Ny Nørup – the community power
Thirty internationals, nine children and fifteen Danes gathered together on Saturday, September 2 to visit Ny Nørup, a village located only 15.5 km outside of Vejle. Our trip lasted eight hours and ended with a dinner and a bonfire.
12:15 – Our trip began in front of Saint Nicolai church in Vejle where about 6 cars found a place in the parking lot. Happy faces emerged from the cars. About 20 people car-pooled to Ny Nørup. This time, VEN’s growing community included some new faces.
13:00 – A bigger group was waiting in front of the sports hall in Bredsten, and another three cars joined us.We were welcomed by Erik, the president of Ny Nørups local council. Within, was Torben and other locals who had planned and organised the trip. We started with a tour of the sports hall, the school, and the park that is located on seven hills. The locals are very proud of their facilities.
Did you know that other small communities in Denmark do not have a school or a shopping center in their area? Ny Nørup does and this is because the local council “fought” for their dreams/wishes. Local councils in Denmark are volunteer-based organizations, similar to other types of volunteer associations. During our visit, we learned an important lesson that is an essential aspect of Danish culture: working together and exercising your democratic rights will not only help community development, but also improve personal wellbeing.
By the way, you can register to become a member of Ny Nørup’s fitness center for far less than you would pay in the city.
14:30 – We crossed the street and we reached Ny Nørup’s dairy and cheese factory. We had to put on white lab coats, cover our hair with hair-nets, and wear shoe covers before we could start our very “smelly tour”. Every room represented one small step in the cheese making process. The last room “exchanged” the cheese smell with a paraffin smell. Most of us bought packs with cheese, wine or mustard to take home.
15:00 – We returned to our cars to prepare for the 5 minute drive to a cow farm. More than 12 cars were heading in the same direction, letting the locals know that something big was happening in their village. At the cow farm, we were amazed that the owner was taking care of his farm alone. He does all the work that is needed around the farm himself, and it was wonderful to find out that even though he works alone, he keeps in mind the well-known Danish work-life balance. He uses a milking machine in order to spend more time with his family.
16:00 – A long table, cupcakes, apple pies, coffee and tea. The location? Engelsholm Højeskole (Folk High School) opened its doors to us. What it is so great about this creative, art and music high school is its location. The students learn and live in the beautiful Renaissance period castle, Engelsholm. The atmosphere was relaxed, and small groups around the tables were formed. You could hear both Danish and English conversations. We had the opportunity to visit a series of workshops: ceramic, glass manufacturing, and jewellery making.
17:30 – So far so good, a new destination was waiting for us. We split into two groups, one group went in search of mushrooms and the other group went sailing on the lake, and afterwards lit a bonfire. It is impressive how Danes take their passions to another level. Erik our mushroom guide knew everything about how to recognise an edible mushroom from a bad one; he even had books about mushroom identification with him.
18:30 – Both groups reunited around the barbecue and enjoyed a delicious dinner prepared by the locals.
Our visit to Ny Nørup added to our collective knowledge of Danish culture. We learned that the residents of Ny Nyrøp are committed to working together to build their local community, they respect their family time no matter how many cows are waiting to be milked, and they volunteer to help promote their local area. Passions, such as searching for wild mushrooms, are taken very seriously, and even researched very thoroughly.
Ny Nørup trip in numbers:
More than 50 participants.
20 km driving-one way/ 15 minutes
5 locations on the itinerary.
Photo credit: Agris Jurjans