Battle of the New Year Speeches: Will the true mother of the nation please arise!

Helle Thorning-Schmidt 

Job: Prime Minister

Age: 48

When: Jan 1 at 19:15 

Where: Chistiansborg Palace 

How long: 15:42 minutes (mostly autocue)

Main focus: children and solidarity

Appearance: simple red suit jacket with minimal accessories; hair down

In a nutshell: More personal than in previous years and less controversial; it was criticised for being vague and containing childlike vocabulary 

Main points: investment in children (particularly in daycare); economic growth in Denmark; the need to reform the unemployment benefits system; more jobs for refugees and immigrants; solidarity; emphasis of people’s choices (elections)

Sample quotes: “It goes fast in Denmark. It may go faster.” and “Refugees should not be turned into clients. As many as possible should start working.


Margrethe II of Denmark 

Job: Queen

Age: 74

When: Dec 31 at 18:00 

Where: Fredensborg Palace 

How long: 12:18 minutes (read from notes)

Main focus: young people and refugees

Appearance: festive, violet dress with purple jacket and bold accessories; hair up in a chignon

In a nutshell: Most Danes are privileged and should help the large numbers of refugees arriving in Denmark who need their support. 

Main points: the need to step up at school and at work; welcoming and integrating refugees into Danish society; greetings to Greenland, Faeroe Island and South Schleswig; remembering the past; saluting Danish soldiers and doctors serving abroad

Sample quote: “We should not just take them [refugees] by hand, we must help them to find their place in our society, so that they can gain a foothold and fend for themselves.”