Exactly 160 years ago on 21 May, H.M. King Frederik VII of Denmark, H.M. King Mongkut and H.M. King Pinklao of Siam signed the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation and established the diplomatic relations between Denmark and Thailand, reports the Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok.
“This treaty became the stepping-stone of the first diplomatic activities between Denmark and Thailand. Two years later, the first Danish consulate in Bangkok opened with Frederick Carl Christian Købke as the first Danish consul in the country. Another 32 years passed before Thailand appointed their first ambassador to Denmark, H.S.H. Prince Prisdang in 1882. Likewise, Gunnar Seidenfaden became the first Danish Ambassador to Thailand in the middle of the 1950’s,” says the statement.
“The royal families of Denmark and Thailand have a strong, long-lasting friendship and have visited each other on multiple occasions; the first time when His Majesty King Chulalongkorn came to Denmark in 1897. The latest visit was in October 2017 when the Danish Crown Prince paid his respect and attended in the Cremation Ceremony of the late king, His Majesty King Bhumibol.
From East Asiatic Company to dairy farming; Danish stakeholders have over time been drawn to Thailand and have left an entrepreneurial footprint behind. Several people have contributed to the establishment and strengthening of the relations between Denmark and Thailand; the Dane Andreas de Richelieu became a close friend of King Chulalongkorn as well as an important advisor in the Thai navy. With Richelieu came also a wave of Danish entrepreneurs, businesspersons, scientists, military men and sailors who formed the first Danish communities in Thailand.
Another exceptional figure was H.N. Andersen, who founded the trading company Andersen & Co. in 1897 later known as The East Asiatic Company (EAC) implicitly making Denmark one of the frontrunners in East Asian trade and shipping with large investments in Thailand. EAC’s original headquarters can still be seen from the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok.
Danish entrepreneurs have also played an important part in funding the railway structures in Thailand including Aage Westenholz just as Thai Airways International was initially a joint venture between Scandinavian airline SAS and the domestic carrier Thai Airways Company. In 1961, Denmark and Thailand came together in cooperating on dairy farming merging Danish technology and Thai knowledge within agriculture.
Later on, the relationship came to include collaborations on forestry and marine biology. On multiple occasions, the Thai royal family has given Thai elephants that now live in Copenhagen zoo and are widely popular.
Today, there are roughly 100 Danish businesses established in Thailand, which employ 54,000 people – both Thais and Danes and annually 160,000 Danes take the trip to Thailand to enjoy its beautiful country and hospitable people. The 160-year-old treaty is still relevant and a symbol of the strong relationship between the two kingdoms.
Throughout the year, we will bring stories on the unique partner- and friendship between Denmark and Thailand.”
Source: Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok