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Denmark targets tech with 9 artificial islands

January 7, 2019

Space in Copenhagen is limited, so the Danish government wants to reclaim land from the sea around the capital city. The head of the country's employers' association says it could help create a "European Silicon Valley."

Denmark to build 9 new islands off Copenhagen
Image: URBAN POWER for Hvidore Kommune

The Danish government revealed plans on Monday to build nine artificial islands by 2040 to house a new industrial zone off the southern coast of Copenhagen.

Dubbed Project "Holmene," the islands are designed to bolster the capital's attractiveness in the eyes of international businesses and could result in the creation of some 12,000 jobs, Interior Minister Simon Emil Ammitzboell-Bille said.

"We will stand stronger in international competition to attract business, investment and highly qualified labor," he said.

Read more: Google leaves Berlin campus after anti-gentrification demos

Denmark's 'Silicon Valley'

The government said the project, which still requires parliamentary approval, would alleviate a shortage of land in the Danish capital, by creating:

  • 3.1 million square meters (33 million square feet) of new land
  • Space for up to 380 new businesses
  • 700,000 square meters of nature
  • 17 kilometers of new coastline
  • More than $8 billion (€7.2 billion) in economic activity

The government hopes to begin construction on the first islands in 2022. It would finance the endeavor by selling plots on the islands, Business Minister Rasmus Jarlov said.

The head of Denmark's employers' association, Brian Mikkelsen, welcomed the plan. He told Denmark's TV2 television that the islands could spur the emergence of a "European Silicon Valley."

Read more: Hong Kong protesters decry plans for artificial islands

Denmark's fondness for artificial islands

One of the nine islands is designed to house a waste conversion plant, which would transform refuse from the capital into biogas, as well as hold cleaning waste water and store energy from windmills.

Copenhagen is located on two islands, Zealand and Amager. Authorities have expanded the city's border multiple times in recent decades by creating artificial islands.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen announced plans in October to build a separate artificial island off Copenhagen's coast that would host housing projects and bolster the city's flood defenses in the face of rising sea levels.

amp/rt (dpa, Reuters)

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