Why ceremonial pancakes are one of Denmark's highest honors

Elizabeth Anne Brown
Elizabeth Anne Brown - [email protected]
Why ceremonial pancakes are one of Denmark's highest honors
City hall pancakes, or Rådhuspandekager, are an iconic Danish tradition. Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix

Victorious athletes and visiting dignitaries in Denmark get their just deserts/desserts at Copenhagen City Hall — the "Rådhuspandekager" or city hall pancakes. But where does the tradition come from?


Sure, the fame and fortune are probably great, but Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard has a real honor headed his way on Wednesday. After his ceremonial ride through Copenhagen, the mayor will treat him to the plate of pancakes that has become a staple for celebrated individuals for 90 years. 


In 1928, when King Albert I of Belgium came calling in Denmark, a cook named Phillip Olsen at the historic Fredensborg Store Kro (that's an inn) whipped up a new recipe he thought might appeal to a waffle-loving Belgian. The king was so taken by the dish that it's been served to foreign officials, prize-winning artists, and victorious Danish athletes ever since.  

For an official reception, the town hall cafeteria churns out up to 1,000 pancakes, head chef Elisabeth Christensen told VICE in 2018. The team made 4,000 pancakes for Copenhagen's Culture Night that year, she added. 

READ MORE: Denmark celebrates home-grown Tour de France winner Vingegaard

If you merit an invitation to town hall, don't come looking for a flapjack — Rådhuspandekager look like a cross between a crepe and a cannoli. It's a thin, crispy pancake rolled and filled with orange creme, topped with apricot jam and and toasted almonds. 

The town hall recipe remains secret, but after a Danish egg company popularised the pancakes in the 1960s they've become a household favorite.

If you don't expect to win the Tour de France soon, here's a recipe for how to prepare your own Rådhuspandekager. Or, gather a group and book a guided tour of City Hall, which includes a pancake and glass of sparkling wine (seems easier than all that biking). 


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also