We have an exciting program in store for you for the 41st Annual Danish American Cultural Retreat! To be the first to hear about program updates, sign up for our e-bulletin.

The registration period for the 2019 DACR has closed. Contact the NWDA office to inquire about space. Call (206) 523-3263.


Friday, June 21st

“Book Talk: The Ship in the Sand – Denmark in the Viking Age” 

Speaker: Author William Sullivan, Eugene, Oregon

Vikings Denmark Book Talk“Harald Bluetooth, the first king of a united Denmark, was a Viking with a conscience. When an English king slaughtered his daughter in a genocidal attack, the Danes took over the English throne. A thousand years later, the English returned the favor by freeing Denmark from the tyranny of the German Nazis.

This historical novel alternates chapters between the two eras, following the Danish archaeologist Mette Anderson as she struggles to help her Jewish fiance in World War I. Meanwhile in the Viking age, a sorceress spies for three kings but also serves a mysterious deeper purpose at the behest of the Norse gods. Who is right, and who will win? Only the gods and the archaeologists seem to know.” (Amazon.com)

Buy “The Ship in the Sand” on Amazon.com

About William Sullivan: William L. Sullivan is an author and avid traveler. He has written three novels and several nonfiction books. His B.A. degree is in English from Cornell University. He has also studied linguistics at Heidelberg University. He then completed his M.A. in German at the University of Oregon. Mr. Sullivan is able to read in over 12 languages, including Danish and Old Norse. When he wrote the novel “The Ship in the Hill” he completed seven trips to Scandinavia to research Nordic sagas and Viking history. “The Ship in the Sand” is his new novel set in Denmark. It was released in April 2019.


“800 Years of Dannebrog”

Speaker: Susanne Rasmussen, Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, Vancouver B.C.

Danish Flag Denmark Dannebrog

Dannebrog is the oldest flag in the world. Susanne Rasmussen will share the history of the flag and the old peculiar stories about Dannebrog. Find out about all Denmark’s quaint flag traditions through time.


About Susanne Rasmussen: Susanne Rasmussen was born in Nuuk, Greenland and grew up in Copenhagen. She received her Masters of Theology in 2002 and was a pastor in Christianshavn and Amager for almost 15 years before she moved to Canada. Susanne loves history, as well as hiking and BBQ! She now lives in Burnaby, BC with her husband and daughter and is the pastor in The Danish Church Vancouver.


Saturday, June 22nd

“Danish Wanderlust: The Desire to Explore the World” 

Speaker: Susanne Rasmussen, Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver, Vancouver B.C.

So many people set out to The New World! The Vikings, the explorers, the immigrants… Susanne will talk about their fascinating stores and how early pioneers have led us to be where we are today.

About Susanne Ivalo Rasmussen: (Repeated from above) Susanne Rasmussen was born in Nuuk, Greenland and grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark. She received her Masters of Theology in 2002 and was a pastor in Christianshavn and Amager for almost 15 years before she moved to Canada. Susanne loves history, as well as hiking and BBQ! She now lives in Burnaby, BC with her husband and daughter and is the pastor at The Danish Lutheran Church of Vancouver.


“The Round Churches of Bornholm”

Speaker: Jørn Muller, Pastor, Portland

Round Church of Bornholm Denmark Østerlars Kirke

Denmark’s island of Bornholm is known for its four round churches. Bornholm is an island in the Baltic Sea. Historically it has been prone to attacks. The thick walls and narrow passages of the churches served as a place of shelter for island residents during the 12th and 13th centuries. Østerlars Church (pictured above) is the largest of the four round churches on Bornholm. Learn about the history, architecture, art work, and unique features of this beautiful church. 

About Jørn Muller: Reverend Jørn Muller lives in Hillsboro, Oregon, and serves at the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Baptist church in Portland, Oregon. Jørn and his wife, Bodil, are very active in the Danish community in the greater Portland area, hosting song evenings and other events. They volunteer their time to the Northwest Danish Association, Scandinavian Heritage Foundation, and the Danish Brotherhood and Sisterhood.


“The Scan|Design Foundation” 

Speaker: Mark Schleck, Honorary Danish Consul of Washington and President of Scan Design Foundation, Seattle WA

The Scan|Design Foundation was established by Inger and Jens Bruun. Two foundations were created in 2002, one located in the United States and one located in Denmark. Both organizations are nonprofit private foundations dedicated to fostering Danish American relations and to supporting pain research. 

The U.S. Foundation is based in Seattle, Washington. Grants have been made since 2004 to support the organizational mandates. 

The Danish Foundation is based in Aalborg, Denmark. It has been making grants to support the organizational mandates since 2007.

About Mark Schleck: Mark Schleck is the Honorary Danish Consul of Washington and the President at Scan Design by Inge & Jens Bruun Foundation. Mr. Schleck has been the President of the Foundation since its formation in 2002. In addition to serving as President, he is an attorney in private practice in downtown Seattle. In 2018 Mr. Schleck was appointed Honorary Danish Consul for the State of Washington.


Episode Viewing and Discussion: “Unearthed: Viking City of the Dead”

On Saturday afternoon we will watch “Unearthed: Viking City of the Dead” – an episode that explores the Viking Age in Denmark.

