Scientologists are ‘rearming’ in Copenhagen: researcher

Scientologists have opened a new, major church in Copenhagen, and its location in the Danish capital is no coincidence according to an expert researcher.

Scientologists are 'rearming' in Copenhagen: researcher
File photo: franky242/Depositphotos
The new church, strategically placed in Copenhagen's iconic Nytorv square, opened last weekend, reports Politiken.
According to the organisation itself, more than 2500 people attended the opening day celebrations. The Church of Scientology stated its new building in Denmark was “the next step in the growth of the church.”
Peter Birkelund Andersen, an associate professor of cross-cultural and regional studies at the University of Copenhagen, who has studied Scientology for many years, calls the move a “rearmament.”
“They went for a central location. And it's a deliberate move to open the church a stone's throw from (the pedestrian street) Strøget, with lots of passers-by which the Scientologists want to get in touch with,” Birkelund Andersen told Politiken.
“This is a sign that they are rearming for something they believe could become a new expansion,” he said.
Copenhagen is also the home to the Church of Scientology's European headquarters, with members from all over the world visiting the course centre on Jernbanegade. 
Apart from the new Nytorv church, there is one more church in Copenhagen, and one in Aarhus. But the new church stands out from the others, according to Birkelund Andersen, in that it invites passers-by to come inside from the street.
“I believe that to be a strategic choice, which gives you a good picture of what Scientology wants: to get more people inside and show that they have beautiful and newly-refurbished premises, compared to the yellow exhibition tents with folding tables at Strøget, for instance, where they have invited people until now,” he said.
According to Anette Refstrup, head communications at the Church of Scientology in Denmark, the organisation employs around 1000 people in the country, 170 of whom work at the new church in Nytorv.
She also stated that the Church, which is not recognised as a religious community in Denmark, sends out members' magazines to around 25,000 people in the country. But not all of these are active members.
“I would estimate that around 4000-5000 have been active lately,” Refstrup told Politiken.
But Birkelund Andersen thinks the figures are exaggerated, estimating Denmark has a total of 2000-4000 Scientologists.

“The Church of Scientology itself would say that they have a large and steady membership growth here in Denmark. They stress that there's a constant expansion. But I find that hard to see, even though it is true that there's recruitment happening all the time,” he told Politiken.



Copenhagen to miss 2025 zero emissions target

Copenhagen will not reach its longstanding target of becoming CO2 emissions neutral by 2025.

Cyclists on Copenhagen's
Cyclists on Copenhagen's "Lille Langebro" bridge. The Danish capital has admitted to errors in emissions calculations and says it won't be climate neutral in 2025, a long-standing target. Photo by Febiyan on Unsplash

A city councillor told newspaper Jyllands-Posten that the city, which has long stated its aim of becoming the world’s first CO2-neutral capital, would not meet that target as scheduled.

“I won’t need to stand there in 2025 and say ‘hurrah, we’re CO2 neutral’, because I know that CO2 will still be emitted (then),” elected representative Ninna Hedeager Olsen of the Copenhagen Municipality environment section told Jyllands-Posten.

Tourist board Visit Denmark has previously used the emissions goal to market the city, while Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen named the target during the C40 climate summit when it was hosted by Copenhagen in 2019.

But the municipality has included wind energy produced in other municipalities in its calculations on energy sustainability, according to the newspaper report.

This means it effectively still emits CO2 overall.

The company which supplies energy to the city, Hofor, has erected windmills in a number of municipalities outside of Copenhagen. But the electricity produced by these windmills has been used in calculations of CO2 emissions in both Copenhagen and in the municipalities in which the windmills are actually located.

The replication of the energy production in data for different locations can “rightly” be said to be “cheating the scales”, according to Hedeager Olsen.

But that is not the only problem in calculations of the city’s emissions, she also admitted.

“There are loads of things that haven’t been counted,” she said.

The goal to become climate neutral by 2025 was first set by the city in 2012 in a climate plan adopted by the city government.

Copenhagen was the following year awarded the Cities Climate Leadership award for the plan.