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Dannebrog: A look at its rich Danish history
It started out with a unique European flavor and residents are determined to keep it alive. The population was just 303 at the 2010 census.
In fact, it's known as the Danish capital of Nebraska.
These rolling hills of Denmark are closer than you might think.
"The Danes settled in this part of the country because of the latitude and longitude of Nebraska. It's a lot like the hills of Denmark," said Harriett Nielson.
"Take a good look 'cause it's as close to Heaven as they're gonna get without dying," said Tom.
"Velkommen to Dannebrog. And we mean it, we are just so happy to have people come," Harriett said.
Harriett's lived in Dannebrog most of her life and so has Robert Petersen Sr.
"My Grandfather started the business here in 1885," Robert said.
"The name Dannebrog comes from the Danish flag, Dannebrog," said Harriett.
Then there's Tom the Danish Baker.
"If we don't already have a pin from where you're from we'll put one up for ya," said Tom Schroeder.
A once ethnically pure town...
"I am a Dane. My grandfather on my mother's side and my father's side were born in Denmark," said Robert.
...But Dannebrog has become a mini melting pot like the rest of America.
"It's kinda become like most ethnic American towns ya know rural towns especially, it's more small town America than ethnic," said Tom.
"Now lots of nationalities have moved in. Lots of new people have moved in. It's changed a lot in the, in the 65 years that I've lived here," said Harriett.
So what sets them apart then?
"There's just good friendship here in town, people get along so well together, and count on each other to help when somebody needs some help," said Robert.
"Unlike many small towns, we're used to having visitors. So if somebody comes in the door everybody doesn't just stop talking and turn and look at him ya know they tell them to sit down and visit," said Tom.
The sense of hospitality is ripe in this small town. In fact I couldn't finish my story until I had a bite to eat first.
"We just basically try to make people glad that they stopped here," said Tom.
And Harriet's part of the reason the history of Dannebrog continues.
"They call it the Stjernen and that's Danish for star," Tom said.
"My part of the Stjernen is to uh bring olden days, old history and things that happened in Dannebrog. To keep the Danish heritage alive," Harriett said.
A paper that dates back to the 1800s. Now how's that for small town America?
"There's nothing better than a good Dane. Hahaha," said Robert.
Dannebrog is also well known for the Grundlovsfest. It's a festival celebrating Denmark's free constitution which takes place each June.
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