I belong to Denmark, as my husband and children, my life and our family’s life is here. I am a Danish citizen, in many ways, this includes also being a citizen of the world. But I decided to vote, locally and nationally, as I do want to express my wishes, hopes and convictions about the society we actively chose to nurture our children in. So yes, election day is a special day, where we take our children with us, explain to them the meaning and importance of it, and celebrate with icecream that we live in a democratic society, with freedom of expression, the possibility to dream, and most importantly, to dream in peace.
It feels somewhat quaint to be voting for the first time at the age of 39, but given my upbringing (i.e. born and raised in a communist regime none of us believed in, growing up in a system run by converted communists and later organized criminals), my constant nomadic existence up to the age of 35, my “temporary citizen” status for the past 7 years, I had not really considered it or given it an honest thought. I do not really believe in politics, but I do want to be able to exercize my rights as a Danish citizen, especially in a society that is less prone to corruption than the one I was brought up in. It felt like my first communion, or a religious ritual really, lining up with strangers, on a rainy Tuesday evening, waiting for my turn, sharing the quiet understanding that everyone had come there for the same reason, that everyone was peaceful, regardless of their political belief. We had explained the children that this was an important event, that they will have the chance to take part in as well once they turn 18. Matthias understood that we were going to elect “dem der bestemmer i Valby” (i.e. the person(s) in charge of the neighbourhood we live in) and his only concern was whether we’d still be able to buy chewing gum once all of this was over and the winner was announced. I took a more pragmatic route, and voted for the environment, better schools and welfare (Enhedslisten). they do not have a chance to win, but I did my share of the job, and that makes me feel better already. It is almost like voting for your summer holiday destination when you travel as a group – you might not end up in the Maldives, but the end result is still satisfactory.
I look forward to all coming elections, as I feel at home here, and the fact that my voice, however tiny and perhaps unimportant in the bigger scheme of things, is heard, and it matters.
Ole Lund Kierkegaard is yet another new piece of Danish cultural heritage I have been unaware of – I had actually unknowingly tasted his quirkiness, as he wrote Gummi-tarzan, part of the Danish literary canon, which Kincsem brought home for us a couple of months ago or so. An extremely inspiring workshop, encouraging children to build and explore their imagination was set up at the Culture Yard in Helsingør. I will most likely look out for his books and articles as I find him quite intriguing.
We set out today to visit the National Museum’s temporary exhibit, modestly entitled – VIKING. Part of me expected a historical/romantic angle, going back to the roots, rediscovering your ancestors, packed in armour and a bunch of viking copy jewellery that is inevitably popular with American tourists infatuated with European history. I was wrong. The museum managed to create a universe that not only was impressive in its design (a reconstructed 37 m long viking ship, with interactive screens, soundtrack of a storm on the rough sea, transporting you, if not back in time, to a unique place, where thoughts and feelings move freely, where you question life and its worth) but also in its variety of information provided – it didn’t tell a story, it asked you to be part of it. “The vikings sailed the World without a map – would you? What would make you up and leave your country, without any means of finding way?” There were specially designed nooks, where you could sit and reflect on the story, or rather the idea of that way of living: exploring, conquering, plundering, discovering and ultimately, evolving. A wonderful idea, an inspiring story of epic proportions, all compressed very cleverly, in an impressive yet modest building. Tax money well spent.