Denmark on the Prairie


Do you dream of visiting the United States but also want to go to Denmark? No problem! You don’t have to win the Powerball to do both. Buy your ticket to the States and remember to include a stopover in Elk Horn, Iowa. This tiny prairie village in the American Midwest was founded by Danish immigrants in the late 1800-hundreds when thousands of Danes where heading West in search for new opportunities and the chance of a better life.


A parallel Danish universe
Today this little village is home to 600 and something souls, most of them with Danish roots and last names such as Jensen and Hansen. Visiting the “Danish” villages in and around Elk Horn feels a bit like entering a parallel Danish universe from a not so distant past. The first thing that catches the eye is the Danish flag, Dannebrog, proudly flung from buildings and private houses side by side with the American Stars and Stripes. Even the public benches are painted in red and white in Elk Horn and in the middle of it all you will find a replica statue of the little mermaid from Copenhagen and an original old fashion wind mill imported from Denmark in 1948!
Elk Horn is also home to the Danish Immigrant Museum, where you can learn about Danish immigrant history, Danish traditions and culture and even read about famous Danes in America.

Danish food extravaganza
If all the impressions made you hungry, drop by at the Danish Inn that specializes in traditional Danish courses such as frikadeller (meatballs), medisterpølse (sausage) and rødkål (red cabbage). After dinner we recommend you to enjoy a Danish beer at Larsen’s Pub before you head to bed at Tivoli Inn & Suites. If you’re lucky you might even run into some of the few remaining Danish speakers of Elk Horn.

Tivoli Fest
If you plan to visit at the end of May make sure not to miss the Annual Tivoli Fest always taking place on the Memorial Day weekend. The festivities is one big celebration of Danish culture and traditions with lots of traditional Danish food and even Danish folkdance with participants of all ages dressed in traditional Danish costumes very similar to what their ancestors wore when they first arrived at Ellis Island.

This article was written by Uspo W. for

Tagged with:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *