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.
- 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
SAVE THE DATE! Danish American Cultural Retreat will be in person at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center September 8, 9, and 10, 2023! When more information and registration is available, it will be here and in the weekly e-bulletin. Sign up here to stay up-to-date about DACR 2023!
The 2022 conference took place virtually on September 17th and 18th.
Recordings of presentations will be shared with registered participants after the event. You can register now to gain access to recordings. (Click the button above!)
(Please note that this is a paid event with registration required.)
2022 Program Overview
- Copenhagen Car Culture – Henrik Vejrup, Head of Technology at Viaplay
- Doing Black Archaeology on St. Croix, USVI – William A. White, III, Archaeologist with the University of California, Berkeley
- Nature Stories for Children: The Life and Short Stories of Carl Ewald – William Zucker, Translator
- Transitions and Traditions: Accounts from a Danish War Bride 1948-1955 – Désirée Ohrbeck, Columnist
- The Life of Emilie Demant Hatt with the Sámi – Barbara Sjoholm, Author and Translator
- Det Utroligste (The Most Incredible Thing) – Kristian Næsby, Author
- Butter and Bacon: Danish Agricultural History and Current Dilemmas – Diya Nagaraj, Curator at Museum of Danish America
View the schedule with times HERE.
DACR 2022 Program Details
Saturday, September 17th
Presentation Abstracts and Speaker Biograpies:
Copenhagen Car Culture – by Henrik Vejrup
I have always been a Porsche enthusiast, something I learned from my father, but having a kid meant a new family wagon. I’ll get back to that. I love cars and the car industry, but it is a tough time right now, because of world economics. Cars, already expensive in Denmark, have become increasingly so. I will share with you my experience with the car industry in Denmark and how it has been changing and affecting life in Copenhagen.
About the Presenter: Henrik Vejrup is 39 years old and live in Copenhagen with his wife, Heidi, and two-year old son, Hamilton. The whole family has names that start with “H”. He is Head of Technology for Viaplay, the biggest Danish Streaming provider, which just now expanded to Scandinavia, Baltics, Poland, UK and Netherlands. Besides that, he has a Professional YouTube Community where he talks about his experience and knowledge regarding Bang & Olufsen, a proud Danish HiFi TV brand. He went to Ohio in 1999 as an exchange student to play basketball and served his time in the Danish military in the department Artillery.
Doing Black Archaeology on St. Croix, USVI by William A. White, III
Calls to increase diversity in archaeology have been consistent in recent decades; however, archaeologists have found it difficult to increase the number of non-white archaeologists for a number of reasons. At the same time, there have also been calls to democratize archaeology through community based participatory research because archaeological sites associated with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) are not being researched by archaeologists with knowledge of these specific cultures. This talk summarizes the ongoing archaeological fieldwork conducted by the Society of Black Archaeologists (SBA) on St. Croix, U.S.V.I. The talk centers on a community-based public archaeology project at the Estate Little Princess, a former Danish sugar plantation, as an example of how community based, collaborative archaeology can help increase the number of African American archaeologists while also incorporating input from black communities into archaeological research. It also explores the connectivity of descendant communities to heritage resources like archaeological sites.
About the Presenter:
When he was four-years-old, Bill White decided he wanted to either be an astronaut or an archaeologist when he grew up. He decided to follow his dream career of doing archaeology as a teenager when he realized he was an inch too tall to fit into a NASA space suit. Since then, Bill has never looked back.
Bill finished his Bachelor of Arts in anthropology at Boise State University in 2001 and his Master’s at the University of Idaho in 2005. Upon completing his Masters, Bill entered a colorful career in the cultural resource management industry. This work took him all over the United States. From temperate rainforests in Washington to high-altitude sites in Nevada, Tidewater plantations in Virginia, and the beautiful but scorching deserts of Arizona—Bill has worked on dozens of archaeological projects and written more than 50 technical reports since 2004. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in anthropology at the University of Arizona in 2017. His peer-reviewed works include a contribution to a volume of Historical Archaeology (Volume 51, Issue 1) “Challenging Theories of Racism, Diaspora, and Agency in African America,” a volume of which he is also co-editor. His forthcoming book, “Segregation Made them Neighbors: An Archaeology of Racialization in Boise, Idaho,” will be published this winter by the University of Nebraska Press and focuses on this archaeological research in the River Street Neighborhood. Currently, he is an assistant professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Berkeley.
