Canada and Denmark host polite turn-based "war" over tiny worthless rock
July 30, 2016 5:14 PM   Subscribe

Canada and Denmark have been locked in a dispute over ownership of tiny 1.3-square-kilometer Hans Island since 1933. In 1984, the dispute heated up when the Canadians planted a flag. Incensed Danes removed the Canadian flag, hoisted the Danish one, and left a bottle of Danish schnapps with a note welcoming the Canadian military to Denmark. The Canadians were left no choice but to respond in kind, with Canadian whiskey. Since then, the Canadian and Danish militaries have mounted several expeditions and left several bottles of liquor for their counterparts, keeping the dispute active. Academics have proposed international condominium status, but some consider this a solution in search of a problem, what with the free alcohol and mutual concern about Russian Arctic expansion.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (55 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
WORTHLESS? That rock is a piece of Canada and I will be dead in the cold cold ground before our longtime national enemy the DANES claim it.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:18 PM on July 30, 2016 [28 favorites]


I would pay to watch a Danish-Canadian slap fight.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:23 PM on July 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


The real test of whether this is a friendly exchange is whether the Canadians left the purple drawstring bag with gold trim with the booze or if they kept it for themselves.
posted by srboisvert at 5:23 PM on July 30, 2016 [39 favorites]


Those bags are used to keep Scrabble tiles in, seriously they're the perfect size and opacity.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:25 PM on July 30, 2016 [13 favorites]


We needed that bag for strategic dice-carrying purposes!
posted by Parasite Unseen at 5:25 PM on July 30, 2016 [15 favorites]


Have to say I'm getting really tired of the "polite Canadian" stereotype.
Sorry.
posted by chococat at 5:30 PM on July 30, 2016 [38 favorites]


They should start a board game, one move per visit. Give 'em something to do while they're boozing.
posted by Lyme Drop at 5:31 PM on July 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


I wonder what would happen if a third party (maybe even a private individual) established a base there? Surely both Canada and Denmark would be compelled to protest any action taken by the other party. What I'm saying is, basically, do any MeFites feel like becoming a monarch?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:31 PM on July 30, 2016 [8 favorites]


Have to say I'm getting really tired of the "polite Canadian" stereotype.
Sorry.


You have to admit it's better than the Falklands/Malvinas mess.
posted by TedW at 5:34 PM on July 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


Fuck it. I, for one, would love to merge our countries. Canadenmark, I salute you!
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 5:34 PM on July 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Have to say I'm getting really tired of the "polite Canadian" stereotype. Sorry.

Well played, Canadian poster, well played!
posted by me & my monkey at 5:35 PM on July 30, 2016 [22 favorites]


or Denmarkanada...
posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 5:37 PM on July 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Any attempt to merge the names will only lead to further hostilities. I propose it be called "Tømmy."
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:44 PM on July 30, 2016 [2 favorites]


Call it Phyllis if you want, I'm in!

Phyllistine, anyone?

Sorry, finishing adult bevvy and going to bed now

posted by Klaxon Aoooogah at 6:13 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


...what with the free alcohol and mutual concern about Russian Arctic expansion.

"Hey, look, they left another bottle of liquor. Let's see what it is this time. Looks like it's... vodka. Funny, I didn't they drank... uh oh.
posted by 445supermag at 6:17 PM on July 30, 2016 [16 favorites]


Canadenmark, we salute you!
posted by Omon Ra at 6:23 PM on July 30, 2016 [4 favorites]


Hey, look, they left another bottle of liquor. Let's see what it is this time. Looks like it's... vodka

Leviathan?
posted by Slothrup at 6:24 PM on July 30, 2016


Why can't more countries behave like this?
posted by freakazoid at 6:34 PM on July 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


Compromise! Build a tiny Lego wall halfway through.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:51 PM on July 30, 2016 [13 favorites]


I say it should be formally recognized as part of Greenland, once it is fully independent.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 7:03 PM on July 30, 2016 [3 favorites]


OMG! How did I miss the obvious "Build a tiny Lego wall... And make Denmark pay for it." joke?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:12 PM on July 30, 2016 [25 favorites]


And when Canadian military forces come there, they leave a bottle of Canadian Club and a sign saying 'Welcome to Canada

So much for stereotypical politeness, eh?
posted by rodlymight at 7:12 PM on July 30, 2016 [5 favorites]


Canadenmark? Denmarkanada? No and no.

