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Dannebrog 800 - Estonia 100: Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark visited Tallinn to celebrate Dannebrog and the Republic of Estonia

20.06.2019  16:59
Valdemar’s Day, June 15 in 2019, marks 800 year of the date when, according to legend, the Danish red and white flag Dannebrog fell from the heavens during the Battle of Lyndanisse near modern-day Tallinn.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark visited Tallinn on the Royal Yacht Dannebrog on 15-16 June accompanied by the Foreign Minister to take part in celebrations of the 800th anniversary, the 135th anniversary of the Estonian flag and the centennial of the Republic of Estonia.

"The welcome I have received here in Estonia today has moved me deeply and I am honoured to be present [...] to celebrate the 100 years of Estonian independence and the 800 years of Dannebrog, the Danish flag," said Her Majesty in her speech in Tallinn.


(Photo: Danish Embassy)

This mutual celebration of flags, friendship and close cooperation turned out to be a huge event, visited by at least 1.500 Danes travelling to Tallinn from Denmark, innumerable Estonians also with Danish handflags along the streets and public squares of the city, which in Estonian means “Danish City”. There were live transmissions on TV in both Denmark and Tallinn on Saturday and Sunday. Estonian TV (ERR) also had an entire Danish week leading up to the visit.


(Photo: Annika Haas)

"Celebrating the anniversaries of our flags proves that Estonia and Denmark are close friends and allies: whether as countries along the Baltic Sea, or as members of the EU and NATO. I appreciate the Kingdom of Denmark for our friendship, cooperation, and their contributions to maintaining Estonian security," said Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas - who, like the Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs, talked to the audience on Freedom Square - highlighting that Estonia and Denmark are bound closely by history.

Queen Margrethe II arrived on Saturday morning to the Seaplane Harbour in Tallinn, where many people had gathered to receive the Royal Yacht and witness the official welcoming ceremony by the President of Estonia Mrs Kersti Kaljulaid. As a wonderful surprise to most, two parachutists from special forces of Estonia and Denmark glided down the sky with Estonian and Danish flags, to mark the legend. In the harbour, four vessels of the Danish Naval Home Guard, who had taken a week of their free time to come to Estonia, showed military presence and took citizens and tourists on trips to the sea during the weekend.


(Photo: Annika Haas)

Her Majesty and President Kaljulaid continued with a short meeting in the President’s palace and walked on to Kadriorg Art Museum located in Kadriorg Palace to open the exhibition "Dannebrog – The Flag That Fell from the Sky: The Golden Age of Danish Art”. The exhibition includes works by, among others, Christen Købke, C. W. Eckersberg and Nicolai Abildgaard, as well as C. A. Lorentzen's famous painting "Dannebrog falling from the sky during the Battle of Lindanise" (1809), which is travelling for the first time outside of Denmark.


(Photo: Hasse Ferrold)


(Photo: Hasse Ferrold)

The Queen and President then arrived to Freedom Square to lay a wreath at the foot of the War of Independence Victory Column. Along with the Prime Minister Jüri Ratas they joined the public family day that was taking place in Freedom Square celebrating the Danish and Estonian flags. The choir music concert with Estonian and Danish choirs and orchestras – Danish Boys’ Choir, Copenhagen Cantata Choir and Copenhagen Police Orchestra – where also a new piece “Dannebrog” by young Estonian composer Patrik Sebastian Unt was performed, culminated with the flags being carried down from the hillside and presented to the Queen and the President. The family day continued to offer music by Caroline Henderson and Nikolaj Hess, and Estonian folk music, games and activities in nine Danish-Estonian themed tents as well as children’s and food area. The Danish military personnel and Home Guard were also well represented in the defence tent on the square, highlighting this aspect of Danish support to Estonia.


(Photo: Annika Haas)

In Kiek in de Kök Fortifications Museum, Her Majesty attended the opening of the exhibition “Dannebrog and Estonia 1219–2019”, created in cooperation by Tallinn City Museum and the Danish National History Museum in Frederiksborg Castle. During the opening, two winners of the scholarship of the postdoctoral fellowship project “HM Queen Margrethe II’s Distinguished Research Project on the Danish-Estonian Common History” were announced, Mihkel Mäesalu from Estonia and Stefan Pajung from Denmark. At this festive occasion, Carlsberg Research Laboratory’s collaborative beer brewed with the Saku Brewery in Estonia and the Jacobsen Brewhouse in the Carlsberg City District of Copenhagen, named “Dannebrog Brew 1219-2019”, was served.


(Photo: Hasse Ferrold)


(Photo: Annika Haas)


The delegation, led by Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart, continued to the park next to the Kiek in de Kök tower where a new Danish Queen’s Rose Garden was inaugurated. 800 roses for each year of the anniversary and eight Copenhagen benches by various Denmark-related donators continue to please the Tallinners in years to come.


(Photo: Annika Haas)

In the Danish King’s Garden just few steps away a newly woven Dannebrog, made in Estonia, was handed to Her Majesty by the Vice Mayor of Vordingborg, Else-Maria Langballe Sørensen. The flag will be kept in the Tallinn City Museum.


(Photo: Hasse Ferrold)

In the afternoon, the gala concert “Estonia 100 and Dannebrog 800” at Estonia Concert Hall, where the guests of honour were Queen Margrethe II, President Kaljulaid and PM Jüri Ratas, offered Baroque music and pieces by Arvo Pärt performed by Concerto Copenhagen and the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. The great Estonian composer himself was amongst the audience. “Your Majesty, our people are closely interconnected in almost every field of life. Today's concert is an excellent example of our cultural cooperation. Thank you for bringing so much culture with you during this visit,” said President Kaljulaid in her speech at the concert hall.


(Photo: Annika Haas)

The first day of the visit ended with gala dinner hosted by President Kaljulaid in honour of Her Majesty at Arvo Pärt Centre.


(Photo: Hasse Ferrold)

On Sunday, Her Majesty took part of the Danish-Estonian mass at St. Mary's Cathedral, where again a Dannebrog was revealed, donated by Danmarks-Samfundet and inaugurated in the cathedral already on 4 June, Estonia’s flag anniversary day. A chasuble from Kronborg Palace, designed and created by the Queen, will remain on display in the cathedral for next month.

(Photo: Annika Haas)

After a reception on Royal Yacht Dannebrog, Her Majesty concluded the visit to Tallinn and departed back to Copenhagen.
 

Embassy staff with Her Majesty and the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Photo: Annika Haas)