In the post-war period there are many parallels between the developments on both sides of the Sound. Both countries undergo a second industrialization phase with increasing wealth, and it picks up speed in the 1960´s. The population in the towns along the coast increases considerably, municipalities are planned and merged, larger regional units are created and houses are built like never before.
|The idea of creating a cohesive region of the area around the Sound is not new. The first concrete bridge plans appeared during the industrialization of the 19th century. More proposals were to follow, but it was not until the last decades of the 20th century that the decision makers on both sides of the Sound became serious about the proposals.
But the market conditions are not in sync on both sides of the Sound. The improved transportation, and means of communication, and the European regional policy, does, however, further a development, where the citizens of the Sound region are able to raise their standard of living by going where the need for labour is highest and where housing prices are lowest.
The large shipyard industries of the Sound region had a hard time trying to cope on the world market, which meant the closing down of the shipyards in Elsinore, Landskrona and Malmø.
Elsinore municipality made it through this crisis by becoming and attractive newcomer area. Well-educated and highly paid citizens from the metropolitan area came to the area because of the forest, beach and fast transportation to their work places in Copenhagen.
In Scania Landskrona and Malmø, were the first to become affected by the crisis. In Malmø the population dropped in spite of a large number of newcomer immigrants. A comprehensive aiming at education and the need for labour in connection with the land layout of the Sound Bridge and the building of the bridge itself, contributed to the fact that the city overcame the consequences of the many lost jobs.
With the opening of the Sound Bridge between Copenhagen and Malmo in the summer of 2000 this development picked up speed.
The Golden Age of the Ferries
|After July 12th 1952 passports were no longer needed between Denmark, Sweden and Norway. That led to a much more intensive traffic between Denmark and Sweden. Another reason for the increasing travel desire was the tax-exempted restaurants onboard and a large part of the traffic developed into pure pleasure travel. Gradually the ferry traffic was concentrated to the north Sound and after the opening of the Sound Bridge there is only traffic between Elsinore and Helsingborg.
At midnight in July 12th 1952 the passport free conditions were introduced between the Nordic countries and the following day there was a lot a activity in the Sound, when 55.000 passengers and almost 4000 cars crossed the Sound on the ferries. The passport free conditions and the increasing motoring resulted in a further need of ferries. Gradually the ferry traffic developed into pleasure traffic parallel to the business traffic.
Helsingborg´s Dagblad, July 13th 1952
In the 50´s the Copenhagen boats became a clear element in the Scanian harbours. The little white boat ”Saint Ibb” had taken ”moonlight trips” from Copenhagen to Ven, Helsingborg and Mölle. ”Stadt Kiel sailed Helsingborg/Landskrona and Copenhagen for many years, but the shipping company, who really picked up speed was the Viking Boats. Their boats sailed the Sound from 1955 to 1968. They mainly sailed from Copenhagen to Landskrona and Helsingborg, but sometimes also to Malmo and Ven. Above all they were used for pleasure traffic. The ferry ticket wasn’t always that important and they gave out free tickets everywhere. Many had so many free tickets that they were impossible to use. It was evident that that it was the food and the drink, which provided income for the shipping company.
At this time the so-called Scarlett-boats sailed between Landskrona and Copenhagen. Their history is special. In Denmark after the war there was a lack of American dollars, which made i impossible to get American goods and American films. Thus the Danes missed the Hollywood film ”Gone With the Wind”, which was shown in Swedish cinemas in 1939. A Danish ship owner, Jørgen Jensen, had the brilliant idea of starting a cinema line. Ships were provided in 1949 for this cinema transport, which sometimes was combined with a Bakken (Danish amusement park) transport. They sailed the Swedes to Bellevue, so they could go to Bakken. And then they sailed to Copenhagen to collect Danes to cinemas in Sweden.
To begin with they went to Palladium in Malmo, where ”Gone With the Wind” was shown, but form the summer of 1949 the cinema trips went to Landskrona. While the films were showed the Swedes were taken home from Bellevue and when the Swedes were taken home the film had ended and the Danes was sailed to Copenhagen. On the way food and drink were served at low costs and there was life music and dancing.
This traffic was the background for the so-called Scarlett boats, which trafficked Landskrona and Tuborg until 1980. Scarlett O´Hara in the film ”Gone with the Wind” gave names to the boats, for instance Hanne Scarlett, Lilli Scarlett and Dana Scarlett.
The Sound Law
Many boats were floating restaurants and there was a lot of drinking. The restaurant owners in the Sound towns protested against the unfair competition as the boats could serve tax-free alcohol. In addition it was known to be quite lively onboard and the Danish and Swedish governments decided in 1961 to lessen the attraction of these pleasure trips. The Sound law, limitations in the alcohol sale were introduced and in the performing of live music. The amount of alcohol and the amount of cigarettes had to be in proportion with the number of passengers. After that the customs authorities often thought that the number of passengers did not correspond to the amount of alcohol that was sold and the number of Copenhagen boats diminished considerably.
Form Monopoly to Competition in the H-H-Line
Even Adam of Bremen established that the shortest distance between Scania and Zealand is at Helsingborg and it was not strange that the most intensive traffic landed there.
The traffic on the H-H-Line in the beginning of the 50´s was run entirely by the DSB (Danish State Railways), but in 1955 there was competition. It was the Swedish company Linjebuss (LB), who with its first ferry, Betula, began its epoch on the Sound. Betula was owned by the Swedish Sugar Factories Ltd. and sailed sugar beet cargoes between Mörbylånga in Öland and Begkvara at the Småland coast. This transport was seasonally adjusted to say the least and at other times the boat could be sued at the H-H- Line as a car ferry. Primula, Carola, Betula II, Regula and Ursula followed up Betula. The LB boats became popular and the concept of ”touring” was introduced as the name for a passage with the serving of food.
The LB-ferries was for a long time considered more cosy with their high salons, who had a nice view of the Sound, in comparison to DSB´s ”basement ferries”, where you had to sit below the car deck. On the LB you glided, but on the DSB you glided. In Helsingborg the basement ferries were called ”the U-boats”. DSB did not build a boat with salons above the car deck until 1967. It was ”Najaden”, and later the sister-ferry ”Kärnan”, ”Kronborg” and ”Holger Danske”. With this the DSB had seriously entered the competition. Another company would enter the H-H-traffic, and that was the so-called Sundbusserne”, which started traffic in March 1958. They solely aimed at the passenger traffic.
Elsinore Harbour 1955
Enormous Traffic all Over the Sound
The Sound traffic increased and the harbours in the Sound had really become lively by the end of the 1950´s.
In the 1960´s the DSB ferries Dan, Helsingør, Helsingborg, Svea, Kronborg and Kärnan sailed the Sound. The LB ferries were at that time Betula and Primula and the Sundbusserne Henrik I, Jeppe, Pendula and Pernille. In addition the route to Snekkersten was trafficked by Freia and Mols. Helsingborg-Copenhagen was trafficked by Gay Viking, Rolf Viking, Laboe, Lucullus, Stadt Kiel and Sankt Ibb.
At this time 20 ships sailed between Helsingborg and harbours on the other side of the Sound. The number of boats, lines and travellers were impressing at the end of the 50´s and the beginning of the 60´s. In the H-H-line approximately 8 millions passenger were transported in 1961. In 1962 after the introduction of the Sound law, the passenger number in the H-H-line increased to 8,5 millions, but the traffic in Copenhagen diminished, i.e. the traffic that was entirely pleasure trips.
Between Malmø and Copenhagen the train ferry Malmøhus sailed, the most elegant boat in the Sound, and the Sound company´s Absalon, Gripen and Ørnen. These three were called ”the big boats”. From 1957 the Centrum Line or, as it was called initially, the New Copenhagen Line, sailed between Malmø and Copenhagen with more boats, among them the old Kalmarsund I, which had renamed Kirsten Piil and had been used on the line Helsingborg-Copenhagen, Sundpilen and MS Alte Liebe, renamed Ørestad. That same year ”Limhamn” and ”Dragør” trafficked the line Limhamn-Dragør and the route Landskrona-Tuborg was trafficked by the Scarlett-lines. This description of the traffic around 1960 does not cover all the facts, but the question is if the 1955-60 was not the most intensive, when it comes to the number of boats on the Sound.
