A century ago, Iceland banned all alcoholic drinks. Within a decade, red wine had been legalized, followed by spirits in the 1930's. But full-strength beer remained off-limits until March 1, 1989. Megan Lane asks why it took so long for the amber nectar to come in the from the Icelandic cold.
When the mercury hovers below zero, a cold beer is not the first drink that springs to mind. A warming shot of schnapps might be more appropriate. But on March 1, 1989 - when the top temperature in Iceland was a -5°C, beer was exactly what drinkers had in mind. It was the first time in 74 years they'd had a chance to legally order beer. This red-letter day is marked annually as Bjordagur (Beer Day). A generation on, beer accounts for 62% of the 7.1 liters of pure alcohol consumed each year by the average Icelander. That's higher than in traditional brewing countries such as Germany and Czech Republic (54% each) and the UK (37%), according to the most recent World Health Organization figures.
When full prohibition became law 100 years ago, alcohol in general was frowned upon, and beer was especially out of favour - for political reasons. Iceland was engaged in a struggle for independence from Denmark at the time, and Icelanders strongly associated beer with Danish lifestyles. "The Dances were drinking eight times as much alcohol per person on a yearly basis at the time," says historian Stefan Palsson, author of Beer: Around the world in 120 Pints. As a result, beer was "not the patriotic drink of choice".
It didn't take long for Prohibition to be undermined. "Doctors started prescribing alcohol as medicine in huge quantities. Wine if you had bad nerves, and for the heart, cognac." says Palsson. But beer was never "what the doctor ordered", despite the argument some put forward that it was a good treatment for malnourishment. There were other leaks in the Prohibition armor too. The Spanish threatened to stop importing salted cod - Iceland's most profitable export at the time - if Iceland did not buy its wine.
Politicians bowed to the pressure and legalized red and rose wines from Spain and Portugal in 1921. Over time, support for prohibition dwindled, and in 1933 Icelanders voted to reverse course. But even then the ban remained in force for beer containing more than 2.25% alcohol. As beer was cheaper than wines or spirits, the fear was that legalizing it would lead to a big rise in alcohol abuse. The association of beer with Denmark also continued to tarnish its image in a country that only achieved full independence in 1944. Polls throughout the 1980's showed about six in 10 Icelanders supported legalizing beer. Finally, in 1988, Iceland's parliament, the Althing, voted to legalize beer. Today, Icelanders drink less than many of their European counterparts. Ordering an Icelandic beer isn't always easy, unless you happen to speak the language. Some, such as Borg Snorri Nr. 10 and Ulfur Ulfur Double IPA Nr. 17 are just about pronounceable, but others - Olvishold Suttungasumbi, for example, or Viking Islenskur Urvals Einiberjabock - are more of a challenge.
Once you have the glass in your hand, though, it's easy. You just say "Skål!" and drink.
- For a more in depth article please go to: www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31622038
As you know, our Club is a member of the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada and each year and Annual General Meeting & Conference in a different location. This year the meeting was held in Winnipeg May 24-26, hosted by the Manitoba Danish Canadian Club of Winnipeg. My wife, Lynn and I attended this meeting and really enjoyed visiting Winnipeg. As our club has agreed to host the Federation AGM next year, it was important for us to be at these meetings. 2019 marks the 800th anniversary of the Danish flag, Dannebrog and is also the 400th anniversary of Jens Munk's visit to what is now called Churchill, Manitoba, sent by Christian IV to find the Northwest Passage.
Winnipeg chose to host this year since Jens Munk overwintered in Manitoba. The Danish Ambassador to Canada. Thomas Winkler attended the meetings and gave a very interesting talk and slide presentation on the 'Arctic, Past, Present & Future' during the "Ambassador's Reception" on the first evening of the conference. The following morning was the AGM for the Danish Canadian National Museum in Dickson, Alberta. After the short meeting, we were bused to Winnipeg City Hall where we were met by their Mayor for a formal ceremony at which the Mayor and the Ambassador raised the Danish flag in front of City Hall. The Mayor invited all of the conference attendees inside for a tour of the council chambers and Mayor's office followed by a lovely buffet lunch in the atrium. That evening, a social was hosted at the hotel by the Danish Canadian National Museum group with a "silent auction" as well as a "live auction" to raise a few dollars to support the museum.
