Denmark culture group’s Edinburgh HQ to shut

he Danish Cultural Institute in Doune Terrace in the New Town, above, has helped to promote Denmark. Picture: contributed

he Danish Cultural Institute in Doune Terrace in the New Town, above, has helped to promote Denmark. Picture: contributed

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AN organisation promoting Denmark in the UK is abandoning its Capital base despite a surge in appetite for Scandinavian culture.

The soaring popularity of “Nordic Noir” thrillers such as The Killing and political drama Borgen has led to a spike in interest in Danish culture in recent years.

But the Danish Cultural Institute has revealed plans to close its UK base in July as the nation looks to focus on emerging economies in places such as Brazil, China, India and Turkey.

Its elegant New Town house, in Doune Terrace, is now set to be restored to its former residential use.

The move by the non-governmental organisation – founded in 1940 – follows similar closures of Danish institutes in Germany, Hungary, Lithuania and Estonia in recent years.

Director Kim Minke said: “The institute has been operating here since 1956 – it’s a bit sad it is going but it can’t be helped. We have had lots of kind calls and e-mails from people who are disappointed we are closing down.

“I think it is a sign of the times. Many European consulates and cultural institutes are downsizing.”

He said improved communications have reduced the need for a physical premises in many European countries, but cultural differences between some developing nations and Denmark mean an institute is necessary.

The team – the director and one part-time staff member – will work from an office elsewhere in the city until the operation is wound down at the end of the year.

Consul Stuart MacPherson, of the Danish Consulate in Leith, said: “I am sure that the Embassy and the Consulates will continue working to promote Danish culture in the UK in the absence of the Cultural Institute, but there is no doubt it was a very valuable resource and will be very much missed.”

The closure will be “a great loss” to Edinburgh and the wider Danish community, said Copenhagen-born shop owner Karina Baldorf, who settled in Duddingston 13 years ago.

The 36-year-old, who owns Kakao by K clothes shop in Thistle Street, said: “It is an enormous shame they are moving out of Edinburgh as it brings a lot of people together.

“They do really well at promoting Danish culture, not only to Scandinavians but to the wider community. It really has been a lifeline for me and many others.”

Ditte Solgaard, who works for First Light Photography in Trinity, moved to Edinburgh from Tonder on Denmark’s west coast 18 years ago.

The mum-of-two said: “It’s a shame to see it go. I felt so lucky when I moved here that the institute was in Edinburgh.”

The institute will host a farewell concert by Copenhagen-based band Trio con Brio on April 15 and 16.

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com