Strengthening the Nordic footprint in India

The Denmark Tavern in Serampore. Photo:

Every year the Nordic Ambassadors partake in an annual field trip to an Indian state. This year’s journey went to West Bengal and the Andaman Island.

The Nordic countries are small nations when separated, but, in spite of only 27 million inhabitants, the Nordic countries would have been the world’s 11th biggest economy if it had been one country. With more than USD 20 billion invested in India and more than 200,000 jobs created by the more than 500 Nordic companies present in India, the Nordic countries do also have a not insignificant economic presence in India.  

A main aim of the yearly trips of the Ambassadors is to spread knowledge of the importance of Nordic companies in India, and also to encourage strengthened commercial ties with India through presenting Indian businesses with information about competencies of Nordic companies. This year the Nordic Ambassadors visited Kolkata and Port Blair in the Andaman Islands, that are located in a coastal region of India. Nordic marine and maritime and expertise, in addition to fields such as renewable energy and environmental technologies, were of particular interests in meeting members of the West Bengal business community, arranged by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, and the Andaman Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In addition a number of meetings took place with the authorities of West Bengal and the Andamans, with politicians from different parties, and with academics, journalists and representatives of Non-Governmental organizations.

Participation in the inauguration of the old Denmark Tavern in Serampore, 25 km outside of Kolkata, the long historic ties with the region were marked as the Danish-Norwegian trading post of Serampore was established in 1755.  The trading station was sold to Great Britain in 1845. The historic tavern, which opened in 1786, has now been restored as a modern coffee house, is restored by the Danish Museum. This is part of a broader restoration of the trading post by the Danish Museum and the Government of West Bengal, restoring the trading post to its former glory.

While in West Bengal, Norway’s Ambassador Kamsvåg also discussed the Indo-Norwegian research cooperation on how to increase the production of the hilsa, a favorite fish for all Bengalis.  The hilsa is a sea fish that spawns in freshwater, and that has a lot in common with salmon.