An exhibition at Hôtel Droog in Amsterdam was opened recently, which marked the start of a season dedicated to ‘The New Danish Cool’. Running until 5 January, the series of events offers up a taste of Denmark and covers all aspects of design, architecture and culture, as well as a Nordic culinary evening on Thursday 12 December.
Are the Danes sick of being drooled over for being cool yet? Whether they are or not, it doesn’t seem that we’re over them just yet. There does seem to be a rather rife current obsession with all things Danish recently, in particular as far as TV series go anyway and, right on trend, Stine Jensen – host of VPRO television programme Licht op het Noorden (Lights on the North) – turned up to host the launch event at the end of November in a replica of ‘that’ jumper from The Killing.
During the opening event at Hôtel Droog, Jensen chaired a discussion and one-on-one conversations with Henrik Vibskov (fashion designer, Copenhagen); Peter Sylvest Husted (Lakrids liquorice, Copenhagen); and Klaus Bondam (director of the Danish Cultural Institute, Brussels; former mayor of Copenhagen; and actor in Festen). The discussion revolved around the question as to why Danes are so much in the spotlight right now, and it seems that the answer was: noone really knows.
As part of the series, the current exhibition in the gallery at Hôtel Droog features work of the acclaimed architecture studio Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), with photos and videos of the successful Superkilen Urban Park project that BIG architects completed in response to socially-challenged neighbourghoods in Copenhagen city centre.
The Droog shop also has a focus on Danish design for the duration of the series, with brands such as Muuto, Vibskov, Hay and many others having a more prominent display than usual.
Nordic gastranomic event 12 December
Culinary events are also part of the Danish celebration, from small tasters – liquorice treats are being served in the Droog cafe – to something more substantial. No, Noma* is not coming to town (*the world’s best restaurant, according to numerous polls, which is located in Copenhagen), but there is a Nordic gastronomic event which is being held this week.
Talking of Noma, did you know that Claus Meyer (founder of Noma) together with numerous other top Nordic chefs and food professionals generated the New Nordic Cuisine Manifesto some years ago? No, I didn’t either until today, but in case I have now got your tastebuds tingling and you want to find out what it is, here are 10 points that express the values of the New Nordic Cuisine:
1. To express the purity, freshness, simplicity and ethics we wish to associate with our region.
2. To reflect the changing of the seasons in the meals we make.
3. To base our cooking on ingredients and produce whose characteristics are particularly excellent in our climates, landscapes and waters.
4. To combine the demand for good taste with modern knowledge of health and well-being.
5. To promote Nordic products and Nordic producers – and to spread the word about their underlying cultures.
6. To promote animal welfare and a sound production process in our seas, on our farmland and in the wild.
7. To develop potentially new applications of traditional Nordic food products.
8. To combine the best in Nordic cookery and culinary traditions with impulses from abroad.
9. To combine local self-sufficiency with regional sharing of high-quality products.
10. To join forces with consumer representatives, other cooking craftsmen, agriculture, the fishing, food, retail and wholesale industries, researchers, teachers, politicians and authorities on this project for the benefit and advantage of everyone in the Nordic countries.
The chef creating the five-course Nordic dinner on 12 December at Hôtel Droog will be Arvid Schmidt (Restaurant Marius and Olivio), whose food will be inspired by the Danish masters and – who knows – maybe he’ll be following some of the New Nordic Cuisine Manifesto.
Tickets are limited (there are only 50 places available) and the cost is EUR50 per ticket. These can be booked via the event website.
The New Danish Cool at Hôtel Droog runs until 5 January 2014.
1011 JJ Amsterdam