Queen Margrethe’s new year speech, delivered to the nation via a live broadcast on DR1 from the Christian IX Mansion at Amalienborg at 18:00 on December 31, was warmly received by many sections of society – most notably the Jewish community, who applauded her for condemning the recent rise of anti-Semitism.
Henri Goldstein, the chair of the Danish Jewish Society, commented that “it means everything to us” – particularly given the recent attacks on the Jewish community on the night of November 9 and 10.
No obvious errors (this time)
The queen also addressed climate change and loneliness during a broadcast in which the subtitles mysteriously disappeared – a “technical error”, explained DR, just in case some viewers thought she might have a skipped a page (stapled together this year) by mistake.
In reference to the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landings and the first photograph taken of Earth from afar, the queen made reference to how the planet had looked “so pretty and round and blue” – but today looks “vulnerable”.
Likewise, she invited her viewers to consider society’s lonely people – not just the elderly, but also youngsters.
Year of anniversaries
Talking of which, the Crown Prince Couple’s eldest son Prince Christian got a mention as he will be confirmed this year, and so did her second son, Prince Joachim, for fronting a history documentary series. “I thought he would be good at that,” she observed.
Looking ahead to this year, she drew attention to the 80th anniversary of the start of the German Occupation (April 9) and the centenary of South Jutland’s reunification with Denmark (July 10).
The broadcast was the queen’s 48th since acceding to the throne in 1972. Ahead of her 80th birthday on April 16, speculation continues that she might step down in the near future – like it does with the majority of ageing European monarchs.
PM along similar lines
A day later it was the turn of PM Mette Frederiksen, and she chose to target similar subjects to her monarch: namely the big anniversaries, climate change and loneliness through her central message of making Denmark a better home for its children.
But she still found time to deride the various factions that have made it a trying year in Denmark: from Britta Nielsen (not named) to the parties responsible for exploding bombs, the ongoing gang war, firework maniacs, returning foreign fighters, dangerous drivers and recent terror-related arrests.
Firefighters under siege from fireworks
It would appear that youngsters in Denmark are increasingly aiming fireworks at firefighters. The recent holiday period included a number of cases: from Toftlund to Aarhus to Holbæk to Albertslund to Brøndby to Nørrebro. The latter endured a particularly fiery holiday period, with the police conceding on December 26, a day before six days of legal firework usage commenced, that “anyone with a pulse” was in danger. Dansk Folkeparti has advocated following Sweden’s lead, which on January 1 introduced new legislation to far more harshly penalise those who attack or sabotage public workers (up to four years in prison) – to the extent that if their actions jeopardise human lives, they could face life imprisonment. The maximum sentence in Denmark for endangering someone’s life in a reckless manner is eight years, but in most cases the culprits see very little jail time.
Firework injuries on a par with 2018-19, but fewer eye casualties
Some 228 people were treated for firework injuries sustained on New Year’s Eve and Day, which was on a par with last year. Two-thirds were aged under 26 and four-fifths were male. Some 27 of the injuries (down from 30 last year) were regarded as serious, of which nine were sustained by children. However, there were just nine eye injuries (six serious), compared to 22 last year. Three youngsters aged 11-12 were then injured, one seriously, collecting ‘used’ fireworks on January 2 in Odense.
A new year and a greatly alter TV schedule
Just in case you missed it – either obliviously or regretfully – but DRK stopped broadcasting at midnight on December 31, along with the P7 Mix radio program, as the national broadcaster DR seeks to cut 22,500 hours of TV and 8,700 hours of radio from its schedules in response to its budget being cut by 20 percent. Neither DR3 and DR Ultra can be seen on conventional television anymore – the former will be streamed and the latter viewed via other devices. A new streaming service, DR2+, will be launched in the week starting January 20. Meanwhile, in related news, YouSee customers can no longer access Discovery Networks’ 11 channels, and there was havoc as many (primarily Bland Self customers) sought to replace them in their packages without success.
Are we celebrating a few seconds too late?
DR cameraman Morten Seligmann confesses that tuning into DR to salute the beginning of the new year is probably ill-advised, as often the broadcast lags behind real-time. As somebody who has covered the event numerous times, Seligmann advises viewers not to use a satellite dish (seven seconds behind) or stream (45-60). Between 1.2 and 1.6 million people tend to annually tune into DR to salute the new year.
Who needs fireworks as historic Bornholm building burns down
A historic 18th century building in the Bornholm seaside town of Svaneke burned down on New Year’s Eve. Søllingsgård at Svaneke Torv included a number of businesses, including Svaneke Bodega and Svaneke Grocery Store, and it is estimated the alarm was sounded at around 23:00. Some 20 firefighters fought the blaze for three hours. While there are hopes the building can be restored, more of its historic contents have been lost.
Becoming a sanctuary for dogs all over the country
Clarion Hotel Copenhagen Airport was once again a popular destination for dogs on New Year’s Eve. Some 180 dog-friendly, soundproofed rooms were booked to ensure the pampered pooches wouldn’t have to endure a noisy night listening to fireworks – at a cost of 1,845 kroner per room. In total, 223 dogs booked in for a peaceful night – twice as many as last year. The hotel first offered the service on 31 December 2017.