2011  Danish Heritage Seminar in the Badlands.

2012 Danish Heritage Seminar at Fern Resort

The Three Sisters, Canmore, Alberta

2019 Danish Heritage Seminar

in Winnipeg

 1990 Danish Heritage Seminar at Geneva Park, Orillia

​The 2011 Danish Heritage Seminar was held in Drumheller, Alberta, in the middle of the Badlands, which are found along the Red Deer River in Southern Alberta, flanking the river for 300 km, and culminating in the most impressive display at Dinosaur Provincial Park. The Badlands are landforms below the flat Prairie that are barren and scoured, having been eroded by water, rain and wind-driven sand. The Badlands are an intricate network of deeply incised, narrow, winding gullies, devoid of vegetation and with fantastically shaped hoodoo rocks.

The Seminar was held from May 30 to June 4 at the Ramada in Drumheller. Headmaster was Don Mowatt, former producer at CBC in Vancouver, who had chosen the topic “The Danish Mask and the Portability of Danish Culture Abroad”. The major presentations focussed on H.C. Andersen, Karen Blixen and Carl Nielsen. Don Mowatt is very knowledgeable about each of these, having written a play about H.C. Andersen and having written a foreword to a book about Karen Blixen. Other presentations dealt with Kaj Munk, relations between Canada and the European Union as well as the treatment of Danish girlfriends of the occupying German soldiers at the end of World War II. Every morning and evening the group sang Danish songs, for the most part accompanied by David Thomas on violin. There was also time for a fun-filled session of Show and Tell. On the last evening the group of 24 participants organized a party with entertainment, a lottery, snacks and drinks. Three committees looked after the Goodbye Party. One committee was responsible for snacks and drinks. Another for decorating the room – and a third committee was in charge of entertainment. Twelve participants entertained, mostly by telling jokes, singing, or playing an instrument.

The Heritage Seminar included a tour of the Badlands around Drumheller as well as a visit to the world-class Royal Tyrrell Museum with its large collection of fossils and dinosaurs. Most of the participants also took part in the afternoon get-together at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Dalum, where light sandwiches, cookies and coffee were served. As well, there was entertainment, speeches and songs. Afterwards it was possible to have a look at the Church, built in the typical Danish village style, the adjacent cemetery as well as the late Pastor Peter Rasmussen’s house, part of which is now a museum.

The Seminar, organized by the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada, is modelled on the Folk Schools in Denmark. An important aspect of the Seminar is the friendship that quickly develops among the participants.

The 2002 Danish Heritage Seminar was held in the splendor of the Canadian Rockies at Green Gables Inn, Canmore, from May 27 to June 1. A record 48 people participated in the Seminar, the theme being Dreams and Reality. Headmaster couple were Pastor Folmer Johansen and his wife Else of Granly Lutheran Church in Surrey, British Columbia.

Every morning Folmer Johansen would give one of his lectures relating to Dreams and Reality. He spoke about the dream of residential schools for adults, the dream of becoming a poet, the dream of a just and righteous world, the dream of development and the dream of traveling. Each lecture would include a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, which would illustrade the dream - or reality.

Guest lectures included Pastor Preben Mogensen, who spoke about the controversial author, critic and professor, Georg Brandes, who discovered Nietzsche, and led a literary revolution. Pastor Lars Basbøll addressed the topic of the women in Hans Christian Andersen's life. Pastor Rikke Aagaard Nielsen spoke about the painter Arne Haugen Sørensen, who has decorated many Danish churches with his Wanderer. Professor Gitte Lindgaard spoke about the dream and the reality of technology. Rolf Christensen spoke about Danish Foreign Policy. Pastor Folmer also showed sliedes from a trip to the rim of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Friday night the participants held a Good Bye Party. In the Danish tradition of writing songs for any occasion, Gitte Lindgaard wrote a song about the Seminar. The participants had surely learned a lot about H.C. Andersen. This ended a wonderful week of education, inspirtation, fellowshlip and fun.

The Danish Federation’s one-week Højskole, or Heritage Seminar, was held from May 29th to June 3rd at the Windtower Lodge and Suites in Canmore, Alberta, beautifully situated in the Bow Valley in the Canadian Rockies. From the patio outside the classroom there was a stunning view of the Three Sisters, a much-photographed mountain range with three snow-covered peaks.

The headmaster was Pastor Charlotte Berg of the Danish Lutheran Church in Calgary. She spoke about her tour of duty as military chaplain for the Danish contingent in war-torn Bosnia in 1996. She gave an overview of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation, and she showed the participants examples of Keld Moseholm’s fat man statues, which are not only delightful sculptures, but works of art which make you think. Moreover, Charlotte had contacted five outside speakers, who came and addressed the participants. Prof. Douglas Francis spoke about the rise of the Canadian Nation; Dr. Ben Fullalove spoke about the Second World War propaganda movie The 49th Parallel, which had been screened Tuesday evening; Harry Sanders, a historian, spoke about the history and development of Calgary; Bill Snow, from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation, spoke about the reintroduction of the Bison to Banff National Park; and journalist and author Rob Alexander gave a presentation on the ten most important developments in the history of Canmore, with the Canadian Pacific Railway and the local Coalmine featuring prominently. Charlotte’s husband, Peter Berg, gave a very interesting presentation about King Christian X, focussing on his family, including his father and grandfather, as well as King Christian X’s role and activities in Danish politics.

The Seminar theme was A Celebration of Anniversaries, as speakers concentrated on Martin Luther, Canada and the Danish Canadian Museum. Other anniversaries were also mentioned, such as Vimy Ridge, the sale of the Danish West Indies and the 60th anniversary of the biggest contingent of Danish immigrants coming to Canada in 1957.

Anne Lise Pedersen gave a presentation on the Danish Canadian Museum, focussing on the Museum’s 
25th anniversary. She is a

Museum board member and volunteers as a guide at the Museum.  Aase Christensen, the Danish Federation’s National Secretary,

spoke about Danish food, and Stegt Flæsk og Persillesovs being named the National Dish. Many of the participants found this

choice of national dish puzzling!  Moreover, Rolf Christensen spoke about Brexit, Britain’s decision to leave the European Union,

and the tragic consequences this will have for Britain as well as the world.

Friday evening the Seminar participants organized a Goodbye Party, starting with dinner, and followed by 
entertainment by

the participants. It concluded with a lottery and live auction, the participants generously having brought fine and sought-after items.

The evening ended with saying thank you to Pastor Charlotte, and many saying to each other, “See you next year in Halifax.”

Rolf Buschardt Christensen

The 1995 Danish Heritage Seminar was held at Le Chateau Montebello from May 29 to June 3, 1995, located on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River, up from Montreal. The Headmaster was Prof. Chris Hale, Department of Germanic Languages, University of Alberta, Edmonton. The theme of the Seminar was Scandinavian Immigration. Prof. Hale delivered a number of lectures on immigration to Canada from the various Scandinavian countries. Prof. Hale also gave a lecture where he compared the Scandinavian languages. As well, he reported on the results of a survey he was conducting among Danes who immigrated to Canada after World War II. Prof. Gurli Woods of Carleton gave a lecture on the author Karen Blixen and showed the film "Out of Africa." Prof. Hans Moller of McGill gave a talk on the playwright Ludvig Holberg. Poul B. Christensen spoke about South Africa and Nelson Mandela. Prof. Finn Stendal Pedersen of the University of Odense spoke about Post-War Denmark. Rolf Christensen gave a talk on Denmark's Quiet Revolution, highlighting some of the changes in Danish society since World War II. Jan Eisenhardt charmed the group with his observations on famous Danes throughout history. World War II veteran Ross Wiens recounted how he was shot down over Denmark in World War II, but managed to make contact with the Danish Resistance and get safely to Sweden. Years later he returned and had some very emotional reunions with his saviours. Later he was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to attend the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Denmark, on which occasion he met the Queen and Crown Prince of Denmark. Jette Ashlee gave a talk about Christian Klengenberg, the unsung hero of the Canadian arctic. Doreen Riedel spoke about her father, Captain Henry Larsen. She also showed a film about the voyage of the St. Roch through the Northwest Passage, her father being the captain on this historic voyage. Esther Machacynski led the group in dancing lancier. Eileen Hansen of New Denmark gave a short presentation on New Denmark. Montebello was a superb setting for the Seminar. Ten years later participants still talk about this Seminar. And about the food! One day at lunch one participant counted 28 different desserts!

