Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year Address 2017.
It is New Year’s Eve now – once again!
It seems as if time goes by faster and faster as we get on in years. It was different when we were children: It took forever, from getting up in the morning of Christmas Eve until we could finally gather around the Christmas tree. The days between Christmas and New Year were full of life and activity, but on New Year’s Eve time dragged again until we could listen to the bells of the Copenhagen City Hall, and the whole city exploded in fireworks and golden rain.
One of the things that make this time of the year so very special is probably the joy of expectation: The joy of being able to be together, the joy of looking forward to a new year with new hope and renewed strength. However, the year that has passed may also have held hard times – not everything is a source of joy for all of us.
People are different, and Denmark needs different people with their individual abilities and talents, their lines of activity.
One person is a number cruncher, another knows all about technology. One person is good at attracting customers or setting up a business. Some have the talent of teaching whereas others have an ability to care for children and the elderly or the sick. Others prefer to bury themselves in books and see how the world opens from there. Some are so good with their hands that it is almost incredible how they do it.
No one talent is better or grander than another, we need all of it and for all of us.
We do what we can, each and every one of us. In Denmark, we have shaken off the economic crisis through joint effort. There is vibrant activity throughout the country.
In times of economic growth, we need the efforts of everybody, indeed of more people than we ourselves have. Throughout history, we have brought skilful hands and clever heads to Denmark from other countries. Many people have come to Denmark in order to work here. We needed them in the past and we still need them! They may be employees in agriculture, at hotels and restaurants, or highly specialised researchers whose knowledge is needed.
It is not merely a question of being short of hands. We also need ideas and inspiration from abroad in order to maintain the high position which Denmark holds in so many fields, in the same way as we succeed in inspiring others throughout the world.
Denmark’s good reputation is due to both our traditions and the innovation that every generation has brought with it. We will not be bowled over, we will stay true to ourselves as we have always done here in Denmark.
Much has changed since my contemporaries and I were children or young people. But the keynote remains rooted in a culture and a way of life that has emerged and grown here in our country.
It is a reflection of who we are and of what is important to us as a country and as Danes.
Perhaps we sometimes forget to ask ourselves what is most important in life.
In our day-to-day lives, many hours of the day are filled with work and duties. But what matters most to us, at the end of the day?
The people that are close to us, they matter most. And to most of us, they are our family.
A family is not necessarily the same today as it was a generation ago. I think a recognition has emerged that not all families consist of father, mother and children. There is more variety today, but also more broad-mindedness and tolerance.
When there are more possibilities, there are also more choices. That is in principle a step forward. But we may also lose our bearings when faced with all the possibilities.
In a modern family there are a huge number of tasks to perform. I sometimes wonder how parents manage to find the time to take their little boy to his swimming lesson, and pick up his big sister at a friend’s before they themselves have to attend a course. How do they manage to get it all done?
Our day-to-day lives are full of demands that must be met and choices that must be made.
It may look as if all doors are open to us. But one person cannot enter all the doors at the same time.
I do not believe it is possible to take an interest in everything.
Tonight, I have a small suggestion to make: That we sometimes do something different from what we usually do. Something beyond the practical tasks of everyday life.
That we try and do something that is not necessary, something that there is no need for, something pointless!
It will not be the same thing for everybody. Some prefer going for a walk in the woods or along the beach. Others would rather listen to music or watch a TV series. Personally, I prefer doing something with my hands – a piece of needlework, a sketchpad; something with colours.
I think it is important to have experiences that appeal to our senses, something that inspires our imagination, that stimulates the mind, and that can enlarge our world.
That is not so pointless after all.
Every country’s distinctiveness is a reflection of its nature. The Kingdom of Denmark comprises three countries: Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland, each of them with its own profile, but at the same time one community.
Next summer, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess and their children will visit the Faroe Islands. I know that the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess are looking forward to meeting again the impressive scenery, the rich cultural life and the generous hospitality. I am very pleased that also my grandchildren will now enjoy the experiences that have meant so much to me.
There is economic prosperity in the Faroe Islands these years, entrepreneurship is booming and the population is growing. We can all take pleasure in that.
I send my warmest New Year greetings to everybody in the Faroe Islands.
In Greenland, the stunning scenery makes a deep impression on everybody who visits the country.
“How delightful it is to hear
the lament of the ice
when it begins to break up
the shining armour beginning to crack
the first days of spring!”
My husband writes this in his poem “Ode to Greenland”. Like me, he has been deeply impressed by Greenland and the nature of Greenland since his first visit many years ago now. But nature in Greenland can be ruthless, it also has destructive power.
Last summer, a tsunami hit the two settlements of Nuugaatsiaq and Illorsuit. Families lost their love ones, and many saw their livelihoods destroyed. It was a difficult time during which the community showed its importance and all joined forces to help.
Tonight, I send my heartfelt thoughts to all those affected by the tsunami. I wish everybody in Greenland a happy New Year.
In many situations, it is necessary that we help each other. Tonight, most Danes are off duty. But there are also many who are at work because they take care of others. At hospitals, nursing homes and institutions, staff are on duty round the clock and all the days of the year. This is also the case tonight.
The Fire Brigade, the Emergency Management Agency, the Police, and the Defence are also ready to respond to any call for help. For them, New Year’s Eve is no different from all other nights.
I send my warm New Year greetings to all of them.
Also this year, there are Danish soldiers, police officers and specialists who are posted far from home. They contribute to creating security and stability in the places where they serve.
The Crown Princess has told me about her visit to the soldiers in Mali where they help protect the civilian population, and Prince Joachim could tell about our soldiers’ efforts in Iraq.
Also in the new year, we will continue the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Danish Defence will also participate in intensified efforts in the Baltic Region.
I send New Year greetings to all those who from postings abroad keep all of us safe and secure at home.
Tonight, I also think of the Danes who live all over the world, and of the many who have their roots in Denmark. I am deeply moved by their loyalty to their old country every time I experience it. I extend my warmest New Year greetings to them all.
I also send my New Year greetings to the Danish minority in South Schleswig. There, the Danish spirit continues to be alive as part of everyday life.
The fact that there is room to blossom for Danish national identity south of the border is in my eyes a reflection of friendship, respect and good neighbourly relations between Danes and Germans. I also take pleasure in the many associations and institutions that contribute to forging strong links across the border.
I wish all Danes south of the border a happy New Year.
Lastly, together with all my family I wish to say thank you to everybody for the old year.
It is a pleasure for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, Prince Joachim, Princess Marie and their children that so many take an active and lively interest in all that happens in the young generations.
In some ways, this has not been an easy year for me and my family. Therefore, we have been deeply touched by the sympathy and understanding extended to Prince Henrik by so very many people. We are very grateful for that. It makes everyday life easier for all of us.
Life goes up and down. The most important thing is that we have people who are close to us.
Therefore, I send my New Year greetings here tonight to all those who have experienced hard times in the old year and to each and every one who must sit alone.
My wish is that the new year will bring hope and joy to everybody.
GOD BLESS DENMARK