The Jakarta Post
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and her husband, Prince Consort Henrik, are highlighting the long-standing relations between Indonesia and Denmark, which have had diplomatic ties for 65 years, with the state visit on Oct. 21-24. The visit of the royal couple, accompanied by executives from 64 Danish companies, also marks the beginning of closer cooperation and collaboration, and an answer to many of the challenges that the two countries share despite a distance of 11,000 kilometers.
Prior to the visit, the queen and prince consort gave an interview to Indonesian journalists, including The Jakarta Post's Yohanna Ririhena, at the Fredensborg Palace, Copenhagen. Here are excerpts from the interview:
Question: What are the things that really interest you about Indonesia and what are your expectations from the state visit?
Answer: We're coming to Indonesia because the President [Joko Widodo] was very kind to invite us and we're delighted to be visiting your country. It is important to underline the many years of [our] diplomatic relationship and put the context of relations in this way, with the state visit.
Generally, we are expecting a good understanding between the two nations who live very far from each other and in many ways are very different, a good understanding along with the existing friendship between our countries.
Therefore, we are bringing quite a large delegation of Danish businessmen and women who are very interested in working in and with Indonesia. Many of them are already well settled-in and have various firms and are very active in Indonesia.
Indonesia is still fighting against corruption while we know that Denmark tops the list of the world's least corrupt nations. What are the factors behind this?
I can't explain why we finish on top. I think it is a very old tradition of keeping your hand out of the pocket where it shouldn't be. It is also about trust. In a country where people trust each other, corruption is not something that you feel obliged in fact to do because you trust people and you don't have to pass anything under the table.
I think it is also typical of old European traditions, which are involved in democratic government for many generations. Compared to Indonesia, Denmark is a small country, with a small population, 5,5 million people, meaning that people know each other and can trust each other.
Most Danes visit other parts of the country and feel familiar with the whole country. The question of trust is perhaps the most important aspect among people in a nation.
As parents and as grandparents, how do you educate your children and grandchildren in this technological era? When we were small we read a lot of Danish author Hans Christian Andersen's stories, which are popular in Indonesia.
Our two sons are both grown up and they are both fathers. When they were young, we certainly read them Hans Christian Andersen's stories. I think most Danish parents will have given their children some knowledge of that.
Aside from HC Andersen, I also read them The Lord of the Rings, too, because it was a fascinating story and they liked it.
What we did with our sons was to try to educate them by example. It was the way I was brought up by my parents. We tried to do the same thing with our sons.
They do the same thing by being good examples, taking care of them, close to the children and also being a good example of how to lead your life and doing your obligations in a family like ours.
Women are increasingly engaged in the public sphere. What is your view on that?
It is the hope of women across the globe to take a more important place in society. I believe it is also the case in Indonesia. In Denmark, women are involved in various affairs. More women are in professional positions today than it was when I was young.
It has developed over the years. Respecting the way women want to manifest themselves is important. It is also important for women to remember that it does take two to make a family.
You have a profound interest in the arts. What would you like to be known as, a monarch or an artist?
The important thing is of course the fact that I am the head of state of Denmark. That is my first and foremost duty, object and also my pleasure. But I am happy that people recognize my need to express myself artistically.
They've resigned themselves to the fact that I can't keep my hands still. I must do things with my hands. It means a lot to me. The same applies also to the Prince Consort who is also an artist.