Lone Dencker Wisborg enjoys seeing Danish culture thriving in the city
Lone Dencker Wisborg, Denmark’s ambassador to the U.S., was impressed when she saw her country’s history and culture come alive in Solvang.
“It’s such a good example of the Danish values that we like to showcase,” she told the News-Press Wednesday during her first visit to the community that is home to Danish-American families.
“It’s a wonderful little piece of Denmark,” Ms. Wisborg said about the Danish-themed city, adding, “It’s bigger than I thought.”
Ms. Wisborg talked to the News-Press at a private reception in her honor at the Elverhøj Museum of History and Art in Solvang. Before the event, she was given a tour of the city by the museum’s executive director, Esther Jacobsen Bates.
“I saw the windmills and the bakeries. It’s all very pretty and nicely done,” Ms. Wisborg said. “It might remind you of Denmark in the olden days, but it’s alive. It’s not in a museum. People live here, and people are sitting at the cafes and restaurants.”
Ms. Wisborg praised Solvang when she addressed the small crowd at the museum. Among the listeners were Solvang City Council members, Solvang Mayor Charlie Uhrig, members of the museum’s board and museum supporters.
“I want to thank all of you for keeping Danish culture alive and showing our values to other Americans but also to tourists from all over the world,” she said.
“It’s such a pleasure to be able to visit Solvang,” Ms. Wisborg said. “I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time. I’ve been in the U.S. for three and a half years, but I was robbed two years (of traveling through the country) because of COVID.
“I got to see more of Maryland and Virginia, maybe more than I wanted,” during the pandemic, said Ms. Wisborg, who is based at the Danish embassy in Washington, D.C.
The ambassador noted the U.S. has had a longer, unbroken history of diplomatic ties with Denmark than with any other nation since 1801.
“What does an ambassador do? You all do what an ambassador does,” Ms. Wisborg told the members of the Solvang community. “We fight for Danes’ values and interests in this country. We work with the American authorities and people and American companies to fight for the things we find important.
“You are all ambassadors from Denmark to the U.S. We all thank you for that,” Ms. Wisborg said, as she and her audience raised their glasses in honor of Solvang.
By the way, Ms. Wisborg wrote the foreword to Ms. Jacobsen Bates’ and Ann Ditmer’s book, “The Spirit of Solvang: A History of the Danish Capital of America.”
“It’s the first time we met in person,” the museum executive director told the News-Press.
Ms. Jacobsen Bates noted that the ambassador’s visit “re-enforces all that we do here, sharing Danish history and culture with the community.”
Ms. Wisborg’s term as the ambassador to the U.S. ends on Sept. 1, the day that she becomes Denmark’s new ambassador to NATO. And she discussed the alliance during her talk to the Solvang crowd.
Ms. Wisborg noted Denmark is working closely with the U.S. on military aid to Ukraine and sanctions on Russia.
She added that the war in Ukraine has resulted in a stronger alliance between the U.S. and Denmark. “It has surprised both of us how strong we can be.”
During the News-Press interview, Ms. Wisborg discussed the addition of Finland and Sweden to NATO.
“They have a very similar mindset (to other NATO nations), and they have a great military,” Ms. Wisborg said. “We believe they will be an asset in political and military terms.”
When asked if Ukraine should be admitted soon into NATO, Ms. Wisborg said it’s important to make sure the nation fulfills all of the alliance requirements before approving membership.
“The more immediate concern is that we make sure Ukraine is as strong as possible to fight the war,” Ms. Wisborg said.
“We should continue to do the work we’re doing now,” she said, referring to military and humanitarian aid. “This war could take a while.”