The Federation AGM was held Saturday morning and was followed by a self-guided tour of the Canadian Museum of Humanity. The building is an impressive work of modern architecture and the displays in the museum were fascinating testament to the humanity of people throughout history. Saturday evening, the Federation hosted a formal dinner/dance at the hotel and was enjoyed by all.
Sunday morning we were bused to the Winnipeg Zoo for a most interesting tour. We saw lots of Polar Bears, Grey Wolves, Muskox, etc in a very large area (acreages), unlike the typical cages we are used to seeing in most zoos. For lunch, we were bused to the Scandinavian Cultural Centre of Winnipeg where we were treated to a fabulous Smørrebrød buffet and entertainment provided by their Scandinavian Dancers with music by their own 12-member band, all in full costume. Once lunch was finished, I gave a short (tourism) talk and slide show on the sights of Nanaimo to encourage everyone to come to our Conference next year. The Conference finished up with the Manitoba Club passing the Federation Flag and "trophy plaque" to me for next year's meetings.
Next year in Nanaimo, we will continue the saga of Jens Munk, because in the Spring of 2020, he headed back to Denmark. We currently have formed a "host committee" for next year, but there are still a few positions we'd like to fill, so if you are interested in helping out in any small way, please call me. We have a very exciting agenda in the works and would encourage our own members to attend as many events as possible. We are designing the program in a way that will make it easy for our members to participate.
~ Submitted by Tom Hedekar
Danish Inns, KRO, have existed since the 12th century. They are striving to survive and re-invent themselves. Their history can be traced back to 1198 when Bromølle Kro became the first one. In 1283, King Erik Klippinge decided that kro'er, should be built next to the so-called royal roads, kongeveje, and ferry boat crossings, allowing the King a place to stop on his travels through Denmark. In 1396, Queen Margrethe I expanded the number of inns when she decided they should be located all over Denmark, no more than 40 kilometers apart, a days ride by horseback at that time. The oldest used to be Royal, as they were Kongelige Priviligeret, meaning they had the right to use the name kongelig, as well as use of the Royal Crown in their logo.
You will still find them scattered around the countryside and in local towns. They are struggling to redefine themselves since modern travel, new Nordic cuisine and changed eating habits have become a threat to their traditional looks and culinary meals. Many have expanded and today feature modern conference facilities, hotel accommodations, spas and more. Others have refurbished and updated their looks. While still respecting their origins they accommodate a more light and Scandinavian look, and combine traditional Danish meals with more modern Danish and French cuisine and others have stayed more traditional. The inns are definitely worth a visit, either for a simple meal as part of a one-day excursion, or as a weekend retreat.
When trying to find one, look to see if they have a platte, or Kroplatte. This is a selection of the traditional lunch menu. Because they all employ different concepts to survive now, even if called 'kro', they man no longer serve traditional meals but instead only new modern gourmet Danish/French cuisine, which of course is also worth having, just maybe not on the day you wanted something traditional.
Here are some great photos courtesy of Tom Hedekar from our annual Sankt Hans Midsumnmer Celebration at Parksville, BC. If you have any photos you would like to share with other members, please contact Tom Hedekar and he will pass them onto me so that I can add them to the website.
Here's a couple of pictures from the July 1st parade. We have (left to right) Ingeborg Kristiansen, Vibeke Sandberg and Inge Yost along with a couple of Canada's finest.
The Danish Heritage Seminar was held at the Hotel Fort Garry in Winnipeg from May 27th to June 1st, 2019. This year’s theme was Wanderlust, the desire to explore the world.
The headmaster, Pastor Susanne Ivalo Rasmussen of the Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, discussed wanderlust and romanticism during the 19th century. Many of the Danish lyric poets, sculptors, writers and composers had wanderlust and would stay for long periods in other parts of Europe, particularly Rome. The participants were introduced to the works of H.C. Andersen, B.S. Ingemann, Holger Drachmann, Bertel Thorvaldsen and a number of other well-known 19th century Danish artists. Pastor Susanne emphasized how the Danish national anthem and other national songs were composed or became popular during the 19th century. This body of work laid the foundation for much of present-day Danish culture and tradition.