The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada organized a one-week Danish Heritage Seminar at Far Hills Inn just outside Val-Morin in the Laurentian Mountains from May 26-31, 2008. The theme was Danish Cinema and the headmasters were Danish film director Lars Pedersen Arendt and Pastor Elisabeth Arendt of the Danish Lutheran Church in Toronto. Twenty-five adults attended the Danish Heritage Seminar.

During the week the participants saw the Danish movie Ordet, directed by Carl Th. Dreyer, and based on a play by Kai Munk; the silent movie The Abyss starring the great Asta Nielsen; the recent Danish film Adam's Apples which was shown at the 2007 EU Film Festivals in Ottawa and Vancouver; Breaking the waves by Lars von Trier; Det gamle guld, a Morten Korch film from 1951; and Beast a short film by Lars Pedersen Arendt.

On the Tuesday, Dr. Galina Korneva and Dr. Tatiana Cheboksarova came to speak about Empress Maria Feodorovna's residences in Russia and Denmark. The presentation about Empress Dagmar as she is known in Denmark was accompanied by power point presentation, showing many well-known palaces, guesthouses, summer residences and streetscapes. On the Thursday, Richard Lynn Studham brought some sculptures and showed slides, while speaking about his work, in particular ceramics and sculptures.

When the participants arrived they were asked, "What is you favourite movie"? The movies, which received more than one vote, were: Babette's Feast; Out of Africa; Casablanca and Ghandi.

The Morten Korch movie Det gamle guld, which was shown at the Heritage Seminar, was very popular with the participants. Elisabeth Arendt led a discussion on the recent film Adam's Apples and compared it to the Book of Job in the Bible. Later she told the Seminar about Film Director Lars von Trier and led a discussion about his film Breaking the Waves. Lars Pedersen Arendt gave lectures on Danish Silent Movies and the many film genres in addition to leading the workshop on cinema.

The weather was perfect; there were sunny skies the whole week. It only rained on arrival and on departure. The participants also sang a lot, mostly from Højskolesangbogen. And the food was excellent. Many of the participants also took the opportunity to visit the nearby Mont Tremblant ski resort.

The week ended with a Goodbye Party on Friday evening, held in the hotel's lounge. Activities included singing, folk dancing, a word game, a lottery, eating, drinking and talking. A great way to end a wonderful week of cinema - fun and fellowship.

2017 Danish Heritage Seminar in the Mountains

The theme of the Danish Heritage Seminar at Harrison Hot Springs was ‘Danish entrepreneurs through 150 years’. The theme was chosen by Vancouver Pastor Birgitte Saltorp, who as headmaster carried the heavy load. The lectures covered a wide variety of topics, from the industrial awaking, to individuals who had made a significant difference, to how Denmark is coping with globalization. The lectures were accompanied by PowerPoint presentations. As well, Johanne Olsen spoke about being an entrepreneur in Vancouver, and Rolf Christensen recounted the rise of A.P. Møller and his son Mærsk.

The Seminar was held from May 25 to 29, 2015. The location at the foot of a beautiful mountain lake was superb - and the food was plentiful. One evening the participants threw a party and entertained each other with songs, games and a lottery. The fellowship among the participants developed quickly, and they agreed that they had had a lot of fun. Needless to say, time had been set aside to enjoy the hot pools!

Rolf Buschardt Christensen

The 1990 Danish Heritage Seminar was held at Geneva Park from August 4-9th. There were 22 participants, of which 13 had participated the year before. The Seminar Registrar was Martha Larsen and the Headmaster was Pastor Benny Grey Schuster of Granly, Surrey, British Columbia. The Theme was Danish hymns and songs, where Pastor Schuster compared several hymn writers among them, Brorson, Kingo, Grundtvig and Ingemann. Pastor Poul Berg Sundgaard spoke about India and Hinduism. Prof. Erik Jorgensen spoke about acid rain, urban planning and The Deer Park, north of Copenhagen. Rolf Christensen spoke about Danish politics and of international trade and trade policy, with emphasis on the international GATT agreement. Pastor Jens Bach Nielsen gave a talk about the Skagen painters. Poul B. Christensen gave a public lecture about the Rescue of the Danish Jews during World War II. Esther Machacynski led the group in folk dancing. The participants also watched a recent, forceful and moving documentary film about the fall of the Berlin Wall, which had just happened on November 9, 1989.

1997 Danish Heritage Seminar in New Denmark, N. B.

Past Heritage Seminars

A one-week Danish Heritage Seminar was held at Jasper Inn and Resort, high in the Rocky Mountains, where the Miette River flows into the mighty Athabasca River. Twenty-five people participated in the Danish Heritage Seminar, held from May 28 to June 2 in Jasper, Alberta.

The Headmaster was Pastor Rikke Aagaard Nielsen of Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church in Edmonton. She was assisted by her husband Henrik Aagaard Nielsen, and together they had chosen Post-War Denmark as the theme of the Seminar.

To set the stage for the lectures, Rikke showed the first four episodes from the Danish TV series Krøniken, which depicts life in Denmark after World War II. As well, she showed the documentary film "Once upon a time - Denmark 1945-1970." Rikke's lectures focused on Post-War Denmark at a glance; Rural Culture; The Church in Denmark; as well as Education and Changes. The lectures included overheads and handouts. Moreover, Rikke had brought along a Danish history book by Søren Mørch, entitled in Danish "The last History of Denmark," which is quite provocative in its interpretation and which was often used as a reference during the Seminar.

Henrik Aagaard Nielsen spoke about Danish Social Policy in the post-war period and Practical Social Work. Rolf Christensen spoke about the European Union since September 11th as well as Danish Foreign Policy Today. For Show and Tell Betty Wilson, Jens Olsen, Betty Kjearsgaard, Hanne Stanfield and Knud Nielsen entertained the group.

A challenging History Quiz, focussing on Post-War Denmark, was won by group 1, just barely beating group 4. There were also five workshops on Post-War Denmark. The workshop questions generated a lot of discussion. As was intended!

Helen Kelleher-Empey from Jasper Tourism and Commerce and Gloria Keyes-Brady from Parks Canada told the Seminar about the Jasper town site, Jasper National Park and showed a short promotional film. Gloria mentioned how inmates and prisoners-of-war had helped clear trees and build roads in the Park.

Throughout the Seminar the participants sang Danish songs from the Danish 'Højskolesangbog'. Some of the songs were old favourites. Others were new songs. Rikke introduced many of the songs by saying something about the author.

There was also free time and many of the participants went into town - about five blocks away - or visited nearby mountains and lakes, relaxed or swam in the pool. There was still snow on the mountains. The weather was great - cool in the morning, but warm - even hot - by the afternoon.

The Seminar ended with a Goodbye Party, which was held on the terrace outside the Jasper Inn Restaurant, the Seminar participants having the terrace all to themselves, complete with a bar and bartender. Hanne Stanfield, Helge and Bitten Christensen, Betty Wilson and Henrik Langer, looked after the party arrangements. Entertainment involved a game, a crossword puzzle and a lottery, with excellent prizes, donated by the participants. It was a beautiful summer evening and a fitting ending to a week that went by all too fast!


Danish Heritage Seminar  

The Banff Centre for Conferences

The very first Danish Heritage Seminar organized by the Danish Federation was held at Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, Ontario, from Sunday afternoon, July 30, 1989 to Friday, August 4th after lunch. The initiative came from Mrs. Martha Larsen, the Secretary of the Danish Federation, and Pastor Emilie Esbjørn of the Danish Lutheran Church in Toronto. Martha Larsen contacted people to be speakers and she made a brochure to publicize the Seminar. Martha Larsen also became the Seminar Registrar and Emilie Esbjørn became the Headmaster. They both promoted the Seminar and 23 participants, including themselves, signed up for the course, which they had given the theme Focus on Denmark. They were able to get Prof. Hans Moller of McGill University in Montreal to hold a lecture on Danish history every day. Prof. Erik Jorgensen of the University of Guelph spoke about forestry and the environment. Rolf Christensen spoke about Danish foreign policy and the European Community. Pastor Poul Berg Sundgaard of Grimsby also spoke and with his guitar lead the singing. Emilie Esbjørn also gave some lectures, while Esther Machacynski of Kingston led the group in folk dancing. The Seminar was considered a great success and it was decided to hold one after every national Conference, when they were held in Canada. 

