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independence day




american days in Malmรถ


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Independence Day 2011

an american greeting Message from the american ambassador laurie s. fulton


merican Independence Day is always a very special holiday. For most of us, it is a

It is a special honor for me to represent my beloved country, the United States of America, to

time to get together with families and friends and enjoy a summer holiday, but it

the country of my heritage – and I wish each of you a happy Independence Day.

is, of course, much more than that. Independence Day is also a time for reflection and for giving thanks.

American Ambassador to The Kingdom of Denmark Laurie S. Fulton

On July 4, we remember the dedication and bravery of those who fought to give Americans our independence, and the commitment of those who guided the creation of a government based upon our beloved ideals, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Their unyielding spirit is what defines us as Americans. My grandfather – Morfar – emigrated from a farm near Horsens 100 years ago to pursue his American dream. Like thousands of fellow immigrants, Morfar adapted quickly and learned the language and culture of his adopted country, but, he never forgot his Danish roots. In fact, it is often said that every Dane has a relative somewhere in America. After two years as the US Ambassador and having witnessed the amazing cooperation between the US and Denmark first hand, I would like to add that every American has a friend in Denmark. America’s unbroken ties with the Kingdom of Denmark are among the oldest we have with any country in the world. Our people have benefited beyond measure from our long history of cooperation and friendship. With this in mind, it is fitting that Rebild is the largest annual July 4 celebration held outside the United States. Nestled in the natural amphitheater in the


hills of Himmerland, Rebild honors this special connection among Danes and Americans. The

President and Publisher - Ejvind Sandal

creation of Dr. Max Henius – a Danish American who emigrated to the United States in 1881

Chief Executive - Jesper Nymark

– the park and festival are powerful reminders of the strength of the US-Danish relationship

Production & Layout - Lyndsay Jensen

and our common belief in the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and individual

Copy Editor - Alexis Kunsak


Sales and Marketing Director - Hans Hermansen

In recent years, Denmark and the United States have worked together to defend individual liberties and freedom. In this era of extraordinary challenges, diplomacy has never been more important, and US-Danish relations have never been better as we work together on global challenges. It has been a great privilege to serve as President Obama’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark as we move into an era of remarkable challenges and opportunities. As you will see from the articles laid out in this impressive supplement, the ties between Denmark and the United States are steeped in history, but are also alive and vibrant.

Sales and Advertising - Jeanne Thames, Mark Millen, Lyndsay Jensen Photographers - Hasse Ferrold, Visit Denmark, Aalborg City, Amcham, Jørgen Nøhr If you would like to contact us or leave a comment: This supplement is published by The Copenhagen Post, please refer to our disclaimer on page 2 of the newspaper. For more information: +45 3336 3300 •


Independence Day 2011

american days

in denmark

The festival of Americans and their Danish kin in Aalborg. By Bonnie Fortune


very year in Aalborg, the fourth largest city in Denmark, the shops and public buildings are decorated with both the Danish and the American flag. In July the city is home to the annual American Days Festival. This year, the growing city is focusing squarely on the event as a celebration of the strong relations between its part of northern Jutland and the United States. American Days is usually planned concurrently with the July 4th Festival at nearby Rebild Park. This year however, Aalborg is planning events that extend beyond the weekend celebration with art and history exhibitions, as well as classic car shows and music. Visitors come to Aalborg to see its medieval history and half-timbered castle, and attend the festivals over the weekend. In early June, the city held an opening for an exhibition by American artist Michael Singer at the Utzon Center, designed by world famous Danish architect, Jørgen Utzon. Singer is a well-known artist, designer and thinker who includes ecological principles in his work. He is interested in the relationship between nature and culture and the exhibition shows various sculptures, drawings and garden art projects. The show can be found at the Utzon Center until the end of October. The American Days Festival also takes a closer look at the subject of emigration, with an outdoor exhibition set up at Aalborg’s JF Kennedy Plads around this theme. The show looks at the various experiences of Danes moving to the United States and how the two cultures influence each other. American Ambassador Laurie S. Fulton will be visiting Aalborg to speak about the emigration exhibition and international relations between Denmark and American.

tival, located at the Rebild National Park. The park was founded on land donated to Denmark by Danes who moved to the United States in the early 20th century. Aalborg is also home to the Worldwide Archives, which are open for visitors who are interested in researching emigration in general, or perhaps tracing their own emigration story. The archive offers a glimpse at a part of history that has fostered international exchange for generations. On July 1 and 2, American Days will kick off with a music and entertainment festival at Gammel Torf and JF Kennedy’s Plads. There will


hen visitors descend upon the northern Jutland city of Aalborg on July 1 and 2 this year for the American Days Festival, Flemming Thingbak, Aalborg City’s director, hopes that the event, along with attracting American expats living in Denmark and Danes who harbour an interest in the ‘land of the free’, will also bring some of that famous American consumer spirit to Denmark’s fourth largest city.

be distinctive American-style music and food. A memorial ceremony is planned for soldiers on the morning of July 4, where wreaths will be laid to honour them.

According to Thingbak, the festival is both a chance to explore the shared cultural influences of America and Denmark, and a great opportunity to bring new people to the region.

Another not-to-be-missed Aalborg attraction is the Guild of Christian IV. The Guild formed during World War II when Denmark was occupied by Germany. The Guild began meeting in 1942, in a medieval wine cellar hundreds of years old. Each person had to be a card-carrying member to enter, but once inside, delicious wine and beer were available along with rousing conversation. By the time the war ended, the Guild had become so popular the city council voted to maintain the organization. Today, the Guild boasts Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Ronald Reagan and the Soviet astronauts Beljajev and Leonov as former visitors. The average visitor is still allowed to peak at the Guild members as they perform secret ceremonies, preserving a long tradition of solidarity. Aalborg is a city steeped in stories of the past, but still looking forward and focusing on how it fits into an international future. The American Days weekend is a part of this spirit and the summer

Emigration from Denmark and the ensuing American descendents are a consistent theme of the nearby Rebild Society July 4th Fes-

Shoppers to bring a slice of good old-fashioned American consumerism to Aalborg

During the two-day festival, the city of Aalborg will embrace not only popular aspects of American culture such as hot rods and Hollywood, but will also take a look at its own historical links with the country and examine the history of Danes who emigrated to the United States. “It’s important for me, that people see what America is about”, Thingbak commented on the festival, which will see over 100 American flags go up at shops around the city. The festival will feature look-a-likes of famous American music icons, popular food from the country and speeches from Danish politicians such as Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Thingbak describes the festival as offering “a slice of America in Jutland” but also stresses that it is a great opportunity for visitors to experience the city on its own merits.

months are an excellent time to see the city at its best and most lively.

As far as Thingbak is concerned the festival is by all means “an event to get people shopping - but it’s important that people leave satisfied; it’s important that people leave with a smile and that the next time they think about shopping, then maybe they will think about Aalborg”

“It’s important for me, that people see what America is about”.


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Independence Day 2011

the festival in pictures

1. 2009 - According to tradition there are always many exciting activities for the children during the festivities in the hills. 2. 2000 - The sculpture “the family” was revealed. 3. 2006 - Do you want to swap hats? Registrar minster Lene Espersen shares a little joke. 4. 1999 - There was a large turn out at this year’s Rebild Celebration 5. 2010 - U.S. Ambassador Laurie S. Fulton. 6. 2007 - There was great atmosphere inside the lunch tent. Sharing a story or two is Annette Heick and Defence Minister Søren Garde 7. 2003 - Finn Zieglers violin performance was magical 8. 2010 - U.S. Ambassador Laurie S. Fulton and the Rebild Society’s President Karl K. Nielsen on their way to the 4th of July party in the hills. 9. 2009 - There was time for a photograph before the attending lunch 10. 2010 - Before lunch the American line dancers gave an outstanding performance. 11. 1997 - Queen Margrethe also participated in the Rebild celebration. 12. 1998 - Mærsk McKinney Møller enjoyed the trip in the Gold chair. 13. 2006 - Her royal highness Princess Benedikte was announced honers president of the Rebild Society.





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n exhibition of photographs, documenting the past fifteen years of the Rebild National Park Society and its gatherings, will open on June 16.

Hosted in collaboration with the Copenhagen Post, the free exhibition of images by Danish photographer Jørgen Nøhr will run until July 16. The Rebild Society was established almost 100 years ago when Danish Americans raised money to purchase 190 acres of land, which it donated to the Danish government as a national park. The moorland has been the setting of an annual gathering of Danish Americans on July 4th, the United States Independence Day, ever since. Photographer Jørgen Nøhr has worked for newspapers and magazines across Jutland and has documented the annual gathering over the past fifteen years. 250 of his images will be shown at the month-long exhibition on Højbro Plads 8, in downtown Copenhagen.




