Monday, 1 January 2007

Queen Margrethe's New Year speech clip Queen Margrethe's New Year address (8:30)

Queen Margrethe has delivered her customary New Year's address to the nation last night and addressed the issues of the Mohommed cartoon crisis of 2006, although without mentioning it directly. She talked of the need for tolerance and reflection on the issues of cultural difference. The Queen commented on the New Year as an opportunity to look both backwards and forward and reflect on how things happened. Did things happen as expected or turn out differently? Can the events of the past year be put behind us or will they reach into the coming year? The Queen said the events of the year inevitably reach into the next one.
The Queen said the past year in Denmark had been unusual in many ways. Although Danes are proud of their country and proud of Danes' achievements past and present, it is tinged with a skeptical and ironic distance to any conceit. As a nation Denmark is happy to be noticed and is more accustomed to be understood as a good example of nationhood. To suddenly be the object of agitation and anger is something Danes are neither used to nor expect.
Any country and any people is marked by their culture and history. This mark of culture and history is within every man or woman whether they are at home or abroad, who in some cases put down roots in another place. In the new place, perhaps on another continent, the traveller meets a new country and another type of society, conditioned by a different geography and history, culture and habits. The country which receives the traveller will be exposed to new experiences too on which it must take a position. This we have experienced, said the Queen. Of course we have always known that the world is big, but it is when the world appears on your doorstep, that you are forced to realise how varied it is. We are also confronted with how different cultural habits and ways of life can be.
To settle in a new place is demanding; it demands that one does one's best to learn new things, to learn the language and be informed about the rhythm of the year and what happens in daily life. A new framework for life is established, and it will turn out that there are habits and mores which will change or will be totally dropped. No-one expects a person who arrives in a new place, a foreign country, to immediately throw off everything of her or his cultural heritage as if it was superfluous. That could easily lead to a serious sense of rootlessness. If a tree has to be planted in a new place, it has to have good roots from the start, then it can take nourishment from the earth from the outset in the new place, and then grow and thrive.
Here in Denmark we prefer that everything runs smoothly and that problems, if they arise, are solved by themselves; this is because we think that what feels natural for us must also be so for everyone else. But it isn't that simple. We must realise that we have to make an effort and each of us should endeavour to explain what kind of values our society is built upon. This should be in such way that those who haven't yet fixed their roots in the Danish soil will find their place and be able to fit well into the society in which they have become citizens. The past year has taught us something and not least about ourselves. Now we know better where we stand and of what kind of values we neither will nor can bargain.
The Queen also said that in her own family there is much to be thankful for. There had been a warm interest in the royal family's activities at both major events and in their day to day lives. The Queen mentioned the christening of Prince Christian almost a year ago and also on the sympathy she had received about her own generally excellent health.
The Queen said on each New Year's Eve, our thoughts go to those who are travelling far from home on this evening. Are they sitting all alone, or are they together with friends who want to hear about how things are done in Denmark; or are they gathered with fellow countrymen in festive circumstances, though under a foreign sky?
Here tonight let there be a warm greeting to all Danes, wherever they are in the world: to those south of the (German/Danish) border, as well as to those who have travelled abroad and put their roots in foreign earth for a short or a longer period. A special greeting for those who have to spend New Year at sea. Not least my thoughts go to all on board the "Vædderen" in connection with the Galathea expedition. They are among those abroad who receive a fresh greeting from Denmark.
The Queen finishes by wishing Danes everywhere, on behalf of herself and the Prince Consort, a happy New Year.
(many thanks to Muhler and to pogo99)

The Queen's New Year Speech (in Danish)

Politiken Dronningen talte om Muhammed-krisen

B.T. Muhammed-krise dominerede dronningens nytårstale

Denmark's Queen Margrethe urges improved efforts to understand foreign cultures Associated Press in The International Herald Tribune Europe

Added: from The Copenhagen Post:

A traditional end to an 'unusual' year

The Queen's new year's address looked back at an unusually eventful 2006 for Denmark
A tradition since 1972, Queen Margrethe II's new year's address is as much a part of the New Year's Eve celebration as the countdown to midnight. Typically touching on the issues that affect all Danes, this year's speech was an internationally flavoured affair, welcoming those here from foreign lands as well as Danes away from home to the coming 2007.
In the queen's own words, 2006 was 'fairly unusual' for Denmark, as it received a great deal of the world's attention - some of which was not necessarily desired. Without mentioning the Mohammed cartoon affair, she said that for a country which prides itself on being shown forth as a good example to the rest of the world, to suddenly become the 'object of incitement and anger' was a stark change for Denmark.
Queen Margrethe said that while the country should continue to preserve its values and traditions, the nation cannot expect immigrants to change their own customs and habits immediately after arriving here. She pointed out that while Danes generally have the attitude that problems will work themselves out, issues such as immigration are not so simple.
'We must understand and make an effort to explain what values our society is built upon so that those who do not have deep roots in Denmark can find their place and be happy within the society they have joined.'
The queen also wished a warm new year to those away from the homeland in the Danish territories of Greenland and the Faeroe Islands, as well as the crew of the Galathea 3 expedition. She praised the efforts of Danes living abroad and doing charitable work in humanitarian organisations and the military.
She added that she looked warmly back on the baptism of her grandson, Prince Christian, early in the year.
Queen Margrethe ended her speech by saying that the experiences of 2006 should serve to make Danes 'wiser and better prepared to meet the ups and downs of life'.



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