It’s been over 900 years between visits of Scandinavian royals to
On October 30, Danish crown prince Frederik, 45, will make an
ultra-short visit to Israel to attend a gala concert at the Jerusalem Theater on
the 70th anniversary of the Danish people’s rescue of Denmark’s 7,000 Jews to
Sweden in October 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark.
rescue operation – the only light in the darkness of Nazi-occupied Europe – was
almost completely successful, as about 90 percent of Danish Jewry was saved, and
only a few hundred deported to the Theresienstadt concentration
Prior to the concert, the public will be addressed by Denmark’s
future king, and by Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein.
Frederik, who is accompanied by Danish education minister Christine Antorini,
will meet President Shimon Peres separately.
The crown prince’s visit to
Israel will be yet another milestone in Denmark’s relationship with the Jewish
people. His visit here is of course not political, but has significant
undertones as yet another outstretched Danish hand to the Jews and perhaps also
a special recognition of Israel in troubled times.
It is a historic
visit. Not for 906 years has a Nordic king visited Israel. The last one was that
of Norwegian king Sigurd Jorsalfar (Norwegian for “Jerusalem traveler”), who was
here on a pilgrimage toward the end of his reign (1103-1130) and who was the
leader of a Norwegian Crusade.
Another Danish king set off for Jerusalem,
but never quite made it. He was king Erik Ejegod (“Erik the Ever Good”), who set
out on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem but died in Cyprus in 1120.
became crown prince in 1972, when his mother succeeded to the throne as Queen
He is also the son of Prince Henrik, the former French
Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat. The crown prince and Australian-born crown
princess Mary have four children.
Frederik is coming to Israel from
Australia where he and the crown princess have attended the 40th anniversary of
the world-renowned Danish architect Joern Utzon’s famous Opera House in
The gala concert in Jerusalem was arranged by Danish
organizations, Danes in Israel and Friends of Denmark in Israel, in cooperation
with the Danish Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Crown prince Frederik is a
well-educated man. In addition to his mother tongue, he is fluent in French,
English and German.
He is a graduate of the Ecole des Roches in Normandy,
France. He studied political science at Harvard University under the name of
Frederik Henriksen, was a member of the Danish UN mission to New York and was
posted as first secretary to the Danish embassy in Paris in 1998-99.
has completed extensive military studies in all three services and is a staff
officer at the Defence Command Denmark, and since 2003 has been a senior
lecturer with the Institute of Strategy at the Royal Danish Defence
Perhaps above all, he is an avid sportsman, running marathons in
Copenhagen, New York and Paris, with a respectable finishing time of three
hours, 22 minutes and 50 seconds in the Copenhagen Marathon. He is a keen
sailor, being a competitive Farr 40 skipper. He finished fourth in the European
Championship Dragon Class 2003.
He is a frogman in the navy, where he
goes by the nickname “Pingo,” and won the hearts of most Danes when some years
ago he set out on a gruelling, months-long sledge-dog patrol in the Greenland
The writer is a Danish journalist working in Jerusalem as a
Middle East correspondent for Scandinavian papers.