Danes Worldwide, originally known as Dansk Samvirke, is an organisation which represents Danes who live abroad for personal or career reasons. Its activities include educational programmes, local networking around the world, an annual meet-up at Kronborg Castle, and participation in the public debate on matters relevant to its members. The association was also involved in the establishment of the Fredensborg Houses north of Copenhagen which offer affordable housing to Danes who return home after long periods abroad.
Danes Worldwide was originally founded as an initiative to strengthen the ties between Denmark and Danish emigrants around the world at a time when emigration to the USA and South America was at its height.
During World War II membership increasesd drastically, peaking in 1947 to 10,000 members. The war made contact with Danes abroad very difficult and many Danish expats, especially in the Far East, lost their livelihood. Dansk Samvirke concentrated its efforts on helping those returning to Denmark. Chairman Jørgen Saxild launched an almost ten-year aid programme ranging from financial support to a social service for those who lost everything.
After the war, in 1949, the association acquired its own building, a property in the diplomatic quarter of the Østerbro district of Copenhagen, which served both as an office and a meeting place for Danes who returned home.
In 1998, Dansk Samvirke changed its name to Danes Worldwide and acquired a new logo, a "Danish globe" designed by Piet Hein.
Danish Summer School
Danes Worldwide arranges am annual three-week Danish Summer School which gives Danish children abroad the opportunity to learn Danish and experience Danish culture. It was introduced in 1981.
Since 1990, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Danes Worldwide has been running a programme for distance learning for children aged 6-17 to supplement their local schooling. It collaborates with the Danish Summer School, giving pupils following the distance learning courses the opportunity to take the Danish School Leaving Examination.
The association arranges an annual meet-up for Danes living abroad at Kronborg Castle in Helsingør. The first meeting meeting took place in 1935.
The association publishes the members' magazine Danes with information from Denmark as well as from the many small Danish communities around the world. The magazine was first published as "Danmarksposten" in 1920. It was re-launched in 2010 under the current name.
Danes Worldwide was also involved in the establishment of the Fredensborg Houses, now a self-owning institution, in Fredensborg north of Copenhagen, which provide cheap and attractive housing on a rental basis for Danes who return home after long periods abroad. Located next to Fredensborg Golf Course and Fredensborg Palace, the housing complex was built from 1960 to 1963 to the design of Jørn Utzon, architect of Sydney Opera House. The attached houses come in two sizes, 73 and 130 square metres, and have low rental rates.