event Calendar

Heartland United States (MN, ND, SD, IA, nE, KS, MO)

    • March 01, 2021
    • (CST)
    • September 01, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Museum of Danish America - Elk Horn, IA


    See Current Exhibits Here

    See the Museum hours here

    2212 Washington St
    Elk Horn, Iowa 51531

    • August 01, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • September 12, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • 7 sessions
    • Danebod Lutheran Church - Tyler, MN


    Just before the rolling hills of the Buffalo Ridge in southwestern Minnesota lies Danebod, a place nestled in the history of a community and the heart of the prairie.

    Visit Danebod and experience firsthand a tranquil setting where tradition of fellowship and learning have sustained and enriched a community for more than 100 years. It’s an ideal environment for families, groups and private retreats.

    We’re a faith community of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

    Weekly Virtual Service

    DLC Website

    Danebod Lutheran Church
    140 Danebod Court
    Tyler, MN  56178

    Phone - (507) 247-3000
    Email - danebodlutheran@yahoo.com

    • August 01, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • January 16, 2022
    • (CST)
    • 25 sessions
    • Grand View University Campus - Des Moines, IA


    On The Campus of Grand View University - Founded by Danish Immigrants

    Grand View University Connection

    Sunday Schedule

    • 10:00 AM – Worship
    • 11:15 AM – Mini Worship with Communion (Community Hall)

    Please, look to our COVID-19 page for more updates regarding our service times & locations. Thank you!

    COVID 19 Page

    What Can I Expect? 

    Before and After the Service you are welcome to join the choir at 10:00 AM. Grab coffee or tea and chat with someone new in the Fellowship Hall.

    Teaching from the Bible in relevant and traditional ways that encourage our members and friends to serve God through action. 

    Worshiping to God by holding a semi-traditional service that includes a verity of music, giving our offerings, and by taking communion on the 1st & 3rd Sunday. 

    Kids & Youth We strive to help parents bring their children to Jesus. Classrooms are available during our Sunday morning worship services and conformation occurs once a month after worship. Additionally, LMC offers an after school program called Viking Kids Club designed to teach local elementary school children about the love of Jesus.

    Fellowship follows directly after the service and all are welcome. Grab a coffee, tea, and a snack (all free) from our kitchen. Sing the occasional birthday song, and catch up with friends or meet someone new! Fellowship lasts up to an hour, please feel free to leave whenever you need to.

    Luther Memorial Church Website

    Luther Memorial Church Facebook

    • August 07, 2021
    • 9:30 AM - 11:00 AM (CDT)
    • Danish American Center - Minneapolis, MN


    Saturday August 7th from 9:30-11:00 am

    Try out a mini Danish language class at the DAC with instructor Michelle Potter-Bacon.  Explore vocabulary, phrases and customs using the theme of Danish food.  Appropriate for beginners or those who want a refresher before fall classes begin.

     This class fee is $10 and 100% of the tuition collected will be donated to the Danish American Center.

    Registration and payment is available through the DAC's website at

    Scroll down to the event section and click on Summer Language Seminar to register.

    Due to COVID, we plan to meet outdoors on the Danish American Center's patio, weather permitting, with a backup plan on Zoom.

    Danish American Center
    3030 West River Parkway South
    Minneapolis, MN 55406

    Telephone - (612) 729-3800

    DAC Website

    DAC Facebook

    • August 10, 2021
    • (EDT)
    • November 10, 2021
    • (EST)
    • 3 sessions
    • Online and Live Concert Schedule


    Kristian Bugge is one of the busiest folk musicians rooted in Danish music. He was born 1979 in Næstved, Denmark. His family lived in Sweden for two years and then settled in Vejle in Eastern Jutland, Denmark. He attended a Rudolf Steiner School where, when asked in the fifth grade which instrument he would like, he chose the violin. Soon the two of them were inseparable. His mother, Lise, found a local music school offering ensemble playing for young people and that was where Kristian first met traditional music. He was fascinated by the catchy tunes, the close connection between music and dancing, and the spontaneous joy of playing among other young musicians – an experience which was to decide the direction of his musical career. He experienced music as a means of communication unhindered by national or cultural borders while travelling with the youth ensemble Fandango.

    Now Kristian Bugge is very active on especially the Danish, Scandinavian and North American folk music scene, both as a musician and teacher. Kristian has specialized in the strong Danish folk music traditions, playing with groups like Jensen & BuggeKings of Polka and Gangspil. For about 10 years he played duo with the legendary accordionist, late Karl Skaarup. Kristian has a strong love to the traditional music but also really enjoy experimenting being part of crossover projects as the cooperation with classical percussionist Ronni Kot Wenzel in the very active duo Wenzell & Bugge and the exciting Danish folk big band Habadekuk.

    Kristian - Facebook


    "Two of Denmark’s leading folk musicians take you along on a tour around the music traditions of their home country!”

    For many years Sonnich Lydom (accordion, harmonica, vocals) and Kristian Bugge (fiddle, vocals) kept meeting in many corners of the blooming Danish folk scene, often when there was a jam session going on. We always had a lot of fun together and finally decided to bring some of that on to the stage. Now we've have been playing and touring together for about five years. It's been increasing excitingly with more and more activities in both Europe and North America.

    Music samples:
    Gangspil goes to the movie: https://youtu.be/G3AnE_22RM0 
    Gangspil live in the studio https://youtu.be/f8LX4oL6LxI

    Gangspil have toured intensively and played more than 100 shows in North America since 2015! - as well as a good number in other parts of the world. The group has become a well-known name in trad- and folk circles both home in Scandinavia and abroad. In 2016 Gangspil received the "Tradition Award" at the Danish Music Awards (Danish Grammy). We are delighted and proud of that, it has been great to play for all of you!

    Sonnich & Kristian will guarantee you an entertaining and variated journey through the traditions of Danish folk music. This lively group performs old rare dance tunes and songs from every corner of their Scandinavian home country. From rural islands like Læsø and Fanø to metropols like Copenhagen, including a few of their own compositions. Expect everything from wild polkas and jigs to lyrical waltzes, fiery reels and happy hopsas, plus the exotic “Sønderhoning” dance tunes from the famous Island of Fanø. “- an unforgettable live experience spiced up with humor and stories from their many years on the road..”

    Telephone -
    (360) 701-4931
    Email - 

    Kristian - Website

    Gangspil - Website

    Kristian - Facebook

    • August 11, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • February 09, 2022
    • (CST)
    • 11 sessions
    • Danish American Center - Minneapolis, MN


    After a long hiatus, our catered Wednesday lunches are back! Join us in the DAC Lower Level at 11:30 on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month for fellowship, singing and delicious meals cooked by members.  Members and their guests can register and pay online.

    Log in on our website: www.danishamericancenter.org and click on the Member Calendar to register.  Members pay $12 and Non-members pay $15. If you wish to pay in person, you still need to register to secure a spot. Either call or e-mail dainfo@dac.mn to register that way. If you've never logged in to the website, please call the office at 612-729-3800 and Tina Paulsen can assist and give you a temporary password.

    If you are interested in cooking for any of these lunches, please send an email to dainfo@dac.mn. Let us know when you'd like to cook and for how many. We still have openings for cooks on Aug 11, Sept 8, Oct 13 & Nov 10 in 2021. And all the 2nd & 4th Wednesdays beginning Jan 12. We look forward to seeing everyone again for this very popular event!

    Danish American Center
    3030 West River Parkway South
    Minneapolis, MN 55406

    Telephone - (612) 729-3800 
    Email -  dainfo@dac.mn

    DAC Website

    DAC Facebook

    • August 14, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • November 12, 2022
    • (CST)
    • 6 sessions
    • Via Zoom


    Quarterly International Chapter Leadership meeting on Zoom.

    Meeting begins at 10:00AM Central (Chicago) time

    The purpose is to discuss most recent Rebild Board of Directors meeting, and to discuss current issues pertaining to Rebild.

    Zoom link will be sent to Chapter President's and officers prior to meeting.

    Rebild is the Danish American Friendship organization formed in 1912.  Each year, the friendship of Denmark and the United States is celebrated on July 4th at the Rebild National Park near Aalborg.  Anyone interested in the friendly relationship between the two countries is invited to join us!
    July 4 Rebild Festival

    Also, each year the annual U.S. conference is held in a different city in the United States.  Anyone interested in Danish American friendship is invited to join us.
    October 2021 in Phoenix,  Arizona

    April 2022 in Chicago, Illinois

    For more information, please contact the National U.S. Secretary, Linda Steffensen at usrebildoffice@gmail.com

    Or, the National Secretary in Denmark, Lars Bisgaard at lars@rebildfesten.dk

    Rebild Website

    • August 18, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • August 20, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Virtual Event - Tyler, MN


    The 2021 Danebod Folk Meeting will be an on-line activity affirming the joy of living through enlightenment. The meeting will feature music, stories and lectures.

    Due to the COVID-19 virus the Danebod campus in Tyler, MN is currently closed. It has been the decision of the Danebod Folk Meeting Planning Committee to continue with a virtual Folk Meeting for 2021. Decisions regarding other campus programming will be forthcoming.

    You are invited to attend the on-line activity planned for August 18-20, 2021. We invite you to whip up a batch of kringle, brew a cup of coffee, and join us virtually on Zoom.

    Announcement about a Zoom tutorial at a later date.

    Registration Materials -

    Danebod Folk Meeting Website

    Email - Danebod.Folk.Meeting123@gmail.com

    Phone - (507) 247-3000

    • August 19, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • September 22, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions
    • Armstrong, Iowa


    Danish American Glenn Henriksen is an accomplished, versatile pianist and organist. He began piano lessons at age seven, and continued through high school. At age thirteen he became the organist at his hometown church. Glenn attended Luther College in Decorah, Iowa and received further musical instruction. In the years following, he has played for a wide variety of events, including solo piano and organ concerts, church services, weddings, funerals, receptions and other social activities. Glenn’s repertoire includes classical, ragtime, blues and jazz, standards, pop and rock, country, Latin, gospel, and sacred. Glenn is also a seasoned accompanist, providing services to many vocalists and instrumentalists.

    He is a member of the variety rock band Galaxy. Glenn’s lifetime experience in many musical genres has enabled him to develop a unique musical style, resulting in one-of-a-kind improvised arrangements. Glenn resides in Spirit Lake, Iowa and Armstrong, Iowa.

    Each spring, Glenn spends several weeks in the Arizona "Valley of the Sun", giving concerts around the Phoenix area.

    Glenn is very active in promoting the Victor Borge legacy.  He has given many concerts and musical tributes to the great Danish American entertainer.

    You can find Glenn's "at-home" concerts on his Facebook page...

    Glenn Henriksen Facebook

    • August 23, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • August 23, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions


    Alvin Harvey Hansen (August 23, 1887 - June 6, 1975) was an American economist at Harvard, that began as an American Institutionalist but converted into one of the leading proponents of Keynesianism in the United States. 

    Alvin Harvey Hansen was born in Viborg, South Dakota, the son of Danish immigrants. His parents were among the earliest Danish settlers of Viborg.  Hansen got his undergraduate studies from Yankton and went on to pursue his graduate studies at the  Institutionalist citadel of University of Wisconsin, studying under Ely and Commons.  He received his Ph.D in 1918, with a thesis on business cycles.  After a stint as an instructor at Brown,  Hansen joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota in 1919.

    Hansen became a professor at  Harvard in 1937.  Hansen's famous "secular stagnation" thesis came out the next year, in his presidential address to the AEA, with the harrowing vision of an economy trapped permanently in a slump of low population growth and low investment..  At first suspicious of Keynes's General Theory when it first came out, Hansen soon converted c.1938 and became its chief champion.  His 1941 treatise re-articulated American business cycle history in terms of Keynesian theory.   

    Although never quite in a formal position as a top  government advisor, Hansen had an enormous indirect impact on US government macroeconomic policy.  Hansen served on several government advisory posts, e.g. research director at the Committee on Policy in International Relations (1933-34), advisor to the Committee on Social Security (1940-41), and advisor to the Federal Reserve Board (1940-45), but his bigger impact was through his books, articles and reports.  An advocate of active fiscal policy, Hansen was a moving figure behind the  Employment Act of 1946, making full employment (restated as "maximum employment" by nervous congressmen) an explicit goal of the US federal government policy, and helped explain its logic and purpose to the public. 

    Arguably, Hansen's longer impact was a teacher of the "golden generation" of Harvard students and his slim 1953 Guide to Keynes, which helped spread the Neo-Keynesian synthesisin an understandable form.  

    Hansen retired from Harvard in 1962.

    • August 26, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • August 27, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Askov, Minnesota


    The Askov Rutabaga Festival and Fair is a seasonal festival held the 4th weekend in August.


    A town festival was organized in 1910 where the townspeople shared their vegetables and crops in a fair-type of gathering. Then in 1913, the first town festival began including a fair, parade and meals. Times were hard during the Depression and war, and the festival was not held for several years. The celebration during those early years involved more than one city as neighboring communities joined efforts and resources. The initial years also included the beautiful babes of Askov, but no single queen was selected until 1937. Her name is Josephine Petersen (Jessen) and she was the Grand Marshal of the parade to commemorate our 100th year. 

    Askov, MN Website

    Rutabega Festival Website

    Rutabaga Festival Facebook Page

    • August 31, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • August 31, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 3 sessions


    Philip Chaikin Sorensen (August 31, 1933 – February 12, 2017) was a Nebraska politician and law professor. He was the 27th Lieutenant Governor of Nebraska from 1965 to 1967.

    Sorensen was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is the son of Christian A. Sorensen, a Danish American who was Nebraska Attorney General (1929–33), and Annis (Chaikin) Sorensen, who was of Russian Jewish descent. He earned both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Nebraska. Sorensen was admitted to the bar in Nebraska, Indiana, and Washington.

    Sorensen is the younger brother of Ted Sorensen, who was President John F. Kennedy's White House counsel and adviser as well as his chief speechwriter. 

    Sorensen was elected lieutenant governor in the 1964 election, defeating Republican Charles Thone (who later served in the US Congress and as governor). He then ran for governor in 1966, but was defeated by Republican Norbert Tiemann.

    Sorensen became a law professor at the Ohio State University. Courses he taught included: Torts, Business Organizations, Federal Income TaxLegislation, and Nonprofit Organizations.

    In 1958, Sorensen married Janice Lichtenberger in Lincoln, Nebraska. They have four children and five grandchildren.

    Sorensen, a sculptor for many years.

    Sorensen died on February 12, 2017 at home in Columbus, Ohio. - Wikipedia

    • September 06, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Vesterheim Museum - Decorah, IA


    Exhibit Ends September 6

    “New Nordic Cuisine” is an innovative new exhibit about one of the most influential global food movements of the 21st century. The exhibit is on loan from the Museum of Danish America. Find out more about the exhibit here.

    “New Nordic Cuisine” is sponsored by Jon and Mary Hart, Jim and Marge Iversen, Philip and Sarah Iversen, John and Birgitte Christianson, and Tom and Linda Brandt.

    • September 09, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • September 09, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 3 sessions


    Albert Victor Ravenholt was born September 9, 1919, on the family farm in Milltown, Wisconsin, one of Ansgar and Kristine Ravenholt's ten children. After the death in infancy of an older sister, Albert became the eldest of five boys and four girls in this Danish-American family who survived the difficult years of the Great Depression.

    After high school and the loss of the family farm to bank foreclosure, Albert attended Grand View College, Des Moines, Iowa, for one semester before leaving to work at the New York Worlds Fair in the summer of 1939. Inspired to travel, he hitchhiked across the country to California where he signed on as cook on a Swedish freighter sailing for Asia and on to the Mediterranean Sea and Marseilles, France, before returning around Africa to Shanghai where he remained. During 1941 and 1942, Albert led the trucking of medical supplies for the International Red Cross on the Burma Road and into the Chinese interior. From 1942 to 1946 he served as a war correspondent for the United Press International in the China-Burma-India theatre where he interviewed such luminaries as Mao Zidong, Zhou Enlai, and Ho Chi Minh. In 1946, Albert married Marjorie Severyns, who was then serving with the OSS, in Shanghai. Later that year they returned to the United States where Albert became a Fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs and studied at Harvard University as a Nieman Fellows Associate in 1947 and 1948. Albert and Marjorie then returned to China where he reported on the Communist takeover of China and wrote widely for the Chicago Daily News and the Institute of Current World Affairs. In 1985, they were among the seven veteran journalists invited to return to China by the Deng Xiaoping government.

    Albert was a founding member of the American Universities Field Staff and from 1951 continued his research and writing throughout Asia for many decades. Periodically, he lectured at AUFS member universities. He was the author of The Philippines, A Young Republic on the Move as well as numerous expert articles that appeared in the journal Foreign Affairs, The Reporter magazine, the World Book Yearbook, and the Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the Year, among others. Albert provided guidance to John D. Rockefeller III in the creation of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation and, with his wife Marjorie, endowed at the University of Washington the annual Severyns-Ravenholt Lectureship, the purpose of which is to promote awareness of contemporary Asian politics, economics, and cultures.

    In 1998, Albert was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Grand View University. For many decades, Albert and Marjorie maintained homes in both the Philippines and Seattle where Albert was an early investor in real estate on Bainbridge Island and in Sagemoor Farms on the Columbia River near Pasco. As a result of his life-long interest in agriculture, Albert developed mango and coconut plantations in the Philippines, provided early support for the nitrogen-fixing tree association, and was a pioneer grower of wine grapes in Washington State.  He died April 25, 2010 at his home in Seattle.

    Sandi Doughton - Seattle Times staff reporter

    Albert Ravenholt’s life story reads like an adventure novel — and that’s the way he planned it.

    As a youngster in rural Wisconsin, he set his sights on a career as a foreign correspondent.

    First as a reporter, then later as an analyst and expert in Asian affairs, Mr. Ravenholt spent decades bearing witness to some of the century’s most tumultuous events, from the Pacific battles of World War II to the Communist revolution in China and the upheaval that followed.

    But even a profession that had him dodging sniper fire and supping with Chairman Mao wasn’t enough to satisfy Mr. Ravenholt’s restless mind.

    He also studied cooking, developed timber farms in the Philippines and helped pioneer Washington’s wine industry.

    “It was adventurous just to be around him,” said Johanne Fremont, Mr. Ravenholt’s sister. “He had so many interests, his ideas just tumbled over each other.”

    Mr. Ravenholt died April 25, 1990 at his home in Seattle. He was 90.

    His accomplishments were rooted in hard work, not privilege.

