Denmark Wins WorldPride 2021

This Just In

VisitDenmark and Wonderful Copenhagen, the Danish government’s tourism authorities, have decided to put inclusivity, openness, and tolerance at the centre of their new brand platform — essentially using Denmark’s national character and culture as a selling point to attract international events.

“With our new ‘Everything is closer’ brand, we not only focus on our abilities to deliver on all the meeting must-haves, but we also explain why Danes and our easy-going and relaxed work and lifestyle has resulted in creative and inspiring ideas and solutions,” said Erik Mortensen, head of Business Events Denmark. “Our playful, open-minded, yet innovative approach to life itself is very much part of our DNA.”

The Danish capital was awarded host city of the world’s largest LGBTQ event, WorldPride, in 2021, and the event was won after the city presented a bid that has inclusion and human rights at its core.

In addition, Copenhagen will also host EuroGames in 2021 and the two events will be combined into one huge event, Copenhagen 2021. The event will feature an extensive pride parade, a large human rights conference, and hundreds of inclusive sporting events.

Discussing the bid, Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau Deputy Convention Director Bettina Reventlow-Mourie said, “From the start, it was a strategic decision for the city to be for both WorldPride and Eurogames in 2021. And we were open and honest with both events about bidding for the two at the same time. We wanted to send a strong signal that Copenhagen, Denmark, and Scandinavia more widely, are open and tolerant places to meet.

“We felt strongly that there had never been a better time to promote tolerance as a key narrative for Scandinavia,” Reventlow-Mourie continued. “The way we conduct meetings is the way we are brought up from childhood — to be collaborative, open, and free. These values feed into how we approach meetings and both these events in 2021 reflect that idea. It wasn’t just about capturing business events from these markets (although that’s important too), it was about the message we want to promote to the global events industry as a whole.”

Building a brand platform on inclusivity and openness is a bold move by the Danes, which could lead the world into a new era where businesses flock to be associated with humanitarian values, but it begs the question: Is Denmark really more inclusive than other countries?

It should be noted that the last general election in Denmark saw a huge swing to the right, with the populist right-wing party, the Danish People’s party taking second place, having nearly doubled its vote to 21%, up from 12% four years earlier.

The party recently called for refugees and immigrants to Denmark to celebrate Christmas and other Christian festivals if they are to be considered “Danish.” It was a comment made during a debate in the Danish Parliament on “Danishness,” during which a statement that classified “immigrants and their descendants” as non-Danes, whether or not they were born in Denmark or had gained citizenship, was approved. It’s a statement that seems at odds with Copenhagen’s inclusivity message.

To be balanced, the new brand platform — Everything is closer — is largely about promoting the accessibility of Denmark as a meetings and congress destination, so how the international events market views this strategy is yet to be seen. Meanwhile, hosting WorldPride will go far in bolstering its brand built on openness and tolerance.

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