Bien (newspaper)

Bien is the only weekly Danish language newspaper published in the United States. Bien is one of two Danish language newspapers published in the United States. The other is a biweekly, Den Danske Pioneer, a unit of Bertelsen Publishing Co., based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.


Bien was founded and edited by the Norwegian Synod minister I.L.P Dietrickson, a pastor in San Francisco, on April 22, 1882.[1] Initially, it had 16 pages, four to six of which were dedicated to pictures, features, and short stories, and about two pages of advertising. In 1890, the newspaper came under Danish management when Danish typographers Sophus Hartwick and Peter Freese became co-editors of the paper. In 1897, Sophus Hartwick assumed control of the paper and worked as the chief editor until 1930.[2] During the last decades of the 19th century, the Danish immigrants in the United States had founded 34 Danish-language newspapers and aided in 24 other Danish-Norwegian newspapers. Of those, 15 remained in 1900, including papers such as Den Danske Pioneer, Bikuben, Danskeren, Dannevirke, Bien, Revyen and Nordlyset.[3] After World War II, only Den Danske Pioneer and Bien remained. Den Danske Pioneer, edited and published by Sophus F. Neeble, was founded in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1872.[4] Today, these two papers are the only remaining two Danish-language newspapers in the United States, although Bien has since ceased printing hard copies.[5]

Bien was considered the last newspaper in California to be printed using Linotype, according to the California Newspaper Publishers Association. When Andersen, who had been a Linotype operator at the Los Angeles Times, sold Bien in 2001, the newspaper switched from Linotype to computer typesetting. It is published in Burbank, California and has a circulation of approximately 3,000. Jytte Madsen currently serves as publisher and editor-in-chief of Bien.

Purposes of Bien NewspaperEdit

According to the newspaper's website, Bien is published based on the four fundamental purposes: to provide news from Denmark to keep its readers up to date with people and relevant events there, to inform Danes in America about each other and be the Danish connection between them, to entertain and inform its readers of issues relevant to Danes living in America, and to include contributions from its readers about themselves and their lives and give the readers their own voice.[1]

Bien also served as an outlet for social clubs and local interest groups to gather and organize. Such organizations would notify readers of meetings in the “Foreninger i San Francisco” (Associations in San Francisco) section of Bien, where one could find the times and locations of local Scandinavian related organizations. Groups such as Danske Damers Hjælpeforeninger (the Danish Women's Relief Society), the Danish-American Women's Auxiliary of San Francisco Dannevirke Chapter, and the Danish-American Women's Club all made listings in Bien, noting the various locations at which one interested could become involved in the association.[6]

The Danish American Women's Club was started on March 5, 1935, when a group of Danish women from various Danish lodges around the Bay Area met at Hotel Whitcomb in San Francisco to form the Danish-America Women's Club. The objective of the club was to entertain visiting Danes as well as local ladies of Danish descent or with an interest in Danish affairs.[7] In 2015, the Danish-American Women's Club celebrated its 80th year Christmas luncheon, which was noted by The Danish Pioneer newspaper.[8] Today, the DAWC continues its traditions and meet several times throughout the year to celebrate their Danish heritage and interest in Denmark.[7]

Relocations of BienEdit

Poul Andersen was a printer who served in the Danish resistance movement, which began after the German invasion of Denmark in 1940 during World War II,[9] and later became the primary editor of Bien newspaper. Poul Andersen was born April 19, 1922, in Ringkøbing, Denmark. He left for America in 1949 to stay at his uncle's corn farm in Ohio, and settled in Los Angeles, California soon after.[10] Andersen became the editor of Bien newspaper in 1975 and continued to run the paper for 26 years.[2] When Andersen bought Bien in 1975, he was working as a printer for the Los Angeles Times. Andersen relocated Bien to Burbank, California, so he could edit the newspaper after completing his shift at the Times. He continued to publish Bien even after his retirement from the Los Angeles Times, where he worked full-time until his retirement in 1987.[10]

At that time, Bien was the only weekly Danish-language newspaper and was then converted from a 16 into a 12-page weekly paper. Andersen published the newspaper with the aid of his wife, Judy Andersen, from 1975 to 2001. Bien was sold to another publisher, Bent Christensen & Albert Jakobsen[2] in 2001 when Andersen's illness worsened.[10]

Danish RecognitionEdit

When Bien celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1982, Poul Andersen was knighted into the Order of the Dannebrog by Denmark's Queen Margrethe II for his work to unite the Danish American community.[10]

Bien TodayEdit

The last printed issue of Bien was released on May 24, 2018. Beginning July 1, 2018, Bien can only be found at their website and on Facebook.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Om Bien". Bien Danish Newspaper in the United States. Retrieved 26 October 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c "Vores Historie/Our History". Bien Danish Newspaper in the United States. Retrieved 26 October 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Marzolf, Marion (Autumn 1976). "The Pioneer Danish Press in Midwest America 1870-1900". Scandinavian Studies. 48 (4): 426–440. JSTOR 40917651.
  4. ^ Hornsyld, P.P. (1906). "Danish-American Periodical Publications, 1904". The Journal of English and Germanic Philology. 6 (1): 178–182. JSTOR 27699835.
  5. ^ a b "Last printed issue of BIEN". BIEN Danish Newspaper in the United States. Retrieved 26 October 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Foreninger i San Francisco" (in Danish) (45). San Francisco, CA: Bien. The Danish Immigrant Museum. 7 November 1930. p. 7. Retrieved 10 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ a b "About Us". Danish American Women's Club. Retrieved 10 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Danish American Women's Club of San Francisco and the Bay Area celebrates 80th Christmas Luncheon – Join Us in 2016". The Danish Pioneer. December 21, 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Jerry Voorhis, “Germany and Denmark: 1940-45,” Scandinavian Studies 44:2 (1972) p. 183.
  10. ^ a b c d Schou, Solvej (July 7, 2006). "Ex-Publisher of Danish-Language Paper Dies". Fox News. Retrieved 26 October 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

Other sourcesEdit

External linksEdit