Facebook chooses Denmark’s tech city Odense to build datacenter of the future

October 2, 2016

Odense, famed as the home of Hans Christian Andersen, and more recently, Europe’s robot city, is now to be home of Facebook’s latest big investment, according to local media. Facebook is about to massively increase its online services, building on social networking to extend into entertainment, retail and other services. Facebook’s gigantic datacenter to be built in Denmark’s third largest city symbolises the ambition of the municipality, and its growth strategy which in recent years has built a reputation for disruptive innovation, and in particular for robotic and drone technologies.

Whilst many tech hubs of the future are industrial and sterile places, Odense combines its digital vision with a place of natural beauty and culture. It recognises that in a globally connected world, you can combine a great place to live and work, and that place and people don’t have to be compromised in the pursuit of being connected and global.

This is why Thinkers50 recently chose Odense as its European hub, a place to create the future, a place to bring together the best thinkers in business, and the best business leaders. Working with Odense&Co, the new venture is all about building the reputation of the city as a great place to live and work, but most importantly to grow. To grow yourself through learning and development, and to grow your business through innovation and global reach. Thinkers50Europe will bring the world’s best ideas, the world’s best academics, together with Europe’s leading businesses, and their leaders, in Odense. A place to think, explore and create the future.

Over the last 12 months, I’ve got to know the city quite well. From early morning, as I have run through the parks and along the redeveloped port, Odense has a calmness but also modern energy. Walking through the town, Thomas Thrives Street will soon become a digital and pedestrianised heart of the city. At meetings and events during the day I have met some of the most innovative companies, robotic engineers to data scientists. At the University of Southern Denmark I marvelled at the Athletic Exploratorium, the world’s most innovative running track, with hills and gyroscopes as part of the circuit. And then I drive past the new Knowledge City and Super Hospital under development. In the evenings, the bars and restaurants are buzzing with life and 21st century culture.

Today’s Facebook announcement is the latest addition to Odense’s story – building on the Hans Christian Andersen legacy to write a story of the future, of new possibilities. The news was broken by local newspaper Fyens.

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Here is an extract from their report:

Facebook ready to invest millions in new data center in Odense

Facebook is ready to invest several million euro in Odense, Denmark, where the IT company is building a new gigantic data center.

Facebook is building three large server buildings. All in all, the servers in the data center will take up 184,000 square meters (2 million square feet) in the industrial area Tietgenbyen.

This is the third data center, Facebook is building outside USA. The 500,000 square meter (5.4 million square feet) construction site is, on paper, bought by Cassin Networks Aps. The company has paid the municipality of Odense 68 million DKK for the property (US$10 million).

In reality, Facebook is behind the company Cassin Networks and thus the acquisition of the property in Tietgenbyen.

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Neither the municipality of Odense nor the State Departments’ “Invest i Denmark”, which according to our information has been involved in the negotiations with the Californian IT-giant, have wished to give any comment.

However, confirmation that Facebook is indeed involved can be found in Danish and foreign business registers, which fyens.dk has acces to.

Through these registers, it is possible to trace the company, which bought the construction site, from the city of Odense to the capital in Copenhagen, on to Dublin in Ireland, and from there to Facebooks headquarters in California, USA.

The gigantic construction is already being prepared. Towards the end of last week a fence was raised and the area is now being guarded by security. The builders, the international construction company Mace, has moved in.

On the Internet, one can also find the official VVM-assesment (an environmental document) of the construction, which is developed by the consultancy company Cowi. The VVM assesment shows that the intention is to build three server rooms, an administration building, a substation and emergency power generators. The server rooms represent 92,000 square meters (1 million square feet).

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At this time, we do not know how much it will cost to build the new data center, but Facebooks investment in Odense is thought to be significent. In the town of Luleå in northern Sweden, where a similar data center was opened in 2013, the investement was approximately 3.8 billion SEK (US$450 million) of which 1.5 billion SEK (US$ 175 million) were spent in Sweden on construction work, supplies, mechanical and technical assistance and logistics services.

Another large portion of the billion investment was spent on computers at netservices primarily imported to Luleå from abroad. Construction plans show that the data center in Odense is larger than the one in Luleå.

In Clonee west of Dublin, Ireland, where Facebook also is building a data center, the investment is, according to Irish media, thought to be around US$220 million.

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Coming soon: More exciting plans for Odense by Thinkers50Europe

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