European Capitals of CultureΠοιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Sonderborg 2017


For Information about the candidancy of Sonderborg 2017 go to:


Denmark 2017

In Denmark, two cities competed against each other: Sonderborg and Aarhus. For a long time the bid of Aarhus was prepared by Trevor Davis. He had held already a similar position of artistic director when Copenhagen was European Capital of Culture. In October 2013 it was learned at the conference of the University Network of European Capital of Culture, that he sought the sme post, but did not get it after the designation of the title went to Aarhus.

Since preparing of the bid means a lot of investments have been made by the other city (or cities) bidding as well, it is worthwhile to look into what Sonderborg did, and could have done potentially to win the bid.

Some interesting reports were made by Oleg Koefoed as to how it came to the final decision for Aarhus by the independent jury.


Sonderborg 2017 - vision and reality

                       Alsion Hall beside the port with the banner of Sonderborg 2017

Vision for the future: the city and the region

Sonderborg is as much about nature, sea, long stretched landscapes as it is about a regional context with a historical legacy linked to the old battle grounds and conflicts between Danish and German parts of the population, but which has matured since those battles ended into an open region with the border having been drawn not by political power from above but by popular plebiscite.


The City of Sonderborg

Shining houses with red roof tops beside the sea is a characteristic aspect of Sonderborg

View of the sea from hotel

Wind mill directly beside the hotel



Public spaces - how to be used during 2017 when Sonderborg is European Capital of Culture

When the water rises above normal level this sea front is closed to traffic

Just a view towards the types of streets and houses making up a part of Sonderborg near the water front and when walking up that ramp towards the bridge





Bridge with Alsion Hall in the background and sign of royalty in Danish life


Alsion Hall

Alsion Hall is a complex housing three components: when looking from the water towards this modern building constructed in 2004, then on the left is the university, the middle the concert hall along with the restaurant, and in the right wing offices of various companies, including Danfoss and SAAB, the latter apparently for research purposes into weapons production, but also the office of Sonderborg 2017.

Concert hall in Alsion Hall

Composers before their performance at Electronic Music Festival in Nov. 14, 2010

Evening performance at Alsion Hall

During daytime the same space is used for eating

Looking back up these wide stairs are used for sitting purposes as well

View of hall from elevator shaft

Two different school concepts

Concept 1: bringing musicians to the school

Three ladies at school

Space for music and dance in the school

School children surrounding accordianist Branko Djordjevic

While Branko Djorjevic played the accordian, his companion played the violine. At this stage the children were asked to stand up and do some steps of a folk dance by going around in circles to a certain rhythm and beat of the feet.



Concept 2: Self-management with older students cleaning up after school and getting as a reward a trip to China and parents on a rotational basis cleaning up the entire school every second week

Else Christensen Redzepovic

This is an own project of Else Christensen Redzepovic. After she was approached if it is possible to get some EU money for a small project, she replied money can only be had if you think big. Hence she started to become active and soon enough she had sufficient money to revamp the entire school. The grounds outside are subdivided into four parts appropriate for different age groups.


Inside the school the first contact was with two small children and one of them dragging behind on a tiny rope a stuffed animal. The doors to each class room was wide open. When we looked into one class room, boys were playing chess. In another room they were doing music. All the teachers were amongst themselves in the teaching room and discussing things while having lunch together. The relaxed atmosphere was one of friendly trust and forthcoming to the need to give comfort and confidence to children ready to grow up and to satisfy their curiosities. There could be felt an impressive openness and trustworthiness at that school.

Places of memory and inspiration

Underneath this tree sat Anderson, the creator of the Anderson tales

Last page (edition 40/50)

Produced in partnership with Gallery M.

Designed by Keith Bassford & illustrated by Zwy Milshtein

Albion handpress April 1997



"People need to reconnect with the sea" - Oleg Koefoed, action philosopher in Copenhagen

Here thoughts about the difference between Southern and Northern Europe can go for a walk and wonder about meeting in the summer month many more people out of a such a walk.

Sun set

Anda Grarup pointed out that across the water this the place where she lives. The proximity to nature makes it for an outsider hard to follow for what is close by for the locals is at quite some distance from where one is standing. The eye can see, but not necessarily one's understanding follow so quickly into this new topology of city and region as being in reality for these people one natural political and cultural entity.


