Category Archives: News from the Embassy


Danish maritime expert in Washington to promote interests of Blue Denmark in North America

To strengthen the presence of “Blue Denmark” in North America, the Danish Maritime Authority has appointmented a maritime expert to the Danish Embassy in Washington D.C. The goal is to strengthen relations with relevant U.S. authorities and to acquire information concerning U.S. actions affecting the maritime industry. In addition, the maritime expert will support marketing of Blue Denmark in North America as well as contribute to promoting the Danish maritime interests internationally, with a particular focus on the United States and Canada. The appointment of a maritime expert in Washington is part of the execution of the “Growth Plan for Blue Denmark” and a part of Denmark chairing the Consultative Shipping Group (CSG) where Denmark with 17 like-minded countries is committed to equal market access for international shipping.

According to the Director General of the Danish Maritime Authority, Mr. Andreas Nordseth: “The US is a crucial market for Danish shipping and an important player in the international regulation of it. By hiring a maritime expert in Washington we will be able to strengthen our collaboration with the American authorities and increase our visibility in North America, benefitting all of Blue Denmark.”

The Embassy in Washington, effective 1 January 2014 employed Ida Bo Jorgensen in the position as maritime expert. Ida Bo Jørgensen is a lawyer and has worked in the Ministry of Business and Growth since 2007 with the last 4 years spent at the European Commission as a seconded Danish national expert.

The Climate Neutral Collaborative between Washington State and Denmark (CN-2050)

The ties between Washington State and Denmark are both historical and contemporary. Many Danes settled in Washington State through the 1800s and early 1900s. Continuing to build on the Danish-Washington State relationship, i-SUSTAIN has created a new multi-year program called the Climate Neutral Collaborative between Washington State and Denmark or CN2050. CN2050 brings the top public, private and NGO renewable and sustainable energy leaders from Washington State and Denmark together to pool their ideas and resources to move both state and country toward the goal of being climate neutral by 2050.

To kick off the program, Danish Ambassador to the U.S. Peter Taksoe-Jensen spoke about Denmark’s Energy Policy in Seattle on November 22, along with Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, Scan|Design Foundation executive director, Mark Schleck, and i-SUSTAIN CEO Patricia Chase.

As part of CN2050, several Seattle councilmembers expressed interest in signing a Letter of Commitment with Copenhagen to share best practices related to reducing fossil fuel use and becoming climate neutral by 2050. In addition, a luncheon was held in honor of the Ambassador with attendees from Boeing, Microsoft, the University of Washington, and the Seattle cleantech community.

In 2014, a delegation of public and private sector professionals possibly including Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee will travel to Denmark for site visits and meetings.

Through the efforts of i-SUSTAIN, an urban sustainability consulting firm and the support of a Washington State based NGO, the Scan|Design Foundation, almost 400 public and private sector urban professionals have come to Denmark in the past 10 years to experience Danish best practices in energy, waste, water, public space, bicycling infrastructure, pedestrianization of streets and more.

Exposure to Denmark has had a profound impact on Seattle as well as other cities across the US that look to Seattle as a leader in green living. An excellent example is Seattle’s Energy Benchmarking and Reporting Program, which requires commercial and multifamily building owners to conduct annual energy performance.  Reducing the energy used by buildings is important because 26% of Seattle’s green house gas emissions are produced from building energy usage. The original inspiration for this law came from Denmark where i-SUSTAIN’s clients including Seattle’s Director of Planning and Development, Diane Sugimura, as well as many Seattle real estate developers, architects and planners met with Copenhagen’s building code officials. Jayson Antonoff, formerly Seattle’s Climate and Energy Advisor, who spearheaded this program within the city said, “our first exposure to thinking about having some sort of metric of building performance akin to energy consumption of cars and appliances was never considered until we were exposed to the Danish model.” Now other U.S. cities are implementing similar programs based on Seattle’s experience. This is just one example among many of how Denmark has impacted Washington State.

For more information on CN2050, please contact Patricia Chase at

Minister for Health Astrid Krag in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Peter Taksøe-Jensen with Minister for Health Astrid Krag

On Sunday December the 8th, the Danish Minister for Health Astrid Krag spoke at a reception in the residence of the Danish Ambassador, in recognition of Health Bridge 2013, a large Danish delegation of public and private sector officials visiting the US on networking opportunities in healthcare information technology.


The reception was attended by American healthcare professionals and industry leaders and opened by Ambassador Taksøe-Jensen who welcomed the minister and guest to his residence.In her remarks, the Minister highlighted Danish leadership in health IT with the example that Denmark is a frontrunner within mobile health solutions. She noted that many countries look to Denmark when seeking inspiration on how to integrate health IT into national health care systems for improved healthcare delivery. Yet even though Denmark has come a long way in the application of health care solutions and services, Minister Krag noted that there is still plenty of room for improvement and called for increased exploration for opportunities between Denmark and the USA.