    The eldest of nine children, Mr. Ravenholt was born Sept. 9, 1919, to Danish-American parents. When his family lost its dairy farm to bankruptcy, he hired himself out to neighboring farmers for room and board while he finished high school.

    “Albert had a great capacity for work,” said his brother, Dr. Reimert Ravenholt of Seattle.

    He also realized he could make a difference.

    Frustrated by a lack of access to newspapers, the budding journalist convinced his high-school principal to convene daily assemblies where students could listen to a radio news wrap-up, Mrs. Fremont recalled.

    After graduation, Mr. Ravenholt found work as a cook on a Swedish freighter carrying timber to the Far East. Realizing war was imminent, he jumped ship in Shanghai.

    “From then on, he was hooked on China,” said Mrs. Fremont.

    Japan already was waging war against China. Mr. Ravenholt volunteered to lead Red Cross relief convoys along the winding Burma Road into the Chinese interior.

    It was while he was convalescing in India from a bout of dysentery that Mr. Ravenholt, then 22, landed his first reporting job: foreign correspondent for United Press. His salary was $85 a week.

    With no journalism training, he learned on the job. In order to cover military road-building in the region, he rode 80 miles elephant-back. He accompanied crews on bombing raids into Burma. One flight ended in near disaster when the plane, loaded with four tons of bombs, crashed on the runway.

    Back in Wisconsin, Mr. Ravenholt’s family tracked his whereabouts by watching for his byline.

    “His stories were never boring,” said Mrs. Fremont. “There was always an air of excitement in whatever he was writing about.”

    Some of Mr. Ravenholt’s most widely read dispatches came in 1943, after a plane carrying famed radio commentator Eric Sevareid crashed on a flight from India to China.

    Sevareid and others parachuted to safety in the jungles of Burma. Mr. Ravenholt beat his competition to the story by reaching Sevareid via walkie-talkie. A rival reporter later extracted revenge, bribing a censor to delay release of Mr. Ravenholt’s stories.

    Censors refused to allow publication of some of Mr. Ravenholt’s reports, including one of the first interviews with Korean “comfort women” forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Army. His groundbreaking coverage of Japan’s “kamikaze” pilots nearly wound up muzzled as well, until Mr. Ravenholt pulled high-ranking strings to subvert the censors.

    Tall and movie-star-handsome, Mr. Ravenholt met his match in Marjorie Severyns. The native of Sunnyside, Yakima County, was an intelligence officer based in India. Their courtship included a party at a maharajah’s palace and culminated in a sumptuous 1946 wedding in Shanghai.

    After the war, the couple established a base in Seattle. Mr. Ravenholt continued to cover China, the Philippines and other parts of the Far East as a correspondent for Chicago Daily News Foreign Service. He also authored several books and lectured widely as a founding member of the American Universities Field Staff, a cadre of writers stationed around the world.

    The couple endowed the Severyns-Ravenholt Lectureship at the University of Washington to promote awareness of Asian affairs.

    • September 13, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • September 13, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions


    Jens Jensen Biography

    Jens Jensen (September 13, 1860 - October 1, 1951) was born in Denmark (near Dybbøl) in 1860. Warfare destroyed his family home and saw the surrounding territory annexed to Prussia shortly thereafter. This traumatic experience left a deep mark on Jensen and would eventually prompt his emigration to America (1884). Jensen developed a keen love for the natural world before leaving the Old World. As his biographyon the Cultural Landscape Foundation’s website states,

    “Much of his education took place outdoors, where Jensen learned to celebrate the change of seasons and their place in the legends and mysteries associated with the Danish landscape and its history. Through this experience he cultivated a fascination with cultural traditions and nature which would later play a major role in his design work and conservation activities after his immigration to the United States in 1884.”

    Here in Chicago, that love of the natural world played a huge role in his rise up the ranks of the West Park Commission. He worked as a laborer and rose to foreman. By 1888, only four years after arriving in the US, Jensen designed the American Garden in Union Park. Jensen filled this garden was filled with naturally-arranged wildflowers, which he’d transplanted from the nearby prairie. It’s hard to overstate how new and different this would’ve felt to Gilded Age Chicagoans. Theirs was an an age full to bursting with classically-designed and highly formalized European-style gardens. Jensen’s approach to landscape architecture was breaking the mold.

    Induction into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame

    West Park Redesigns

    The lagoon and boat house at Humboldt Park exemplify the Prairie School designs of Jens Jensen. Photo via Wikimedia.

    The West Park Commission handled the construction and care of GarfieldDouglas, and Humboldt Parks. The grounds and their connecting boulevards were mostly designed in the 1870’s. Corruption and lack of money had left them in a moldering or incomplete state by the turn of the 20th Century. In comes our man Jens Jensen. He designed formal gardens, additional buildings, and new lagoons and creeks for the massive West Side parks.

    Humboldt Park demonstrates his touch most clearly. Jensen redesigned the park’s waterways to look and feel like a slow, lazy prairie river wandering amidst cattails and grasses. It’s easy to feel a million miles out in the country walking along the Humboldt Park lagoon. Jensen’s Prairie Style boat house also adorns the lagoon. Its architectural design lends the park a glimmer of Progressive Era prestige.

    Columbus Park

    One of the charming, naturalistic waterfalls in Columbus Park. Photo via Wikimedia.

    Columbus Park is the only Chicago park that Jens Jensen designed entirely by himself. The far West Side swarmed with people, but had very little open recreational space. So the West Park Commission, er, commissioned Jensen to do what many consider to be his finest work in landscape design for our Chicago parks.

    My favorite element of this sprawling park are the endlessly charming cascades and waterfalls. The water courses are lined with stacked stones, which create the feeling of stepping into a remote grotto. Jensen meant them to resemble the natural rock outcroppings of the Midwest’s post-glacial landscape. Columbus Park features the only Chicago example of Jensen’s beloved “council ring.” This stone circle invites visitors to sit down for storytelling and contemplation among the brush.

    Garfield Park Conservatory

    A historic postcard shows the Garfield Park Observatory’s eye-popping nature. Image via the Boston Public Library.

    The Garfield Park Conservatory is likely the most celebrated and widely-visited work of architecture by Jensen. The conservatory is also neck and neck for the Michigan Avenue Bridge for the title of Chicago’s most heavily-used engagement and wedding photos location. So mind you don’t step on some bride’s veil if you visit.

    Supposedly, Jensen designed the Prairie Style building to look like a Midwestern stack of hay. Which…I think I see that? It’s a little abstract for me, to be honest. But I can definitely see that contrasted to the more ornate architecture of the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

    Regardless, the Garfield Park Conservatory’s main claim to fame came from its interior architecture. Jensen designed this space to be a natural landscape under a glass roof. This stood in stark contrast to previous conservatories, where exotic plants were merely potted and arranged. The effect, especially in the midst of a long Chicago winter, is utterly transporting.

    Stepping into the Garfield Park Conservatory is like stepping clear across the globe.

    Jens Jensen Outside Chicago

    You can spot some of Jensen’s building architecture and landscape architecture if you’re doing some Midwestern road-tripping this summer. Henry Ford was a huge fan of Jensen and hired the master for several designs. These include the grounds of Henry Ford’s estate, Fair Lane, and magnum opus, the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, right outside Detroit. Jensen also designed the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Garden in Springfield and created the Clearing Folk School in Wisconsin. It’s interesting to note that, much like his contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright, Jensen used Chicago as the capital of his Midwestern architectural design empire.

    Regardless of where you see his work, I think it’s fair to say that Jens Jensen had a huge impact on Chicago’s recreational spaces. Jensen is the landscape equivalent of Wright’s ground-breaking architecture. He’ll likely never have the architectural profile of Wright, but his is a name and approach to landscape design worth knowing.

    – Alex Bean, Content Manager and Tour Guide

    See Also:   Jens Jensen Prairie Landscape Park
    Museum of Danish America - Elk Horn, Iowa

    • September 15, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • January 15, 2022
    • (CST)
    • 5 sessions
    • Online - New Issue Available


    For more information and to Subscribe...

    Subscribe Here


    by Thorvald Hansen

    Church and Life (originally, Kirke og Folk) was begun by the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1952 as an exclusively Danish publication in line with its original purpose which was to serve the Danish readership of the church. Until the 1930s the official church paper had been Kirkelig Samler, but when this had been replaced by the English language publication, Lutheran Tidings, the Danish readers were served by a page called Kirkelig Samler in the Danish language Dannevirke, a privately owned weekly which was unofficially related to the church. When this publication ceased in1951, Danish news of the church was no longer available and this was missed, particularly by older readers. It was to fill this vacuum that the new Danish publication was begun.

    The first issues were distributed gratis to some 750 individuals who might be interested, but within a short time it became a subscription paper with some 1,000 subscribers. It was a 16 page paper issued twice monthly. When the Lutheran Church in America was born in 1963 and Lutheran Tidings ceased publication, some of the readers of that paper became subscribers to Church and Life. Today it has become an exclusively English language publication of 12 to l6 pages (depending on the material available) and is issued monthly. The subscription price is $20 per year. Gifts and memorials make up the shortfall, and the paper continues to function in the black. For its content the paper depends upon the voluntary contributions of a significant number of writers. The December issue is at least twice the normal size for Christmas .

    In 1983 the name was changed to Church and Life. This is not, nor was it intended to be, a translation of the Danish, but rather an indication that the church body out of which it grew was concerned also with this earthly life.

    Throughout its long history the paper has had six full time editors: Holger Strandskov, Paul Wikman, Michael Mikkelsen, Johannes Knudsen, and Thorvald Hansen. The present editor, Joy Ibsen, is the daughter of a former pastor in the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church.
    Currently the paper serves some 460 subscribers as a tie that binds them, not only to one another, but to the religious and social environment with which they have been familiar. This is not an exclusive group, nor are they guided by nostalgia, but one to which any and all who share similar values are more than welcome.

    Reference: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    • September 15, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • September 15, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • 3 sessions


    Deadlines for Submission: April 15 and September 15

    The Danish American Heritage Society is pleased to offer grants to qualified researchers for study in area of common interest. Bodtker Grants provide stipends of up to $5,000 for students or graduates interested in exploring  topics related to Danish history and heritage in North America. 

    A Bodtker Grant is primarily intended for research and internship at Danish American Archive and Library in Blair, Nebraska; the Danish American Archive at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa; or the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa. At the Board's discretion, proposals involving other Danish cultural and archival institutions may be considered.

    Deadlines: April 15 (Notification: May) or September 15(Notification: October)
    Stipend Amount: Up to $5,000

    Grant Application

    DAHS Website

    • September 19, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • September 26, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Grand View University - Des Moines, IA


    Grand View University will celebrate Homecoming 2021 along with the school's 125 Year Anniversary September 19-26.

    Grand View - Website

    Grand View - Facebook

    • September 19, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • April 10, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • 7 sessions
    • Danish American Center - Minneapolis, MN


    Sunday 9:30am -12:30pm

    Danish American Center
    3030 West River Parkway South
    Minneapolis, MN 55406

    Telephone - (612) 729-3800

    DAC Website

    DAC Facebook

    • September 24, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • May 27, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • 9 sessions
    • Danish American Center - Minneapolis, MN


    Pending the Reopening of the Danish American Center

    Fyr Aften is open to the men of DAC who are members and 18 years or older. 

    The average age of the group is about 50 and about half speak Danish. As a group we have a connection and passion for Danish culture. Eating with a knife and fork, saying "Tak for Mad" when finished eating and knowing some Danish phrases are all important as we strive to keep our Danish culture alive.

    We meet at the DAC on the last Friday of every month during the standard nine-month school year. Each month there is a choice cooking spot available to the first person to request it and everyone helps with the cleanup. The cost for dinner and dessert is the bargain price of $10 per person. We often play cards, games or darts after dinner, too.

    If you are interested in joining or attending an upcoming Fyr Aften gathering please contact Paul Juhl at 612-437- 2430 or pjuhl727@comcast.net.


    On the last Friday of the traditional school year months, a group of men at the Danish American Center (DAC) gather for food, drink, rich conversation and hygge. The tradition began about 10 years ago and has continued with just a brief hiatus. The name for the group came from Michael Petersen’s memory of his Farfar. “My Farfar used to always say/declare in his thick vestjysk dialect, ‘nu holder jeg fyraften” when he felt it was quitting time. So that’s where I came up with the name that I suggested to the rest of the guys...Fyr Aften has two meanings (depending on whether or not the two words are combined), ‘quitting time’ and ‘guys night’, and I like that play on words. It’s since become a Friday evening that we all look forward to. We’ve grown close and now know each other personally. The next generation needs to grow closer to give the DAC continuity and to keep the culture and ultimately the language alive.”

    All men who are 18 and older and members of the DAC are welcome. The average age of those regularly attending is about 52. All have some tie to Danish culture. They are either Danes by birth, married to a Dane, have gone to school in Denmark, have Danish heritage, or just have a love of the culture and traditions and wish to be a part of continuing them. Speaking Danish is not a requirement, but roughly half of the group does.

    For more information or to attend, contact Michael Petersen at hjemdemiguel@yahoo.com. Reservations are needed two or three days in advance.

    Danish American Center
    3030 West River Parkway South
    Minneapolis, MN 55406

    Telephone - (612) 729-3800
    DAC Website

    DAC Facebook

    • September 27, 2021
    • 6:00 PM (CDT)
    • National Danish American Genealogical Society - Virtual Event


    Monday September 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm CST

    September has traditionally the month when members informally sat together and shared road blocks, successes, questions and networked with other members. This year we are excited to take it further with two Danish genealogy experts on hand to help answer your questions and give advice! And of course, we still want to hear your experiences, advice, and tips for fellow members as well! 

    Register in advance for this meeting:


    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting

    National Danish America Genealogical Society

    NDAGS Website

    NDAGS Facebook

    • September 30, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • October 02, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • State Fair Center - Minot, North Dakota



    April 28, 2021

    The 2021 Norsk Høstfest has been canceled, but plans are underway to bring the festival back in 2022 with a new president at the helm.

    The Høstfest Board of Directors voted this week to cancel this year’s festival, the second consecutive year the event has succumbed to pressures brought by the COVID-19 outbreak. Board members said the pandemic has hurt the outlook for Høstfest in several ways: the tour business has been severely curtailed, travel concerns reduce the likelihood of attracting visitors from Scandinavia, the Canadian border may not yet be reopened by this fall, and patrons may be hesitant to resume gathering in large numbers under one roof.

    Meanwhile, board members say they intend to use the next several months to reimagine the festival and will be meeting with executives from similar events from around the country to determine the best path forward for Norsk Høstfest.

    David Reiten, who has been president of the Norsk Høstfest Association since 2011, has announced he is stepping down from that position. Reiten took over leadership of the festival from his late father, Chester, who helped found the event in 1978 and guided it through years of rapid growth and long-term success. David Reiten says his love for the festival remains, but adds that Høstfest will continue with great leadership. “After 40-plus years of a Reiten at the helm, it is time for someone else to take hold of the reins and guide Norsk Høstfest into the future.” Reiten says he and the entire Reiten family are thankful for all of the volunteers, vendors, entertainers, artists, and patrons who helped make the Høstfest into the largest Scandinavian festival in North America. “Without the contributions of thousands of people who make the event happen every year, the vision of Chester Reiten would never have been realized. We are grateful to all who have donated their time and talents over the decades and trust the volunteer spirit will continue for decades to come.”

    The Board of Directors issued the following statement: “The city of Minot, the state of North Dakota, and the Scandinavian-American community at large owe the Reiten family an enormous debt of gratitude for the leadership and dedication poured into Norsk Høstfest over the decades. In his tenure, David Reiten rose to the challenges that changes in the entertainment industry have presented, and kept the celebration going nonetheless. On behalf of the board of directors, we thank him for a job well done — and pledge continuation of the Reiten legacy.”

    Plans call for the 2022 Høstfest to be held in late September. Specific dates will be determined later this year.

    Høstfest Website

    Norsk Høstfest is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that raises funds to preserve and share Scandinavian culture, heritage and educational programs. Program focus areas include Høstfest in the Schools, Scandinavian Youth Camp, the Scandinavian-American Hall of Fame, Skien-Minot sister city relationship, and Norsk Høstfest. The festival also crowns an yearly Miss Norsk Høstfest and holds trips to Denbigh, ND, for the annual wreath-laying ceremony honoring Sondre Norheim.

    Norsk Høstfest is held annually in the fall in the N.D. State Fair Center on the North Dakota State Fairgrounds in Minot, N.D., USA. The festival was founded in 1978 by the late Chester Reiten and a group of friends who shared his interest in celebrating their Nordic heritage. The festival, now entering into its 43rd year, has grown into North America’s largest Scandinavian festival with tens of thousands of people attending from all over the world.

    The festival features world-class entertainment, authentic Scandinavian cuisine, Scandinavian culture on display, handcrafted Norsk merchandise, plus a fine dining establishment lead by guest chefs.

    Norsk Høstfest celebrates Scandinavian culture and heritage of the five Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.  Each nation is represented in one of the halls in which the festival takes place, and each named after their country's capital city.  The individual styles of each country's entertainment, food, clothes, art, and jewelry can be found throughout Norsk Høstfest and also in the Scandinavian Heritage Park, the only park in the world representing all five Nordic countries.

    While the festival has grown to become the largest Scandinavian festival in North American, there are other entities in Minot, ND, that has sprouted from the same interest of preserving heritage and celebrating Nordic culture. Among those organizations that have been cultivated through the joint interest in the Scandinavian culture are the Scandinavian Heritage AssociationHøstfest-Heritage Foundation and the Telemark Trade Office.

    Norsk Hostfest receives no city, county, state or federal tax funds. Officers and directors of the board receive no pay.Privacy Statement

    • October 02, 2021
    • 7:30 AM - 10:00 AM (CDT)
    • Danish American Center - Minneapolis, MN


    Rock balancing is a growing art form that uses ordinary rocks to create startling ephemeral sculptures. Artist and instructor Peter Juhl will teach you how to build these works of art with just a few stones. This class is $30 for members of the Danish American Center and $40 for non members. Register on our website at www.danishamericancenter.com or call 612-729-3800.

    Danish American Center
    3030 West River Parkway South
    Minneapolis, MN 55406

    Telephone - (612) 729-3800 
    Email -  dainfo@dac.mn

    DAC Website

    DAC Facebook

    • October 24, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • November 03, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • Tempe Embassy Suites - Tempe, Arizona


    The Arizona Rebild Annual Conference, originally scheduled for last spring, has been rescheduled for October 2021.  The new dates have the Pre-tour to the Grand Canyon and Sedona October 24-27, the Conference at the Tempe Embassy Suites October 27-30, and the Post-Tour to Tombstone and Tucson October 31-November 3.

