Queen Margrethe of Denmark spent last week visiting areas of Germany inhabited by many Danes who has lived there for almost 1000 years. In a newly given interview with a German newspaper, Queen Margrethe says that she thinks it is bad that the Danes in Denmark know little or nothing about the Danes in Germany and their current situation as a minority.
Her Majesty said to the German newspaper: “I am actually sorry for this lack of knowledge in Denmark. It is also one of the reasons why I do not fail to greet the German-Danes in my yearly New Year speech. Then people can at least hear it. I really hope that people will continue to understand what South Schleswig is.”
She continued: “It has been a long time since I went to school, so times have changed and people are less aware of the situation in South Schleswig. It can also be seen from the fact that it has made sense to create a new large Danish school a few years ago in Schleswig. There is still a strong connection to Denmark”.
The Queen recalls that next year will mark 100 years since the peaceful transfer of Danish territories back to Denmark. Many Danes still live in today’s Germany. Queen Margrethe says that being Danish doesn’t end just because you are not in Denmark. “I think it is very important to come up to 2020 right now. It is a year of branding, and I would like to emphasize the connection that exists between the German-Danes and Denmark in connection with the celebration in the rest of Denmark, that being Danish does not end at the border. On the other hand, there are also people who feel deeply connected to Denmark and who use and know the language.”
In 1920, the former German state of Schleswig became a part of the Danish kingdom again. This happened after a referendum on Schleswig’s transition from German to Danish rule in 1920. The referendum was held as a result of the Versailles Peace Treaty that marked the end of the First World War. The 1919 Versailles Peace Treaty decided that a referendum should be held in Schleswig in two rounds, one in northern Schleswig and one in the middle part of Schleswig. While the northern parts voted to become Danish with 74%, middle Schleswig voted to continue as part of Germany with 80%.
The reunion day, June 15, and the voting day February 10, are still celebrated by Danes in Schleswig and the Danes who still live in what is part of Germany today. In 2018, it was estimated that of the 450,000 living in German-controlled Schleswig, 50,000 of them were ethnically Danish. They have their own churches, schools and Danish cities as well as their own flag and political party which still campaigns for this part of Schleswig to become a part of Denmark.