“Saturday starts with a Danish breakfast of black tea, toasted rye bread, fruit and yoghurt at my house near Hejlskov, in a beautiful estate overlooking Limfjord, with forest all around. I get up when it’s light – between 5am and 6am in summer or 7am to 8am in winter – then light a fire and candles to make the house feel cosy for my daughters, Toka, 15, and Freja, 11. After breakfast, we all go for a walk along the sound, or I hop on my mountain bike for a 20-mile ride – I love being surrounded by nature and find it helps me attain a Yin-Yang balance in my life.
I travel abroad 150 days a year, so I like to spend the weekends with my children and having friends over for a meal. I find cooking very relaxing and a good way to switch off from the working week. I get organic food delivered from Skagenfood, in Skagen, at the northernmost tip of Denmark. They bring fresh fish, a mixed box of meat – duck, veal, pork, chicken – and a mixed box of vegetables and fruit. I never know what will arrive, so I’ve learnt to be inventive if, for example, cod and mangos turn up together.
Sometimes I take the children into Viborg, the former capital of Jutland, for some shopping. Dahls Vinhandel is a nice little shop selling fine wine, coffee, tea, condiments and chocolates, and Sinnerup is a good department store for household items. Then we drop into Café Morville for apple pie and hot chocolate before going home to start cooking.
If I’ve invited my Spanish friends over, I make a fish soup that we eat with aïoli and bread. For other friends, I often cook a leg of lamb, grilling it outside on a rotisserie in summer or making a casserole or stew in winter. Occasionally, we all eat out in Skive; Hotel Strandtangen has a very good restaurant, or we go to A Hereford Beefstouw, a classy steakhouse in the Krabbesholm forest, overlooking the local marina and sound. But generally we eat at home as the children love cooking.
Throughout the weekend we listen to music – mainly Bach, Pink Floyd and the Eagles – and we play lots of YouTube clips of current songs. I also read newspapers online – Jyllands-Posten, one of the biggest Danish newspapers; the South China Morning Post; The New York Times; Børsen, Denmark’s business newspaper; and Information, a Danish daily.
If we haven’t got guests, we watch DVDs after supper in our home cinema, which has a big screen and surround sound. I enjoy comedy – the Marx Brothers, Fawlty Towers, A Fish Called Wanda. Monty Python and the Marx Brothers are true masters of the genre.
Sunday mornings start late as the children like to sleep in. If the weather is good, we take our dinghy out and sail to one of the small villages to buy a hot-dog. Or we climb into the pine forest where it’s very quiet apart from birdsong and wildlife. It’s incredibly peaceful – my nearest neighbour is 2km away. If we have guests staying for the weekend, we might take them to see Elia, a sculpture by Ingvar Cronhammar that looks like something out of a Jules Verne novel and has attracted a lot of folklore, even though it’s a contemporary piece. I love its monumental size – 32m tall – and there are steps part of the way up.
On Sunday, I often go for a walk along the coast to my father’s house in Virksund to drink coffee and give him the company news, as he is now 85 and has stepped back from the business. Once home, I spend an hour in the studio, which is in the lower part of my house, and line things up for Monday. Then I’ll make a nice dinner and relax. There’s so much going on during the week – we are currently opening an office in Shanghai – that my favourite way to spend weekends is in a peaceful cocoon, at home with my kids.”