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The Peaceful Pillager

Students get their daily dose of Denmark.

Sylvia Cohen, Staff reporter

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What is The Peaceful Pillager?

This year our school has adopted the motto “All In”, a phrase meant to express the unity and participation that we want to see this year at LSHS. So what’s going to unite the Vikings this year? Well, let’s look to the past and see what wisdom our namesakes can provide.  The Vikings of yore did not share a common race or even nationality, what united them was their choice of activity, mainly pirateering and pillaging. Nowadays, this kind of behavior is frowned upon, here at LSHS and in general. So how are we to unite the modern day Vikings? We will pillage peacefully. Pillage: to rob using violence, especially during war. Peaceful: not involving war or violence. An apparent and extreme contradiction, but in practice both fun and rewarding. This column will attempt to rob, or better yet to borrow, from other countries, not in terms of gold and mead, but in terms of knowledge. Every month a new country will be featured and hopefully you will leave here with a more informed view of the world united, as Vikings, by your common, sometimes obscure, newly gained knowledge.

 

This week: Denmark. The home base of many conquering Vikings.

So, Denmark. What do we know?

“Literally nothing,” sophomore Gabrielle Miles said. This was, as expected, the most popular answer. Some students did have a few tidbits to share. “It’s a country,” junior Zack Morgado said. Morgado is correct. Denmark is a small country comprised of a peninsula and several islands in northern Europe. The entirety of Denmark could fit within Washington state four times over. “It does sound fictional. Sounds like a Narnia land,” Morgado added. Denmark is not fictional, though it’s magical sounding name can inspire some confusion. It also has a far milder climate than Narnia; no 100 year winters here. Instead, visitors can look forward to a temperature range similar to our own. However what the winter’s lack in the cold department they make up for with their seventeen hour nights1. To cope with this abundance of dark and combat cabin fever, the Danes make use of “hygge” (pronounced as hoo-guh) a Danish concept which has recently taken the world by storm (mainly through Pinterest). Hygge is essentially just a feeling of coziness. Think crackling fire, mug of cocoa, and a nice wool blanket. Along with hygge the Danes boast an impressive national affinity for bicycling and salty licorice. These things seem to be working for them as Denmark has topped the UN World Happiness Report two years running.2

 

So there’s some Denmark 101, but aside from the basics, what do LSHS students want to know about Denmark?

 

“What’s so important about it?” senior Darrin Benjamin said.  

Well, assuming that the average LSHS student values happiness, they should certainly be interested in the proven happiest place on earth.

 

“Something,” junior Madison Denton said. Here are a few somethings.

The people of Denmark are called the Danes. Their official language is Danish but close to 90% of the population also speak English.3 The Danes do still have a reigning queen, queen Margrethe Ⅱ, but almost all governmental power resides in their prime minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen. Also, Denmark made history in 1989 by being the first nation to legally recognize same-sex marriage. You now know something about Denmark.

 

“What is the capital?” junior Hunter Christianson asked.

Denmark’s capital is none other than the beautiful and bustling Copenhagen (København in Danish), a popular tourist stop and home to just under 600,000 people as of 2015.4

 

“What are the cool things you can do in Denmark?” Morgado asked.

You can visit Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest theme park in the world (the oldest one is also found in Denmark). Opened in 1843, Tivoli spans 20 acres, within which one can find carnival rides, shops, and theatres. Walt Disney once visited the park prior to opening his own in order to gain inspiration.2 Also be sure to visit the original Legoland park, this year featuring small scale models of the tallest buildings in the world. If big crowds are not your speed, consider just biking around the beautiful countryside and cities of Denmark. The Danish biking system is extensive, featuring over 12,000 km of marked bike trails and elevated biking roads instead of bike lanes.2  For an extensive list of awesome Denmark activities, go to visitdenmark.com.

 

“Who are some cool people from Denmark?” freshman Julia Cohen asked.

The people of Denmark have left an impressive mark on world history considering that their population size is smaller than most American states. Famous writer Hans Christian Andersen was a native Dane who wrote a large collection of fairy tales, some of his most well known contributions include: The Little Mermaid, The Princess and The Pea, The Ugly Duckling, The Emperor’s New Clothes and Thumbelina. The Danes honor this master creator with a bronze statue of The Little Mermaid which is displayed prominently on a rock in Copenhagen’s Langelinie harbor.

Physicist Niels Bohr was also a native of Denmark. Bohr proposed a new model of the atom based upon the quantum principle. This principle stated that the electrons in the atom could only gain energy in discrete amounts, which he called quanta. His ideas helped us to begin to explain the intricate processes going on within the atom.

If you’re looking for some more modern Danes of note, take a look at the music of Fallulah, an indie-pop artist, whose sound has been compared to that of Florence and the Machine,  or the acting work of Viggo Mortensen (whose father was Danish), most well known for his role as Aragorn in The Lord of The Rings movies.

 

“I’ve always wanted to know how to make food from Denmark,” senior Gabrielle Marlap said. Denmark’s official national dish is crispy pork with parsley sauce. If you want to try your hand at some Danish cooking you can find the recipe here Recipe Link.

 

“What’s going on in Denmark?” Miles asked. Well, Sherin Khankan has opened a female-lead mosque in Copenhagen, (the first of its kind in Scandinavia) 5 and Danish finance minister, Kristian Jensen, attended a negotiation between the EU and Britain to discuss Britain’s financial settlement post-Brexit and urged his colleagues to pick up the pace and work towards a compromise.6

 

Denmark is not a global powerhouse, it doesn’t start wars or even end them for that matter, but they did invent legos, pioneer marriage equality and come up with an insanely impressive network of bike paths, all of which make their citizens top-of-the-chart happy, so maybe we can learn something from Denmark. Now go and enjoy the spoils of your pillaging; amaze your friends and family with your knowledge of a tiny Scandinavian nation five thousand miles away.

 

  1. Denmark.net
  2. VisitDenmark.com
  3. Jakubmarian.com
  4. UN data
  5. The Guardian “Women lead Friday prayers at Denmark’s first female run mosque”
  6. The Guardian “Brexit: stop the ‘games’ over the bill and get on with EU deal, says Denmark”
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