Independence Day 2011


heep wander through the heather-covered hills of the first national park established in Denmark, just south of Aalborg. In 1912 Danes who had moved to America gave the land to the state, under the condition that it would be used to celebrate future American holidays. Today the park is called the Rebild Hills. Karl K. Nielsen has been President of the Rebild Society, the DanishAmerican Friendship Organization, for four years and is responsible for the 18-person international board, including both Danish and American members. The Rebild Society’s main goal is to promote friendship between the two nations. Every year, Nielsen and the seven other Danish board members travel to the United States to meet with the ten American board members of Rebild to discuss the direction of the organization and the important annual festival. The festival celebrates the American Independence Day in the Rebild hills near Aalborg. It has been held every year – except during the world wars – since 1912. At the turn of the 20th century, native Danes who had immigrated to America pooled their funds to buy a piece of their homeland. They chose to donate this purchase to King Christian X, thereby establishing Denmark’s first national park, but not before starting the tradition of the summer festival. This year marks the 99th year of the convivial festival, celebrating good relations between Denmark and the United States. Every year the day long event includes speakers, musicians, food and fireworks. Nielsen explains that organizing the festival begins one year, sometimes two, in advance to secure the best speakers and bands. Past speakers have included former United States Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush. This year the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and the Danish-American, US Congressman Steny Hoyer will be among the distinguished speakers. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II will not be in attendance this year. Nielsen suggests, however, that the Royal Family will probably be there for next year’s 100th anniversary celebration. This year’s festival includes a special photographic exhibition by the Rebild Society’s photographer, Jørgen Nøhr. Nøhr has been taking images of the annual event over the years and his work will be on display in Copenhagen, concurrently with the festival. The historic exhibit opens on June 16 at Basecamp in Copenhagen and will be available for public viewing until July 15. (Basecamp, Højbro Plads 8, 1200 Cph, opening June 16, 16:00-18:00). According to Nielsen’s description of the event, the day of the festival on July 4 begins with several hundred people sitting down to eat a traditional meal of Danish cuisine complete with snaps. Afterwards, more festival guests arrive, slowly covering the Rebild hills with numbers eventually reaching the thousands. Nielsen says that his favourite part of the day is the feeling of being united in friendship, when he can look out and see the Danish and American flags flying while the speeches are being made and the orchestra plays on.

American pride

on the hills of rebild 8

A celebration in Denmark’s First National Park By Bonnie Fortune

Independence Day 2011

AmCham Denmark Lobbying for Denmark’s Global Success By Nina Chatelain


he recruitment and retention of global talent and an in-

nies with subsidiaries in the USA and international companies with

crease of foreign development investments (FDI) are both

footprints in both Denmark and the USA.

essential to Denmark remaining competitive and securing economic growth in a global economy.

These two points are from a report funded by the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Denmark, entitled, “Multinational Enterprises—How important are they for the Danish Economy?” co-authored by Professors Torben Pedersen and Jan Rose Skaksen of the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) that was released last in May 2011. AmCham Denmark was first established in Copenhagen in 1999. This non-profit, non-governmental international business organization has evolved and today is comprised of 275 company members. They collectively represent American companies, Danish compa-

“We have emerged through the past 11 to 12 years as the predominant voice of international companies in Denmark, “said Executive Director Stephen Brugger in a phone interview. “We are committed to improving the climate for international business in Denmark.” Denmark’s global mindset and IT infrastructure are already attractive to foreign investment. Faced with a decrease in population and an aging workforce, Denmark needs to be more competitive and prepared for the future. According to the June 2009 report, Statistics Denmark, foreign companies comprise only 1% of private companies in Denmark, but employ 19% of the private sector workforce and make up 27% of exports. These are just a few facts that illustrate the importance of FDI to ensure Denmark’s economic future.

“Global competitiveness has been increasing. We’ve been establishing awareness of the need for Denmark to be more competitive,” explained Brugger. “What we’re missing is what I would call a fundamental national talent strategy that would lead us to the direction where we would embrace foreign workers. Embrace them and welcome them.” Via email Charlotte Mark, Managing Director and Site Director, Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen and AmCham board member further commented: “With the globalization and demographic changes, Denmark must understand what skills are demanded by business in the future and how to make sure we can supply that talent. Denmark needs a talent strategy. A strategy that stands on two pillars: how we develop our own local talent and how we attract and retain highly skilled talent from abroad.” In January 2010, AmCham Denmark released its white paper entitled, “Denmark: The talent to succeed,” with Copenhagen Capacity and Heidrick & Struggles.


