An organisation which has been serving the spiritual needs of seafarers and the wider community in Hull for more than 150 years is to take the opportunity of the Heritage Open Days events to celebrate its history and to set out its plans as a venue for community, cultural and business events.
Leaders of the Danish Church will use the occasion to launch Nordic House. Activities being explored include hosting gigs, plays and exhibitions, adding to the current list of community and cultural events as well as workshops and fitness classes.
Nordic House also aims to make its mark in the regional business community through the networks of Peter Aarosin, a Dane who has worked in shipping and logistics in the Humber for 40 years and whose career includes spells as chair of the Bondholders and as a board member with the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce.
Peter said: “Since the first Danish Church was consecrated in Hull in 1871 its buildings and community have become an integral part of the city. However as the frequency of church services has reduced in recent years we have looked into other ways of opening up the building.
“The current property is nearly 70 years old but still has a modern design and feel and offers a wide range of opportunities. I will be promoting it to my business contacts for meetings and other corporate events and we are talking to various arts and culture professionals to find out what they could do with it.”
Nordic House already welcomes a variety of cultural and community organisations and the manager, Charlotte Theill, is confident the programme will expand as awareness increases.
For Heritage Open Days the building on the corner of Ferensway and Osborne Street in Hull will be open from midday until 4pm on Friday and Saturday 16 and 17 September with visitors able to buy Danish goods including arts and crafts and enjoy Danish coffee and homemade biscuits.
Artefacts on display will include a candelabra and part of the stained glass window from the original Danish Church, which stood nearby for 70 years until it was flattened in an air raid in 1941. The items were rescued from the rubble and took pride of place in the new building, which opened in 1954.
The centrepiece of the current church is the organ, built nearly 50 years ago by the Copenhagen firm of Frobenius. Visitors will also be able to admire model ships including the Dronning Ingrid, which was moved to the Danish Church in Hull after the closure in the 1970s of its counterpart in Newcastle, and a replica of the steam frigate HDMS Jylland, launched in 1860 and one of the world’s largest wooden warships.
Charlotte is also working now to plan the Scandinavian Christmas market which has been a highlight of the Nordic House calendar since the 1970s and which this year will take place on Saturday 26 November and tie in with the World Cup clash between Denmark and France.
Charlotte said: “The Christmas market attracts a big crowd of local people and some of them have been coming for years. For them it’s not really Christmas until they have been to the market and this year we have the added attraction of the World Cup
“But it all starts with Heritage Open Days. We have taken part before and this year we are looking forward to it more than ever because as we launch Nordic House we want to show people all the space we have for performance, meetings, food and drink and invite them to help us make the most of it.”