Housing Europe's Danish member organisation, BL, was once again represented on Folkemødet on the island of Bornholm in Denmark. This year with a clear message: the Danish way of providing non-profit housing is unique and valuable, so please protect it from political harm.
By Kristoffer Friis Sørensen, BL Director of Communications
Folkemødet – or in English ‘The People’s Meeting’ is a political festival for everybody, who wants to participate in the various meetings and events on the sunny Danish island of Bornholm and rub shoulders with politicians, and even the prime minister.
It is a festival where members of parliament and the prime minister each year come to celebrate democracy among thousands of citizens, business people and organizations in an informal way. This year, the event (June 14-16) - was more popular than ever. The number of visitors reached 112.000 with more than 3.000 events. Talks, debates, presentations, football and creative ways of getting people to meet and exchange views. Everything is free, and all events are within walking distance. Politicians often stand accused of being out of touch with ordinary people. But in Denmark, things are a little different.
BL is a participant every year at Folkemødet. It’s an important platform for the housing sector to meet the politicians and invite them to debate some of the topics concerning the housing and social policies and issues related to the tenants. You meet face to face and the vibe is laid back. Furthermore, it is a collaboration between the big Danish news channel, TV2 News, and BL underlines the importance of the contribution to ‘The People’s Meeting’. Every daym the news channel invites the party leaders to a 30-minute interview at the BL location and this attracts a huge crowd, while generating an opportunity to meet the politicians.
This year BL flagged the motto ‘Verdensmester i almene boliger’ – or in English: ‘World champions in non-profit housing’. The tagline was used to draw attention to the unique model of affordable housing in Denmark and played on the football world cup theme this summer, too. Additionally, seven of the housing organizations were invited and played an important role at the festival. They created the backdrop and represented the real world where sometimes the debate focuses more on values than on realities. It was particularly important for the organizations and BL to present their solutions concerning volunteer work, social tools, effective ways of driving non-profit and finance.
Fun Fact: ‘The People’s Meeting’ at Bornholm is a counterpart to the Swedish Almedalveckan which each year draws up to 100,000 visitors to the Swedish island of Gotland.