Independence Day 2011

Twist-off Bottle Caps and the Flavor of Ranch Dressing

American Days in Malmö By Alexis Kunsak


ans of Ford Mustangs, burger eating contests, Michael Jackson, old-school graffiti or any American classics can enjoy twisting the bottle cap off a Miller High Life this weekend, because it’s Miller time in Malmo. The weekend festival American Days does not stop at hamburgers and Heinz. Sweden is a country large enough to bring together a multitude of sub-cultures into a mass explosion of all things USA. Rockabilly Swedes poof their hair and polish their creepers, while sitting in front of giant retro automobiles. The Malmo All Star Cheerleaders show off their stars and stripes routine and cheers in English. With them on the program are horse races, barrel racing and Western riding competitions, as well as a classic American car showcase, open to motorcycles, 4x4s and beefed-up hot rods. First prize for the best car is a trip for two to the United States, and every driver of a classic American car enters the festival for free. Dance shows and workshops offer hip-hop and breakdancing, but also line dancing and square dancing, going all the way back to the Lindy hop. The event’s line-up of live music spans the same range, including folk groups on the banjo, classic country and civil war battle songs. The Jägersro Trot and Gallop hosts American Days at its racing and training facilities, some of the largest in Sweden. The races are part of the summer racing season and for the fastest three-year-old horses it’s the last important race before the Swedish Derby on August 14. The fillies get into the race at the Oak Trial, practicing for the mare’s Swedish Oak Derby.


Another race exclusively for Arabian thoroughbreds will also be held on the Jägersro track. First start is set for 17:30 on Saturday, and the eight races draw a total of 700,000 Swedish kroner in prize money. On Sunday, the finals in the Quarter Horse races starts at 13:00, the open 300m run afterwards. In Sweden, as in Italy and France, harness racing is more common then any other style of horse race. Watching barrel racing, cutting and reining cattle, or thoroughbred racing in Sweden brings back visions of the old days in the USA, when bison still roamed the open plains and cowboys were plying their trade. Spare ribs, blackened or rubbed with pepper, coleslaw, potato salad and blue cheese dressing will all be part of the fare, along with other southwestern classics. Chili and sour cream, jalapenos and competing hot sauces will be supplemented by the All-American donut, buttery popcorn and candy of all stripes. There is a wine bar on location, but it may be fighting to draw customers away from the Budweiser lounge and Samuel Adams cozy bar set up in the area. Shopping at the festival has a retro feel, with accessories for classic car owners, wannabe cowboys and real life western riders. Toys, jewelry and tattoos will also be for sale, in addition to hardware from the American tool company Snap-on. This is a festival celebrating American culture, and if former pro wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage showed up with a truck load of Slim Jims, he would fit right in.

Jägersro Trav & Galopp; Jägersrovägen, Jägersro, 212 37 Malmö; Open Sat 8:00-23:00, Sun 8:00-17:00; Tickets: 100 SEK, under 18 free; +46 40-671 8204;

Independence Day 2011

The Californian Town MORE DANISH THAN DENMARK In 1911, a group of optimistic Danes left the frigid Midwestern United States and journeyed southwest to California, naming their new settlement Solvang, or “sun field.” Their dream had been to set up a traditional Danish folkeskole education and preserve Danish culture in America. Today that vision has turned into a city that reminds Danish visitors of how Denmark used to be, and gives Americans a taste of tradition beyond the cheese danish. By Alexis Kunsak

It’s kitschy in a positive way,” explains Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau Director Karin Gert Nielsen. “It reminds me of Denmark in the 1970’s, the town could have been in Jutland.” For its 100th anniversary the town has pulled out all the stops with a schedule of events spanning the entire year. On June 11, the Prince Regent will celebrate his birthday in Solvang, starting with a public party in the city centre, followed by an exclusive dinner at the Rusack Vineyards, one of the local wineries. The line up of centennial events includes exhibitions at the Elverhøj Museum of History and Art in Solvang, classes on making Danish open-faced sandwiches, and the dedication of the town’s new Heritage Trail. New exhibitions on Danish design and centennial bike rides are combined with a huge Fourth of July parade and firework display. Every Wednesday, a farmers market is open in the city centre all day, at the intersection of First Street and Copenhagen Drive. The hospitality of small town America collides with European culture and style in Solvang. The number of local events is no accident, and has turned the former enclave into a tourist destination, with bicycle rentals, tours of local vineyards, and farm visits for locally-grow foods. In the beginning Solvang was an isolated Danish settlement, located 200 km north of Los Angeles. In 1947 a journalist for the Saturday Evening Post wandered through, and his subsequent article brought loads of Americans eager to see the Danish-style Lutheran church and the educational system. The town leaders began to see the economic potential of tourism and started building houses in a half-timbered

