodbye” in Danish.


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Denmark plans forces for Arctic

Denmark plans to set up an Arctic military command and task force because the melting of the ice cap is opening up access to the region’s resources.

Denmark’s activities will be focused on its vast ice-covered island Greenland and the Faroe Islands.  Details of the plan, for the period 2010-2014, have emerged in recent days. Danish MPs approved it last month.

The retreat of sea ice is fuelling rivalry between Russia, Denmark and other nations bordering on the Arctic.  Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the US are staking claims to Arctic territory, based on geological and other data collected in the region. The sovereignty claims are being submitted to the UN.

The Danish plan said the increasing activity in the Arctic “will change the region’s geostrategic significance and thus entail more tasks for the Danish Armed Forces”.

Denmark will set up a joint-service Arctic Command and is considering expanding the military base at Thule in northern Greenland, which was a vital link in US defences during the Cold War.

Denmark will also create an Arctic Response Force, using existing Danish military capabilities that are adapted for Arctic operations. The defence plan also speaks of using combat aircraft for “surveillance and upholding sovereignty in and around Greenland”.

Copenhagen has ruled Greenland for three centuries. But Greenland – with just 57,000 inhabitants – now has a large degree of autonomy. It is set to take a greater share of the revenues from its natural resources.

Russia expects the Arctic to become its main source of oil and gas within the next decade and in March it announced plans to set up a military force to protect its interests there.

And in 2007 Canada announced plans to build two military facilities in the far north in a bid to assert its sovereignty in the Arctic.

The Arctic is estimated to contain as much as 25% of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas, and global warming is opening up new drilling possibilities.

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Should Danish Culture be more international?

Should Danish culture become more international?

Citing a report by Kristen Bjørnkjær for the Danish daily news website, euro|topics presents the arguments for opening up the country that nurtured the talents of Olafur Eliasson, among many other artists. After gaining power, Denmark’s conservative government has gone for the open approach by announcing that Danish culture should show the influences of interacting with foreign cultures beyond the country’s borders.

 “The funds that flew into individual communities so far have mainly gone to projects that encompass international cooperation,” writes Bjørnkjær. “This is why the communities are wracking their brains for ideas that integrate foreign artists. . . . Danish painters are moving to Berlin, films are exported, books translated.” But according to Bjørnkjær, the state could do much more than simply promote this development.

Citing Mark Lorentzen of the Copenhagen Business School, Bjørnkjær points to a fundamental problem: “The Danish ministry of culture sees culture as a way of making money.”

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