Hamburg is to host the third edition of the Fehmarnbelt Days (FBD 2016) from September 20-22, 2016 in HafenCity University. Delegates at the three-day event will discuss possible development opportunities for the region after the planned Fehmarnbelt Tunnel finances/signing-building-deals-worth-millions-fehmarnbelt-/ has been constructed. Representatives of commerce, politics, culture and research in the emerging Fehmarnbelt region spanning northern Germany to southern Sweden can then exchange ideas. Lubeck held the first FBD in 2012 followed by Copenhagen in 2014. The opening of this year’s event will be followed by a reception in the senate under the auspices of Hamburg’s Mayor Olaf Scholz.
Promoting business links
Around 900 Hamburg-based firms have close ties to Denmark. Over 200 of those companies have representatives, branches or factories there, according to the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Around 250 Danish firms have branches in Hamburg making the city the most important place in Germany for Denmark’s economy. Cross-border collaboration towards regional development is already the norm among business promoters.
Business developers from Hamburg and the Metropolitan Region, Copenhagen and Schonen in Sweden will host a joint presentation during the Fehmarnbelt Days. Dr. Rolf Strittmatter, Managing Director of the Hamburg Business Development Corporation (HWF), said: “Asia and North America view the Fehmarnbelt Region differently. Linking the region will see us move closer together. The logical consequence is to market the business location jointly.”
Key cross-border collaboration
The Fehmarnbelt Days are being organised by the Fehmarnbelt Business Council (FBBC), the Fehmarnbelt Committee (FBC), the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the Baltic Sea network STRING and Femern A/S, the company planning and building the Fehrmarnbelt Tunnel. Around 650 people from Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and other European countries had registered for the event by mid August, which attracted around 750 delegates when held in Copenhagen. This year, organisers are expecting even greater demand. Key issues at the conference include cross-border collaboration, infrastructure, tourism, labour markets, transport and logistics, education and research.
Impetus for the entire region
Hans Thon, President of IHK Schwerin and Friederike C. Kühn, President of IHK Lubeck, expressed optimism. Kühn said: “Linking the Fehmarnbelt region will give the north German economy new and important impetus. At the same, new opportunities for commerce in the Baltic Sea region will open up as a result of the event-better connected Hamburg Metropolitan Region and the Copenhagen/Malmo area.” Representatives of the assemblies of the Chambers of Industry and Commerce in both cities went on a second local tour of the Fehmarnbelt region on August 31, 2016.
Kühn added: “The fixed Fehmarnbelt link will cut transport distances for rail freight transport and simplify the overall transport of goods. At the same time, journey times will be reduced making the HanseBelt Region even more attractive for tourists from Denmark and southern Sweden. And not least, cultural exchange will have a positive impact on life attitudes in an entire region and add to the quality of life.” She noted: “We as the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Lübeck are convinced that the opportunities outweigh the risks of the project and will do our utmost to help companies avail of these chances.”
Hub for northern Europe
The expansion of infrastructure to Scandinavia is crucial to the commercial development of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Commenting in June on the importance of the Fehmarnbelt link for the Hamburg Metropolitan Region and Copenhagen during a reception given by the Danish ambassador in Berlin, Hamburg’s Mayor Olaf Scholz, said: “Hamburg is a hub in northern Europe. The Fehmarnbelt Tunnel will help us to improve how we perform this task. The next generation can live in Schleswig-Holstein and work in Copenhagen.” Thanks to the Fehmarnbelt Tunnel, travelling to Copenhagen from Hamburg will be swifter than journeying to Cologne in future.
Fair in university lobby
This agenda of FBD 2016 includes, for instance, a presentation of the Baltic International Summer School (BISS) to which seven countries in the Baltic Sea region send around 60 students annually to develop urban solutions together. Delegates at FBD can also discuss alternative fuels with representatives of the climate-friendly GREAT traffic project. A keynote speech about EU funds will give an overview of financing suitable for the Fehmarnbelt region. A fair in the lobby of HafenCity University will follow each event.