Danish American Cultural Retreat

The Danish American Cultural Retreat (DACR) is an annual opportunity to learn about topics related to Denmark and other Nordic countries. A true Pacific Northwest tradition, DACR has been held every year for 40 years at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.

DACR offers:

  • A rich program to illustrate the significance of Denmark on the global stage
  • An annual opportunity to learn about Denmark and its links to the United States, today and in the past
Virtual Culture Conference: The Danish American Cultural Retreat 2020
Danish American Cultural Retreat will be in person at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center September 8, 9, and 10, 2023!

A program overview is available now! Scroll down to see a list of speakers and topics.

DACR 2023

The 2023 conference will be at Menucha on September 8th through 10th.

2023 Program Overview

All titles and topics are subject to change

  • “Danish But Not Lutheran”: The Danish-Mormon Migration to Utah – Dr. Julie Allen, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
  • Danish Explorer Knud Rasmussen and the 5th Thule Expedition – Otto Christensen, Gimli, Manitoba
  • Ørsted (formerly Danish Oil an Natural Gas) a Global Energy Company – Ellen Crivella, Ørsted US, Portland, OR
  • Willi Dansgaard: Danish Paleoclimatologist – Kyle Dittmer, Battleground, WA
  • Forty Years of the Museum of Danish America – Julia Jessen, Museum of Danish America, Elk Horn, IA
  • Den Danske Kongelighus: Conserving Royal Fashion – Katia Johansen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Hanne Johansen: Beloved Textile Artist – Katia Johansen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Conservation and Trolls: Thomas Dambo’s Work and ScanDesign Foundation’s Support – Line Larsen and Fidelma McGinn, ScanDesign Foundation, Seattle, WA
  • “Nordic War Stories: World War II as History, Fiction, Media, and Memory” – Dr. Marianne Stecher-Hansen, Scandinavian Studies Department of the University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Saturday Night Entertainment by Henrik Bothke, Magician and Comedian

Program Abstracts

Dr. Julie Allen, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT – Dr. Allen will discuss the role of Danish immigrants who were members of the LDS Church played in settlement of the western US and Canada.  In her book “Danish But Not Lutheran” Dr. Allen discusses…The Danish-Mormon migration to Utah in the nineteenth century was, relative to population size, one of the largest European religious out-migrations in history. Hundreds of thousands of Americans can trace their ancestry to Danish Mormons, but few know about the social and cultural ramifications of their ancestors’ conversion to Mormonism.

Otto Christensen, Gimli, Manitoba – Danish Explorer Knud Rasmussen & the 5th Thule Expedition. In celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the expedition. It started in Greenland, went to arctic Canada and Alaska before Knud R was arrested in Siberia. At the conclusion he, Annaulunguak and Quassargasuk were invited by President Coolidge for a visit to the White House.

Ellen Crivella, Ørsted US, Portland, OR – Ørsted, formerly known as Danish Oil and Natural Gas or DONG Energy, global energy company with 7 offices in the US working primarily on wind energy, both off and onshore. 

Kyle Dittmer, Battleground, WA – Willi Dansgaard (30 August 1922 – 8 January 2011) was a Danish paleoclimatologist. He was Professor Emeritus of Geophysics at the University of Copenhagen and a member of the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Icelandic Academy of Sciences, and the Danish Geophysical Society.  Dansgaard was the first paleoclimatologist to demonstrate that measurements of the trace isotopes oxygen-18 and deuterium in accumulated glacier ice could be used as an indicator of past climate. Dansgaard was the first to note deuterium excess, or a water sample’s deviation from the global meteoric water line (GMWL) in ice cores. He found that the kinetic differences between hydrogen-1 and deuterium related to the temperature of source water, and the absolute humidity.

Julia Jessen, Museum of Danish America, Elkhorn, IA – The Museum of Danish America was founded as the Danish Immigrant Museum in 1983. Established in the heart of America in a town that was with its sister town of Kimbleton, the focus of Danish immigrants in the area. Julia will look back at the Founding of MoDA, exhibit highlights, and the 40th anniversary being celebrated this year

Katia Johansen, Copenhagen, Denmark

1. Her career working for Den Danske Kongelighus as a textile conservator and her books: 10 Kings’ Clothes and one on the gowns worn by Queen Margrethe II. Katia met frequently with the Queen and it will be interesting to learn about her work and career.

