Danish Heritage Seminars
The Danish Heritage Seminar, which the Danish Federation organizes every year, is a five day educational, inspiring and fun-filled course about Danish culture and history. There are also lectures on Canadian and international topics, as well as activities such as singing, dancing and films.
An important aspect of the course is the friendship that quickly develops among the participants from across Canada. Danes and Americans have also participated. The lectures and films are all in English, while songs are mostly in Danish.
The Danish Heritage Seminar is modelled on the residential Folk High Schools
in Denmark, which were created in the 19th century, based on the ideas of
N.F.S. Grundtvig and Christen Kold.
2008 Danish Heritage Seminar at Far Hills Inn
The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada organized a one-week Danish
Heritage Seminar at Far Hills Inn just outside Val-Morin in the Laurentian
Mountains from May 26-31, 2008. The theme was Danish Cinema and the headmasters
were Danish film director Lars Pedersen Arendt and Pastor Elisabeth Arendt
of the Danish Lutheran Church in Toronto. Twenty-five adults attended the
Danish Heritage Seminar.
During the week the participants saw the Danish movie Ordet, directed by Carl Th. Dreyer, and based on a play by Kai Munk; the silent movie The Abyss starring the great Asta Nielsen; the recent Danish film Adam's Apples which was shown at the 2007 EU Film Festivals in Ottawa and Vancouver; Breaking the waves by Lars von Trier; Det gamle guld, a Morten Korch film from 1951; and Beast a short film by Lars Pedersen Arendt.
On the Tuesday, Dr. Galina Korneva and Dr. Tatiana Cheboksarova came to speak about Empress Maria Feodorovna's residences in Russia and Denmark. The presentation about Empress Dagmar as she is known in Denmark was accompanied by power point presentation, showing many well-known palaces, guesthouses, summer residences and streetscapes. On the Thursday, Richard Lynn Studham brought some sculptures and showed slides, while speaking about his work, in particular ceramics and sculptures.
When the participants arrived they were asked, "What is you favourite movie"? The movies, which received more than one vote, were: Babette's Feast; Out of Africa; Casablanca and Ghandi.
The Morten Korch movie Det gamle guld, which was shown at the Heritage Seminar, was very popular with the participants. Elisabeth Arendt led a discussion on the recent film Adam's Apples and compared it to the Book of Job in the Bible. Later she told the Seminar about Film Director Lars von Trier and led a discussion about his film Breaking the Waves. Lars Pedersen Arendt gave lectures on Danish Silent Movies and the many film genres in addition to leading the workshop on cinema.
The weather was perfect; there were sunny skies the whole week. It only rained on arrival and on departure. The participants also sang a lot, mostly from Højskolesangbogen. And the food was excellent. Many of the participants also took the opportunity to visit the nearby Mont Tremblant ski resort.
The week ended with a Goodbye Party on Friday evening, held in the hotel's lounge. Activities included singing, folk dancing, a word game, a lottery, eating, drinking and talking. A great way to end a wonderful week of cinema - fun and fellowship.
2007 Danish Heritage Seminar
A one-week Danish Heritage Seminar was held at Jasper Inn and Resort, high
in the Rocky Mountains, where the Miette River flows into the mighty Athabasca
River. Twenty-five people participated in the Danish Heritage Seminar, held
from May 28 to June 2 in Jasper, Alberta.
The Headmaster was Pastor Rikke Aagaard Nielsen of Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church in Edmonton. She was assisted by her husband Henrik Aagaard Nielsen, and together they had chosen Post-War Denmark as the theme of the Seminar.
To set the stage for the lectures, Rikke showed the first four episodes from the Danish TV series Krøniken, which depicts life in Denmark after World War II. As well, she showed the documentary film "Once upon a time - Denmark 1945-1970." Rikke's lectures focused on Post-War Denmark at a glance; Rural Culture; The Church in Denmark; as well as Education and Changes. The lectures included overheads and handouts. Moreover, Rikke had brought along a Danish history book by Søren Mørch, entitled in Danish "The last History of Denmark," which is quite provocative in its interpretation and which was often used as a reference during the Seminar.
Henrik Aagaard Nielsen spoke about Danish Social Policy in the post-war period and Practical Social Work. Rolf Christensen spoke about the European Union since September 11th as well as Danish Foreign Policy Today. For Show and Tell Betty Wilson, Jens Olsen, Betty Kjearsgaard, Hanne Stanfield and Knud Nielsen entertained the group.
A challenging History Quiz, focussing on Post-War Denmark, was won by group 1, just barely beating group 4. There were also five workshops on Post-War Denmark. The workshop questions generated a lot of discussion. As was intended!
Helen Kelleher-Empey from Jasper Tourism and Commerce and Gloria Keyes-Brady from Parks Canada told the Seminar about the Jasper town site, Jasper National Park and showed a short promotional film. Gloria mentioned how inmates and prisoners-of-war had helped clear trees and build roads in the Park.
Throughout the Seminar the participants sang Danish songs from the Danish 'Højskolesangbog'. Some of the songs were old favourites. Others were new songs. Rikke introduced many of the songs by saying something about the author.
There was also free time and many of the participants went into town - about five blocks away - or visited nearby mountains and lakes, relaxed or swam in the pool. There was still snow on the mountains. The weather was great - cool in the morning, but warm - even hot - by the afternoon.
The Seminar ended with a Goodbye Party, which was held on the terrace outside the Jasper Inn Restaurant, the Seminar participants having the terrace all to themselves, complete with a bar and bartender. Hanne Stanfield, Helge and Bitten Christensen, Betty Wilson and Henrik Langer, looked after the party arrangements. Entertainment involved a game, a crossword puzzle and a lottery, with excellent prizes, donated by the participants. It was a beautiful summer evening and a fitting ending to a week that went by all too fast!
2006 Danish Heritage Seminar at Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia
The 2006 Danish Heritage Seminar, with 30 participants, was held immediately after the Conference, from May 15-19, at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Four of the participants were from the United States. The headmasters were Pastor Anne-Sophie Christiansen and Morten Christiansen of Granly Danish Lutheran Church in Surrey, who had chosen the theme History.
Harrison Hot Springs is a beautiful location, situated on an enormous lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The Resort is first class, with fine dining and five different hot pools fed by a hot underground spring. Anne-Sophie and Morten covered: What is History; History: Fact or Fiction; History and Heroes; History or Myth; History and Songs; and Does History change over time? They played songs, such as Lili Marlene from WWII and Yellow River from the Vietnam War, showed slides and got the participants involved.
A History Quiz was held and there was a Workshop on History. Rolf Christensen spoke about Revisionist History and told the story of a young German girl who had been a refugee in Denmark. Anna-Birgit Olsen, Edith Wulff, Per Falkenberg-Andersen, Kirsten Roy and Lili Gregerson brought items for Show and Tell. As well, cartoons about the Danish cartoon controversy were passed around.
The Seminar ended with dinner and dance in the Copper Room. In short, it
was another successful and enjoyable Seminar, in memorable, luxurious and
2005 Danish Heritage Seminar at Dana College, Blair, Nebraska
The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada's annual Heritage Seminar was held at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, from Sunday, May 29 to Wednesday, June 1, 2005. Headmaster was Prof. John Mark Nielsen, who is Executive Director of the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa. The participants stayed in a dormitory at Dana College, and ate in the cafeteria.
The Seminar started with a tour to Fort Atkinson, the first American military fort west of the Missouri River. At the fort John Mark Nielsen and Prof. Peter Petersen gave a lecture on the American explorers Lewis and Clark and on the continental expansion of the USA.
Monday, Peter Petersen spoke about Danish immigration to the United States, particularly to Iowa and Nebraska. This was followed by a lecture by Prof. Jim Iversen on the Danish contribution to wind technology - windmills, wind tunnels and wind turbines.
The afternoon tour went to the Mormon Trail Center in Florence, just north of Omaha. This is where the Mormons wintered in 1846, on their way to Utah. The Center showed a video of the trek. The Center also houses a museum, depicting the early history of the Mormons. Across the street from the Center is a cemetery with most of the graves dating from the Winter Quarters era.
In the evening in the Chapel soprano Kristi Bergland and pianist Philip Everingham presented a recital of Scandinavian songs by Edvard Grieg, Carl Nielsen, Jean Sibelius and others. This was followed by a reception in the Forum.
Tuesday morning archivist John W. Nielsen gave a presentation of the Danish Immigrant Archive at Dana College, an active and impressive archive staffed by volunteers. The Archive also publishes books. Afterwards John Mark Nielsen and Peter Petersen gave a comprehensive presentation on the Elk Horn Danish Immigrant Museum, its history, operation and future plans.