    Everyone interested in Danish American friendship is welcome!

    “We were very disappointed that we had to cancel the conference last spring due to COVID-19”, said Rebild U.S. Vice President Bruce Bro, but we are excited to reschedule for October 2021.  Late October and early November is an equally beautiful time of year in Arizona, and we know everyone will enjoy the weather and the entertaining program”.

    The program is essentially the same as was planned for last March.  The Pre-Tour includes a welcome dinner at the Tempe Embassy Suites on October 24, followed by the Ranchos de los Cabelleros  in Wickenburg with a cowboy barbecue and entertainment, an afternoon at the Grand Canyon, and finishing with a night and morning in beautiful Sedona.

    The conference runs October 27-30 with a welcome dinner the first night, filled by a Desert Botanical Gardens tour and Smørrebrødfest, a tour of the Scottsdale Museum of the West on October 29 along with dinner and a Bull Riding show at the Buffalo Chip Saloon, and finally a tour of the Heard Museum and the Gala Dinner on Saturday night October 30.  Rebild leadership and board meetings will be conducted the mornings of the conference with the Rebild General Membership meeting on Saturday morning October 31.

    One addition to the events not offered in March will be a tour of the Niels Petersen House Museum in Tempe.  Petersen, a Danish Immigrant in the 1800’s was a rancher and a founding father of the town of Tempe.  He built a beautiful Victorian style house near Tempe in the late 1800’s, which is now a museum.  The house offers a glimpse of the life of Niels and Susanna Petersen during that time period.

    The Post-Tour will depart Tempe Sunday morning October 31 and travel to Tombstone and “The Gunfight at the OK Corral”.  On Monday November 1 the tour group will explore the incredible Kartchner Caverns followed by an evening banquet and entertainment in Tucson.  Tuesday morning November 2 includes a tour of Tucson’s Sonoran Desert Museum and then back to Tempe for a farewell dinner.  Departures for home will be the next day, Wednesday November 3.

    “We once again welcome all Rebild Members to Arizona”, added Bro.  “But we also extend a welcome to non-members to join us and learn about Rebild - the Danish American Friendship Society”.

    Registration Form

    Hotel Information: Hotel IS included for Pre and Post tours.  Your Hotel room during the conference is NOT included in your registration (Oct 27-31).  To reserve your room, call the hotel at the number on the registration form, or here directly with the hotel online.

    Rebild Arizona 2021 Schedule
    Updated July 26, 2021

    Sunday October 24
    Pre-Tour Welcome Dinner at Tempe Embassy Suites
    Overnight at Tempe Embassy Suites

    Monday October 25
    Pre-Tour Ranchos de los Caballeros
    Overnight at Caballeros

    Tuesday October 26
    Grand Canyon/Sedona
    Overnight at Matterhorn Inn, Sedona

    Annual Conference Schedule - 
    Wednesday October 27
    Conference Arrival at Tempe Embassy Suites
    Reception and Welcome Dinner

    Thursday October 28
    AM - Chapter Presidents/Rebild Board Meetings
    Afternoon - Desert Botanical Gardens
    Evening - Smørrebrødfest

    Friday October 29 - No Business Meetings
    AM - Petersen House Museum tour
    AM - Morning Hike with the Hiking Viking 
    Afternoon - Museum of the West
    Evening - Buffalo Chip Saloon (Dinner and Bull Riding Show)

    Saturday October 30
    AM - General Membership Meeting
    Afternoon - Heard Museum
    Evening - Gala Dinner

    Sunday October 31
    Conference Departures

    Sunday October 31
    Morning Departures to Tombstone
    Gunfight at the OK Corall
    Overnight in Tombstone

    Monday November 1
    AM - Kartchner Caverns
    Evening - Tucson Dinner and Mads Tolling concert at Embassy Suites
    Overnight at Tucson Embassy Suites

    Tuesday November 2
    AM - Sonoran Desert Museum
    Return to Tempe & Farewell Dinner
    Overnight at Tempe Embassy Suites

    Wednesday November 3 
    Post Tour Departures

    More Information and questions - 

    Email - Bruce Bro

    Registration Form
    • October 25, 2021
    • 6:30 PM (CDT)
    • National Danish American Genealogical Society - Virtual Event


    Monday October 25, 2021 at 6:30 pm CST

    Finding female ancestors can pose a unique challenge. Between name changes and females often not even being referred to by first name in records, it can lead to some tricky researching. Join us as Cathi Weber shares tips for looking in early  records for women’s names and gives tips and ideas  on where to look.  Cathi Weber has been researching her family tree for over 40 years and is the owner of NorthStar Genealogy.  She  teaches genealogy classes and assists clients in researching their families. She is the president of the Anoka County Genealogical Society. 

    Register in advance for this webinar:


    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

    National Danish America Genealogical Society

    NDAGS Website

    NDAGS Facebook

    • October 29, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • October 29, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions


    Kristian Anker (October 29, 1848 – November 16, 1928) was a Lutheran minister who served as the first president of the combined Trinity Seminary and Dana College.  (Photos: Danish American Archive and Library - Blair, NE)


    Kristian Anker was born in Odense, Denmark. He attended the Galtrug Folkschool 1870-71 and the Sagatun Folk High School (Norwegian: Sagatun folkehøyskole) in Hamar, Norway from 1872-73. He was a teacher 1873-80 at Galtrup Folk School and Krogsballe Folk School in Humlebæk, Denmark. He attended the Seminary at Askov Folk High School (Danish: Askov Højskole) in Vejen Municipality, Denmark from 1880-81. He was ordained as a Lutheran minister on September 25, 1881. He subsequently immigrated to the United States during 1881.


    Kristian Anker served as a Lutheran pastor in Elk Horn, Iowa, and Lincoln, Nebraska. He was pastor of St. Stephen's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chicago from 1881-1882.

    In 1894, Kristian Anker helped organize The Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America, commonly known as North Church. In 1894, Pastor Anker, then owner and principal of Elk Horn, Iowa Højskole, sold it to the newly formed North Church for use as a seminary and college. Elk Horn Højskole in Elk Horn was the first Danish style Folk high school in America. Founded in 1878, it served Danish immigrants and drew them to Elk Horn in great numbers. From 1894 to 1909 Peter Sørensen Vig would serve as principal as well as an instructor at the seminary.  In 1896, the North Church and the Blair Church, which had been formed in 1884, came together to form the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church (commonly known as the United Church). When the two Churches merged, the North Church seminary was consolidated with Trinity Seminary in Blair, Nebraska. That same year, the college-level preparatory classes that had been offered at Trinity Seminary were consolidated with those offered at Elk Horn College. In 1899, leaders of the United Church voted to relocate all college-level classes to the Blair campus. When the departments of Elk Horn Højskole were transferred to Trinity Seminary, Kristian Anker came with them as president of the merged institutions. Kristian Anker served as President of Trinity Seminary (1899–1902) and Dana College (1899–1905).

    • November 07, 2021
    • (CDT)
    • November 07, 2023
    • (CST)
    • 3 sessions


    Peter Sørensen Vig (7 November 1854 – 21 March 1929), commonly known as P. S. Vig, was a Danish American pastor, educator, and historian in the Lutheran church. He was integral to the formation of the Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church in North America (the North Church) and the United Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church (United Church). (PS Vig photo from The Danish American Archive and Library - Blair, Nebraska)

    Comments from the Great Granddaughter of P.S. Vig-
    Karen Marie Vig-Keathley

    Vig was born in Bogvad, Egtved Sogn, Jutland, Denmark, on November 7, 1854, where he attended school and worked as a farm laborer until 1872. He then attended Askov High School in Denmark from 1872 to 1877 and went on to study for two years under the Rev. H.F. Feiberg. In 1879 he came to America, visited friends in Iowa, and then spent two years in Chicago. In 1882 he returned to Denmark to continue his studies. Two years later Vig was sent to the United States by the Danish American Mission, and on September 20, 1885, he was ordained a minister at Clinton, Iowa.  Photo: The first Danish Folk School in America in Elk Horn, Iowa - From: Dansk luthersk mission i Amerika i tiden før 1884 

    He spent several years at Elk Horn and Bowman’s Grove, Iowa, as a minister and an instructor in the high schools. In 1888 he was sent to the seminary at West Denmark, Wisconsin, where he taught for four years and at the same time he took a pastorage at Luck, Wisconsin. From 1894 to 1909 he was principal and instructor at the high school and seminary in Elk Horn, Iowa. He then served as President and Professor of Theology at Trinity Seminary, Blair, Nebraska, until 1928.  He served as President from 1896-99.  Trinity Seminary became a "shared" institution when the "Dana School" (Dana College) was established on the same campus in 1903. - Danish American Archive and Library

    Photo: Original Trinity Seminary building constructed 1886.  Later became "Old Main" on Dana College campus and destroyed by fire in 1988. (Blair Historic Preservation Alliance)

    At the suggestion of United Evangelical Lutheran Church president Dr. N.C. Carlsen, the Pioneer Memorial Building at Dana College was dedicated to the founders of Dana College. Outside the office of the President of Dana College, was a plaque that read: "This building is named Pioneer Memorial in memory of A. M. Andersen, Kr. Anker, C. X. Hansen, P. S. Vig, G. B. Christiansen, and many other faithful men and women who contributed to the development and influence of Dana College and Trinity Seminary." - Wikipedia

    Vig was the author of several books including Danes in America, (1900), Danes in America From 1640-1860 (1908), Danish Immigration to AmericaDanish Lutheran Mission in America up to 1884, and Danes in Battle in and for America.

    On June 10, 1884, Vig was married to Karen Marie Madsine Christensen, who died in 1900. Of this marriage four sons survived: Soren T., James E.M., Peter G.A., and Bennet C. Vig then married Karen Oline Olsen on August 6, 1901, who bore him eight children: Eli M.M., Clemens H., Lars Einar, Clarence, Steen B., Arndt M., Ruth E., and Victor Vig.

    Peter Sorensen Vig died at Blair, Nebraska, on March 21, 1929. - Wikipedia

    • November 15, 2021
    • 6:30 PM (CST)
    • National Danish American Genealogical Society - Virtual Event


    Monday November 15, 2021 at 6:30 pm CST

    Danish church books contain a fantastic amount of genealogical information and it’s worth researching the original scanned pages. But the layouts can be unwieldy and the handwriting sometimes near impossible to read. This program aims to give background about Denmark’s church books, review how the national archives present the pages, and give pointers about interpreting hand-writing or uncommon words. It will also illustrate flourishes used by different priests, including margin doodles. Guess what one priest drew for each marriage entry! The speaker is Cathy Kristiansen, of Danish Ancestors & History.

    Register in advance for this webinar:


    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

    National Danish America Genealogical Society

    NDAGS Website

    NDAGS Facebook

    • December 01, 2021
    • (CST)
    • December 01, 2024
    • (CST)
    • 4 sessions


    The Danish Sisterhood of America was founded on December 1, 1883 by Christine Hemmingsen, a Danish immigrant from Orup, Denmark. Inspired by the success of the Danish Brotherhood of America, Mrs. Hemmingsen established Christine Lodge #1 in Negaunee, Michigan. The Danish Sisterhood of today continues to grow with numerous lodges located throughout the United States and Canada.

    The Danish culture is rich – its history long and distinguished, going back thousands of years. Membership in the Danish Sisterhood of America is a wonderful opportunity to connect with your Danish heritage, learn more about Danish customs and traditions, and strengthen your connection to Denmark. A cordial invitation is extended to you to join the largest national Danish organization dedicated to preserving and sharing these deeply rooted traditions. 

    Danish Sisterhood History

    Danish Sisterhood Website

    • December 03, 2021
    • (CST)
    • December 04, 2022
    • (CST)
    • 2 sessions
    • Dannebrog, Nebraska


    The smell of delicious foods and sounds of music and laughter fills the air at Dannebrog’s Old-Fashioned Danish Christmas. From a small Christmas Tree Fantasy in 1990, this celebration has grown each year. The American Bus Association and North American Motorcoach Industry highlighted the event as one of the Top 100 events in North America in 1995. Dannebrog’s celebration is a rich, old-fashioned reminder of the Danish heritage.

    Each year our festival grows to new levels. Activities at the Old-Fashioned Danish Christmas have included: Aebleskiver (Danish Pancakes), a bake sale, bingo, a cake/bake walk, a Christmas Tree Fantasy, a holiday music medley (Youth Bell Choir, Danish Dancers, and Centura High School Choir), horse and buggy rides, kids crafts, living outdoor nativity scene, a soup & pie supper and treats and pictures with Old Father Christmas, Mr. & Mrs. Claus and their elves.

    As you stroll through our beautifully decorated village, you can enjoy hot apple cider, arts and crafts show, samples of Danish foods, hay rack rides, and spectacular displays of Christmas lights and animations. Please join us the first weekend in December to celebrate Dannebrog’s rich, Old-Fashioned Danish Heritage.

    Telephone - (308) 380-1153
    Email - dannebrognews@gmail.com

    Dannebrog Website 

    Dannebrog Facebook

    • December 18, 2021
    • (CST)
    • Online from the Danish Home


    The Danish Home Foundation is planning its Annual Benefit in conjunction with a community-based “Lillejuleaften” Celebration at the Hyatt Lodge in Oak Brook, Illinois. Please mark your calendars now! * For updates from The Danish Home of Chicago and to connect to The Danish Home’s social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) and E-News, please visit https://danishhomeofchicago.org.

    Telephone - (773) 775-7385

    The Danish Home Email

    Danish Home Website

    Donate Here

    • December 24, 2021
    • (CST)
    • December 25, 2022
    • (CST)
    • 2 sessions
    • Denmark and United States


    Christmas in Denmark embodies the spirit of joy and enthusiasm to the maximum. As December approaches, every house and street is lit up with colourful lights, so much so that it neutralizes the effect of a dull winter. Most Danes believe that Christmas is about carols and songs, the aroma of spruce, oranges and freshly baked cookies. One of the city's oldest traditions is being adorned with thousands of candles to create an atmosphere of warmth, togetherness, relaxation and love. Usually, every store and street is elaborately decorated with green, red or white paper hearts, since this is the Danish symbol during Christmas. Again, even houses and dinner tables are ornamented with lights and hearts. Christmas cookies and æbleskiver are made for both the children and adults. Read on to learn more about the customs and traditions of Christmas in Denmark. 

    Some people in Denmark give and receive extra Advent presents on the four Sundays of Advent.

    Different types of Advent candles and calendars are popular in Denmark. A Kalenderlys (calendar-candle) is an Advent candle and most people have one of these types of candles. A Pakkekalender (gift calendar) is also a fun way to countdown to Christmas Eve. There are 24 small gifts for the children in the calendar, one for each day until Christmas Eve.

    Julekalender (christmas calendar) is a television series with 24 episodes. One episode is shown each day in December with the last one being aired on Christmas Eve. The first Julekalender was shown on TV in Denmark in 1962. The two main Danish TV channels DR and TV2 both show different versions of Julekalender each year. The theme of the stories in the Julekalender normally follow a similar storyline, with someone trying to ruin Christmas and the main characters saving Christmas!

    Christmas Parties are held from 1st November to 24th December where everyone has a good time! Making cakes and biscuits is popular in the time before Christmas. Gingerbread cookies and vanilla ones are often favorites.

    In Denmark most people go to a Church Service on Christmas Eve about 4.00pm to hear the Christmas sermon or talk. It's also an old, traditional custom to give animals a treat on Christmas Eve, so some people go for a walk in the park or woods and they might take some food to give the animals and birds. You might also go for a walk to give you an appetite for the Christmas meal!

    When they get home the main Christmas meal is eaten between 6.00pm and 8.00pm. It's served on a beautifully decorated table. Popular Christmas foods include roast duck, goose or pork. They are served with boiled and sweet potatoes, red cabbage, beetroot and cranberry jam/sauce.

    Most families have a 'ris á la mande' (a special kind of rice pudding, made of milk, rice, vanilla, almonds and whipped cream) for dessert. All but one of the almonds are chopped into pieces. The person who finds the whole almond gets a present called a Mandelgave (almond present). Traditionally the little present was a marzipan pig! Now a marzipan pig is still sometimes given, but it's also often something like sweets or a little toy.

    After the meal the lights on the Christmas Tree are lit, people might dance around the tree and sing carols. Then it's time for people to open their presents. The Christmas tree normally has a gold or silver star on the top and often has silver 'fairy hair' on it to make it glitter.

    On Christmas day people meet with their family and have a big lunch together with danish open-faced sandwiches on rye-bread.

    In Denmark, children believe that their presents are brought by the 'Julemanden' (which means 'Christmas Man' or 'Yule Man'). He looks very similar to Santa Claus and also travels with a sleigh and reindeer. He lives in Greenland, likes rice pudding and is helped by 'nisser' which are like elves.

    St. Lucia's Day (or St. Lucy's Day) is also celebrated on December 13th, although it's more famous for being celebrated in Denmark's neighbor, Sweden.

    In Danish Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Glædelig Jul'.

    • December 28, 2021
    • (CST)
    • December 28, 2023
    • (CST)
    • 3 sessions


    Pastor Hans Jorgen (H.J.) Pedersen, considered “the founder of Danebod” in Tyler, Minnesota, was born in Ringe, Denmark on December 28, 1851. He immigrated to the United States in 1875 and married Ane Marie Jepsen (Jeppesen) on October 20, 1875 in Michigan.

    H.J. served as minister at the congregation at Gowen, Michigan until 1880 when he became president of the folk school in Elk Horn, Iowa. In 1882, he returned to Michigan and built the Ashland Folk School near Grant. In 1888, Rev. and Mrs. Pedersen and their six children moved to Tyler so that he might found a folk school there. Danebod was the name applied to the colony, the church, and the folk school that served as a vital center of education and Danish culture for Danish immigrants. H. J. Pedersen died on July 20, 1905, in Ruthton, Minnesota. - The Museum of Danish America

    Hans Jorgen Pedersen - The Founder of Danebod
    By Thorvald Hansen
    From "The Bridge"

    • December 31, 2021
    • (CST)
    • Museum of Danish America - Elk Horn, IA


    Exhibit Ends December 31, 2021

    Tradition and Change: Weddings in Danish America

    Through the end of 2021
    A look into the ceremonial beginnings of Danish and Danish-American couples, past and present. In the Kramme Gallery (Level 2). 
    • January 02, 2022
    • (CST)
    • January 02, 2025
    • (CST)
    • 4 sessions


    Hjalmar Petersen (January 2, 1890 – March 29, 1968) was an American politician who served as the 23rd Governor of MinnesotaPetersen was born in Eskildstrup, Denmark (Island of Falser) and came to America as an infant when his parents immigrated. His formal schooling ended at age fourteen, when he became an employee of the Tyler Journal in the community where his parents had settled.His career in journalism culminated in his purchase in 1914 of the Askov American in Askov, Minnesota, a weekly newspaper he owned for the rest of his life.