Danish Heritage Seminar Looks at Wanderlust.  The Danish Heritage Seminar was held at the Hotel Fort Garry in Winnipeg from May 27th to June 1st. This year’s theme was Wanderlust, the desire to explore the world.

The headmaster, Pastor Susanne Ivalo Rasmussen of the Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, discussed wanderlust and romanticism during the 19th century. Many of the Danish lyric poets, sculptors, writers and composers had wanderlust and would stay for long periods in other parts of Europe, particularly Rome. The participants were introduced to the works of H.C. Andersen, B.S. Ingemann, Holger Drachmann, Bertel Thorwaldsen and a number of other well-known 19th century Danish artists.  Pastor Susanne emphasized how the Danish national anthem and other national songs were composed or became popular during the 19th century.  This body of work laid the foundation for much of present-day Danish culture and tradition.

Professional musician and singer, Charlotte Andersson, from Copenhagen was an extreme delight for this year’s participants.  Charlotte awed everyone with her beautiful voice and many musical performances during the entire week.   She described Christian Winther’s “Hjortens Flugt”, a poem which dealt with wanderlust and romanticism.

Otto Christensen gave a captivating PowerPoint presentation about Jens Munk. Aase Christensen spoke on Scandinavian Folklore and the role Trolls played both then and now.  She talked of the Thomas Dam trolls which have become collectors’ items and of the Thomas Dambo trolls which can be found all over the world. Rolf Christensen spoke about political Populism and Populists. There were excursions to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the Manitoba Legislature. Pastor Susanne spoke about Pastor Rasmus Jensen, who had accompanied the Jens Munk expedition.  She also performed a Lutheran Church Service just as it would have been held during the reign of King Christian IV.

On the last evening the 28 participants held a Goodbye Party, where they showed off their talents in creating their own entertainment and fun.  A very successful fundraising lottery was held during the evening with many very desirable winnings.

Rolf Buschardt Christensen

 1999 Danish Heritage Seminar in Canmore, Alberta

A record forty participants attended the week-long Danish Heritage Seminar with Burnaby Pastor Birgitte Saltorp as headmaster. The theme was The Danish Golden Age 1800-1850, where the participants were introduced to Bertel Thorvaldsen, Hans Christian Andersen, Søren Kierkegaard, Anders Sandø Ørsted, H.C. Ørsted, Anna Ancher, Adam Oehlenschläger and many others. Prof. Knud Eyvin Bugge spoke about Grundtvig and the Danish Committee to abolish slavery on the Danish West Indies. There was much singing of Danish morning, evening, national and folk songs, and information about the national anthems as well as the new songs “Godmorgen lille land” and the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest winner “Only Teardrops” by Danish singer Emmelie de Forest. Gary Murdoch of Pacific Rainforest Adventures came and spoke about Vancouver Island. Other activities included Show and Tell, a workshop and a goodbye party with fine entertainment, organized within days by the participants. The Seminar was held at Quality Resort Bayside in Parksville from May 27 to June 1, 2013. As in previous years a wonderful fellowship quickly developed among the participants. When they left Saturday morning many commented on what they had learned about the Golden Age or on how much fund they had had!

Rolf Christensen

 2005 Danish Heritage Seminar at Dana College, Blair, Nebraska

The one-week Danish Heritage Seminar, held at Far Hills Inn in Val-Morin, Quebec, Canada, focused on Canadian Literature. From May 31 to June 5, 2004, the twenty-four participants from across Canada - and including one couple from the United States - heard about Robertson Davies, Carol Shields, Yann Martell, Michael Ondaatje and Margaret Atwood. The Headmaster was Pastor Dorte Pedersen of Toronto, who had chosen the theme and the five authors. Regarding Davies, Dorte gave an overview of his work, while for the other four she had chosen respectively the books Unless, Life of Pi, In the skin of a lion and The Blind Assassin.

The discussions about the authors and their books raised many stimulating questions relating to history, culture, religion, literature and social issues. The Danish Heritage Seminar was organized by the Danish Federation and was held immediately after the Danish Canadian Conference in Montreal.

The Seminar also provided opportunities to swim and hike. Every morning and every evening the class would sing at least one song from Højskolesangbogen. The Seminar was conducted in English, except for the singing. This was the first time that the theme focused on a Canadian topic.

Far Hills Inn is situated about 82 km north of Montreal in the picturesque Laurentian Mountains. The resort, with spectacular mountain top views, has its own private lake with a beach, which is surrounded by mountains of pristine woodlands. In the main lodge, where the Seminar participants stayed, each room is different, and all are very cozy.

Other lecturers at the Seminar included Pastor Niels Ebbe Huus of Grimsby, who spoke about Norwegian author Herbjørg Wassmo's best-seller Dina's Book, and then showed the feature film "I am Dina", based on Wassmo's dramatic book. Kim Cully spoke about Quebec history and culture and gave a brief French lesson. She played Gilles Vigneault's song Mon Pays and she taught the class to sing Alouette. Professor Marianne Stenbaek, who had just returned from a visit to Greenland, spoke about Greenland today, which in two generations has become a modern society. Rolf Christensen gave a talk on Germany, where he presented some broad outlines of German history, ending with unification in 1990.

Other activities included a 1950s music quiz, games, singing, a workshop on literature and a goodbye party in the lodge's bar. Wednesday afternoon was free. Well over half of the participants chose to visit Montreal, where in the evening St. Ansgar's Lutheran Church had arranged a dinner, followed by wonderful musical entertainment. Some of the participants said this was one of the best Seminars ever. Moreover, the French cuisine at Far Hills Inn was excellent!

2008 Danish Heritage Seminar at Far Hills Inn

The 1998 Danish Heritage Seminar was held at the Country Resort Gimli on the shore of Lake Winnipeg, about an hour's drive north of Winnipeg. The one-week højskole began for the 25 full-time participants on Saturday, May 16, and ended after lunch on May 21st. The last evening ended with a Goodbye Party.

The headmaster was Pastor Poul Berg Sundgaard of Slagelse, Denmark, who had previously been a pastor in Grimsby, Ontario, and who had participated in two earlier Seminars. The first lecture each day was by Pastor Sundgaard, who in five lectures gave a brief history of the Church in Denmark. The lectures were divided into: Saint Ansgar encounters the Vikings; When Denmark was Catholic; The Reformation; The Church becomes Danish; and The Role and the Identity of the Church Today.

Each day started with a couple of songs from Højskolesangbogen. The headmaster then gave a lecture, followed by a coffee break. The second half of the morning was devoted to various activities. On the Sunday, everyone went to the Service at the Gimli Lutheran Church. On Tuesday, everyone walked to the large Viking statue beside the Gimli Seniors Complex and a group photograph was taken.

Other lectures included: The Clash of Civilizations; Contemporary Danish Poetry; Robert's Rules of Order; The Euro; Basic First Aid; The Original Hollywood Studios; Louis Riel and Western Métis Resistance; Jens Munk; The Icelanders in Manitoba; and The Canadian Executive Service Organization.

There were three new students this year, while the others had participated in a Danish Heritage Seminar before. The Seminar is in one sense a holiday, a chance to get away from daily routines and work, yet it also provides fellowship, entertainment and information - in a setting which provides the students with inspiration, ideas, recreation and fun. And that is what a stay at a Folk School is all about!

2018 Danish Heritage Seminar in Halifax


Danish Heritage Seminar 

Canmore, Alberta


Danish Heritage Seminar

Geneva Park, Orillia

The Danish Federation held another successful Danish Heritage Seminar at Westridge Park Lodge in Devon, Alberta, from May 30 to June 4, 1994. The one-week seminar was headed by Pastor Lars Basbøll of Edmonton. The 19 participants enjoyed the program, consisting of talks on Børglum Abbey, the author Aksel Sandemose and his concept of Janteloven, the topography of Alberta, Grundtvigianism in the U.S., the Lutheran mission to Nigeria, Danishness in Slesvig, the Senior Citizen Home Dania, the Danish settlement at Cape Scott, Queen Thyra, Queen Margrethe I, Leonora Christine, Countess Danner and the EC and the Nordic Applicants.

