Interview with Charlotte Nørlund-Matthiessen - Being European for the Young Generation of Women in Denmark

By Capucine Goyet | 29 July 2013

To quote this document: Capucine Goyet, “Interview with Charlotte Nørlund-Matthiessen - Being European for the Young Generation of Women in Denmark”, Nouvelle Europe [en ligne], Monday 29 July 2013,, displayed on 08 December 2022

Last October 2012, Nouvelle Europe dedicated a week to the European Citizens' Initiative, and notably interviewed François Dorléans, co-founder of the social business Sign, a social platform and a service toolbox in support of the European Citizens’ Initiatives. Charlotte Nørlund-Matthiessen, another co-founder of Sign, has now been interviewed for a study dedicated to the young generation of women in the EU (on Business O Feminin). And her interview is exclusively published by Nouvelle Europe.

As a Danish firm believer in Europe, Charlotte Nørlund-Matthiessen has decided to invest in European entrepreneurship...

1- How would you define yourself?

A European optimist.

2- Do you feel European, if yes in which sense? And if not why?

Well, I very often define myself as exactly European – of the new type that feels at home very quickly in any European country and at the same time doesn’t really feel like belonging anywhere specific. I am Danish, but was born in Belgium and grew up there, however in a Danish community. And then I did my studies in France and Poland…

3- What do you associate the European Union with?

No more borders between the countries, easy traveling, Erasmus are my first associations…

4- Do you speak other foreign languages beside your mother tongue? Which one(s)? What other European languages would you like to learn and why?

Apart from Danish, I also speak French, English and Italian. And I’ve been learning Polish for the last five years (but it’s difficult!). I’m considering learning Portuguese as the next one, because it’s not only a European language, but also the language of emerging Brasil.

5- Would you live in another Member State of the EU? Which one(s) and why?

I’ve already lived in France and Poland, and I love both countries. But I think that one day I would like to return and live for some time in Copenhagen.

6- How do you see today’s European Union? In the future? 

Today’s EU is something looking very much like a vicious circle. The generation of leaders today is not ambitious enough in their actions, in addition to the fact that whatever they do, they will be criticized. On the other hand, the majority of the young generation has too high expectations in their leaders. In the future, I hope to see our generation, the young generation dare. Dare to take chances and take action. But most of all dare to be creative.

7- Your main concerns?

That our young generation is losing hope and optimism …

8- How would you describe the new female generation (20 to 35 years old) in your country? 

In Denmark, my generation has confidence, is active and motivated.

9- How do you feel about gender balance issues? How does it work in your country? To what extent is the issue highlighted?

Gender balance is a core topic in Denmark, but compared to other countries, it is a secondary issue as men and women have quite equal positions in society. A good example is the 50/50 maternity/paternity leave. However, women are still underrepresented in top positions…

10- Is there a European woman you admire the most and why?

There are some European women in European history I highly respect, such as George Sand or Jane Austen because they were ahead of their time and dared to behave free and think differently from what society imposed. However, I think that my mother is the woman I will always admire the most.

Further reading

On Business O Feminin


On the European Citizens' Initiative

On Nouvelle Europe

Sources photos: © Businessofeminin, © Charlotte Nørlund-Matthiessen et © Sign.