An American ambassador with a Danish twist

Born in South Dakota, Laurie Fulton has enjoyed an active political life, but perhaps her greatest challenge has been as the US ambassador to Denmark

With July 4 quickly approaching, The Copenhagen Post met up with the country’s envoy to Denmark, Ambassador Laurie Fulton, to talk about her life here in Denmark, her perceptions as an American, and what America’s Independence Day means to her.

The ambassador’s relationship to Denmark goes back four generations. Her maternal grandfather emigrated to the United States before the First World War and her great-grandfather served in the Danish parliament between 1918 and 1940.

Fulton says it was the challenge that the position offered, as well as her strong family ties to Denmark, that led to her asking President Obama to consider her for the position.

Sworn in as US ambassador to Denmark in 2009, Fulton explained that she was “looking for an opportunity to be part of the Obama administration in a way that I could add value”, and that it was the position of US ambassador that provided her with the chance to “bring something to the table”.

There's no telling what the ambassdor's future will bring, but at present, she's loving her stay in here (Photo: Omar Ingerslev)

With a keen interest in Denmark, both personally and politically, Fulton knows how important the relationship between Denmark and the US is. “This is a place I can use my talents and interests to the advantage of the United States, and in the meantime enjoy Denmark,” she said.

Having lived in Denmark for almost three years, Fulton knows a thing or two about being an American in Denmark. While she’s quick to point out that her experience is a privileged one, she also thinks this has allowed her to see more of the country than just Copenhagen.

When asked about Danes’ perceptions of Americans, the Fulton was happy to report that she thinks Americans are well received by Danes, and that she personally has “loved three years in Denmark”. 

Fulton’s Independence Day plans include attending various functions over the days leading up, whilst on the actual day she will be at the Rebild Hills celebrations, where she will read out a letter from President Obama.

Apart from its obvious importance, Fulton says Independence Day has always been a very special holiday for her because it’s summer and her birthday is on the July 2. Fulton said that as a child it was often difficult to celebrate her birthday as people were vacationing, “but on the 4th of July everyone was around and so it all just kind of went together”.

As a child Fulton celebrated the day with family, friends and neighbours, having afternoon picnics and watching fireworks. As an adult, she and her children would sometimes go to Washington DC to see the fireworks or shoot them off at home. 

When asked about her favourite Independence Day dish, she struggled to pick just one. Corn on the cob, watermelon and one of her mother’s dishes however were her top picks. “If you could give me my mother’s potato salad, it was fabulous,” she raved. 

Whilst there’s no telling what the future may hold for this accomplished American, it’s obvious she is clearly enjoying her time here in Denmark.

Read more articles about the US in Denmark in The Copenhagen Post's special Indepdendence Day advertising supplement.