Housed in a landmark brownstone in historic Brooklyn Heights, the Danish Seamen’s Church is both a house of worship and cultural center for New York’s Danish community.
The church, which was founded in 1878 by Danish minister Rasmus Andersen, has been in its current location for nearly half a century. This Lutheran congregation’s name comes from one of the church’s primary missions: caring for the thousands of Danish seafarers who come to New York each year. Model ships are displayed in the chapel; an engraved brass ship’s bell is near the door.
This is the only church the Americas where Danish-language church services are held every Sunday. In addition, the congregation, which refers to itself as “Little Denmark in the Big Apple,” supports a variety of clubs and activities, offers Danish lessons and hosts visiting Danish politicians, musicians, artists and celebrities.
The biggest event on the church’s calendar is the annual two-day Christmas Fair, which draws such a large crowd that the greater part of the festivities are held a block away at the neighboring Zion German Evangelical Lutheran Church.
This year’s Fair, held November 17th and 18th, included Danish Christmas ornaments, arts, crafts, products, food and drink. This was a day to enjoy Denmark’s glorious pastry, open-faced sandwiches (smørrebrød), hot dogs, beer and babies.