March 18, 2016

It is no surprise to anyone that the world we live in is an energetic, vibrant, ever-changing place.  At times it can even seem complicated and downright confusing, especially with the massive technology boom of the past twenty years.



Is it just me, or does it seem that in the blink of an eye conversations among friends were replaced with tweets and posts, Polaroid pictures developed into filtered selfies, and receiving a hand written anything has been overshadowed by a few swipes of a thumb?



Don’t get me wrong, I read the news on my tablet, I use the GPS on my phone to get me where I need to go, and I Skype and Face Time cousin Annelise and Mormor regularly.  I rely on my favorite go-to websites (hello, Pinterest!) for trying out new recipes and keeping me ‘in the know’.


Today we can do nearly anything with our computers and hand-held devices. Although at times this may seem complicated and burdensome, technology has improved our lives in many ways.


Do you use hand-free while you’re driving?  Have you ever used a wireless headset or earpiece?  Are you able to control your lights, garage door, television, wireless speaker system, or anything else from apps on your smartphone or hand-held device?  If so, then you are using Bluetooth technology, and have a 10th century Danish king to thank.




Obviously Harald “Blåtand” Gormsøn, Konge af Danmark (Harold “Bluetooth” Gormsson, King of Denmark) did not develop this technology, but he certainly inspired it one thousand years after his reign.  Long before the use of surnames, it was customary to use nicknames, and “Bluetooth” was given to him presumably because he had a dead tooth that appeared blue. He was the son of Gorm den Gamle (“Gorm the Old”), the first historically recognized King of Denmark and considered the traditional ancestral “head” of the Danish monarchy.


 When King Gorm died in 958 his son succeeded him.  During his reign (958-986) Blåtand became known for many things, including being the first Christian king and converting Danes to Christianity, constructing the oldest known Viking bridge in southern Scandinavia (the Ravninge Bridge), overseeing the reconstruction of the Jelling runic stones, and uniting all of Denmark and Norway. More specifically, “won the entire Denmark and Norway” is what the inscription says on the Runic Stones at Jelling, which are recognized as a national symbol and known as the Danish kingdom’s birth certificate, as it strongly identifies with the creation of Denmark as a nation.



The logo uses Nordic runes for Bluetooth’s initials, H (hagall) and B (berkanan)

This last achievement by Konge Blåtand is ultimately what inspired a group of 5 technology companies 1,000 years later.  Aiming to unite people and enhance communication around the world in the late 1990s, the conglomerate adopted Bluetooth’s moniker and used traditional Scandinavian symbols, called bind runes, to form their logo.  Today it is a symbol that most everyone can identify, and that is how a 10th century King enhanced your life!

You can create your very own bind rune here!



Speaking of communication, don’t forget to start making your gækkebrev (secret snowdrop letter)! It’s an adorable Danish springtime tradition, and just perfect now that the snowdrops are popping up!  Visit our Pinterest page for cute DIYs and loads of springtime inspiration!


Danish gækkebreve letter