The last year has seen close contact between Nanjing and the City of Aarhus with a view to reaching a collaboration agreement. On 2 October, the efforts were rewarded when Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard and Governor Xing Zhengjun from the Qixia District in Nanjing signed a new collaboration agreement at Aarhus City Hall.
The new agreement focuses on cleantech, as Nanjing requires inspiration and advice on how to organise an environment and energy efficient city. However, the agreement also indicates possibilities of collaboration within the field of education.
According to Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard, the agreement is a natural extension of the City of Aarhus’ strategic staking on China:
“Considering the opportunities in China, it is an obvious choice for the City of Aarhus to expand our efforts to create connections for the benefit of the business community. Close relations are crucial when you do business in China. In the case of Aarhus and Nanjing, history has given Aarhus a special status and forged a close link between the two cities. Both cities now wish to develop this relationship.”
Danish core strengths
The Councillor for Technology and Environment in the City of Aarhus, Bünyamin Simsek also welcomes the collaboration agreement.
“In the City of Aarhus, we have turned green conversion into a business development project anchored in the technical area. As an example, our climate plan has become a plan for concrete conversion and development of new solutions within the field of climate together with cleantech companies in Aarhus. And although we are a small country, we have many core strengths that are in demand abroad. This agreement will help make Denmark and Aarhus even more visible,” says Bünyamin Simsek.
It is the story about Aarhus-born Bernhard Arp Sindberg’s heroic effort back in 1937 that is the background for the close ties between Aarhus and Nanjing. During what is known as the Nanjing Massacre, where upwards of 300,000 Chinese were murdered by Japanese occupation forces, Bernhard Arp Sindberg succeeded in rescuing many thousands of Chinese people by giving them refuge at a factory site where he worked as a guard. Bernhard Arp Sindberg was subsequently given the honourable title ‘Friend of China’ and remains a celebrated hero figure in China.
Today, Nanjing is the second-largest financial growth centre in eastern China. The Qixia District, which constitutes the north eastern part of the city of Nanjing, covers an area of 400 km2 and has a population of about 650,000. Traditionally, the Qixia District has given high priority to education, and it now has 18 institutions of higher education and approx. 160,000 students.
China is a significant part of the City of Aarhus’ international efforts. Objectives include attracting Chinese investments to Aarhus and expanding collaboration as widely as possible within cleantech.