Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year Speech 2011

H.M. Dronningen ved nytårstalen 2011.



A year has 365 days; this is the same for everyone, but how different it seems to a child or a young person, to an adult or elderly person. There is a long time till Christmas, a whole year until one’s birthday, and an eternity till the summer holidays. Later in life, time passes much faster; it feels as if summer has just ended when New Year’s Eve is here; over and over again.  

However, regardless of your age, a new year will always be a year of opportunities. As one grows older, experience may become a mental ballast when faced with a new year and new times, whether hardship or optimism prevail.  

* * *

These are troubled times. The global economic crisis is evident to all, not least here in Europe, where we face major problems, which affect all aspects of society.

In current times it has become increasingly obvious that all parts of the world rely on each other, and what happens in one place may have dire consequences elsewhere. This has become particularly apparent in Europe in recent years. In many parts of the world, growth has stagnated, which is worrying, also for Denmark, though we are not the most affected. Employment opportunities disappear as workplaces have to close down. Many are concerned for their own and their family’s future.

The current situation is also worrying for the younger generation. They often fail to get started as they struggle to find job opportunities, or to get the education which would improve their chances of employment.  This may shake their confidence, which further jeopardises their attempts at finding a foothold and moving on. This is a serious situation; not just for the young person in question, but for society as a whole. It is after all this next generation that must lead our society in the future; we depend on them.

When times are uncertain, we too may become unsure of ourselves and doubt whether our skills are sufficient for the tasks ahead. We become hesitant towards accepting challenges, which is understandable; though this must not lead to an inability to act.

As a community we must not immerse ourselves in our worries, but rather face up to the problems and do something about them.

We have experienced difficult times before, and have witnessed how mustering our strength, supporting one another and not giving up have led us through to better times. Fellowship is a cornerstone of our society, yet fellowship can only be found where each one of us is ready to contribute.

We must not leave it to others – or to chance – how to proceed. It must be our own responsibility to find a starting point; both mentally and physically.

If misfortune makes it impossible to find employment in a preferred field, pursuing other options may be the answer; after all, many have done so before. For the young generation, it may be a question of changing course, if one’s first-choice study is not available. Perhaps one should move to another town or region, if employment or education options are better there. In Denmark we have the privilege of many options and opportunities, perhaps because we are a small country, both in size and population. Yet it requires personal effort to discover these opportunities and to take advantage of them.

* * *

Tomorrow, Denmark will take the chair of the EU. This at a time when the global and European economic situation is in a critical phase. Great demands will be placed on our ability to organise this event. We must demonstrate what we are capable of; but I have no doubt that we will rise to this occasion.

To everyone involved with Denmark’s chairmanship, whether involved in a major or minor capacity, I wish you the best of luck.

We all remember how, as children, we saw the future and the world as a place and time of opportunities. We want to develop as a human being, to thrive and to provide joy and benefits to our community. Still, for some it may go awry; they may encounter challenges, which exceed their strength; or they find themselves in serious trouble, from which they cannot escape without help. They lose their grip on life, so to speak.

In spite of the many initiatives our society offers to help and support, recovery can be such a monumental task that some give up. They withdraw into themselves. Not least during Christmas and New Year is it hard to feel left out. Tonight my thoughts are with them.

* * *

Denmark is a pleasant and safe society. Throughout the country we have dedicated people, who contribute greatly through their professional work in hospitals, care facilities, schools and kindergartens. They take on an immense responsibility and administer it competently and humanely.

But we cannot place all responsibility with the public sector, or expect that all our problems can be resolved through legislation. We all have a joint responsibility.

Many have accepted such a responsibility through voluntary work – either as part of nationwide organisations, or through smaller local initiatives, or by simply lending a helping hand where it is needed. This provides more value than we might appreciate. To these volunteers I send my sincere thanks and blessings for the New Year.

Every day of the year there are some who must be awake and be prepared to act when called upon. I extend my New Year’s blessings to the Civil Defence Force and the Police Force, who help to ensure that daily life in Denmark can proceed safely and peacefully.

* * *

One of the past year’s most memorable experiences for me was visiting our soldiers in the Helmand province in Afghanistan. We are all aware of their outstanding, professional effort, but to observe personally how they live, to speak with them and to gain an insight into their everyday life, is something I shall never forget. Tonight I send them my warmest New Year’s blessings and best wishes.

Again this year Danish soldiers have served in many of the world’s hotspots. Everywhere they have earned great respect and admiration amongst our allies. I wish to seize this opportunity to acknowledge the Danish Air Force personnel and to thank them for their extraordinary achievements in Libya.

On September 5th this year, “The Monument for Denmark’s International Effort” was unveiled at Kastellet. It serves as a place of remembrance in honour of our fallen and veterans, and to recognise their loved ones, who must suffer the consequences of Denmark’s engagement.

My family and I wish all personnel deployed abroad, and their families, a Happy New Year. You are all in our thoughts.

* * *

This past summer, the Prince Consort and I travelled to Greenland for an extended visit. From north to south we were met everywhere with heart-warming hospitality, which added to the fond memories we have from previous trips over many years. It is a great joy to witness the enthusiasm with which the community in Greenland is developing, despite the fact that times are not the easiest. Along with our family, the Prince Consort and I wish the people of Greenland a Happy New Year, and we extend our thanks for the year that has passed.

My New Year’s greetings and good wishes also reach out to the Faroe Islands. The Prince Consort and I still remember our visit last year vividly and with great pleasure.

On this evening I send a warm greeting to all Danes living outside of our country’s borders, and to the many, who have maintained ties to their Danish homeland – in some cases through generations. This also applies to the South Schleswigers, whose Danish sentiments link them so strongly to Denmark. I wish you all a happy New Year.

2011 began with a joyous occasion; the birth of the Crown Prince Couple’s twins, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine. We now look forward to the approaching birth of Prince Joachim and Princess Marie’s second child. We are delighted and touched by the sincere interest in our family shown to us by all. I wish all families could experience as many happy moments as we do in mine; to see their children grow up and mature, and their grandchildren thrive and spread joy. Yet we all know that life may turn out very differently, and that we may encounter rocks and obstacles, which may tax the courage of the best.

During difficult times it is especially important that we look out for one another and that we be ready to encourage and offer support wherever we can.

Let us enter the New Year knowing that we can be there

for each other. God bless you all; 



Published December 31, 2011

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