Professor Dion Sommer becomes Knight of the Order of Dannebrog

Professor Dion Sommer from the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences has been appointed Knight of the Order of Dannebrog. He receives the Cross of Honour of the Order of Dannebrog for his scientific contributions.

2014.09.30 | Tine Bagger Christiansen

Professor Dion Bertil Sommer has been appointed Knight of the Order of Dannebrog.

To his great surprise 
In June 2014, Dion Sommer received a letter from the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Higher Education and Science asking whether he would like to accept the nomination as Knight of the Order of Dannebrog.

“I was very surprised when I got this message – why me? There are so many others who deserve it, and I immediately started thinking, why should I accept it? I’m not particularly faithful to the throne. But when I found out that I had been nominated by someone at the university, then I started to see it as a great pat on the back from my university. And if I look at it that way, I’m very happy about it,” explains Dion Sommer.

The process is as follows: after the letter arrives, a couple of months go by, and then the permanent secretary forwards the recommendation submitted by the university to the cabinet secretary, who then submits it to the head of the order, the Queen, who is in charge of awarding the Cross of Honour of the Order of Dannebrog.

After all this, one day Dion Sommer’s wife told him that there was a letter at the post office, which he had to go down there and sign. So he made his way to the post office at the local supermarket in Skødstrup, thinking: “I haven’t bought anything I need to sign for.”  But when he got there, he saw that the letter was from the Chapter of the Orders at Amalienborg, the Danish royal palace, and he finally realised what the letter contained. He brought the letter home, opened it together with his wife, and celebrated his new-found chivalry status with his family, drinking champagne and eating oysters .

Dion Sommer, who spends his free time brewing beer, is now contemplating making a Chivalry Beer. On Monday 10 November, Dion Sommer has an audience with the Queen to thank her for the appointment.

Facts

  • For many years, Dion has conducted cross-disciplinary research on a national and international scale. He has worked with family, child an development psychology and has been employed at Aarhus University since the 1980s. He has participated in numerous projects and written a long series of books and articles. Moreover, he has also voiced his critical opinions about the top-down management at the university. Currently, he is working to disseminate his knowledge and research about families and children in late modernity; especially about the negative learning outcomes of the increasing “the earlier, the better” approach to schooling and pedagogics in day care institutions.
  • The Order of Dannebrog was instituted by Christian V in 1671, and it was later expanded and altered,
  • The Order of Dannebrog is granted by the reigning monarch with no advice from the government. The insignia of the order must be returned upon the death of the holder.
  • The order is awarded to and serves to honour Danes, who have provided a service to the country through a noble deed.
  • In 1951, Frederik IX directed that women could also be decorated with the Order of Dannebrog. On the same occasion, the Royal Order of Chivalry was divided into four increasing degrees of distinction.
  • You must be nominated for the Order of Dannebrog.
  • In order to be decorated with any of the Royal Orders of Chivalry, you must have a clean criminal record.
  • You are free to refuse to accept the Order of Dannebrog.
  • All who receive the order are encouraged to write an autobiography, which will be stored in the royal family’s archives.  

Further information
Go to Dion Sommer’s pure profile to read more about his work.

Professor Dion Sommer
Aarhus University
School of Business and Social Sciences
Mail: sommer@psy.au.dk
Tel.: +45 87 16 58 03

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