The Train Ferry Malmøhus
Concentration in the H-H-line
Gradually as the motoring gained more importance the ferry traffic was concentrated more and more to the north Sound, where the distance across the water was the shortest. As the great Europe roads from Gothenburg and Stockholm met in Helsingborg, it became natural to take the closest way to Denmark. When the train ferry Malmøhus was closed down in the middle of the 80´s, there were only ferries left between Limhamn and Dragør in the south Sound parallel to the hydrofoil boats between Malmø and Copenhagen.
In 1972 more than 11 millions passenger sailed between Helsingborg and Elsinore and in 1998 more than 13 millions passengers sailed the H-H-line. It was like transporting the whole Danish and Swedish population in just one year!
The following conversation between a man from Helsingborg and a man from Elsinore took place in the middle of the 70´s.
- I think that Helsingborg is the largest passenger harbour in the world.
- I see!
- Do you know which is the second largest?
- Could that be New York?
- Could it be London?
- Could it be Dover or Calais?
- I give up, which is it?
- But then Elsinore is as big as Helsingborg!
- No... We have boats for Snekkersten!
Today (2003) the H-H-Line is trafficked by three companies. The number of boats is small in comparison with the golden days around 1960, but the number of passengers is still impressive, in spite of the emergence of the Sound Bridge. In 2002 12 millions persons travelled with the ferries between Elsinore and Helsingborg and these cities are the only ones that still have boat traffic across the Sound. The large ferries Tycho Brahe, Aurora and Hamlet have a whole different capacity than the boats in the 50´s and 60´s.
But there are those, who plan for a tunnel between Helsingborg and Elsinore.
In the inter-war period a fine building tradition was developed in Elsinore by the renowned mayor Peder Christensen (King Peder). They started early with non-profit building, co-operative houses and cluster houses, for instance ”Hamlet´s Vænge” (1920) and the so-called ”Negro Village”, which became a model for many others. King Peder´s ambition was to create a model municipality, especially when it came to houses, and he succeeded.
|After the Second World War both sides of the Sound went through a second industrialization phase. This led to a higher standard of living in the 60´s and growth positivism with fantastic plans.
Just before the Second World War the municipality stopped interfering in the house building and in 1938 the task was handed over to a newly established cooperative housing society. The building activity during the occupation was limited, there was great demand for houses, and in 1946 500 families did not have a home. The first great projects after the war was the neighbourhood ”Rolighed”. 17 blocks of flats were finished in 1951. The project, which had been designed by the architect V. Drosted, was quite unconventional as the houses were not placed in a long row, but had been adapted to the landscape and the terrain.
The Sound region in 2013?
Modern Building Techniques
In the following years the neighbourhoods ”Blicherparken” and Gefionsparken” were built. In 1953 the first prefab construction buildings in concrete, ”Grønningen”, which was finished in 1957. Only the group heating station’s chimney was built by masons. The rest was made in concrete on the spot and was assembled by specially trained workers. The laundry room was furnished with modern electric machines, which could lighten the load of the hard-working housewife. Approximately 250.000 entered the labour market in the 1950´s.
By the end of the 1950 Elsinore was a town in rapid development. The new mayor, Sigurd Schiøtz, expressed his hopes for Elsinore´s expansion like this; ”We want a large town, not a large city”. In 1961 ”Sundparken” was built, a project in three stages with typical block of flats adjusted to the surroundings, but not as convincingly made as the earlier ”nature-adapted” projects.
The ideas about the interplay between the modern house building and its environment go back to the early industrialization. Through so-called ”park building” they tried to place the houses near green spaces. The first functionalistic building projects, for instance ”Blidah Park” at Strandvejen in Hellerup, opened in the beginning of the 30´s new possibilities for the placing of buildings. These projects were probably the models for ”Rolighed” and other building projects in Elsinore.
Utzon´s Cluster Houses
When the architect Jørgen Utzon in 1958-60 designed his famous cluster houses, the Kingo houses in Elsinore and later in Fredensborg (1962-63, he probably knew about the local building tradition and its efforts to adapt to the surroundings. The placement of the individual houses is the most important in this these built-up area. Every house is shut in, but it still merges with the other houses and form a coherent unit. The Kingo-area with its 63 patio houses was listed in 1987. Jørgen Utzon also designed several private houses on both sides of the Sound.
Utzon´s Kingo House
The LO-School, Elsinore Folk High School
Elsinore´s traditional role as one of Denmark´s largest industiral towns since the end of the 19th century, was behind the decision to build the united larbour-movement´s largest folk high school close to the town..
The original architectural competition was won by the world famous Danish architect, Jørgen Utzon, who wanted to build a high-rise block in the hilly terrain, but it was the winners of the second prize, who was given the assignment
They chose to ”lay down the high-rise block” and design the school as a modern village with a medieval and south European element. The main building with education premises, restaurant etc. is centrally placed and around it six building are grouped, which contain the rooms of the participants in the courses.
The school was opened in 1969 and is together with the contemporary Louisiana in Humlebæk a popular resort for architects from all over the world, who admire the simple architecture and its interaction with the surroundings.
The large area around the school has meant that the school since 1969 has been enlarged several times.
A large art collection with around a thousand paintings - mainly Danish contemporary art after the Second World War - is there for the benefit of the many people, who go there.
The LO -School, Elsinore
Kvickly – The Epoch of the Supermarket
Around 1960 the development towards welfare gained speed. This was evident in the increased consumption and the changed shopping and consumption habits. The co-op in Elsinore had successfully extended its assortment of goods with mopeds, TV’s and furniture. They took the consequences and started in 1961 to build a supermarket, designed by the architect Mads Drosted, 36.000 square metres of which 19.000 square metres was shop floor. May 6th 1965 Denmark´s largest co-op shop with a 45 metres long refrigerated counter opened.
Kvickly was built in an old industrial lot in the centre of Elsinore. At the same time a few other houses were built in the middle of town, the present Danske Bank corner house (with façades in marble, glass and copper) and the bank, Bikuben´s counterpart in Axeltorv. In other respects the Elsinore centre is marked by a preserving redevelopment policy.
Kvickly´s Department Store
The Municipal Reform in 1970
In connection with the municipal reform in 1970 Denmark’s largest rural municipality is joined with the typical market town of Elsinore. This gave Elsinore opportunities to expand in new areas. A new centre was established in the area ”Prøvestenen”, where also earlier estates, like Vapnagård, was made into enormous housing estates. In time the market town grew together with the coast communities Snekkersten and Espergærde.
The redevelopment of the old Elsinore continued in the end of the 60´s with the houses in ”Lappen”. This work became a model for the preserving redevelopment of the town´s old centre, which was carried by the town council in 1972.
Espergærde – The Commuters´ Paradise
Espergærde, an old fishing village on the southern edge of town, spread out and the lille town Mørdrup was soon swallowed. Tikøb municipality also started to have growing pains. Partly the pressure on the coastline of the municipality was increased and partly the first motorway in the country (between Elsinore and Copenhagen) opened up new perspectives. Now you could go to your work place in Copenhagen in less than an hour.
In 1959 the idea of expanding Espergærde arose. It was calculated that the population would increase from 4.000 to 15.000-18.000 inhabitants. Two architects, Peer Bruun and Per Christiansen were hired to design the so-called ”white town”. It was to contain houses, schools, institutions, post office and bank, sports ground, church, green areas and a large shopping centre, i.e. everything which make up a town´s structure – possibly except a historical background.
The White City
Close and low building has in time become a standard and new variations of the theme are constantly emerging. One example is ”Sjølundsparken” in Hellebæk from 1978. Here the modern, Swedish house fabrication has become a new touch. Next to Sjølundsparken is a whole residential area with Swedish standard houses and they exist today all over North Zealand. The explanation is the low production costs. On the other hand today you can see expensive residential areas, designed by Danish architects in Norra Hamnen in Helsingborg. The integration have come far when it comes to the building of houses.
The Sjølund Park
Somewhere in Sweden?
Somewhere in Denmark?
The north harbour Helsingborg
|In the summers around 1900 Rydebäck was a meeting place for Danish artists, who spread a lot of activity and cheerfulness around the manor. In the 1970´s Rydebäck changed into a suburb, but active people want to give the area its own identity.
The Old Manor House
If you take a walk in the early part of summer in Rydebäck´s farm there is much to be seen and much food for thought. The buildings and the park have become dilapidated, but you can faintly see that a gentle hand has taken on the task to re-establish the glory of old. First of all the manor house is fantastic. It is a neo-classical building, and in some parts you can see faintly the proportion of the golden section and the plastered, light facade hints that the exterior has been renovated recently. The lonely house has a small sign on the corner; which says that a spa is run here. The yard is empty, the park is still dilapidated and the attached buildings are dressed in scaffolds.
