When I lived in Denmark six years ago, the tabloids were often ablaze with steamy photos of Danish royalty, along with some extra spicy stories on the personal lives of the royalty in the other Scandinavian kingdoms, ie. “Prince Haakon of Norge and Prince Frederik of Danmark got juiced on a booze cruise between
It is for this reason that I am delighted that
Let’s make no mistake here though, Danes and Estonians are both part of the pagan, vodka belt of northern
What do I mean by that? I mean that Estonia, Finland, and yes, also Iceland too, have national cultures built on historic epics and folk cultures – sagas, kalevala, kalevipoeg and ruhno songs — where as Swedish and Danish cultures, indeed, Scandinavian-ness, has more of an imperial face meaning 1) multiculturalism adopted to accommodate rule over various provinces; 2) public space shaped to reinforce legitimacy of monarchy – royal parks, societies, institutions, etc.
Despite this, the pagan edge is still strong in
Ilves will be talking about Nordic-Baltic integration, NATO, and the European Union. Ilves is a great example that if you believe in something enough you can become it. Of all the leaders in Europe he is one of the few, and American-educated at that, that seems the most generically “European”. I'd also put Sarkozy in that box, as French as he is. Gordon Brown though looks like a character from Monty Python's Flying Circus, specifically this character.
Like so much discourse in the nordic countries, there is a dull rhythm to talks over institutions that center around defense cooperation (sending Danish experts to teach in the Baltic Defense College) or economic cooperation (creating more Danish-owned, Estonian-powered IT hybrids like Skype).
It is important though. Despite rampaging anarchists or pissed off rioters, Danes and Estonians have created societies that some hope to emulate. Whether it is through their ‘free healthcare’ or ‘wired cities’, both Taani and Eesti use their positions — small, entrepreneurial, educated — to create progressive policies.
These are the kinds of things Ilves will be talking about while munching on smørrebrød.I have no doubt that he will get along fine with the Danish straights.