Denmark in Georgia: Over Two Hundred Years of Friendship and Cooperation

08/04/2020 8:00 AM | Sherry Lee (Administrator)

Christopher N. Smith, Honorary Consul of the Kingdom of Denmark, discusses Denmark's long-standing relationship with Georgia.

Photo: The tall ship Danmark docked in Savannah 2011.

For a moment let’s travel back in time. The year is 1802. President Thomas Jefferson is the second resident of the White House which was then just two years old. The University of Georgia held its first classes the year before and Athens was a small settlement on the frontier. Many of Georgia’s major cities including Atlanta, Macon and Columbus did not exist. Georgia shared an international border with Florida which was then under Spanish rule. The population of the state of Georgia was approximately 163,000. Amid this back drop the world’s oldest kingdom, The Kingdom of Denmark, elected to establish a foreign mission in the state of Georgia. The Royal Danish Consulate was established on August 18, 1802 in the city of Savannah. Denmark has maintained a consulate in Georgia since that time. It is thus one of the oldest foreign missions in the state.

William Scarborough holds the distinction of being the first Danish Consul in Georgia. Fittingly he was a shipping merchant as Danish firms to this day are world leaders in shipping and logistics. They still maintain very substantial operations in Georgia today. Consul Scarborough was one of the partners in the company that launched the famous SS Savannah, the first steam ship to cross the Atlantic. The Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum is now located in the William Scarborough house and gardens. It is located in downtown Savannah and well worth the visit.

The economic ties between Denmark and Georgia are strong. Investment and trade between Denmark and Georgia support over 3,300 jobs in our state. In 2019 US exports to Denmark reached an all-time record high totaling $3.1 billion dollars. Denmark is a founding member of NATO and is a key supplier of military components and equipment used by various branches of the American armed forces.

Georgia is now the 8th most populous state in America with a population of over 10.6 million. Atlanta has become an international city and is home to the world’s busiest passenger airport. The ever-growing port of Savannah is the 4th busiest in the country. Georgia is home to many Fortune 500 companies and leading global brands. It is thus fitting and proper that Georgia’ s international footprint in commerce, culture and education continues to grow. Such new friendships and collaborations are welcome, but it is also wise to remember ones oldest and constant friends as well. The relationship between Denmark and Georgia has been strong for 218 years and has a bright future. There is great potential to increase investment from Georgia in Denmark and from Denmark in Georgia. Opportunities also exist to increase bilateral tourism, academic collaboration and scientific partnerships.

Throughout most of Georgia’s history Denmark has been a constant friend and companion. Let us build upon this firm foundation to reach new heights of success for the benefit of all.

Click on the image below to read more about Honorary Consul General Christopher Smith.