Esther Machacynski led the Folk Dancing and there were lots of films as well as singing. The food was excellent and plentiful, with the elegant dining room overlooking the North Saskatchewan River. The rooms, located in the same complex, were extremely large. It was a very busy and varied program and the participants felt it was just like a Folk School in Denmark.

The 2001 Danish Heritage Seminar was held at the Canterbury Hills Conference Centre, located in Ancaster, west of Hamilton, Ontario, from Monday, June 4 to Saturday, June 9. The Canterbury Hills Conference Centre is situated in the Dundas Valley on 72 acres of Carolinian Forest, offering a unique residential setting.

The Headmaster was Pastor Preben K. Mogensen of the Danish Lutheran Church of the Niagara Peninsula in Grimsby. For the Seminar Theme he had chosen Identity, and spoke about The Quest for Identity; Danishness; Danish Nationality; Denmark is a little land; Europe's Soul; and Danish Identity - An Outlook. Several other speakers also spoke about Identity, from their particular point of view.

Other topics included Danish Popular Music; Images of Europe; the European Union; Danish Foreign Policy and the Referendum on the EURO; Workshops on Culture and Identity; Show and Tell; and an excursion to the McMichael Canadian Collection in Kleinburg, which includes Canada's largest collection of the Group of Seven paintings.

In addition to the Headmaster, the teachers will include: Professor John Pratschke, Pastor Spencer Overgaard Thomsen, The Rev. David Lynn, Rabbi Bernard Baskin, Ms. Tammy Skrubbeltrang and Rolf Buschardt Christensen.

The fee of $ 595 included room (double occupancy); three meals; two daily coffee breaks; lectures and presentations; use of facilities; excursion to McMichael Collection and all taxes and gratuities.

No Danish Heritage Seminar was organized in 1991, as the Danish Federation's Conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark.  

The 1992 Danish Heritage Seminar was held at the Banff Centre for Conferences from June 29 to July 4th. The Headmasters were Pastors Bodil and Lars Toftdahl of Calgary. They had chosen the theme Nordic and Native Indian Mythology. Pastor Lars Basboll of Calgary spoke about the composer Carl Nielsen. Prof. Erik Jorgensen spoke about Forest Management. Rolf Christensen spoke about Holger Danske as well as Denmark and the European Community. Poul B. Christensen gave a talk about Erik Scavenius - the man behind Denmark's foreign policy for 40 years. Esther Machacynski again led the group in folk dancing. A highlight was the excursion to the Stampede in Calgary.

1996 Danish Heritage Seminar in Ladysmith, June 10-15, 1996

2014 Danish Heritage Seminar at Calabogie Peaks Resort

2006 Danish Heritage Seminar at Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia

The theme of the Danish Heritage Seminar at Auberge aux 4 Saisons in Orford, Quebec, was Take a Trip around the World. The headmasters were Pastor Jørgen Flensted-Jensen and his wife Kirsten of Brylle, Fyn, formerly of Grimsby, Brussels and Edmonton.

They spoke about the Amish and Mennonites; the Danish Church in Brussels; Ethiopia; the National Danish Gym Team; H.C. Andersen and the estates he visited on Fyn; and meeting Danes across Canada. Kirsten spoke about her childhood on Fyn, while Aase Christensen spoke about her Danish roots. Rolf Christensen spoke about trade agreements and disputes as well as about Alberta Dairy Commissioner Christian Marker. Naomi Kramer spoke about her work regarding Holocaust Education and Genocide Prevention. There were also Show and Tell, a song evening, a movie night, workshops as well as free time. Most lectures were accompanied by PowerPoint presentations. The last evening the participants threw a party and entertained each other with music, songs, dances, and a lottery.

The Seminar was held from May 30 to June 4, 2016. The location was in a hilly wooded area of the Eastern Townships. The excellent food was French cuisine at its best! The fellowship among the thirty participants developed quickly, and they agreed that they had had a lot of fun.

Rolf Buschardt Christensen



Danish Heritage Seminar 

Far Hills Inn in Val-Morin, Quebec

The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada organized a one-week Danish Heritage Seminar at EconoLodge, formerly Canmore Mountain Lodge, in Canmore, Alberta, from Monday, May 25 to Saturday, May 30, 2009. The theme was Denmark Today and the headmaster was Pastor Gus – that is, Pastor Carl-Gustav Christensen of Ansgar Danish Lutheran Church in Edmonton. Eighteen people attended the Seminar, seven for the first time, while the other eleven had participated at least once before.

Each weekday, Pastor Gus gave a lecture, which focused on the theme Denmark Today. He gave a quick overview of “Denmark since joining the EU in 1973”, Denmark’s membership of the EU representing a major change for Denmark. He then spoke about Denmark as a Multicultural Society, due to the many immigrants and refugees who recently have made Denmark their home. This was followed by a presentation on Danish environmental and energy policies, where Denmark is a leader in many areas. Pastor Gus then spoke about the Muhammad Cartoon Crisis, giving details of how it developed. Lastly, Pastor Gus spoke about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark Today, including how it is governed – and what are some of the major current issues facing the Church. All lectures were accompanied by audiovisual material – in particular small clips from the Internet.

Rolf Christensen spoke about European political cooperation and integration – as well as the development of international law – and even supranational law; about the stages of economic integration – and the negotiations of the proposed EU-Canada free trade agreement; about EU decision-making – using the Seal Ban as an example; and about Danish foreign policy – as a member of the EU and NATO – and the latest Danish Defence Agreement (Forsvarsforlig) among the various political parties in the Danish parliament.

Pastor Lars Basbøll of Calgary spoke about “What defines a Danish identity abroad?” Pastor Liselotte Basbøll spoke about ‘Being a Danish Lutheran Church among other Lutheran Churches’, and identified some of the differences.

As in past years, there was a Show and Tell session, where eight participants had brought items. The Danish Folk High School Song Book was used every morning and evening – and in between. There was also a Danish Quiz, to see how well the participants knew Denmark. One night the Danish feature film “Efter Bryllupet”, starring Mads Mikkelsen, was shown – with English subtitles. On the last day there was a Work Shop to discuss the various topics discussed during the week. On the last evening a volunteer committee had arranged a Goodbye Party, which featured a scarf contest, singing from Højskolesangbogen, funny clips from the Internet, a lottery with some great prizes, singing by The Three Sisters (actually three male participants in disguise) as well as wine and cheese. Canmore’s most famous mountain is The Three Sisters!

The Chez François Restaurant was just as excellent as the other two times the Seminar was held in Canmore. The weather was great – and the snow-covered mountains looked awesome in the sunshine. All in all an extremely enjoyable and truly memorable Seminar in the Rockies!

The 1993 Danish Heritage Seminar was held at the Crieff Conference Centre in Crieff (practically next door to Sunset Villa) from May 31 to June 6th. Headmaster was Pastor Emilie Esbjørn of Langebæk, Denmark, previously of Toronto. She gave several lectures about the new translation of the Bible, from the original languages into Danish. She also spoke about the Danish authors Anders Bodelsen and Tage Skov-Hansen. Prof. Gunnar Boehnert, University of Guelph, spoke about Eastern Europe, focusing on Poland. Poul B. Christensen spoke about Sir John A. Macdonald. Pastor Jens Bach Nielsen spoke about Schleswig from 1864-1920 to now. Prof. Edward Phillips of the University of Guelph spoke about the composer D. Buxtehude. Rolf Christensen spoke about the Danish national anthem Kong Christian as well as Current Affairs. Esther Machacynski guided the group in folk dancing. The Seminar ended with the celebration of Danish Constitution Day at Sunset Villa, where Pastor Emilie Esbjørn was the Guest Speaker, focusing on the Maastricht Treaty on European Union in her remarks.

