April 26, 1986 was the first warm spring day in Copenhagen. During the spring semester of 1986, I had a rather odd schedule: One of the courses I followed (European Security Policy with Wilhelm Christmas-Møller as teacher), had classes during the morning and the other (Theoretical approaches to international politics with Bertel Heurlin) during late afternoon.
So, what to do when you have three hours betwees classes and it’s finally warm outside? You go for a walk.
If my memory doesn’t fail me completely, I spent some hours walking around Kastellet – a beautiful old garrison in the northern part of the old town – enjoying the sunshine. It was only when I came home in the evening that I learned that the Chernobyl power plant had exploded.
My immediate reaction was to shut all of my windows because of the radiation. My next reaction was to think that there was no reason to do so: First, Denmark hadn’t been hit too hard by the fallout from the disaster and second, as I had been outdoors for much of the day, I would already have been subjected to any possible fallout and an open window wouldn’t make too much of a difference.
And the rest, as they say, was history.
This is a repost of an original blog post from 26 April 2006. One of the links caused some problems in the original version and I had to figure out how to edit it.