Love in lockdown as elderly German-Danish couple defy Covid-19 border closure keeping them apart

By Stephanie Nourse

Inga Rasmussen and Karsten Tüchsen meet for their daily chat over coffee and biscuits

The Coronavirus pandemic has seen daily life ground to a halt. Countries around the world are increasingly adopting drastic measures, including border closures, in an attempt to contain the spread of Covid-19. The German-Danish border is no exception, but 85-year-old Inga Rasmussen and 89-year-old Karsten Tüchsen, a couple living either side of the crossing, have found a simple solution. The heart-warming story has attracted international media attention.

Inga is Danish and lives in the village of Gallehus. Karsten is from Süderlügum in Germany. The pair have known each other for two years and have been inseparable ever since. Before the border closed, they would visit each other daily at one another’s homes. Now, they meet every day at the border in the village of Aventoft, Inga on the Danish side and Karsten on the German side, keeping their two-metre distance, of course. Inga drives and Karsten comes on his electronic bike.

They bring their own chairs and set them up either side of the border, ready to tuck into the lunch that Inga has prepared. They also share a flask of coffee, and Karsten prefers something stronger, too. “Cheers to love,” he says, as he raises a glass of Geele Köm, a North Frisian schnapps, which he has diluted with water. “We usually drink it together in the evenings, but that’s not possible now”, Karsten told Bild.

Inga and Karsten have already been on two boat trips together along the Moselle, the Rhein and the Danube. They had been planning another holiday together, which will now have to be postponed until after the pandemic subsides. For now, this new way of meeting will have to do.

The pair owe their newfound fame to the Mayor of Tønder, Henrik Frandsen. After spotting the couple on a bike ride on Wednesday, he shared a picture to his Facebook page which touched the hearts of many. He captioned the photo, “On today’s bike ride, I made my way past the Møllehus border. Here I met these two lovely people. She, 85, lives in Gallehus. He, 89, lives in Süderlügum. They got to know each other at a late age and usually visit each other every day. Now they meet halfway at the barricaded border. Let's stand together in this difficult time and find solutions together”. The post attracted over two thousand likes and over a thousand shares. You can see it here.

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