Denada.
posted by Autumn Leaf at 7:12 PM on July 30, 2016 [23 favorites]


Oddly, France flagrantly controls a part of Canada. And yet no fuss is made.
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 7:50 PM on July 30, 2016


Hey Danes keep your mitts off our Hans!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:53 PM on July 30, 2016 [7 favorites]


I think if China were to leave a bottle of so-called Chinese sake on the Spratleys, it would lead to an international conflagration.

Soy sauce is for seasoning, not drinking ...
posted by oheso at 7:53 PM on July 30, 2016


Decanamard
posted by zippy at 9:04 PM on July 30, 2016


This isn't the only conflict between Canada and a fellow member of NATO in relatively recent years. In 1995, there was the Turbot War, which came close to being a naval confrontation between Canada and Spain over fishing rights. I've always wondered who would have won had fighting started, and what it would have done to NATO and the EU. Ireland and Britain threw their full support behind the Canadians, while France strongly defended Spain.
posted by honestcoyote at 10:12 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


A dispute to make the Pig War look downright uncivil.
posted by wotsac at 10:51 PM on July 30, 2016 [1 favorite]


Canamark
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 12:40 AM on July 31, 2016


Greenland. largely inhabited by Inuit, is looking to (possibly) end Danish control; Nunavut is a semi-autonomous territory governed by the Inuit. Perhaps the indigenous folks here could work out some kind of settlement.
posted by CCBC at 1:06 AM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


First of all: obviously it's Danish, Hans is a Danish name.

More seriously, Greenland is nowhere near full autonomy, and the Hans Island dispute is a funny/friendly example of why: Greenland cannot possibly defend it's own borders, because already the population is tiny, and it's dwindling, while the country is enormous and really hard to patrol.
That is all very fine when your neighbors are other Inuit in Nunavut, but Greenland has another, less friendly neighbor.

If Greenland were to be fully independent, they would have to outsource their defence entirely to the US, and for several reasons, most people there know how that is just a bad idea.
posted by mumimor at 1:23 AM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


They depend on NATO as it is. Does independence need to change anything fundamentally in that respect?
posted by Segundus at 2:06 AM on July 31, 2016


I don't know how you imagine NATO works.
Denmark spends a lot of money, both on direct defense activities and on keeping at least some of the villages going across the country (you know, with schools, medical care, emergency services), so there is some habitation (Norway once claimed Eastern Greenland, and part of their claim was that only Norwegian fishermen ever went there). If Greenland became independent, I don't think there would be the political will in Denmark to pay up.
For Greenland, an economy without Denmark would necessarily mean giving the US more control than they already have over the territory. There is already an American airbase in Thule, and most Greenlanders know there is a difference between how the Danes and the Americans do stuff, and not only military stuff. Inuit people have a transnational community, they know how things are going across the lands, and while most agree that the Danes are racist colonizers, Denmark is also a "socialist" country with welfare and healthcare and free education. The US is interested in control over Greenland, but are so far happy to let the Danes manage it.
Right now, the Danish government is planning to increase defense spending in Greenland, though not at a scale that will make a lot of difference to the population there, I think.
posted by mumimor at 2:57 AM on July 31, 2016 [2 favorites]


Economy in Greenland: a substantial subsidy from the Danish Government. The subsidy was budgeted to be about $651 million in 2012, approximately 56% of government revenues that year
Unfortunately, things are going worse than in the article, because fish prices are down and the dreams of ressource extraction are not really materializing.
You should all go to Greenland! It's beautiful, and they really need the money from tourists
posted by mumimor at 3:30 AM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


No need to fight here. The answer is obvious: Canadanmark. Canada and Danmark, both in full native language glory.