In the afternoon the Seminar participants visited the DeSoto Wildlife Refuge and heard about the Missouri River ecology and environment. The Visitors' Center also includes the Bertrand Steamship Museum, which houses the cargo rescued from this large cargo riverboat, which capsized in 1865, and was only salvaged over one hundred years later.
The day ended with the Danish dogma film "Italian for Beginners", directed by Lone Sherfig, her debut, for which she received a Silver Bear in Berlin. It was in Danish with English subtitles.
Wednesday Peter Hansen of Valmont Industries of Omaha spoke about modern wind technology and the challenges of building bigger and bigger towers for the turbines. The Seminar ended with John Mark Nielsen giving a brief overview of Danish American literature. John Mark briefly sketched the outline of Kritian Østergaard's dramatic novel Anton Arden og møllerens Johanne.
Eighteen people had signed up for the Seminar, including one American.
But at times the group consisted of 22 people, including the headmaster,
as some Conference participants stayed for the Seminar, the program being
so interesting. The Seminar was a wonderful opportunity to learn about American
history and ecology, Nebraska and Iowa, as well as the Danes in the USA.
2004 Danish Heritage Seminar at Far Hills Inn in Val-Morin, Quebec
The one-week Danish Heritage Seminar, held at Far Hills Inn in Val-Morin, Quebec, Canada, focused on Canadian Literature. From May 31 to June 5, 2004, the twenty-four participants from across Canada - and including one couple from the United States - heard about Robertson Davies, Carol Shields, Yann Martell, Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood. The Headmaster was Pastor Dorte Pedersen of Toronto, who had chosen the theme and the five authors. Regarding Davies, Dorte gave an overview of his work, while for the other four she had chosen respectively the books Unless, Life of Pi, In the skin of a lion and The Blind Assassin.
The discussions about the authors and their books raised many stimulating
questions relating to history, culture, religion, literature and social
issues. The Danish Heritage Seminar was organized by the Danish Federation
and was held immediately after the Danish Canadian Conference in Montreal.
The Seminar also provided opportunities to swim and hike. Every morning and every evening the class would sing at least one song from Højskolesangbogen. The Seminar was conducted in English, except for the singing. This was the first time that the theme focused on a Canadian topic.
Far Hills Inn is situated about 82 km north of Montreal in the picturesque Laurentian Mountains. The resort, with spectacular mountain top views, has its own private lake with a beach, which is surrounded by mountains of pristine woodlands. In the main lodge, where the Seminar participants stayed, each room is different, and all are very cozy.
Other lecturers at the Seminar included Pastor Niels Ebbe Huus of Grimsby, who spoke about Norwegian author Herbjørg Wassmo's best-seller Dina's Book, and then showed the feature film "I am Dina", based on Wassmo's dramatic book. Kim Cully spoke about Quebec history and culture and gave a brief French lesson. She played Gilles Vigneault's song Mon Pays and she taught the class to sing Alouette. Professor Marianne Stenbaek, who had just returned from a visit to Greenland, spoke about Greenland today, which in two generations has become a modern society. Rolf Christensen gave a talk on Germany, where he presented some broad outlines of German history, ending with unification in 1990.
Other activities included a 1950s music quiz, games, singing, a workshop
on literature and a goodbye party in the lodge's bar. Wednesday afternoon
was free. Well over half of the participants chose to visit Montreal, where
in the evening St. Ansgar's Lutheran Church had arranged a dinner, followed
by wonderful musical entertainment. Some of the participants said this was
one of the best Seminars ever. Moreover, the French cuisine at Far Hills
Inn was excellent!
2003 Danish Heritage Seminar in Thunder Bay
A one-week Danish Heritage Seminar, entitled Aspects of Scandinavian Culture, was held at the Nor'Wester Resort Hotel outside Thunder Bay, Canada, from June 16-21, 2003. The educational and fun-filled Seminar was organized by the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada. Headmaster was Prof. Chris Hale, who teaches Norwegian language and literature at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Every morning before breakfast Jennie Marcher led a dedicated group of volunteers in aerobics. After breakfast the participants sang one or two morning songs from Højskolesangbogen, with Else Staal Nielsen on the keyboard. Most lectures began with a song, and the day always ended with a song or two. Chris Hale gave lectures on the Danish-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose, the Norwegian languages (Bokmaal and Nynorsk), Nicknames, Scandinavian Folk Music and the Danish Lutheran Churches in the Danish settlements in Canada. Aksel Sandemose was the author who came up with the concept of Janteloven, which has been discussed at many of the Danish Heritage Seminars.