style and wooden windmills. Danish products and craftsmanship promoted tourism, especially baked goods like æbleskiver and wienerbrød, which can still be found at local bakeries year round. With a current population of around 5,500, Solvang is one of a community of small cities making up the Santa Ynez Valley region. Slightly northwest from Santa Barbara and only 24 km from the Pacific Ocean, Solvang is surrounded by a fertile, green region, placing the city in the centre of the slow food and agritourism movement in California. “What a lot of people don’t realize as tourists is that Solvang is located in one of the fastest growing regions for pinot noir, with an explosion of organic and non-commercial winemakers,” said Nielsen. “When the movie ‘Sideways’ became a surprise hit, people turned away from merlot and Napa Valley. Winemakers came to the Santa Ynez Valley, when the cool ocean winds and valley climate was perfect for grapes and farming.” With the number of Danish businessmen, chefs and bakers in town, Solvang’s connection to the old country is as strong as ever. Danish entrepreneur Peter Work founded the winery and vineyard Ampelos in 2001 and now produces 3,500 cases of wine per year, as well as growing four different grapes. The Danish business college Niels Brock is planning on opening an extension of their campus in Solvang in 2012. Aalborg is Solvang’s sister city and the mayor will be flying from Denmark to participate in the continued centennial celebration in September. With year-round sunshine and average temperatures between 12 and 24 C, southern California is an ideal location for this slice of Denmark.


Independence Day 2011

Daniel Brown

Edward Oberhofer

Andrew Hayden

Andrew Butcher

The American Way of Life

As Lived in Denmark

The Fourth of July evokes a picture of stars and stripes-clad streets and endless patriotic movies. In order to find out what the holiday means to Americans and what the American way of life is in Denmark, four US citizens currently living in Copenhagen describe their lives abroad. By Nadja Kroker

Daniel Brown, 42, is the General Manager of the Dynamics Division of the Microsoft Development Center Copenhagen.


he MDCC has about 650 employees from more than 40 different national backgrounds, and has played an important role in establishing the network Expat in Denmark, simplifying integration for foreign professionals. Daniel came to Denmark with his wife Stephanie and two sons in the summer of 2008. Though they originally had a two-year stay in mind, they have delayed moving at least until the summer of 2012, making them an exception from the rule that most expats will leave after about three years. Their reason for moving to Denmark was two-fold. “When we had our first child, we decided to set out some long-term family objectives and one of them was to spend time abroad,” explains Daniel. This goal and the professional opportunity for Daniel were “probably equal components in the decision to come over.” He says he does miss some things. “In the States, I knew exactly where to go to get gifts. I could do it and not interfere with family time. That’s so much harder in a foreign country.” Whenever the family moves back, they will take the memories connected to the birth of their youngest child with them, as well as the memories of bike rides with their older sons. For Daniel, Denmark


is a “wonderful environment for raising children, part of it being safety, part of it is what you can do. There are some places where I think it’s just easier to have children and I think that’s true here.” Since their children are too young to understand the significance of the holiday, their celebration will be quite “tame” with a family meal instead of barbecue and fireworks. Daniel admits that the Fourth of July is simply a day of nationality in any case. However, he adds, “It has a high degree of cultural relevance which may not ring as true in other countries. When the Americans signed the Declaration of Independence, it was on the tail of a revolution. You are basically seeding from the British monarchy, which is an act punishable by death. It’s a traitor’s act. It sort of defined American culture.” Daniel also feels that another important part of the holiday is connected to the Declaration of Independence. “The other thing that is really important is that the Declaration of Independence itself is such a poetic document.” For Daniel, Independence Day and the Fourth of July are so special because they are about passion. “They are about values much more than procedure. They grab the heart,” he explains. The family of five chose to live in Hellerup, where the two older

boys now attend the international school. When asked about his experience with the Danish language, Daniel laughs out loud. Once the family decided to spend a weekend at a Danish beach on the island of Ærø, but dropped the plans after being unable to communicate them to colleagues. He has since given up on further pronunciation adventures.