Everything looks deserted but there are signs of life, the olden times, when Rydebäck was filled with energy and life.
Wilhelmina Heise, who had bought the manor from the German sea captain Carl Holtfreter, inhabited the manor back then. Holtfreter had built the extravagant manor house in the middle of the 19th century. Before that the building had had many owners. The farm was originally a tile works dating back to the 17th century, when Christian IV had built it to meet the increasing demand for bricks for the castles, which were built at the tie in Denmark.
But in 1880 Wilhelmina Heise bought the farm. She was the widow of the famous Danish composer Peter Heise and she was the daughter of one of the richest merchants in Denmark, the consul A. Hage. Her acquaintances, relatives were all part of the establishment in Copenhagen.
The poet Carl Ploug and the sculptor Vilhelm Bissen, who were married to her sisters, were part of this circle. The actor Emil Poulsen and the much admired opera singer Vilhelm Herold were part the circle too and the musicians Viggo Bielfeldt and Carl Nielsen. And we must not forget the artist Frans Schwartz. Among the younger were Sven Poulsen, which later became the editor of the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende.
A Power Centre for Danish Artists
These figures from the Danish cultural life Wilhelmine Heise brought with her to Rydebäck, where they were regular customers in the summers. The music must have sounded from Peter Heise´s old mahogany piano and the songs must have filled the great halls. Not te mention the discussions in the salons, in the park and on the beach, discussions, which probably was about culture and politics. Frans Schwartz´s reading aloud from the works of Kipling and Dickens also deserves mention. In the wee hours you could hear Wilhelmina ”aunt Ville,” sing her husband´s songs, perhaps most often the favourite ”I skoven er saa stille”. In a side wing lived poor children, who played in the kitchen garden. On the estate you could also see the manager of the agriculture and cattle. Rydebäck was a cultural centre in the cultivation of the land as well and the arts.
After the death of Wilhelmine Heise (1912) the estate was inherited by her nephews and one of the, C.F. Hage, became the manager of the estate. His heirs rented the place to the count Gösta Wachtmeister in 1948, but in 1963 the estate was sold for houses.
The Manor as Seen From the Sea
The Projecting of a Large Villa Town
Several building companies were behind the involved in the management of Rydebäcks estate, among them Göran Bengtsson Byggnads AB in Råå and Sulcus in Malmø. Sulcus was a subsidiary company of the then AB Skånska Cementgjuteriet. The area was 2.200.000 square metres. In the project it was stipulated that it must be a very chield-friendly area with littel traffic and large green areas. It also had to be different types of houses in different parts of the area. At the time Rydebäck was part of the Vallåkra municipality, whom the building companies cooperated with in the project. When Vallåkra was joined with Helsingborg in 1970 the works was delayed because the new partner had to study the work.
“The Million Programme”
The projecting and the development of Rydebäck coincided with the so-called “million programme”, which was a Swedish housing political programme, which was launched by the parliament in 1965. The goal was that a million houses was to be built in Sweden in a ten-year period (1965-74). Since the 50´s there had been a tiresome lack of houses in the country and now this was to be swept away effectively. Through a governmental loan system, which demanded huge projects, the housing areas often became monotonous. New building standards also contributed to the standardized impression. Even though Rydebäck was sold for housing before the introduction of the million programme, the governmental building standards and the demand for great scale guided this project. However, in Rydebäck they did not build the number of houses, which was normal in the million programme, but it was villas and apartments, which came to dominate the area.
”What a Ghetto”
The building activities started in 1966 and the building of villas was divided into different stages. The plan was to finish the area in 1975, but it was delayed. In spite of the delay the villa area sprouted up very quickly. It is said that a minister, who visited Rydebäck in the end of the 70´s said: ”What a ghetto”
In 1982, 15 years after Göran Bengtsson had built the first houses, there were almost 1200 villas and 200 apartments in Rydebäck. That meant homes for 1400 families. Twelve years later (1994) Rydebäck had a population of 4.470 of which most lived in one-family houses. In twenty years a large suburb has grown in the place, where a circle of the Danish cultural elite met in the summer.
The suburb characteristic is reinforced by the fact that there is no big employer in the area. However, in 1974 they opened a centre with a school, shops and a library. These buildings were designed quite functionally and not much weight was put on the architectural design. But the addition of the commercial and social service made some local employers establish themselves there. The Rydebäck centre has since then been extended and lately the Kvistofta parish have built a new church.
How is Rydebäck these days? In the residential neighbourhood you notice the street names, which have been named after islands, but not just any islands. Any librarian will inform you that all the islands, which have given names to the streets, have a lighthouse. Evidently a lighthouse-interested person had been given the task to come up with these names.
If you take a walk in the area in the early part of summer there is no ghetto. Where are all the houses? It has been said that this is one of the largest villa areas in northern Europe! After a while you see that the different neighbourhoods are hidden in the landscape and the ghetto experience from the 70´s is entirely gone. The green, the light fields and the Sound strike you. It is more like a nature experience. But all the villas are there, hidden in the trees and bushes. In the green areas and the football fields children play soccer and on the beach children are playing.
It almost feels like a holiday area.
But it is a suburb. Earlier they said that Rydebäck is the largest part of town without a centre. But today the activities around the school, the church and library, the shops and the sports field have generated a sense of community in Rydebäck.
But other things are happening. At the beach there is a small inn. A new railway station has placed the area on the map and further plans for the future are made. They want to renew and extend the centre area and ideas have been inspired by Staffanstorp, but also by Denmark, of how to create a Rydebäck that can become its own and not just a suburb of Helsingborg or Landskrona. Can the dormitory town be awakened to the vigorous life in the manor house a hundred years ago? Can the suburb be transformed into a small town?
The Railway Station
The Building Continues
|The increased communications furthered the contacts between Scania and Zealand. The metropolitan region became more and more accessible for the Swedes and southern Sweden became a popular holiday resort for many Danes. In the sixties the television also contributed to a rapprochement between the peoples. Swedish programs were seen by many Danes and vice versa.
The Movement of Labour
The movement of labour across the Sound is very old. Since the Middle Ages people have gone where there was work and a place to settle. Even in the time of ”the blue wall”, when you had to have a passport to pass the border, the fishermen communities around the Sound coast kept in close contact. In the 19th century a great number of people emigrated from southern Sweden to the Copenhagen area.
The industrialization brought with it an extensive exchange of ideas; labour and entrepreneur spirit across the Sound and the close contacts of the occupation years was vital for many people.
After the war Denmark was marked by the stagnation, which the wartime economy inevitably brought with it. Work and shopping hungry Danes replaced the stream of refugees. The development in Denmark did not turn until the end of the 50´s. The market determined unemployment was replaced by a structurally determined demand for labour.
In the middle of the 1970´s the unemployment rate rose again, when the market conditions stagnated. Approximately 17.000 Danes chose to cross the Sound to find work and sometimes also to settle.
Denmark experienced, especially during the 80´s a number of structural changes in connection with the dismantling of the old industrial society and the welfare system began to creak in its joints. It looks like southern Sweden has to go through the same process.
It remains to be seen if the membership of the EU and the efforts to strengthen the regional integration can be the tools, which are needed to recreate the dynamics in the Sound region.
Salt and Pepper
The Cross-Frontier Trade
Another important integrating factor after the Second World War has been the lively cross-frontier trade between Elsinore – Helsingborg and Copenhagen – Malmø/Landskrona. In the beginning it was the shortage of goods in Denmark, which attracted Danes to the Swedish towns and the strong Swedish currency, which tempted the Scanian population to shop in Elsinore and Copenhagen.
The restrictive Swedish alcohol policy, which entailed that you could only buy alcohol in the governmental Systembolaga meant that many Swedes took to the many tempting liquor shops in Elsinore and Copenhagen. In this trade great tolerance and openness are often shown in order to overcome the language barrier between the Scanian and Zealandic dialects.
Stengade i Helsingør
The increasing ferry and car traffic in the 1960´s brought with it new opportunities to travel the neighbouring countries. The big city people in the Copenhagen area could enjoy new leisure time and holiday opportunities, not least when it became possible for Danes to buy holiday cottages in Sweden.
