Rosenborg Castle is situated at the center of the Danish capital, Copenhagen. It was built in 1606 in the Dutch Renaissance style and went through several expansions to arrive at its present condition in 1624. It was used by Danish regents as a royal residence until around 1710 and was opened to the public in 1838. Today, it is popular with tourists who flock to the castle to view the Danish Crown Regalia. How many people visit the Rosenborg Castle Garden every year? More… Discuss
Archeologists on the Danish island of Lolland have uncovered a 5,500-year-old Neolithic axe with an intact wooden handle—an extremely rare discovery. The Stone Age artifact was found during excavations conducted prior to a tunnel project. It was unearthed in what was once seabed, perhaps deposited there as a ritual offering. Experts say the lack of oxygen in the clay where it was found likely helped to preserve the axe. Recent excavations nearby also uncovered 5,000-year-old human footprints. More… Discuss
Since 1965, the Danish city of Århus has been the site of a nine-day festival whose cultural and sporting events run the gamut from opera to fishing competitions. Queen Margrethe II traditionally gives the opening speech, followed by a performance by the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Festival events include jazz, classical, and rock concerts, a cross-country race, public debates, children’s programs, poetry readings, and theatrical productions. The program varies from year to year, but the events are always held in a variety of indoor and outdoor sites throughout the city. More… Discuss
Christian III was king of Denmark and Norway from 1534 to 1559. Early in his reign, he allied with Sweden to defeat the German city of Lübeck, which had invaded Denmark in an attempt to reinstate the deposed Christian II. That victory broke the power of the Hanseatic League and made the Danish fleet supreme in northern waters. As ruler, Christian established Lutheranism in Denmark and laid the foundation for the absolutist Danish monarchy of the 17th century. On what holiday did Christian die? More… Discuss
Worm was a Danish physician and antiquarian who was the personal physician of King Christian IV of Denmark and served Copenhagen during plague epidemics. Worm’s chief contributions to medical science were in embryology. As a natural philosopher, he assembled a vast collection of stuffed and mounted animals, fossils, and other curiosities. A collector of early Scandinavian literature and texts written in the runic alphabet, he wrote extensively on rune stones. What are the Wormian bones? More… Discuss
The birthday of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (b. 1940) is observed in the capital city of Copenhagen, where people congregate in the courtyard of Amalienborg, the royal palace. Carrying small Danish flags, children cheer and sing for the Queen, refusing to go home until she comes out to greet them. She often appears on the balcony at lunchtime and makes a speech, which is followed by a changing of the Royal Guard in its scarlet dress uniforms. More… Discuss
A report out of the EU contains some disturbing statistics relating to violence against women, finding that about a third of women in the EU—some 62 million women—have been subjected to physical or sexual violence since the age of 15. As incidents of this nature are widely underreported, the rate of victimization could actually be even higher than this survey reveals. Surprisingly, Denmark, found in a UN study last year to be the happiest country in the world and a nation noted for its progressive attitudes toward women, has the highest rate of reported violence against women in the EU, with 52 percent of the women interviewed reporting abuse. More… Discuss
Bl. Charles the Good
In 1086, St. Canute, King of Denmark and father of Blessed Charles the Good, was slain in St. Alban’s Church, Odence. Charles who was only a few years old was taken by his mother to the court of Robert, Count of Flanders, his maternal grandfather. When he grew up, he became a knight and accompanied Robert in a crusade to the Holy Land where he distinguished himself; on their return, Charles also fought against the English with his uncle. On Robert’s death, his son Baldwin succeeded him and designated Charles as the heir. At the same time, he arranged for Charles’ marriage to the daughter of the Count of Clermont. During Baldwin’s rule, Charles was closely associated with him, and the people came to have a high regard for his wise and beneficent ways as well as his personal holiness. At Baldwin’s death, in 1119, the people made his cousin their ruler. Charles ruled his people with wisdom, diligence, and compassion; he made sure that times of truce were respected and fought against black marketeers who horded food and were waiting to sell it at astronomical prices to the people. This encouraged their undying wrath and one day in 1127 as Charles was praying in the Church of St. Donatian they set upon him and killed him.Blessed Charles the Good feast day is March 2nd.
The feast day of King Canute (or Knut), who ruled Denmark, England, and Norway in the 11th century, marks the end of the Yuletide season in Sweden. Rather than letting the holidays fade quietly, Swedish families throughout the country hold parties to celebrate the final lighting (and subsequent dismantling) of the Christmas tree. After letting the children eat the cookies and candies used to decorate the tree, and after packing the ornaments away in their boxes, it is customary to hurl the tree through an open window. More…
The last absolute monarch of Denmark, if only for the first year of his reign, Frederick VII faced popular demonstrations calling for political reforms almost as soon as he ascended the throne. He acceded to many of the demands, appointing a liberal ministry, renouncing absolute rule, and adopting a representative government, but he rejected a proposal to cede a portion of Schleswig to Prussia. His position on this issue eventually led to war with Prussia. What was the popular king’s motto? More… Discuss
Campaigns encouraging ordinary citizens to learn and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the event of an emergency can make a difference. Less than 10 years after Denmark began taking steps to increase the number of bystanders stepping in to perform this lifesaving procedure, the percentage of cardiac arrestcases in which a bystander performed CPR had more than doubled and cardiac arrest victims’ chances of survival had tripled. The initiative in Denmark included making CPR training mandatory for elementary school students and driver’s license recipients, distributing training kits, offering over-the-phone guidance to bystanders, and placing defibrillators in public places. More… Discuss
A UN-sponsored survey of happiness and satisfaction around the globe names Denmark the world’s happiest country. Rounding out the top five are Norway, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Canada ranked 6th on the list, the US came in 17th, and the UK landed in the 22nd spot. The West African country of Togo was found to be the most unhappy of the 156 nations included in the report. While recent economic and political crises have greatly reduced happiness levels in many countries, over the past five years, the world overall has actually become slightly happier and more generous. More… Discuss
The patron saint of Scandinavia, Ansgar was a missionary and the first archbishop of Hamburg. He was sent by Louis I to help King Harald Christianize Denmark and King Bjorn Christianize Sweden. He initiated a mission to all Scandinavians and Slavs and was appointed archbishop of Hamburg in 832. When Sweden and Denmark returned to paganism by 845, Ansgar thwarted the pagan rebellion. He was recognized as a saint soon after his death. Ansgar is often called the Apostle of what? More… Discuss
Thomas Peter Thorvald Kristian Ferdinand Mortensen (August 16, 1882 – April 25, 1998), known as an adult as Christian Mortensen, was a Danish supercentenarian. When he died at the age of 115 years and 252 days, Mortensen was the oldest man who has ever lived whose age was undisputed. (The Guinness Book of World Records ranks him second to the Shigechiyo Izumi, whose age is now disputed, with a note in recent editions that the latter’s age was uncertain). Mortensen was the first undisputed recorded man to reach age 114.
Mortensen was baptized in Fruering Church on December 26, 1882. Besides his baptismal record, other records include the 1890 and 1901 census enumerations in Denmark, and church confirmation in 1896.
In 1840, Queen Victoria married her first cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and the two had nine children, whose marriages, and those of their grandchildren, in turn, allied the British royal house with those of Russia, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Romania, and others. Their sixth child, Princess Louise, is regarded by biographers as the couple’s most beautiful daughter. In 1871, Louise married the Marquess of Lorne and became the Duchess of Argyll. Why was the marriage controversial? More… Discuss