Professional musician and singer, Charlotte Andersson, from Copenhagen was an extreme delight for this year’s participants. Charlotte awed everyone with her beautiful voice and many musical performances during the entire week. She described Christian Winther’s “Hjortens Flugt”, a poem which dealt with wanderlust and romanticism.
Otto Christensen gave a captivating PowerPoint presentation about Jens Munk. Aase Christensen spoke on Scandinavian Folklore and the role Trolls played both then and now. She talked of the Thomas Dam trolls which have become collectors’ items and of the Thomas Dambo trolls which can be found all over the world. Rolf Christensen spoke about political Populism and Populists. There were excursions to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Manitoba Legislature. Pastor Susanne spoke about Pastor Rasmus Jensen, who had accompanied the Jens Munk expedition. She also performed a Lutheran Church Service just as it would have been held during the reign of King Christian IV.
On the last evening the 28 participants held a Goodbye Party, where they showed off their talents in creating their own entertainment and fun. A very successful fundraising lottery was held during the evening with many very desirable winnings.
- Rolf Buschardt Christensen
The annual National Danish Canadian Conference was held at the Hotel Fort Garry in Winnipeg from May 23rd to May 26th, hosted by the Danish Canadian Club of Manitoba. The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada and the Danish Canadian Museum both held their Annual General Meetings in connection with the Conference.
The theme of the Conference was The Arctic: Past, Present and Future. The Friday lunch guest was Fred Ford, President of the Manitoba Inuit Association, speaking on the new Inuit Art Centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery which is due to open in 2020. At the Saturday dinner and dance, a very interesting presentation on the various studies being carried out in the Artic was given by Prof. David Barber, Associate Dean, University of Manitoba. On the Sunday morning, the delegates were taken on a walking tour of the “Journey to Churchill” at the Assiniboine Zoo, which featured a number of animals found in the Artic. The participants were mesmerized by the underwater viewing tunnels, which gave the opportunity to view the polar bears and seals swimming from below the surface of the water.
Other highlights of the conference were the commemoration of the 1619 Jens Munk Expedition in search of the Northwest Passage and the flag ceremony at Winnipeg City Hall to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Dannebrog. The delegates were given time to visit the Canadian Museum for Human Rights or doing a Self-guided Walking Tour of the Winnipeg Exchange District and the 1919 General Strike.
The conference concluded at the Scandinavian Centre with a delicious lunch of smørrebrød, beer and snaps complimented by entertainment by the Nordic Folk Dancers and the Nordic Folk Band “Sill-I-Tones”. The Danish Federation flag and mailbox were handed over to the Vancouver Island Danish Canadian Club, host of the 2020 Danish Canadian Conference.
More on the, Arctic: Past, Present and Future, theme can be found in the 2019 Heritage Book.
- Rolf Buschardt Christensen
This year marks the 400th anniversary of Jens Munk’s expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage to China and India. In 1619 King Christian IV of Denmark-Norway commissioned the expedition. Jens Munk was chosen to lead the expedition and to be captain of the frigate “Enhiörningen” (the Unicorn), and the sloop Lamprenen” (the Lamprey). These two ships, with a combined crew of 64 set sail from Copenhagen on May 9, 1619. Jens Munk found the western shore of Hudson Bay, but no passage. He became trapped in the heavy ice and was forced to overwinter at the mouth of the Churchill River. During the winter most of the crew succumbed to scurvy and death from hunger. Only Jens Munk and two others survived and miraculously made it home the following summer.
The anniversary of this tragic and heroic expedition was commemorated at the Danish Canadian Conference in Winnipeg, held at the Hotel Fort Garry from May 23 to 26th. Conference delegates received a copy of the book “The Journal of Jens Munk 1619-1620” (in English) as well as a Danish Federation Heritage Book which contains articles about Jens Munk, including a report of the Jens Munk Committee’s activities and plans. The delegates were delighted to also receive a Jens Munk T-shirt and a Jens Munk Conference Bag. During the Conference, Carl Sorensen of Edmonton, the Chair of the Jens Munk Committee and Otto Christensen of Gimli made fascinating presentations.