The second industrial wave, which took place on both sides of the Sound after the Second World War, led to an increasing urbanization. The old towns were depopulated to a great extent. In the forest villages in southern Småland and north Scania many houses were empty. These crofts (often with timbered wooden houses) became attractive for many big city people from the densely populated Zealand. Into the car, across with the ferry (or the bridge by now) and after a one-hour car ride, you are, seen through Danish eyes, in the middle of the wilderness.
The concept became so extensive that Danish ”crofters” formed a society, which had approximately 5.000 members in 2002. But even more Danes own houses today in southern Sweden. Areas like Markaryd and Tingsryd in Småland today exists in the mental map of Denmark. However, the society ”Danish Crofters” stresses that they are not working on getting the old Scanian countries back to Denmark. The society Denmark´s entry to the great forests has also contributed to keep the culture in the landscape.
Radio and TV
There is in fact just one communication channel before the Sound Bridge, which have been able to assert itself on both sides of the Sound: TV. And then again it started with Radio Mercur, the first commercial radio in the region. In 1958-62 it broke the monopoly of Danmarks Radio and with rock and pop music as bait transmitted from international waters in the Sound. This reinforced the flight of listeners from Danmarks Radio to Sweden´s program 3, which was well under way. By means of the new FM-radios many Copenhageners long ago had sought refuge from the many didactic programmes, which characterized DR1 and 2.
The commercial radio created quite a sensation and the state powers finally succeeded in ending the adventure. Among other things by establishing a third radio channel, which finally began transmitting the music of the new age.
The joint radio listening was now replaced by TV and the populations on both sides of the Sound often looked at each other´s programmes. There were also direct joint programmes in the so-called Nordvision. In many Sound citizens´ childhood there was at first one channel on each side, then two Swedish and one Danish.
When the Danes finally got around to the second channel the media picture had changed into an endless supply of channels in numerous languages. The dyas when Hylands Hörna, Nordisk Musikquiz and Swedanes were able to delight in prime time on both sides of the Sound, is over, but the cultural integration doesn´t have to be weakened on that account.
The Sound region
|The Sound region is a transfrontier region in Northern Europe between Denmark and Sweden. The region includes Zealand, Lolland-Falster, Bornholm and Scania.
The centre of the Sound region is Copenhagen.
European Regional Policy
|There are many descriptions of the organisation and development of the EU. You can read about the Commission, the Council of Ministers, the EU-parliament and the development since the Rome treaty in 1957. Until now people have not been very interested in the regional policy of the EU, although it has gained greater importance lately.
Almost everywhere in the on border areas of Europe they try to overcome the obstacles that national borders always have created. The goal is to create an integrated business life and an integrated labour market with out removing the differences in culture and standards. These efforts created conflicts of interest between the regions on the one side and the national governments on the other. In the Sound region it is the regionally elected politicians in eastern Denmark and Scania, which are behind the attempts to create cooperation and new development possibilities across the Danish-Swedish border in the Sound.
The Beginning of the European Cooperation, 1948
The fight for an increased regional independence actually started immediately after the Second World War, when the governments started to realize that cooperation was the best way to avoid new wars in Europe. If you could weave together the economies of the European countries, nobody would choose war as a solution to conflicts.
The new development was started with the formation of the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation (OEEC) in 1948. The next year the European Council was founded, a superior authority for European cooperation.
In 1951 the Coal and Steel Union was founded, which later (1957) developed into the European Community (The EU of our time). The Nordic Council and EFTA was also founded in the 1950´s. All these cooperation organisations had the same goal: A future peaceful co-existence through economical, political and cultural cooperation.
The cooperation have in fact been so successful that the national states´ authority within their own borders have been exposed to pressure from regional authorities and border areas, which want en increased independence. When you talk of the future of Europe the concept ”the Regions of Europe, must be seen in this perspective.
The Birth of the European Regional Policy, 1957
The OEEC, as well as the European Council, The Nordic Council and EFTA were so-called inter-state cooperative organs, where unanimity was demanded in the decisions. It was another matter when it came to the Coal and Steel Union, the later EU. Here the cooperation to a great extent was marked by federal ideas, which originally had been inspired by France, West Germany, Italy and the Benelux-countries. Here was a vision of the future European United States, which appears of the Rome-treaty, which has been the foundation stone in the cooperation since 1957.
Exactly because of the extensive union ideas in the Rome-treaty the six countries could not get more European states to join the cooperation. However, in 1957 they made the European Council to form a Municipal Congress, where popularly elected, regional and local, politicians could meet to discuss common problems and solutions for the economic development of the regions. The strategy of the six EU countries was simply to get ”a Trojan Horse” into the countries outside the EU, through the mobilising of ”sub-national” authorities.
In the Municipal Congress a region could discover that a neighbouring region, which lay on the other side of a national border and perhaps had the same goals and wishes for this development, did not gain a hearing for their plans or sufficient financial support form its national government. In other words: The Municipal Congress was the mutual birthplace of the European regional policy.
The Sound Council Is Formed, 1963
The forming of the Sound Council in 1963, a forerunner of the Sound Committee must be seen in the light of this. Here sat 30 regional politicians form the Copenhagen area and Scania and discussed among other things the design and placing of the a fixed Sound connection and other planning questions.
It was probably due to the Sound council that they in the 60´s and 70´s stuck to the idea of a Sound connection between Malmø and Copenhagen as a part of the Danish development plans for a ”Ørestad” in Amager and of a new large airport in Saltholm.
If the question had become a Danish and Swedish government matter, it had probably resulted in a connection between Helsingborg-Elsinore, which would have shortened the distance between Stockholm and Copenhagen and had been much cheaper to build because of the short distance in the north Sound.
The Vision of 1963
The Convention of the European Council of Regional Independence
In 1966 the Municipal Congress presented a proposal for at treaty, which contained common rules and norms for the right to a regional independence in the areas of infrastructure, the localization of housing and business, welfare policy and more. The problems in the border regions were used as an argument to force the national states to delegate parts of its decision right to the regional level. The parliamentary assembly of the European Council, which consists of politicians, which also sit in their respective national parliaments, did not pass the proposal, but agreed to start an inspection of the special problems of the border regions.
The European Border Regions Organize Themselves
The inspections of the European Council did not lead to any new initiatives. In 1971 ten European border regions therefore formed their own organization (AEBR). It consisted of the French/German border regions around the Rhine and the Dutch/German Euregio-region between Enschede (NL) and Gronau (D). The Organization had from the beginning observation status in the Municipal Congress. Later the organization played an important part when the content of the Interreg-programme of the EU´s border regional cooperation was to be worked out in 1990.
.The EU: The Number of Members Increases
The EU: The Number of Members Increases
The Oil crises and economic stagnation of the 1970´s had consequences for the beginnings of the regional consciousness. The industrial society was in crisis and that hit hard in Copenhagen and Scania. Denmark had just joined the EU (with Great Britain and Ireland in 1973). This should have implied that the Folketing (Danish parliament) accepted an increased regional cooperation across the borders of the country, but that did not happen at all. Incidentally Sweden had chosen to stay outside the EU and lead an independent economic policy more or less unaffected by the EU.
The Nordic Convention of Cooperation 1977
The Nordic Council passed a convention in 1977, which opened up the possibilities of a regional cooperation agreement in the North. It also contained an agreement of a common Nordic labour market, a Nordic passport union and cultural and educational cooperation. But the convention on the whole just upheld the already existing practice between the Nordic countries. Real regional independence and cooperation across the Sound was not in the political programme in the 1970´s.
That it looked almost the same in the rest of Europe is evident from the European Council´s work for a regional self-government. The Municipal Congress had taken the initiative in 1966 and in 1971 some European border regions had organized themselves. But the European Council did not sanction a convention until 1980, which called on all members of the European Council to accept the right to regional self-government and transfrontier regional cooperation. However, the convention did not contain any obligations to transfer sovereignty from a national to a regional level. The convention was followed up in 1985 by a charter on the basic rights of regional autonomy. The charter was passed after pressure from the European border regional organisation (AEBR) and has the same status of the charter on human rights. The treaty contains fiancial support for transfrontier cooperation between the European regions. This was, by the way, the decision, which was the basis of the EU´s Interreg-programme from 1990.
