We have an exciting program in store for you for the 40th Annual Danish American Cultural Retreat! To be the first to hear about program updates, sign up for our e-bulletin. Registrations are open. Register early and save; Early bird registration ends on May 10th.

Friday, June 22nd 

Christian Holtz: “Viking Navigation… How They Did It!” 

Drawing, in part, from the Icelandic Sagas, this talk will consider all the navigational aids most likely used by the Vikings to cross open oceans. These include stars, current, wind, swells, birds, whales, landmarks and sea-marks, lead (dybdelodd), sun shadow-board, horizon-board, and the Vikings’ amazing sunstones (pictured). Weather permitting (meaning overcast or fog), or just after sundown, we will have a demonstration of the use of the sunstone.

About Christian Holtz: Christian Holtz is a US Sailing and American Sailing Association Sailing Instructor and U.S. Coast Guard licensed Master of vessels of 100 GDT.  He is, also, a private pilot and long-time volunteer Command Pilot with the aviation charity Angel Flight West providing free air transportation in response to health care and other compelling human needs. Presently, Christian teaches sailing and seamanship at The Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union in Seattle, Washington.

Kyle Dittmer: “Eldercare and Dementia – USA vs. Denmark” 

Learn about how eldercare is conducted in the USA vs. Denmark.  Issues include housing options, factors for care, levels of care, expense, long-distance care, and legal matters.

One of the biggest health issues facing the elderly is Alzheimer’s/Dementia. This talk examines the following: What is this disease and the factors for its development? What are the early warning signs? What are the rates of occurrence in the USA vs. Denmark? Do lifestyle choices make any difference? What treatment options are being offered and what new research is being done? Finally – how should a family plan for the future with aging parents – which strategies and legal matters should be considered.

About Kyle Dittmer: Kyle Dittmer is a professional scientist and has taught university science courses for over 27 years. Kyle has been an active member of Portland Danish-Brotherhood-In-America Lodge #167 since 2005, serving as Secretary during 2007 – 2012 and President during 2012 – 2013. He recently used his professional skills as a scientist to study why Danish organizations are in decline. Kyle has volunteered to be the Master of Ceremonies and note-taker for the DACR since 2007, and also helps lead the nature walks and local excursions.

Saturday, June 23rd

Kristian Næsby: “The Golden Era of Danish Silent Films of the 1910’s”

Danish actress Asta Nielsen (1881-1972)

This talk explores censorship and introduces the first international superstar of the cinema world, the Dane, Asta Nielsen. The focus of this talk is the film, “The Abyss” starring Asta Nielsen. Guests will have a chance to see the film prior to the discussion.



About Kristian Naesby: Kristian Næsby is the enthusiastic visiting Lecturer of Danish at the University of Washington, Department of Scandinavian Studies. He moved to Seattle, Washington in 2016 and began teaching at the U.W. Fall Quarter 2016. This academic position is sponsored and partially funded by the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science in an agreement that was established in 1997. Prior to his move from Denmark to Seattle and his work at the U.W., Kristian taught at Nørgaards Højskole in Bjerringbro, Denmark in Jylland. Kristian studied Nordic Languages and Literature at Aarhus University after graduating from Amts gymnasiet in Paderup, now known as Paderup Gymnasium, in Randers, Denmark.



Marianne Stecher: “Hans Christian Andersen – The Danish Soldier and the War of 1864”

This talk explores how the Dano-Prussian wars impacted H.C. Andersen’s work and the image of the soldier in his tales in general. Marianne Stecher has taught popular large lecture courses at UW on Hans Christian Andersen (1805 – 1875) and the fairy tale for over 20 years.


About Marianne Stecher: Marianne Stecher is a full professor in the Department of Scandinavian Studies, UW, where she heads the Danish program, and teaches courses in Danish and Scandinavian Studies, as well as in European Studies. She has published widely on topics in Danish and Scandinavian literature, including numerous articles on H.C. Andersen and is currently serving on the advisory board for a new translation of Andersen’s tales and stories, by H.C. Andersen Center (SDU, Odense).


Eric Nelson: The New Nordic Museum

The “Great Hall” in progress in the new Nordic Museum

After years of fundraising and planning, the 57,000 sq foot new Nordic Museum will open its doors on May 5th, 2018. Anticipation has been building from near and far with enthusiasm from individuals, local organizations, universities, the Nordic embassies, Nordic royalty, and other national/international actors. At this year’s DACR, Eric Nelson will talk about the new Nordic Museum in Ballard and about upcoming exhibitions.


About Eric Nelson: Eric Nelson has served as the Executive Director of the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, Washington since January 2008. A Napa, California native, he served as Executive Director of the Napa Valley Museum from 1999 to 2007. Prior to this role, he was Curator of Exhibits and Collections and then Executive Director of the Sonoma County Museum for eleven years. He is a graduate of the prestigious Getty Museum Leadership Institute and holds a Masters of Art degree in History from Sonoma State University and B.A. in History from California State University, Sacramento. He has served as a guest lecturer at Sonoma State University, San Francisco State University and Santa Rosa Junior College.

