Tomorrow, Thursday 14th June, is the opening day of the Danish Political Week. Denmark held its first Political Week in 2011 and, since then, a festival has been held every year on Bornholm, an island in the Baltic Sea.
With an open dialogue being the primary principle of the festival, personal communication is the focus point. “You can see people who listen sincerely and with interest to each other,” said political commentator Rasmus Jønsson, in 2016.
More than 100 000 people of all ages will attend this year, with the aim to strengthen and acquire new knowledge about Danish politics and the government. Ida Auken, Danish MP and member of the Danish Social Liberal Party, said in 2015,
“It is absolutely crucial for politics that we manage to speak with each other. I experience the festival as a new and more openhearted conversation, which help change Danish politics for the better”.
Your opinion counts
This year, the four day-event includes interviews with politicians, discussions on women's rights, and debates between opposing political party representatives.
The Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, will be talking to young people about the future of Denmark. All of these events are opportunities for those attending to learn more about what they are politically passionate about, but also to be challenged in their views by others who may hold opposing opinions.
Debate and events
Wishing to accommodate different views, attitudes and interests has resulted in a very wide program. Trying to find new and creative ways to articulate issues and topics, the festival attempts to include all political organisations. Attendees can speak to politicians, businesspeople, interest groups and grassroots organisations.
Besides the opportunity to listen to and speak to politicians from different parties and discuss political issues, the festival program also has topics such as national identity, health, self-esteem, science and digitalisation of the media.
It reads on the official event website that “… Everyone who are living up to the principles of festival has an opportunity to create their own platform in meeting rooms, in a tent or under the open sky.”
During the evenings, there will be film showings, parties, debates, and the opportunity to watch football. Watching football is not a common occurrence at Political Week, but this year the festival clashes with Denmark's first World Cup match of the 2018 tournament.
This year the program is characterised by unity and gatherings, in the form of activities that can be experienced and enjoyed by everyone. The Danish band, Magtens Korridorer, has been invited to play on Friday night as the main attraction. Not everything is pure politics, some elements are cultural experiences.
This creates laid-back moments on the festival ground, which is otherwise covering a range of serious topics. It also gives young people an additional reason to attend. By offering events with performance art, the festival goes some way to attracting the next generation.
A free dialogue
According to the official website, one of the purposes of Political Week is to “… create the settings for the development of the democracy.” The festivals are free to attend. This is made possible for everyone thanks to an engaged crew of volunteers, who work hard over the four days to make the festival run smoothly.
Many of the groups presenting at Political Week are charities or non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who come to the festival with the goal to enlighten others about their projects.
Some noteworthy guests include Danish Prince Joachim and Princess Marie. With a focus on their own charitable projects, they aim to spread the word of a good cause. “We are looking forward to giving Prince Joachim and Princess Marie an authentic and eventful day…” Chairman of the Board, Michael Valentin, has said.
To help navigate in the program and around the festival grounds, a free app has been created. Named after the festival, Folkemødet 2018 will assist attendees in deciding how to best plan their time at the festival. On the last day of the festival, a big breakfast is served for around 1500 people. The breakfast includes a singalong, as well as a sharp satirical performance from stand-up comedian Andreas Bo, to close the festival.
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