April 23, 2020

Love Across Borders

Karsten Tüchsen Hansen and Inga Rasmussen
Karsten Tüchsen Hansen and Inga Rasmussen
by Emile Ducke for The New York Times

Every day, usually at 3pm, Karsten Tüchsen Hansen, an 89-year-old retired farmer, and Inga Rasmussen, an 85-year-old former caterer, have met for a date at the German/Danish border crossing halfway between their homes. They talk, drink, and give gifts, all while staying a few feet apart.

The pair met by accident two years ago, standing in line at a strawberry stand. After striking up a conversation, Hansen invited Rasmussen over for dinner at his home in Germany. Both had been widowed in recent years, ending more than sixty-year marriages.  Thinking that their days of championship had ended, Rasmussen says it came as a surprise. “I never dreamed that this would happen.”

Since 2001, Denmark has been part of the border free zone within the European Union, along with Germany. Hansen and Rasmussen have been able to move across the borders freely to see each other. Although the borders are up again, they still wanted to see each other every day.

The mayor of a nearby Danish town took a picture of them on one of his bike rides. Ever since he posted it to Facebook, going to meet the couple has become a bit of a pilgrimage for those who live nearby. Journalists and residents from both sides of the border come to meet the couple. Why? People are looking for some love and light in this difficult time. Hansen and Rasmussen have found a way out together.