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Insights into the Danish way of life – Week 13

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Last week, Denmark enjoyed an extended holiday with five days of rest, påskefrokost (Easter lunch), and a decent amount of sunshine – at least in some parts of the country. To crown the end of the Easter break, Tuesday April 2 was the anniversary of the birth of one of Denmark’s most famous figures, Hans Christian Andersen. He was author to some of the best known tales in children’s literature, including The Princess and the Pea, The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid. Part of the Danish essence of living can be found in Andersen’s storytelling style, one that doesn’t shy away from exploring dark subjects and tragic endings. Unlike their modern adaptations, the original tales touch painful subjects, inspired by the belief that children shouldn’t be protected from the difficulties of life, but raised to face them with bravery.

The S-tog also had its birthday last week. Copenhagen’s regional train started working on April 3, 1934, as the first electrically powered railway in the country, running from Klampenborg to Hellerup and Vanløse to Frederiksberg. Today, it has seven lines, 86 stations and a flow of over 350,000 passengers a day. To celebrate its 90 years, all trains were free to ride on April 6

This week we will observe the 84th anniversary of the 1940 German invasion of Denmark. Although the occupation represented a breach of the non-aggression pact held by the two nations, the King didn’t flee and instead chose to collaborate, managing to remain in power. The Germans dubbed Denmark “the Cream Front,” due to the ease of the occupation and Denmark’s surprising amount of dairy products. During the war, local citizens and fishermen collaborated to secretly transport 7,000+ Jews to neutral Sweden, rescuing all but 500 of Denmark’s Jewish population. This Tuesday (9th), flags will be at half mast until noon to honor the mourning, and will then be raised to celebrate the freedom of the country.

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