    After serving as Askov's village clerk and mayor, Petersen won two terms in the Minnesota Legislature, where he sponsored the state income-tax law and urged that tax revenues be spent on public education. Before he ran for the Minnesota Legislature he had been a member of the Republican Party. By the time he ran for office he was a member of the Farmer-Labor Party. He served in the legislature from 1931 to 1934, representing the old House District 56.

    Petersen was elected the 28th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota in 1934 and served with Governor Floyd B. Olson. He was sworn in as governor two days after Olson died of cancer on August 22, 1936.  During his tenure, the federal unemployment insurance law was initiated; several labor disputes were dealt with; and significant judicial appointments were approved. After serving 134 days as governor, Petersen left office on January 2, 1936.  He served the remainder of Olson's term but declined to run for governor himself in the November general election, opting instead to launch a successful bid for Railroad and Warehouse Commissioner, a position he then assumed after leaving the governship on January 4, 1937. He later ran for governor in 1940 and 1942, losing both times to Harold Stassen.  After his term as governor, he served as the president of the American Publishing Company.

    As the home of Hjalmar Petersen, Askov played an important role in Minnesota’s political life during the 1930s and 1940s. Hjalmar Petersen was a leader in the Farmer-Labor party, and was the founder and editor of the local newspaper, the Askov American, in which he expressed his political philosophy and which, for a time, had the largest circulation in the country for a newspaper published in a community of its size. The newspaper has never missed an issue since 1914 and is the most widely read newspaper in northern Pine County. The newspaper continues to play an important part in Askov’s economic and cultural life.

    Petersen was married twice, first to Rigmor C. Wosgaard in 1914 and later to Medora Grandprey in 1934. He died in 1968 in Columbus, Ohio. - Wikipedia

    • January 17, 2022
    • (CST)
    • January 17, 2023
    • (CST)
    • 2 sessions


    Benedict Nordentoft (17 January 1873 – 12 December 1942) was a Danish educator and cleric, principally remembered for the years he spent in Solvang, California, where he and his colleagues established a Danish community with a Lutheran church and a folk high school.

    Photo: Nordentoft was the 3rd President of Grand View College 1903 - 1910

    Benedict Nordentoft was born in the rectory at Brabrand, a town just west of Aarhus, Denmark, on 17 January 1873. He was the seventh of the thirteen gifted children raised by Pastor Peter Nordentoft and Vincentia Christiane Michelsen.  In the footsteps of the famous theologian and philosopher N. F. S. Grundtvig, from the age of 11 he attended the Aarhus Cathedral School before studying theology at Copenhagen University. Later he would comment: "Although I was often moved by the sermons of Grundtvigian priests and although many of my student friends were Grundtvigians, I have never been able to accept Grundtvig's excessively dogmatic views." After graduating with honours in 1898, he became a substitute teacher at Herlufsholm School before becóming a tutor for Count Brockenhuus-Schack's eldest son in Ringsted in 1899.

    Though pleased with his position, he could not resist the urge to go to America where he had been offered a post as a lecturer at Grand View College, a Danish seminary and folk high school in Des Moines, Iowa, believing that America would open up new horizons for him.

    One of his first tasks as a lecturer at Grand View was to coordinate relations between Danish Lutheran churches in Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine. In the summer of 1901, he returned to Denmark specifically to be ordained in Aarhus Cathedral. Back in America, he continued his work as a lecturer at Grand View. In 1903, when he was only 30 years old, he became the college's third president, a post which he held until 1910.  That year, as a result of differences with his colleagues at the college who were far more Grundtvigian than he, Nordentoft was pressured to leave.

    From 1906, Nordentoft together with Jens M. Gregersen, a pastor from Kimballton, Iowa, and Peder P. Hornsyld, a lecturer at Grand View, had discussed the possibility of creating a new Danish colony with a dedicated Lutheran church and school on the west coast.  In 1910, together with other Danish-Americans, they created the Danish-American Colony Company in San Francisco. Later that year, their land agent, Mads J. Frese, found suitable land in the Santa Ynez Valley northwest of Santa Barbara. On 23 January 1911, the contract was signed and Solvang was founded. The Danes had bought almost 9,000 acres of the Rancho San Carlos de Jonata land grant, paying an average of $40 per acre.

    Soon after the establishment of Solvang, a school was opened with 21 students on 15 November 1911 with Nordentoft as president.

    At the end of 1912 when it became almost impossible to sell any more plots of land, the company's income was vastly reduced. The shareholders persuaded Gregersen to give up his position as Solvang's pastor and travel to Iowa and Nebraska to convince Danish immigrants to buy land in the new colony. He enjoyed considerable success, relieving the colony of any further threats. After Gregersen's departure, Nordentoft became the pastor. Before long, Solvang also had a store, a bank, a lumber yard, a barbershop and a post office with Hornsyld as postmaster. Where there had just been fields, there was now a small town.

    Nordentoft was not content with the little school established in Solvang. When he was unable to convince his Danish colleagues that a larger educational institution was needed, he bought them out and started to raise funds for a bigger and better school. The following year, in August 1914, a rejsegilde, or topping-out ceremony, was held for the impressive new building which Nordentoft called Atterdag College in memory of Valdemar Atterdag who did much to consolidate the kingdom of Denmark in the 14th century.

    Photo: Atterdag College

    What surprised many of those who came to the celebration was the great similarity the building had with Grand View College. Standing on a hilltop with a commanding view of the village, the new college or folk high school was designed to teach Danish-speaking students in their late teens how to lead more meaningful lives with an emphasis on lectures, singing, gymnastics, folk dancing and fellowship. A difficult period followed as World War I put a stop to Danish emigration to America leading to a reduction in the number of young people requiring a school education. It also became difficult to maintain a Danish-speaking school at a time when American nationalism was steadily growing.

    On 26 April 1918 when he was 45, Nordentoft married 20-year-old Mary Hansine Christiansen, the daughter of a Danish farmer from Newell, Iowa, and one of his earlier students. By 1921, the family had two children and a third was on the way. Nordentoft, who felt he had achieved his ambitions in America and wished to have his children educated in Denmark, sold the college to the congregation of Solvang's Bethania Church in 1921 for $5,000. He then returned to Denmark with his wife and family.

    Back in Denmark in 1921, he was first a priest in Tranebjerg on Samsø, then in Mariager and in March 1926 he became pastor of St Nicolai Church in Kolding. The family who raised no less than 11 children were always very welcoming to anyone who wished to visit them at the rectory in Hyrdestræde. All the children were given the middle name Atterdag in memory of the college.

    Nordentoft not only taught at the high school in Kolding but became a popular public speaker in the area, thanks to his entertaining and humorous delivery. He often spoke affectionately about his years in America and was active on the committee for the Danish-American Mission. In 1941, he was awarded the Order of the Dannebrog for his services to Danish-American relations.

    Benedict Nordentoft died in Kolding on 12 December 1942. A few years later, the authorities in Solvang decided to name two streets in his memory: Nordentoft Way and Kolding Avenue. - Wikipedia

    • February 03, 2022
    • (CST)
    • February 03, 2025
    • (CST)
    • 4 sessions


    George Peter Nissen (February 3, 1914- April 7, 2010) was an inveterate and sometimes eccentric inventor. He registered more than 40 patents, but his name is synonymous with his first invention, the trampoline. His life-changing idea was formulated when, as a child, he visited touring circuses. Watching the trapeze artists drop into the safety nets and bounce up and flip, he imagined how exciting it would be if they could keep bouncing and flipping.

    Nissen called the concept "rebound tumbling" and built his first bouncing rig while he was a student. He registered the trademark "trampoline" – naming it after el trampolín, the Spanish for diving board – and in his first year of production, in the late 1930s, he sold about 10 to YMCAs and schools. That did not impress his father, who suggested that he had already satisfied demand. But Nissen was not so easily deterred, and by the mid-60s the trampoline had become so popular that he no longer tried to enforce the patent.

    Nissen was born in Blairstown, Iowa, one of four children of Franklin and Catherine Nissen, Danish immigrants. The family moved to Cedar Rapids when he was young, and he took up gymnastics and diving at the local YMCA. In 1933, he started at the University of Iowa and during his time there, with the gymnastics coach Larry Griswold, set about building the first trampoline. Griswold would later partner Nissen in the Griswold-Nissen Trampoline and Tumbling Company, set up in 1941, and write the first instruction manual the following year.

    Nissen had experimented in the family garage, using angle irons from the local junkyard for the frame and canvas from a tentmaker, with strips of inner-tubes from old car tyres to attach the canvas to the frame. With Griswold, he worked on a more sophisticated model with coiled springs, which had its first public appearance at the local YMCA camp. The bouncing rig proved hugely successful and Nissen began to believe that it could have a commercial future.

    After graduating in 1937 with a business degree, he toured with his friends Jack Brown and Xavier Leonard as The Three Leonardos. They performed their acrobatic act at fairs in the US and in Mexico, where Nissen discovered the future name for his bouncing rig. When they returned to the US, they incorporated the trampoline into their act and toured schools. As intended, it generated commercial interest, but the second world war intervened. Nissen, ever adaptable, persuaded the US forces that the trampoline had training applications and sold them about 100.

    The postwar development of the trampoline was marked out by a publicity stunt with a kangaroo, which Nissen hired for a photoshoot in Central Park, New York. He knew that by bouncing at one end of the trampoline, he could start the kangaroo bouncing at the other. The trick was for Nissen to time his jumps so that a picture could be taken of both himself and the kangaroo in mid-air.

    The shoot was a huge success and the picture went round the world. Nissen did too, selling his product in Europe (the trampoline was particularly popular in eastern-bloc countries), Japan, South Africa and South America. However, there was chequered progress for trampolines in the US. They were hugely popular, but the "jump centres" that sprang up were unregulated, and injuries – and legal action – ensued.

    Nissen tried to develop his invention by creating bouncing games, but the trampoline was developing organically. As well as being an invaluable training aid for many sports – it was de rigueur for divers – it was taking off as a sport in its own right.

    The first world championships took place at the Royal Albert Hall, London, in 1964. A year later, the International Trampoline Federation was formed. Griswold and Nissen formed the US Tumbling and Trampoline Association in 1971. But Nissen had to wait until 2000 for his lifetime goal to be achieved. That year, the sport was accorded ultimate respectability when it was included in the Sydney Olympic Games.

    Nissen himself was the best advertisement for the health benefits of his product. A brilliant gymnast and tumbler in his youth, he could still do handstands into his 80s and yoga headstands in his 90s.

    He is survived by his wife, Annie, a Dutch acrobat whom he met in 1950 while she was performing for the Cole Brothers Circus in the US, and two daughters, Dagmar and Dian.

    George Peter Nissen, inventor and gymnast, born 3 February 1914; died 7 April 2010

    - The Guardian

    • February 05, 2022
    • (CST)
    • February 05, 2023
    • (CST)
    • 2 sessions
    • Denmark


    Mary Elizabeth, Her Royal Highness Crown Princess, Crown Princess of Denmark, Countess of Monpezat

    Born:  Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary was born on 5 February 1972 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

    On 14 May 2004, on the occasion of her marriage to His Royal Highness Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, she became Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary Elizabeth of Denmark. The marriage ceremony took place in Copenhagen Cathedral, and the wedding festivities were held at Fredensborg Palace.

    Family Photo: Franne Voigt 

    Children:  HRH Prince Christian Valdemar Henri John, born on 15 October 2005, HRH Princess Isabella Henrietta Ingrid Margrethe, born on 21 April 2007, HRH Prince Vincent Frederik Minik Alexander, born on 8 January 2011 and HRH Princess Josephine Sophia Ivalo Mathilda, born on 8 January 2011.

    Family:  The Crown Princess is the youngest daughter of John Dalgleish Donaldson, who was born in Scotland on 5 September 1941. He is a Professor of Applied Mathematics. Her mother was Mrs. Henrietta Clark Donaldson, born 12 May 1942.  
    The couple were married in Edinburgh, Scotland on 31 August 1963 and emigrated to Australia in November that year. They became Australian citizens in 1975. Crown Princess Mary’s mother worked as the Executive Assistant to the Vice Chancellor of The University of Tasmania. Henrietta Clark Donaldson died 20 November 1997.  On 5 September 2001, Professor John Donaldson married Susan Elizabeth Donaldson (née Horwood), an author from Britain. The Crown Princess has two sisters and a brother: Jane Alison Stephens, born 26 December 1965, Patricia Anne Bailey, born 16 March 1968, and John Stuart Donaldson, born 9 July 1970.

    Crown Princess Mary's biography on The Royal House website - 

    HRH The Crown Princess

    • February 13, 2022
    • (CST)
    • February 13, 2023
    • (CST)
    • 2 sessions


    Charles Clifford Madsen (February 13, 1908 - January 21, 1991) was the 12th President of Dana College serving from 1956 - 1971.  He was born in Luck, Wisconsin, the grandson of Danish Immigrants. (Photo from the Danish American Archive and Library - Blair, Nebraska)

    Madsen attended elementary and high school in Luck, WI before attending Dana College for three years, and then completing his B.A. studies at the University of Minnesota where he graduated in 1931.  He then studied theology at Trinity Seminary for three years, and received a Doctor of Theology degree from Central Baptist Seminary.  In 1934 he married Esther Johnson of Plainview, Nebraska.

    Madsen served four years as Chaplain with the Navy and Marine Corps in the South Pacific during WWII.  After the war, he became Chairman of the Dana College Theology Department where he served for ten years before becoming Dana President.

    Dana College experienced it most dramatic growth during Madsen's time as President.  During his tenure, Dana received full accreditation from the North Central Association, the campus grounds expanded from 15 to over 200 acres, enrollment tripled, and seven new buildings were added to the campus.

    Photo: Dana Campus c1965  (Blair Historic Preservation Alliance) 

    In 1961 Madsen was Knighted by King Frederick IX of Denmark, receiving the Order of Dannebrog.  Madsen received the Cross of the Knight Order from Earl Jensen, Royal Danish Vice Consul of Omaha at ceremonies on the Dana Campus.  Madsen received a citation from the King which read, "His Majesty, the King of Denmark, has graciously appointed the President of Dana College, Blair, Nebraska, Dr. Charles Clifford Madsen, Knight of the Order of Dannebrog in recognition of the valuable contribution to the strengthening of Danish American cultural relations rendered by him."

    Madsen retired from the Dana Presidency in 1971 and died on January 21, 1991. - The Danish American Archive and Library, Blair, NE

    Photo: Dana College "Old Main" (Destroyed by fire in 1988)

    • February 15, 2022
    • (CST)
    • February 15, 2023
    • (CST)
    • 2 sessions


    Gale Sondergaard (born Edith Holm Sondergaard; February 15, 1899 – August 14, 1985) was an American actress.

    She was born Edith Holm Sondergaard on February 15, 1899 in Litchfield, Minnesota to Danish-American parents, Hans and Christin (Holm) Sondergaard. Her father taught at University of Minnesota, where she was a drama student.

    Sondergaard began her acting career in theater and progressed to films in 1936. She was the first recipient of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her film debut in Anthony Adverse (1936). She regularly played supporting roles in films during the late 1930s and 1940s, including The Cat and the Canary (1939), The Mark of Zorro (1940) and The Letter (1940). For her role in Anna and the King of Siam (1946), she was nominated for her second Best Supporting Actress Academy Award. After the late 1940s, her screen work came to an abrupt end for the next 20 years.

    Photo: Gale Sondergaard in "Juarez" (1939)

    Married to the director Herbert Biberman, Sondergaard supported him when he was accused of communism and named as one of the Hollywood Ten in the early 1950s. She moved with Biberman to New York City and worked in theatre, and acted in film and television occasionally from the late 1960s. She moved back to Los Angeles where she died from cerebrovascular thrombosis. - Wikipedia

    Gale Sondergaard - biography

    • February 18, 2022
    • (CST)
    • The Swedish Institute - Minneapolis, MN


    The American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis
    February 18 through July 10, 2022

    Leslie Anne Anderson of the National Nordic Museum - Seattle, WA - In 2010, Sino-Norwegian diplomatic relations were strained when the Norwegian Nobel Committee, the members of which were selected by parliament, awarded the annual Peace Prize to Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobao. Bilateral relations normalized six years later; however, it was under these conditions that an important cross-cultural conversation began through art.

    Danish papercutting artist Karen Bit Vejle traveled with support of the Norwegian government to China. She had been invited to exhibit her work there. Vejle, who is knowledgeable in Nordic art history, draws inspiration from Norway’s medieval wood carvings and the 19th-century papercuts of Danish Golden Age author Hans Christian Andersen. She not only understands the visual culture of her home region, but also that of others that have fostered the art of papercutting for centuries. China witnessed the birth of the art form over 1,500 years ago. Interestingly, it was a craft that thrived amongst women artists in rural areas who used it as a form of expression.

    When Vejle visited this cradle of papercutting, she sought out a colleague with whom to collaborate on a project exploring how the two cultures approach the same artistic medium. In April 2013, she met Professor Xiaoguang Qiao at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, and they selected a common motif in Nordic and Chinese art – the dragon – to depict alongside each other. The dragon figures prominently in Chinese culture throughout time and is an auspicious symbol (called “long”), while the Norse dragon is most often associated with the Viking Period and the Middle Ages as an apotropaic (evil-repelling) symbol.

    Though the artists spoke different languages and relied on translators for verbal communication, Vejle shared that she and Qiao are “likeminded” in their artistic philosophies, but their styles and methods of display differ. For example, Vejle’s mounting of sizeable papercuts between glass plates and reliance on lighting the papercuts to cast shadows, giving the two-dimensional works a three-dimensional, or sculptural, presence, was new to Qiao. The artists’ works informed each other, as previous cultural encounters had on artists of earlier eras. One of Vejle’s papercuts produced during this collaboration alludes to earlier exchanges. One piece in the exhibition features a knitting pattern popularized by Norwegian women in World War II. The pattern became a cryptic symbol of camaraderie among compatriots, yet its origins are Asian.

    Their cross-cultural approach lent itself to an exhibition that travels the world. Hosted by the ArtHouse Jersey in the Channel Islands, the exhibition Paper Dialogues expanded to include two new local artists, Layla May Arthur and Emma Reid, in 2016. It is this iteration of the exhibition that will travel to the National Nordic Museum in Fall 2021, encouraging American practitioners in the art of psaligraphy to join in the conversation.