The Danish Ambassador to Canada, Thomas Winkler, made a thought-provoking presentation about the Arctic and he cut the red ribbon to open the Jens Munk Exhibition at Travel Manitoba at The Forks. Winnipeg’s new and refurbished Millennium Library also hosted a Jens Munk display and lecture.
- Rolf Buschardt Christensen
Ceremony Commemorating 800th Anniversary of Danish Flag
Dannebrog, the Danish flag, dates back to the year 1219 and the reign of King Valdemar the Victorious. 2019 is the 800th Anniversary of the flag. A flag raising ceremony was held in front of Winnipeg City Hall on Saturday, May 25th, 2019 to commemorate the anniversary. In attendance was Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, Danish Ambassador to Canada Thomas Winkler and Karl Sorensen, former president of the Danish Canadian Club of Manitoba. Karl Sorensen had proposed to hold the flag ceremony at Winnipeg City Hall in conjunction with the National Danish Canadian Conference which was hosted by the Danish Canadian Club of Manitoba. After some stirring remarks by the three dignitaries, who were accompanied by Danish Consul Helle Wilson and City Councillor Jason Schreyer, the Danish flag was raised in front of City Hall. Witnessing the event were the Conference Delegates and many passers-by.
Once the flag had been raised the Danish and Canadian National Anthems were sung. The flags had been drooping as there was no wind. Fittingly, as the Danish National Anthem was sung the wind picked up and all the flags waved beautifully in all their glory. It was very touching to see the flags flying together.
The Ceremony was followed by a lovely lunch at City Hall for the Conference Delegates. A special treat was the cookies, decorated to resemble the Danish flag. Inside City Hall the Danish and Canadian flags were accompanied by the flags of Winnipeg and Manitoba. Mayor Bowman invited the delegates to view his office and visit the City Hall Chamber. It was a moving and solemn ceremony, commemorating the world’s oldest national flag.
- Rolf Buschardt Christensen
*If you are interested in purchasing a 2019 Heritage Book at a cost of $15, please contact Tom Hedekar at 250-390-2388 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
** We are looking for Nanaimo area Danish Family Stories to publish in the 2020 Heritage Book. If you have any suggestions, please contact Tom (see above).
Complete history of its founding in 2019 Heritage Book
The Danish Church Abroad, or DKU for short, can celebrate its 100th
anniversary this year. A centennial must be commemorated and
celebrated. It's an occasion to look back and reflect on the many
milestones over the years. Although DKU, now DSUK, is based in
Denmark, its mission and work are carried on outside the country.
Since its founding, DKU has helped and supported various big and small
congregations across Canada. Indeed, Canada was one of the countries
singled out early on for special consideration, due to the dire need
for funds and pastors in the 1920's and 30's, and again in the 1950's and
60's when Danish immigrants streamed to Canada. It is not an
understatement to say that DKU has made a substantial contribution to
church life among Danes in Canada, and thus to the Danish community in
general, and continues to do so.
To mark the 100th anniversary a fifteen page article about DKU,
complete with photos, has been published in the Danish Federation's
2019 Heritage Book.
Much could be written about DKU's impressive global outreach, but in
the 2019 Heritage Book the focus is on how DKU was established, and
very briefly on some of the highlights of the contribution DKU has
made to church life among Danes in Canada over the past century.
Copies of the 2019 Heritage Book can be purchased from Liselotte
Ostergaard in Toronto; from Pastor Charlotte Berg in Calgary; from
Svend B. Nielsen in Edmonton and from Ed Kuhlman in the Surrey,
Burnaby and Vancouver area.
Undertaking the creation of a Danish Canadian Umbrella Organization
The story of the Danish Brotherhood in Winnipeg in the 2019 Heritage
Book is an account of the efforts to create a national umbrella
organization for the Danes in Canada. The Danish Brotherhood in
Winnipeg was formed in 1913, prior to the outbreak of the First World
War. From the beginning the aim of the Winnipeg Lodge was to establish
lodges across Canada, and in 1929, it established a Danish Brotherhood
Lodge in Toronto.
