Sunday 1 January 2006

Queen Margrethe's New Year Speech

You can read HM's speech in Danish here.


and here's the translation:

It is New Year's Eve. The year 2005 is coming to an end. Soon, we will close the book and put the old, well-known volume back on the shelf. Next to it stands a closed book, of which all we know is that it is called '2006'. We believe to know a little about its contents, maybe we suspect to know parts of the story; but what it will afford in all aspects is not known until another 365 days have passed.

The last time we celebrated the New Year, it was in the shadow of the catastrophic tidal wave in South East Asia. It affected us more closely because we still had to fear, in those days, that the number of Danish victims would also be heavy. After many apprehensive weeks, it turned out that the losses were fortunately not as serious as we first feared; but for the individual family who was hit, the loss is just as big, and in the countries ravaged by the tidal wave, long time will pass before life will be normal again.

This autumn, we witnessed, again, natural disasters of proportions which are hard to grasp for us, when, in October, the north-eastern Pakistan was hit by an earthquake which destroyed lives and property, and has made thousands homeless. But not even a technologically highly developed society is proof against the vagaries of nature. We experienced the truth of this when a series of tropical storms swept over Central America and the southern USA, and made even a large city as New Orleans a disaster area.

Every time, the Danish aid has been spontaneous and generous. And could it seem as if we were quite quick and generous wherever our own countrymen were amongst the victims, it is a joy to see how the aid to Pakistan has now started. But tonight we must first and foremost gather and focus on thanking all those from Denmark who have personally taken part in the relief. Under the most difficult conditions, they have again and again stationed themselves in order to contribute with what they are able to. This applies to the Rescue Readiness, the Defence and the Police, the Red Cross and all other humanitarian organisations. With my wishes for the New Year, I also send my best thanks for the effort they give. They do Denmark honour!

But not only the forces of nature have caused havoc in 2005.

The blind terrorism has also cast dark shadows over the societies in the year passed. Sometimes so near that we sense the shockwaves as when London was hit this summer, in the busy everyday life which looks like ours.

Acts of violence and suicide attacks like these lie far from our concepts here in Denmark. Nevertheless, we must realise that extreme opinions and acts can seem tempting to young people, and that sacrificing oneself for a cause can seem heroic. But sacrificing others for one's own anger or hopelessness; that is brutish and cynical; that makes no hero! We do not wish that that fate shall tempt one single young person, who has grown up here in Denmark.

The Danish society is open and democratic; it is based on respect for one another as human beings, and on the respect for each other's opinions. It is probably typical for us in Denmark that we do not care for conflicts; a discussion must preferably end up with all parties agreeing.

Sharp-cut points of view and categorical demands, dramatic statements are hard for us to take seriously, and often, we react by either giggling or feeling offended. But it is important that we both listen to one another and are able to speak freely of our opinions whilst letting others know when we agree and when we disagree. That is the manner in which we have built the society in which we take pride, and which we know is looked up to and envied a bit other places in the world. We wish that all in future generations will feel as a part of this society, thus making it naturally for any young man or woman to hold on to and defend it in his or her daily activities.

The year to which we now say farewell, is also a beginning of something entirely new for the Danish society. The municipal election of autumn marks the commencement of the municipal reform which has been in the pipeline for a long time. Already now, it is felt all over the country. Old patterns have to be broken, new to be made, and no wonder if it makes many people uncertain of how it will affect their daily life.

In a year, the municipal reform will be reality with joint municipalities and new regions. Denmark is refurnishing her living rooms. Walls are torn down and new doors are put into place. It will probably take some time before all of us are accustom hereto, and find out where everything is placed now. But it is the same house and the same family. Both the Prince Consort and I have felt this clearly when we, earlier this year, visited around the country. Everywhere, we meet the same, warm hospitality, and feel the same pride, although the circumstances can be ever so different from one place to the next.

In these years, the Danish Defence is also going through major changes which affect the individual, both when on duty and in private. At the same time, the work with the assignments placed upon the Defence continues. The year has been marked by the major effort, which is made internationally, and it is evident that the Danish Defence and its personnel is a centre of respect. We have seen that it has costs, and my thoughts go out to those who have been hit so suddenly and hard, and to the families who must sit with the grief and the loss. I send my New Year's greetings to all in the Defence, to their families and those closest to them. May the new year be a good year for the Danish Defence as well.

My thoughts and wishes go out for all Danish who are celebrating New Year far from home, and to all those who must miss a family member on this evening. My greeting also goes for the many who have travelled to settle abroad for a shorter or longer period of time, and for the Danish south of the border who ever so faithfully maintain their Danish inheritance, whilst being respected citizens of the country where they live. I wish for a happy New Year for them all.

This autumn, the Prince Consort and I have experienced one of the biggest joys of all for a mother and a father, that is once again becoming grandparents. The Crown Prince Couple's little son has become yet another symbol of unity, not only for the family, but, I dare say, for all of Denmark; his happy parents, the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess, and the Prince Consort and I myself, are deeply touched by the warm participation we have met everywhere. I would like to wish all good for all young families who, in this year, will experience the blessing it is that a new little life is placed in their hands.

This summer, the trip was once again set for the Faroe Islands, this time with the Crown Prince Couple. It was a visit to which we looked forward; and as always, we have returned enriched, encouraged and touched by the warm reception we all shared. May the new year be a good year for the Faroese and the Faroese society.

Greenland too stands clearly in the minds of my entire family and me, and I bring warm New Year's greetings and good wishes for Greenland and all, who live in the vast, beautiful land.

Every year has its joys, but also its sorrows which can be twice as heavy a burden, when others can celebrate and be happy. To anyone who sits with great concerns, or who has lost someone they love, my thoughts go out, and I hope that all who know someone who sits alone with their anxiety and loss will be ready with comfort and help, maybe just a handshake or a smile on a cold day.

The book of the year is a strange book. Some of the text is already there, and will reveal itself, day by day, without us having much influence hereon. But some of the text, we write ourselves; therefore, the book of the year is also our very own.

Let us help one another make the book of the new year a good book for our country and for our society and all of us; may 2006 be a joyful, new year.


Thanks to Lasse Pedersen for the translation!



Blogger niels gyring said...

Godt Nytår!

Jeg hbåber I hurtigt kan oversætte Dronningens Nytårstale 2007 til engelsk. Det vil være godt for Danmark at distribuere den til venner m.v.

Niels Gyring-Nielsen

6:19 pm  

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