    Leslie Anne Anderson
    Director of Collections, Exhibitions, and Programs

    The American Swedish Institute Website

    Karen Bit Vejle Website

    • February 25, 2022
    • (CST)
    • February 25, 2024
    • (CST)
    • 3 sessions


    From: Iowa State University
    Christian Petersen (1885-1961) was born on February 25, 1885, in Denmark (Dybbøl), and emigrated with his family to the United States when he was nine years old. The Petersen family settled on a farm in New Jersey where Christian Petersen completed his primary and secondary education. He then enrolled in the Newark Technical School where he learned the craft of die-cutting, the process of sculpting designs into metal models for objects such as silverware or medals. 

    Around 1920, Petersen apprenticed with Boston sculptor, Henry Hudson Kitson (1865-1947), whose best known sculpture is probably The Minuteman of Lexington. From Kitson, Petersen acquired a firm foundation in the beaux-arts style that became popular in the United States during the late nineteenth century. Usually based on narrative subjects with symbolism, the beaux-arts style was commonly used in sculptures honoring war heroes and personifying national virtues. 

    Image: Christian Petersen's Head of Christ in Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, Ames, Iowa 

    In the wake of World War I, Petersen received and completed numerous commissions for memorials and monuments, as well as portrait busts and plaques, but the work was sporadic so Petersen continued to work commercially as a die cutter. However, in 1928, Petersen made a dramatic change in his life when he left the east coast for Chicago, leaving behind a family and a successful career to pursue sculpting as his full time work.

    According to Petersen, the “East has so much conscious culture that sometimes it suffers from indigestion.” At the time, Petersen felt the Midwest would eventually become a cultural center. Therefore, Petersen was most likely the first of many artists to act on that expectation, participating in a new art movement that would become known as Regionalism. Petersen’s plans for beginning a new career in Chicago were interrupted by the fall of the Stock Market in 1929, marking the start of the Great Depression. He returned to die-cutting for the jewelry company Dodge and Asher where he met Charlotte Garvey. The two were married in 1931, and in 1932, Petersen once again exchanged job security and stability for full-time sculpting.

    During this time of the Great Depression, millions of skilled Americans were unemployed and hungry in the 1930’s, including many artists. Special programs were created to help these artists as part of the New Deal instituted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) was the first of such programs intended to put artists to work on strictly supervised projects for the American public. Petersen was invited by Grant Wood, head of Iowa’s PWAP, to participate in this federally funded program. The two major projects of the Iowa PWAP were completed for Iowa State College (now University) in Ames: murals for the library and a fountain for the Dairy Industry Building. While all the other artists in the program worked on the mural project, Petersen carried out the Dairy Industry assignment independently.

    Image: The Gentle Doctor - Iowa State University

    Apparently Petersen was the only professional sculptor in Iowa’s PWAP, as well as the only artist to transform his assignment into a permanent job. What was to have been a semester as a “temporary” position at Iowa State became this artist’s full-time residency for the next twenty-one years. Petersen was added to the college payroll in October, 1935 by then College President Raymond Hughes, and was expected to teach a class in sculpture and continue working on projects for campus.

    As a teacher, Petersen was a popular choice among students. His courses were offered as part of the Home Economics curriculum, and therefore, were only open to women. However, male students frequently attended his classes. By the spring semester of 1939, they were allowed to officially enroll in Petersen’s sculpture courses which were typically filled to capacity. 

    The body of work produced during his time at Iowa State constitutes Petersen’s best known sculptures. The sculptures are all representational and reflect the missions and themes of the various departments at the time. Petersen’s works of art are among the best of the Regionalist art produced in the 1930s and 40s, representing the history and culture of the Midwest. Petersen retired from Iowa State in 1955, and although he did not witness its installation, he chose the location for his last work of art produced for Iowa State, Conversations, just two months before his death in 1961. During his twenty-one year tenure, Christian Petersen—an artist—permanently changed the face of campus aesthetically and academically, establishing a visual legacy at Iowa State University that is still honored today.

    More from Iowa State University

    • February 25, 2022
    • (CST)
    • February 25, 2023
    • (CST)
    • 2 sessions


    Christian Madsen (25 February 1851 – 9 January 1944), A US Marshall from Southern Jutland.  Stood for law and order in the Oklahoma frontier for a lifetime after 15 years in the cavalry fighting the Indians, and he helped to make the first true Western, "The Bankrobbery" (1908) a reenactment with the true criminals and lawmakers.  As a boy, he was at the retreat from Dybbøl in 1864 and one of the few who lived long enough to fight both Bismarck and "this Mr. Hitler".  - (Stig Thornsohn "A Dane Did It")

    More from Danish Author Frans Ørsted Andersen - 
    "In the period btw 1850 and 1920 more than 50 million Europeans emigrated to the US to improve their lot and get away from poverty, unemployment and war. Among these were 300.000 Danes - and one of those was Chris Madsen. He was born in Denmark 1851 and emigrated 1875. He had a very interesting and a long, dramatic life. He spent 15 years as an Indian fighter in the US Fifth Cavalry (1876-1892) - and got as much promotion as possible for a NCO. He was at center stage in the battle of Slim Buttes 9th September 1876 and played a key role in the succesful Milk River expedition 1879, where the Ute uprising was countered. When finally leaving the army in 1892 it was because he had got a job as Deputy US Marshal in Oklahoma, where he became a leading character in the fight against criminal gangs like the Daltons and the Doolins.

    Photo: Scene from 1908 film "The Bankrobbery"

    He married and had two children in Oklahoma. Later, he also joined Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and participated in the war with Spain 1898. He kept being curious, learned and got new experiences all through his long life. In stead of retiring, in 1915 he went into the new movie business and together with former colleagues he set up a film company, that produced a famous Western, “The Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws”. Besides, he loved writing all his life - articles, letters, poems and two autobiographies. Like the fictious characters, “Forrest Gump” and “Little Big Man”, he had a special talent for meeting and becoming friends with famous people and be at center stage at major events, both in Denmark and the US. In the US, e.g. he became frinds with Buffalo Bill Cody and several Indian Chiefs. He went fishing and hunting with President Arthur and helped Teddy Roosevelt. But he also encountered many problems, crisis and tragedies in his long life - 1851-1944. Nevertheless, he always managed to get back on tracks and was active until he died in 1944. All through his life he benefitted from paying attention at school back home in the old country, where he also had received good education at an agricultural folk high school."

    • March 08, 2022
    • (CST)
    • March 08, 2023
    • (CST)
    • 2 sessions


    A.M. Andersen (March 8, 1847 - October 23, 1941) born Anton Marius Andersen in Hopballe (Jellinge Parish) Denmark was a Lutheran Pastor and recognized as the founder of Trinity Seminary in Elk Horn, Iowa and Blair, Nebraska. Trinity Seminary became a shared institution with Dana College in 1903, the first year the name "Dana College" was used.  His parents were Anders Jorgensen, a Danish Farmer, and Maren Andersdatter.  Andersen came to America aboard the steamship Iowa in the spring of 1872.

    Photos Courtesy Danish American Archive & Library - Blair, NE

    Full Biography from the Blair Historic Preservation Alliance...

    AM Anderson Bio

    Andersen left a hand written autobiography in English - original now at the Danish American Archive and Library in Blair, Nebraska.  See it here followed by transcription...

    AM Andersen Autobiography

    Auto-Biography of Past. A.M. Andersen
    Anton Marius Andersen is my full name.  My parents were Anders Jorgensen and his wife Maren, nee Andersdatter.  I was born in the village Hopballe, Jellinge parish, Danmark March 8, 1847, and I was baptized in my infancy, in the Lutheran Church of Denmark.
         We wer 7 children in the family, two girls and 5 boys.  Ane Katherine was the oldest, about 11 years older than I.  She married Soren Christian Nielsen, and was the mother of our two pastors N.S & A.S. Nielsen and other children.  The family came to U.S.A. in the spring of 1873.  The next was Anders, He was shot and died in war with Germany in 1864.  The third was Jorgen, he stayed in Danmark, and he has a son there that I am still corresponding with, his name and address is A.J. Andersen, Løsning, Denmark, Europe.  My third brother was Therkel, about 2 1/2 years older than I.  He was for many years privat schoolteacher and for some years also Inner Missionary.  Then it is my place, born, as stated above, in 1847.  My youngest brother was Jens, about 2 1/2 years younger than I.  He left quite a family and died several years ago.  For some time he was wheel-wright, but for several years he was nearly blind, and as I understand, he raised bees.  The youngest of us was my other sister Juliane.  She married a widower.  Since that time I don't know much about her.  She died many years ago.  I am now the only one of the family living.
         My father was a farmer.  But when I was about 4 years old we moved from Hopballe to Bøgballe, Østersnede parish, where he bought an other farm.  The main reason for this move was to get Privat Christian school for us children.  Rationalism was at that time quite general in Danmark, so they dared not to send us to public schools.  Thus we were raised under influence of a Christian home and Christian school in a Christian community.
         We boys had a good deal of time to work out, I for years at a large farm to tend cattle, about 20 cows and 15 young cattle.  We had no fences so the cattle were all lariated, and had to be moved forward several times as day, and they were coupled up and taken to water and home at night.  Thought of no other way to do it, and that gave employ.  Went to boys and several old men.  These last onse were called Røgtere.
         When a youth I learned the weavers trade.  At that time most of the weaving was done by hand.  I worked at that trade till I was about 22 when I was drafted for Military Service.  After I had served my term as such and came back home a saw chance to follow my hearts desire to begin study for the Christian ministry.
        I began at the Folk Highschool at Ryslinge, Funen.  After some time there I took lessons from my home pastor, Provost J. Wahl, and he advised me to go to America to be educated for ministry among my countrymen here.  A church mission among them was sorely needed.  In the summer following, I worked on a farm in Wisconsin to make some money which I needed.  In the passed 8th of March I was 25 years.  In the fall I went to Minneapolis to begin study at Augsburg theological Seminary.  The following summer I worked during vacation on a farm in Minnesota, and in the fall I had a sick spell from blood-dysentery.  That was at my brother in law and my sisters, the mentioned S. (G?) Nielsens who had settled in Pool county, Wisconsin.  The following winter I was again studying at Augsburg Seminary, Minneapolis.
         The following summer I spent my vacation at Two Rivers, Morrison co. Minn.  A Danish settlement there had asked Augsburg Seminary for a student that could teach a term of Common School and preach Danish to the settlers on Sundays.  I was selected, passed examination for the county superintendent and filled the positions as teacher and preacher as best I could, and got paid for both.
         At about the close of that vacation came an urgent wish from Rev. H. Hansen, who had been sent to Nebraska in the spring to survey the mission field among Danes in that state, for help.  Officers of the church wrote and asked me to come back to the Seminary to pass examinary for the ministry in view of being ordained and sent to Nebraska as assistant to Rev Hansen.  It was in October, 1874.  After visiting families in Omaha and several Danish settlements in eastern Nebraska we went to Dannebrog, Nebr., where a congregation had been organized.  A meeting was called, I preached, and in a business meeting after the service I was called to be its first local pastor.  I accepted.
         From Dannebrog we went to Grand Island, where we had a meeting in a private house in the evening.  Next day we went to a settlement in Hamilton Co.  Our driver of a farmer wagon, drawn by two strong horses ventured right through the Platte river.  But nearing the south edge we stuck in a bar of quick sand, and a 3 year old horse refused to pull.  The driver had to unhitch and ride to a farmer for help.  Meanwhile Rev. Hansen and I sat in the wagon shivering in strong November northwest gale.  The farmer (Peter Wind) came back with the farmer and a span of oxen and iron (?).  With that fastened to the wagon pole the oxen pulled us ashore.  With the horses hitched to wagon again, we drove fast to Mr. Winds home where Mrs. Wind had a good meal ready for us and we soon forgot our adversaties.  
         We had a fine meeting there in a sod-schoolhouse.  There were no churches.  Also here I preached, was called to serve that place one Sunday a month and I accepted.
         Eventually I took up other mission points, three in Howard co., 6-8-15 miles from Dannebrog, one in Seward co. about 100 miles, another in Nuckolls co. about 120 miles.  My means of conveyance was a horse and buggy , but the mare died and I drove a small mule that a god friend let me use.  Of course, I could not serve all these places on Sundays, so the places farthest off had to be satisfied with weekday services, and that they were.
         In the beginning, I was single, my fiancé living at Rev. Johan Olsen's at St. Ansgar, IA since I was ordained.  We decided to meet in Omaha and have Rev. H. Hansen marry us
    the 3rd of March, 1875, her 20th birthday.  But she was snowbound so our marriage was postponed till the 5th of March.  No use to say that our means were small and we furnished our rented house accordingly.
         But I have to be short.  After about 1 1/2 years in that field, I got a call from a congregation in Racine, Wis and circumstances were such that I was glad to accept it.  There we stayed about 3 1/2 years and were called back to Nebraska, to places in the eastern Part, Washington and Burt counties.  My work there led to the beginning of a mission in Blair.  And in 1883 we had a house built and moved there.  I served places at Argo, Burt county, Fremont, Dodge Co., Kennard, Washington Co., and other mission fields.  In 1884 the "Danish Evangelical Lutheran Church Association in America" was organized and that led to the beginning of our school, Trinity Seminary in the fall of 1884; I was elected to start it, and it was begun in our own house with a few students.  I course of two years funds were collected and a building erected on the hill west of Blair; that city contributing $3,000 towards it.  The cost of it was $7,000.  It was dedicated Oct. 21, 1886.  It has grown ever since I resigned as its President.  In the fall of 1888(9) (I think it was) and accepted a call from the congregation in Hampton, NE that I had served once before.  After 5 years I was called back to the school at Blair to teach theology.
         In the fall of 1896 the Church-Association merged with, The Dan. Ev. Luth. Ch. in No. Am. and organized the U. D. Ev. L. Ch. and after a year as teacher I resigned and got a call from congregations at Viborg, Spring Valley, and Gayville, S. Dak.  After a service there of 6 years I was elected to be editor of "Danskeren" and moved with family to Blair in November, 1903.  As such I worked until that paper was laid down and Luthersk Ugelblad was started in the spring of 1922; and we moved to Beresford, S.D.  There we stayed till in the fall of 1935 when we moved to Glendale, California.  Our family - Children living:

    1. Agnes Kristine, now Mr. Geo W. Larsen Bellflower, California.

    2. Anders Magnus Andersen, Gayville, So. Dakota.

    3. Silas C. Andersen, M.D., Minneapolis, Minn.

    4. Emma Alvina, now Mrs. W.L. Seiler, Avalon, Calif.

    5. Anton Nielsen Andersen, Ringsted, Iowa.

    6. Ruthven Christian Andersen M.(D.), Bancroft, Nebr.

    7. Allen Emil Andersen, Ph.D., Wagner College, Staten Island N.Y.

    Images and information from the Danish American Archive and Library in Blair, Nebraska

    • March 24, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • March 24, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions


    Christian Abraham Sorensen (March 24, 1890 – August 25, 1959) was an American lawyer and politician.

    Sorenson was born in Harrisburg, Nebraska. Sorensen graduated from Loup City High School in Loup City, Nebraska in 1909. He went to Grand Island Baptist College in Grand Island, Nebraska from 1909 to 1912. Sorensen received his bachelor's and law degrees from University of Nebraska in 1913 and 1916. Sorenson served as the Nebraska Attorney General from 1929 to 1933 and was a Republican. Sorensen lived in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife Annis (Chalkin) and his sons Philip C. Sorensen and Ted Sorensen.  Sorensen and his wife also had one daughter and two other sons. He was also a co-writer with Myrtle Keegan, in 1917, on a book about legislative procedures in the Nebraska Legislature. He practiced law in Lincoln, Nebraska. Sorenson died in Lincoln, Nebraska. - Wikipedia

    The son of Danish immigrants, Christian Abraham (“C.A.”) Sorenson was born in a sod house and graduated from Loup City High School. He was expelled from Grand Island Baptist College for giving a speech that questioned religious rituals and humanity’s tendencies to accept the status quo. He then finished his law degree at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He became involved in Republican politics and in 1928 was elected as Nebraska’s attorney general with the support of the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the Anti-Saloon League. After taking office, Sorenson wrote a public letter ordering Omaha Police Chief John Pszanowski to close all gambling establishments in Omaha. The letter was published in Omaha’s two daily papers, the World-Herald and Bee-News. Public letters were a favorite tactic of Sorensen. He said “pitiless publicity… is the most effective way of ridding a state or community of vice.” The letter also warned that if the gambling halls were not closed Sorensen would remove those responsible from office.   The Gang was outraged, but Sorenson continued his assault. He next requested Ak-Sar-Ben to stop allowing pari-mutuel betting at its racetrack. Ak-Sar-Ben officials refused, claiming that pari-mutuel betting did not meet the legal definition of illegal gambling. Sorensen sued, won, and was upheld by the Nebraska Supreme Court. (Nebraskans voted to legalize pari-mutuel betting six years later.) Sorensen won re-election in 1930 but his enemies convinced the state legislature to reduce his budget. Nevertheless, he kept on with his clean-up campaign. Many informants provided information about illegal activities in Omaha. One of the most important was businessman Harry Lapidus. When Lapidus was shot to death in his car in 1931, Omaha police damaged the forensic evidence and botched the investigation. The murder was never solved, though it was widely believed to have been ordered by Omaha crime boss Tom Dennison. - History Nebraska

    • March 25, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • March 25, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions


    Gutzon Borglum. John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum (March 25, 1867 – March 6, 1941) was an American artist and sculptor. He is most associated with his creation of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota.

    The path which led Sculptor John Gutzon de la Mothe Borglum to Mount Rushmore began on a homestead near Bear Lake, Idaho, where he was born in March of 1867. His father, James Borglum, had immigrated to this country from Denmark a few years earlier. Shortly after Gutzon's birth his family moved to Utah. By the time Borglum was seven they were living in Fremont, Nebraska.

    Early Years

    Gutzon's interest in art developed early but he didn't receive any formal training until he attended a private school in Kansas. Shortly after being awarded the equivalent of a high school diploma he moved with his family to California. He worked there for a time as a lithographer's apprentice, but after six months he struck out on his own. After opening a small studio, he executed a few noteworthy commissions and gradually made a name for himself. In 1888, he completed a portrait of General John C. Fremont, and this marked an important point in his young career. Not only did it bring him recognition and acclaim; it also earned him the friendship of Jessie Benton Fremont, the General's wife. She encouraged the young artist and helped him sell many of his works. This eventually earned him enough money to pursue studies in Europe. 

