Friday, 14 April 2023, 17:09
Incredible as it may seem, it is no less than 382 years since the first consulate was created in Malaga province, in 1641. The first sovereign country to establish itself here was Denmark.
The current Danish consul in Malaga, Marisa Moreno Castillo, a lawyer specialising in international law, delegate for Andalucía of the Spanish-Danish Chamber of Commerce and international relations representative of the Malaga Bar Association, among others, spoke to SUR about the country’s long ties to the Costa del Sol. "The consulate was established as a result of the relations between Denmark and Malaga. The Danes were very interested in Malaga’s wine, sultanas, almonds and honey. In the 17th century we have evidence of the establishment of the consulate, on the basis of a trade agreement," Moreno said.
"A permanent base was then established that helped to act as a bridge between the Malaga merchants, who did not speak Danish, and the sailors, ships or merchant ships, who came to Malaga. They looked for someone who had roots here or lived here and could act as an interpreter and so, little by little, they saw that the relationship was so fluid they needed someone to act as a bridge".
Almost 400 years after that first contact, 19 consuls have held this post. Among them are several members of the Scholtz and Hoppe families, as well as Francisco García Grana, a former mayor of Malaga between 1958 and 1964, who died in 2000. Although the main reason for this union was initially purely commercial, from the 1960s onwards the tourism aspect took precedence. And today, the Danish consulate in Malaga city is the largest in the world, with an outlying branch in Fuengirola.
Moreno said: "Denmark has just over 5 million inhabitants. We estimate that there are between 35,000 and 40,000 Danes in Malaga, so we are the largest Danish consulate in the world, and we have noticed this during the pandemic, because we have had to give a lot of them safe passage through Spain, France and Germany to reach their home country".
"The Danes love Malaga. What's more, we have an already retired population which, bearing in mind that the standard of living there is very high and the average [monthly] pension is around 3,000 euros, means that a retired couple can come here for a good part of the year and can live very well. The sun also helps them a lot with arthrosis," Moreno said.
Both the complete history of the Danish consulate and that of the 48 consulates based in the province, can be seen thanks to the exhibition '400 years of history of the consular body of Malaga', which is located on Fuengirola’s main promenade until 14 May.
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