The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 21 December 2016

Image: Getty Images

What Isis wants

In an interview with Monocle last week the German academic Peter Neumann warned that Isis would try to “inspire” a refugee to carry out an attack in Germany. Why? Because, said Neumann, Isis “know how much that would polarise German society… They want to help extreme right​-​wing forces to come to power.” At the time of writing the details of who was responsible for the Berlin attack remain unclear but that hasn’t stopped German politicians responding in the way that Isis hoped. The Bavarian CSU – the sister party of Angela Merkel’s CDU – has called for a change in migration policy, while the far-right Alternative für Deutschland has personally blamed Merkel for the attack. The test for western societies in 2017 is very simple: will we give Isis what it wants?

For more on how the threat from Isis will evolve in 2017, pick up a copy of Monocle’s February issue, on newsstands from​ ​19 January.

Image: Shaul Schwarz/Getty Images

Little by little

The tiny Faroe Islands off the North Sea coast of the UK are better known for their natty knitwear than being a barometer of the times. But in 2017 this rugged outcrop may be at the centre of an axis shift: the Faroes are not in the EU and their fish-focused economy has flourished by selling to Russia in an era of heavy EU sanctions. If sanctions do start to lift after January – particularly if more leaders take a warmer view of Moscow – then the Faroes may need a new tact. In recent years these remote islands off Denmark have been charting a growing petroleum industry but the future may lie in greater connectivity, with new flights via Scotland’s Loganair due to launch next year. Picking up a starry sweater is set to become a whole lot easier.

Dress to impress

From ethereal jungle scenes at Bergdorf Goodman to Liberty London’s whimsical sets, Christmas is the time of year when department store windows shine. Year after year, one of the best displays of the lot can be found at Nordiska Kompaniet, the venerable Stockholm department store that was the first in Sweden to embrace Yuletide window-dressing. “This year the set is a magical Nordic forest where everything comes to life,” says Malin Hamlin of Joann Tan Studio, the design firm behind the arrangement. The whimsical scene – complete with a troupe of marching pinecones – was created by a team of 50 painters, sculptors and designers, who began work on the project back in February. “We aim to give children of all ages a memorable start to Christmas,” says Hamlin.

Image: Adam Mørk

Great Danes

Copenhagen’s new sport-and-music venue Royal Arena, which has a full capacity of 16,000, will make its debut in January. This undulating wood-panelled stadium in the up-and-coming Ørestad district is the work of Danish firm 3XN. “We intended it to look and feel ‘typically’ Danish – in both its materiality (warm wood) and its welcoming attitude,” says 3XN founder Kim Herforth Nielsen. The firm has constructed four public squares around the arena where locals can play sport or simply hang out. “It was important that the arena bring something new and valuable to the community: that it contribute to the quality of life of people who live nearby and might not ever venture inside.” As for who will grace the stage first: Metallica, of course. Well, the Danes do love heavy metal.

From Monocle 24

Unbuilt architecture

We pay homage to the buildings that never were and the grand designs that didn’t make it off the drawing board. Plus: a word on the year ahead from German architect Ole Scheeren.

From Monocle Films

A bohemian toy story

The Czech Republic has a rich toy-making history that dedicated collectors and craftsmen are committed to keeping alive. From the atelier to the Christmas market, Monocle Films discovers an inspiring toy story where art meets craft.

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