Relationship with Danish consulate one of warmth, hygge.
The longtime relationship between The Danish Home of Chicago and the Danish Consulate may boil down to one word: hygge (pronounced HYOO-guh), a feeling of contentment and conviviality and a defining element of Danish culture.
“Whenever we visit it’s hygge,” says Birgitte Nørmølle, Consular and Administrative Officer for the Royal Danish Consulate General, which is based in downtown Chicago.
The Danish Consulate and its staff have been a steady, heartwarming presence at The Danish Home through the years, participating in birthday parties, holiday receptions, and festivals while making connections with the Danish Royal Family and organizations like the Royal Danish Ballet Company.
“The office of the Consulate General of Denmark in Chicago, the various Consul Generals and their employees have also been a part of our background and our lives,” says Danish Home resident Karen Frink, who is also President of the Resident Council. “Over the years, many personal friendships have evolved from our association with the Consulate.”
“The Danish Home is special because it’s been around so long [since 1891],” says Birgitte. “It really is a part of Denmark that we have here in Chicago.”
The Danish Consulate manages passport issues for Danish citizens while advising Danish companies on trade-related matters. Birgitte highlights the enjoyment of re-visiting age-old traditions at festive events like the yearly Christmas reception held at the Danish Consulate’s offices in the John Hancock Building.
“We have glögg and aebleskiver,” says Birgitte. “In Denmark, we didn’t keep up with Danish traditions that much—we were living it.”
In February, new Consul General Jesper Køks Andersen visited The Danish Home as part of sponsoring the community’s monthly birthday party. As it turns out, resident Nora Bogehegn and Jesper hail from the same area of Denmark, Køge, which is south of Copenhagen.
“It means a lot to the residents to know that someone of importance is willing to spend time here and bring along some Danish interns to chat with the residents,” says Karen.
“They’re wonderful ambassadors of Denmark, they always bring the latest news and it’s our direct contact to Denmark,” adds Linda Steffensen, Development Manager for The Danish Home Foundation. “We’re really appreciative of them.”
While The Danish Home is open to people of any heritage, its relationship with the consulate and that feeling of hygge are part of what makes the community so special.
“The Consul General is very friendly and has attended many of The Danish Home’s social functions,” Karen says. “You might say that we feel a connection to the Queen of Denmark through the Consul General.”
Photo Caption (from left): Katrine Skifter, Jesper Køks Andersen, Emilie Melchior, Amanda Bach Søndergaard