Welcome To The First Island For Youth In The World

Copenhagen, 1894. Long ago, huh? Do you think the Copenhagen harbour has always been there?

False. At the end of the 19th century, the harbour began to be excavated.

You see, at that time, the city had to grow and prosper and the harbour is needed.

But there were still a lot of enemies. Right at the crossing between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, Copenhagen has always been eyed as precious.

So, the then King of Denmark decided to build three artificial islands to protect the harbour (and its wealth).

More than a century later, one of these islands was meant to be the prize in another (less violent to be honest) debate.

And then the Youth Island was born. Exciting times.

Read on to find out who battled for the island and what the future brings for this old sea fort!

The battle is now over

Back in the late ’90s, Brandy and Monica argued about one man.

We don’t really know what happened back then. All we know is that they battled to decide to whom he belonged (as if a person is a thing you owe).

Such was the case with Middelgrundsfort near Copenhagen too.

After the fortress stopped being used as a military installation, in 1984, it stayed idle. Until a private investor bought it in 2002.

But its fate was different. Plans were made.

Many started to visualize how it could become the “Startup Island”, a living proof (and place) of the booming Danish entrepreneurship.

In 2015, news broke in and the new owners were not Danish entrepreneurs. Two big foundations and funds joined forces and bought the island, only to donate it to the Danish Guide and Scout Association.

Since 2015, everyone gave their best selves to prepare and change the island: from a former army island to an island dedicated to the country’s youth.

The Youth Island was born.

Quick fact check

We love stats and facts, don’t we? Well, the newly opened Youth Island used to be the world’s largest sea fortress.

But still today, it is the world’s largest artificially landscaped island, that is not landbound.

It has also been used as a hotel with 200 rooms linked with 2 whole miles of corridors. We can’t imagine how it would be to go for breakfast every morning.

Interesting to know is that its name (Middelgrundsfort as it was originally named) means “middle fortress”. And it is indeed as it lies in the Øresund straits, between Copenhagen and Malmö (a.k.a. between Denmark and Sweden).

Scouts in control

So the island was given to the scouts. You know what scouts love: the outdoors, togetherness, being creative and responsible.

And their efforts to transform the island to the Youth Island were exactly about these values.

To create a place where children and young people could be happier and more engaged. With each other and with society as a whole.

A platform to form new relationships, support the youth with taking social responsibility and make them believe that they can indeed have an impact on their own life and the lives of other people.

They want to make it a place where new ideas and concepts are created, discussed and developed.

And they have 5 dogmas, as they say. These have been developed with the participation of thousands of young kids. And they set the direction to which the Youth Island will head.

It will be about doing things versus learning (like in official education institutions) because actions are more valuable than theory.

And it is about responsibility and faith in young people’s abilities. The island will be taken care of exclusively by young people.

It is also challenging and inclusive. Everyone (well, under 18 years of age) is welcome so that the island becomes a melting pot of new ideas and perspectives that challenge the status quo of the adult world.

But it will also be connected. To other people outside the island and to more activities that may not take place on the island.

Do you believe that maybe a few youth islands in every country could help the world change its course? Will the youth manage to make it a really better place for all?

Image: Young Danes enjoying the sun on Middelgrundsfort (Source: twitter.com/ungdoms)