2. An exhibition Katia curated with her siblings of beloved textile artist and Katia’s Mom, Hanne Johansen.  This exhibition is currently on display in Bend, OR but will bext travel to the Quilt Museum in La Connor, WA.

Fidelma McGinn and Line Larsen, ScanDesign Foundation, Seattle, WA – Thomas Dambo, Danish artist whose artwork made of recycled materials features trolls and a swan. ScanDesign Foundation has supported his work bringing installations to the Pacific Northwest.

Dr. Marianne Stecher-Hansen, Scandinavian Studies, U.W., Seattle, WA – Marianne will speak about her book, Nordic War Stories: World War II as History, Fiction, Media, and Memory.  Situated on Europe’s northern periphery, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden found themselves caught between warring powers during World War II. Ultimately, these nations survived the conflict as sovereign states whose wartime experiences have profoundly shaped their historiography, literature, cinema and memory cultures. Nordic War Stories explores the commonalities and divergences among the five Nordic countries, examining national historiographies alongside representations of the war years in canonical literary works, travel writing, and film media. Together, they comprise a valuable companion that challenges the myth of Scandinavian homogeneity while demonstrating the powerful influence that the war continues to exert on national identities.

Speaker Biographies will be available soon.

A typical year at DACR:

DACR is typically held in person in Oregon each year. DACR is now held in September.

Program Features:
The rich DACR program has included presentations by CEOs, presidents, or other representatives from key players in the Danish American community, such as:

  • Museum of Danish America
  • Nordic Museum
  • Scan Design Foundation
  • Embassy of Denmark, USA
  • Novo Nordisk
Diverse topics are covered by experts in each field. Some past topics include:
  • WWII and the Danish Resistance Movement -Author Nathaniel Hong\
  • Hans Christian Andersen -Dr. Marianne Stecher, UW Scandinavian Studies Professor and Head of UW Danish Program
  • The Golden Era of Danish Silent Films -Kristian Næsby, UW Scandinavian Studies Visiting Danish lecturer
  • Vikings in Denmark -Author William Sullivan
  • Falck: Danish Emergency Services -Peter Jorna, Falck USA
  • Danish Cheeses -Dr. Lisbeth Goddik, OSU Dairy Processing Extension Specialist and Associate Professor in Food Science
  • Nimbus MotorcyclesNimbus Motorcycle Club, USA
  • Danish Defense PoliciesNiels Ulrik Olsen, Royal Danish Embassy
  • The Greenland Ice Sheet and Climate Change -Dr. Christina Hulbe, Portland State University

Learn or Practice Danish. DACR offers optional classes for those who would like to learn some Danish at the retreat! Many Danish speakers attend DACR allowing ample opportunities to speak the language. 

Field Trip to Latourell Falls

Nature Walks
Experience waterfalls and lush green surroundings at DACR. We take a field trip to one of the waterfalls each year and to the nearby vista house with spectacular views of the Columbia river.

Evening Entertainment
Each year we have evening entertainment for guests to enjoy before ‘Kro Aften’. On Friday we celebrate Sankt Hans with snobrød and traditional Danish midsommer songs around the fire.

Kro Aften
To wind down from all the daily activities, guests are invited to join us in the ‘Kro’ each evening for beer, wine, and bar snacks.

Conference Schedule
Friday check-in: Begins at 5:00 pm followed by dinner at 7:00 pm.
Friday programs: 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am to 10:00 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am to 9:30 am

The Menucha Retreat and Conference Center

DACR is held at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett, Oregon. Menucha Retreat offers a variety of amenities and lodging options. Lodging options include rooms that are private, semi-private, or dormitory style.

The beautiful grounds at Menucha have so much to offer, including:

  • Panoramic views
  • A swimming pool and courts for a variety of sports
  • Hiking trails, fire pits, and much more

Getting to DACR

The Menucha Retreat and Conference Center in Corbett is located right on the Washington-Oregon state border.


Approximate travel times:

  • From Seattle: Less than 4 hours by car
  • From Portland: 30 minutes by car

For those who need a ride from Seattle or Portland, we can help arrange carpools. Guests can also fly in to Portland International Airport. We can help arrange rides from the airport, if needed.

Sunset lighting over the Columbia River Gorge from DACR

Watch for mailed postcards, website information, The Little Mermaid, and e-bulletin announcements with updates! To receive the most up to date information on DACR and other NWDA programs, events, and activities, sign up for our e-bulletin mailing list.

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