To anyone who thinks…

that I can not greet royals in a more traditional way, I present the following picture I found when visiting my grandmother today:

In German: "The children greeted the Danish queen with the Danish flag." (Grätsch, Wochenschau, 1 April, 1992) I am on the far left and it says "Denmark" on my forehead
In German: “The children greeted the Danish queen with the Danish flag.” (Grätsch, Wochenschau, 1 April, 1992) I am on the far left and it says “Denmark” on my forehead

I actually remember a few things from that day…

It was in the town that I grew up Schleswig/Slesvig, and the German Federal president as well as the Danish queen were to visit the town’s castle that day. I was to come home with the guy to the right of me (let’s call him Jan) and I remember when walking home with him we considered going back to the school to pick up song books so we could sing some song showing our national pride to the Danish queen. I don’t remember though whether the others were with us then already or not. But I remember the queen saying something like “oi” when she walked by and we started singing something or another. Big excitement. And all this was in Germany. Of those on the picture only two have ever had Danish citizenship (the other boy, Hans, and me). Now although we were only 11, none of us were instructed nor had asked for the permission of any parent or school to do this and none of us (except maybe Hans during early childhood) had ever lived in Denmark, we all felt nationalist enough to do this kind of thing. But then the backlash came some time, not only for me. Hans went into the Danish military and told me about two winters ago how great he felt when walking tens of kilometers with blisters on his feet only to arrive at the fort and to sing he Danish national anthem while entering the main agte. But then he switched over to a career in the kindergarten sector right about then.

The German Federal president back in 1992, apparently not to happy --- maybe due to the lack of German flags in the almost completely German crowd in Germany? (Grätsch, Wochenschau, April 1, 1992)
The German Federal president back in 1992, apparently not to happy — maybe due to the lack of German flags in the almost completely German crowd in Germany? (Grätsch, Wochenschau, April 1, 1992)

Jan left the whole Danishism upon graduation and started studying advertisement design or something like that in Berlin, Germany. The two girls, lets call them Petra and Katrin had once been my two closest friends fro kindergarten and onward, but they went their separate ways when they graduated from their technical school (not everybody attends the same high school in Germany). While Petra started working as an assistent in my father’s clinic, Katrin took an education at the local bakery before she went on to move to some major city in Western Germany where she just graduated from high school. While Katrin told me how she felt embarrassed when our former class teacher (1st – 6th grade) talked to her in an elevator and she had forgotten most Danish to be able to answer (and that was about 8 years ago), I just googled Petra and she has become the person in charge of the local Danish centre in the neighboring village to where she lives.

So while the Danish minority in Germany is unique in making small nationalist Danes out of youngsters who live in Germany with their German parents, it’s also a place where some of the most suffistced cirticisms of nationalism in general develop. Nevertheless, if it was up to, I’d make the individual schools more independent in terms of how they want to structure education and what language they want to use, while at the same time shutting the Danish minority down as an independent body.

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