    Shortly before his departure for France, Borglum married Elizabeth Putnam, an artist and teacher 20 years his senior. This marriage lasted only a few years. The constant traveling in Europe was too much for Elizabeth; they separated while Borglum was living in England and subsequently divorced.

    - from the National Parks Service website

    Read More

    • March 29, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • March 29, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions


    James Edward Hansen (Born March 29, 1941) formerly Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, where he directs a program in Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions. Dr. Hansen is best known for his testimony on climate change in the 1980s that helped raise awareness of global warming. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and has received numerous awards including the Sophie and Blue Planet Prizes. Dr. Hansen is recognized for speaking truth to power and for outlining actions needed to protect the future of young people.

    In his upcoming book Sophie's Planet Dr. Hansen writes...

    Sophie’s Planet is the world that will be inhabited by today’s young people, their children,

    grandchildren and the “seventh generation” that Native Americans evoke in calling for conservation and love of nature. There is no good reason that this planet cannot continue to be a spectacular world in which humans co-exist with all other life.

    Yes, I understand well that climate change is a rising threat. Extreme climate events – floods, storms, heat waves, fires – are becoming more extreme. Sea level is rising and threatens coastal cities. The subtropics in summer and tropics most of the year are becoming uncomfortably hot. If we let these effects continue to grow, pressures to emigrate from low latitudes and coastal cities could make the planet ungovernable.

    Moreover, a warming world incubates pathogens and infectious disease. Disease vectors – living organisms that can transmit disease to humans – can survive winter and spread to higher latitudes and altitudes. So, if we don’t reverse the warming, the great outdoors will be less welcoming to humans than it once was. The Covid-19 pandemic provides us a wakeup call, revealing that we need to appreciate better our interactions with other species.

    Sounds depressing? No, it’s invigorating, once you understand the situation and know what we must do! The things we must do are not painful. In fact, it will be kind of fun. We must go back to a climate more like that in the middle of the 20th century, or slightly cooler. So, don’t throw away your skis – you might ask your grandparents what climate was like back then.

    Sophie's Planet expected release date - September 13, 2022

    Dr. James Hansen Website

    And, Dr. Hansen writes about his Danish heritage...

    Ingvert and Karen Hansen, my great grandparents, emigrated from Denmark in 1860.

    Ingvert was born in Ribe County, Lihme, in rural Denmark in 1836. At age 19 he was converted to the Latter Day Saint (LDS) religion14 by Mormon missionaries. He served four years as a Mormon missionary while he worked as a carpenter in Denmark. At age 23 he married Karen Pietersdaughter of Holme, Denmark, and in 1860 they used her small inheritance to pay for their trip to America, where they hoped to contribute to the building of Zion, the Promised Land.

    Ingvert, Karen and 729 other ‘Saints’ – converted Danish, Swiss and English Mormons – set sail in May 1860 from Liverpool on the William Tapscott, a three-deck sail ship usually used for freight. With unfavorable winds, the trip took 35 days on rough seas, during which 10 passengers died, 9 marriages occurred, and four babies were born, one of these to Ingvert and Karen. They named their first child William Tapscott Bell, after the ship’s captain James Bell, which may have helped assure that the newborn was declared an American citizen by the captain. The captain had sole authority to declare whether a child was born close enough to shore to be a citizen. The most arduous leg of their journey, by oxcart from Omaha to Utah, required 21⁄2 months. They reached Salt Lake City in October 1860.

    Ingvert’s carpenter tools, carried from Denmark, aided their pioneer struggles in the forbidding Utah landscape. But Ingvert and Karen became disillusioned with Brigham Young’s version of the Latter Day Saint church, especially its polygamy (more precisely polygyny, plural wifism). From an apostate Mormon, Alex McCord, they learned about a smaller offshoot of the Latter Day Saint church – the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, RLDS15 -- with members located mainly on the eastern banks of the Missouri River in Iowa and Missouri.

    The RLDS religion was closer to the church the Hansens thought they were joining when they left Denmark. So, in 1864, now with three children, Ingvert and Karen set out with their oxen on the Mormon Trail in reverse. Their goal, on the advice of McCord, was to homestake in western Iowa, which in 1864 was tallgrass prairie, with tree groves growing mainly along the streams. -Excerpts courtesy Dr. James Hansen

    • March 30, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • March 30, 2024
    • (CDT)
    • 3 sessions


    Leo Arthur Hoegh (pronounced hoygMarch 30, 1908 – July 15, 2000) was a decorated U,S. Army officer, lawyer, and politician who served as the 33rd Governor of Iowa from 1955 to 1957.  Hoegh's grandfather, Nels Peder Hoegh, left a farm in Denmark in 1866 to search for gold in Colorado.  He invested much of his newfound fortune in farmland in Audubon County, Iowa became a community leader, and upon his death left separate farms for each of his thirteen children.  When Leo was born to Nels' son William in 1908, the household spoke Danish, and it was not until Leo attended school that he began to speak English.

    While his father ran a bank in nearby Elk Horn, Iowa, Leo decided to become a lawyer. He received a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Iowa in 1929, where he distinguished himself as a captain of the water polo team and as the founding president of Gamma Nu Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha.  He lettered in swimming and was selected for membership in A.F.I., forerunner to the national honor society, Omicron Delta Kappa.   As Leo graduated from the University of Iowa College of Law in 1932, his father sold all of his assets in an unsuccessful effort to prevent the Elk Horn bank from failing.   Leo started private practice in Chariton, the county seat of Lucas County in south central Iowa.

    In 1954, Hoegh was elected Governor of Iowa, winning a close contest over Democrat Clyde Edsel Herring, son of the former Iowa Governor and U.S. Senator, Clyde LaVerne Herring.

    As chief executive, he championed the cause of education and orchestrated a major increase in funding for the state universities and the public schools.  He also worked to improve the state's mental institutions, changing the focus from custody to caring for and curing the mentally ill.  He urged recognition of the union shop, legislative reapportionment to 'reduce the control of rural areas over the cities,' funds to promote industrial expansion, and a reduction in the voting age from 21 to 18.  In 1955, he appointed Iowa's first "Commission to Study Discrimination in Employment." The Commission's report, issued the following year, identified by name the employers and supervisors alleged to have discriminated on the basis of race or religion, and recommended adoption of a state fair employment practices act.

    To balance the budget while accomplishing his ambitious agenda, Hoegh sought to increase revenues by more than $31 million, to be collected through proposed increases in the taxes on beer, cigarettes and gasoline, a capital-gains tax and extension of the sales tax to include services.  The Republican-controlled General Assembly approved enough tax increases to bring in $22 million a year, and Hoegh found himself labelled by his Democratic opponents as "High-Tax Hoegh."  Meanwhile, his support for a union shop alienated a traditional ally of Iowa Republicans, the Iowa Manufacturers Association, without disturbing labor's allegiance to the Iowa Democratic Party.

    In his race for re-election in 1956, Hoegh won the Republican primary but ran behind Democratic opponent Herschel C. Loveless, mayor of Ottumwa, Iowa. Two weeks before his electoral defeat, Time Magazine placed Hoegh's face on its cover.   The cover story ended with this prediction:

    His principal problem is that he has caught the spirit of an era that is beginning to recognize the need for a resurgence of good local and state government—and. in doing so. he has perhaps stirred his quiet state too much. But if he has gone too far too fast, he can take a governor's small comfort from the conviction that one year—if not this year—his state will forget the anthills and look with satisfaction on the considerable movements of home-grown progressive government.

    Hoegh died in Colorado Springs, Coloradoin 2000, and was interred there at the Evergreen Cemetery.

    Many of his ancestors reside in the Danish community of Elk Horn, Iowa and the extended areas of Audubon and Shelby County.

    • April 01, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • April 01, 2024
    • (CDT)
    • 3 sessions


    Deadline for Submission: April 15

    The Danish American Heritage Society is pleased to offer grants to qualified researchers for study in area of common interest. Bodtker Grants provide stipends of up to $5,000 for students or graduates interested in exploring  topics related to Danish history and heritage in North America. 

    A Bodtker Grant is primarily intended for research and internship at Danish American Archive and Library in Blair, Nebraska; the Danish American Archive at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa; or the Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa. At the Board's discretion, proposals involving other Danish cultural and archival institutions may be considered.

    Deadlines: April 15 (Notification: May) or September 15(Notification: October)
    Stipend Amount: Up to $5,000

    Grant Application

    DAHS Website

    • April 02, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • April 02, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions

    Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)
    , Danish author and poet, wrote many poems, plays, stories and travel essays, but is best known for his fairy tales of which there are over one hundred and fifty, published in numerous collections during his life and many still in print today.

    His first collection of Fairy Tales, Told for Children was published in 1835. He broke new ground for Danish literature with his style and use of idiom, irony and humor, memorable characters and un-didactic moral teaching inspired by the primitive folk tales he had learned as a child. Though they do not all end happily his Fairy Tales resound with an authenticity that only unabashed sincerity can produce from a man who could still see through a child’s eyes;

    “Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when--the match went out. The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire.” —from “The Little Match Girl”

    Andersen’s fairy tales of fantasy with moral lessons are popular with children and adults all over the world, and they also contain autobiographical details of the man himself. Born on 2 April, 1805 in Odense, on the Danish island of Funen, Denmark, he was the only son of washerwoman Anna Maria Andersdatter (d.1833) and shoemaker Hans Andersen (d.1816). They were very poor, but Hans took his son to the local playhouse and nurtured his creative side by making him his own toys. Young Hans grew to be tall and lanky, awkward and effeminate, but he loved to sing and dance, and he had a vivid imagination that would soon find its voice.  - The Literature Network

    HC Andersen Website
    by The University of Southern Denmark, Odense
    (In Danish and English)

    This Hans Christian Andersen Museum Asks You to Step Into a Fairy Tale

    Opening soon in the storyteller’s hometown of Odense, Denmark, the museum allows visitors to experience his multilayered stories

    Livia Gershon

    Kreditering Kengo Kuma and Associates, Cornelius Vöge, MASU planning (2).jpg“It’s not a historical museum,” Henrik Lübker says. “It’s more an existential museum.” (Kengo Kuma and Associates, Cornelius Vöge, MASU planning)

    March 2, 2021

    Most museums dedicated to a specific historical figure aim to teach visitors about that person. But, the new H.C. Andersen's House, scheduled to open this summer in Denmark, is an exception to the rule.

    The museum’s creative director, Henrik Lübker, says the museum in Odense is designed not to showcase Andersen’s life and his classic stories like “The Little Mermaid” and “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” but to echo the sensibility of a fairy tale writer who rarely offered his audience simple lessons.

    “It’s not a historical museum,” he says. “It’s more an existential museum.”

    Renderings of the museum, which includes 60,000 square feet of building space plus 75,000 square feet of gardens, all designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kumareveal that it is full of curves. Labyrinthine hedges almost merge with sinuous wooden pavilions, blurring the line between nature and architecture. A long ramp leads underground only to reveal an unexpected garden.

    “It’s kind of like a universe where nothing is quite as it seems,” Lübker says. “Everything you thought you knew can be experienced anew.”

    Kreditering Kengo Kuma and Associates, Cornelius Vöge, MASU planning (1).jpgRenderings of the museum, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, reveal that it is full of curves. (Kengo Kuma and Associates, Cornelius Vöge, MASU planning)

    Andersen’s own story has a fairy-tale arc. He was born in 1805 to a mother who worked as a washerwoman in Odense. Yet he dreamed of being a famous writer. He persistently pursued theater directors and potential benefactors, eventually winning help from a wealthy family to continue his education and learn to function in sophisticated circles.

    “For a long time he was notorious for being a preposterous young man who came from a dirt poor family,” says Jack Zipes, literature professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota and author of Hans Christian Andersen: The Misunderstood Storyteller.

    Despite setbacks—his first poetry and novels were, in Zipes’ words, “not very good, and in fact terrible”—Andersen persisted in seeking recognition for his work. When he eventually wrote “The Ugly Duckling” in 1843, Zipes says, it was clear to everyone in Denmark’s small literary circles that it was a work of autobiography. It’s easy to imagine the experiences that might have led Andersen to describe the tribulations of the little swan, who, according to another duck, was “too big and strange, and therefore he needs a good whacking.”

    Hans Christian AndersenPortrait of Hans Christian Andersen in 1862 (Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

    Andersen’s own emergence as something close to a respected swan of an author came after he began publishing fairy tales in 1835. Unlike the Brothers Grimm—contemporaries whom Andersen admired—he did not collect folk tales but instead adapted existing stories or wrote his own from scratch. According to Maria Tatar, professor emeritus at Harvard University and author of The Annotated Hans Christian Andersen, Andersen most likely learned some of the basic plots he used, as well as storytelling techniques, while spending time in spinning rooms and other workplaces his mother shared with women when he was a child. Although his first story collection, published in 1835, was titled Fairy Tales Told for Children, he always noted that he was writing for a multigenerational audience, including many jokes and ideas that would have gone over kids’ heads.

    While some of his stories have apparent moral lessons, many are more ambiguous, or subversive, particularly in terms of relations between the social classes. In “The Tinderbox,” published in 1835, a spiteful common soldier ultimately takes revenge against a king and queen who imprisoned him by having huge dogs rip them and their entire court to shreds before marrying the princess and becoming king himself.

    “It has nothing to do with being of moral stature,” Lübker says. “It’s all about power. If you have the dogs, people will say ‘of course you can be king, you have the power.’”

    Tatar says it’s possible to see the stories through many different lenses. When she taught Andersen’s work to students, she used to focus on the disciplinary aspects of his stories, in which characters often face terrible punishments for their misdeeds. “After class, there was always a group of three or four—they tended to be young women—who came up to me, and they said ‘but his fairy tales are so beautiful,’” she says.

    That led her to begin focusing her attention in a different way. For example, in “The Little Match Girl” from 1845, an impoverished, abused girl freezes to death on the street on New Year’s Eve. But, as she lights one match after another, she sees luminous visions of warm rooms, abundant food and her loving grandmother.

    “She is something of an artist in terms of giving us an inner world,” Tatar says. “I started to see that [Andersen] really gives us these moving pictures, and it’s not just their beauty that gets us hooked, I think, but also an ethic of empathy—we’re moved by these images. We start to care about them. And it makes us curious about the inner lives of his characters.”

    Kreditering Kengo Kuma and Associates, Cornelius Vöge, MASU planning (1).pngVisitors can look up at a glass ceiling through a pool of water and see people up in the garden.(Kengo Kuma and Associates, Cornelius Vöge, MASU planning)

    Lübker says the exhibits in the museum are designed to elicit that kind of engagement with the stories. In an area devoted to “The Little Mermaid,” visitors can look up at a glass ceiling through a pool of water and see people up in the garden, and the sky above them.

    “You can’t talk to them, because they’re separated from you,” Lübker says. “You can lie down on pillows on the floor and you can hear the mermaid’s sisters tell about the first time they were up there. We hope we can create this sense of longing for something else in the visitor.”

    Another part of the museum sets out to recreate the ominous ambiance of “The Shadow,” a fairy tale Andersen wrote in 1847 in which a good man’s evil shadow eventually replaces and destroys him. Visitors see what at first appears to be their shadows behaving just as they normally do, until they suddenly begin acting on their own. “I think it would ruin the experience if I went too much into detail,” says Lübker.

    “They’re very deep stories, and there are many layers to them,” Lübker adds. “Instead of just giving one interpretation, we want to create them in a sense where people can really feel something that is deeper and richer than what their memory of the story is.”

    Kreditering Odense Bys Museer (3).jpgThe project has a footprint of more than 95,000 square feet. (Odense Bys Museer)

    The museum’s architect, Kengo Kuma, known for designing Tokyo’s new National Stadium, built for the 2020 Summer Olympics (now scheduled to be held in 2021), shies away from the view of a building as an autonomous object, Lübker explains. “Architecture for him is kind of like music,” Lübker says. “It’s like a sequence: How you move through space, what you experience. It’s about that meeting between you and the architecture.”

    Plans for the museum go back to around 2010, when Odense decided to close off a main thoroughfare that previously divided the city center. The project’s large footprint currently contains the existing, much smaller, Hans Christian Andersen Museum, the Tinderbox Cultural Centre for Children, the building where Andersen was born and Lotzes Have, park themed after Andersen. The city chose Kuma’s firm, which is working together with Danish collaborators Cornelius+Vöge Architects, the MASU Planning Landscape Architects and Eduard Troelsgård Engineers, through a competitive process. In a separate competition, Event Communication of Britain was chosen to design the museum’s exhibitions.

    Hans Christian Andersen birthplaceAndersen's birthplace is situated within the museum. (Jörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty Images)

    The museum is situated with Andersen’s birthplace as its cornerstone so that visitors’ journeys will end in the room where he is said to have been born. It will also work to connect visitors to other Odense attractions related to Andersen, including his childhood home where he lived until moving to Copenhagen at age 14 to pursue his career in the arts. “Inspired by Boston’s Freedom Trail, we have physical footprints that allow you to walk in the footsteps of Andersen around the city from location to location,” says Lübker.

    Due to continuing pandemic-related travel restrictions, Lübker says, when the museum opens this summer, its first visitors may be mostly from within Denmark. But it expects to eventually draw guests from around the world thanks to Andersen’s global popularity.

    Hans Christian Andersen childhood homeThe storyteller's childhood home, where he lived until moving to Copenhagen at age 14 to pursue his career in the arts, is also in Odense. (Dea/B. Annebicque/Getty Images)

    Tatar notes that Andersen’s fairy tales have been translated into numerous languages and are very popular in China and across Asia, among other places. Artists have also reworked them into uncountable films, picture books and other forms over the decades. The Disney movie Frozen, for example, uses “The Snow Queen as the source material for a radically transformed story about sisterly love—which, in turn, has been claimed by LGBTQ and disabled communities as a celebration of openly embracing one’s unique qualities. “The core is still there, but it becomes something entirely new that is relevant to what we think about today,” Tatar says.

    At the time of Andersen’s death in 1875, the 70-year-old was an internationally recognized writer of iconic stories. But he couldn’t have known how fondly he would be remembered almost 150 years later.

    “He never lost the feeling that he was not appreciated enough,” Zipes says. “He would jump for joy to go back to Odense and see this marvelous museum that’s been created in his honor.”

    • April 16, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • April 16, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions
    • Fredensborg Palace, Denmark


    From The Royal Danish House website - Once again this year, Her Majesty The Queen’s birthday on 16 April will be marked differently than usual. Like last year, The Queen will spend the day at Fredensborg Palace, where the birthday will be celebrated privately.