A Breakthrough for the European Regional Policy 1983-1984
1983-84 marked in many ways a breakthrough for the integrations efforts of the EU. The European industrial giants organized themselves on the initiative of the managing director of the Volvo Group. P.G. Gyllenhammar. A lobby organisation was formed (European Round Table of Industrialists” (ERT), whose goal it was to establish a real European home market and thus improve the conditions of the industry to compete against Japan and the US. The means were, apart from a harmonisation of laws and rules, extensive investments in the European road and railway system, including fixed connections across the Sound and the Femern Belt. This revived the border regional cooperation in all of Europe and fueled the ideas of the regional development of the Sound and the argumentation for a fixed connection.
In January France took over, with the then President Francois Mitterand, the chairmanship of the EU. With the West German Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl the Rome-treaty’s idea of a European home market was re-introduced. The proposal was presented at the European Council´s meeting in Fontainebleau in June 1984.
This European market without any border related obstacles was soon to be called ”The Single Market”. At this time the EU-commission introduced its new growth-philosophy, ”The European Spatial Development Perspective” (ESDP), where the regions themselves have to generate their economic growth based on their own conditions. The regions themselves must head their own development plan and the structure fund support from the EU was done additional, i.e. the EU-support was not accessible until you had reached a 50% co-financing from the regional parties. This was to ensure that the structure fund means had to be used for activities and projects that had a full regional backing.
The EU-Parliament Becomes a Platform for the Border Regions, 1989
The EU Parliament became a battlefield for the border regions´ political projects from 1989. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the prospects that many Eastern European countries now could apply for membership the EU had a new, large task. It was about countries where you could see latent conflicts, which was suppressed by the earlier Communist central government. The European Council now helped to protect the opportunities of democracy in Eastern Europe. Efficient border regions in the EU became demonstration models and good examples. Eastern European communities could be persuaded that their cultural identity and possible solidarity with communities on the other side of a national border not necessarily had to lead to a new national state risking violent conflicts and civil war.
The Interreg-Programme Is Established 1990
The Organisation for border regions (AEBR) argued successfully for the European Parliament to distribute 21 millions ECU (now EURO) form the structure fund to so-called ”Article 10”-projects, pilot projects in selected border regions. These ”Article 10” –projects were the forerunners of the first Interreg-Programme (1990-93).
The acceptance of the national states of the regions´ great importance to the European integrations process was mirrored in the Maastricht-Treaty in 1992. Now a Region Committee was established, which obtained status as a hearing instance for certain bills from the EU-Commission.
The Sound region did not figure in the ”Article 10”-projects and in the Iterreg I (1990-93). The discussions in different European assemblies about the regions´ key role i the integrations process of Europe, contributed to the understanding of Swedish and Danish MPs´ strong interest in the Sound region 1990. This engagement led to the big decision on the Sound Bridge, the Metro in Copenhagen, the City Tunnel in Malmø, and the beginning of the decision-making process for the connection across the Femern Belt.
The Sound Region Gets Its Own EU-Programme
In 1993 the Sound Committee was formed to replace the Sound Council. One of the first tasks of the new committee was to formulate the concrete content of a EU-programme for the region, attached to the structure funds (Interreg III A). The region had an advance promise of such a programme for the period 1994-99, including 13 millions ECU. The activity areas in the Interreg II-programme was: Education of regional experts in Sound integration, the development of industry and tourism, education cooperation, environment and sustainable development, infra structure, culture and media cooperation.
Totally 59 Interreg II A programmes started in the European border regions. The present Interreg III A-programme for the Sound region for the period 2000-2006 contains: The removal of administrative obstacles, a socially functioning region and the marketing of the whole region.
The Interreg-programmes have contributed to an explosively increasing number of cooperative organs in the Sound area, which cover many aspects of soicety life: The Øresund University, The Øresund Network, Medicon Valley Academy, The Øresund Science Region, IT Øresund, the H-H-Samarbetet, Info Business Øresund, Øresund Development, Øresund Environment, Øresundstid, Pilelandet and so on. The distribution of tasks between the many Sound organisations is no well defined and some organisations will probably not survive. That was the case with Infotek Øresund, which were the attempt of the libraries to gather all card indexes in one portal. There is still a lack of initiatives to form Sound based organs in important areas like tourism and regional planning-
Help From the Danish and Swedish Government
Good intentions, the will to cooperate and the Interreg Programmes does not automatically integrate the Sound area. If the Sound Area is to become realized, the people on both side of the Sound experience toe region as a whole, when it comes to studies, work and cultural life.
There are many obstacles to such a realization. Lack of information, rigid bureaucracy or differences in culture and mentality may be the reasons for such obstacles. There are also practical problems. Persons, who commute across the Sound to work of study, have to relate to tax systems, health care, the children´s schools, rules concerning company cars, workplace at home and so on. First of all this is a task for the governments to make it practically possible
The Barrier-Report 1999
The Danish and Swedish governments prepared a report in 1999, The Sound – ”a Region Becomes Reality”. The report had the following conception of the integration cooperation: ”The Sound region has unique possibilities to develop into a transfrontier, regional power centre in Northern Europe, with an international force of attraction of company establishments and investments. The development in the Sound region may, if it is handled right by all the participants, be of great value to the region and for all of Denmark and Sweden”.... ”The governments in Sweden and Denmark share the region´s enthusiasm and optimism of the future and are ready to contribute to the realizing of the vision.”
The report points to a number of proposals to speed up the Sound integration. These are initiatives in the labour market, the social area, tax politics, infra structure, business life, the building sector, environment issues, the education area and the cultural life.
Almost none of the proposals have led to practical political action. It is only the information sector; with for instance ”Øresund Direkt” and the information on Danish-Swedish tax condition, which have been developed. This is why there is dissatisfaction in the regional authorities of the Sound region, who turn against the governments´ lack of will to take on the responsibility to develop the cooperation across the Sound.
This regional dissatisfaction is not uncommon in the Europe of today. The regions´ fight for regional independence is still going on – as it has since the beginning of the 1950´s
The Barrier Report
The Sound Bridge
|The idea of creating a cohesive region of the area around the Sound is not new. The first concrete bridge plans appeared during the industrialization of the 19th century. More proposals were to follow, but it was not until the last decades of the 20th century that the decision makers on both sides of the Sound became serious about the proposals.
Transport Corridor and Supporting Idea for the Development of Copenhagen
The Question of a fixed connection across the Sound was already discussed after the end of the Second World War at regional and national level in Sweden and Denmark. The European economy faced a new reconstruction boom. In Copenhagen and Scania they saw a fixed Sound connection as a possibility to strengthen the economic development of the region and the as Scandinavia´s natural ”gateway” to the continent.
The Sound Bridge
From Capital to European Metropolis
The Danish City Plan Laboratory, a society of city planners, sat down immediately after war with the politicians in Copenhagen to discuss the city´s future development of the city. The discussions ended in 1947 in the so-called ”Finger Plan”. It was an attempt to gather the expected development in well-planned frames, so they could avoid a repetition of the fast and aimless house building in Copenhagen’s bridge quarter. The future development was to be done in the form of radial infra structure lines form the city centre towards the market town ring, Køge, Roskilde, Frederikssund, Hillerød and Elsinore. Along these lines stations were to be placed like pearls on a string with houses and retail trade.
The workplaces were in Copenhagen. An extended S-train net along the whole finger plan structure had the task to transport the population between home and work. As the ownership of a car became possible for more and more, the road system was extended according to the same finger plan system. The areas between the fingers were defined as green wedges, which were reserved for agriculture and forest and recreation. In practice the extensions were limited until the middle of the 1970´s to Køge Bay and the Roskilde area, as the politicians wanted to protect the North Zealand landscape from this city development.
The Finger Plan 1947
The Sound City – a New Vision
The vision of a Sound city was formulated in 1959 by professor Peter Bredsdorf and his Swedish collegue Sune Lindstrøm. The vision was drawn on a napkin in one of Copenhagen´s well-known restaurants, Brønnum´s Café. (The napkin is kept in the Danish City Plan Laboratory). On the napkin you can see the fixed connections Copenhagen/Malmø and Helsingborg7Elsinore. The coast railway and the west coast railway has been linked in the north and south to a real Sound ring line, the blood circulation of the system.
Bredsdorf and Lindstrøm already then had an idea, which looked like the Finger plan, but the difference was that it reached across the Sound. Malmø/Lund and Helsingborg are not farther away from the Copenhagen centre than the towns in the market town ring. The three Scanian cities could, in each their individual way, strengthen Copenhagen as the capital. Malmø has large industries, like Kockum´s Shipyard and just 20 kilometres from Malmø is Lund with the largest university in the North. Helsingborg was and is Northwest Scania´s regional centre with extensive trade and service functions for Sweden´s contacts with Europe.
