Denmark and Singapore celebrates 200 years of green ties with new exhibition

A new exhibition celebrating the 200 years of green ties between Singapore and Denmark has launched at Singapore’s Botanical Gardens and is now open to the public. 

Historic Danish footprints

Singapore and Denmark share a collaborative history with green ties that span 200 years and responsible for Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Denmark In Singapore, Annette Østergaard Jørgensen explains that the exhibition pays tribute to Nathaniel Wallich – a Danish surgeon and botanist who has been of great importance in botany throughout Asia – but especially in Singapore and India. 

Nathaniel Wallich sailed for India after graduating as a surgeon in Copenhagen in 1807. Some years later he became interested in the flora of India, and undertook expeditions to Nepal, West Hindustan, and lower Burma.

In 1822 he was invited by Sir Stamford Raffles to help design and build Singapore’s first botanical garden, the forerunner to Singapore’s Botanic gardens, which made him key in establishing the city-state’s reputation as a “Garden City”. This botanic garden was set up at Fort Canning Hill, known as Government Hill at that time. This marked the beginning of the green ties between Singapore and Denmark.

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Nathaniel Wallich published two books, Tentamen Florae Nepalensis Illustratae and Plantae Asiaticae Rariores

Present-day ties between Denmark and Singapore

The exhibition also celebrates modern examples of the good green agenda cooperation between Denmark and Singapore and future green ties between the two nations, Annette Østergaard Jørgensen notes. 

The Ministry of the Environment in Singapore and Denmark’s MoU on environmental collaboration within the water, environment, and sustainable development which spans for five years can be mentioned. The agreement sets the scene for green collaboration and aims to build partnerships between Singaporean and Danish companies, research institutions, and government agencies. This involves exchanging information, promoting ties between government bodies, conducting study visits, building public-private partnerships and pilot projects, and much more.

Today there are more than 350 Danish companies registered in Singapore and several of these are also setting Danish green footprints in the Garden City. One such company is the Danish company Ramboll, a consulting engineering group that champions bright ideas and sustainable change with innovative solutions for a greener and more sustainable city. At their localities, the organization combines local experience with a global knowledge base to create sustainable cities and societies and some of their Singapore collaborations include a few well-loved and publicly accessible gardens, parks, and nature-clad built environments in Singapore.

These projects are also highlighted in the exhibition, Annette Østergaard Jørgensen says.

Building a greener future together 

The exhibition was officially opened on 23 November by the Group director of the Botanical Gardens, Dr. Tan Puay Yok, and Denmark’s Ambassador to Singapore Sandra Jensen Landi.  

“As the Ambassador of Denmark to Singapore, I am proud to welcome you to this exhibition that celebrates the 200 years of green ties between Singapore and Denmark. Today, Singapore and Denmark collaborate on creating green solutions by sharing challenges, best practices, and innovative ideas. This exhibition highlights present-day examples of the combined efforts of Singaporean and Danish companies in creating new and innovative solutions for a greener and more sustainable city. I hope you will enjoy the exhibition,” Ambassador Sandra Jensen Landi said. 

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Ambassador Sandra Jensen Landi and Group Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens Dr. Tan Puay Yok

Minister of State Kiat How Tan for the Ministry of National Development and Communication has also taken part in the celebrations of the 200-year green ties between the two nations and during a special event on 3 December, he toured the exhibition together with Ambassador Sandra Jensen Landi and Group Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens Dr. Tan Puay Yok.

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Minister of State Kiat How Tan with Ambassador Sandra Jensen Landi and Group Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens Dr. Tan Puay Yok. Photo courtesy: Embassy of Denmark in Singapore

Building a green future together 

Not only did Singapore and Denmark plant the seeds of the green ties 200 years ago, but the seeds also continue to grow as both nations have set ambitious goals for a greener and more sustainable future by reducing carbon emission and aiming to transition to green energy. 

The Singapore Green Plan 2030 includes targets to increase the adoption of cleaner energy vehicles, greener infrastructure, and an energy reset. Singapore’s energy sector has come a long way since its early days. Over the last 50 years, Singapore has moved from oil to natural gas and is continually exploring new options for a greener energy supply, including regional power grids, solar systems, low-carbon alternatives, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage.

Denmark aims to reduce 70% of its CO2 emissions by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. Green energy has been a top priority in Denmark and a new climate action plan with two giant “Wind Energy Islands” paves the way to transition to green energy from the use of fossil fuels. This project is the world’s most ambitious offshore wind project and Denmark’s biggest infrastructure investment ever.

The exhibition is free and running until 2 January so make sure you come and see it at the Green Pavilion, (near Tanglin Gate) in Singapore’s Botanical Gardens. Find more information here

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

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