2013 Danish Heritage Seminar in Parksville

2001 Danish Heritage Seminar in Ancaster, Ontario


Danish Heritage Seminar 

on the Reformation

The participants had a difficult time making up their minds about what they liked best about the Danish Heritage Seminar, because they all enjoyed the interesting lectures, the great food, the spectacular view of the mountains, the Danish songs, the excursions to ice-covered Moraine Lake as well as the fellowship. The one-week Danish Heritage Seminar was held from Monday to Saturday, May 31 to June 5, 1999, at the Green Gables Inn in Canmore, Alberta.

Headmaster was Pastor Birte Bjerre of Aalborg, Denmark, who spoke about five of Denmark's most popular hymnwriters: Sthen, Kingo, Brorson, Grundtvig and Ingemann. Pastor Jens Hvidtfeldt Nielsen, Calgary, spoke about rhythm and new hymns in the Danish Church - and illustrated this by singing some songs. Stan Chester spoke about forest fires. Karen Turnbull played a word game and lead the group in line dancing, while Jennie Marcher was in charge of gymnastics. Professor Gretchen MacMillan gave an excellent overview of Ireland and its constitution. Professor Marina Allemano gave a fascinating introduction to the study of the interpretation of Hans Christian Andersen as a person. Andy Harris and Jim Ridley spoke about Canmore and its future development. Rolf Christensen spoke about the Order of the Knight Templars. Six seminar participants conducted a very entertaining Show and Tell class, while everyone participated in a Workshop on Danish authors, culture, songs and heroes.

A record 33 people attended the seminar. Mention must be made of the excellent food at Chez François, the fine dining restaurant in the Inn, where all the meals were eaten. Moreover, there were excursions to the Canmore Library and Art Gallery, the Canmore Centennial Museum as well as a guided bus tour to Banff and majestic Moraine Lake and Valley of the Ten Peaks.

The Federation of Danish Associations in Canada's annual Heritage Seminar was held at Dana College in Blair, Nebraska, from Sunday, May 29 to Wednesday, June 1, 2005. Headmaster was Prof. John Mark Nielsen, who is Executive Director of the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa. The participants stayed in a dormitory at Dana College, and ate in the cafeteria.

The Seminar started with a tour to Fort Atkinson, the first American military fort west of the Missouri River. At the fort John Mark Nielsen and Prof. Peter Petersen gave a lecture on the American explorers Lewis and Clark and on the continental expansion of the USA.

Monday, Peter Petersen spoke about Danish immigration to the United States, particularly to Iowa and Nebraska. This was followed by a lecture by Prof. Jim Iversen on the Danish contribution to wind technology - windmills, wind tunnels and wind turbines.

The afternoon tour went to the Mormon Trail Center in Florence, just north of Omaha. This is where the Mormons wintered in 1846, on their way to Utah. The Center showed a video of the trek. The Center also houses a museum, depicting the early history of the Mormons. Across the street from the Center is a cemetery with most of the graves dating from the Winter Quarters era.

In the evening in the Chapel soprano Kristi Bergland and pianist Philip Everingham presented a recital of Scandinavian songs by Edvard Grieg, Carl Nielsen, Jean Sibelius and others. This was followed by a reception in the Forum.

Tuesday morning archivist John W. Nielsen gave a presentation of the Danish Immigrant Archive at Dana College, an active and impressive archive staffed by volunteers. The Archive also publishes books. Afterwards John Mark Nielsen and Peter Petersen gave a comprehensive presentation on the Elk Horn Danish Immigrant Museum, its history, operation and future plans.

In the afternoon the Seminar participants visited the DeSoto Wildlife Refuge and heard about the Missouri River ecology and environment. The Visitors' Center also includes the Bertrand Steamship Museum, which houses the cargo rescued from this large cargo riverboat, which capsized in 1865, and was only salvaged over one hundred years later.

The day ended with the Danish dogma film "Italian for Beginners", directed by Lone Sherfig, her debut, for which she received a Silver Bear in Berlin. It was in Danish with English subtitles.

Wednesday Peter Hansen of Valmont Industries of Omaha spoke about modern wind technology and the challenges of building bigger and bigger towers for the turbines. The Seminar ended with John Mark Nielsen giving a brief overview of Danish American literature. John Mark briefly sketched the outline of Kritian Østergaard's dramatic novel Anton Arden og møllerens Johanne.

Eighteen people had signed up for the Seminar, including one American. But at times the group consisted of 22 people, including the headmaster, as some Conference participants stayed for the Seminar, the program being so interesting. The Seminar was a wonderful opportunity to learn about American history and ecology, Nebraska and Iowa, as well as the Danes in the USA.


Danish Heritage Seminar

in the Canadian Rockies

2016 Seminar in Orford, Quebec

The 2006 Danish Heritage Seminar, with 30 participants, was held immediately after the Conference, from May 15-19, at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Four of the participants were from the United States. The headmasters were Pastor Anne-Sophie Christiansen and Morten Christiansen of Granly Danish Lutheran Church in Surrey, who had chosen the theme History.

Harrison Hot Springs is a beautiful location, situated on an enormous lake, surrounded by snow-capped mountains. The Resort is first class, with fine dining and five different hot pools fed by a hot underground spring. Anne-Sophie and Morten covered: What is History; History: Fact or Fiction; History and Heroes; History or Myth; History and Songs; and Does History change over time? They played songs, such as Lili Marlene from WWII and Yellow River from the Vietnam War, showed slides and got the participants involved.

A History Quiz was held and there was a Workshop on History. Rolf Christensen spoke about Revisionist History and told the story of a young German girl who had been a refugee in Denmark. Anna-Birgit Olsen, Edith Wulff, Per Falkenberg-Andersen, Kirsten Roy and Lili Gregerson brought items for Show and Tell. As well, cartoons about the Danish cartoon controversy were passed around.

The Seminar ended with dinner and dance in the Copper Room. In short, it was another successful and enjoyable Seminar, in memorable, luxurious and spectacular surroundings.

The Inn of the Sea Resort, with its view of ocean, islands and mountains, provided a beautiful as well as a secluded spot for exploring Danish history, literature and culture, in addition to other fascinating topics. The Inn of the Sea is located on Yellow Point, between Ladysmith and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The headmaster was DKU Pastor Jorgen Kappel Hansen of the Granly Danish Lutheran Church in Surrey, B.C. Jorgen loves the treasure of Danish songs found in Hojskolesangbogen - and so did the 24 full-time students. Every lecture started with a song - or two. And every evening ended with at least two or three songs.

The Program Coordinator was Rolf Buschardt Christensen and Seminar Registrar was Erik Qwist. All the rooms had a balcony and those in the front row had a gorgeous view of the ocean. They were equipped with TV, telephone and full size bathroom. The dining room in the main building overlooked the swimming pool and ocean. Breakfast and lunch were buffet-style, while dinner was served - and included three courses. Above the dining room was the classroom. Each day started with a morning song and then a presentation by Pastor Jorgen Kappel Hansen.

Jorgen had chosen five Danish authors and one Swede. In addition to Kaj Munk, Martin A. Hansen, Karen Blixen, Johannes Mollehave and Steen Steensen Blicher, he focused on the Swedish author Selma Lagerlof. He often read a short passage from their works or handed out an information sheet. After the morning presentation, and before lunch, Jennie Marcher was in charge of exercise. There were exercises on the floor in the classroom and on two days there were exercises in the swimming pool. Otto H. Larsen of the Royal Danish Embassy in Ottawa had chosen the topic: 'Denmark: a tiny land - and yet'. He admitted that Denmark was in some ways indeed a tiny land - and yet asked, 'Can Denmark really be that tiny if in 1992 it won the European Soccer Championship, beating Germany 2-0?'

Michael Stanfield displayed some of his water colours, including some from Denmark. He then showed a video he and his wife, Hanne, had made, which explained how he went about painting water colours. Rolf Christensen showed a video about the Spanish missions in California and gave a talk about the background of Spanish colonization in the New World and one about theories relating to the founding of new societies in the Americas. On an excursion by bus to famous Cathedral Grove, with its giant trees, Stan Chester explained the dynamics of the forest and pointed out the different trees. He also spoke about the age of these giant trees and of reforestation.

