“Baltoscandia 2016”, first expedition of the trek across the world “Mission Lithuania 100”, has completed its first quarter, and participants from Lithuania had visited Poland, Germany, Denmark and have now come to Sweden. The expedition goal is to present the idea of Baltoscandia, as well as to look for traces of Lithuanians and people important to Lithuania, historical ties of Lithuania and other countries. After learning a little history in Denmark, “Baltoscandia 2016” participants realised that the ending of the Battle of Grunwald, so important to Lithuania, could have been completely different if not for the tense relationship between the Kalmar Union and the Hanseatic League.
While traveling the expedition crew holds conferences in foreign universities as well as visits historically significant places. In the impressive Roskilde Cathedral, located at the heart of Baltoscandia, is the burial site to 50 monarchs of Denmark, starting with Queen Margaret I. This cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Scandinavia, and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Arūnas Bliūdžius, head of the Academy of Baltoscandia, told that while Margaret I, queen of Dernmark, Norway, Sweden, and founder of the Kalmar Union, reigned, the Union fought the Hanseatic League – a union of Hansa cities lead by Lübeck. And by doing so, the Kalmar Union has indirectly assisted the Lithuanian and Polish army: “The main military support of the Hansa cities was the Teutonic Order. About a third of its forces were kept at the Danish border. We can only guess what the outcome of the Battle of Grunwald would have been, if not for Denmark. However, I’m inclined to think that they have become unintentional allies to the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of Poland in one of the most important battles of our history.” says A. Bliūdžius.
Expedition leader Gintautas Babravičius believes that rediscoveries of such unduly forgotten historical facts will be frequent and important in the coming trek across the world: “We often fail to realise how closely we are related to other nations, how one or other decision or person could have affected history and past. I hope that we will help Lithuanians to look at themselves as a full-fledged part of the world, and not insignificant inhabitants of a minor nation”.
Participants of the conference at the University of Copenhagen shared their experiences and insights with the vice-president of the Royal Danish Geographical Society, Henrik Breuning-Madsen, and secretary general, Søren Kristensen. After spotting a medal for Vitus Bering in the Society’s museum, the trek across the world participants were glad that the most important and difficult part of the trek is associated with a Dane: “We will be crossing the Bering Strait by fitting our SUVs with pontoons. This has only been done successfully by one expedition before. We’re feeling even more inspired after learning more about the strait’s discoverer.” – told trek participant Ignas Veršinskas.
Lithuanians are famous in the world not only for their great athletes but for high levels artists as well. Thus Lithuanian traces in the famous Hamlet’s Kronborg Castle came as little surprise. “In this castle, during the annual Shakespeare festival, “Hamlet” has been performed by Eimuntas Nekoršius company. Furthermore, we can see the Lithuanian name of Jonas Gelgaudas (John Gielgud) among the best performed characters of this play. He is the grandson of the brother to 1831 uprising leader, Antanas Gelgaudas, and is considered to be among the best Great Britain’s XX century Shakespeare role performers. He has played the role of Hamlet in this castle twice, and has once brought in his own play.” – we are told by A. Bliūdžius.
Expedition participants have also visited Denrmark’s largest castle – Frederiksborg, in which’s church the Lithuanian Vytis can be seen amongst the coat of arms of other states.
So far “Baltoscnadia 2016” participants have held 4 conferences and meetings. The fifth one is being held today, at Stockholm University. A total of 9 conferences will be held in different countries, dedicated to presenting legendary Lithuanian traveller’s, prof. Kazys Pakštas, idea of Baltoscandia, and the trek across the world “Mission Lithuania 100”.