Lone Ree Milkaer from Denmark: “this crisis is showing us that we are part of a global humanist community”

#GlobalHumanismNow: an update from the Danish Humanist Society

  • blog Type / Membership blog
  • Date / 5 May 2020
  • By / Mahalet Tadesse

#GlobalHumanismNow is a series of mini-interviews with our Members and Associates from all around the world where we ask them how they are coping with the global coronavirus emergency, to explain what initiatives they are taking, and to tell us how the global humanist community can support them.

All interviews are available here.


Today we speak with Lone Ree MilkaerChairperson of Danish Humanist Society.

Humanists International: Hi Lone, thank you for accepting our invitation. How is the situation in Denmark?

Lone: Denmark is still under lockdown, due to the Covid-19 virus. As of 1 May, 460 have died and a little more than 9.000 is confirmed infected (of a population of 5,8 mill.)

[UPDATE: As of 4 May, there are 475 confirmed deaths and 9407 confirmed cases]

How has the government responded to the crisis? 

All the schools have been closed during the lockdown, but the primary schools have now reopened. Restaurants, cafes, libraries, museums, public offices, etc. are still closed. The government has to enroll the next steps in the gradual reopening of the society by May 10th, so we are waiting for the news on how that is going to play out.

How has the crisis affected your organization and the individuals within it?

One of the confirmation ceremonies of the Danish Humanist Society

In Denmark, the Humanist Society arranges a lot of confirmation ceremonies. It is a coming-of-age ceremony held for children at the age of 13-15. It is a big deal for families and to young people. We have had to postpone the confirmations, which are traditionally held in the spring, to the end of the year, and we really hope that we will be able to make them happen then. We have had some naming ceremonies and weddings postponed and funerals have to take place under very different circumstances, with social distancing and limits on attendance. Luckily, we have a very strong group of dedicated volunteers and (volunteers) celebrants who are all working hard to make this work. I am very grateful to them for their perseverance.

How do you think we should face this emergency as humanists? Which humanist principles should we value most right now?

This crisis has highlighted the importance of human fellowship and solidarity. We need each other to pull through this and we need to take heed of the circumstances of our fellow human beings, even though they may differ from our own. Every individual has its own value and worth.

How can the international community support your efforts?

We are very fortunate in Denmark so all we need is to feel like we are part of the humanist community and to know that our fellow humanists will pull through.

And what is your message to the global humanist community?

Even though this crisis is truly nothing to be grateful for, I think that it has shown us that we live on the same globe, but under very different circumstances. I hope that the worrying tendencies of increased nationalism and ethnocentrism will be countered by a powerful and unified resistance as a consequence of this and that the consciousness of human interdependence will persevere. We really do need each other.

Thank you, Lone! And please stay safe!

Thanks, Giovanni!


If you represent a Member or Associate of Humanists International and you want to participate in the #GlobalHumanismNow series, please contact us at membership@humanists.international


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