Prior to joining U.C. Berkeley, Bill worked for the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) where he specialized in historical artifact analysis, building documentation, ethnography, and archeological fieldwork. His dissertation research project was conducted in his hometown of Boise, Idaho where he focused on using community based participatory research to investigate the past of a multi-racial neighborhood. His current work centers around a public archaeology project with African American descendant communities on St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands and monitoring climate change-induced erosion at a Chinese immigrant shrimp fishing camp in the San Francisco Bay Area. Current research interests include community based participatory research, historical archaeology, historic preservation, and heritage conservation. In addition to these projects, Bill has been active in using digital media to create and disseminate archaeology-related content. He has built several websites, YouTube channels, and GoogleEarth digital tours. For over five years, Bill has been an active blogger, podcaster, and eBook publisher and connects with thousands of other archaeologists and students via the internet each month.
Nature Stories for Children: the Life and Short Stories of Carl Ewald by William Zucker
Carl Ewald was a teacher, translator, author, pundit, activist, and nature enthusiast. Some may have even called him a radical. His belief that children did not need to be coddled when taught about the natural world went against the prevailing thought of the time. That mindset is still present and Ewald’s books are still challenging that and captivating readers, both young and old. His books have been translated many times to be shared with new readers of all languages and generations. This presentation will introduce more people to the stories and life of Ewald with new translations of his nature stories for children by William Zucker.
About the Presenter:
William Zucker will be sharing with us his experiences translating some of Carl Ewald’s nature stories for children. Bill grew up in New York City during World War II and after completing his Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Chemistry he still didn’t quite know where he fit in the world. On impulse, he boarded a boat to Denmark in 1957 and enrolled in a little højskole. No one spoke English, so he had to learn Danish fast.
Bill has been translating from Danish after he retired now for 22 years, first as a hobby and now as an obsession. Carl Ewald’s short stories captured his attention because they allow children to learn how the natural world works. Ewald’s stories have captivated audiences for generations and Bill wanted to be a part of continuing that legacy through their translation.
Read Bill’s Full Bio HERE.
Transitions and Traditions: Accounts from a Danish War Bride 1948-1955 by Désirée Ohrbeck
More than 1 million servicemen and women married foreigners during and after WWII and brought them to the United States. Most of these foreigners were women, and some of these war brides were Danish. In 1948 my Danish grandmother Else Marie Pedersen married Air Force Sargent Forest Edgar Rhodes and followed him to his hometown San Antonio in Texas to pursue love and the American dream.
With her she brought her Danish heritage, culture, and customs. Often, Scandinavians were perceived with the highest regards, contrary to other European and Asian war brides. However, when the Danish war brides sought to create a platform and carve out a little piece of home, influenced by the traditions in their home country, whether it be tangible in a vegetable garden, dinner recipes or raising the children, the women’s surroundings did not always appreciate the introduction to a different culture than the American. This was especially true for my grandmother’s mother-in-law who, like many other families at a time with a housing shortage, lived with her son and new Danish daughter in-law.
Not only did my grandmother change her ways to try to adapt and integrate into her new American way of life. On a broader scale, American society changed because of the vast number of foreign war brides in America. In that sense the personal and the geopolitical intertwines and gender becomes a lens through which we understand both the women war brides and American society. The family constantly moved states when my grandfather was redeployed. My grandmother lived in Texas, Delaware, Virginia, and Michigan. Her accounts reveal that the transitions as a Danish woman in America was quite different depending on which American culture she entered. Through her letters and academic research in this field, in my talk, I examine my grandmother’s transition into American culture, influenced by the political context from 1948-1955.
About the Presenter:
Désirée Ohrbeck served as a Danish Lecturer at the Scandinavian Studies Department at University of Washington from 2010-2016 years. She is now a board member for University of Washington Scandinavian Studies Advisory Board.
