Queen Margrethe has addressed the nation every year at 6pm on December 31st since 1972, meaning her speech on Friday evening was her fiftieth.
The monarch’s annual message often touches on ethical and cultural topics, as well as the need for solidarity in society. The 2021 edition included these elements, while she also mentioned her forthcoming golden jubilee.
The Queen highlighted the work of medics and researchers battling the Covid-19 pandemic, praised Danish athletes after a successful year and urged climate action in what critics said was a nod to Denmark’s younger generation.
“There are some people to whom we owe a special thank you, those whom we perhaps do not notice so much in our every day lives: that is the researchers who spend days and years digging deeply into a subject into which most of us do not have as much insight,” she said.
“Science and technology can help us to achieve our targets for climate neutrality and sustainability. We face new challenges and obligations, not least in obligation to future generations,” the Queen also said.
In reference to Danish sporting successes in 2021, she said that “here in the dark winter, we can look back on a summer which I believe will be remembered for a long time. The men’s national football team gave us moments that united all of Denmark. There were red and white colours everywhere and cheering in the streets.”
“In Tokyo, also, performances were delivered that we can all be proud of, at both the Olympics and Paralympics,” she added.
Perhaps the most poignant and heart-warming moment of 2021’s Queen’s speech came in its final few sentences, when the monarch referenced her upcoming jubilee.
“I find it hard to believe how many years have passed. I think it has gone so quickly.
“Much has changed over this time; but not the love I have for my loved ones, and not the love I have for my country,” she said.
Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s New Year speech was recorded at the official residence of the head of government, Marienborg, on December 30th 2021 and broadcast on January 1st 2022.
Topics tackled by prime ministers during the annual speeches are often domestically focused and can outline core issues on which the government plans to focus in the coming year.
However, they can choose to deviate from this custom, as Lars Løkke Rasmussen did in his final New Year speech as Prime Minister in 2019.
Frederiksen began her 2022 version of the speech by stating that she would “not primarily talk about coronavirus”, but did thank members of the public who had been vaccinated and received boosters, along with healthcare sector and test centre staff.
One of the most notable statements by Frederiksen on New Year’s Day 2022 related to air travel.
The government has set an ambitious target of making all Danish domestic flights green by 2030, Frederiksen said in the speech.
“Will it be difficult? Yes. Can it be done? Yes, I think so. We’re already on it. Talented researchers and businesses are working on solutions,” Frederiksen said in her New Year’s Day address to the nation.
“If we succeed, it will be a green breakthrough. Not just for Denmark, but the whole world. If there’s anything we have learned in recent years when it comes to handling big crises, it’s that we must never hesitate,” she said.
The PM also said that she wanted to “start over” on elderly care with major reforms.
“Hand on heart, we do not have the elderly care in Denmark that our senior citizens deserve,” she said.
Her government is to propose “revoking wide ranging regulations and laws on elderly issues and start over completely,” she said.
The Prime Minister’s speech can be read in full in Danish here.