Originally Posted by Emmily
I was wondering when these tours started and why. Do they visit the same locations each year?
Okay. It basically started with the first King of Denmark some 1.200 years ago, perhaps earlier. Medieval kings were constantly on the move, and the whole state administration went with them. So touring the country was a matter of necessity.
Until the introduction of Absolutism in the 1660's all Danish kings were elected,
or more correctly acknowledged. That meant they as one of the first things on the agenda, had to travel through the realm to meet all the local councils of free men. I.e. yeomen, peasantry, burghers, local nobility, clergy and merchants. In return they swore allegiance to their king and got to know him.
The second item on the agenda was to have his firstborn son acknowledged as the legal heir to the throne. That also meant travelling through the kingdom.
Some time in the late 1400's Copenhagen became the de facto capital of Denmark and the administration remained in Copenhagen. The kings however where still travelling most of the year, but not constantly as before.
Then came Absolutism in the 1660's and as the king automatically became monarch upon the death of his predecessor, it was no longer necessary to travel so much.
In 1849 Denmark became a democracy and the king's role became more symbolic and the visits became, as today, more of a social call to the various parts of the country. In a time where people still didn't travel that much and perhaps only visited the capital once in their lives, if at all. Such visits served to strengthen the bonds between king and people, especially due to the national trauma of the two Schleswigan Wars in the mid 1800's. The king's visits were soothing, it reminded people of the fact that eventhough Denmark had become a small insignificant country, it was nevertheless still free and independent.
As Denmark throughout it's history has been a maritime nation it was appropriate and very practical for the king to sail to the various destinations in the land and at the same time bring a residence with him.
The first "royal yacht" or more correctly royal flagship, specifically designed to accomodate the DRF, was the at the time hyper modern steam-screw frigate, Jylland. (*)
However some years later (can't remember when) a purpose build royal yacht was constructed. Capable of accomodating the DRF, staff and at the same time with room enough to entertain guests.
Named Danneborg after the flag (**) she was a paddle steamer. (***)
By the late 1920's she was considered hopelessly oldfashioned and a replacement was comissioned. The current yacht Dannebrog and she had water under her keel for the first time in 1931.
She was formally classified as an auxillary ship and that is still her Nato classification. She was constructed so that she could function as a hospital ship but she is of course completely unsuited for that today.
Around 1980 she went through a major renovation adding additional decades to the venerable old lady's lifespan. Where ever she sails, she always attract attention because she is
a beautiful and regal ship.
So to answer your question very shortly: The tradition with the current summer cruises started some years after 1849.
The sailing schedule is planned in a way so that every coastal town, which Dannebrog can enter is visited every ten or fifteen years. So M&F are not expected to visit Skagen and Hanstholm in connection with a summercruise again until sometime after 2021.
And every few years Dannebrog will go on a cruise to Greenland or the Faroese Islands.
(*) The frigate Jylland (Jutland): http://v2.lscache6.c.bigcache.google...l/10492642.jpg
She's absolutely worth a visit. (Large file but worth waiting for)!
(**) The Danish flag is named Dannebrog and it has been DK's official flag since 1219.
Until 1848 at the beginning of the First Schleswigan War it was only the king, his army and Danish warships and merchant ships which were allowed to fly Dannebrog.
But the patrotic wave that went through the land in connection with the war meant that everyone began using the flag enthusiatically and that led to what is probably one of the most strickt and detailed flag laws in the world. A law that is still valid and very much enforced, not by the authorities but by people around you. Eventhough we are reluctant to admit it, we are very
proud of our flag.
The flag law dicates that:
Dannebrog must not
fly before the sun is up or before 06.00 during the summer.
The flag must not
fly after the sun is down or 18.00 during the summer. If Dannebrog is flying in the dark, you are flying in honor of the Devil.
flag must fly higher or at level with Dannebrog. Dannebrog must always fly from the highest mast. With the exception of foreign embassies, which are considered foreign soil.
A discarded flag must
always be folded neatly and burned on a clean fire.
There are even rules for the height of a flagpole in relation to the building it's standing next to.
Valdemar's Day on the 15th June is the official flagday in DK.
A flagpole should never be naked, and certainly not in front of an inhabited house. As such most who have a flagpole in their garden, including myself, fly a pennant when Dannebrog is not flying, or after having lovered the flag for the day.
You can be absolutely and very certain to be told if you are so clumsy that you let any part Dannebrog touch the ground! Unfolding Dannebrog on the ground is also very much a big no no!
(***) The old Dannebrog can be seen in the B/W photo at the bottom of this page: Kongeskibet DANNEBROG
What a pity she wasn't preserved. - But then, there can only one Dannebrog.