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Sunday, February 19, 2006

Danes seek Tassie sister

The Mercury: Danes seek Tassie sister [20feb06]

THE birth of Christian to Tasmania's own Princess Mary and Prince Frederik of Denmark seems to have sparked Danish interest in Hobart.

The mayor of the municipality of Viborg, Johannes Stensgaard, is proposing the establishment of a sister city relationship and a Danish city which rejected overtures from Hobart in 2004, Aarhus, seems may be willing to reconsider a formal relationship.

Little interest was displayed in a sister city relationship with Hobart by three Danish cities in mid-2004 despite massive publicity associated with the May 2004 Danish wedding of Princess Mary and Prince Frederik.

Hobart City Council sought feedback then from Copenhagen, Aarhus (which has a population of 285,000 and is Denmark's largest city) and the smaller Frederikshavn, which has a population of only 34,853.

Hobart Lord Mayor Rob Valentine said yesterday he could only assume the interest flowed from the publicity given to the royal couple and the birth of their son, Prince Christian.

Indirectly the council has received a report that Aarhus Mayor Louise Gade has a different position to her original view on the establishment of a formal relationship with Hobart.

A 12 member delegation from Viborg, including the mayor and deputy mayor will visit Hobart on March 2 and 3. Ald Valentine will meet them on March 2.

On December 23 last year Mr Stensgaard wrote to Ald Valentine to discuss the establishment of a sister city relationship with his city.

He said Hobart and Denmark had a royal connection (Princess Mary grew up in Taroona in the City of Hobart) and Viborg had a history of links with the Danish Royal family.

Mr Stensgaard said Viborg had many similarities with Hobart and was Denmark's second oldest city.

His trip to Australia was through his role as chairman of a European Union-sponsored e-learning development project -- teaching and communication via the internet, and he was with a delegation of about 20 people working in education in Viborg.

He said both cities could inspire each other in a large number of areas -- creating closer links between the respective residents, especially between young people, associations and businesses.


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