Denmark’s maritime history paved the way for relations between Denmark and Thailand

Danish warships and merchant ships in front of Kronborg Castle in Denmark. Photo: Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok

The Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok marks International Seafarers Day on June 25 with a tribute to Denmark’s maritime history and the significance it has had on the historic relationship between Denmark and Thailand.

International Seafarers Day seeks to raise awareness of the work seafarers have done during the pandemic and to thank them for their contribution. The campaign also aims at encouraging people to treat them with respect and dignity so they can continue the good work they have been doing.

The Embassy proudly shares that Denmark has a long and proud maritime history. 400 years ago, Denmark was a leading European maritime power and this paved the way for the first-ever contact between Denmark and Thailand.

The Embassy elaborate with the following historical facts:

For King Christian IV, who ruled Denmark at the time, any expansion outside of Scandinavia and northern Europe was strictly about trade. Therefore, the Danish King decided to send a merchant ship, The Øresund, to the waters around Sri Lanka (Ceylon) in 1618 to explore the possibilities of trade.

The Øresund, which was later joined by other Danish merchant ships, ended up in Tranquebar, India, where the Danes set up a trading station and the Danish fortress Dansborg.

In 1621, a Danish merchant ship left Tranquebar and sailed almost directly east. It landed at the Siamese settlements of Mergui and Tenasserim and, as such, the first contact between Denmark and Siam was a reality.

The Danish trade station and fortress at Tranquebar. Photo: Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok
An early map of India showing the Danish settlement at Tranquebar. Directly east the Siamese settlements of Mergui (Myeik) and Tenasserim. Photo: Embassy of Denmark in Bangkok

About Mette Larsen

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

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