By Nicolai Lassen
Hans Skou does not sail himself, but he has a passion for sport in all its forms. Hans is the former president of the city’s Idrætssamvirke (Athletics Cooperation), which is the umbrella organization for the 80,000 active athletes in the Aarhus district.
As a chairman for the six lions of the city council, Hans Skou decided to retire as president of the Athletics Cooperation and today he is the foreman of the Aarhus International Sailing Center, amongst other things. A dream and a vision – born in the sailing background that over the last years have grown large, and in the spring of 2018 they will open their doors to the public. Overall the sailing center is opening to all citizens in Aarhus and is to help strengthen sailing both with the public and with professional athletes.
Aarhus International Sailing Center has obtained the absolute finest location in the city, that is at the tip of the newest district, Aarhus Ø.
Situated at the promenade with a view of Aarhus Bay, Aarhus Ø is in the middle of Aarhus and is one of the recreational parts of the city with thousands of inhabitants. It is a spot that many would have sacrificed a limb to be able to claim. Now, instead, they can rejoice that the sailing center will strengthen the local area profoundly. Both as a striking construction and a tourist magnet.
The building is both robust and flexible and can bear to ‘age with grace’. It represents a timelessness and possesses a strong architectural identity. The placement at the tip of the pier puts a perfect finish to Aarhus’ new, blue rambla. All the city’s water based unions are now placed in a long line and ends with Dokk1, which is the new cultural center of the city.
The objective is to make it possible for sailors to sail all the way into the harbor by Dokk1 and to connect it with Brabrand lake, which is a very popular place for rowers.
The process of building the sailing center proves that we cannot do these things alone. Creating results in cooperation with others means a lot to Hans Skou and it’s a part of his political DNA. The collaboration between interests and political stands is something that Hans Skou always found valuable. Collaboration and strong teamwork have created Aarhus International Sailing Center. Volunteers and enthusiasts are particularly important for the work on the sailing center, and as politicians we must offer our support when they present their ideas, enthusiasm and suggestions.
The sailing clubs and Sailing Aarhus have collectively fought for the establishing of an international sailing center. We will not be taking anything from the local sailing clubs, neither from the local training milieu. The sailing center will only support the communities and it offers facilities of a high international standard.
The elite and the public needs to go hand in hand like Yin and Yang. The sailing center need to support the good life on the water, both through sailing clubs and the local schools, which are already in collaboration with the municipal UNO open air center. The sailing center must give the young an opportunity to play by the sea, whether that means fishing for crabs or going sailing, so from the very beginning Aarhus International Sailing Center have had tremendous support.
As president of the committee, Hans Skou has many influential colleagues, such as Line Markert, president of The Danish Sailing Association and Mette Rostgaard Evald, president of Sailing Aarhus. In addition to this, Hans Natorp, vice-president DIF of the Olympic Committee, Knud Skadborg of Team Denmark, Jesper Andersen and Michael Vogelius is also part of the committee.
The finance is taken care of, with a capital expenditure of 78 million DKKR (approx. 9.5 m. GBP/12.5 m. USD) donated by the AP Møller Foundation, the Salling Foundation, the Nordea Foundation, Aarhus Municipality and last, but not least the Lokale og Anlægsfonden.
In 2018 the Aarhus International Sailing Center and Aarhus Ø be the venue for the Hempel Sailing World Championships 2018, which is the world championships for all the Olympic boat classes. Throughout 14 days, visitors will be able to experience a folk festival in Aarhus and take part of the sailing themed activities.
By Nicolai Lassen