Visit www.nordicmuseum.org to find out more about the new Nordic Museum.


Sunday, June 24th

Inga Wiehl: Book Talk, Tower Blues: Solving the Riddle of Confinement

Danish author, Inga Wiehl, will be sharing a book talk on her newest novel, Tower Blues: Solving the Riddle of Confinement, (published November 2017).

“On August 16, 1661, Leonora Christine Ulfeldt, daughter of King Christian IV and half-sister of the reigning king, Frederik III, was arrested and brought to the Tower on unspecified charges. Unwilling to offer potentially incriminating information about herself and her husband, Corfitz Ulfeldt, Leonora eventually forces the team of high ranking men sent for questioning to reveal the grounds on which she is held captive. She is suspected of complicity in her husband’s acts of high treason against the Danish crown. Her refusal to know anything about betrayals sentences her to twenty-two years of imprisonment in a damp, filthy, rat-infested cell that’s lit only by a small mesh covered window just below the ceiling. Given nothing with which to occupy her mind or hands, she must rely on herself for continued survival. As she agonizes about the whereabouts of her husband and seven children, she suffers through the dark night of the soul to wrestle from nothing a life she may sustain. Her well trained mind and skillful hands find work, and her reborn faith in God straighten her shoulders for the cross she imagines herself to be carrying. Tower Blues is the story of a woman who, from the beginning and all the days to follow – in castles and in prison – remained interested in the world around her, no matter how sordid or trivial. She never allowed the poison of indifference to penetrate her system. She knew that even hatred is less destructive than indifference.” Read more on Goodreads.

Read Tower Blues before Inga’s talk this June. Buy the book online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

About Inga Wiehl: Dr. Inga Wiehl from Denmark is a writer and previous college professor. A true Pacific Northwest Dane, Dr. Wiehl holds a B.A. in Danish from the University of Copenhagen and an M.A. and PH.D in Comparative Literature from the University of Washington. With her background as a speaker for Washington Humanities and years as a professor, Dr. Wiehl is an experienced presenter and group leader. Her accomplishments include several published books as well as various articles for professional and popular journals and magazines. 

Other Program Highlights

The 2018 DACR program will feature rising country star, Jessica Lynne, for the evening entertainment. Danish language classes by Danish professor, Aase Beaulieu have also been added to the program this year.

Saturday Evening Special Guest: Jessica Lynne, Danish-American Musician

Sometimes authentic country music artists do not grow up in what we would consider hotbeds of country music. Sometimes they grow up in Haslev, Denmark, the native town of current Seattle resident, Jessica Lynne, a sensational and rising country star and one of London Tone Music’s most successful artists.

Making the move from Haslev to Seattle a few years ago was actually not as strange a transition as it seems. Her Dad and his family live in Seattle and Jessica felt that being surrounded by a supportive network of family would be the kind of positive energy she needed to adjust to the big change.

Once settled, Jessica wasted no time adjusting to both the physical landscape, which had many elements similar to Denmark, but to the musical landscape, as well. Her great songwriting and singing talent combined with her drive, focus, warmth and friendliness, made her not only an instant favorite with the country music promoters and clubs in the greater Seattle area, but also with other musicians in town. Jessica loves to write and play music so much that she is known to play almost every night of the week somewhere, sometimes as the headliner, other times as support for her many musical friends.

Visit Jessica’s website to find out more and to listen to some of her music: https://www.jessica-lynne.com/



Danish Lessons by Aase Beaulieu

This year we are offering optional Danish conversation classes to those who wish to learn some Danish at this year’s retreat!

Aase Beaulieu will be leading the lessons. She was born in Denmark and has year’s of experience teaching Danish in the U.S. Aase Beaulieu was a professor of Danish at UC-Berkeley, where she taught Danish I and II for four years. She was also a former Danish teacher at Berlitz International Language School in Portland.



Friday Night: A Mini Sankt Hans Celebration 

In celebration of Sankt Hans Aften on June 22nd, we will gather around a fire, watch the sunset, and make snobrød (weather permitting of course!).


Following Danish tradition, we’ll sing Midsommervisen and other Danish and English tunes around the fire.




Field trip to Multnomah Falls

The region around the Columbia River Gorge has so much to offer, including scenic routes leading to various waterfalls! This year we will visit Multnomah Falls.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Multnomah Falls is the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest! Over 2 million people visit each year to view the magnificent site.


Danish trivia, swimming, hiking, coffee, pastries, and more!

Menucha Retreat and Conference Center has hiking trails, a swimming pool, a meditation labyrinth, and various sports courts. We offer a guided nature walk to those interested in learning more about the Columbia River region.

Danish trivia, coffee breaks, and optional singing groups are also scattered throughout the weekend. We serve authentic Danish pastries with each coffee break! Guests can also visit Menucha Retreat’s espresso bar, located in an old ‘speakeasy’!


Hygge in the Kro

Each evening guests will have a chance to unwind with beer and wine served in the ‘Kro’.








**Please note: The program is subject to change.