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The Danish national anthem. Music by Hans Ernst Krøyer (1835), lyrics by Adam Oehlenschläger/Adam Gottlob Oehlenschläger (1823). The title literally means "There is a beautiful country".

A common mistake at international sporting events with Danish participants is to play Kongesangen ("The King's Song"). The King's Song should only be played for the Danish monarch, and never ever at a sporting event unless you are aiming at national disgrace. Even though the national anthem comprises all four stanzas, it is customary to only play the first stanza and the last four verses of the final stanza. In fact most Danes will only know the lyrics to these parts of the song.

The song celebrates the beauty of the Danish countryside, its coasts, its history and last but certainly not least its people.

Der er et yndigt land,
det står med brede bøge
//nær salten østerstrand//
Det bugter sig i bakke, dal,
det hedder gamle Danmark,
//og det er Frejas sal.//

Der sad i fordums tid
de harniskklædte kæmper,
//udhvilede fra strid.//
Så drog de frem til fjenders mén,
nu hvile deres bene
//bag højens bautasten.//

Det land endnu er skønt,
thi blå sig søen bælter,
//og løvet står så grønt.//
Og ædle kvinder, skønne mø'r
og mænd og raske svende
//bebo de danskes øer.//

Hil drot og fædreland!
Hil hver en danneborger,
//som virker, hvad han kan!//
Vort gamle Danmark skal bestå,
så længe bøgen spejler
//sin top i bølgen blå.//

I really would have liked to do my own translation, and that may still happen some day. The following translation is © by Peter Ravn Rasmussen, used with permission. It captures the poetry of the original Danish lyrics very nicely. It is not a direct translation, and some verses have been somewhat rewritten to make them slip better off the tongue. However it is my opinion that the real meaning of the lyrics are well preserved.

This translation came into being as a result of a debate in the Danish newspaper Politiken. The Danish foreign ministry published an official translation of the lyrics that contained several errors. These errors were the topic of the debate. The debate resulted in a translation by some Danish students of English, which was apparently a more or less direct translation of the text and of course completely error free.

Peter Ravn Rasmussen felt that it didn't do the original lyrics justice when it came to the matter of poetry, and thus set about to do his own version. This translation was first published on the back page of the first section of Politiken on Tuesday, October 1, 1996.

A lovely land is ours
With beeches green about her
//Encircled by the sea//
Her hills and vales are manifold
Her name, of old, is Denmark
//And she is Freya's home//

In days of long-ago
This land was home to heroes
//From war they rested here//
Then forth they went, to smite the foe
Now to their graves they've gone
//Among the barrow-stones//

This land is yet so fair
Her waters yet so blue
//And green are still her leaves//
And noble ladies, maidens fair,
And men and able lads
//Still dwell on Danish soil//

Hail Sovereign, hail Home!
Hail every Dane who labours
//To do his very best//
Our ancient Denmark shall abide,
While yet the waves reflect
//The beeches in their blue.//

A couple of final notes. The third and sixth verse of every stanza is supposed to be repeated (here indicated //thus//). Also traditionally when singing the song in its whole, you sing the last half of the final stanza twice. This is not done in the short version which is played at sporting events. I have been made aware that Rasmussen's version will be available in a book of songs collected for Nordic-Americans. I do not have any further info on this book right now.

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