Both sides of the Fehmarnbelt: cooperation and a new brand
01-08-2013Tourism & Culture
It is no longer a case of somewhere, but in between: On both sides of the Fehmarnbelt, between Hamburg and Öresund, the establishment of cooperation’s and common interests is brewing. A new Kooperationsrat will now be coordinating the interests between Hamburg and Puttgarden along the German axis. The Danish side is not to be outdone, with closer cooperation between the City of Copenhagen, the regions and the municipalities under the brand of Copenhagen under way.

The geography between the metropolises is no longer somewhere, but in between, as the Minister of Bussiness for Schleswig-Holstein, Reinhard Meyer, stressed to the news agency dpa.

The words of the Minster were uttered in connection with the establishment of a Kooperationsrat in Lübeck in mid July. The purpose of this 'cooperation council' is rather straightforward: Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein will work together to reap the maximum benefits of the development which will come with the fixed link under Fehmarnbelt.

But they are not the only ones who will be able to profit from the expansion and modernisation of the infrastructure.  The smaller towns, villages and municipalities along the A1 motorway from Hamburg via Lübeck towards Putgarden want a piece of the pie too.

That is why all partners have now signed a 'Letter of Intent' - obligating them to keep each other in the loop about their respective activities. Moving forward, the parties will also coordinate their actions and activities in the wake of the establishment of the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel. This is especially the case for the planning and expansion of new areas of business, the solving of labour market barriers, cultural exchange and tourism.

The members of the council are representatives from Eastern Holstein, Segeberg, Stormarn, Herzogtum Lauenburg and North-West Mecklenburg.  The city of Lübeck, Lübeck Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Business Ministries of the federal states Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein are also represented.

Welcome to Copenhagen

At the same time, another large and ambitious initiative is happening on the other side of Fehmarnbelt.

This time it is Copenhagen, who, together with the Capital Region of Denmark, Region Zealand, the municipal council contacts for the Capital Region and Zealand (KKR), has initiated a cooperation under the name ''Focused Growth Agenda'' (Fokuseret Vækstdagsorden). This agenda also contains a common branding for the 46 municipalities and the two regions on Zealand and Lolland-Falster - known as Copenhagen.

The initiative was discussed at a meeting of Mayors in Roskilde in August, where Mayors, Regional Council members and Municipality Directors got together. Here, the unanimous message was clear:  Denmark, and the capital city, cannot keep up with the competition from other European metropolises.

The facts cannot be disputed: the capital region is losing ground to other European metropolises when it comes to attracting businesses that can create regional growth and employment. Whilst Stockholm saw a growth increase of 5 % from 2010-2012, the same number was only 0,4 % for Copenhagen-Malmö during the same period.

'Global competition is fierce, and Denmark is a small country. That makes it crucial for us to work together and to acknowledge that the cities and the rural areas are reliant on each other when it comes to attracting investments and create growth. We should not be thinking locally and small-scale; but regionally and large-scale', says the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen to kk.dk.

Eight joint initiatives

This common brand, Copenhagen, encompasses eight initiatives to strengthen the regions international competitiveness.  A joint visitor's service should be established, functioning as a one-shop-stop for international delegations wanting to visit the area. A common investment portal should also be created, allowing international investors an overview of areas in the region where they can get involved in construction projects or buy plots of land for building purposes.