Small islands should be shut down and sold, says researcher

Too expensive for local authorities to keep them going

Small Danish islands should be shut down and sold to wealthy foreign or Danish business people or foundations that could convert them into enterprises like hunting reserves, spas, retirement villages, convention centres or even casino islands.

Jørgen Møller – an associate professor and researcher at Aalborg University specialising in local planning, villages and communities – said it was “nonsense” to keep alive the smallest islands, where a handful of residents need to be serviced by ferries, schools and other municipal services.

“We need an unbiased debate about what we should use the islands for – especially those with only 15, 20 or 25 residents,” Møller told Politiken. “It is simply too expensive for local authorities and communities to keep them alive.”

Foreign money
Møller said it simply “made more sense” to have professional investors buy and operate the islands as holiday resorts and natural parks.

“It could be some of the rich Russians who buy football clubs in England, or Germans with a penchant for Danish sea and nature,” said Møller.

The number of residents on smaller Danish islands has been falling for over a decade. Just 5,590 residents occupy the smaller islands, according to Danmarks Statistik.

Where the wild things could be
“We can see that municipalities are paying high costs for small islands where the population is shrinking,” said Hans Thor Andersen, the head of building research group Statens Byggeforskningsinstitut.

“The island issue is the extreme version of what is happening on the periphery of all of Denmark because the islands are so isolated from the outside world.”

READ MORE: Buy your own Danish island

Andersen said that many of the islands could be converted into nature preserves.





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