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  • Lauri Beekmann

Exhibition in Denmark focuses on children in families with alcohol abuse

11.12.2023 - The art project KUNST GIVER BALLAST (ART PROVIDES STABILITY) had its opening on Thursday, December 7, in Tønder. The exhibition is touring Denmark to focus on children growing up in families with alcohol abuse. The basis for the project is that 109,000 children in Denmark grow up in families with alcohol problems. This corresponds to about 730 children in Tønder Municipality alone – or two in every school class on average.

The art project KUNST GIVER BALLAST allows children and youth from families with alcohol abuse to express feelings and thoughts that can be difficult to articulate in words. In this way, art can have a positive impact on the mental health and well-being of children and young people.

KUNST GIVER BALLAST had its opening on Thursday, December 7, at 2:30 PM in the foyer of the Tønder Town Hall, where the young artists presented their works to invited politicians and employees from Tønder Municipality.

Children and young people from Ballast – a project offering free help and treatment to children and young people from families with alcohol problems – collectively painted four enormous bottles, each with their own message. The entire process was filmed by young homeless people from the Skjoldbos care center's media production company, SB110.

The exhibition can be seen until Thursday, December 14, at Tønder Town Hall, and then it will move to the art museum in Tønder, where it will be on display until January 25.

The professional artist Daisy Dahl, who is an ambassador for Ballast, facilitated KUNST GIVER BALLAST, which is supported by the Roskilde Festival Association.

The exhibition has toured around Denmark and has been displayed at art museums, libraries, and town halls.


Ballast is a free and professional treatment program from the YMCA's Social Work for 5-25-year-old children and young people growing up in families with alcohol and drug abuse. These children often struggle because they try to cover up for their parents, must put aside their own needs, and have difficulty interpreting, feeling, and expressing emotions. Ballast is based on the educational method NUSSA, which is training and development of the brain through play and activity, providing participants with tools to tackle some of the challenges of everyday life.

Ballast currently exists in seven municipalities in Jutland, including Tønder Municipality, and the YMCA's Social Work aims to extend the offer to more municipalities, as the need for help and support is great.


According to the Danish Health Authority, 109,000 children grow up in families with alcohol problems (Source:

The figure of 730 children in Tønder Municipality is an estimate based on the assessment that two percent of children grow up in a family with abuse.

The number of children growing up in families with drug or pill abuse is unknown.

130 children and young people are, or have been, in a full treatment program in Ballast in Tønder since its opening in September 2020.

Source: Via/Ritzau

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