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7 things to know about Denmark's ties to Mexico

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7 things to know about Denmark's ties to Mexico
Queen Margrethe greeted Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto upon his arrival in Denmark. Photo: Mathias Løvgreen Bojesen/Scanpix
12:15 CEST+02:00
As Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto visits Copenhagen, we look at the countries' connections.
Nieto arrived in Copenhagen on Tuesday for Mexico's first official state visit to Denmark. The last time a Mexican head of state visited Denmark was in 2009 so it’s been a while since the countries have had this level of cultural exchange.

Although more than 9,000 kilometres separate the two countries, The Local has taken a look at what Mexico and Denmark have in common despite the distance. 

1. A Dane first set foot in Mexico in the 16th century

Religious expansion prompted many Europeans to head to the America's. Photo: Enrique Lopez-Tamayo Biosca/WikiMedia

Religious expansion prompted many Europeans to head to the America's. Photo: Enrique Lopez-Tamayo Biosca/Flickr

The year was 1542 and a man named Jacob the Dacian was crossing the pond to establish himself elsewhere. Jacob, a Franciscan monk, was the first known Dane to settle in Mexico, then known as New Spain. His ancestry has been the topic of many rumours considering he was supposedly Danish royalty. Jacob lived in what is now known as the Mexican state of Michoacán and to this day the natives of Tarécuato still celebrate his birthday every year. It also helped that Jacob knew eight languages, quite a fit considering that Duolingo was not available in the 16th century.

2. Women are an important part of the political system in both countries

Mexico's Chamber of Deputies. Public Domain
Mexico's Chamber of Deputies. Public Domain

The two nations have an elevated percentage of women in their respective governments. Although we are used to Denmark leading other global ranking lists, Mexico actually has a higher percentage of female political participation according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Mexico is ranked seventh while Denmark is down at 21st. Both countries, however, are above the world average. 

3. Copenhagen and Campeche, Mexico are sister cities

The Cathedral of Campeche. Photo: Jiuguang Wang/Flickr

The Cathedral of Campeche. Photo: Jiuguang Wang/Flickr

The Danish capital and Campeche, with a population of about 220,000, share a connection as sister cities. Being sister cities helps promote cultural exchanges between them through regular visits by locals during which they are exposed to the vibrant regional culture.

4. Denmark has invested significantly in Mexico over the years

Danish companies like Maersk are part of Denmark's investment in Mexico. Photo: Maersk Line
Danish companies like Maersk are part of Denmark's investment in Mexico. Photo: Maersk Line

Out of all the Nordic countries, Denmark has the most investments in Mexico. The countries established diplomatic relations in 1827 and since then they have expanded their trade agreements. Commerce between the two countries accounted for $689 million (4.5 billion kroner) in 2014 making Denmark Mexico’s eight largest trading partner within the European Union. There are 218 Danish companies operating in Mexico, mainly in the industries of manufacturing, construction and transportation with a notable heavyweight being Maersk. A state visit is usually accompanied by a boost in mutual investments, so we can expect Mexico and Denmark to strengthen their ties further.

5. Visa free travel

Going to Cancun requires no special paperwork. Photo: Dronepicr/Flickr
Going to Cancun requires no special paperwork. Photo: Dronepicr/Flickr

Thinking of visiting Mexico? Don’t worry about a visa! Just focus on their beautiful beaches in Cancun or their impressive cultural centres in Mexico City. Neither nation requires visas for visits meaning that Mexicans can also visit Denmark hassle-free. 

6. Mexican-Danes have made a splash in Mexico

From art to sport, Danes have made an impact in Mexico. Photo: José Goulão/WikiCommons
From art to sport, Danes have made an impact in Mexico. Photo: José Goulão/WikiCommons

Since Jacob the Dacian's visit to Mexico, many other Danes have followed his path, producing a notable Danish-Mexican society where some individuals stand out. Sairi Forsman is a Danish-Mexican sculptor who has won numerous awards both in Scandinavia and Mexico. Cynthia Klitbo is a Mexican born actress of Danish descent, she has performed in Mexico’s lucrative telenovela industry since 1984. Miguel Ostersen is a Mexican footballer who currently plays in Peru but also comes from Danish descent.
 
7. Mexico and Denmark love 7-Eleven

7-Eleven stores are popular in both countries. Photo: mlabowicz/Flickr

Mexico and Denmark both share their love for 7-Eleven. The American convenience store is in 17 countries around the world with Denmark having the most stores for the Nordic region and Mexico being the only country in Latin America to have them. 

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