Edward Oberhofer, a 45-year-old life coach from Rochester


dward came to Copenhagen last year in August with his wife Karen, who had found a job here as a radiometer. So far, Edward enjoys the city’s bike system and cultural activities, but misses the American style of one-stop-shopping. With reduced shopping hours in Denmark, a little retraining is necessary but Edward remarks: “I am sure, as a life coach, I have taught many people in the US to live that way, to slow down.” One of his very first positive experiences with the Danish system was a hospital visit after a bike accident. “That was a very nonAmerican experience,” he says. “You trip and fall, you end up in the hospital. But the staff did not ask any questions about how we were going to pay for it or anything like that. Karen was trying to pull out all sorts of cards and they were like: we don’t really care. In the US, they would definitely be trying to figure out whose insurance they

Independence Day 2011

were going to charge.” This Independence Day, Edward will join his wife at a soiree at the American Ambassador’s residence. “If we were home, we would find our way to a fireworks event. Those fireworks can be pretty grand.” Asked about the stereotypes he runs into as an American in Denmark, Edward says, “The Danish people are too polite to use generalizations. Being American is not an issue. More in the vein, no wonder you can’t speak the language, you are not from here.” While the language barrier poses no problem, the cultural differences still exist for Edward. “The fact that they speak English is very deceptive, they have such excellent language skills but their cultural background is so different from mine.” The couple chose to live in Charlottenlund because they wanted a place close to trees and the coast. Edward joined The American Club in Copenhagen for networking purposes, expecting to meet other Americans, and found to his surprise that the club was mostly full of Danes interested in the American culture and history. Before the two moved to Denmark, their friends responded to the idea with mainly “absent knowledge,” as Ed calls it. “One of the things I was told before I got here was that it might be a year before neighbours knock on your door. That was absolutely not the case in my situation. They met me before I even got up the stairs.”

Andrew Hayden, 38, works as a civil engineer for the design, engineering and project management company ARUP.


n October 2009 he, his wife Rachel and their son moved to Copenhagen. Though they miss America’s wilderness among other things, Copenhagen has a good range of transportation options. “If you lived in LA, you’d have to drive everywhere, if you live in New York, you have to take the subway,” Andrew says. Even more essential for Andrew and Rachel, who works as an IT-consultant, is the work-life balance when having a family. In Denmark, it is not the hours that count but completing the workload previously agreed upon. This leaves time for the family responsibilities that are still considered the women’s domain in the US. The family found an apartment in Østerbro after being told it was a good place to live with children. Additionally, the highest number of apartments advertized in English seems to be found in this part of Copenhagen. Andrew and Rachel were looking for an international community. “We decided there were too many Brits and Americans living in Hellerup and we didn’t want to be in a kind of Englishspeaking enclave. I didn’t want talk about how I miss Reese’s peanut butter.” Their second child is due on July 2, so the couple is not planning anything big for their Independence Day celebration. They might dig out the “flag stuff” that has been hiding in the storage room since the move. “But you know you have to ask the police for permission here to put a [foreign] flag out, so each year the US embassy sends out a notice to remind us.”

For the Fourth of July, Andrew will invite friends to what he calls a “true American barbecue complete with beer, hotdogs and hamburgers, and perhaps even some fireworks.” Having to celebrate the holiday on July 3 does not taint the experience for him in the least. When trying to explain the history of the occasion, Andrew describes it as “simply the day that we declared independence from England.” Turning the tables around and looking at how Americans view Denmark, Andrew replies, “Americans know nothing about Denmark other than, perhaps, it’s ability to punch above its weight. Scandinavia is more well-known and can be used as a proxy for Denmark in conversation with the geographically challenged.” Explaining the stereotyping about Americans he encountered in Denmark, Andrew remarks, ”Most people in Denmark know the US from our commercials, pop culture, and warmongering. However, a lot of Danes do know of San Francisco and its uniqueness in the American landscape. For the most part, Americans are thought of as obese – which we are – and oil guzzlers – which we also are.” While he is not terribly interested in meeting other Americans, he does not know where to find them in Copenhagen other than in Danish language courses or at the American embassy. His efforts to meet Danes have proven to be a straining experience. “Danes are impossible to meet socially without any prior discussion of meeting unless there is lots of alcohol involved. Most Danes I know I have met at work or in bars,” Andrew says. “Festivals strike me as a good place to meet Danes, if you are not put off by exuberant drunkenness.” So meeting Americans living in Copenhagen may be more challenging than looking out for striped flags. It might involve letting go of your general perceptions of the US and avoiding the tourist hot spots. Americans are practically all over the place and apparently very effective at blending in with the cycling crowds.