Even at government level they fixed connections were drawn up in the 50´s. The Danish and Swedish governments committed themselves, at a meeting in the Nordic Council in 1953, to work for a fixed Sound connection. A Danish-Swedish government commission presented in the following 10-15 years many proposals for connections Malmø-Copenhagen and Helsingborg-Elsinore. It was the Swedes who pressed for a decision. The then Danish communication minister, Kai Lindberg, made it clear in 1962 that the decision concerning a national connection across the Great Belt had to precede the decision of an international connection. The Danes later stuck to this decision.
The Napkin Sketch
Project Plan for the H-H-Conncetion
Project Plan for the K-M-Connection
Ørestad – an Idea From the 60´s
The one thing that should prove to have a decisive influence on the placement of the Sound bridge Copenhagen-Malmø was the new projected district Ørestad in west Amager between the Copenhagen centre and the Kastrup airport. In 1962 Copenhagen elected a new Chief Burgomaster, Urban Hansen, who was elected on his promise to build houses. Urban Hansen became interested in the areas in western Amager and Amager Common, which the municipality and the state owned jointly.
In 1964/65 an architectural competition was held concerning a new district in the area. The winning project presupposed a Sound Bridge, subways to the centre of Copenhagen and that Copenhagen’s airport was moved to Saltholm. The proposal contained a massive house building around a number of station areas with approximately 12.500 persons in each, linked with an efficient metropolitan and suburban electric train system.
Everything according to principles, which were very similar to those, which had already been carried out in Køge Bay and Roskilde. The second price in the architectural competition went to a proposal, whose idea it was that Copenhagen should grow outwards in stages from the old medieval town to western Amager. The enclosed city Copenhagen should become an open Sound city, everything according to the vision on Bredsdorf´s and Lindstrøm´s napkin.
Urban Hansen was known and notorious for his enterprise. Among the people he was called the new Christian IV. In west Amager his enterprise did not only went as far as the neighbourhood Remiseparken and the Urban Plan. All in all the building on Amager was quite modest until the end of the 80´s. Bad communication to and from the island made the politicians unwilling to develop Amager.
It is interesting to note that one of the two winners of the second prize in the architectural competition was Knud E. Rasmussen (nicknamed Black Knud). He became the plan director in Copenhagen and thus a man with great influence on the designing of the Ørestad, which is sprouting up in west Amager.
The Ørestad idea was already there in the 60´s. It is one of the evidence that the Sound region and is opportunities to develop Copenhagen into an economic power centre was of current interest even back then. In the favourable market conditions of the 60´s everything went along at blinding speed. The number of cars increased rapidly. The Copenhagen labour market did not only extend to the market town ring around the city, but reached far to cities like Ringsted, Næstved and Slagelse, from where people commuted every day to work in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen´s First Real Region Plan 1973
In 1967 the counties and municipalities in the Copenhagen area began to discuss a revision of the Finger Plan. They wanted partly to catch up to the rapid development, partly to relate the planning to the Sound regional perspective. The plans were put forward to the public and resulted finally in ”Region Plan 1973”.
Region Plan 1973 broke with the principle that the development of the area had to take place according to the Finger Plan structure with Copenhagen as the centre. A new transport corridor, with roads and railways, were to be placed across the fingers in a corridor from Køge, via Høse Tåstrup and Allerød to Elsinore. Where the corridor crossed its fingers centres for houses and businesses. The transport corridor was then to go on to Helsingborg, either north of Elsinore (Højstrup-Sofiero) or south of the city via the so-called ferry corridor. Region Plan 1973 also contained plans for a Sound Bridge from Malmø to Copenhagen via Saltholm, where a new airport was to replace Kastrup.
Swedish Decision on Bridge, 1973
Next to these plans the Swedish parliament (Riksdagen) passed a Sound connection for trains and cars between Helsingborg and Elsinore in 1973. The Swedish decision was never fully read in the Danish parliament (Folketinget). The Danish landslide election in 1973 came between and after that the composition of the parliament had become extremely complicated. The state’s taxation policy had become political dynamite. The result was that not only the Sound connection, but also the Great Belt connection were put in cold storage. At the same time the first oil crisis arrived with subsequent recession, unemployment and lessened traffic in roads as well as railways.
The regional plan for the Copenhagen area in 1977
The regional plan for the Copenhagen area in 1977 was clear evidence of the recess the 70´s meant to the development of the Sound region. Neither the Sound connection nor the new large airport is mentioned in the plan. Even on the Scanian side the interest for a fixed connection was declining. The Scanian industrial giants in shipyard, textile and ready-made clothing were in crisis. Scania instead aimed successfully to become Sweden´s breadbasket and this is why the growth plans changed form having been export oriented to focus on the home market. In other words, the cities (Malmø/Helsingborg) lost land to the agricultural areas in Scania.
Denmark´s membership of the EU combined with Sweden´s choice to remain outside an obligating European cooperation may also contribute to explain why the Danes turned their backs on the Nordic and Sound regional development perspective.
Later it turned out that it was the very European cooperation and the introduction of the EU´s single market that became the driving force behind a Danish revitalised focus on the Sound region and the Scandinavian relations with Europe.
The Industry´s Lobby
Around 1980 the work to create a European home market without national obstacles had come to a halt. This was the cause of worry in the European Industry, who wanted to do better in the competition with USA and Japan. The managing director of Volvo P.G. Gyllenhammar took the initiative in 1983 to the forming of a lobby organisation, ”European Round Table of Industrialists (ERT). Members in the organisation were the top executives in by and large every large European industries, for instance Philips, Siemens, Nestlé, Unilver and Fiat.
In December 1984 ERT published the report ”Missing Links”, which contained demands of among other things a Sound bridge, a connection across the Fermen Belt and a coupling of the Scandinavian railway system with the future European high-speed system. The infrastructure had to be in place, when the single market was in place. The industry had realized that its need for storage capacity for manufactured goods as well as components, demanded costs, which constituted approximately 40% of the total investments of the industry. Therefore ERT wanted to create the conditions to introduce the Japanese ”Just in time” principles for the production. This implied that the manufacturing did not take place until after the customer had ordered. This is quite demanding when it comes to the delivery of a product and all obstacles, like ferries and border passing, make up stops.
The Industry´s Lobby Pays off
Volvo made up 10% of Sweden´s export in 1983. When the Swedish government in December 1984, decided to close down the shipyard in Uddevalla, which had 2300 employees, P.G Gyllenhammar entered the discussions. He negotiated with the Swedish government and the result was that Gyllenhammar located a Volvo factory with 1000 jobs in Uddevalla and the government promised to build a 40 kilometres motorway south of Uddevalla. This was the beginning of the Scandinavian ”link” to Europe, which is described in the ERT-report ”Missing Links”, and which in reality forced the Swedish government to work for a Sound bridge and a Femern Belt connection.
With this first idea in the bank P.G. Gyllenhammar started a Scandinavian version of the ERT in 1984. It was called the Scandinavian Link Consortium (Scan-Link) and had its head office in ”Dansk Industri´s ” (Danish Industry) building in Copenhagen. Scan-Link was established as a private limited company with an ownership circle consisting of 55 companies and banks in the North. The idea of Scan-Link was primarily to get the Danish and Swedish governments to build the Sound Bridge and the Femern Belt connection and to establish a cohesive motorway system and a railway system for high speed trains from Oslo, Gothenburg and Stockholm to Copenhagen and Hamburg.
Elsinore-Helsingborg and/or Malmø-Copenhagen
The Danish/Swedish government commission form the 1950´s continued to have meetings in the 60´s and 70´s to discuss possible solutions for the Sound. Their proposals became topical again in 1984-85, when Scan-Link was formed. The commission´s reports contained many different proposals. The proposals, which was considered the best from an economic point of view was a ”both and”-solution, i.e. a railway tunnel Helsingborg-Elsinore and a 4-lane motorway Copenhagen-Malmø. In 1985 the Swedish-Danish commission received new instructions. They were to evaluate the possibilities for a combined road and railway connection Malmø-Copenhagen and furthermore make economic and environment evaluations of the earlier proposals. At DSB (The Danish Railways) and SJ (The Swedish Railways) they wanted to work for a railway connection Malmø-Copenhagen. The position was shared be the Danish Social democrats. Therefore DSB began its own investigations of such a project.