In 1931 the Lodge Dansk Samarbejde i Canada (Danish Cooperation in
Canada) was founded in Calgary. Its aim was to promote cooperation
among the various Danish organizations in Canada. The following year
Odin Kuntze, a Danish editor who had recently arrived in Canada,
launched the newspaper Danske Herold, a paper with a mission. Right
from the time it was launched the quest for a national Danish Canadian
umbrella organization was addressed and discussed in every issue of
his newspaper. In 1933 Odin Kuntze started travelling across Canada to
promote what he called Dansk Canadisk Samfund (the Danish Canadian
Society). Branches of the Danish Canadian Society were established
across Canada and in Calgary and Montreal clubs were amalgamated into
the Danish Canadian Society.
Like the account of the Danish Brotherhood in Winnipeg, the story of
Odin Kuntze and his efforts to establish the Danish Canadian Society
as a national umbrella organization is told, accompanied by photos, in
the 2019 Heritage Book.
- Rolf Buschardt Christensen
FLAG OF DENMARK (DANNEBROG)
The Danish flag features a white cross and red body. It is the longest continuously-used national flag and was officially adopted in 1854, after having been the merchant ensign flag since 1748 and unofficially used around the country since the 14th century.
The origin legend of the Danish flag takes place during the Battle of Lindainse during the Livonian Crusade in 1219. The story goes that as the Danes were about to lose, Dannebrog fell from the sky and filled the hearts of the Danish soldiers with courage, spurring them to victory.
There are several version of the Danish flag: the civil flag, which can be flown by civilians, the Splitflag (seen in the image below), which is the official Danish state flag used by the military when on land, and the Orlogsflag, used by the navy. The flags with split ends are state flags, and are used in official capacities only.
The red of the Splitflag as well as the civilian flag is called “Dannebrog red,” and was originally made from madder root. The Orlogsflag is a longer flag and has a slightly deeper hue; you may only notice it if you were to see the flags next to each other.
In addition, there is a royal standard flag for each member of the royal family, which is the Splitflag with the addition of the royal coat of arms in the middle of the cross. This flag is only used by the royal family, and can be seen flying above their residences to indicate that they are home.
The civilian version of the Danish flag is immensely popular across the country, and is often used for private celebrations. It’s rare to find a birthday party or anniversary celebration that doesn’t include Dannebrog, indicating that Danes feel very personally connected to the flag.
Two hundred years before Franklin and 300 years before Amundsen, a
daring Dane came closer to finding the Northwest Passage than anyone
I am forwarding to you the link to this digital article in Canadian
Geographic, the magazine of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
It has just recently gone “live” on the magazine’s website.
The article is written by Wendy Christensen-Grosfield, whom some of
you know. Wendy is of Danish background, lives in Edmonton, and was
born and raised in Dickson, Alberta, where the Danish Canadian Museum
Chair, Jens Munk Commemorative Steering Committee
Federation of Danish Associations in Canada
To the Members of the Danish Canadian Club
Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers we received following my husband Bent's death.
-Thelma Thaagaard and family
It is with sadness we report the sudden passing of Shelagh Boggs on May 26, 2019. Our sympathies go out to her partner, Per Aagaard and the rest of her family.
A big thank you to all the volunteers that helped with our wonderful Nanaimo Danish Canadian Club's 30th Birthday Party!
Many thanks to: Henny Andersen * Ingebord Kristiansen * Anne-Lise Fredericksen * Inge Yost * Ragna Watt * Lynn Hedekar * Vibeke Sandberg * Gill Johansen * Lena Tsuji * Lillian Howard-Gibbon * Ane Street * Grethe Philipsen * Louise and Carsten Krogh * Rebecca Taylor
Lynne Hedekar also deserves a thank you for finding the two hard-working girls that helped serve and clean up.
Many thanks to all the volunteers who turned up to set up and decorate the tables for our party, And to those who stayed to help clean up.
Many, many thanks for all the wonderful donations of raffle prizes: The Danish Federation * Vibeke Sandberg * Inge Yost * Jytte Larson * Tom Johansen * Joachin & Tove Schindler * Rita & Emil Sorensen * Shelagh Boggs * Ane Street * Jeanice & Erik Hansen