City Councillor Betty Kennedy spoke about Thunder Bay, Lorne Prince, assisted by his wife Ingrid, spoke about the Danes of Pass Lake, Elinor Barr told the group about her project on the Swedes in Canada, and Jim Hyder showed his video The Nordic Legacy and spoke about the Scandinavians in Thunder Bay. There was also an excursion to Pass Lake, the Danish settlement outside Thunder Bay, founded in 1924, with a visit to Salem Lutheran Church and the cemetery. Coffee and cakes were served at the Church.
Another day included a visit to the Finlandia Club, the former Finnish Labour Temple, with a talk by Jorma Halonen and a tour of the upstairs museum. The visit ended with coffee and Finnish pancakes at the well-known Finnish restaurant Hoito, in the basement. Seven of the participants had brought items along for the Show and Tell evening, which is always a lot of fun. Two of them came in Viking outfits.
This year there were two workshops, one on Canadian Foreign Policy and
one on Scandinavian Culture. The Workshop on Canadian Foreign Policy used
the booklet with questions issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs during
its current policy review. There was also a Classical Music Quiz, with the
Seminar divided into four competing groups. The Seminar ended with a Goodbye
Party where the participants recited poetry, read jokes, sang and had a
good time. There were 24 participants, four of them from the United States.
2002 Danish Heritage Seminar in Canmore, Alberta
The 2002 Danish Heritage Seminar was held in the splendor of the Canadian Rockies at Green Gables Inn, Canmore, from May 27 to June 1. A record 48 people participated in the Seminar, the theme being Dreams and Reality. Headmaster couple were Pastor Folmer Johansen and his wife Else of Granly Lutheran Church in Surrey, British Columbia.
Every morning Folmer Johansen would give one of his lectures relating to Dreams and Reality. He spoke about the dream of residential schools for adults, the dream of becoming a poet, the dream of a just and righteous world, the dream of development and the dream of traveling. Each lecture would include a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, which would illustrade the dream - or reality.
Guest lectures included Pastor Preben Mogensen, who spoke about the controversial author, critic and professor, Georg Brandes, who discovered Nietzsche, and led a literary revolution. Pastor Lars Basbøll addressed the topic of the women in Hans Christian Andersen's life. Pastor Rikke Aagaard Nielsen spoke about the painter Arne Haugen Sørensen, who has decorated many Danish churches with his Wanderer. Professor Gitte Lindgaard spoke about the dream and the reality of technology. Rolf Christensen spoke about Danish Foreign Policy. Pastor Folmer also showed sliedes from a trip to the rim of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Friday night the participants held a Good Bye Party. In the Danish tradition
of writing songs for any occasion, Gitte Lindgaard wrote a song about the
Seminar. The participants had surely learned a lot about H.C. Andersen.
This ended a wonderful week of education, inspirtation, fellowshlip and
The 2001 Danish Heritage Seminar was held at the Canterbury Hills Conference Centre, located in Ancaster, west of Hamilton, Ontario, from Monday, June 4 to Saturday, June 9. The Canterbury Hills Conference Centre is situated in the Dundas Valley on 72 acres of Carolinian Forest, offering a unique residential setting.
The Headmaster was Pastor Preben K. Mogensen of the Danish Lutheran Church of the Niagara Peninsula in Grimsby. For the Seminar Theme he had chosen Identity, and spoke about The Quest for Identity; Danishness; Danish Nationality; Denmark is a little land; Europe's Soul; and Danish Identity - An Outlook. Several other speakers also spoke about Identity, from their particular point of view.
Other topics included Danish Popular Music; Images of Europe; the European Union; Danish Foreign Policy and the Referendum on the EURO; Workshops on Culture and Identity; Show and Tell; and an excursion to the McMichael Canadian Collection in Kleinburg, which includes Canada's largest collection of the Group of Seven paintings.
In addition to the Headmaster, the teachers will include: Professor John Pratschke, Pastor Spencer Overgaard Thomsen, The Rev. David Lynn, Rabbi Bernard Baskin, Ms. Tammy Skrubbeltrang and Rolf Buschardt Christensen.
The fee of $ 595 included room (double occupancy); three meals; two daily
coffee breaks; lectures and presentations; use of facilities; excursion
to McMichael Collection and all taxes and gratuities.
