New Year Round Up: Mothers of the nation’s lonely flock

Social media increasingly isolating youngsters, warn queen and PM

Queen Margrethe’s new year speech, her 48th since acceding to the throne in 1972, was warmly received by 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.

Lyrical like Bowie
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”.

She invited her viewers to consider society’s lonely people – not just the elderly, but also youngsters alienated by social media.

Year of anniversaries
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).

For the children
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
Fireworks are increasingly being aimed at firefighters, with some politicians calling for much stiffer sentencing for offenders, even though most of the culprits are children. In Sweden, jeopardising human lives with fireworks is punishable with life imprisonment. In Denmark, it is eight years, but most culprits see very little jail time.

Over 200 injured
Some 228 people were treated for firework injuries sustained on New Year’s Eve and Day – 27 serious, of which nine were children – which was on a par with last year. Two-thirds were aged under 26 and four-fifths were male. Three youngsters aged 11-12 were then injured collecting ‘used’ fireworks on January 2 in Odense.

Burgled by Santa
Some 742 burglaries were reported between December 20 and 27 – a similar figure to 2016 and 2017, but down on 2018. North Zealand was the worst hit area, followed by Funen and east Jutland, where a man attempted to burgle the royals on January 3 at Marselisborg Castle, the queen’s favourite castle to celebrate Christmas.

Festive trains popular
DSB reported a 22 percent increase in festive period ticket sales – the busiest it has been for half a decade. The biggest travel days were December 23 and 26.

Late celebrating?
DR cameraman Morten Seligmann confesses that the 1.2-1.6 million tuning into DR to salute the beginning of the new year are probably late celebrating, as often the broadcast lags behind real-time. Seligmann advises viewers not to use a satellite dish (seven seconds behind) or stream (45-60).

Who needs fireworks?
A historic 18th century building in the Bornholm seaside town of Svaneke burned down on New Year’s Eve. Some 20 firefighters fought the blaze at Søllingsgård in Svaneke Torv for three hours, and there are hopes it can be restored.

Hound haven
For the third year running, Clarion Hotel Copenhagen Airport was a popular destination for dogs on New Year’s Eve. Some 180 soundproofed rooms were booked to ensure that 223 pampered pooches wouldn’t have to endure a noisy night listening to fireworks – twice as many as last year.

Television shake-up
As DR seeks to cut 22,500 hours of TV and 8,700 hours of radio from its schedules to cut its budget by 20 percent, it has cut DRK and P7 Mix radio program. DR4 can only be streamed and DR Ultra viewed on other devices. A new streaming service, DR2+, will be launched next week. In related news, YouSee customers can no longer access Discovery Networks’ 11 channels.