Friday, 9 February 2024, 20:03
Den Danske Klub i Torre del Mar (the Danish Club in Torre del Mar) has recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. Members attended a party at the club’s Casa Dinamarca on Paseo Marítimo Levante, to the east of the town’s promenade.
Traditional Danish food was served and the place was decorated in red and white, the colours of Denmark’s flag. Speeches were given by the club’s current chairperson, Karen Godrim, and the only remaining original member, Birgit Rasmussen, who has lived in the Axarquía since 1978.
In her speech, Birgit, 83, explained how when she and her then husband first came to Spain, there were already quite a few Danes living in the area and in particular in Benajarafe, where the couple first settled, as well as in Torre del Mar and some of the surrounding villages.
She said that it was the idea of three Danish friends, Kjeld Hansen, Viggo Rasmussen and Oj Johannes Larsen, to form a club and find a place where Danes could meet and speak together in their own language.
The first meeting took place in 1979, but at that point, Birgit explains, they didn’t have a premises. At the end of 1983 or early 1984 (nobody knows the exact date) they found a garage near to the town’s health centre and rented it. The club has moved three times since then - to a disused nightclub in the club’s heyday when they had over 300 members and eventually to the current premises in 2013.
Den Danske Klub currently has around 140 members and Birgit thinks this is partly due to the fact that the younger generation doesn’t think about joining clubs. “It’s a different way of life for the younger generation. They don’t seem to be interested in belonging to clubs like our generation did,” she says. It is a sentiment that is echoed along the Costa del Sol in many ‘expat’ clubs. There are more people during the winter than in summer, when many Scandinavians return to their own countries.
The club isn’t just open to Danes, but as the sign outside the premises says, it’s “the place where Scandinavians meet”. You either have to be Scandinavian or married to one to be able to join, but on Thursday lunchtimes and to many of the events, anyone is welcome. The club has a full programme of regular and special events including cooking workshops, a choir, Spanish classes, barbecues, bingo evenings and advice sessions run by Maria Henningsen, CEO of M Consults, a legal advice company based in Rincón de la Victoria. The club also works closely with the East of Malaga Danish church.
The club has been an important part of Birgit’s life. “If it wasn’t for the club, I wouldn’t have met two of my closest friends - one Danish and one Norwegian woman.”
It has played an important role for Maddie Hjort, who moved to Torre del Mar 21 years ago. When she first arrived she was told about the club and about Connie, the then cook. “I went along and she hired me on the spot to work in the bar,” Maddie recalls.
The club attracts a good number of people to its Thursday lunches of smørrebrød (open sandwiches) and other events. It provides a vital connection to Scandinavia, which, regardless of how long anyone has lived away from home and how integrated they are in their adopted country, any ‘expat’ will understand that sometimes a little taste of home is good.
Here’s to another 40 years of Den Danske Klub i Torre del Mar.
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