Creative Christmas – Denmark knows water

On December 10th and 11th, Ambassador Taksøe-Jensen hosted Creative Christmas, the annual Danish Embassy reception for U.S. partners and stakeholders.

Guests were invited to the Embassy where they enjoyed delicious Danish food homemade by the Embassy chef.

The focus of this year’s Creative Christmas was showcasing Danish competencies within water. Making water the focus of this year’s Creative Christmas was an obvious choice because of Denmark’s leading position within integrated water management.Just like past years, the Embassy of Denmark worked closely with the Corcoran School of Art + De-sign on decorating the Embassy. The installations helped shine a light on this global challenge, a challenge which the United Nations has recognized by declaring 2013 the Year of Water Cooperation.

With more than 4,500 miles of coastline, Denmark is surrounded by water — one of the reasons water is such an integral part of our lives. We are proud to say that Denmark knows water!

Denmark’s expertise within water, water technology and shipping provides an opportunity for growth and benefit for our two countries.

The focus on water was reflected through, among other things, a waterfall created at the entrance of the residence and an underwater view from the harbour bath in Copenhagen. The students had also focused on Denmark’s position within sustainability by creating Christmas trees made from recycled water bottles.

The Embassy would like to thank the Danish and American companies and stakeholders that attended Creative Christmas and helped make the evening a great success. We would also like to thank the American-Danish Business Council for their support and participation.  We are looking forward to next year with a new theme and inspiration.

Guests enjoyed the creative food and decoration

Guests enjoyed the creative food and decoration

Grundfos Opens North American Headquarter

Grundfos, a global leader in advanced pump technology, recently opened its North American head- quarters in the Chicago area, a region that is quickly emerging as an important hub for the water industry.

The $4 billion, Denmark-based company chose Downers Grove, a western suburb of Chicago, for its proximity to the resurgent manufacturing sector surrounding the Great Lakes and its open political cli- mate promoting advancements in water infrastructure and sustrainability.

For example, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has laid out an ambitious vision for the future that includes improving energy efficiency by 5 percent and decreasing water use by 2 percent citywide.

Meanwhile, the state of Illinois has shown commitment to water infrastructure though the $1 billion Clean Water Initiative, a plan to invest in modern infra- structure upgrades that will guarantee the safety of drinking water, decrease energy costs and create jobs across the state.

“From our new headquarters in the Chicago area, we anticipate playing a major role in the further development of critical water initiatives in the state and around the country,” said Dun- can Cooper, president and CEO of Grundfos North America.

Through its new presence in Chicagoland, the company is poised to more prominently contribute to political dialogue in the state and throughout the U.S., strongly advocating for the important role of technology in maintaining and improving the country’s aging infrastructure.

Grundfos also has a manufacturing and warehouse facility in Aurora, Ill., that is devoted exclusively to the production, servicing and distribution of pumps and other equipment for the municipal wastewater treatment market throughout North America and beyond.

Along with infrastructure modernization, sustainability is also a major priority for Grundfos. In addition to manufacturing energy- and water-efficient pumping solutions, the company is committed to reducing its own impact on the environment. Its new headquarters is pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver for Commercial Interiors, the recognized system for certifying high-performance green tenant spaces.

The office also showcases the company’s character through a galleria of Grundfos products, a mural of an early manufacturing facility and a water wall powered by a Grundfos smart pump and controlled by a Grundfos GO, an app for iPhone and Android devices.

In addition to housing a number of permanent employees, the headquarters will also serve as a meeting place for Grundfos personnel and partners from throughout the region.

Rufus Gifford – The New U.S. Ambassador to Denmark

Rufus Gifford was confirmed by the United States Senate on August 1, 2013, and sworn in
on August 15, 2013, as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark. Ambassador Gifford most recently served as Finance Chair of the Presidential Inaugural Committee. He served as Finance Director for Obama for America from 2011 to 2012, and as Finance Director
for the Democratic National Committee from 2009 to 2011.

From 2008 to 2009, he was the California Finance Director for the Presidential Inaugural Committee, after working as a political consultant in California from 2004 to 2008. From 1998 to 2004, Mr. Gifford was Creative Executive for Davis Entertainment, an independent film company based in Los Angeles.

He is currently a Federal Club Member of the Human Rights Campaign and a Partner in
Conservation for the World Wildlife Fund. He received a B.A. from Brown University.

During his time in Denmark he will work to expand trade and investment through economic cooperation.