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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.
Interreg regioner
Interreg regioner

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 Vision of 1963
Fixed Connection
Fixed Connection

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 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
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 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
The Napkin Sketch
Project Plan for the H-H-Conncetion
Project Plan for the H-H-Conncetion
Project Plan for the K-M-Connection
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´s Plan
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 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 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
Pharmaceutical industry
Packing Industry
Manufacturers of Medical-Technical Equipment
Insurance and Finance
Medical F & U
Graphic Industry
Research & Development
Manufacturers of Medical-Technical Equipment
Food Industry
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.
The H-H-Line
The H-H-Line

©  Øresundstid 2009