The Great Belt Bridge Is Carried in 1986
June 12th 1986 the Danish parliament decided to build the Great Belt Bridge as a road and railway bridge. With this the road was open for a Danish stand on a Sound connection. The political negotiated settlement on the Great Belt contained compensation for worried Jutland municipalities and the mayors in Korsør and Nyborg, the old ferry harbours were to be shut down, when the bridge was finished. A motorway north of Arhus was to be built and 2500 governmental jobs were to be moved from the naval station Holmen in Copenhagen to Korsør and Frederikshavn. The latter had great significance, when the decision on the Sound connection was made in 1991.
The Sound Bridge: New Investigations 1987
In 1987 the Danish/Swedish commission published their investigations of possible Sound connections. They now recommended a combined road and railway connection Malmø-Copenhagen.The earlier proposal of a both and-solution was still there as an alternative. Especially SJ was dissatisfied with the work of the commission, as an all-railway solution had not been investigated. The commission was given the task to look solely at an all-railway solution, in comparison with the combined road-railway solution. The alternative Elsinore-Helsingborg was completely taken off the list of possibilities.
The Scan-Link Consortium was now worried that the Danish/Swedish commission would arrive at all-railway connection as the best alternative. The consortium therefore initiated their own economic consequence calculation of such a railway connection.
The Sound connection now began to meet popular resistance. A grass-root movement ”Scan-Link? No thanks” was formed in June 1987. The effect of this was that they prioritised investigations into the different alternatives´ environmental consequences.
Copenhagen´s Development Strategy 1989
1988-89 became turbulent years in the difficult decision process concerning the Sound Bridge. The political attitude to the project changed in favour of combined road and railway connection between Malmø and Copenhagen. It all started when Denmark´s economical problems was put on the political agenda by the self-appointed ”Forum for Industrial Development”, with the future Social democratic Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen as one of the promoters. Their analyses pointed at a structure problem in Danish industry and a necessary aiming at research and a knowledge intensive development of the business community.
The then Prime Minister Poul Schlüter (Conservative) did not want to leave the initiative in the question of the future development of the business community to the opposition. He arranged with the Social democratic leader to set up an ”initiative group” in the spring of 1989, which should put forward ideas and suggestions for a new strategy concerning the city-and business community development of Copenhagen. In the group were several strong Social democratic representatives like Copenhagen´s new Chief Burgomaster Jens Kramer-Mikkelsen, county mayor Per Kaalund and LO´s then vice-chairman Hans Jensen.
The initiative must be seen in the light of the fact that Copenhagen had been marked by the economic crisis in the 70´s and 80´s. In this period Copenhagen saw many bankrupt companies as the government intentionally carried out a moving out of its institutions and authorities to other parts of the country, where the state also invested in infra structure.
The Sound Bridge: New Investigations 1989
Immediately before the initiative group started its work, the Danish/Swedish government commission published their new research results in February of 1989. From an economic point of view they recommended a combined road and railway solution while an all-railway solution was considered to be the best from an environmental point of view.
The financing of the combined Sound connection was proposed to function after the same principles as the Great Belt Bridge, i.e. a bridge subjected to a duty. The price was to be determined by the ticket prices in the ferry traffic between Helsingborg and Elsinore. The train operators DSB and SJ had to pay a fixed yearly duty – no matter how many trains that trafficked the bridge.
With an all-railway connection DSB and SJ had to manage the financing an operation alone. This made SJ change its attitude and recommend a combined road and railway. Sj also had to consider the economic aspects. If Sj were forced to finance such a large investment and tie up huge sums in a railway connection across the Sound, they would be forced to refrain from transporting goods via the Swedish Baltic lines to Germany and Poland. DSB initially stuck to its support for an all-railway connection also for economic reasons. They counted on that they could make money on the transporting of Swedish railway goods through Denmark.
The Initiative Group´s Plans for Copenhagen 1989
The initiative group for the development of Copenhagen presented its ideas in 1989. The plans for a combined road and railway connection across the Sound was stressed, the Ørestad on west Amager and the subway between Copenhagen city and the airport made up the positive development process, which would make the wheels turn again.
The group´s heavy arguments for the proposals were that Copenhagen, since the beginning of the 1970´s only had been allotted approximately 10% of the government´s traffic investments in spite the fact that 85% of the most trafficked roads were in and around Copenhagen. The EU´s single market from 1992 was also used as an argument. Copenhagen were to be prepared for the competition from other big cities – not form other Danish cities but from metropoles like Stockholm, Hamburg and Berlin.
The Würtzen-Commission 1990
The suggestions and recommendations of the initiative group were backed up politically by the government Venstre (Liberal), Conservative and Radical Venstre (Liberal) in spite the fact the Radical Venstre strictly speaking, was against the combined road and railway connection.
The fact that the proposals were taken seriously was evident when the ministry of finance in January 1990 set up the so-called Würtzen-commission, who took over the planning of the Sound bridge, the subway, Ørestad and Kastrup from the ministry of traffic. The Würtzen-commission was given the task to work out a cohesive plan for traffic investments in the Copenhagen area and the financing of them. Inspired by England´s so-called ”New Towns” the commission proposed to finance a subway from Frederiksberg via the city to Ørestad and Kastrup though the selling of land in Ørestad to industrial and housing companies.
Insufficient Public Debate
The Würtzen-commission´s plans were published in the beginning of 1991 and was received by a surprised population. The work with the extensive plans had been done without the public knowing much about what was going on. The polls showed that many were negative.
December 12th 1990 Denmark had a new coalition government with Venstre and Conservatives, but without the bridge-sceptical Radical Venstre. In Sweden it looked as if the Social democrats were on their way to a defeat in the 1991 election. The possibility of a non-socialist government in Sweden with a bridge-hostile Centre Party, made the governments in Denmark and Sweden act fast. The public resistance never had time to organize before both governments in the summer of 1991 had carried the Sound Bridge. In the spring of 1992 the Danish parliament also carried the law of the establishing of Ørestaden, according to the directions of the Würtzen-commission.
The spectacular future plans for the Copenhagen area made the Danish Social democrats and DSB change their minds in 1989-90. They were now positive about a combined road and railway connection. DSB´s motives were still economic, but now they no longer considered the goods transports. The development in Amager would make Kastrup an attractive traffic junction with extensive traffic to Copenhagen city, Malmø and Roskilde. The changed attitude of the Social democrats was probably due to the political lobbyism from companies like Scan-Link, but probably also the many new jobs, which they could supply for the strong Social democratic mayors in Copenhagen.
The bridge decision had a peculiar epilogue in the autumn of 1993. The Danes was already then building land connections while the Swedes still discussed the environmental consequences of the bridge. The planning of the bridge had to sanctioned by the Swedish Water Court, which consisted of a judge, two engineers and two layman. In Denmark it was believed for a long time that the Water Court would stop the project. But the Water Court´s criticism of the bridge project turned out to be a part of the Swedish process and the tactics around the decided bridge building. When the Water Court said yes in the end, the bridge had already been projected.
In the government agreement between Sweden and Denmark there were clauses of price parity between the bridge toll and the ferry ticket price Helsingborg-Elsinore, and that the government was to begin negotiations with Germany of a connection across the Femern Belt.
The bridge toll is still debated and the Femern Belt is facing its final solution in 2003. The Danish and German governments are agreeing about the land connections in their respective countries, but they have not yet agreed of a financing model for the bridge itself, which will be a road and railway bridge.
A Growing Region
|In the advanced post-industrial age the idea is that the growth potential is no longer a question of the abilities of the national state, but first and foremost a growth factors across the borders of the states.
The decision of the Sound Bridge was not really based on the goal of creating real integration in the Sound region. It was EU`S single market, if anything, the EU´s extension towards Eastern Europe and the need for an improved infra structure between Scandinavia and the rest of Europe, which was on the agenda in 1991, when the bridge agreement was made between Sweden and Denmark. Of course they felt that the bridge could have a positive effect on the economic crisis, which had marked Copenhagen as well as Malmø in the 70´s and 80´s. But nobody spoke of a real Sound integration, i.e. a fusion of business community, labour market and cultural life across the border.
At the same time the decision of the Sound Bridge was passed, the view on economic growth in Europe changed. The driving force for such a growth was considered to stem from urban economies – the big cities. The development had to be governed from the big cities´ regions own strength and preconditions. It had to take place in an interplay between the universities (knowledge and research) and the business community.
