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 at the Menucha Retreat and Conference Center September 20, 21, and 22, 2024!
The 2023 conference was at Menucha on September 8th through 10th.
2023 Program Overview
- The Museum of Danish America: Celebrating 40 years and looking ahead to the future – Philip Lund, Happy Valley, OR
- Thomas Dambo: Troll Art in the PNW Sponsored by the ScanDesign Foundation – Virtual Presentation – Fidelma McGinn and Line Larsen, Seattle, WA
- Danish, but not Lutheran: The Impact of Mormonism on Danish Cultural Identity, 1850-1920 – Julie Allen, Provo, UT
- Book Talk: A New Beginning: Life on the Frontlines – Anna Eckhoff, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Knud Rasmussen and the Fifth Thule Expedition – Otto Christensen, Gimli, Manitoba
- Ørsted: Innovative Options for Powering Denmark, the US, and Beyond – Taylor Geer, Portland, OR
- Working with Royal Dress: Royal Danish Collections, Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen – Katia Johansen, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Oregon Tapestries: Woven by Margaret Kilbuck Johansen (1923-2004) – Katia Johansen, Copenhagen, Denmark
- Willi Dansgaard (1922 – 2011), Danish Paleoclimatologist – Kyle Dittmer, Battleground, WA
- Saturday Night Entertainment by Henrik Bothke, Magician and Comedian
2023 Program Abstracts
The Museum of Danish America: Celebrating 40 years and looking ahead to the future – Philip Lund, Happy Valley, OR In 2023, the Museum of Danish America (MoDA) celebrated its 40th anniversary by hosting dinners in multiple cities across the country. Board member Philip Lund will discuss the anniversary celebrations, the history of the Museum, from the initial idea, site selection, construction, eventual expansion, aas well as current and upcoming exhibits. Located in the Danish town of Elk Horn, Iowa, the Museum of Danish America promotes Danish culture and innovations throughout the United States and beyond. Elk Horn and its sister town of Kimballton, Iowa were a hub of Danish immigration in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Museum of Danish America hosts an ever changing set of exhibits and also serves the larger Danish community with virtual and travelling exhibits, genealogical research, and cultural activities.
Thomas Dambo: Troll Art in the PNW Sponsored by the ScanDesign Foundation – Virtual Presentation – Fidelma McGinn and Line Larsen, Seattle, WA Fidelma McGinn and Line Larsen of the ScanDesign Foundation by Jens and Inger Bruun, will discuss the pivotal role the ScanDesign Foundation played in bringing environmental artist, Thomas Dambo, to Seattle in 2021 and two years later the Pacific Northwest has 6 new members of its clan of trolls envisioned by Thomas Dambo (joining fellow troll living under the Fremont Bridge in Seattle and others). Thanks to an outpouring of support from a broad array of community partners. people can now visit Thomas’ whimsical trolls in Beaverton, OR, Bainbridge Island, WA, Issaquah, WA and Seattle, WA. Brimming with wild nature and Nordic influence, this region’s setting has been begging for a set of Dambo’s Nordic trolls. Built entirely from recycled materials, Dambo’s trolls carry with them the lesson that trash has value. The Northwest Trolls project celebrates art and cultural heritage while relaying the critical message that we humans need to protect our precious environment. The exhibition shines light on the shared values of environmental stewardship in Coast Salish tribal communities and the Nordic people. The Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie tribes are integral partners as we honor the land upon which the trolls will be built.
Danish, but not Lutheran: The Impact of Mormonism on Danish Cultural Identity, 1850-1920 – Julie Allen, Provo, UT Danish immigration to the United States was shaped by many different socioeconomic factors, but the story of Danish converts to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints adds a new dimension to the familiar story of Danes looking for a better life in the US. The introduction of religious freedom in Denmark through the 1849 Constitution had tumultuous effects, particularly after Danes began joining the new American religion known as “Mormonism” and emigrating to gather with other Mormons in Utah. The convert-emigrants’ neighbors, even those that had also immigrated to the US, had a hard time getting their heads around the idea that people could leave the Lutheran church and still be considered Danish. In this talk, we’ll look at some of the people—like Peter Christian and Søren Kierkegaard, D.G. Monrad, and N.F.S. Grundtvig—who contributed to making religious freedom possible in Denmark, some of those who observed and questioned its effects—from Elise Stampe to Nordisk Film, how the convert-immigrants themselves felt about the change in their relationship to their homeland, and how the question of expanding Danish national identity to include non-Lutherans continues to be relevant today.
