The Exhibition Celebrating 100 Years of King Rama V Visit Denmark

The Lions Clubs International in Denmark and Thailand with the cooperation of the management of Skagen By-og Egnsmuseum has arranged an exhibition, “With oriental eyes: King Chulalongkorn’s visit to Skagen in 1907, to celebrate the centenary of his visit which will be next year in 2007.
The official opening ceremony was held on 30 June 2006, where a number of honorary guests were presented namely Ambassador Mr. Chaisiri Anamarn, who presided over the ceremony, Consul General Ib Thompsen, Senator Pensak Chagsuchinda, the museum management; Director Mr. Michael Ax, Chairman Ms. Vivian Floor, Curator Ms. Anne Dorthe Holm, along with Mr. Søren Birch-Rasmussen of Lions Clubs International in Denmark and other officials at the Royal Thai Embassy in Copenhagen.
The retrieval of the Siam National Flag in September 2004 inspired the Lions Clubs International in Denmark and Thailand and the management of Skagen By-og Museum to organize an exhibition to strengthen the existing ties between the two kingdoms. The flag was red with albino elephant at the centre on both sides, in which it was claimed to have been used by King Chulalongkorn’s visit at Grenen, the outmost northern part of Jutland in Denmark on the 4th of July 1907.
King Chulalongkorn or King Rama V of Siam, now Thailand, was accountable for opening up the country for more liberal trading with western commercial firms, leading to the modernization of Siam in the 1850s. The aim of his reforms was to avoid the western colonization of Siam, which was a success. During his reign, King Chulalongkorn visited Europe twice, in 1897 and 1907, in which he visited Denmark on both trips. King Chulalongkorn kept a diary, where he wrote his experiences on his travel. The exhibition is about his second trip, which has brought him to Skagen and the Grenen spit, where he placed the Siam National Flag.
The exhibition includes the Siam National Flag, two full size bronze statues of King Chulalongkorn along with his portrait painting, copies of correspondence letters and other documents. Other exhibits include pictures of the king’s visit to Skagen and the spit in Grenen as well as other items being used during his stay.
“The exhibition tells a story about King Chulalongkorn’s visit to Skagen in 1907 as well as about the king himself, his family, his reform work and his popularity in Thailand,” says Anne Dorthe Holm, curator of Skagen By-og Museum.
Apart from displaying his visit to Denmark, the pictures reveal the life of King Chulalongkorn, his family, his work, his journey to Europe and also about Andreas du Plessis de Richelieu, a Dane who joined the Siamese navy and played a great role in the Siamese administration. He later became the king’s close friend and had a great influence on the planning of journey to Denmark. All exhibits are displayed in a typical yellow Skagen house during the 1850.
This exhibition also aims to reveal the history of Thai-Danish relations, where the Rama V Hall is the evidence signifying the good relations between the two kingdoms over a hundred years, as well as to strengthen the existing ties. The exhibition involves the Thai culture and history in Denmark and it is hoped to benefit the Thai community and Danish people.
The exhibition not only marks the 100th anniversary of King Chulalongkorn’s visit to Skagen in 2007 but it will coincide with the 100th anniversary of the opening of Skagen Harbour.
“We had a harbour in Skagen just a few months after King Chulalongkorn left in 1907,” says Anne Dorthe Holm.
“The Danish King visited Skagen afterwards, where he inaugurated the harbour. By then, Skagen was already a famous tourist place,” she adds.
The museum has received many valuable items from different sources, especially for this exhibition and it will last one half year, which will end in December 2007. Then all exhibits will be given back to their owners, except the flag, which has been in the museum’s possession. The museum is opened everyday all year round. For more information, log on to http://www.skagen-bymus.dk/nyheder.aspx

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