When Denmark was at its Best – in Hanoi

“Most often the Embassy deals with government representatives and professionals from various organizations and businesses in Vietnam,” explains Danish Ambassador to Vietnam Peter Lysholt Hansen as the background for arranging the week “Denmark at its best” “I think it is time that we make a broad outreach to the general public in Vietnam to tell more about Denmark and the things we Danes are good at,” he says.
    Helene Jordan, Cultural and Environmental Counsellor of the Embassy of Denmark Hanoi agree. “The purpose of the week was to promote Denmark and show some of the things we are good at. These are things such as environmentally friendly energy and effectiveness”, she says.
    The embassy had therefore invited a number of Danish sportsmen, cultural personalities and experts on energy and environment in order to perform and hold workshops and seminars. “And from our point of view everything went fine. We have had very positive response both from Vietnamese and Danish participants,” she says.

Environment and energy

One of the major themes for the week was environment and energy. On November 13th the Embassy had arranged a seminar with the title “Danish Experience of Growth Without Increasing Energy Consumption.”
    “The purpose of the seminar is to introduce “The Danish Model” on energy and environmental policy as well as to demonstrate how Danish companies have developed to be world class suppliers of environmental and energy technologies,” explains Ambassador Peter Lysholt Hansen.
    Judging from the interest in the seminar, it was a success. “We were completely overwhelmed by the number of participant. We had calculated around a 100 but actually around 180 showed up,” says Helene Jordan. Among them were participant from ministries, research institutes and various companies.
    The seminar was opened by Dr. Pham Khoi Nguyen, Vietnamese Minister of Natural Resources and Environment and Danish Ambassador to Vietnam, Mr. Peter Lysholt Hansen.
Dr. Nguyen expressed great interest in Danish technologies and know how within energy and environment praising Denmark as one of Vietnam’s key partners in this field.
    “One of the things that we really wanted to make Vietnam pay attention to, is the fact that Denmark has doubled its GDP over a period of 30 years without increasing the energy consumption,” says Helene Jordan.  “If we can make people in Vietnam reflect about this and put it into a Vietnamese context, then I really think Denmark can teach other countries something. Just as we can learn something from Vietnam,” she says.

Culture and Sport
The program of the week also included several cultural activities with a Danish focus.
    “We wanted to show something about voluntary sport in Denmark. That’s why we had a badminton team from DGI, (Danish Gymnastics and sports Association),” says Helene Jordan. The badminton team conducted workshops and played friendly matches in the streets in order to put focus on DGI as an organisation and the importance of voluntary sport in general.
    The Danish film director and multi artist Erik Clausen gave on November 15th a talk about free thought before screening his film “Me and Mama Mia”.
    Modern dance was also on the programme. The Danish Dancers from the group Åben Dans Ole Birger Hansen and Thomas Eisenhard held workshops on modern dance for Vietnamese students and teachers at the University of Cinema and Theatre, Military College of Arts and Culture, Vietnam opera and Ballet Theatre. Theatre reviewer Anne Middelboe Christensen presented lectures on Danish Moderns Dance History.
    The group “Åben Dans” also performed their show “Arms and legs – and something in between”.  Danish-Vietnamese Cultural Development and Exchange Fund had arranged a Modern Dance Competition with the participation of seven performances. As a new concept in Vietnam, the audience were asked to decide the winner was introduced.

Positive response
Overall the Danish embassy in Hanoi is very satisfied with the events of the week.
“We have had very positive response both from the Danish and the Vietnamese participants,” says Helene Jordan. “We hope that the contact that has been made for example between the different cultural groups will last.
    The next task for the Embassy is now to gather all the ideas and experiences in case a similar event will take place in the future.   
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we will have an other event but if it will be exactly the same will be difficult to say,” she says “But if we do, we will definitely be in a better position to do it,” she finishes.

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