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Celebrations for ‘Genforeningen’ at the Dano-German border

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Elke Büdenbender, Premier Daniel Günter (Schleswig-Holstein), President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Queen Margrethe II, PM Mette Frederiksen (Denmark) ©Patricio Soto

Sunday, 13 June 2021, Aabenraa, Kingdom of Denmark: In 2020, 100 years had transpired since Southern Jutland (northern part of the historical Duchy of Schleswig) was reunited with Denmark, something that is known as ‘Genforeningen‘ within the realm. Owing to the Corona virus pandemic celebrations were postponed until the summer of 2021, which were led by Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark, and the German Federal President, Dr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier who travelled accompanied by the Royal Danish Ambassador in Germany, Susanne Hyldelund. The incumbent Premier of Schleswig-Holstein, Daniel Günther was likewise invited as one of the state dignitaries.  

The celebrations recreated the triumphant ‘homecoming’ of King Christian X who in 1920 entered the territories that were reunified with Denmark after a plebiscite on the matter. Around 100,000 Southern Jutlanders welcomed the monarch, and Queen Alexandrine. The town’s people handed over the Dannebrog (Danish flag) to Christian X at Kongeskansen. The Danish flag had been taken down in 1864 from Sønderborg. According to stories, the king received Dannebrog, and thereafter bent down and kissed the flag’s cloth.  

Picture by Keld Navntoft.

Kongeskansen at Dybbøl Banke is the place where the Danish Army in 1864 suffered its greatest defeat vis-à-vis the Prussian Army, and was forced to withdraw to Als. Southern Jutland was lost; therefore it was also there that in 1920 one could celebrate that the land area was again part of Denmark.  

In front of the Deutsches Museum Nordschleswig (German Museum in North Schleswig), Queen Margrethe II and the Federal President of Germany planted two trees symbolising the good relations between the Danish and German minorities on both sides of the border. 

Through art and cultural history collections, the museum illuminates identity, everyday life, schooling, war participation 1939-45, the legal settlement and the development after 1955. 

In Southern Jutland live about 15,000 people belonging to the German minority that emerged in 1920 as a result of the referendum and border relocation. The members of the minority perceive themselves as German North Schleswigers, Danish citizens with German identity as well as a firm foothold in the region.  The Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, The Crown Prince of Denmark and Prince Christian were also present during the celebrations. 

For further information:

Danish Royal Household:
German Federal Presidency:
Reunification’s website:
Royal Danish Embassy in Germany, Switzerland and Liechtenstein (HE Ambassador Susanne Hyldelund):

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