1999 Danish Heritage Seminar in Canmore, Alberta
The participants had a difficult time making up their minds about what they liked best about the Danish Heritage Seminar, because they all enjoyed the interesting lectures, the great food, the spectacular view of the mountains, the Danish songs, the excursions to ice-covered Moraine Lake as well as the fellowship. The one-week Danish Heritage Seminar was held from Monday to Saturday, May 31 to June 5, 1999, at the Green Gables Inn in Canmore, Alberta.
Headmaster was Pastor Birte Bjerre of Aalborg, Denmark, who spoke about five of Denmark's most popular hymnwriters: Sthen, Kingo, Brorson, Grundtvig and Ingemann. Pastor Jens Hvidtfeldt Nielsen, Calgary, spoke about rhythm and new hymns in the Danish Church - and illustrated this by singing some songs. Stan Chester spoke about forest fires. Karen Turnbull played a word game and lead the group in line dancing, while Jennie Marcher was in charge of gymnastics. Professor Gretchen MacMillan gave an excellent overview of Ireland and its constitution. Professor Marina Allemano gave a fascinating introduction to the study of the interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen as a person. Andy Harris and Jim Ridley spoke about Canmore and its future development. Rolf Christensen spoke about the Order of the Knight Templars. Six seminar participants conducted a very entertaining Show and Tell class, while everyone participated in a Workshop on Danish authors, culture, songs and heroes.
A record 33 people attended the seminar. Mention must be made of the excellent
food at Chez François, the fine dining restaurant in the Inn, where all
the meals were eaten. Moreover, there were excursions to the Canmore Library
and Art Gallery, the Canmore Centennial Museum as well as a guided bus tour
to Banff and majestic Moraine Lake and Valley of the Ten Peaks.
1997 Danish Heritage Seminar in New Denmark, N. B.
Lakeside Lodge and Resort, southwest of New Denmark, New Brunswick, provided an excellent location for holding a Danish Heritage Seminar, where the 26 full-time participants could explore local history, heritage and culture, in addition to other fascinating topics. Lakeside Lodge, located on Pirie Lake, about five kilometers from Grand Falls, near the border to Maine, offered both quality rooms within the Lodge as well as large cabins by the lake.
The headmaster was Finn Stendal Pedersen, history professor at Odense University in Denmark. Most lectures started with a Danish song from Højskolesangbogen. And every evening ended with at least two or three songs. Most evenings someone from New Denmark would come and entertain.
The program organizers were Eileen Hansen and Rolf Buschardt Christensen while the seminar registrar was Esther Machacynski. The dining room was located in the Lodge, as was the classroom. Lunch and dinner included three courses - and some of the dishes were Danish. The food was plentiful and delicious - and the service was efficient and very friendly.
After dinner, the first evening, Friday, June 13, 1997, Tim Nicholas from the Maliseet Nation spoke about native Indian traditions, including the Talking Stick. He also lit some sage to enhance the atmosphere. After his informative talk, the Maliseet drummers, chanters and dancers entertained. The participants could also try the big drum and dance around the drummers.
Headmaster Finn Stendal Pedersen introduced the Danish feature film Memories of a Marriage (Dansen med Regitze) which gave a realistic picture of Denmark in the period 1940-70. He also gave two lectures - one on N.F.S. Grundtvig as a politician, serving in the first Constituent Assembly, which drew up the Danish Constitution of 1849, and then in the Danish Parliament. His second lecture was about Stavnsbåndet and the agricultural reforms in the 1780s and the beginning of the nineteenth century, reforms that were carried out from above, without a violent revolution as in France.
Bill McCue of Grand Falls fascinated his audience with tales about wildlife, pollution, bird calls, and many other things. He then told them the story of how he got his own local TV program which is called Bill's World. Saturday evening Henrik and Mark Deichmann spoke about their family, the family pottery and the arts community in New Brunswick. They also showed a film about the former Deichmann Pottery. They had also brought along a collection of beautiful decorated pottery, made by the former studio potters Kjeld and Erica Deichmann. Janet Maclellan Toole of the Provincial Archives in Fredericton spoke about oral history, her own family and about the arts community in New Brunswick, including the Deichmann family. Ann Brennan told about her research on Klondike Kate, which culminated in her book about Kate. She discovered that Klondike Kate had actually been two women, a nurse as well as a bar girl who tried to pass herself off as the nurse - the real Klondike Kate.
