Tuesday, 1 September 2020

On becoming a Dane

The ‘Constitutional Ceremony’, the final stage in becoming a Danish citizen’, was exceedingly simple. Some discreet playing and singing by a softly crooning trio of young ladies while we waited for the opening words from the mayor, another number from the ladies, a short (very short by Danish standards) speech by the mayor in which he mentioned distinctive qualities of the society we would be joining and a mention of the obligations this placed on us, and a word to the guests present as well that each of the 21 applicants would be called up individually to sign the ‘Declaration to be used at the attainment of the right of naturalisation in the Kingdom of Denmark’. We were called up one by one, signed the document, did the ‘elbow nudge’ that has temporarily replaced the handshake, and took our seat once more. There was a group photograph, three quarters of an hour had passed, we were invited into the next room, where a glass of bubbly was served and a tiny Danish pastry – and we discovered, as so often happens, that we all knew each other within two to three links.

On 1 September 1968 I began a new life as the first foreign lecturer of English at Odense University. On 1 September 2020 I watch my first dawn come up as a Dane.

Til Danmark

I Danmark er jeg endt, her har jeg hjemme,
her slog jeg rod, herfra min verden går,
Du danske sprog, jeg lær’ dig aldrig tæmme,
men som musik du i mit hjerte slår.
Jeg bor ved Svendborg strand,
min have er en perle,
her vokser græs blandt skvalderkål og snerle:
Dig elsker jeg,
Danmark mit bonusland.

No comments: