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

DACR 2020 was a virtual event this year. It took place from September 18 – 20, 2020

2020 Program Overview
  • Schools in Denmark: From COVID to Outdoor Teaching -Karen Eisenhut, English teacher at Denmark’s Kontiki Skole
  • The Hiking Viking: Fundraising for Danish America -Bruce Bro, President of the National Foundation for Danish America
  • ScanDesign Foundation Programs -Fidelma McGinn, President of ScanDesign Foundation
  • Gone Viking: A Travel Saga Book Talk -Author Bill Arnott
  • Stories from Denmark around WWII -Author Bodil Jelhof Jensen
  • Opening concert by Jessica Lynne Witty
  • Saturday happy hour concert by Flemming Behrend
  • Danish Recipes: Cooking Videos
2020 Program Details

For program updates, sign up for the e-bulletin mailing list. Registrations are now open!

A Rare Sight: Reopened Schools and Outdoor Education by Karen Eisenhut

Denmark’s response to the coronavirus has been a hot topic in international media, with a recent focus on the reopening of schools. How did Denmark do it?

Karen Eisenhut, a teacher at Kontiki Skole in Denmark, will be joining us for DACR this year to shed light on the topic. She will share her personal experiences transitioning to outdoor teaching when schools in Denmark reopened after the government lockdown. Danish, sports, math, art, and other subjects were all taught in the forest or in open fields.

The Hiking Viking: Fundraising for Danish America by Bruce Bro

Bruce Bro, president of the National Foundation for Danish America, is now known as “The Hiking Viking”. Bruce set off on foot on June 29th to complete a 500-mile hike on the Colorado trail to raise money for Danish American organizations struggling to make ends meet during the COVID crisis. On August 11th, 2020 he completed his mission and raised close to $32,000 for Danish organizations across the U.S.!

ScanDesign Foundation by Fidelma McGinn

Fidelma McGinn, president of ScanDesign Foundation, will join us for DACR 2020 to share updates about the Foundation’s far-reaching programs that actively support Danish-American relations. A focal point will be recent collaborations as well as the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the Foundation’s programs.

About Fidelma McGinn: Fidelma McGinn is the new president of ScanDesign Foundation. In May 2020 she succeeded founding president, Mark Schleck, who led the Foundation for the past 18 years. Read more here.

Gone Viking: A Travel Saga by Bill Arnott
Author Bill Arnott

Best-selling non-fiction author, Bill Arnott, will lead an exploration of his upcoming book, Gone Viking: A Travel Saga. Arnott will share a series of readings and mini-tours from his book. In a live virtual event, Arnott will interlace entertaining stories and spoken-word pieces from his journeys across the Nordic countries. Click here to read more about Bill Arnott.

“This is definitely one of the best reads of the year.” –Candice James, Laureate Emerita, Silver Bow Press

Watch the trailer here.

About Gone Viking: A Travel Saga: “Bill Arnott guides readers on an epic literary odyssey following history’s most feared and misunderstood voyageurs: the Vikings! To ‘go Viking’ is to embark on an epic journey. For more than eight years, Bill Arnott journeyed throughout the northern hemisphere, discovering sites Scandinavian explorers raided, traded, and settled – finding Viking history in a wider swath of the planet than most anthropologists and historians ever imagined…” Read more by Rocky Mountain Books.

Add the book to your reading list and join us for the discussion at DACR! You can pre-order Gone Viking: A Travel Saga on Amazon. The book will be released on September 29th.

Book Talks by Bodil Jelhof Jensen

Bodil Jelhof Jensen will present two 30 minute lectures in English at this year’s Danish American Cultural Retreat (DACR) about five books written by her mother, Agnes Jelhof Jensen. The books are memoirs of her mother’s life in Denmark in the 1920s and 1930s, her life through WWII, and her post-WWII immigration to Canada from Denmark.

Read more about Bodil’s DACR 2020 book talks.

Read more about Bodil Jelhof Jensen.

The book talks will cover the following books by Agnes Jelhof Jensen:
Huset i Canada
Hallo Canada!
Midt Mellem Le og Græde

Purchase the books online via:
Saga Egmont (E-books in Danish)

Danish Musician Jessica Lynne with Guitar
Jessica Lynne Witty
Entertainment: Jessica Lynne Witty

Danish-American singer, Jessica Lynne Witty, will play a live opening concert for DACR this year!

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 hometown of Nashville recording artist Jessica Lynne Witty, who currently resides in Tacoma, Washington. The transcontinental move from her lifelong home in Denmark to the U.S. was eased by the fact that her dad and his family were already living near Seattle. Being surrounded by a supportive network of family, she felt, was just the kind of positive energy she would need to adjust to the transition.  

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. With her impressive vocal skill, warm personality, and a rare knack for writing songs that are both catchy and honest, she became an instant favorite with Seattle’s country music promoters, musicians, and fans alike. Her 2020 award winning single “Crazy On The Outside” has set the tone for a whole new chapter in Jessica Lynne Witty’s career. The result is a fresh, contemporary take on country music with female power at the forefront, at a moment when the industry and the world is sorely ready for it.

Visit Jessica’s website to find out more and to listen to some of her music:  www.jessicalynnewitty.com

Entertainment: Flemming Behrend

Our local Danish folk musician, Flemming Behrend, will play a live happy hour show on Saturday, September 19th for DACR. Check out his YouTube Channel in the meantime.

Flemming Behrend

About Flemming: Flemming Oppenhagen Behrend grew up in Copenhagen Denmark and started playing the guitar at age 15. His music has developed over the years and his songs have been featured in Denmark on both radio and TV. He has performed his Danish folk music at festivals in Denmark and Germany, in Australia and in the United States.

Living in the Pacific North West, Flemming has been active in performing at several NWDA cultural events as well as volunteering for the Nordic Museum in Seattle. With over two hundred produced songs on YouTube, he has contributed to spreading the interest in Nordic music and culture in both Denmark as well as in America. 

A typical year at DACR:

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 covered by experts in each field, such as:
  • 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 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.

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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