Désirée M. Ohrbeck is a columnist writer for the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and a frequent contributor in Danish media both on TV and radio. She has written op-eds, commentaries, and essays for Politiken, Berlingske Tidende and Jyllands-Posten. www.desireeohrbeck.com
Currently, Desiree is working on finishing a historic novel which will be a work of fiction, loosely built on her grandmother´s story.
The Life of Emilie Demant Hatt with the Sámi by Barbara Sjoholm
Emilie Demant Hatt (1873-1958) was a Danish artist and ethnographer, who grew up on the Limfjord in Jylland and studied art at the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen. One summer in 1887, Emilie came to know a gifted young musician, the protégé of her aunt and uncle. The story of Demant Hatt’s youthful romance with Carl Nielsen, Denmark’s most famous composer, was hidden for decades until their letters emerged and were published twenty years ago. She was remarkable in her own right for her travels in Sápmi, beginning in 1904, and for her work with Sámi wolf-hunter and artist Johan Turi to translate and edit his famous book, An Account of the Sámi. As a writer, she left an indelible record of her time with the reindeer herders in the narrative, With the Lapps in the High Mountains (1913) and in an illustrated collection of Sámi folktales, By the Fire (1922). As a painter, her canvases of the North are part of the collections in the Skive Museum in Denmark and the Nordiska Museet in Stockholm. This presentation will focus particularly on her life and work with the Indigenous Sámi.
About the Presenter:
Barbara Sjoholm is the translator of With the Lapps in the High Mountains (2013) and By the Fire (2019) and the author of Emilie Demant Hatt’s biography, Black Fox (2017). She also is the author of Fossil Island and its sequel The Former World, historical novels about Emilie’s young love affair with Carl Nielsen. Her newest book, From Lapland to Sápmi: Collecting and Returning Sámi Craft and Culture, will be published next year by the University of Minnesota Press.
Sunday, September 18th
Presentation Abstracts and Speaker Biographies:
Det Utroligste (The Most Incredible Thing) by Kristian Næsby
12 lessons learned from 5 years in Trump’s USA
I had no idea that the years from 2016 to 2021 would be some of the most turbulent in recent American history when I landed in Seattle three months before the election between Trump and Hillary. I thought I had a solid understanding of the USA and the Americans. But I have to admit that I was wrong. I have learned an incredible amount by living and teaching in the United States. About America and the Americans, but also about Denmark and about myself. These new insights are in a book called Lessons. Lessons that should warn, enlighten and inspire. There are lessons about America’s undemocratic democracy, about wokeness and cancel culture, about legal weed, about social and anti-social media, conspiracy theories and Q-Anon, about Americans’ relationship to the Danish concept of ‘Hygge’ and many more.
This talk will tell the best stories from the book, and focus on the differences between Denmark and the USA.
About the Presenter:
Kristian Næsby moved home to Denmark in autumn 2021 after five years in Trump’s USA. A former high school and college teacher, he moved to Seattle in the summer of 2016 to teach at the University of Washington. He has written and lectured on cultures and cultural differences for more than 10 years.
Butter and Bacon: Danish Agricultural History and Current Dilemmas by Diya Nagaraj
About 6,000 years ago, farming first appeared in Denmark and since then, it has grown into a major part of the economy and national identity. From the farms of the Vikings to the cooperative movement and beyond, explore the fascinating history of farming in Denmark from the Neolithic to the present day. We will also discuss contemporary farming and the ways in which farmers, politicians, and the public are wrestling with questions around sustainability, climate, and ethics.
About the presenter:
Diya Nagaraj is the Albert Ravenholt Curator of Danish-American Culture at the Museum of Danish America. Originally from Pittsburgh, she received her undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis, double majoring in Environmental Policy and Art History. In 2019, she received her Master’s from the University of Glasgow in Scotland in Technical Art History, joining the Museum of Danish America staff in 2020.
A typical year at DACR:
DACR is typically held in person in Oregon each year in June.
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
- 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 Motorcycles –Nimbus Motorcycle Club, USA
- Danish Defense Policies –Niels 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.
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.
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.
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.
Friday check-in: Begins at 11:00 am followed by lunch at noon.
Friday programs: 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am to 10:00 pm
Sunday: 8:00 am to 1:30 pm
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.
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.