Book Talk: A New Beginning: Life on the Frontlines – Anna Eckhoff, Copenhagen, Denmark At the age of fifty-six, author Anna Eckhoff left her career as an IT project manager and left her adult kids (two of them still living at home) to start a new career as a head of administration on the world’s frontlines. She returned to Denmark at the age of seventy-one and tried to catch up on family life, now being the grandmother of a whole bunch of small kids. A few years later she published her story in the book A New Beginning: Life on the Frontlines in Danish and English and it became the book of the month in the Danish Writer’s Association. It is an inspiring book about living out your dreams – even late in life – and is includes insightful and vivid descriptions of the many conflict zones on the world’s frontlines. Since the publication of A New Beginning, Anna has given more than 100 lectures on her life and different Middle Eastern themes. She is currently on a book tour in the US bringing her to some of the major cities, including a special visit to The National Press Club in Washington D.C.
Knud Rasmussen and the Fifth Thule Expedition – Otto Christensen, Gimli, Manitoba The Fifth Thule Expedition led by Knud Rasmussen took place from 1921 to 1924 and ended in an epic dog team journey from Nunavut to Siberia. Otto Christensen will discuss this unique expedition, Rasmussen’s other travels, and their significance in a broad historical and geo-political context. Developed for the centennial of the Fifth Thule Expedition, this lecture focuses on this unique and consequential expedition, and will also discuss Knud Rasmussen more broadly, looking at his background, his other travels and activities, his unique personality and his place and significance in a broad historical and geo-political context.
Ørsted: Innovative Options for Powering Denmark, the US, and Beyond – Taylor Geer, Portland, OR Ørsted, based in Fredericia, Denmark, was formerly known as Dansk Olie og Naturgas A/S (Danish Oil and Natural Gas). The company was renamed to Ørsted in 2017. The name references innovative Danish scientist Hans Christian Ørsted (1777-1851). Ørsted was once one of the most coal-intensive energy companies in Europe, but was the first energy company to transition to clean energy from fossil fuels. Today, Ørsted operates more offshore wind energy projects than any other company in the world. They are committed to being the first energy company to reach net-zero carbon emissions. We are now bringing that experience to bear for the benefit of communities around the U.S., strengthening the American economy and building greater energy security. This includes having five gigawatts of offshore wind capacity in development on the East Coast and four gigawatts of onshore wind, solar and storage projects in operation and under construction across Texas, the Midwest, and the Southeast. Ørsted has over 500 employees working across 14 offices. Vice President of Onshore Technical Assessment at Ørsted Americas, Taylor Geer will discuss Ørsted’s history and its operations in Denmark, North America, and worldwide.
Working with Royal Dress: Royal Danish Collections, Rosenborg Castle, Copenhagen – Katia Johansen Katia Johansen will discuss her career as a conservator costume curator at the Royal Danish Collections at Rosenborg Castle, doing research, conservation, exhibitions and publications. During her career, Katia has written a number of books including one on Danish Queen Margrethe II’s wardrobe in 2012, based on a series of interviews with the Queen. Her most recent book is a comprehensive history of the Rosenborg costume collection of kings’ wardrobes, Ten Kings’ Clothes.
Oregon Tapestries: Woven by Margaret Kilbuck Johansen (1923-2004) – Katia Johansen, Copenhagen, Denmark In this presentation, Katia Johansen will discuss the work of her mother, noted Oregon fiber artist, Margaret Kilbuck Johansen (1923-2004). Having originally studying lithography, Margaret began weaving after moving to the Pittsburg area in the mid-1950s. At the forefront of the emerging fiber art movement in the 1960s, she quickly became proficient in the craft of weaving and went on to teach weaving and design at Carnegie-Mellon University and then at Western Oregon University and Linfield College in Oregon. A self-taught weaver, she attributed an influence on her art from her Native American heritage and her early years living in Hood River Oregon. Margaret Kilbuck Johansen’s work is on display at a number of churches across the US as well as internationally. She worked A retrospective of her art was curated by daughter Katia and her siblings and was on display until recently in Bend, Oregon. It will next travel to the Pacific Northwest Quilt and Fiber Art Museum in LaConner, Washington.
Climate Change Tipping Points: The Untold Story of Danish Paleoclimatologist Willi Dansgaard (1922 – 2011) – Kyle Dittmer, Battleground, WA In this presentation, our Kyle Dittmer will discuss the work of pioneering Danish paleoclimatologist, Willi Dansgaard. Over his 40 year career at the University of Copenhagen, Dansgaard pioneered the process of extracting prehistoric and historic climate data based on fluctuating levels of oxygen stable isotopes extracted from ice cores. By analyzing samples, he was able to gauge the world’s climate over time and determine how it had changed. Among other things, this research found that temperatures have at times changed rapidly than had previously been thought and to the understanding of climate change tipping points. Dansgaard’s work contributed to the science of climate research and to the current understanding of climate change and climate tipping points.
A typical year at DACR:
DACR is typically held in person in Oregon each year. DACR is now held in September.
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 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.
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.