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Building Nordic beacons in emerging markets

An example of the placement of the Nordic Cultural and Commercial Houses. Illustration: Dalberg
  • Publisert 23.09.2015
  • Sist oppdatert 30.09.2015
Nordic Cultural and Commercial Houses offer a brand new strategic approach to Nordic branding and local representation in emerging markets.


Based upon positive affirmations from the Nordic Committee for Co-operation and backed by a decision from the five Nordic Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Nordic Innovation is supporting the work on so-called Nordic Cultural and Commercial Houses (NCCH) in emerging markets.


By offering the opportunity to co-locate Nordic diplomatic functions with incubator offices and showcasing of Nordic best practice within clean tech solutions, urban planning and design, NCCH can unlock synergies between business, diplomacy, and culture while serving both Nordic and local users.


– It is quite clear that different Nordic businesses with activities in emerging markets see a value in a closer cooperation between the Nordic countries in these markets. The concept of Nordic Cultural and Commercial Houses could help realise these synergies, while strengthening the Nordic brand to the benefit of the Nordic countries and businesses throughout, says managing director at Nordic Innovation, Roger Bjørgan.



Jakarta as test case


The Nordic Cultural and Commercial Houses will be Nordic landmark buildings in key growth cities. They are thought to contain all five Nordic embassies and other diplomatic functions, incubator offices or office spaces for Nordic companies, hotels or apartments, cultural activity centres displaying Nordic culture, and Nordic retail areas mixed with local retailers. They may also contain schools and kindergartens.


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A concept design of what the NCCH in Jakarta could look like. Illustration: Snøhetta

A concept design of what the NCCH in Jakarta could look like. Illustration: Snøhetta



In dialogue between the Nordic Ministries of Foreign Affairs, private sector and potential investors, it has been decided to move on with the NCCH project and work on a concrete case to test if the business plan behind the project and the political commitment from Nordic countries was strong enough.


Jakarta in Indonesia was singled out among ten locations around the world. Jakarta was high on the priority list for both the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and large Nordic companies who will eventually rent space in the buildings.  


– We would like to see more Nordic co-locations, and we look positively at continuing the work to clarify the conditions for Nordic Cultural and Commercial Houses, says the Foreign Ministers from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in a statement on embassy cooperation.



In line with other Nordic Innovation initiatives


– Besides the branding value of establishing Nordic landmark buildings in emerging markets, as well as the opportunity to create synergies between Nordic diplomatic representations, NCCH is also in line with Nordic Innovation key priorities, says communication manager at Nordic Innovation, Bárdur Örn Gunnarsson.


The Nordic Cultural and Commercial House buildings themselves will for example be excellent living showrooms for best Nordic practice within Nordic innovative solutions for liveable, smart and sustainable cities, which fits perfectly with the Nordic Built Cities lighthouse project.  They also line up well with Nordic Innovation initiatives within creative industries, #NordicMade, and efforts of setting up soft landing zones for Nordic companies. Finally, it opens up for new types of public private partnerships across the Nordic region as well as developing new innovative financing models.




Read more about the Nordic Cultural and Commercial Houses project.