Yesterday my husband and I had the honor of attending the official opening of the Jutlandia Hall exhibit at the Korean Embassy in Copenhagen. The hall is a tribute to the hospital ship “Jutlandia”, which was sent as humanitarian aid by the Danish government to the war-torn Korean peninsula in 1951. Of all the great people who served on board this ship, only 16 are still alive and the opening of the hall was held in honor of these veterans.
The weather was bright and sunny and the ambassador seemed very pleased and smilingly exclaimed “날씨 괜찮네!” upon arrival. The ambassador’s wife was beautifully dressed in an elegant hanbok, and both she and the ambassador took their time warmly greeting all the guests.
A choir from a local high school performed moving renditions of the Korean and Danish national anthems concluded their performance with an old Danish ’80s hit song called “Jutlandia”. Several speeches where held, among these a welcome address from the ambassador, a speech from the spokesperson of the veterans’ organization, and a skype address from a U.S. veteran, who was treated aboard “Jutlandia” when wounded during the Korean war. He claimed that this was where he learned to drink Danish beer prompting the audience to laugh out loud. Other speeches were given by a Korean gentleman, who had been treated on the hospital ship during the war, when he was only 14 years old, and by Korean and Danish government officials.
While I have known about “Jutlandia” since I was very young, it was very touching to witness our shared Korean and Danish history come alive on this beautiful summer day. While our countries may be geographically far apart, this event was a powerful testimony to the mutual affection between Denmark and Korea. The large banner draped behind the stage read “Korea in Danes’ hearts – 한국을 덴마그인의 마음속으로”. Being a Dane who sometimes feels like a Korean at heart, nothing could have made me feel more welcome and at home.
I’ve added a few pictures from the event. The first shows the ambassador, Mr. Ma overlooking the choir’s rehearsals. I never realized before how well the Korean and Danish flags compliment each other, but they looked beautiful side by side in the garden. The bottom picture is proof that no guest left the reception feeling hungry. There was plenty of delicious Korean food, and I had a plate of grilled bulgogi, samgyeopsal, japchae, kimchi, and rice.