Monday, July 23, 2012


The Danish flag or Dannebrog is one of the oldest flags in the world. It's a simple red flag with a white cross on it. Legend has it that the flag came down to the Danes in a battle in Estonia way back in 1219. The Danes went on to win the battle and the flag has been the Danish flag ever since.

There is not much historical evidence supporting this unique origin story, but the legend persists. Last summer, on our vacation to Tallin, we visited the spot where the flag is said to have come down.  Riley was asleep in his stroller and Neil and I posed for a photo. It felt important to visit the site, like it made us better expats living in Denmark. Now we can say, "Oh yes, we've been to the battle field where the Dannebrog came down." (If only we could pronounce Dannebrog.)

The Dannebrog descended right around here.
A friend of ours told us that a common theory is that rather than the flag actually being delivered by God, it was actually someone's family crest that they became separated from in the battle and then it came down by the Danes, thus leading to the legend. Others say it's just made up. Wherever it came from, the Danes love their flag.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, the use of the Danish flag in regular Danish life is very impressive to me. Danes use the flag for all celebrations - birthdays especially, but other celebrations as well. The Dannebrog is used in advertising to connote a sale, it is on kids stickers sold at the post office, it's just very popular.

Post office viking stickers
For Riley's second birthday, we ate on the pirate ship at Tivoli for dinner. It was the first time since living here that we'd been out to eat for a birthday and when we told the restaurant staff, they delivered a Danish flag for the table. Sure, the typical Danish wind knocked the flag over more times than I would like to remember, but it still made me feel like we are doing something right, we're getting the hang of this living in Denmark business.

The Pirate Ship

The birthday boy on the ship with his birthday flag
 Perhaps when we move away from here, our little American boy will look at photos from his first and second birthdays and wonder why there are Danish flags all over the place and think it a bit odd. I will be prepared for this. It will give me the opportunity to tell him about the time he slept in his stroller at the spot where the Dannebrog was delivered to the Danes from the sky.

The Dannebrog flying near Frederiksborg Slot in Hillerød, Denmark

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I am an American who just moved to Denmark in June 2012. I moved my entire life here with my 2 teenage sons. We have lots in common according to your blog. Please keep blogging, believe me, it serves me much comfort! Take care,