However, this time span is minuscule compared to the long relationship between our two countries. One should not forget that Denmark and Hamburg were neighbours from 1640 up until the 19th century when Altona was ruled by the Danish monarchy and was one of Denmark’s most important harbours.
Today, Germany and Denmark not only share a common border, we also share common values. We believe in open and free societies and economic cooperation. We see these values as important factors when it comes to securing the well-being and prosperity of our countries. Furthermore, these values are part of the core of our common understanding and friendship.
Our cooperation and the prosperity of our countries are taking on yet another dimension with the Fehmarn Belt Fixed Link – the largest German-Danish infrastructural project ever. The Fixed Link is yet another example of Danes and Germans cooperating fruitfully.
The strong friendship and shared values between Germany and Denmark have a strong foundation through many years of mutual understanding and cooperation. This year, for instance, we mark the 60th anniversary of the Bonn-Copenhagen Declarations which confirmed the freedom of language and culture and equal treatment of the German and Danish minorities. The declarations are tangible expressions of our strong relationship.
Together with the Danish Minister for Trade and Development Cooperation, the Crown Princess and I are heading a business delegation of more than 75 Danish companies. We bring the business delegation to Germany under the headline “Danish Living – Dänisch Leben” as most of the companies are active in sectors that reflect the Danish way of life; they concentrate on sustainable living, healthy living, tasty living and stylish living. We believe that each of these sectors contain untapped potential for increased Danish-German cooperation and considerable business opportunities.
Germany is an extremely important business partner for Denmark and in 2014 Germany was Denmark’s largest export market for goods - 17.9% of the total Danish export of goods – equivalent to 110.4 billion Danish kroner - went to Germany. An increase of 8.6% compared to 2013 - and prospects for future cooperation are very positive and promising. Many Danish companies are already active in Germany and have been so for decades, representing great success stories. New companies are eager to start cooperation with their German counterparts.
It is natural for a Danish business delegation to start in Hamburg. Not only historically, but Hamburg has a huge economic and cultural potential and rightfully attracts very many Danish visitors. As Danish member of the International Olympic Committee I follow with great interest Hamburg’s ambition to host the Olympic Games.
Let us make the most of the coming days and find out together how we can best match our needs, competencies and experiences to the benefit of both our business communities and our countries. We both have a lot to offer and a lot to share.
The Crown Princess and I look forward to participating in the many interesting events, and we wish you a productive and enjoyable time. I am sure this will lead to further prosperity and closer friendships between Germans and Danes, and between Hamburg and Denmark.