    When Her Majesty The Queen turned 80 years old almost a year ago, the day turned out to be different than planned. In light of the situation with COVID-19 in the Danish society, the round birthday was celebrated at Fredensborg Palace with digital congratulations from inside Denmark and abroad, joint singing and Her Majesty’s address to the Danish people in the evening. One year later, the situation with COVID-19 continues to mean that The Queen’s birthday must be celebrated differently than the traditional way. Her Majesty and the royal family will therefore not come out on the balcony during the changing of the guard at Amalienborg at 12:00 noon this year. Instead, The Queen will celebrate the day privately at Fredensborg Palace.  

    However, it will still be possible to send The Queen a birthday greeting via the Royal Danish House’s digital platforms. On the morning of 16 April, a congratulations list will be set up on the Royal Danish House’s website, where it will be possible to send personal felicitations to The Queen. Due to the continued spread of COVID-19, it will not be possible to show up physically at Det Gule Palæ at Amalienborg to handwrite a greeting for Her Majesty. The birthday will be marked throughout the day on the Royal Danish House’s social media and website. 


    Margrethe Alexandrine Þorhildur Ingrid, Her Majesty The Queen, became Queen of Denmark in 1972. Margrethe II was born on 16 April 1940 at Amalienborg Palace as the daughter of King Frederik IX (d. 1972) and Queen Ingrid, born Princess of Sweden (d. 2000)

    Foto: Per Morten Abrahamsen

    The Queen’s motto is "God’s help, the love of The People, Denmark’s strength".

    The Royal Family comprises Her Majesty The Queen’s relatives, including HRH Princess Benedikte and Her Majesty Queen Anne-Marie.

    Christening and confirmation:  HM The Queen was christened on 14 May 1940 in Holmens Kirke (the Naval Church) and confirmed on 1 April 1955 at Fredensborg Palace.

    The Act of Succession:  The Act of Succession of 27 March 1953 gave women the right of succession to the Danish throne but only secondarily. On the occasion of her accession to the throne on 14 January 1972, HM Queen Margrethe II became the first Danish Sovereign under the new Act of Succession.  In 2009, The Act of Succession was amended so that the eldest child (regardless of gender) succeeds to the throne.

    A seat on the State Council:  On 16 April 1958, the Heir Apparent, Princess Margrethe, was given a seat on the State Council, and she subsequently chaired the meetings of the State Council in the absence of King Frederik IX.

    Wedding:  On 10 June 1967, the Heir Apparent married Henri Marie Jean André, Count of Laborde de Monpezat, who in connection with the marriage became Prince Henrik of Denmark. The wedding ceremony took place in Holmens Kirke, and the wedding festivities were held at Fredensborg Palace. Prince Henrik passed away on 13 February 2018.

    Children:  HRH Crown Prince Frederik André Henrik Christian, born 26 May 1968, and HRH Prince Joachim Holger Waldemar Christian, born 7 June 1969.

    2020 Birthday Address to the Public:
    English Translation
    April 16, 2020

    More Information:

    Royal House Website

    • April 17, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • April 20, 2025
    • (CDT)
    • 4 sessions


    Easter, also called Påske (Danish) or Resurrection Sunday, is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day after his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent (or Great Lent), a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

    Most Christians refer to the week before Easter as "Holy Week", which contains the days of the Easter Triduum, including Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Maundy and Last Supper, as well as Good Friday, commemorating the crucifixion and death of Jesus. In Western ChristianityEastertide, or the Easter Season, begins on Easter Sunday and lasts seven weeks, ending with the coming of the 50th day, Pentecost Sunday. In Eastern Christianity, the season of Pascha begins on Pascha and ends with the coming of the 40th day, the Feast of the Ascension.

    Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts which do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars which follow only the cycle of the Sun; rather, its date is offset from the date of Passover and is therefore calculated based on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, which were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the council. No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated a number of controversies. It has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March. Even if calculated on the basis of the more accurate Gregorian calendar, the date of that full moon sometimes differs from that of the astronomical first full moon after the March equinox.

    Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover by much of its symbolism, as well as by its position in the calendar. In most European languages the feast is called by the words for passover in those languages; and in the older English versions of the Bible the term Easter was the term used to translate passover.  Easter customs vary across the Christian world, and include sunrise services, exclaiming the Paschal greetingclipping the church, and decorating Easter eggs (symbols of the empty tomb). The Easter lily, a symbol of the resurrection, traditionally decorates the chancel area of churches on this day and for the rest of Eastertide.  Additional customs that have become associated with Easter and are observed by both Christians and some non-Christians include egg hunting, the Easter Bunny, and Easter parades. There are also various traditional Easter foods that vary regionally.

    Here's What You Need to Know About Danish Easter Traditions

    Aliki Seferou

    Danish traditions, Easter Eggs

    Danish traditions, Easter Eggs | © andreas160578 / Pixabay

    Easter is celebrated in different ways in countries all over the globe and so, Denmark has its own traditions. If you’re visiting the country this time of the year and want to be prepared or just want to get an idea of what Danes love to do when celebrating Easter, this guide has everything you need. Gækkebreve, a lot of food, snaps and chocolate eggs are some of the things that are never absent from the Danish Easter.

    Celebrating springtime

    During Easter, Danes celebrate mostly the arrival of springtime and with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday being national holidays, they find Easter as a good opportunity for a short escape to their summer houses. It’s not very common for Danes to attend church during Easter and there aren’t any special religious events taking place during the holy week. So, don’t expect to see grandiose celebrations like the ones during Semana Santa in Seville or processions like Epitaphio that takes place in Greece on Good Friday.

    Danish countryside in spring | © Per Ganrot / Flickr


    The weeks before Easter every child in Denmark that wants to get an extra Easter chocolate egg writes and sends gækkebrev. The senders of gækkebrevemust write a ‘teaser poem’ on a paper and then sign it with a number of dots equal to their names’ letters. Children are called to use their imagination and cut the paper into different shapes, include a snowdrop (vintergække), which is the first flower of the year, and make sure that their poem rhymes. If the recipient of the letter guesses who sent him the gækkebrev then the sender must give him an Easter chocolate egg and if not, then the other way around. Since usually the senders are children and the recipients are adults, it’s an unwritten rule and almost part of the tradition that the receivers never manage to guess the person behind the ‘fool’s letter’.

    Danish Easter tradition,Gækkebreve | © Nillerdk / Wikimedia Commons

    Eggs, eggs and eggs

    Eggs are part of Easter traditions in many countries and Denmark is no exception. Many houses are decorated with fake yellow or green eggs while chocolate eggs and boiled chicken’s eggs dyed in different colours never miss from the Easter lunch table. Many Danes hide chocolate eggs in their gardens for children to find on Easter Sunday, keeping a tradition that dates back to the early 2oth century alive.

    Tivoli Easter Eggs Decoration | © David Jones / Flickr

    Easter lunch

    Celebrating without a big table filled with delicacies, beer and snaps it’s not a proper celebration for Danes regardless the time of the year. For the Sunday Easter lunch, locals prepare lamb, boiled eggs, herring and other kinds of fish such as salmon. The special Easter beer, which is brewed only this time of the year, is, according to beer specialists, heavier and tastier than common beers so it’s a must to have it on the festive table. Finally, even though Easter lunch starts from early afternoon, all guests have to drink at least one traditional Danish snap. The high-levelled alcohol spirits must be drunk in one gulp after everyone has raised their glasses, yelling, “Skål” and Easter wishes.

    Danish Easter lunch | © Andreas Hagerman / Flickr

    • April 27, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • April 30, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • Chicago, IL


    Rebild USA will return to the annual spring conference schedule in 2022.  The meeting will be held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Schaumburg, IL (Chicago area).

    Here is the tentative schedule:

    Wednesday April 27 - Arrivals and Welcome Reception

    Thursday April 28 - Meetings of Chapter Presidents and National Board

    Friday April 29 - Combined Chapter Presidents and National Board meeting

    Saturday April 30 - General Membership meeting and Gala Dinner event

    Sunday May 1 - Departures

    For more information Contact:
    Rebild USA National Secretary Linda Steffensen - rebildusa@gmail.com
    Rebild USA National Vice President Bruce Bro - bruceabro@icloud.com

    • May 04, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • May 04, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions


    4 May 1945 was the day when the Danes got the message on the radio about the liberation of Denmark from Germany during Second World War, after the German occupation since 9 April 1940. This meant that the Danes no longer had to use heavy black curtains to keep the light from getting out of their houses. People flocked into the streets, waving the Danish flag “Dannebro” and burned their black curtains. Many lighted candles on their windows.

    June 1944 Invasion Issue of Danish Resistance publication "De Frie Danske" titled 'The Free Danes Welcome our Allied Friends' with a four colored front page photo of one US and one British rifleman each in front of their national flags...

    De Frie Danske

    Therefore, if you see candles on the windows in the evening of 4 May, it is because Danes celebrate and commemorate this day.
    The message about the Danish liberation went out on 4 May, but the official liberation day is 5 May. It is celebrated with flags in flagpoles and on top of the busses.

    May 5

    • May 05, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • May 05, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions
    • Denmark


    On May 5, Denmark celebrates
     Liberation Day. It is the anniversary of the end of the occupation of Denmark by Nazi Germany. Liberation Day is not a public holiday, but special events are held on the occasion.

    Denmark was occupied by Nazi Germany on April 9, 1940. The country capitulated withing six hours. As Denmark did not put up much resistance, its occupation was unusually lenient. For example, most institutions functioned relatively normally until 1943. Both the king and government remained in the country.

    However, German authorities eventually did dissolve the government after the August 1943 crisis. Mass arrests began. By the end of the war, Danish resistance movement developed. When German authorities ordered to arrest and deport Danish Jews, members of the resistance evacuated almost all Jews to Sweden.

    The German forces withdrew from Denmark on May 5, 1945 following their surrender to the Allies. The anniversary of this event is now celebrated as Liberation Day. On the day, public ceremonies are held in memory of the fallen members of the Danish resistance movement. Left-wing organizations sometimes hold demonstrations to remember the communist resistance fighters.

    May 4

    More Information

    May 1945 Video

    This movie reel shows scenes from Copenhagen in the days following the liberation of Denmark in May 1945. Accord to the National Museum of Denmark, this film was recorded between May 5 1945 and May 12 1945. Among other scenes, the following is shown (according to the National Museum of Denmark): Unrest at Dagmarhus guarded by German soldiers (May 5), resistance fighters behind cover during combat at the harbor, british troops’ arrival through Vesterbrogade (May 8), and Field Marshall Montgomery at Langelinie (May 12).

    This film is a part of the archive of The National Museum of Denmark, in which the recordings are titled “Film: Privatoptagelser fra befrielsesdagene 1945 i København“. The archive has noted the following informations (and more): Description: “Optagelser fra dagene 5. - 12. maj i København. Bl.a. opløb d. 5/5 ved Dagmarhus, som stadig bevogtes af tyske soldater. Modstandsfolk i dækning under træfninger i havnen. Britiske landtroppers ankomst ad Vesterbrogade 8/5 fotograferet fra en af de britiske biler. Feltmarksal Montogomery ved Langelinie 12/5. 16 mm. Stum. 14:05.” License: “No known rights” Photographer/creator: “Ukendt” Time of recording: “5. maj 1945 – 12. maj 1945” City: “København”
    • May 08, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • May 08, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions


    Theodore Chaikin Sorensen (May 8, 1928 – October 31, 2010) was an American lawyer, writer, and presidential adviser. He was a speechwriter for President John F. Kennedy, as well as one of his closest advisers. President Kennedy once called him his "intellectual blood bank".

    Sorensen was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, the son of Christian A. Sorensen (1890–1959), who served as Nebraska attorney general (1929–33), and Annis (Chaikin) Sorensen. His father was Danish American and his mother was of Russian Jewish descent. His younger brother, Philip C. Sorensen, later became the lieutenant governor of Nebraska. He graduated from Lincoln High School during 1945. He earned a bachelor's degree at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and attended University of Nebraska College of Law, graduating first in his class.

    During January 1953, the 24-year-old Sorensen became the new Senator John F. Kennedy's chief legislative aide. He wrote many of Kennedy's articles and speeches. In his 2008 autobiography Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History, Sorensen said he wrote "a first draft of most of the chapters" of John F. Kennedy's 1956 book Profiles in Courage and "helped choose the words of many of its sentences."

    White House photo of Sorensen during the Kennedy administration.

    Sorensen was President Kennedy's special counsel, adviser, and primary speechwriter, the role for which he is remembered best. He helped draft the inaugural address in which Kennedy said famously, "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country." Although Sorensen played an important part in the composition of the inaugural address, "the speech and its famous turn of phrase that everyone remembers was," Sorensen has stated (counter to what the majority of authors, journalists, and other media sources have claimed), "written by Kennedy himself." In his 2008 memoir, Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History, Sorensen claimed, "The truth is that I simply don't remember where the line came from."

    During the early months of the administration, Sorensen's responsibilities concerned the domestic agenda. After the Bay of Pigs debacle, Kennedy asked Sorensen to participate with foreign policy discussions as well. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Sorensen served as a member of ExComm and was named by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara as one of the "true inner circle" members who advised the president, the others being Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, General Maxwell D. Taylor(chairman of the Joint Chiefs), former ambassador to the USSR Llewellyn Thompson, and McNamara himself. Sorensen played a critical role in drafting Kennedy's correspondence with Nikita Khrushchev and worked on Kennedy's first address to the nation about the crisis on October 22.

    Sorensen was devastated by Kennedy's assassination, which he termed "the most deeply traumatic experience of my life. ... I had never considered a future without him."  He later quoted a poem that he said summed up how he felt: "How could you leave us, how could you die? We are sheep without a shepherd when the snow shuts out the sky." He submitted a letter of resignation to President Johnson the day after the assassination but was persuaded to stay through the transition. Sorensen drafted Johnson's first address to Congress as well as the 1964 State of the Union. He officially resigned February 29, 1964, and was the first member of the Kennedy Administration to do so. As Johnson was later to recount in his memoirs, Sorensen helped in the transition to the new administration with those speeches.

    Prior to his resignation, Sorensen stated his intent to write Kennedy's biography, calling it "the book that President Kennedy had intended to write with my help after his second term." He was not the only Kennedy aide to publish writings; historian and special assistant Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. wrote his Pulitzer Prize winning memoir A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House during the same period. Sorensen's biography, Kennedy, was published during 1965 and became an international bestseller. - Wikipedia

    • May 15, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • May 15, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions


    Frederik Lange Grundtvig (May 15, 1854 - March 21, 1903) was born in Copenhagen, the youngest son of Danish Theologian N.F.S. Grundtvig, and Marie Toft Grundtvig.  He graduated with a Political Science degree from the University of Copenhagen in 1881, and became a poet and writer of materials critical of Danish politics and policy of the day.  In 1881 he and his wife, Birgitte Christina Nilsson (who he met in Sweden) traveled to the U.S. and settled in Wisconsin.  In 1883, at the urging of Neenah, Wisconsin Pastor Thorvald Helvig,  he became an ordained minister and became pastor of a Danish congregation in Clinton, Iowa where he served for 17 years.  In 1885 he was a co-founder of the Danebod colony in Tyler, MN.  In 1887 he created the Danish Folk Society which promoted unification of Danish Americans regardless of any Inner Mission and Grundtvigian differences.  Despite Grundtvig's efforts, the Danish Church split into the two factions in 1894.

    Among his writings were several articles in the Danish Church Journal, the Danish American magazines Dannevirke and Ecclesiastical Collector.  He published The Words of Faith, objections to all Heresies of Tertullian, testimony of Lrenceus, Swedish Memories of Tjust, and Life in Klokkergaarden, which is considered the first Danish folkloric homecoming depiction of a scientific character. 

    He returned to Denmark in 1900, and had apparently planned a return to the U.S. to help with the establishment of Grand View College.  But he died in Copenhagen in 1903 at a young age of 48.

    Read More here...

    State Historical Society of Iowa

    • May 27, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • May 29, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • Elk Horn and Kimballton, Iowa

    2022 TIVOLI FEST

    The Danish villages of Elk Horn and Kimballton, Iowa celebrate Tivoli Fest each year on the Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day. This weekend-long Danish festival includes a parade, folk dancing, tours of the Danish Windmill, VikingHjem, Bedstemor's House, and the Museum of Danish America, Danish foods, craft fair, carnival, activities for the kids, fireworks, Fun Run/Walk, 9th annual Tour de Tivoli Bike Ride, Danish folk dancing and much more. Watch for live Vikings Saturday and Sunday!

    Elk Horn is located six miles North of I-80, Exit 54.

    Come join the fun ~ ”Be a Dane for a Day in Elk Horn, Iowa!”.

    Facebook Page


    • June 04, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • June 04, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions
    • Dannebrog, Nebraska


    June 4 - 5, 2022

    Velkommen (Welcome) to Dannebrog, the Danish Capital of Nebraska. The first weekend in June, our little village (named after the Danish flag), hosts a weekend celebration honoring its heritage, during which the citizens of Dannebrog commemorate the anniversary of the signing of Denmark’s free constitution in 1849 by King Frederik VII. The word “Grundlov” is from a Danish term meaning “foundation”.

    Dannebrog, Nebraska may not have survived the first few years without the help of the Pawnee Native American Tribe.  The cooperation between the two cultures was critical.  The village of Dannebrog recognizes that cooperation as they use the phrase "The Danish Capitol of Nebraska, Where Cultures Connect".

    From the Village of Dannebrog website -
    Danish immigrants founded Dannebrog in the early 1870s and the citizens of the village take a lot of personal pride in their Danish ancestry. In Danish, Dannebrog is the romantic name for the Danish flag.

    The village was founded by Lars Hannibal, president of the Danish Land and Homestead Company which was to secure a tract of land for settlers of Danish origin. In 1872, the first post office was established and in 1886 the first railroad track was laid through town. The Nebraska Legislature proclaimed Dannebrog as the Danish Capital of Nebraska in 1989.

    Visitors will notice the Danish atmosphere when they enter the village with the Danish business signs, paintings, sidewalk benches, flowers, gifts and food. Dannebrog is a prime example of small-town Nebraska.

