Northern Europe, including Sweden-Finland, Denmark-Norway and parts of Germany, Poland and Russia, was a volatile region during the 16th-17th and part of the 18th century with regular conflicts between the countries. The territorial power struggle was both defensive and aggressive leading to frequent border adjustments. During the Kalmar Union Denmark was forceful until Sweden broke out of it in the early 16th century with the help of the mighty Hansa-town of Lübeck. Following the Stockholm Bloodshed aggression towards Denmark increased but Denmark continued to dominate until 1640 when it, in 1650, nearly collapsed would it not have been for interference from the Netherlands that disallowed Sweden from gaining power on both shores of the straight of Öresund. As a toll of its heavy debt to Lübeck Sweden lost nearly all western export rights to the Hansa-league. Territorially Denmark lost and Sweden annexed Scania, Halland, Blekinge and the island of Gotland.
Since early 18th century a mutual understanding between Denmark and Sweden has prevailed and by the end of 1980’s the governments of both countries expressed interest for a fixed connection over the straight of Öresund. The almost 16 km’s long bridge including a tunnel section was finished in 5 years by the year 2000. It now carry the E20 motorway and a railway system allowing for some 34 millions persons to cross the straight annually. Some 18.000 persons cross the bridge daily for work and by 2007 11.000 Swedes had found a job in Denmark while 25.000 Danes settled down in Sweden. As a result the labor and housing markets were boosted and a strong infrastructure built.
The region of Öresund consisting of the eastern parts of Denmark (including Copenhagen) and southern parts of Sweden (Scania, including Malmö and Lund) has grown to become one of Europe’s most dynamic regions with 12 universities, 155.000 students and 12.000 researchers. It is said to be the most integrated transnational area in Scandinavia where a quarter of both countries GNP is produced. It is particularly strong in biotech and IT and capable of attracting many international corporations (and scientists) that now have their headquarters in this region. Interestingly Malmö is proclaiming being the “fourth most inventive city in the world” measured in terms of filed patents per 10.000 residents. One of Europe’s leading bi-national life science clusters, Medicon Valley, spans over the region fostering research cooperation between companies and scientists.
Governing the region
A special Öresund’s committee consisting of members from regional politicians and authorities from both countries, coordinates matters of the region aiming at creating a region where inhabitants may freely choose where to live, work or study. Decisions are made independently in both countries due to legislative differences between the countries. For Scanian officials the development of the collaboration over Öresund is one of the most important issues.
The future of the region
The region of Öresund is described as the “Dynamic Metropolis” by the year 2020 with 6 growth platforms (Food, IT, Biotech, Logistics, Design, Environment) that by year 2070 may have generated 500.000 new jobs and comparable logistics. The area would offer quality of life, development, effective use of resources, sustainable city planning and energy sufficiency. To achieve this considerable effort is proposed in many areas including education, logistics, integration of labor markets and social order. This high growth region is likely to attract investments against increasing value in real estate and overall growth.
What has come out of it all?
• A historically war-torn area has become a vibrant bi-national metropolitan area.
• This area hosts one of Europe’s leading high tech Life Science clusters.
• Growth and increased quality of life attract foreign scientists and businesses that contribute towards an increased innovative image for the area.
• Inhabitants have a greater scope of choice as to their personal living.
The Region of Öresund has grown into an authoritative growth region in European context.
I am a father of two children fond of photographing and designing photo books and writing. Born in Finland and lived in Andalusia and Scania, Sweden. Our photo book “Andalusia Our Way” was awarded with best travel book of the year 2014 by Ifolor, Finland. Our fresh book SCANIA COUNTY has been published and submitted to a competition in the USA.
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