What are they doing at the Embassy of Denmark? With that question attached to their invitation, a team from the embassy arrived at the Admiral’s Restaurant & Pub in downtown Bangkok for the monthly networking evening determined to provide the answer. Led by the Ambassador himself, the four-person team found the venue already getting filled with curious Bangkok-based Danes and other nationalities with either a commercial or emotional attachment to Denmark.
By the time the President of the Danish-Thai Chamber of Commerce, Tom Sorensen, grabbed the microphone at around 7pm, the room was packed to capacity… and beyond. Numerous extra chairs were brought in to seat as many members of the overflowing crowd as possible. After Tom Sorensen’s welcome, the Danish Ambassador, Ulrik Helweg-Larsen took the floor to a lingering, acknowledging applause – in light of their past months of hard work following the Tsunami disaster.
Free Beer and Embassy Duties
During the 1-hour presentation the crowd got an insight into many of the various aspects of the Embassy’s daily duties – meanwhile waiters were twisting in and out among the many tables, busy maintaining the supply lines with free beer.
Kit Clausen from the Danida section informed about the Embassy’s involvement with Danish aid work activities – including the upcoming efforts to re-build the Tsunami-struck regions in the southern Thailand. Consul Ulrik Holt Sorensen elaborated on the consular duties – such as the assistance in marriage or divorce agreements, legal matters, visas etc. Poul Skov-Petersen from the Embassy’s Commercial section spoke especially to the businessmen in the room about the Danish Trade Counsel and its ways to help Danish companies set up a presence in Thailand.
A relaxed Ambassador finished off the presentation, after which the so-called “Networking Evening” really began living up to its name. The waiters had their work cut out for them as many decided to place their dinner orders. As was to be expected, conversations with members of the Embassy team were in high demand.
We Should Do This Again
In the five-year-history of these monthly Networking Evenings no guest speakers have been able to attract such a large crowd as the Danish Embassy. Thus, it was a satisfied ambassador who stayed behind to mingle.
“It’s important to us that people know what we as a Danish Embassy can offer, and also what we cannot offer. Most people know that we assist with visa applications, help Danish tourists in emergency situations, and can assist Danish companies who want to do business out here. But it’s good for us to explain the rationale for our presence here,” he told ScandAsia.dk.
“People seemed really interested in hearing about what we do. I think it would be a good idea for us to do this again on a more regular basis – perhaps once a year or so. It’s a great atmosphere and a good setting for such an event, too,” the Ambassador concluded.
The large turn-out and the obvious interest people showed in hearing about the Embassy’s daily work sent some clear signals to the Embassy staff.
“It shows us that this was not only a really good idea, but also necessary thing to do. It’s not always enough to tell people that they should just visit our website for all the information,” said the Embassy’s Commercial Counsellor, Poul Skov-Petersen.