It’s almost the dawn of the New Year and I’m back home for the holidays. This is a time to reflect on the past and to think about the future. This article points out 10 light-hearted things that I’ve learnt from my experience in Denmark so far.
- Almost everyone rides bikes – As I’ve said before, I knew that this was the case but you have to see it yourself. Furniture, children, and fully-grown adults being carted around in cargo bikes is a common sight.
- Coffee is served in a glass – If you ever want to feel more sophisticated, drinking coffee out of a pint glass a good way to do it. Whenever I’m served a coffee in a glass, I’m always reminded of this short scene from a Danish comedy series called Klovn.
- Don’t expect small talk at the till – In a grocery store, it’s common for the person who is serving you not to say hi or look at you, unless you say hi first. There is minimal interaction. This is probably a part of the Danish directness.
- Aversion to curtains – Here’s something that I’ve heard other international students mention, so it’s not only me. In bedrooms, there are often no curtains as in my case, or very thin ones. I’ve put up bed linen as a makeshift solution. Not that I’m paranoid, but it can feel like being on a puppet show with no blinds.
- Locks turn the other way – To unlock many doors you have to turn it towards the locking mechanism, which seems counterintuitive.
- When in doubt, wear black – People in Denmark are generally well-dressed and stylish. However, their colour scheme is a bit drab and funereal. This article is the most accurate description of the Danish style that I’ve seen.
- Lack of flash – This sort of ties in with my previous point. It would seem that people tend to try not to stand out. No better place is this illustrated than with cars. It is hard to find new, expensive, luxury cars in Copenhagen. Most people drive little cars.
- Taxis look like police cars – An exception to my previous point is the taxis in Copenhagen. They are mostly new, black, luxury Mercedes. The high taxes mean that price of a used taxi works out to be more than that of a new one.
- Police are liked – I get the feeling that the police are generally well-liked in Denmark. Here’s a funny video of Danish police, but I should note that chicken costumes as a punishment is not standard procedure. It is a relatively safe city. According to the Corruption Perceptions Index 2012, Denmark is the least corrupt country in the world.
- People are pretty happy – Denmark is often crowned as being the world’s happiest nation. A quick Google search will tell you that. This is a topic that I have avoided for a while, because I first wanted to get a sense of it myself. I think that happiness a fluid emotion. It’s an elusive state of mind, and life is dynamic. Despite this, the Danes are a relatively happy bunch.
The time has rushed past, and I’ve had a great experience so far. I intend to fill the spring semester with as much as much as I can. In this article, I’ve touched on many topics that I’d like to explore in the future. But for now, Happy New Year, or Godt Nytår!