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Blue Christmas

The Embassy in Lisbon celebrated the release of the Tuborg Christmas Brew, also known as ‘J-day’, by crossing the River Tagus in the Royal Danish Navy’s sailing yachts to present a sample of the beer to the Mayor of Barreiro Municipality.

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Early Monday morning the two beautiful sail training vessels, Svanen and Thyra from the Royal Danish Navy set sail from Belém - where the Monument to the Discoveries welcomes ships to Lisbon - towards the port of Barreiro on the opposite side of the River Tagus. Joining the small voyage were Embassy staff members and a few selected guests. Svitzer Portugal – a longstanding business partner of the Embassy – provided invaluable logistical assistance. Former President of the United Nations General Assembly , Mogens Lykketoft, who was Key Note speaker at the large Web Summit conference with 53,000 attendees, also participated alongside his spouse Mette Holm.

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Svanen and Thyra have served to educate cadets in navigation and seamanship for more than 5 decades and they are not the first training ships to visit Lisbon. This year alone the Embassy has had the pleasure to receive the civilian sailing ships Georg Stage and Danmark. The reason for these visits is to be found in the location of Lisbon as a convenient place for a stopover before any continued journey across the Atlantic. For the Embassy it is a great pleasure to receive these graceful ships since they personify the historical parallels between Denmark and Portugal as small European states with a strong maritime tradition.
One of the goals of the crossing was to celebrate the good relation between the Embassy and the Municipality of Barreiro on the southern banks of the Tagus, where it has been proposed to build a new maritime container terminal with Danish assistance. Mayor Carlos Humberto Carvalho and Deputy Mayor Rui Lopo were present to receive a gift of Tuborg Christmas Brew.

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The Christmas Brew was kindly donated to the Embassy by Carlsberg along with the traditional blue Christmas merchandise. The Embassy used the opportunity to spread the story of Danish happiness, holiday traditions and hygge - a term that has gained popularity worldwide. Covering the events were journalists from a local newspaper and the national television network SIC Notícias, who interviewed the Ambassador and will air a feature about Denmark next Saturday.

Later during the day Ambassador Michael Suhr hosted a ‘J-day’ reception in the Danish residence.  ‘J-day’ is a decades old tradition where Danes celebrate the annual release of Tuborg Christmas Brew on the first Friday in November, popularly known as “the day the snow falls”. Beer consumption has decreased by 25 % over the past years, so there are good reasons to promote different beers for different occasions.
A snow-free yet incredibly hyggelig belated ’J-day’ was held in in the residence garden in the company of various ambassadors to Portugal, the former Portuguese Secretary of State for European Affairs, members of the Danish Business Club and the crew from the sailing ships.

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The Navy vessels will stay in Lisbon for a few weeks before they continue their eight months journey across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and the United States.
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Link to article in local newspaper: “Two ships from the Danish Navy in Barreiro signal the good relationship between the Municipality and the Embassy” http://www.rostos.pt/inicio2.asp?cronica=8000658