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Crossing The North Sea in the footsteps of Queen Anna of Denmark

A grant for a research residency will provide more knowledge about the importance of Anna of Denmark (1574-1619) for Danish-British cultural exchange.

By Caroline Zoffmann Jessen, , 3/7/2024

Research assistant David Hasberg Zirak-Schmidt has received a grant of just over DKK 2 million from the Independent Research Fund Denmark’s "International postdoc" scheme.

David Hasberg Zirak-Schmidt will take up a 2-year research residency at the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary University of London in collaboration with Professor of Renaissance Studies Warren Boutcher, an expert on early modern European literature.

Anna of Denmark

Anna of Denmark (1574-1619) was one of early modern Europe’s most significant royal women. A contemporary of Shakespeare and a prominent patron of the theatre, Anna was a key figure in the cultural flourishing of the Stuart courts in Scotland and England and a crucial cultural link between Britain and Denmark. However, despite her prominence as a female cultural agent at the Stuart court and her importance as a cultural mediator across the North Sea, she is virtually unknown by the Danish public and effectively absent in national scholarship on the period.

Scholars in the Anglophone world meanwhile have overlooked the importance of Anna’s Danish background possibly because of language barriers. As a result, Anna’s consciousness of her Danish and Oldenburg roots and her role in early modern British-Danish cultural exchanges disappear.

The cultural influence has been overlooked

The project will examine Anna's role as a cultural communicator on two levels. It will show how Anna's understanding of her Danish and Oldenborg identities played a crucial role in her cultural actions/influence in the UK, and argue that there was cultural exchange between Scotland, England and Denmark made possible by Anna of Denmark that has been hitherto overlooked.

The project Crossing the North Sea will write the cultural history of Anna of Denmark, (re)introducing this significant royal woman to the Danish scholarly community and revitalizing international scholarship by bringing her Danish background to the fore.

Meet the researcher

Research assistant David Hasberg Zirak-Schmidt is a researcher at The Department of Culture and Language.


More about the grant

Independent Research Fund Denmark has awarded DKK 24.5 million to 12 international postdoc fellows who will strengthen Danish research through international collaboration. The purpose of the postdoc grant is to support young researchers at the beginning of their research careers and develop their research competencies as well as strengthen their international mobility.

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Editing was completed: 07.03.2024