Rindsholm: A self-made site of memory and recognition
At Rindsholm, a tiny hamlet close to Viborg in central Jutland, the local innkeepers have transformed their inn and its immediate surroundings into a unique site of Danish war remembrance and recognition. In late August 2014, The Soldier and Society group of researchers paid the inn a two-day visit and talked at length to Frode Hansen, the passionate innkeeper whose personal zest is arguably the key ingredient of the commemoration practices there.
Himself a former soldier, Hansen has turned the old inn into a remarkable memorial space, with a particular outpouring of new markers, stones, and plaques emerging in recent years following from Denmark’s military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Apart from the special atmosphere and material wealth at the inn and its grove, what was most striking was the informal, down-to-earth and truly ‘self-made’ character of the enterprise, far removed from any official politics of remembrance or from cultural-elite discussions of the aesthetic qualities or abstract symbolisms of ‘official’ sites.
At Rindsholm, things (and therefore memories) are emerging ad-hoc, growing and shooting off in new directions, clearly not as part or a grand master plan but rather as a constant and highly concrete work-in-progress. New stones, fragments or elements are added as the result of personal contact, local bargains, or incidental coming-across new stories, persons or destinies seen as deserving of a material recognition. This approach, haphazard at it might seem from the outside, provided the place with a truly special atmosphere and industrious spirit, a direct and personal sense of urgency that can sometimes seem absent from more formal sites of coming to terms with the loss of war lives.