Move over Little Mermaid

The government is looking to pep up the country's stereotypical international image as a quaint and proper country

The Little Mermaid, Tivoli Gardens and endless rows of fair skinned descendants of Vikings is still the impression Denmark brings forth to many foreigners, and politicians are now ready to spend a bundle on changing that image.

The Liberal-Conservative government, having secured the consent of the Danish People's Party, Social Democrats and Social Liberals, is ready to pass a proposal through parliament setting aside DKK 412 million over the next four years to drive a new global marketing campaign for the country.

Bendt Bendtsen, the economy and business minister, said breaking the nation's reputation as the land of Hans Christian Andersen, bacon and butter will be a tough assignment.

'That image is nice enough, but it doesn't give a proper representation,' Bendtsen said Monday as he introduced the proposal. 'First and foremost we're a modern society that makes cutting-edge products and provides services of the highest quality, something that isn't well-known in the rest of the world.'

Bendtsen said four main national qualities will be highlighted.

'The plan calls for Denmark to be marketed under four themes that characterise the country: responsibility and balance, high quality, simplicity and effectiveness, and an experimental and bold attitude while at the same time being environmentally conscious.'

Most of the money under the proposal has already been earmarked to specific projects. Some DKK 150 million will be used to create a new Denmark Fund that will promote major events that draw international attention to the country. Another DKK 60 million will market the national as a top tourist destination, while DKK 24 million more will be used to woo qualified foreign students.

The plan hopes to increase foreign investment as well, allotting DKK 45 million to that goal and an additional DKK 30 million to promote Danish exports. No money was set aside for the possibility of a bid by Copenhagen to host for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Bendtsen said: 'This plan covers only the next four years. The Olympic Games is something we'll have to take up at a later date.'

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