Henrik Kreiberg took the group on a fascinating tour under the sea - first by showing slides and then by taking the group outside to do some beachcombing. In this way, Henrik gave the class a quick introduction to marine biology, a world so exciting and vastly different from the visit to the giant forest the day before. Niels Jorgensen gave a demonstration of the Internet on his computer. First he showed the group how e-mail works, by opening his mail box and by sending a message. Then he visited a couple of web sites on the Internet, including Jyllandsposten.

On the Friday, Professor John Tucker gave a presentation on Danish film director Carl Th. Dreyer. He showed quite a few clips from various films by Dreyer. This was followed by a two-hour film about the establishment of the MGM studio in Culver City/Hollywood.

On the last evening, the participants held a Goodbye Party. Everyone got dressed up nicely and the participants chatted and nibbled on the goodies they had ordered. It was the end of a wonderful week of singing, learning, talking, laughing and having a great time. As last year, many of the participants said they would be back again next year.

1994 Danish Heritage Seminar in Devon

​​​A one-week seminar on the Reformation was held at Lakeview Resort in Gimli, Manitoba, from Monday, May 31 to Saturday, June 5, 2010. The seminar covered early church reformers such as John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, who were both condemned as heretics by the Roman Catholic Church and then burned to death. The seminar participants were then introduced to the major personalities of the Reformation such as Martin Luther, John Calvin and Huldreich Zwingli.

Headmaster of the seminar was Pastor Bodil Toftdahl of the Danish Lutheran Church in Vancouver. After showing an excellent film about Martin Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes as Luther, Bodil explained the differences in theology between the Roman Catholic Church and the various reformers, who did not necessarily agree on all matters. But the reformers did agree on justification by faith alone, and not deeds and good works; on the number of sacraments, according to the Bible, and not the Roman Catholic Church. As well, the reformers opposed the selling of indulgences and disputed the concept of the transubstantiation of the bread and the wine at Communion.

The reformers also held that the Bible was the source of God’s word. Erasmus, Luther and many others were busy translating the Bible, so it could be read by both lay people and the clergy. The printing press with removable type had recently been invented.

The reformers were not able to reform the Church and instead it split. Bodil then explained how the Protestants could not agree on forming state churches or local congregations – and also disagreed on infant or adult baptism.

Bodil’s lectures focused very much on the Moravian Church, with its colonies in Herrnhut and Christianfeld. She spoke about the layout and decoration of their churches. She went through their music, which includes brass instruments. Moreover, Bodil introduced the seminar to some of her own hymns. She explained how she is very much influenced by the Danish hymn writer Brorson.

For Show and Tell everyone contributed. Regarding the History Quiz on the Reformation, nearly everyone agreed that the questions were difficult. Bodil also briefly presented Per Olov Enquist’s book Lewi’s Journey about the Pentecostal Movement in Sweden. And one afternoon was set aside for some free time.

The seminar also included a visit to the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach. The bus left in the morning and came back to Gimli late afternoon. A typical Mennonite lunch was served at the Heritage Village. The Heritage Village is laid out like a small town, with a church, two schools, a printing shop, several stores, a windmill etc. The main museum building has an auditorium, a gift shop and a modern museum with displays. The museum is well worth a visit. It clearly depicted how the Mennonites had been persecuted – because they did not want to belong to a state church; because they believed in adult baptism; because they were pacifists; and because they wanted to maintain their language – Plattdeutsch.

On the last day the executive director of the New Iceland Museum, who is also the mayor of Gimli, Ms. Tammy Axelsson, came to say hello to the group. The participants then walked to the Viking statue in Gimli, situated just outside the New Iceland Museum. At the museum a short film about the first Icelanders coming to Gimli was shown. Then there was a tour of the new and beautiful museum.

The Lakeview Resort is situated close to the lake, between the beach and the marina. It is an enormous lake, Lake Winnipeg being the 11th largest fresh-water lake in the world. The Lakeview Resort is also a conference centre and has many meeting rooms and a big dining room as well as an indoor and outdoor pool. The guest rooms were comfortable; some with a view, and the food was excellent and plentiful. The service was friendly and efficient.

On the last night of the seminar the participants organized a party. The work was divided, so a committee transformed the class room to a party room and decorated it with flowers and balloons. Another committee looked after snacks and refreshments. Bodil volunteered to look after entertainment. Bodil and her husband, David, who had just driven in from Vancouver, entertained with music. Everyone participated as Bodil asked each participant to perform in some way. Leo Pedersen had bought all the ladies a corsage. Lili Gregerson had written a song for the occasion. The evening finally ended with a lottery. The party was the culmination of a busy week of learning, fellowship and fun. Another great Danish Heritage Seminar!


Danish Heritage Seminar 

Thunder Bay, Ontario

The 2023 Danish Heritage Seminar: Exploring Danish Identity

Nanaimo, B.C. at the Coast Bastion Hotel 

​The 2023 Heritage Seminar was held at the Coast Bastion Hotel in Nanaimo from Monday, May 29 to Friday morning, June 2. The Headmasters were Pastor Lasse Hultberg and his wife Frederikke, who had chosen the theme Exploring Danish Identity. The eighteen participants met in the Malaspina Room Monday afternoon, where the long tables had been set up in a large U shape so everyone could see the other participants. The meeting began with each participant introducing himself, or herself, followed by a game of Bingo Mingle.

[Text Box: The Meeting Room, Danish Heritage Seminar, Nanaimo, 2023.] [A group of people sitting at tables Description automatically generated] After dinner Pastor Lasse Hultberg spoke about Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød, which is now the home of the Danish Museum of National History. Having worked at the museum, Lasse was able to give various insights to the history of the castle as well as the many artifacts  displayed throughout the castle, including the collection of coat of arms of Danish nobles as well as persons who had distinguished themselves, such as the recipients of the Order of the Elephant.

Tuesday morning Pastor Lasse presented an overview of Danish festivals and celebrations, which are traditional, religious, national and popular, and recur each year. For several of the celebrations he recounted their history as well as how nearly all of them had changed over the years. Later Tuesday morning the participants visited the Nanaimo Museum, with the exhibits focusing on the history of the First Nations people in the area. The museum also told the story of the establishment of the British Hudson’s Bay Company settlement in 1852, which it named Colvile after its governor. In 1858 the settlement was renamed Nanaimo, after the local indigenous people. The [A group of people posing for a photo Description automatically generated] museum had also built a replica of a coal mine, one of the town’s early and profitable industries. Moreover, the museum recounted the story of the first Chinatown in Nanaimo, founded during the goldrush in the 1860s.

[Text Box: Pastor Lasse Hultberg, Frederikke Hultberg and their son, Thaddæus.] Tuesday afternoon Frederikke took the participants on a virtual stroll in Assistens Cemetery in Copenhagen, recounting the development of the cemetery and noting many of the well-known people buried there, including Hans Christian Andersen. The cemetery also functions as a large public park, which was clearly seen on the photos shown on the big screen in the classroom. The cemetery was originally located outside the ramparts of the city, but is now located in urban Nørrebro. She ended her presentation by showing how an entrance to the new Copenhagen Metro station had been built below a corner of the Nørrebro Roundabout, on a site formerly part of the cemetery, which had meant relocating some burial plots and grave markers.

In the evening Rolf Christensen spoke about the attempt to establish a Danish colony at Cape Scott on the northern tip of Vancouver Island in the late 1890s, with focus on Carl Brinck Christensen, who later became very active in the Danish community in Vancouver.

Wednesday morning Pastor Lasse spoke about Danish poets who through song celebrated the four seasons. As a reference Lasse used Folkehøjskolens Sangbog, perhaps the most popular song book in Denmark. Lasse led the class in singing several of the songs, including a moving and melancholy, but popular, winter song by Steen Steensen Blicher.

This was followed by a short account of Knud Rasmussen and his Fifth Thule Expedition across Arctic North America from 1921 to 1924. Rolf pointed out the significance of this particular expedition and how it had contributed to the understanding of the way and life of the Inuit. Afterwards the participants had the rest of the day to themselves.