Let’s make the 4th of July a new tradition at Graceland Randers

When their friends and family learnt about their move to Denmark, many of them associated it with “Hans Christian Andersen,” an American film from 1952 that is loosely based on facts of the author’s life. Andrew said he had wondered why Americans often pronounced “Copenhagen” in the German style “Kopenhagen.” He later remembered the song from the film, “Wonderful, Wonderful Kopenhagen,” so the American viewers learnt that pronunciation. “I think that movie formed the basis of a lot of people’s idea of what Denmark is,” explained Andrew. Discussing the prejudice about Americans being oblivious to other countries, Andrew clarifies the difference. “To be fair, it is a very large country with a lot of people in it. If you live in Iowa, it’s hard enough to figure out what people are like in the other 49 states around you, much less on another continent.” When the family talked about moving, some people mentioned the Swedish chef in The Muppet Show and his fairly incomprehensible gibberish imitating Swedish phonology. For Andrew, Danish pronunciation reveals many surprises, “especially anything that has a ‘G’ in it. I am always astonished when I hear it pronounced. It seems like the wild-card letter, it can be anything.”

Andrew Butcher, 26, left California’s mountains and forests behind for a PhD position in Atmospheric Chemistry


his brought him to Denmark nine months ago. During this time, he has started to miss, aside from family and friends, the geographic variety he left behind. “The beach is a four-hour drive away from skiing,” Andrew explains. Even though he believes that it is nearly impossible to find a good Vietnamese Pho noodle shop in Copenhagen, Andrew is planning to stay for a total of three years. Being able to bicycle to work and being provided proper health care helps to ease the pain of not being able to see San Francisco. Up until now, Andrew has been living in Frederiksberg but has to move out soon, so he hopes to find a new place in Vesterbro.

Come celebrate with us!

See details at

Graceland Randersvej3, 8960 Randers SØ +45 86429696


The True Facts About the Glorious Fourth Hot dogs off the grill, family picnics, parades and fireworks have all come to be part of the celebration of Independence Day in America. This national holiday takes place in memory of that first day when the individual governments in the thirteen original colonies banded together and declared independence from Great Britain. The problem is the Americans have chosen the wrong day to party. By Alexis Kunsak

Chris’ Great Rub for Spare Ribs

Independence Day 2011

Ingredients: ½ Tb salt, 1 Tb sugar, ½ Tb ground cumin, ½ Tb black pepper, ½ Tb chili powder, 1 Tb paprika Method: Mix all ingredients and rub on 4 pounds (1.8 kilos) of ribs. Bake in 250 F (120 C) for 2 hours or grill over oak planks.

Will Gurley is a designer living in Frederiksberg.


here are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding the day of the nation’s birth, not least of which is the date itself. It was July 2, 1776 when the Second Continental Congress representing the colonies approved the proposal of independence put forth by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. Future US President John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail:

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Adams’s prediction was two days too early. Right from the beginning, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, which was the date shown on the widely circulated Declaration of Independence. It was on the Glorious Fourth that Thomas Jefferson’s document was adopted. The demands that the British Crown placed on the colonies without allowing them to representation in parliament were seen as a form of tyranny. The rallying cry became “no taxation without representation.” Benjamin Franklin contributed his own colourful statement about the need to formally declare independence. “We must all hang together, or most assuredly we shall hang separately,” he said, although no historian has ever found any proof of the comment. One odd truth about the holiday is that two of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence both died on July 4, 1826. John Adams died of heart failure at the age of 91 and Thomas Jefferson was 83 years old when he died of dysentery. It was not until 1870 that the US Congress made Independence Day a holiday for federal employees. In 1938, the day was finally changed to a paid federal holiday. Currently, New York and Washington D.C. host some of the largest celebrations. Each year over half a million people gather on the Capital lawn in Washington DC for a free concert before the fireworks. In New York City, the department store Macy’s sponsors a fireworks display for an estimated 3 million viewers, and even more watching on television. In 2010, the show used some 40,000 shells, which were launched from six barges in the Hudson River. At Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs in Coney Island over 40,000 spectators gather to see the winner of the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4. Legend has it the contest started to settle a dispute among four immigrants who were fighting over who was the most patriotic. The sister city of Odense, Columbus in the state of Ohio, does not get left out. The Ohio Historical Society will recreate a 19th century village, complete with patriotic speeches, baseball, and a community dance. The Doo Dah Parade begins in downtown Columbus in the afternoon, and before the fireworks start in the evening, someone will win the pie-eating contest.


