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A Slice of America in Denmark

By Linda Tancs

You might not expect America’s upcoming Independence Day to be especially celebrated vigorously anywhere else in the world unless, of course, you’re up-to-date on your Danish history. Arguably the largest July 4 festivity outside the U.S., the Rebild Celebration takes place in a national park (Rebild Bakker) in the hills of northern Denmark. The reason for this unusual event relates to a mass exodus of Danes to the U.S. driven by economic opportunity that reached an apex in the early 20th century. In gratitude for the good fortune that ensued and seeking a place in the homeland for reunions, a group of Danes purchased a parcel of land in northern Denmark that was ultimately granted to the king, who established the area as a national park. As a symbol of friendship between the nations, the park was used not only as a gathering place for homesick Danes but also as a place of celebration of their adoptive country’s independence. Taking place virtually every year since 1912, the July 4 festival draws thousands of expats and locals as well as dignitaries and celebrities.

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