Thursday morning Pastor Lasse briefly recounted the history of the Danish Lutheran congregation in Edmonton. He started by mentioning Peter Erasmus, partly of Danish descent, who was a buffalo hunter, fur trader and interpreter for Treaty Six, and then Pete Anderson (Peter Andersen), who developed a brick yard in Edmonton in the 1890s. But it was members of the Danish Canadian Society DANIA, formed in 1921, who provided the basis for the first Danish Church Service in Edmonton in 1923, that is, one hundred years ago this year. Lasse then distributed the book 60 Years Old, about the Ansgar congregation in Edmonton, pointing out some of the congregation’s highlights over the past century. A celebration to mark the anniversary was held in September.

[A group of people posing for a photo Description automatically generated] Before lunch the seminar participants were divided into three groups, forming workshops to discuss topics related to each seminar presentation. After lunch each group gave its report or assessment on each presentation.

[Text Box: The Seminar participants, Thursday evening, ready to party!] Thursday evening the participants held a goodbye party with dinner, entertainment and a lottery. Already on the first day of the Seminar three committees had been established, each tasked to look after decorations, alcoholic beverages and entertainment for the Thursday night event. The entertainment for the party was provided by the participants themselves. It was impressive what talent was revealed among the assembled participants. Some recited poems, others sang, some danced, some made a presentation or a skit, and three people had brought something for Show and Tell. For the lottery many people had brought beautiful items, which were displayed on a long table. Lottery tickets were sold, and tickets were drawn, with many winning two or three items. The proceeds from the lottery went to partly offset the deficit of holding the seminar.

1998 Danish Heritage Seminar in Gimli, Manitoba

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ The theme of the 2014 Danish Heritage Seminar was South Slesvig. Pastor Lars Skjødt-Jakobsen of Grimsby, the Headmaster, spoke about the history of South Slesvig; daily life of the Danes there; Danish organizations south of the border; his time in South Slesvig; as well as the Danish Senior Centre, which he was involved in building in South Slesvig.

The Seminar was held from May 26 to 31st at the Calabogie Peaks Resort, about 90 km west of Ottawa. There were 21 participants. The guest rooms were large and the food plentiful. The meeting room was superb and fully equipped with a fire place, podium, projector and screen.

Professor Robert Gould came from Carleton University, Ottawa, to speak about Migration and its Challenges to Identity. He showed a short video from Denmark and asked the group to identify quotes by various European leaders.

Janet Carlile, curator at the Arnprior Museum, spoke about Arnprior and its colourful history. Annelise Pedersen, who sits on the board of directors of the Danish Canadian National Museum, gave a lively presentation about the Museum in Dickson, Alberta. Aase Christensen showed photographs from the trip she and her husband, Jens, took to China, which was a real eye-opener. Rolf Christensen spoke about Denmark as a Competition State as well as about Free Trade and the EU-Canada negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

​Rolf Buschardt Christensen

A one-week Danish Heritage Seminar, entitled Aspects of Scandinavian Culture, was held at the Nor'Wester Resort Hotel outside Thunder Bay, Canada, from June 16-21, 2003. The educational and fun-filled Seminar was organized by the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada. Headmaster was Prof. Chris Hale, who teaches Norwegian language and literature at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

Every morning before breakfast Jennie Marcher led a dedicated group of volunteers in aerobics. After breakfast the participants sang one or two morning songs from Højskolesangbogen, with Else Staal Nielsen on the keyboard. Most lectures began with a song, and the day always ended with a song or two. Chris Hale gave lectures on the Danish-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose, the Norwegian languages (Bokmaal and Nynorsk), Nicknames, Scandinavian Folk Music and the Danish Lutheran Churches in the Danish settlements in Canada. Aksel Sandemose was the author who came up with the concept of Janteloven, which has been discussed at many of the Danish Heritage Seminars.

City Councillor Betty Kennedy spoke about Thunder Bay, Lorne Prince, assisted by his wife Ingrid, spoke about the Danes of Pass Lake, Elinor Barr told the group about her project on the Swedes in Canada, and Jim Hyder showed his video The Nordic Legacy and spoke about the Scandinavians in Thunder Bay. There was also an excursion to Pass Lake, the Danish settlement outside Thunder Bay, founded in 1924, with a visit to Salem Lutheran Church and the cemetery. Coffee and cakes were served at the Church.

Another day included a visit to the Finlandia Club, the former Finnish Labour Temple, with a talk by Jorma Halonen and a tour of the upstairs museum. The visit ended with coffee and Finnish pancakes at the well-known Finnish restaurant Hoito, in the basement. Seven of the participants had brought items along for the Show and Tell evening, which is always a lot of fun. Two of them came in Viking outfits.

This year there were two workshops, one on Canadian Foreign Policy and one on Scandinavian Culture. The Workshop on Canadian Foreign Policy used the booklet with questions issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs during its current policy review. There was also a Classical Music Quiz, with the Seminar divided into four competing groups. The Seminar ended with a Goodbye Party where the participants recited poetry, read jokes, sang and had a good time. There were 24 participants, four of them from the United States.


Danish Heritage Seminar  

Montebello, Quebec

1993 Danish Heritage Seminar at Crieff, Ontario

Note: There was no Seminar in 2020, 2021 or 2022 due to Covid 19.

The theme of the Seminar this year was Danish Manor Houses: Past and Present. The Seminar was held from May 28 to June 2nd at the Atlantica hotel within walking distance of the Halifax Citadel. Various aspects of the Danish Manor Houses were explored, from daily life to war, the various forms of gardens, the Manor in film and reality, as well as ghost stories and the Manor today, with numerous uses, which could be a conference centre, museum, park, research station or different kinds of entertainment, including zoos. The Seminar’s headmaster was Pastor Birgitte Saltorp, who now lives at Tersløsegård, the Manor House in Dianalund, north of Sorø, which the playwright Ludvig Holberg used to own. Aase Christensen gave a presentation on Nisser, from kravlenisser to Santa’s helpers, to nisser on the lofts of farm houses as well as Manor Houses. There was Show and Tell, singing in Danish from the Folk School Song Book in addition to excursions to and tours of Pier 21 – the Canadian Museum of Immigration and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. At Pier 21 it was possible to do immigration research and at the Maritime Museum two highlights were the Titanic exhibition and the story and displays relating to the 1917 Halifax Explosion. The Seminar ended with a dinner and party, where each participant chose to be a specific Count or Countess. Moreover, the twenty-four participants from across Canada had adequate free time to explore Halifax and enjoy the beautiful weather, some taking the ferry to Dartmouth, some visiting the brand-new Halifax Central Library, designed by a Danish architectural firm, while others fancied a stroll along the busy and charming harbour front.

Rolf Buschardt Christensen 

2015 - Danish Heritage Seminar at Harrison Hot Springs

2007 Danish Heritage Seminar

Lakeside Lodge and Resort, southwest of New Denmark, New Brunswick, provided an excellent location for holding a Danish Heritage Seminar, where the 26 full-time participants could explore local history, heritage and culture, in addition to other fascinating topics. Lakeside Lodge, located on Pirie Lake, about five kilometers from Grand Falls, near the border to Maine, offered both quality rooms within the Lodge as well as large cabins by the lake.

The headmaster was Finn Stendal Pedersen, history professor at Odense University in Denmark. Most lectures started with a Danish song from Højskolesangbogen. And every evening ended with at least two or three songs. Most evenings someone from New Denmark would come and entertain.

The program organizers were Eileen Hansen and Rolf Buschardt Christensen while the seminar registrar was Esther Machacynski. The dining room was located in the Lodge, as was the classroom. Lunch and dinner included three courses - and some of the dishes were Danish. The food was plentiful and delicious - and the service was efficient and very friendly.  After dinner, the first evening, Friday, June 13, 1997, Tim Nicholas from the Maliseet Nation spoke about native Indian traditions, including the Talking Stick. He also lit some sage to enhance the atmosphere. After his informative talk, the Maliseet drummers, chanters and dancers entertained. The participants could also try the big drum and dance around the drummers.

