Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year Address 2021.
Tonight is the last evening of the old year. We call it - New Year’s Eve.
It is the new year we celebrate. While looking back, we express hope and expectation of a quite new year.
The coronavirus has left its mark on our lives the last two years, and they have been hard years to get through. They have presented many challenges, which we all have had to get used to in big and small matters.
In the course of 2021, we could ease the restrictions and we felt that everyday life was approaching normality; alas, once again the coronavirus has tightened its grip, and this time as an even more infectious variant. Once again, the authorities have had to make a number of decisions, which in many ways may feel unpleasant and which affect our daily lives. Many people must again make an extra effort. This applies in particular to those who help trace and limit infection, and to those who treat the sick and who again must put in an extra effort to cope with everything. Even though it is cumbersome having to live with restrictions again in our everyday lives, I do believe that there is widespread understanding of the need for it. We are facing a common challenge and we must all take responsibility for ensuring that our society gets safely through the pandemic.
There are some we owe a special thank you, some who we may not notice very much in day-to-day life: They are the scientific researchers who spend days and years digging deeply into a subject matter that most of us have little insight into. To a large extent it is these researchers who have contributed to curbing the infection and who within an exceptionally short time have developed vaccines against corona.
Knowledge and insight have helped us during the corona pandemic and have shown us that new knowledge brings progress. We are reminded that we must encounter the unknown with a feeling of curiosity, inquiring minds and innovation – rather than fear.
The same applies to the climate change question. When oil and coal pollute our globe, we must develop better sources of energy. Huge offshore wind farms are being built, harnessing nature’s enormous power for the benefit of us all. More is underway, for example “green fuels” to power planes and ships and ambitious proposals to capture CO2 and store it underground. Science and technology can help us to meet the targets of climate neutrality and sustainability. We face huge challenges and obligations, not least in the interests of future generations. This is something we all need to respond to – in time!
When I was a child, we learnt that we were approximately four million inhabitants in Denmark. Now we are close to six million people.
As a country and as a people we must find a common direction, but not in order to walk in step. That has never come natural to us in this country. One person dashes ahead at full speed, another prefers to stroll through the landscape at a leisurely pace; but there are some for whom the road is not at all level.
This applies in particular to those who struggle with a disability.
With some it is easy to see it if, for instance, they sit in a wheelchair. With others the suffering is invisible. It may be a mental disease, chronic pain or something quite different.
What they all have in common is that they must live with a disability that makes life more difficult, and they do not always encounter understanding and respect – perhaps quite the opposite.
Some people with disabilities are even discriminated against, perhaps also insulted and laughed at. This may be caused by thoughtlessness and ignorance; no matter what, it is wrong, and we should be above that! We must take the time, not just to help but also to learn from each other. It ought not to be so hard to treat everybody with respect.
We must meet our fellow human beings with openness. The life stories of others can make us wiser. To see one’s life reflected in that of others can provide food for thought and inspiration. We get to know ourselves in the encounter with others.
When we are young, we strive for recognition; it is so important to get attention, to be seen – preferably to be unique – like the others!
But to be a human being is to a large extent a matter of acknowledging who we are, of getting to know ourselves. There is development in that – enough for an entire lifetime!
Now, in dark winter, we can look back at a summer which I believe will be remembered for a long time. The men’s national football team offered experiences that brought together all of Denmark. There were red and white colours and flags everywhere and enthusiastic crowds filled the streets. Also in Tokyo, achievements were made which we can all take pride in – both during the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games.
The new year will also present sport that is quite exceptional. In summer, the world’s greatest bicycle race, Tour de France, will include several stages in Denmark. The start will be in Copenhagen, and the tour will go from Roskilde across the Great Belt Bridge and end in Sønderborg. It is going to be a major event, and at the same time we will be able to show how wonderful Denmark is.
Last summer gave me many unforgettable experiences.
Together with the Crown Prince and Prince Christian it became possible in June after a year’s delay to celebrate and commemorate the Reunification of South Jutland with Denmark in 1920. It was a great experience for all three of us and I wish to thank the people of South Jutland for a wonderful day. The day showed very clearly the very special spirit that characterises the border country. Tonight, I send my New Year greetings to the people of South Jutland, to the Danes in South Schleswig, and to the German minority in Denmark.
It was a great joy for me to visit the Faroe Islands last summer. A revisit which I had looked very much forward to.
It is always a pleasure to visit the beautiful islands, to be met with heartfelt hospitality and experience the commitment and drive of the Faroese. Faroese society is going through an impressive development process. I shall remember my visit with much gratitude.
I send my New Year wishes to everybody in the Faroe Islands with a warm: Thank you for last summer!
I had looked forward with great expectation to last summer’s visit to Greenland; but also there, corona got in the way. The large-scale visit could not be carried out until autumn, and much reduced. On the other hand, the few days in October proved a wonderful experience for which I would like to express my heartfelt thanks. Everywhere I was met with feelings of warmth and goodwill that moved me deeply. I wish to thank you for the memorable days, and I send my warmest New Year wishes to everybody in Greenland.
The people Denmark posts abroad perform big and important tasks every day throughout the world.
In the past year, especially the situation in Afghanistan has loomed large. We have all seen the shocking images from Kabul Airport of desperate people fleeing the country.
In the hectic days, our people posted there together with Danish authorities succeeded in airlifting several hundred evacuees under exceedingly difficult conditions. It was an impressive achievement.
Tonight, my warmest New Year greetings go to the people that Demark has posted abroad.
This applies to all those who right now are far from home – at sea and on land – and to the same extent to the thousands of Danes who over the years have been posted to Afghanistan and to other flashpoints where Denmark has assumed international tasks. We must remember them and their relatives. We owe them a warm “thank you” for their contribution for Denmark.
Denmark and Danes are present all over the world. I am thinking of the many who have left the country for short or lengthy periods of time, or those whose background and roots are Danish. To them I wish to express my thanks tonight for staying faithful to their old country and I wish them a heartfelt happy New Year.
I send my thanks to the defence, the emergency management services and the police for their effort in the past year and for their vigilance also tonight. I wish all of them a happy New Year.
In the course of the past year, my family and I have met great attention and kindness everywhere. It moves us all, and it makes us take pleasure in our tasks and our everyday lives. It was a pleasure that the Crown Prince accompanied me during the State Visit to Germany. His contribution is of great significance, not least for the business community – and he does it well!
The Crown Princess has also many tasks, and in the new year we shall celebrate her 50th birthday. I look very much forward to that.
Prince Joachim and Princess Marie have now settled well in Paris. They are in the service of Denmark there, and it makes me proud to see how committed they both are to promoting Denmark’s interests.
Very soon in the new year we can celebrate the 50th anniversary of my accession to the throne. It will not take place the way we had imagined it. The coronavirus has been too tough an adversary. But it will not be allowed to have the final say – the celebration will come when the time is ripe – later in the year.
It is difficult for me to understand where all the years went. I find that they have passed so quickly.
Much has changed in that period of time; but not my love for my nearest and dearest and not my love for my country.
May we all experience a happy New Year!
GOD BLESS DENMARK