Edith Wulff showed the group how to make Danish christmas paper decorations (hjerter) to hang on the tree, but made with Maple Leafs, which made it much more difficult to assemble. Former Toronto Star journalist Robert Nielsen showed his brother's National Film Board video The Newcomers: The Danes. Robert Nielsen added his own comments to the film which had realistically portrayed his mother as being homesick and wanting to return to Denmark the first many years they were in Canada. Rolf Christensen introduced the video The European Union and Canada, which he had just had the fun of producing, by speaking about the EU institutions and policies as well as upcoming developments such as revising the Maastricht Treaty and enlargement with countries in Eastern Europe. John Hebert gave a professional presentation - using slides and video - about New Brunswick Telephone. He spoke about the many exciting developments that are taking place in the field of communication, such as video conferencing, cable and the internet. John Vallillee gave an interesting talk about the Acadians - the francophones of the Maritimes. He detailed their settlement, conquest, deportation, return and fight for survival. He also touched on their culture and sang a couple of Acadian songs in French.
Librarian Helen Nielsen Craig, who has researched her family, explained how to go about doing genealogical research and how to produce a book for the family, with photos, stories and a family tree. Karen Taylor, director of education with the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, showed a video and spoke about human rights issues, focussing on racism, discrimination, harassment and equal opportunities in Canada. Poet Sheri Andrews, descendant of an early New Denmark family, read a selection of her poems, explaining or commenting on each one. Many of her poems, which are to be published in an upcoming book, related to New Denmark and the Danes in Canada. Two mornings Marion Pray conducted Danish folk dancing, to give the participants some exercise.
Sunday morning the participants went to New Denmark to go to Church. This was also an opportunity to see the new downstairs hall in St. Peter's Lutheran Church, which had just been completed. The Heritage Seminar included two excursions by minivan. One went to McCain, one of the largest employers in the area, which provided a tour of their pizza pocket and juice plants in Grand Falls. The other excursion went to New Denmark. Anton Pray spoke about potato farming and treated the group to coffee at the Valhalla Restaurant. The tour ended with a visit to the newly completed New Denmark Senior Complex, where Gunnar Pedersen of the Historical Society opened his doors to the interested visitors.
Twenty-two of the participants had participated in a Danish Heritage Seminar before. Only four were brand new students. There were nevertheless some firsts. It was the first time the Seminar was held before the Conference, and not after. It was the first time a Church Service was incorporated into the Seminar. And it was the first time that a commercial presentation (NB Tel) had been included in the program.
On the last evening, the participants held a Goodbye Party at the Lodge.
Everyone got dressed up nicely and the participants chatted and nibbled
on the goodies they had ordered. Singers from New Denmark sang and the participants
sang as well. It was the end of a wonderful week of singing, learning, talking,
laughing and having a great time.
1996 Danish Heritage Seminar in Ladysmith, June 10-15, 1996
The Inn of the Sea Resort, with its view of ocean, islands and mountains, provided a beautiful as well as a secluded spot for exploring Danish history, literature and culture, in addition to other fascinating topics. The Inn of the Sea is located on Yellow Point, between Ladysmith and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The headmaster was DKU Pastor Jorgen Kappel Hansen of the Granly Danish Lutheran Church in Surrey, B.C. Jorgen loves the treasure of Danish songs found in Hojskolesangbogen - and so did the 24 full-time students. Every lecture started with a song - or two. And every evening ended with at least two or three songs.
The Program Coordinator was Rolf Buschardt Christensen and Seminar Registrar was Erik Qwist. All the rooms had a balcony and those in the front row had a gorgeous view of the ocean. They were equipped with TV, telephone and full size bathroom. The dining room in the main building overlooked the swimming pool and ocean. Breakfast and lunch were buffet-style, while dinner was served - and included three courses. Above the dining room was the classroom. Each day started with a morning song and then a presentation by Pastor Jorgen Kappel Hansen.
Jorgen had chosen five Danish authors and one Swede. In addition to Kaj Munk, Martin A. Hansen, Karen Blixen, Johannes Mollehave and Steen Steensen Blicher, he focused on the Swedish author Selma Lagerlof. He often read a short passage from their works or handed out an information sheet. After the morning presentation, and before lunch, Jennie Marcher was in charge of exercise. There were exercises on the floor in the classroom and on two days there were exercises in the swimming pool. Otto H. Larsen of the Royal Danish Embassy in Ottawa had chosen the topic: 'Denmark: a tiny land - and yet'. He admitted that Denmark was in some ways indeed a tiny land - and yet asked, 'Can Denmark really be that tiny if in 1992 it won the European Soccer Championship, beating Germany 2-0?'
Michael Stanfield displayed some of his water colours, including some from Denmark. He then showed a video he and his wife, Hanne, had made, which explained how he went about painting water colours. Rolf Christensen showed a video about the Spanish missions in California and gave a talk about the background of Spanish colonization in the New World and one about theories relating to the founding of new societies in the Americas. On an excursion by bus to famous Cathedral Grove, with its giant trees, Stan Chester explained the dynamics of the forest and pointed out the different trees. He also spoke about the age of these giant trees and of reforestation.
Henrik Kreiberg took the group on a fascinating tour under the sea - first by showing slides and then by taking the group outside to do some beachcombing. In this way, Henrik gave the class a quick introduction to marine biology, a world so exciting and vastly different from the visit to the giant forest the day before. Niels Jorgensen gave a demonstration of the Internet on his computer. First he showed the group how e-mail works, by opening his mail box and by sending a message. Then he visited a couple of web sites on the Internet, including Jyllandsposten.
On the Friday, Professor John Tucker gave a presentation on Danish film director Carl Th. Dreyer. He showed quite a few clips from various films by Dreyer. This was followed by a two-hour film about the establishment of the MGM studio in Culver City/Hollywood.
On the last evening, the participants held a Goodbye Party. Everyone got
dressed up nicely and the participants chatted and nibbled on the goodies
they had ordered. It was the end of a wonderful week of singing, learning,
talking, laughing and having a great time. As last year, many of the participants
said they would be back again next year.
1995 Danish Heritage Seminar at Montebello
The 1995 Danish Heritage Seminar was held at Le Chateau Montebello from May 29 to June 3, 1995, located on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, up from Montreal. The Headmaster was Prof. Chris Hale, Department of Germanic Languages, University of Alberta, Edmonton. The theme of the Seminar was Scandinavian Immigration. Prof. Hale delivered a number of lectures on immigration to Canada from the various Scandinavian countries. Prof. Hale also gave a lecture where he compared the Scandinavian languages. As well, he reported on the results of a survey he was conducting among Danes who immigrated to Canada after World War II. Prof. Gurli Woods of Carleton gave a lecture on the author Karen Blixen and showed the film "Out of Africa." Prof. Hans Moller of McGill gave a talk on the playwright Ludvig Holberg. Poul B. Christensen spoke about South Africa and Nelson Mandela. Prof. Finn Stendal Pedersen of the University of Odense spoke about Post-War Denmark. Rolf Christensen gave a talk on Denmark's Quiet Revolution, highlighting some of the changes in Danish society since World War II. Jan Eisenhardt charmed the group with his observations on famous Danes throughout history. World War II veteran Ross Wiens recounted how he was shot down over Denmark in World War II, but managed to make contact with the Danish Resistance and get safely to Sweden. Years later he returned and had some very emotional reunions with his saviours. Later he was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to attend the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Denmark, on which occasion he met the Queen and Crown Prince of Denmark. Jette Ashlee gave a talk about Christian Klengenberg, the unsung hero of the Canadian arctic. Doreen Riedel spoke about her father, Captain Henry Larsen. She also showed a film about the voyage of the St. Roch through the Northwest Passage, her father being the captain on this historic voyage. Esther Machacynski led the group in dancing lancier. Eileen Hansen of New Denmark gave a short presentation on New Denmark. Montebello was a superb setting for the Seminar. Ten years later participants still talk about this Seminar. And about the food! One day at lunch one participant counted 28 different desserts!
1994 Danish Heritage Seminar in Devon
The Danish Federation held another successful Danish Heritage Seminar at Westridge Park Lodge in Devon, Alberta, from May 30 to June 4, 1994. The one-week seminar was headed by Pastor Lars Basbøll of Edmonton. The 19 participants enjoyed the program, consisting of talks on Børglum Abbey, the author Aksel Sandemose and his concept of Janteloven, the topography of Alberta, Grundtvigianism in the U.S., the Lutheran mission to Nigeria, Danishness in Slesvig, the Senior Citizen Home Dania, the Danish settlement at Cape Scott, Queen Thyra, Queen Margrethe I, Leonora Christine, Countess Danner and the EC and the Nordic Applicants.
Esther Machacynski led the Folk Dancing and there were lots of films as well as singing. The food was excellent and plentiful, with the elegant dining room overlooking the North Saskatchewan River. The rooms, located in the same complex, were extremely large. It was a very busy and varied program and the participants felt it was just like a Folk School in Denmark.