Headmaster Finn Stendal Pedersen introduced the Danish feature film Memories of a Marriage (Dansen med Regitze) which gave a realistic picture of Denmark in the period 1940-70. He also gave two lectures - one on N.F.S. Grundtvig as a politician, serving in the first Constituent Assembly, which drew up the Danish Constitution of 1849, and then in the Danish Parliament. His second lecture was about Stavnsbåndet and the agricultural reforms in the 1780s and the beginning of the nineteenth century, reforms that were carried out from above, without a violent revolution as in France.

Bill McCue of Grand Falls fascinated his audience with tales about wildlife, pollution, bird calls, and many other things. He then told them the story of how he got his own local TV program which is called Bill's World. Saturday evening Henrik and Mark Deichmann spoke about their family, the family pottery and the arts community in New Brunswick. They also showed a film about the former Deichmann Pottery. They had also brought along a collection of beautiful decorated pottery, made by the former studio potters Kjeld and Erica Deichmann. Janet Maclellan Toole of the Provincial Archives in Fredericton spoke about oral history, her own family and about the arts community in New Brunswick, including the Deichmann family. Ann Brennan told about her research on Klondike Kate, which culminated in her book about Kate. She discovered that Klondike Kate had actually been two women, a nurse as well as a bar girl who tried to pass herself off as the nurse - the real Klondike Kate.

Edith Wulff showed the group how to make Danish christmas paper decorations (hjerter) to hang on the tree, but made with Maple Leafs, which made it much more difficult to assemble. Former Toronto Star journalist Robert Nielsen showed his brother's National Film Board video The Newcomers: The Danes. Robert Nielsen added his own comments to the film which had realistically portrayed his mother as being homesick and wanting to return to Denmark the first many years they were in Canada. Rolf Christensen introduced the video The European Union and Canada, which he had just had the fun of producing, by speaking about the EU institutions and policies as well as upcoming developments such as revising the Maastricht Treaty and enlargement with countries in Eastern Europe. John Hebert gave a professional presentation - using slides and video - about New Brunswick Telephone. He spoke about the many exciting developments that are taking place in the field of communication, such as video conferencing, cable and the internet. John Vallillee gave an interesting talk about the Acadians - the francophones of the Maritimes. He detailed their settlement, conquest, deportation, return and fight for survival. He also touched on their culture and sang a couple of Acadian songs in French.

Librarian Helen Nielsen Craig, who has researched her family, explained how to go about doing genealogical research and how to produce a book for the family, with photos, stories and a family tree. Karen Taylor, director of education with the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission, showed a video and spoke about human rights issues, focussing on racism, discrimination, harassment and equal opportunities in Canada. Poet Sheri Andrews, descendant of an early New Denmark family, read a selection of her poems, explaining or commenting on each one. Many of her poems, which are to be published in an upcoming book, related to New Denmark and the Danes in Canada. Two mornings Marion Pray conducted Danish folk dancing, to give the participants some exercise.

Sunday morning the participants went to New Denmark to go to Church. This was also an opportunity to see the new downstairs hall in St. Peter's Lutheran Church, which had just been completed. The Heritage Seminar included two excursions by minivan. One went to McCain, one of the largest employers in the area, which provided a tour of their pizza pocket and juice plants in Grand Falls. The other excursion went to New Denmark. Anton Pray spoke about potato farming and treated the group to coffee at the Valhalla Restaurant. The tour ended with a visit to the newly completed New Denmark Senior Complex, where Gunnar Pedersen of the Historical Society opened his doors to the interested visitors.

Twenty-two of the participants had participated in a Danish Heritage Seminar before. Only four were brand new students. There were nevertheless some firsts. It was the first time the Seminar was held before the Conference, and not after. It was the first time a Church Service was incorporated into the Seminar. And it was the first time that a commercial presentation (NB Tel) had been included in the program.

On the last evening, the participants held a Goodbye Party at the Lodge. Everyone got dressed up nicely and the participants chatted and nibbled on the goodies they had ordered. Singers from New Denmark sang and the participants sang as well. It was the end of a wonderful week of singing, learning, talking, laughing and having a great time.

2023 Danish Heritage Seminar Nanaimo, BC

A Danish Heritage Seminar was held at the Fern Resort on Lake Couchiching near Orillia, Ontario, from Monday, May 28 to Friday morning, June 1, 2012. The theme of the Seminar was People who made a Difference. The Seminar was organized and supported financially by the Federation of Danish Associations in Canada. There were 30 participants from across Canada. Headmasters were Jørgen and Kirsten Flensted-Jensen of Brylle, Fyn, Denmark.

The Seminar began with introductions, where everyone introduced themselves. Most of the participants had attended a Seminar before. Also during Show and Tell, the participants had an opportunity to get to know each other better. Similarly at each meal the participants rotated from one table to the next, in order to sit with different people at each sitting.

The classroom and all the Seminar guest rooms were on the upper level of the Fern Resort’s main building, with the dinning room and bar downstairs. The luxurious year-round four-star Fern Resort offers first class accommodation together with a wide variety of activities and facilities, such as a health spa, fitness centre, hot tub, whirlpool, sauna, Jacuzzi, beach, one in-door swimming pool, two out-door swimming pools, restaurant, bar, nature trails as well as bikes, kayaks and canoes, which are free for the guests to use. All the units included air conditioning, coffee maker, mini fridge and a fireplace. Some rooms also had a balcony, with a beautiful view of the lake.

The first day the Headmasters, Jørgen and Kirsten, told about their time in Grimsby, Ontario, where Jørgen had been pastor at the Danish Lutheran Church for just over four years. In their presentation they included a film about the congregation and their trip across Canada. In the evening Fred Addis, curator at the Stephen Leacock Museum in Orillia, told about Stephen Leacock and his book Sunshine Sketches of a Small Town, which was first published in 1912, and is thus celebrating its centennial.

Tuesday, Jørgen spoke about Knud Rasmussen, the Danish polar explorer, who travelled up to Thule in Northern Greenland as well as across North America by dog sled, skirting the Artic Ocean, where he visited countless Inuit communities in Canada, Alaska and Siberia, before returning to Denmark. The expedition across North America took three years. Rasmussen became the first European to cross the Northwest Passage by dog sled.

Rolf Christensen spoke about Jean Monnet who inspired the European Coal and Steel Community, which in time led to the European Union. He also mentioned how the countries of Europe had moved from intergovernmental cooperation to supranational integration, where cooperation is now institutionalized and binding.

Kirsten Flensted-Jensen spoke about the Danish author and poet Steen Steensen Blicher and his work, telling one of his better-known stories. In the evening Jørgen spoke about the Danish Gym Team, about his father, as well as his and Kirsten’s participation in the Danish Gym Team, which travelled to many countries around the world. He ended by showing a film about the current National Danish Performance Gym Team, which now showcases Danish gymnastics around the world.

Wednesday morning was devoted to the life and work of South African President Nelson Mandela and Cape Town Bishop Desmond Tutu. The focus was on their struggle to abolish Apartheid and the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee.

Wednesday afternoon was free. Some of the participants went swimming and others visited the Stephen Leacock Museum in Orillia – or just relaxed at the Fern Resort.

In the evening Jørgen told about his work with Danish Church Aid in Ethiopia, Mozambique and Sudan. He was involved in the construction of basic buildings for aid workers, refugees and the disabled as well as the organization and distribution of emergency relief aid. Jørgen also told about daily life in Africa for him and his family. He ended his presentation by showing a film which he had taken while in Africa.

Thursday morning the Seminar participants heard about the work of Mother Teresa, who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. She was also a social worker, providing help to the poor, the old, the suffering and the dying. As well, she established schools for street kids. She was certainly a person who made a difference!

Thursday the participants were divided into five workshops and were asked to answer a group of eight questions relating to the lectures. Later each group reported on its answers and conclusions. No surprises here, the five groups were generally in agreement.

Thursday evening the participants organized a Goodbye Party. One committee looked after food and beverages. Another committee re-arranged the classroom and decorated it with balloons, paper plates with faces of the participants and set up tables for food, beverages and the annual lottery. A third group led by Lili Gregerson was in charge of entertainment. Within a day or two a program of entertainment had been organized! And the quality was impressive – and there was much laughter! The Seminar thus ended on a high note – with the participants all truly enjoying themselves. Another successful Seminar had come to an all-too-early end!

Rolf Buschardt Christensen