There was an elegant and festive atmosphere at the residence of Danish ambassador to Singapore, Berit Basse, when on 15 April about 230 people, the majority Danish, gathered to celebrate the birthday of their beloved Queen Margrethe — an event fully sponsored by Danish companies. Exquisite canapes were being served along with chilled wine and champagne, and the chatter was merry and loud among the smartly dressed guests. From the opposite side of the pool came cool jazz tunes played by a live band, which completed the festive mood.
The ambassador gave a warm and heartfelt welcome speech, in which she thanked everyone for being there and for supporting the Danish embassy in many ways. She presented an official reply from Her Majesty the Queen to the birthday greeting that the embassy had sent her earlier in the day: “Hjertelig tak for den venlige hilsen” (thank you very much for your kind greeting). This was much appreciated by the crowd, and Ms. Basse took the opportunity to introduce the guest of honor for the evening, Denmark’s minister for foreign affairs, Villy Søvndal. The minister for foreign affairs spoke to the guests about his programme in Singapore and his meeting with his Singaporean colleague K. Shanmugam. He praised Singapore for its remarkable development within a relatively short period and mentioned that the topics on the agenda were climate, water and shipping.
After the speeches, not one but two songs were sung by everyone to honor the Queen’s birthday: the two national anthems; the royal anthem which is believed to be the oldest national anthem in the world, “Kong Kristian stod ved højen mast” and the civil anthem, “Der er et yndigt land”.
Voices from the public this evening included a group of young Danes on an exchange student program at a couple of different universities in Singapore. They were all extremely happy with the excellent services they had received from the Danish embassy throughout their stay, and they felt much honored to be invited to the celebration this evening. Another Danish lady spoke about how special it feels to celebrate national occasions together with fellow countrymen like this. She described the celebrations of the Queen’s birthday in Denmark as a much less pretentious affair, mainly experienced in front of the TV watching the royal festivities. One lady mentioned that many Danes make it a once in a lifetime mission to actually go to Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen to wave the flag on the Queen’s birthday.
All in all, everybody enjoyed a wonderful and truly Danish evening, with a sumptuous buffet dinner and a generous flow of champagne, together with friends at a beautiful tropical setting.
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