“I don’t really have any July 4 plans and have yet to celebrate while I am here in Denmark. Ideally I would love to barbecue and bike around with sparklers sticking out of my handlebars with red white and blue ribbons in my spokes, wearing a stars and stripes helmet with a cape shooting fireworks out of my bike basket but I have not made a big deal of it so far.”

Ken Puliafico is a biological researcher who lives in Østerbro. “This year we might throw a small barbecue with some friends on July 3. We will naturally make burgers (with all the trimmings) and some hot dogs. Ideally we should have apple pie but it is unlikely.”

Kenneth Dumlao is a musician and lives in the centre of Copenhagen. “I personally have not celebrated the Fourth of July in the 18 years I have been in Europe. A couple of times I used it as an excuse for a barbecue if the weather was nice, but usually the day comes and goes with out me noticing until I read the news or someone reminds me.”

Michael Stroh is studying architecture in Copenhagen. “I will probably forget the Fourth of July or be at Roskilde. I don’t usually party on the Fourth of July. It’s been too long since I’ve lived in the States.”

Kevin Horan lives in Østerbro. “I would invite my friends over to grill and drink cheap beer. Then I’d probably eat six or seven hot dogs with ketchup, jalapeños and fried onions. And we would listen to “3 Feet High and Rising” by De La Soul at least once, and Neil Young (even though he’s Canadian).”

Kyl Cornelius “When it comes to holidays, I like to celebrate the Fourth of July by lighting a bunch of fireworks, I actually buy all my fireworks in January since they don’t celebrate it here, so they sit in my house awaiting the night of the Fourth! For food I grill everything, but I hardly ever grill hotdogs or hamburgers. People here just think it’s a really America thing to do and I really got tired of hearing that.”

Mary Coble is an artist and lives in Amager. “No plans yet, but spending the day grilling on the beach sounds like a perfect day to me. It’s fun sharing my traditions with friends here so that’ll be a way to do what I would normally do at home, at least the grilling part. I would probably grill some hotdogs and hamburgers, make coleslaw and potato salad all in honour of traditions at home. And I’d probably make some mint juleps, a drink that is a Southern US classic.”

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Old Glory flies again Aalborg and North Jutland will be keeping alive their tradition of celebrating America’s Independence Day once again this year. For two days on July 1-2 downtown Aalborg will come alive with the sounds of America and the sight of Old Glory flying from the city’s windows and lampposts. Americans celebrate their independence on July 4, but in Aalborg we’re making the party last for two full days. The festivities begin on July 1 at Gammeltorv and the concerts and other free entertainment will continue on July 2. Food and drink One American tradition we’ve gladly adopted in Denmark is the summer cookout. Having a good time together with good friends over good food is what Danish ‘hygge’ is all about. And when Aalborg City’s 400 stores get together to honor our American friends the last thing anyone wants is the party to run out of food or drink. This year, as in years past, Bone’s restaurant will be serving up a taste of old America. In addition to famous barbeque spareribs, the Bone’s festival menu will also include baked potatoes, coleslaw and corn on the cob. American dream Bone’s is the real-life American dream come true of owner Sam Bone, and his ribs are made using a recipe of his own design. The restaurant itself is inspired by

Sam’s adventures working at restaurants in the US. American Days in Aalborg is one of the city’s biggest events, and the weather is normally with us. Join us at the picnic tables in Gammeltorv, where the main stage will be alive with music and entertainment Friday and Saturday afternoons. This year’s American Days will provide a broad range of American entertainment, and Gammeltorv will be the perfect place to sit down and take a load off after a hard day of hitting the summer sales. The best of America “In the past Aalborg City’s Independence Day festivities have been themed on Grease, Elvis, classic American cars and country and western music,” says Aalborg City director Flemming Thingbak. “This year though, we’ve decided to mix things up and offer our guests a broad variety of the best America has to offer.”

4th July supplement  

4th of July, Independence Day