1993 Danish Heritage Seminar at Crieff, Ontario
The 1993 Danish Heritage Seminar was held at the Crieff Conference Centre in Crieff (practically next door to Sunset Villa) from May 31 to June 6th. Headmaster was Pastor Emilie Esbjørn of Langebæk, Denmark, previously of Toronto. She gave several lectures about the new translation of the Bible, from the original languages into Danish. She also spoke about the Danish authors Anders Bodelsen and Tage Skov-Hansen. Prof. Gunnar Boehnert, University of Guelph, spoke about Eastern Europe, focusing on Poland. Poul B. Christensen spoke about Sir John A. Macdonald. Pastor Jens Bach Nielsen spoke about Schleswig from 1864-1920 to now. Prof. Edward Phillips of the University of Guelph spoke about the composer D. Buxtehude. Rolf Christensen spoke about the Danish national anthem Kong Christian as well as Current Affairs. Esther Machacynski guided the group in folk dancing. The Seminar ended with the celebration of Danish Constitution Day at Sunset Villa, where Pastor Emilie Esbjørn was the Guest Speaker, focusing on the Maastricht Treaty on European Union in her remarks.
1992 Danish Heritage Seminar at The Banff Centre for Conferences
No Danish Heritage Seminar was organized in 1991, as the Danish Federation's Conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark. The 1992 Danish Heritage Seminar was held at the Banff Centre for Conferences from June 29 to July 4th. The Headmasters were Pastors Bodil and Lars Toftdahl of Calgary. They had chosen the theme Nordic and Native Indian Mythology. Pastor Lars Basboll of Calgary spoke about the composer Carl Nielsen. Prof. Erik Jorgensen spoke about Forest Management. Rolf Christensen spoke about Holger Danske as well as Denmark and the European Community. Poul B. Christensen gave a talk about Erik Scavenius - the man behind Denmark's foreign policy for 40 years. Esther Machacynski again led the group in folk dancing. A highlight was the excursion to the Stampede in Calgary.
1990 Danish Heritage Seminar at Geneva Park, Orillia
The 1990 Danish Heritage Seminar was held at Geneva Park from August 4-9th. There were 22 participants, of which 13 had participated the year before. The Seminar Registrar was Martha Larsen and the Headmaster was Pastor Benny Grey Schuster of Granly, Surrey, British Columbia. The Theme was Danish hymns and songs, where Pastor Schuster compared several hymn writers among them, Brorson, Kingo, Grundtvig and Ingemann. Pastor Poul Berg Sundgaard spoke about India and Hinduism. Prof. Erik Jorgensen spoke about acid rain, urban planning and The Deer Park, north of Copenhagen. Rolf Christensen spoke about Danish politics and of international trade and trade policy, with emphasis on the international GATT agreement. Pastor Jens Bach Nielsen gave a talk about the Skagen painters. Poul B. Christensen gave a public lecture about the Rescue of the Danish Jews during World War II. Esther Machacynski led the group in folk dancing. The participants also watched a recent, forceful and moving documentary film about the fall of the Berlin Wall, which had just happened on November 9, 1989.
1989 Danish Heritage Seminar at Geneva Park, Orillia
The very first Danish Heritage Seminar organized by the Danish Federation was held at Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, Ontario, from Sunday afternoon, July 30, 1989 to Friday, August 4th after lunch. The initiative came from Mrs. Martha Larsen, the Secretary of the Danish Federation, and Pastor Emilie Esbjørn of the Danish Lutheran Church in Toronto. Martha Larsen contacted people to be speakers and she made a brochure to publicize the Seminar. Martha Larsen also became the Seminar Registrar and Emilie Esbjørn became the Headmaster. They both promoted the Seminar and 23 participants, including themselves, signed up for the course, which they had given the theme Focus on Denmark. They were able to get Prof. Hans Moller of McGill University in Montreal to hold a lecture on Danish history every day. Prof. Erik Jorgensen of the University of Guelph spoke about forestry and the environment. Rolf Christensen spoke about Danish foreign policy and the European Community. Pastor Poul Berg Sundgaard of Grimsby also spoke and with his guitar lead the singing. Emilie Esbjørn also gave some lectures, while Esther Machacynski of Kingston led the group in folk dancing. The Seminar was considered a great success and it was decided to hold one after every national Conference, when they were held in Canada.