40 things to rather know about Denmark
Wow, you’re coming to Denmark! Lucky you! What an adventure it is gonna be! Country that offers one the of world’s best pastry, gorgeous wide open spaces, brilliant design and a capital full of fairy tale charm where royals still rule and mermaids may swim. But, what is it like to actually live in Denmark? Thinking of moving in and not sure what to expect? Don’t you worry. I will share with you what I have learnt so far while occupying this wonderful land.
#1 Sandwiches are topless, so do some bathers at the beach.
#2 Smørrebrød is must-try food. In translation - buttered bread. But it rarely is. This open-faced sandwich can be topped with anything and everything. Such as pickled herrings. Or potatoes. Or fried fish. Or shrimps with mayonnaise. Or raw beef. Or boiled egg. Or pork. It’s delicious. You should try one. Or two. Or more.
#3 Porridge is a category of cuisine of itself. Big deal.
#4 Bread is dark (in colour). And brown. And grainy and chewy.
#5 Most typical Danish dark rye bread - rugbrød - could be used possibly as a weapon if needed. It’s that dense. But it’s healthy. Danes are proud.
#6 Boiled eggs are popular here. Sliced.
#7 Danish pastry is the best in the world! For me!
#8 When you are about to rent an apartment, be ready to start saving at least one year before. Three-month deposits are most popular, quite high in numbers.
#9 Danes take home decor very seriously. Believe it or not, they are exceptionally good at it!
#10 Do not risk not buying ticket for public transportation. They will find you!
#11 You are not a Dane if not riding a bike. Everyone knows how to ride a bike here. Over 50% of people commute by bike.
#12 Biking is very serious thing here. Do not make fun of it, focus and keep riding.
#13 For God Sake, do NOT walk onto the bike lane without looking. It’s dangerous. For us all.
#14 There are more bicycles than humans in Copenhagen.
#15 Everyone speaks English. Or at least everyone I have ever met here.
#16 The Danglish accent is not definitive. It depends on where the Dane learned English.
#17 Danish lessons used to be free once upon a time. Now you pay. But is totally reasonable and worth it!
#18 Danish language school system is amazing. You will learn even if you don’t want.
#19 To say hello you say hej. Sounds like “hej.” To say goodbye you say hej hej. Or also just hej. Don’t get confused.
#20 Danes' favorite English word is F*#k. No more comment on that.
#21 Danes don’t have a word for please. But they have a thousand ways to say thank you. Tak. Thanks. Tusind tak. A thousand thanks. Mange tak. Many thanks. Tak for sidst. Thanks for the last time. Tak for mad. Thanks for the food. And on and on and on.
#22 Danes are not great at queuing for the bus or train. It’s first come, first serve here.
#23 The wardrobe colour is black. Unless it’s white. Maybe grey, or any shades of grey in fact.
#24 Buying used clothes is popular here. Vintage is better. But when it comes to shoes, those need to be brand new!
#25 You wear your heels while biking. And fur. And dresses and suits. Always in style.
#26 Your Yellow card with CPR number allows you to access to all the wonderful government afforded programs, such as free healthcare. Also getting bank account, gym membership and other -ships.
#27 Your Yellow card is not only your medical card, but your library card, your tax number, your only access to a bank account, a cell phone contract and even an apartment lease. Big brother can track nearly every aspect of your life with that little number. Treat your Yellow card accordingly.
#28 Friday is for candy. So called Fredagslik. Danes have some of the highest consumptions (per capita) of candy in the world.
#29 Black licorice. You either love it or you hate it.
#30 You can buy sweet licorice, salty licorice, licorice caramel, licorice gummies, licorice mints, licorice gum, licorice ice cream, licorice cookies, licorice pastries, licorice cough drops, licorice tea, licorice-flavored nuts, dates with licorice, licorice jam, licorice liqueurs and just plain licorice powder to add to all of your recipes to make them taste like – you guessed it – yeeees licorice!
#31 To battle all that sugar consumption, there is luckily a lot of organic produce readily available. Each grocery store has its own økologisk brand.
#32 Mads Mikkelsen is often on commercials. For Carlsberg for instance. He’s Danish, did you know?
#33 When the sun is out – no matter the season – Danes are outside with faces turned skyward.
#34 This is my favourite: it is not a proper celebration in Denmark if it doesn’t involve kage. Cake.
#35 You are looking for the whole almond in the risalamande at Christmas.
#34 Hygge is a thing! Don’t tell me it’s not!
#35 Candles help to survive the dark winter. But you will end up lighting them all year round anyways.
#36 Winter bathing is a thing here. Even when water temperatures reach freezing. It’s good for the circulation and it makes you Glad i låget ! Happy in the lid ;)
#37 People would not talk to you on the bus. Nor in the metro or train. If some people are talking to each other, they are foreigners for sure.
#38 Danes drink a lot. Just so you know.
#39 You DARE not to put down the divider after your groceries on the belt in the supermarket. Seriously. It’s a rule. That unwritten, that no one tells you.
#40 Danes may seem reserved, cold, private and like a challenge to befriend. But don’t give up. They don’t chat at the grocery store. Or on the train. But once you get to know them, they are super sweet, interesting, warm and crazy generous.
If you wanna know more, read my article about the books recommended on this topic. Click here.