Three Little Kingdoms
I shall treat in this article of my visit to three little kingdoms in the north of Europe—Denmark, Belgium and The Netherlands.
I passed through the edge of Sweden on my way from Berlin to Copenhagen and was at Malmo a short time ; but, as it was Christmas day and early in the morning, few stores were open, arid I did not have an opportunity to see many people. I had intended to visit Stockholm, the capital of Sweden, but a day's delay in Russia deprived me of that pleasure.
Copenhagen is not only the capital of Denmark, but its commercial metropolis as well. The city has the air of a seaport. The canal leading from the harbor up to the center of the town was crowded with boats which had taken up their winter quarters, and the multitude of masts told of the numbers of those who live upon the ocean.
Denmark is a densely populated country composed of the Jutland peninsula and a number of islands. The land is for the most part level and not much above the sea. The farmers of Denmark have distinguished themselves in several departments of agriculture, especially in butter-making—Danish butter commanding the highest price in London and other large markets.
Copenhagen has some very substantial buildings and an art gallery in which the works of Thorwaldsen, the sculptor, occupy the chief place.
The people of Denmark, while living under an hereditary monarch, have a written constitution, and parliament is the controlling influence in the government. Until recently, the sovereign insisted upon selecting his cabinet ministers to suit himself ; but, about three years ago, he yielded to the demand of parliament that the dominant party in that body be permitted to furnish the king's advisers. The change has proven so satisfactory that perfect harmony now exists between the royal family and the legislative body.
King Christian is advanced in years and is so beloved by his people that he goes among them without attendants or guards.
The heir to the throne of Denmark, Prince Frederick, upon whom, by the courtesy of the American minister, Mr. Swensen, I was able to call on Christmas afternoon, is very democratic in his manner, and very cordial in his friendship for America.
If marrying daughters to crowned heads is a test, the late Queen of Denmark was a very successful mother. One of her daughters is mother of the present emperor of Russia, another is wife of the present king of England, and a third is married to one of the smaller kings of Germany. A son, it may be added, is king of Greece.
I had the pleasure of meeting the prime minister and also Professor Matzen, the president of the state university and Denmark's member of The Hague tribunal. He was one of the leading opponents of the transfer of the Danish islands to the United States.
I learned while in Denmark that one of the chief reasons for the op-position to the sale of the Danish islands to the United States was the fact that the United States did not guarantee full citizenship to the inhabitants of those islands. The nation's conduct elsewhere prevented this. Our refusal to give the Porto Ricans and the Filipinos the protection of the constitution is largely to blame for the loss of the Danish islands to our country.
The Danish officials whom I met were deeply interested in the United States, and-naturally so, for, like Sweden and Norway, Denmark has sent many sons and daughters to the United States; and these, as have the Swedes and Norwegians, have deported themselves so well as to establish close ties between the mother countries and their adopted land.
( Originally Published 1907 )
The Old World And Its Way:
The Republic Of Switzerland
Three Little Kingdoms
Germany And Socialism
Russia And Her Czar
Rome—the Catholic Capital
Tolstoy, The Apostle Of Love
Notes On Europe
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