Find out about “the lost fortresses of the Viking Age in today’s Denmark: Why were they built and what caused the Viking Age to end?” (IMDb)


Sunday, June 24th

“Denmark’s Outdoor Kindergartens”

Speaker: Anna Kromann De Ville, Teacher, Portland Public Schools

Child outdoor kindergarten Denmark

Outdoor or Forest Kindergartens have been increasingly popular in Scandinavia and northern Europe since the first Forest Kindergarten was created by Ella Flautau in Denmark in the early 1950s. The idea formed gradually as a result of her often spending time with her own and neighbors’ children in a nearby forest, a form of daycare which elicited great interest among the neighborhood parents. The parents formed a group and created an initiative to establish the first Forest Kindergarten. The movement has now spread to the Pacific Northwest with the first Forest Kindergarten in the U.S. opened on Vashon Island over two decades ago.

Forest Kindergartens are typically held entirely outdoors regardless of weather and feature unstructured play without manufactured toys.  Playing outside for prolonged periods has been shown to have a positive impact on children’s appreciation of the natural world and on their development.

About Anna Kromann De Ville: Anna De Ville is a kindergarten teacher for the Portland Public Schools.  She incorporates the natural world into her teaching, giving her students opportunities to learn about and appreciate nature.  A passionate birder and hiker, she learned to appreciate the outdoors from her grandparents who shared their interests with many weekend field trips to visit beaches, forests, and mountains. Anna lives in Portland, OR with her husband Kyle, and was raised in Bellingham, WA.



“Book Talk: Sojourner in a Foreign Land – A Memoir”

Author/Speaker: Flemming Behrend, Author and Folk Singer, Olympia WA

“Sojourner in a Foreign Land is a personal story about immigration, the search for spiritual belonging, sexual and gender identity, and how childhood trauma influences a human life. As a Scandinavian immigrant, I was blessed with privileges other ethnic groups did not have. Still, it was a struggle to start from the bottom. The book also describes life in Copenhagen, Denmark, in the fifties and sixties, and what it means to leave your culture and traditions behind.”

Read Sojourner in a Foreign Land before Flemming’s talk this June. Buy the book online at Amazon.

About Flemming Behrend: Flemming Behrend grew up in Copenhagen Denmark. He began playing the guitar at age 15 and hasn’t put it down since. In 1980 he emigrated to the USA and now lives in Olympia, WA. His albums include Vi er Ravnen, Livets karrusel, Olympia, Sangen om Tordenskjold, Hjem til Skagen, and Peters Jul, among others.  Over the years Flemming’s inspiration has been a mixture of Danish folk music as well as the traditional American folk with singers like Bob Dylan and John Gorka. Flemming Behrend is a published author with his novel 78 RPM: The Record of a Family and his new novel Sojourner in a Foreign Land. 

Flemming is also speaking about his other novel, 78 RPM, during Nordic Ventures in Seattle this year! 


Other Program Highlights

The 2019 DACR program includes a number of activities to choose from throughout the weekend, such as nature walks, evening entertainment, and more.

Dannebrog 800: An Exhibit by the Museum of Danish America

Dannebrog Denmark Danish flagHere’s your chance to see this brand new exhibit by the Museum of Danish America on the West Coast! The Museum of Danish America in Elk Horn, Iowa has made the exhibit entitled “Dannebrog 800” to honor the 800th anniversary of the Danish flag, Dannebrog.

“2019 marks the 800th birthday of Dannebrog, the Danish national flag. The exhibition explores the legends, history, and current uses of the Danish flag, both in Denmark and in the United States.”  (Museum of Danish America)

Image from Winelab.dk


A celebration of the Danish flag is only complete with a traditional Danish kransekage. Thank you to Byen Bakeri for donating an 18-ring cake in honor of Dannebrog! 



Saturday Evening Concert: Flemming Behrend

Enjoy a concert by Flemming Behrend, our local Danish folk singer. Flemming sings Danish and English songs. Get ready to sing-a-long with his classic song picks.

Get a sneak peak of Flemming’s music on his YouTube channel.









Danish Lessons

The DACR program offers optional Danish lessons to those who wish to learn or practice Danish at this year’s retreat! Aase Beaulieu will be leading the beginner lessons. She was born in Denmark and has years 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. Claus Windelev, NWDA member and board member, is leading a conversation group at this year’s DACR for advanced Danish speakers.




A Sankt Hans Celebration

In celebration of Sankt Hans Aften (June 23rd), we will gather around a fire, watch the sunset, and make snobrød (weather permitting of course!). Just like in Denmark, the celebration will take place on Friday, June 21st. 

And in following with Danish tradition, we’ll sing Midsommervisen and other Danish and English tunes around the fire.






Some of our DACR 2018 attendees in front of Latourell Falls

The region around the Columbia River is filled with hidden treasures. Scenic routes lead to various waterfalls! Each year we take a field trip to see Latourell falls, Multnomah falls, or other waterfalls.

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, 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’

Carlsberg Hygge Northwest Danish

Each evening guests will have a chance to unwind with Carlsberg, wine and other refreshments served in the ‘Kro’.