- Ms. Consul, how has the Danish colony established on the Costa del Sol?
Regarding to Danish residents outside Denmark, the Danish colony in the Costa is the largest one. Currently, we deal with approximately 30,000 Danish residents, permanently settled in within the Consulate area, this fact shows the importance, in general terms, this colony
has for the society and the economy of the Coast.
- Since when can we say this colony established on the Coast?
The Danish colony on the Costa begins its gradual settlement in the 70s at the beginning of leisure and tourism culture. Those first Danish pioneers of the current colony were first attracted by the Coast as a tourist destination. Later they were engaged in more stable relationships with our environment and decided to live here enticed by the mild climate of the Coast, the benefits of the lifestyle and obviously, the evident advantages of their purchasing power because of their own currency exchange. Clearly, these first Danish residents found the optimum conditions to establish and develop their life project.
At first, many couples established themselves in the Coast with their children already born in Denmark or even Danish who married Spaniards then settled forming mixed marriages. Although this first generation of Danish adapted well to the new social environment, the second generation of Danish live fully integrated into the Spanish culture and society, without abandoning the roots of their own culture.
- Where is your major settlement?
According to official data Mijas is the town with the largest Danish population, but nevertheless, the fact is that there is a lot of Danish citizens along the Coast, especially in Marbella and Fuengirola, but also all along the eastern and western Coast.
In recent years, the number of Danish residents has increased purchasing a property and establishing their business here. These tend to be professionals or highly specialized entrepreneurs on permanent or seasonal basis. The Danish are very welcome, respected and accepted in the communities where they settle.
In addition, we must highlight the significant presence of some large Danish companies in our area of commercial influence; for example, Maersk has one of the largest container sites in Algeciras; Bestseller is one of the most reputable firms in the textile sector and is located in Torremolinos, but they are now preparing to move their facilities to Malaga. Obviously, these large companies are followed by other medium and small companies that contribute to the development of the business network, creating jobs and wealth. It seems that Danish investments in Spain are growing and, above all, spreading across various sectors. Danish investments in Spain are growing and, above all, spreading across various sectors.
- Do you believe that there has been an exchange between two cultures, or do they simply remain independent? Is there a mixture?
A feature of the Danish, much appreciated by the natives of the area, is that they were able to combine their own lifestyle idiosyncrasies with the Spanish culture, which is much more apparent in the second and third Danish generation we talked about before. Perhaps the first generation may have less mixture of cultures since those early Danish reached the Coast in the 70s, as adults, do not or could not, learn the language, yet today the situation is reversed and both residents, and non-residents such as tourists and other Danish floating population, usually are deeply involved in the culture and lifestyle of the area.
Keep in mind that most of the Danish population speaks very good English and therefore it is easy to handle on the Coast and those with interest learn Spanish quite easily.
Denmark is ranked amongst the five countries in the world that reach the goals set by the United Nations for the development of social welfare. It is frequent to see in international rankings how Denmark is recognized for its balance and social equality, political transparency, it´s almost zero levels of administrative corruption, its high wage and low unemployment, this means that citizens have assumed the same social and economic commitment within populations where Danish have settled and somehow this mentality and way of thinking is spreading to their companies, employees and environment that make them, in general, considered very good citizens, professionals and entrepreneurs.
- What do you think has one culture contributed to the other?
Obviously the style and way of understanding life in Costa has permeated the mindset of Danish and vice versa. Among the countries of Northern Europe, the Danish are called the North “Latinos”, and I think that’s right.
In the last 20 years, I think that Spaniards, and the Andalusian in particular, have exported their vision of life to the rest of Europe, as a result of tourism. In fact European capitals have positively changed the environment of their cities, making them more outgoing. A clear example is the spread of “terraces”, that flood all the European cities from the last 10 years and that were unthinkable years ago. It is one of the contributions of the concept of “social life outside home” that obviously tourism has spread beyond our borders.
- Do you think that the current crisis has damaged this exchange, or, on the contrary, favored this exchange?
Currently only about 1.6% of the Danish foreign sales are directed to Spain. In the case of imports, Spain is in thirteenth place with a market share of approximately 1.3%, making clear that we must encourage the Danish and Spanish companies to explore their opportunities for trading.
Denmark is a country with an important and historic commercial vocation and logistics, which explains its openness and the excellent performance of its external sector. In this context of wide economy, the role of Spain is still limited, but growing, in relation to other neighbor countries.
Spanish investments in Denmark are significantly lower, although in recent years there is a slow but steady process of establishment of Spanish companies through the acquisition of companies already established or establishing subsidiaries. One issue to highlight is the increase of local students who choose Denmark as the country to do their postgraduate and Erasmus grants, becoming the seeds of bilateral future relations.
- As a Danish, what are the values that highlight Andalucía?
In my case I am Spanish but I think sympathy, family, friendship concept, open minded, and in resume, our way of life, are attractive values for any foreign citizen to live here.