Danish Program Holiday Letter

Submitted by Stacey Breitberg on

Dear Friends of the UW Danish Program,

Glædelig jul og godt nytår! Our warmest holiday wishes to friends, alumni, and program supporters!

In our annual holiday letter, we like to share a few highlights from the calendar year that is now coming to a close. Since February 2022, we have been back to “in-person” instruction at the UW and busy with large enrollment courses taught in English, such as “Introduction to Danish Literature and Culture” (50 students) and “Hans Christian Andersen and the Fairy Tale” (100 students) and “WWII and Occupation in the Nordic Region” (40 students), as well as daily Danish language classes.  Further, over the summer, Morten Stensgaard Larsen – our Visiting Lecturer of Danish – contributed to a UW Study Abroad Honors Program in Copenhagen (25 students).  This Autumn quarter 2022, we are engaged with a large, new cohort of students of Danish language. Naturally, we are excited about the increasing interest in our program and take it as a sign that students see the value of combining Danish study with other fields of study, such as Anthropology, Applied Computational Math and Sciences, Bio-Chemistry, Business, Oceanography, Sociology, and Statistics – these are the “majors” represented currently by students in our second-year Danish language class!     

In staffing a full program of instruction in Danish language and related classes, the UW Department of Scandinavian Studies is greatly indebted to Denmark’s Ministry of Higher Education and Science, which has co-sponsored a Danish lectureship at the UW for 25 years. This agreement has brought talented Danish academics, most recently Morten Stensgaard Larsen, as Visiting Lecturers and ‘cultural ambassadors’ to the University of Washington since 1997. Last year, we reported that Denmark’s government proposed to phase out the Lecturer’s Agreement. Thankfully, we can now inform you that that budget proposal was rejected and further funding found its way to the Lecturer’s Agreement, ensuring that the Department of Scandinavian Studies will likely be able to host a visiting Danish lecturer for years to come.  Morten is now in his second year at the UW and will continue as faculty member in Danish until Spring of 2025.

Two of our outstanding Danish majors graduated recently.  Michael Mitnick, who “double-majored” in Danish and Political Science, and then spent a semester at Askov folk high-school in Jutland, is now at Law School at UC Irvine. Another recent graduate, Lars Borchert, graduated in June 2022 with a “triple-major” in Astronomy, Physics and Danish; Lars is now pursuing a Master’s degree in Astronomy at Aarhus Universit.  Needless to say, we are immensely proud of our accomplished graduates, Mr. Mitnick and Mr. Borchert. Their academic trajectories are evidence of the many strengths and opportunities Danish offers students in a range of disciplines and demonstrates that holding a major in Danish from the UW opens up doors to the world.       

As we all look to the future of higher education, we hope that you will keep the Department of Scandinavian Studies and especially the Danish program in your thoughts.  Also, please consider joining our department’s community list-serv, the Snowball -- JOIN SNOWBALL -- to keep apprised of all we have going on. We hope to see you at an upcoming event!  

As you make your end-of-year charitable donations, please give generously to the UW Danish program with a donation to the Friends of Scandinavian Languages & Literature Fund found at the link below.

Rigtig glædelig jul og godt nytår 2023!


Morten Stensgaard Larsen, Acting Instructor of Danish

Marianne Stecher-Hansen, Professor