Inside DAC’s Fyr Aften

Guest Post by Michael Petersen 


I remember when I was sixteen, finding my farfar (grandpa) as he walked out of his extensive garden between an arched break in the tall hedges by their old west Jutland farmhouse. My farmor (grandma) had asked me to fetch him for dinner.   He was holding a long wooden box full of freshly harvested vegetables. I’m sure Farfar’s inner clock told him that it was nearing dinnertime, as he didn’t look surprised to see me. There was no need for words. He simply nodded in greeting and said in his dry, thick west coast Danish accent (Jysk), “Næh Michael, så holder jeg fyr aften” (‘well so Michael, I’m hanging it up for the evening’).  Another solemn nod followed, softened with a wry smile. We then walked quietly side by side together across the cobblestone farm courtyard to share in another of Farmor’s wonderful meals.

FyrAften-DSCN3087The words “Fyr Aften” have thus always meant to me “Quitting Time” or “Time to put your feet up and relax.” But those same two words also directly translate to “Guy Evening.”   So the term is fitting for a guy’s group get together through the Danish American Center (DAC).  I freely admit that we have, without a doubt, taken our inspiration and desire to have a guy’s night from the women’s group at the DAC called TøseAften.  Many of us have spouses and significant others on ‘that’ side.

Fyr Aften is a group of adult men with ties to the Danish American Community either through heritage, a Danish spouse, Danish birth, or perhaps they’ve studied in Denmark.  That love of Denmark and its culture is certainly a group bond.  An estimated half of the group speaks Danish, and those who do are quick to translate or teach those that don’t speak Danish.  We have been meeting now for a few years, with the last two being the most consistent.   We’ve now established a regular schedule of meeting on: the last Friday of each month from September – May, between 6pm and midnight at the Danish American Center (DAC).  We find the summer schedule to be too busy to meet up, and thus we take a break.  In the few years we’ve been meeting, the age group has varied anywhere from 18 – 74. The only age restriction is that you need to be an adult male and respect the legal MN drinking age of 21. We’ve explored several events such as go-cart racing, bowling, and even an introduction to firearms at a pistol range.

FyrAften collageWe took it a notch further and did a weekend ice fishing trip on Lake Winnibigosh this past February, which was fantastic. Reservations have already made  to return to Lake ‘Winni’ in Feb. 2016.  There are discussions around a group camping trip this summer. All our events revolve around sharing a meal together, more often than not it being a Danish favorite. We’ve found that what we probably enjoy most is fixing a meal together at the DAC, sharing some drinks, and then settling in to play cards or games. The guys all pitch in towards dinner, dessert and kringle for coffee, so it usually costs each of us between $10-12. In short, we create ‘hygge’ together while getting to know each other better, for a lasting bond, and enjoy the amazing gathering place that we have in the Danish American Center. When you think about it, it’s not very often that men get a chance to socialize. Fyr Aften is one such opportunity at the DAC.

If you’re interested in joining Fyr Aften, please contact Michael at 651-247-4878 or

Direct from Denmark: New Danish Fiction

Save the Date!

Saturday, April 11, 7pm,

Danish American Center

3030 West River Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55406

Three leading Danish novelists, including two Nordic Prize winners, join their translators to read from and discuss their work. The event will be moderated by translator K.F. Semmel, and will feature a Q & A followed by a reception.


Naja Marie Aidt  BaboonRock, Paper, Scissors.Rock_Paper_Scissors

Naja Marie Aidt is a Danish poet and author with nearly 20 works in various genres to her name. Her work includes the recently translated collection Baboon (winner of the prestigious Nordic Council Literature Prize in 2008), and a novel, Rock, Paper, Scissors, which publishes in the U.S. in 2015.

civil twilightSimon Fruelund: Civil Twilight and Milk & Other Stories

Simon Fruelund is the author of five books, including Civil Twilight and Milk & Other Stories. His work has been translated into Italian, Swedish, and English, and his short stories have appeared in a number of magazines across the U.S., including World Literature Today, Redivider, and Absinthe.


Kim Leine: The Prophets of Eternal Fjord

Kim Leine is a Danish-Norwegian author. He lived in Greenland for 15 years, and draws on his experiences there in his work. His most recent book, the historical novel The Prophets of Eternal Fjord, received several major Danish literary awards, as well as the Nordic Council Literature Prize in 2013.


K.E. Semmel is an independent writer and translator who has translated six books of fiction, including Karin Fossum’s The Caller; Jussi Adler-Olsen’s The Absent One, Simon Fruelund’s Milk, and Naja Marie Aidt’s Rock, Paper, Scissors.

Martin Aitken is a widely published translator of Danish literature. He received the American-Scandinavian Foundation’s Nadia Christensen Translation Prize in 2012. Recent books are Peter Høeg’s The Elephant Keepers’ Children, Dorthe Nors’ Karate Chop, and Kim Leine’s The Prophets of Eternal Fjord.

Glædelig Jul!

Wishing all of our wonderful members, friends and family a Glædelig Jul!   

On this most special of nights for Danes, Christmas Eve, we hope all of you have a most wonderful holiday.
And to get us all in the spirit, here’s a great story that ran on MPR with our friends Erik Bruun, Dorte Sondergaard, Birgitte Christianson and Gitte Mohr giving a little lesson in hygge.
 Click here for the MPR story: