JUNE 19, 1950
COPENHAGEN, Denmark—We had a most delightful drive out to the Montebello sanitarium, where the whole party, including the Ambassadress and her husband and children, dined with Mr. and Mrs. Robert Magidoff.
This sanitarium is in a beautiful spot, and from the porch you can see the roofs of the Castle of Elsinore. We drove there immediately after dinner, and in the great courtyard watched a performance of Hamlet by the members of the Old Vic Company. Hamlet was played by Michael Redgrave and Ophelia by Yvonne Mitchell. Although the setting is beautiful, it must be hard on the actors, who have to project their voices in the open air. They did it magnificently, however, for every word was distinctly heard.
The courtyard was crowded with people from many countries, all of whom had the same idea I had—that to see Hamlet given in such surroundings would be a real experience. The big light in one of the towers flashed its message to ships at sea, and it was so light they did not have to turn on the floodlights until the second act. In the interval between the two acts, we went up in the castle to a great room which looks down on the court. There we were given coffee and wonderful Danish pastry. I can not remember an evening which I have enjoyed more thoroughly, and I hope it will be a great experience for our two young travelers.
Friday morning Mrs. Anderson and some of the members of the Embassy staff were kind enough to let me hear from those in charge of the ECA program what they felt about the progress made in this interesting, small country. Afterward I faced a large delegation of press people and photographers. I am amused by the questions, which usually begin with, "What are your impressions of Scandinavia?" and "What differences do you find among the Scandinavian countries?" One person two days ago actually asked me if I was going to write a book on these countries on my return. When I pointed out that one could hardly gather material for a book after spending only three or four days in each country and visiting only the capital, he seemed rather disappointed. I feel it is presumptuous to do even what I try to do in these columns, namely, record what I do and the casual observations of a traveler.
We lunched with the Foreign Minister, who followed the Danish custom of giving a very charming speech of welcome. During the afternoon I visited a number of housing projects. Some of the modern cooperative housing seems to me as good as any I have seen anywhere. They have wide windows and larger balconies than the houses I saw in new projects in Norway and Sweden.
I saw a very good combination of day nursery, nursery school and kindergarten, of which there are a number in different parts of the city. They also took me to a junk playground. We have one in Minneapolis, patterned after this one in Copenhagen, but I marveled at the number of children playing here under the direction of one young woman. She told me that the children are taught the use of tools very carefully before they are allowed to use them, and that nearly all children wanted first to build a house.
There are old boats, old motor cars, old bicycles—every kind of scrap that a child could want to play with—in this enclosed playground, and it seems to be a most useful educational project.