HCA NEWS Kurt Aeschbacher appointed HCA-ambassador

Kurt Aeschbacher, Swiss entertainer and multi-talent appointed Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador by Danish Minister for Refugee, Immigration, and Integration Affairs, Bertel Haarder, on 13 September 2004 at the residency of the Danish Ambassador to Switzerland, Dan Nielsen. Hans Christian Andersen forges close ties between Denmark and Switzerland.

By ms - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 16 September 2004

When the world celebrates the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary in 2005, Switzerland will honour the Danish national poet with several cultural projects. These projects were unveiled at an event on Monday 13 September 2004 where the Swiss entertainer Kurt Aeschbacher was appointed Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador.

Minister for Refugee, Immigration, and Integration Affairs, Bertel Haarder, presided over the appointment of Kurt Aeschbacher at the residency of the Danish Ambassador to Switzerland, Dan Nielsen. Present in Bern was the Director of Public Affairs for the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 bicentenary, Christian Have.

At the ceremony in Bern, which was hosted by the Royal Danish Embassy in association with the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, Kurt Aeschbacher was presented with the official 24-carat red and gold Hans Christian Andersen needle and the official Hans Christian Andersen diploma designed by Danish designer Lin Utzon.

Bertel Haarder, Minister of Integration, and Development, stated:
"Kurt Aeschbacher has become a symbol of good storytelling in Switzerland. Kurt Aeschbacher's courage and involvement in cultural projects as well as charity work is well-known - and I am convinced that he will spread the work and knowledge of Hans Christian Andersen as well as transmit his values."

Christian Have, Director of Public Affairs for the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, stated:
In connection with the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary we have an opportunity to celebrate a group of people that like Hans Christian Andersen have made a difference through their life, dreams, and accomplishment. We call them Hans Christian Andersen Ambassadors. I am very proud today that one of Switzerland's most well-known and respected personalities has decided to join us as a Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador.

Kurt Aeschbacher offered a very personal acceptance speech where de spoke of his commitment to taking part in bringing Hans Christian Andersen's message to the world and also to supporting the HCA-abc Foundations. Kurt Aeschbacher gave a reading of Andersen's It's Quite True with a twinkle in his eye and emphasised that Hans Christian Andersen not only speaks to children but that everyone can learn from his wise tales.

Kurt Aeschbacher, who was born in Bern in 1948, is a cherished personality with a winning character who as an entertainer, TV host, and self-declared fashion victim has brought colour and a subtle and unorthodox view of life in Switzerland to the Swiss media. He is a political economist by profession and worked at an architectural firm before starting his media career as talk show host and as a host of fashion programmes and shows on culture and business.

As Hans Christian Andersen Ambassador, Kurt Aeschbacher is to promote the wider awareness and appreciation of Hans Christian Andersen. With his prominent public profile, he will help generate interest in Hans Christian Andersen in Switzerland and will inspire people to read Andersen's fairytales and other literary works.

The Swiss contribution to the celebration of the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary was publicised at the event. The opening event of the many Swiss Hans Christian Andersen projects will be the International MUBA Fair, which Denmark will host in February 2005. Last year, the fair attracted an attendance of 332,000 visitors from Switzerland, southern Germany, and France.

The events at the fair will include a Hans Christian Andersen exhibition, a fairytale reading corner, a cinema with Danish films and theatre performances. Furthermore, the Basel Symphony Orchestra will perform the world premiere of a composition based on one of Andersen's fairytales.

The concert features in the programme of the worldwide Symphonic Fairytales, which is the most ambitious Danish festival within Danish symphonic music ever. The major bookstores in Switzerland will host a number of cultural and literary events throughout 2005.

The principality of Liechtenstein will also celebrate the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary. The Danish Honorary Consul to Liechtenstein has organised a Hans Christian Andersen exhibition and a theatre performance about the Danish storyteller.

Finally, the Andersen's 200th anniversary on 2 April 2005 will see a major event in Zurich where Schweizerische Märchen Gesellschaft will celebrate the Danish poet.