The only question is: who owns the a? Perhaps that can be sorted out later. Over a bottle of vodka.
posted by romanb at 7:21 AM on July 31, 2016 [3 favorites]


wonders if Maine can start a beer war with New Hampshire.
posted by theora55 at 7:23 AM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


This must be settled in The Old Way.
posted by CKmtl at 11:42 AM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


This is the best kind of war.
posted by aniola at 12:03 PM on July 31, 2016


Just as long as we never see the bottle of vodka followed by a bottle of Kentucky bourbon. That's when I go to the fallout shelter.
posted by Ber at 12:12 PM on July 31, 2016 [1 favorite]


As a niceness thing, Canada would insist on paying Denmark for the (Lego) wall, no?
posted by fragmede at 12:34 AM on August 1, 2016


It seems hard liquor has always been an essential element in all polar expeditions.

So now I'm imagining the guys in the Sirius Patrol going "S**t, we're out of whiskey, and I just can't take more snaps. Lets go over and see if the Canadians have invaded us again".
posted by mumimor at 2:33 AM on August 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Have to say I'm getting really tired of the "polite Canadian" stereotype.

At least there is a stereotype for Canadians.
You should be proud of it! Because it means that your country is large enough to be stereotyped and, thus, not insignificant.

Try as I might, I can't really think of a stereotype for Danes.
So what are the Danes like, anyway?
posted by sour cream at 4:58 AM on August 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Tall.
posted by saucysault at 7:55 AM on August 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Shy until you get to know them, blond(e), they like fish, they like Christmas and similar rituals. They wear sensible shoes.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:07 AM on August 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


O Hans Island! OUR home and native land, ya hosers!
posted by haileris23 at 8:09 AM on August 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


So what are the Danes like, anyway?

Great.

or porn fiends.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:31 AM on August 1, 2016


If The Prince and Me can be trusted as a source on Danish politics, Danish labor and business leaders have literally never considered cooperating until a snot-nosed 22 year old who one time went to a dairy farm in Wisconsin explains to them how a rising tide lifts all boats. (Otherwise, cute movie.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 12:36 PM on August 1, 2016


Pigs, porn, and pastries. Denmark is brought to you by the letter "p".
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:13 PM on August 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


Try as I might, I can't really think of a stereotype for Danes.
So what are the Danes like, anyway?


My grandfather was a Danish immigrant; I grew up thinking of my self as being of Danish heritage. (Turns out that's about 40%, with the rest being Swedish, German, Scots-Irish, and misc other European.)

Danes do food. There's an old joke that a handful of nations got together to do reports on elephants - Russia did "Elephants: a 5-year plan;" USA did "Bigger and Better Elephants;" the UK did "Elephants and the History of the Empire," Denmark did "101 Ways to Make an Elephant Sandwich."

For those who want nuance in their Scandinavian stereotypes, there's always the Scandinavia and the World comic.

I am fond of the notion of Danes as hard to ruffle.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:07 PM on August 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


So what are the Danes like, anyway?

Great.

or porn fiends.


Or?
posted by klanawa at 1:35 PM on August 2, 2016


To be honest, we're not really doing the porn thing anymore.

If you are in Copenhagen, Danes seem incredibly privileged and beautiful and fit. Outside, Danes are just normal people like everyone else. Including all the bad stuff.
posted by mumimor at 2:40 PM on August 2, 2016


I've been watching the third season of The Bridge, the joint Danish-Norwegian crime series. The Swedish cop makes a comment hinting that Danes have poor organization and are inefficient. The Dane recognizes the stereotype immediately.
posted by CCBC at 5:34 PM on August 5, 2016


Yeah, I hate to admit it, but our PM is probably the most Danish of Danes
posted by mumimor at 12:31 AM on August 6, 2016


I'm a Dane, and this is the first time I hear about this conflict.
posted by WalkingAround at 12:29 AM on August 20, 2016


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