When you have to evaluate if Copenhagen is such a big city with the conditions of being a growth region, the Sound region becomes very interesting as more urban areas (Malmø/Lund and Helsingborg) can be integrated in the Copenhagen region.
If you must evaluate if there is a beginning Sound integration you will have to study parameters like commuting, population growth, number and distribution of jobs, BNP, etc.
The Possibilities of the Sound Region Are Discussed
That the Sound region was on the political agenda in Sweden and Denmark can be attributed to a few discussion books from 1993-94, written by Uffe Paludan, Christian Wichmann Matthiessen and Åke E. Andersson. Their aim was to direct the politicians´ attention to the premises of an integrated Sound region.
By pointing at the total population and job volume of the region, the concentration of certain businesses, the number of approved patents and so on, they could statistically show that the total volume of the region makes it comparable to the great metropoles of Europe along the axis London-Frankfurt-Milan – the so-called blue banana. Paris is geographically outside the banana, but is still considered to belong to it.
The Blue Band
The Malmø/Lund area has approximately half a million inhabitants. If you compare the traffic from the market town ring around Copenhagen towards the city, i.e. 70-90.000 vehicles and 60.000 train passengers per day, with the traffic across the Sound bridge – approximately 10.000 vehicles and 13.000 train passengers per day, you see clearly that Zealand and Scania still are not integrated in the business and labour market areas.
The Copenhagen area´s development possibilities are still unique in Europe. Malmø/Lund are 30-40 minutes away. Furthermore there is a large airport 15-30 minutes away from each city area. When Copenhagen´s subway reaches the airport in the year 2007 and the City tunnel in Malmo is finished some years later, the time distance will diminish further. With a fixed connection between Helsingborg and Elsinore the Helsingborg area too, will be in the same time distance from Copenhagen.
The Ring Line
The Commuting Across the Sound
The total number of commuters across the Sound has been increasing since the opening of the bridge July 1st 2000. From a relatively low level of 2000 in 1997, the number of commuters from Scania to Zealand rose to approximately 3750 in the eyar 2001. The other way, from Zealand to Scania, the number has been the constant approximately 200 (!) commuters. Two surveys, made be the Copenhagen and Elsinore municipality show that the number of commuters across the Sound must increase 5-7 times, before you can speak of a full integration, which means that the population in Zealand and Scania will show the same mobility across the Sound as the show today between the municipalities in Scania and the Copenhagen area.
The International Perspective
The preconditions for the international contacts of the Sound region with the Baltic region and the rest of the world are thus optimum. Kastrup Airport is the Scandinavian ”hub” (the junction) for transit traffic. 60% of Kastrup´s passengers are transit passengers. This means that the SAS can have many profitable direct flights from Scandinavia. Kastrup´s strong position is also a good starting point for tempting international businesses to come to the Sound region.
Infrastructure: Who Is Responsible for the Development?
The responsibility to control the development of the infrastructure in the Sound region is not one authority’s, but is shared between many authorities in national and regional level. You can therefore experience a complicated play of interests, when the decisions on traffic and operations, which is important to the region, must be taken. The Development Council of the Capital (HUR) and Region Scania are responsible for the regional, superior coordination of the traffic area. But it is the governments, which have the decision-making rights when it comes to fixed connections and the duty policy on the bridge. DSB and Region Scania have the responsibility for the train traffic across the Sound and on the Danish side the bus, - Metro and the metropolitan and suburban electric train operations are divided into different company constructions.
The Development of the Trades and Industries in the Sound Region
Just like the infrastructure area no singular authority has the total responsibility of the creation of an integrated, Sound-related development of the trades and industries. Here all the players, who deal with the promotion of the trades and industries, coordinate the work and agree on the means and objectives in order to create the best setting for the trades and industries. This goes for municipal authorities, science parks and advisors for independent businesses. Even the responsibility for the distribution and planning of land for the industries, houses and recreational areas are divided between different authorities. ”HUR” had the responsibility in the Copenhagen region and in Scania the decisions lie with the municipalities.
It seems that there is agreement that the development of the trades and industries in the Sound region must be founded on knowledge based products and services. In this area the international competition between the big city regions is full swing. A very important preconception for the growing power of the Sound region is that specialized and highly educated labour can be offered from the universities on both sides of the Sound. This may also have positive effects, the total knowledge volume increases, the research is made more effective and comprehensive and an extensive cooperation between two separated knowledge environments is allowed to work through.
Platforms for Sector Development
To reach the goal of the knowledge-based development of the trade and industries the regional authorities through the cooperation in the Sound committee have constructed so-called platforms around the promoting of selected sectors of the industry. But also IT Sound and the Sound Food Network are examples of platforms for information’s technology and food industry respectively.
Sector Development Areas
So-called specialization profiles for three geographical areas have been established; Copenhagen, Malmø/Lund and Helsingborg. These give an indication as to which sectors may function as future locomotives for the development of the trades and industries. In the table below specialization profiles for employees in their respective sector in the three areas are indicated. The table indicate, for every sector, the share of employees in the region in proportion to the share of employees in all of Sweden respective Denmark. Danish and Swedish statistical sector information are not identical, but you can still conclude from the comparisons.
Table: Specialization Profile in the Sound Region 2000 (Concentration Index)
The Copenhagen Region
Manufacturers of Medical-Technical Equipment
Insurance and Finance
Medical F & U
Research & Development
Manufacturers of Medical-Technical Equipment
Sources: Danmarks Statistik - Registerbased labour force statistics, January 1st (November 2000), Employed persons with jobs in Denmark, divided according to sector (DS111) and the placement of the work place, SCB – RAPS.
The table shows that the ”medico”-area, i.e. research and development and the manufacturing of medicine and medical equipment in both countries are concentrated in the Sound region. In Denmark Novo-Nordic and the Lundbeck-Group are locomotives with the manufacturing of diabetes medicine and psychoactive drugs. In Scania there is Astra Zeneca with the manufacturing of ulcer- and cholesterol-lowering medicine.
The medico industry in the Sound region has a total of 26.000 employees, which corresponds to the total number of employees in both countries. In Copenhagen there is a strong concentration of insurance and financing sector with main offices for Codan, Danica and Nordea.
The publishing business is strongly represented with Egmont and Allers, which also have large branches in Helsingborg. There is packing industry in Malmø and Lund with Tetra Pak and Rexam. The concentration of food industry in Helsingborg goes back to the town´s tradition as Swedens gate to the continent. A large number of food companies have chosen to place its distribution and loading centres in Helsingborg.
The placement of a branch of Lund´s university in Helsingborg (Campus Helsingborg) has inspired ideas to develop Helsingborg/Elsinore into a research centre for maritime studies, through the coordination of the activities of Copenhagen´s Univeristy in Hillerød and Elsinore with Lund´s research activity. The plans have not yet been carried through.
How Far Has the Integration Across the Sound Reached?
Even though the commuting across the Sound, from Scania to Zealand, is growing, it is from a low level in comparison to the commutation you see between the municipalities on both sides of the Sound.
One sign of the attraction power of the region is that both the Copenhagen region and Scania from the middle of the 1990´s have experienced a population growth of approximately 3-4% per year. Such growth figures are perhaps not to the credit of the Sound integration, but the fact remains, no matter the cause, that the Sound region have become more attractive to live and work in.
This conclusion is further strengthened if you study the regional BNP (the so-called BRP) for the Copenhagen region, Scania and the whole Sound region. BRP for the regions shows from the year 2001, a larger growth than the average for BNP i Denmark and Sweden as a whole.
At the time of the bridge opening, July 1st, 200o, there was a lot of optimism with regards to the integrated Sound region. Today most people realize that the integrations process will take longer than expected. The economic recess after the crash of the IT-sector form the year 2000 is of course a part of the explanation. But there are also explanations, which more Sound related and they point to concrete obstacles for a quick integration. 1. The price to cross the Sound. 2. Different laws and regulations for taxation in the labour market areas. 3. Differences in culture and mentality between Danish and Swedish.
It is not possible to decide which of these factors hinder the integration the most. It depends on which areas you look at.
One positive conclusion can be drawn: The Sound integration and every other aspects of living and working at the Sound have during the last ten years become a theme, which always emerges in the discussion, when the development in the Copenhagen region and Scania are discussed.
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