Denmark-Germany border could be added to Unesco heritage list

The border area between Denmark and Germany should be included on the Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage List, according to Danish Minister for Culture Mette Bock.

Denmark-Germany border could be added to Unesco heritage list
File photo: Frank Cilius/Ritzau Scanpix

Bock has decided to nominate the border for inclusion on the list, one of the lesser-known of the UN’s world heritage lists.

Unesco, the UN’s organisation for education, science, knowledge and communication, established the list in 2008.

Unlike other Unesco lists, which protect material cultural heritage such as buildings, the Intangible Cultural Heritage List has the stated goal of protecting important intangible cultural heritages worldwide.

Bock said that the Denmark-Germany border area was “unique” and offered valuable lessons about life in border regions.

“The cooperation there has been between the minority and the majority on both sides of the Denmark-Germany border is, in a world with major border conflicts, a huge inspiration and should be even more recognised as such,” she said.

The application will be processed next year – providing a symbolic sense of timing, according to Bock, with 2020 marking the 100-year anniversary of the return of part of southern Jutland to Danish control in a referendum following the end of the First World War.

“I can’t imagine a better birthday present than to be given recognition from Unesco,” she said.

In addition to the border, the autonomous government in Greenland has nominated the territory’s Qilaatersorneq drum dance and song for inclusion on the list.

“This is a very, very old tradition, and there has been concern it might disappear. So there has been work in Greenland to ensure this tradition will be passed on to future generations,” Bock said.

Inclusion of the two nominations on the list would represent a boost for Denmark’s culture and tourism.

“It means something for us and for our self-awareness, but also for tourism and narratives of the cultural heritage we have here in Denmark,” the minister said.

Denmark has a total of seven material Unesco cultural heritage sites.

These include Kronborg Castle, the Jelling Monuments, Roskilde Cathedral and an Inuit hunting ground in Greenland.

The white cliffs on the island of Møn and Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord are among the natural Unesco heritage sites listed for Denmark.

Intangible cultural heritage is defined by Unesco as practices and expressions that help demonstrate the diversity of heritage and raise awareness about its importance.

The application for inclusion of the border area will be submitted in partnership with Germany, according to the plan, and is also supported by the Danish Royal Library.



Denmark tightens rules on travel from border regions

The Ministry of Justice has announced that it will introduce stricter rules on travel from regions bordering Denmark.

Denmark tightens rules on travel from border regions
File photo: Nils Meilvang/Ritzau Scanpix

The decision has been taken due to concerns over the risk of spread of the more infectious B1351 variant of Covid-19, the ministry said in a statement.

Residents in border regions have faced more flexible entry requirements than others to ease movement in and out of the country for work, business, study or private matters.

READ ALSO: These are Denmark's current Covid-19 travel restrictions

But authorities now believe there is an increased risk of spread of the B1531 variant, which was first detected in South Africa, via border areas.

As such, people entering Denmark from Schleswig-Holstein (Germany) and Skåne, Halland, Västra Götaland and Blekinge (Sweden) must have a ‘valid' reason for travel and a negative Covid-19 test taken with the last 72 hours. Previously, a test up to a week old was allowed.

The new requirement will take effect from Wednesday February 17th.

In addition to the requirement for a recent, negative Covid-19 test, people travelling into Denmark from abroad are required to take a new Covid-19 test within 24 hours of arrival and to self-quarantine for ten days, according to the current travel restrictions, which have been in place since February 7th.

However, exemptions to the entry test and quarantine requirements apply for people who live in Denmark but work or provide services in border regions, or visit loved ones there.

These exemptions remain in place after February 17th but will now require a negative test less than 72 hours old on entry (changed from the previous 7 days). 

“It is important that people who live and work in the border regions can cross the borders and the government understands this. But it is also important to protect Denmark against virus variants that can create greater uncertainty in the epidemic. That’s why it is necessary to tighten the requirements for testing for people who move around the border areas,” health minister Magnus Heunicke said in the statement.