What one word would you use to describe your tenure as ambassador?
Fantastic. It’s the best job I ever had.
What will you miss the most about Washington?
No matter what you want to know about something, you can find 10 people who know more about it than you can imagine.
What’s your favorite object in the embassy?
There’s a portrait by Danish artist Danish artist Gugger Petter made of newspaper — it’s a portrait of Bill Clinton. That was something that was added to the embassy during my time there, and… I’m very proud of that.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever eaten in the U.S.?
I’m a steak man, and you can’t get better steaks anywhere. Since I’m going to India, that will be difficult, since cows are holy there. I’ll come back for steaks, if not policy.
What’s the biggest cultural difference between Americans and Danish?
If you are queuing in line in the U.S., people in line will talk to you; they’ll ask you about who you are and what you do. They’ll compliment you on your shirt or tell you to have a nice day. The Danish aren’t like that — not because they’re unfriendly, it’s just they tend to be more private in public places.
I appreciate that openness. The first time it happens, though, it’s a little startling.
You mentioned American music — who are your favorites?
I love the old blues so I’m excited to be going to the spot where Robert Johnson gave his soul to the devil. And then what came after, like Stevie Vaughn and Muddy Waters, who really laid the found for modern rock. And I’m also a fan of American rock, from Jimi Hendrix up to Jack White.
Brag a little. What are some of Denmark’s best exports?
We obviously have the best beer in the world: Carlsburg. Danish furniture design is quite beautiful and well-known. And we have Lego.
What would you tell visitors to Washington is something they must see?
Going out to Arlington Cemetery makes you reflect on all the things this country did for the world.