Sculpture garden in Augustenborg



Three live figures in the garden of sculptures


Another war going on

Augustiana small palace - where the exhibition of Guenter Grass will take place in May 2011

Augustiana big palace housing the Gallery Norballe at Palaevej 12, DK 6440 Augustenborg


Kim Norballe "Mikkel", Gallerist

Tel. +45 73404929

Mobile: +45 2220 2591



Gallery inside


A special exhibition is made up of drawings by Guenter Grass

There is planned a big exhibition for May 2011



Girl trying to sleep on a pebble - famous fable

What this writer Guenter Grass shows is a capacity to explore the pen in a different way by drawing. Once he went to India to portray the poor. He has as well done a lot of sculptures before turning to poetry. Once he met Paul Celan in Paris, he followed his advice and started to write novels. One of the first successful ones was "Tin Drum" with the figure Oskar capable of screaming so loud that it would break all glass. Guenter Grass won the Nobel Prize for Literature and then entered a deep controversy once he revealed that in his youth he was a member of the SS, and that towards the end of the Second World War. This silence is more general and evokes memories of what can be like a common conspiracy by those implicated in anything having to do with the SS. This mentality went underground after having copied methods from the Polish resistance. It is safe to say that keeping silent about each other's involvement was one of the credo they upheld. Something similar can be said about the implications of Pope Benedict who was in the Hitler Youth. Often it is said young people can go easily astray but then there were the sister and brother Scholl who distributed at the same age leaflets in the University of Munich and were arrested and executed for it. The puzzling element remains as to why he kept silent for such a long time especially since Guenter Grass became a 'moral voice' in post war Germany and who preferred the colour grey as sign of mourning after the end of Second World War. He would chide other writers if they would create false heros of resistance if there were none. He has supported the Social Democratic party in more than one way and was always a staunch supporter of Willy Brandt and his quest for an understanding in terms of reconciliation with especially the East. Guenter Grass comes from Gdansk and lives nearby to Sonderborg in Luebeck. Most appropriate is to think about his book about "Treffen in Telgte" ('Meeting in Telgte'). It is about a meeting of poets, their publishers, editors and critics accompanying them. They meet during the 30 year religious war which meant having to take on a Protestant identity in the one village but a Catholic one while under way to the next town and still a third identity, a more neutral one, when coming close to where the Swedish troops were camping. Since Sonderborg and region is full of memories of past battle scars, this book by Guenter Grass should be recreated as there appears the composer Schuetz to admonish the poets on two accounts. They do not write such poetry as do their Italian colleagues so that their poems cannot be used for the opera, and they are sitting at a lavish dinner table without realizing this was stolen from a church, chandeliers included. The officier who was looking after the poets had been so crafty to help himself in difficult times to make sure the poets would not only have enough to eat but would not have to eat in the dark for on the table stood heavy candle holders which revealed upon closer inspection to be indeed from a church.

The beauty of surroundings of Sonderborg


View towards Ferry


The legacy and presence of Danfoss

Anda Grarup and Else Christen Redzepovic in front of Danfoss headquarters


Interior decoration with a live plant wall

Else Christensen Redzepovic and Anda Grarup trying it out

For conference purposes different types of rooms are available, this one, for example, is a stand up table for eating in case a quick snack is needed. The screen at the back is available in every conference room.

The biggest conference room is at the top and besides the office of the president of Danfoss

Look out tower with design and materials used produced by Danfoss

View from top towards old factory halls

View of new factory where taking photos was prohibited


Political support

Reception with mayor of Sonderborg, Ms.Aase Nyegaard

Article in newspaper nordschleswiger 17.Nov. 2010 written by Sara Kannenberg


Flensburg, Schleswig Holstein

Flensburg harbour

Exhibition 'Hafensansichten' (views of harbors in the region) by Stoertenbecker


Bridge of Sonderborg

The painter recounted how long it took him to have the right length of both parts of the open bridge so that they could close afterwards again

Else Christensen Rezepovic, the painter Nikolaus Stoertenbecker and Dr. Thomas Overdick

View of harbour of Flensburg


Organisation of Sonderborg 2017


Else Christensen Rezepovic, Manager of Sonderborg 2017


Jugglers at Thursday meeting, Nov. 18, 2010

Artists Rick Towle and Anka Landtau advising the Jugglers on the artistic concept of the program Sonderborg 2017



Photographer doing the documentation standing with Else Christensen Redzepovic and Karen in charge of the Electronic Music Festival held at Alison Hall


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