    Historical Marker TextIn the spring of 1871 (May 28) several members of the Danish Land and Homestead Company from Wisconsin claimed land along Oak Creek. The migrants, led by Lars Hannibal, were drawn by fertile soil and the idea that Danes from across the U.S. and the Old Country could form a colony in Howard County. Hannibal called the settlement Dannebrog, the name of the red and white national flag of Denmark. Construction of a water-powered grist mill on Oak Creek sparked the village’s early growth, and Dannebrog unsuccessfully sought the county seat in 1874. The town almost disappeared in the early 1880s, when businesses relocated to Nysted, but the coming of a railroad in 1885 brought new life. Dannebrog was incorporated in 1886. By 1920 the population peaked at 436. Germans, Czechs, Poles, and Swedes also settled at Dannebrog. Although the founders’ dream of an exclusive colony of Danes was never realized, Dannebrog and the nearby towns of Nysted and Dannevirke preserve the Danish heritage. In 1989 the Nebraska Legislature proclaimed Dannebrog as Nebraska’s Danish Capital.

    Telephone - (308) 380-1153
    Email - dannebrognews@gmail.com

    Dannebrog Grundlovsfest

    Dannebrog Facebook

    • June 05, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • June 05, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions
    • Denmark


    The throne of Denmark was established in the tenth century and is the oldest in Europe and third oldest in the world. Through to the seventeenth century, the majority of decisions in Danish rule came through the monarchy and each monarch was obliged to sign the Haandfæstning wherein he promised to rule fairly.

    In 1660, Denmark became a constitutional monarchy, effectively removed the monarchy from absolute power and putting decision making into the hands of the leaders of government. From this time, aside from the royal power of the king, three types of powers existed in Denmark: legislative, executive and judicial.

    Including the signing of the first constitution, five constitutions have been written and signed: 1849, 1866, 1915, 1920 and 1953. None of these had amendments but each was superseded by the one following. On 5 June 1915, women received the right to vote.

    Many places hold festivals on Constitution Day and there are often political rallies. Students, graduates, bands and organisations march in parades behind the bright red and white of the Danish flag. The flag also dominates many buildings across the country.

    More Information (In Danish)

    • June 05, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • June 05, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions


    Oscar Matthew "Battling" Nelson (June 5, 1882 – February 7, 1954), was a Danish-American professional boxer who held the World Lightweight championship. He was also nicknamed "the Durable Dane".

    Nelson was born Oscar Mathæus Nielsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, on June 5, 1882. He emigrated to the United States the following year and was raised in Hegewisch, a neighborhood on the Southeast side of Chicago.

    A two-time world lightweight boxing champion, the Durable Dane lived in Huron, South Dakota in his youth and worked as an errand boy for Edler’s Meat Market and chore boy for “Mom” Robbins’ boarding house. In 1898, he enlisted in South Dakota Company G for the Spanish-American War. - South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame

    In 1913, he married Fay King, a cartoonist who did his portrait for Nelson's 1911 guide The Wonders of the Yellowstone National Park. In 1916, they had a very public divorce.

    Nelson died February 7, 1954 in ChicagoIllinois, from lung cancer The Veteran Boxing Association paid for part of the cost of his funeral; his ex-wife paid the remainder, in addition to purchasing "beautiful arrangements" for the ceremony.

    Nelson began boxing professionally at age fourteen, in 1896. He fought for the vacant white lightweight title against Jimmy Britt on December 20, 1904, but lost a twenty-round decision. He lost to Abe Attell in 1905, but beat Jack O'Neill to secure another shot at the white championship on September 9, 1905, finally beating Britt by an 18-round knockout. 

    He defeated Terry McGovern in a no decision Newspaper decision, but then faced a greater challenge when he was given the opportunity to challenge the reigning world lightweight champion Joe Gans on September 3, 1906, in Goldfield, Nevada. Gans dropped Nelson repeatedly during the bout, but could not knock him out. Finally, in the forty-second round, Nelson hit Gans below the belt causing him to lose the fight by disqualification .

    In 1907 and 1908, Nelson split a pair of bouts with Britt and fought Attell to a draw. He then challenged Gans again for the world lightweight title on July 4, 1908. This time he knocked Gans out in the seventeenth round. Two months later, Nelson knocked out Gans in the twenty-first round.

    In 1909, Nelson fought Ad Wolgast in a fight held over the lightweight limit. Wolgast beat him, and Nelson gave Wolgast a chance at his title on February 22, 1910. Eventually unable to see due to the accumulation of punches, Nelson lost the title when the referee stopped the fight in either the fortieth or the forty-second round.

    Nelson continued to fight, and in 1917, he challenged Freddie Welsh for the lightweight title. He lost a twelve-round decision and retired from fighting in 1920.

    He was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1992.

    In 2016, award-winning biographer Mark Allen Baker published the first comprehensive biography on Nelson with McFarland, a leading independent publisher of academic and nonfiction books. - Wikipedia

    South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame

    • June 18, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • Fairgrounds - Askov, Minnesota


    Midsummer is Scandinavia's most popular seasonal festival after Christmas. A traditional celebration of the Summer solstice, Midsummer is the longest day of the year (June 21).

    The Askov Fair Rutabaga and Fair Association began Midsummer as an all day celebration. They ended the evening with a movie. It didn’t seem that the Community embraced this so rather than just stop they decided to use it as a fundraiser breakfast to help support the Rutabaga Festival. Because June 21st didn’t always fall on a weekend, they set the fundraiser for the 3rd Saturday in June.

    Askov, MN Website

    Festival Facebook Page

    • June 23, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • June 23, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • 2 sessions


    A Nordic tradition, celebrated on the night before the Midsummer's Day, Midsummer's Eve or Sankt Hans Aften is a relic of pagan customs, where the shortest day, the winter solstice, and the longest day, the summer solstice, were celebrated. Originally it was believed that midsummer night was filled with magical forces of nature—both bad and good. All herbs and sources were particularly sacred, and it was a tradition to seek sacred springs or picking healing herbs on this night.

    Image: Midsummer Eve Bonfire on Skagen Beach (Danish: Sankt Hansblus på Skagen strand) a 1906 painting by P.S. Krøyer 
    More Info on this famous Krøyer work

    The tradition of burning bonfires came later. Originally they were not associated with Midsummer's Eve celebration, although later some farmers who believed in witches started burning bonfires on this night. A shape that looks like a witch was put in the fire. The purpose of the fire was to scare the witches and evil spirits away, rather than burning them.

    Today the Midsummer's Eve is still celebrated with bonfires, dancing, singing and a traditional speech from someone well known in the community. The celebrations are held all around the country, both in cities and small towns.

    Some of the most vibrant celebrations take place in Copenhagen, Odense, Aarhus, and Skagen. The capital has bonfires at several places, including Tivoli Gardens, Frederiksberg Gardens, Islands Brygge, and more. Likewise, Aarhus offers quite a few locations to celebrate, such as Aarhus University campus, Godsbanen, or Langenæs Church. In Odense, the festivities take place at Engen in the Fruens Bøge forest. At last, the remote Skagen promises an exceptional celebration. Thousands come to the northern tip of Denmark to enjoy traditional songs at the bonfire that lasts here longer than anywhere else in the country.

    Burning the witches in Denmark

    The height of Danish summer is celebrated on the evening of June 23 under the name Sankt Hans (Saint Hans), who is known in English as John the Baptist. The festival of Sankt Hans and the celebration of the summer solstice have pagan roots and date back to the days before Christianity came to Denmark. 

    Sankt Hans is generally celebrated with a dinner at home with family and friends followed by a stroll to a community bonfire, often by the beach or on the shore of one of Denmark's many lakes.

    Tradition calls for an effigy of a witch to be placed on top of the bonfire, and as it burns the community sings the song "Midsommervisen", written by the Danish poet Holger Drachmann in 1885. The effigy of the witch symbolises all the misery that Denmark as a nation wants to avoid, and the song celebrates the hope that peace will prevail.

    Midsommervisen “Vi elsker vort land”  

    De tre første vers, som normalt synges ved bålfester
    Text: Holger Drachmann, 1885
    Melodi P. E. Lange-Müller, 1885 

    Vi elsker vor land,
    når den signede jul
    tænder stjernen i træet med glans i hvert øje.
    Når om våren hver fugl,
    over mark, under strand,
    lader stemmen til hilsende triller sig bøje:
    Vi synger din lov over vej, over gade,
    vi kranser dit navn, når vor høst er i lade,
    men den skønneste krans,
    bli'r dog din Sankte Hans!
    Den er bunden af sommerens hjerter,
    så varme så glade. 

    Vi elsker vort land,
    men ved midsommer mest,
    når hver sky over marken velsignelsen sender,
    når af blomster er flest,
    og når kvæget i spand
    giver rigeligst gave til flittige hænder;
    når ikke vi pløjer og harver og tromler,
    når koen sin middag i kløveren gumler,
    da går ungdom til dans
    på dit bud Sankte Hans
    ret som føllet og lammet, der frit
    over engen sig tumler. 

    Vi elsker vort land,
    og med sværdet i hånd
    skal hver udenvælts fjende beredte os kende,
    men mod ufredens ånd
    under mark over strand,
    vil vi bålet på fædrenes gravhøje tænde
    hver by har sin heks,
    og hver sogn sine trolde.
    Dem vil vi fra livet med glædesblus holde
    vi vil fred her til lands
    Sankte Hans, Sankte Hans!
    Den kan vindes, hvor hjerterne
    aldrig bli'r tvivlende kolde

    English Translation...

    Vi Elsker Vort Land/"We Love Our Country"

    We love our country
    when the blessed Christmas
    light up the star in the tree with a twinkle in each eye
    When in spring each bird
    over the field, down by the beach
    lets its voice give into greeting trills:
    We sing your law across the road, across the street,
    we wreath your name, when our harvest is in the barn,
    but the most beautiful wreath
    becomes yours, Saint Hans
    It is bound by the the hearts of the summer so warm, so happy
    but the most beautiful wreath
    becomes yours, Saint Hans
    It is bound by the hearts of the summer so warm, so happy

    We love our country
    but mostly around midsummer
    when every cloud sends the blessing across the field
    When most flowers are here
    and when the cattle drag the plough
    gives plenty of gifts to laborious hands;
    when we don't plough and harrow and roll,
    when the cow munch its dinner of clover:
    At that time youth will start to dance
    at your command Saint Hans!
    Straight as the foal and the lamb which freely romp across the meadow
    At that time youth will start to dance
    at your command Saint Hans!
    Straight as the foal and the lamb which freely romp across the meadow

    We love our country
    and with the sword in our hands
    every foreign enemy shall prepared know us
    But against the spirit of strife
    over the field, down by the beach
    we will light the bonfire on the forefathers' burial mounds:
    Every town has its witch, and every parish its trolls,
    we will keep those from our lives with fires of happiness
    We want peace in this country,
    saint Hans, saint Hans!
    It can be won where the hearts never become doubting cold
    We want peace in this country,
    saint Hans, saint Hans!
    It can be won where the hearts never become doubting cold

    We love our country
    and we greet that king
    who has tried and chosen the right princess:
    In his fairy tale castle
    every woman, every man can
    find an example of love for life!
    Let the times grow old, let the colors fade,
    we will however draw a memory in our hearts:
    From the North so rich in legends
    a glory goes across the world
    It is the reflection of the wonderland's enchanted meadows,
    From the North so rich in legends
    a glory goes across the world
    It is the reflection of the wonderland's enchanted meadows!

    • July 02, 2022
    • (UTC+02:00)
    • July 05, 2022
    • (UTC+02:00)
    • Rebild National Park near Aalborg, Denmark


    Celebration of Danish American Friendship Since 1912

    The Annual Rebild Festival at the Rebild National Park near Aalborg, Denmark

    Live Stream Recording from 2021

    Tenative Schedule for 2022
    July 2 -
    Danish American Club Aalborg - Garden Party Picnic Aalborg Defense & Garrison Museum 10.00-12.00
                       Afternoon Gathering - Western House next to Top Karins Hus in Rebild - 13.30-16.00

    July 3 - Gala Dinner at Hotel Comwell Hvide Hus Aalborg followed by fireworks - 19.00-24.00

    July 4 - Tent Luncheon - 12.00-14.00 
                     Celebration in the Rebild Hills 15.00-17.00

    July 5 - General Membership Meeting 10.00-11.30
                      Luncheon at Rebild Hotel Comwell
                      National Board Meeting 13.00-15.00

     The New Rebild Website

    Rebild National Park Society

    We are a Danish-American Friendship organization,
    playing an important part in these areas:

    • Unique 4th of July Festival in Denmark with Royalty and dignitaries from both countries

    • Preservation of Danish culture and heritage in USA

    • Assistance to Danish newcomers with acclimatization and business networking

    • Help and insight into Danish thinking for Americans doing business with Denmark

    • Friend-shipping and socializing

    • Study abroad scholarships to Denmark

    • Professional full color news magazine two times a year plus Rebild E-News.

    • Annual Conference (each year in a different state in the US)

    Ties of Friendship
    It all began more than one hundred years ago in America. A gathering of Danish-Americans came up with a vision ofa special place in Denmark where they could gather once a year to meet with relatives and friends. And symbolically, as a statement confirming that those who had left would not forget where they had come from. Emigration began gradually in the economically difficult years following the Napoleon Wars, when the country was going bankrupt and having lost Norway. it is estimated that as many as 300,000 Danes emigrated in the years up to the First World War. Exact numbers are not possible because, after 1864, Danes from Southern Iylland were registered as German emigrants.

    Their incentive to leave was the dream of finding freedom and a better life. They especially sought out the northern states in the USA, as did other emigrants from the Scandinavian countries, because the climate and land reminded them of what they had left behind. It had an especial attraction for farmers. The western part of the country offered free land, with the provision they would fence the property, cultivate the land, and by the end ofthe first year, have erected a house with a door and window. Normally only the door and windows that were made of wood, the rest of the house was made of sod! It was hard work but worth the effort. For most, it was a good decision.

    But the emigrants never forgot their homeland and early in the twentieth century they purchased land in the old country. In the beginning they flocked to outdoor meetings near Himmelbjeret, as recorded by Ieppe Aakjaer on “Ienle” and Johan Skjoldborg on "Dynaes." These large outdoor gatherings are a popular tradition we have perpetuated through the years. Most of the emigrants had Iyske roots and it was instinctive for them to seek to meet here. The man with the most initiative was Max Henius from Aalborg, and the land eventually selected was the beautiful hilly heather covered ground in the outskirts of Forest of Rold — Rebild Bakker.

    There were more than 10,000 participants at the first Rebild Festival in 1912, and it was estimated that more than 1,000 came from America. Viewed through today's eyes it was impressive. It was expensive and difficult to travel so far — across America by land and the Atlantic Ocean by boat. The King Christian the 10th participated with Queen Alexandrine and accepted the deed for 140 tender land (equal to approximately 1,363 acres) with the requirement: “... that every year on July 4th, America's Independence Day, a "Rebild Festival" would be held in the Hills." Throughout the intervening years the Royal Family have been active in the Festival. We are happy and thankful for that.

    We have been told that the 4th of July celebration in Denmark is the largest outside the USA. We are proud of that. It’s a wonderful tradition that has continued over the past 100 years. It is a testament to the unbreakable friendship that exists between our two nations who share a common appreciation for freedom and democracy. We stand together!

    • July 03, 2022
    • (CDT)
    • July 03, 2025
    • (CDT)
    • 4 sessions
    • Dannebrog, Nebraska


    Lars Hannibal (Born Lars Hannibalsen, July 3, 1822 in Fuglse, Lolland, Denmark- Died December 28, 1882 Davenport, Iowa, USA) is widely considered the founder of the Danish community of Dannebrog, Nebraska.  As a young man he participated in the first Dano-Prussian war (1848-50).  Tired of his hand-to-mouth existence and poor prospects as a smallholder, he left Denmark for the United States.  He and his family sailed on the "Elbe", arriving in New York Harbor on May 21, 1856.  They settled (his father Hannibal Larsen, his wife Marie, and four children) in Pine Lake, Waukesha County, Wisconsin.

    Photo: Sgt Lars Hannibal, Civil War c.1860

    When the Civil War broke out, he enlisted as a sergeant in Company B of the 15th Wisconsin Regiment, but was mustered out after only a year due to a recurring illness.  After the war he returned to Denmark and brought back a group of new settlers.  Following the death of his first wife, Lars married the widow of one of his former comrades-in-arms.  Hannibal was the founder of the Danish Land Company, and led the formation of the Danish Pioneer settlement in Dannebrog in Howard County, Nebraska.

    Hannibal named the settlement "Dannebrog", the name of the red and white national flag of Denmark.  The book "Dannebrog on the American Prairie" by Torben Grøngaard Jeppesen describes the naming of Dannebrog... "There is no doubt that Lars Hannibal had envisioned from the start his homestead land as the place where the colony's formal center should be built.  Well placed in a pretty spot close to the Middle Loup River with Oak Creek running through it as a future tractive force for a water mill, the ground here should be taken for a town.  But in order for that to occur, there needed to be more Danes enticed to the area, who could occupy the land in a race with other land hungry settlers, who surely would follow in this summer and in the years to come.  There was, however, no time to waste.  The more land that he and his few countrymen could settle on the better.
         Soon there should be a name for the new colony.  The new settlers suggested "Hannibal" or "Chartago" in honor of the founder.  But Lars Hannibal would have none of that, because he stressed that the colony was not a single man's work, but the work of Danish peasants, and he suggested the name "Dannebrog".  And that was the name chosen".

    - Thanks to Tim Hannibal of Dannebrog (direct descendant of Lars Hannibal)

    Historical Marker Text: In the spring of 1871 several members of the Danish Land and Homestead Company from Wisconsin claimed land along Oak Creek. The migrants, led by Lars Hannibal, were drawn by fertile soil and the idea that Danes from across the U.S. and the Old Country could form a colony in Howard County. Hannibal called the settlement Dannebrog, the name of the red and white national flag of Denmark. Construction of a water-powered grist mill on Oak Creek sparked the village’s early growth, and Dannebrog unsuccessfully sought the county seat in 1874. The town almost disappeared in the early 1880s, when businesses relocated to Nysted, but the coming of a railroad in 1885 brought new life. Dannebrog was incorporated in 1886. By 1920 the population peaked at 436. Germans, Czechs, Poles, and Swedes also settled at Dannebrog. Although the founders’ dream of an exclusive colony of Danes was never realized, Dannebrog and the nearby towns of Nysted and Dannevirke preserve the Danish heritage. In 1989 the Nebraska Legislature proclaimed Dannebrog as Nebraska’s Danish Capital.

    Lars Hannibal Obituary

    Dannebrog Nebraska

    Tim Hannibal discusses his ancestor Lars Hannibal

    • October 05, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • October 08, 2023
    • (CDT)
    • Twin Cities, Minnesota


National Foundation for Danish America
PO Box 1003
Wilmette, Illinois 60091

Contact Us

Log in
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software