Rikke

"Although being Danish is very important for me, I also feel honorary British. I feel very protective of England and Britain... I want to do my best for the country and that's why I like working for the NHS."

My name is Rikke Albert; I'm forty three years old and I was born in Denmark. I am a psychiatric nurse and I work as a nurse consultant for a big mental health trust in London.

I think my Danish-ness relates strongly to my work. I think it’s my sense of fairness and that I believe in equality, which I think is very Scandinavian and is very much the culture I am from. It's about being able to give people a fair chance. That’s why I like the work I do and I think it comes out in the way I approach patients. When I introduce myself I always put my hand out and shake hands - it’s something that some people are not used to and it’s unusual for them to be treated as equal.

Although being Danish is very important for me, I also feel honorary British. I feel very protective of England and Britain, when I talk to people from other places. I want to do my best for the country and that's why I like working for the NHS.  Meanwhile, my husband is absolutely American and, as for my kids,  my oldest one used to say he was a Londoner and now he describes himself as a Danish boy who lives in London. But my little one today just told me he’s American,

With Brexit, I think I was hugely disappointed, but not surprised. I had sensed where it was going and I just thought that people were so unhappy. I couldn’t vote, because I'm not a British citizen, so I didn’t really have a say, which is one of my biggest regrets so that at least I could have taken part in the whole process. But, yeah, people have been so unhappy and I just feel like a lot of people voted with the heart and not the mind. But I think the ones who perhaps need Europe the most are the ones who voted to leave

An element of Britishness that has rubbed off me and that other Danes have commented in is that they (the Danes)  think we are way too hospitable.  So, for instance, we have families and friends who, when they come to London, ask to come and stay with us and I absolutely love it. But some Danish I know say "why are you being so hospitable, why do you allow all these people to stay with you?" But I like having an open house; I think it's very much a British thing, the friendliness and opening up your house to others. Another thing regarding the home is that, if I lived in Denmark, I would be working in my house regularly and be more house-proud. Had I been in a Danish relationship in Denmark,  the relationship in the home would have been less equal, because the woman is very much in control of things in the household. But here, we take turns in making decisions and we come to a compromise. 

I feel more Danish when I go back to Denmark. And the one place I feel most Danish is Tivoli, which is a two hundred-plus year old of fairground in the middle of Copenhagen. You can go there in the summer with the kids and everyone is happy, there are rides, sweets and balloons. That reminds me of my childhood and I really feel truly Danish when I go there, with all the other Danes... 

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