June 15 marks the 800th anniversary of the date when, according to legend, the Dannebrog, the red and white flag of Denmark, fell from the heavens during the Battle of Lyndanisse in modern-day Tallinn. Queen Margrethe II of Denmark will be in Tallinn this weekend to take part in celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the Danish flag, the 135th anniversary of the Estonian flag, Estonia's centennial as well as Estonian-Danish relations.
"Denmark was one of the first countries to recognize Estonian independence, helped to defend us in the War of Independence, and supported us in our darkest hour by not acknowledging Estonia as part of the Soviet Union," Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre) said according to a Government Office press release, highlighting that Estonia and Denmark are bound closely by history.
"Our national flags also originate from the same land," he continued, referring to the Danish legend as well as the consecration of what would later become Estonia's flag in Otepää. "Celebrating the anniversaries of our flags proves that Estonia and Denmark are close friends and allies: whether as countries along the Baltic Sea, or as members of the EU and NATO. I appreciate the Kingdom of Denmark for our friendship, cooperation, and their contributions to maintaining Estonian security."
Denmark is one of the countries to contribute to NATO Battlegroup Estonia on a rotating basis, and has also served the alliance's Baltic Air Policing mission out of both Šiauliai Air Base in Lithuania and Ämari Air Base in Estonia.
The prime minister noted that there is room for developing bilateral cooperation even further, whether in the field of digital society, broader economic relations or any other area.
Visit dedicated to Denmark, Estonia
Queen Margrethe II will arrive in Tallinn on Saturday on the HDMY Dannebrog (A540), spokespeople for the Office of the President said earlier this spring.
She will meet with President Kersti Kaljulaid, together with whom she will open the Danish Golden Age exhibition "Dannebrog: The Flag that Fell from the Sky" at Kadriorg Art Museum, which will include works by, among others, Christen Købke, C. W. Eckersberg and Nicolai Abildgaard, as well as C. A. Lorentzen's famous painting "Dannebrog falling from the sky during the Battle of Lindanise" (1809), which will be exhibited for the first time outside of Denmark, according to a Danish Monarchy press release.
Afterward, the queen will take part in a multifaceted program, which includes the opening a new rose garden in Tallinn's medieval Old Town known as the Danish Queen's Garden, the opening of a historical exhibition as well as the presentation of research grants.
She will also attend a public family day in Freedom Square celebrating the Danish and Estonian flags, which will feature artists from both Denmark and Estonia, themed tents, games, activities and food. A gala concert dedicated to the flags will take place at Estonia Concert Hall, where the guests of honor are Queen Margrethe II, Kaljulaid and Ratas. Kaljulaid and the queen will also lay a wreath at the foot of the War of Independence Victory Column.
On Saturday evening, Kaljulaid will host a gala dinner in honor of Queen Margrethe II. The next day, the queen's visit will conclude with a service at St. Mary's Cathedral, which, like the Dannebrog, dates back to the 13th century.
According to legend, a red flag bearing a white cross fell from the heavens during the Battle of Lyndanisse (Lindanise) on June 15, 1219. The site of the battlefield is known today as the Danish King's Garden and is located on the slope of Toompea Hill. The Danish flag, known as the Dannebrog, is the oldest national flag in the world.
Estonia's blue, black and white flag was consecrated in Otepää as the flag of the Estonian Students' Society (EÜS) on June 4, 1884. The original flag, which remains the property of the fraternity, is currently on permanent display at the Estonian National Museum (ERM) in Tartu. It is the oldest preserved original national flag in the world.
The joint celebration of the anniversary of the two national flags is being organized by the Government Office in cooperation with the Embassy of Denmark.
Family day open to public
The family day to be held in Freedom Square on Saturday is open to the public, with events to begin at 11 a.m. and last through 3 p.m.
Guests can enjoy choir music and Danish jazz as well as Estonian folk music, visit thematic tents to learn about Estonian-Danish relations, participate in games, drawings, and thematic activities as well as taste the best Estonian and Danish cuisine has to offer at a dedicated food area.
Editor: Aili Vahtla