Living in a foreign country allows you to truly experience the culture and their everyday way of life. Here are facts and funny, odd, random things my husband and I have learned and experienced while living in Denmark.
- Copenhagen has officially been ranked the safest city in the world by The Economic Times this past Aug
- There is a 25% vat tax on everything you purchase. I will never complain about the prices in the United States. In 2020, Denmark was ranked 5th on a list of the most expensive countries in the world for living costs. Needless to say, I do not do much shopping over here.
- Riding bikes is a way of life. You arent able to fully understand until you experience it. There are bike lanes with stop lights and you can get a ticket for not following the proper bike riding rules. More than 50% of Copenhageners cycle to and from work every day. Denmark has more than twice the amount of bicycles then cars.
- In the summer months Denmark gets roughly 17.5 hours of sunlight per day!
This really messes with me, and the birds. Even when it gets dark you can still see a bit of light in the horizon. I would wake up to go to the bathroom and I think it was at least 8-9am when it actually was 4am.
- The winter makes up for the sunlight in the summer months with only 7 hours of sunlight per day.
- The weather in Denmark:
July - High: 72 °F Low: 56 °F
This past June the weather was between 75-82 degrees and my phone sent me an "extreme heat warning" I thought it was pretty comical. But, most people in Denmark do not have air conditioning so it did make the houses pretty warm.
January - High: 38 °F Low: 31 °F
Denmark will occasionally see snow in the winter but it isn't as common as you would think it would be. But, I was informed last week that the ponds/lakes freeze over and in the winter you can ice skate on them. That sounds pretty cold to me? I have never lived here during the winter months but it sounds like it is more like a constant cold that then causes the ground to freeze.
- Size comparison, Denmark is a little less than twice the size of Massachusetts
- "Hej" - Pronounces "Hi" means both hello and goodbye.
-"Hej" - Hello "Hej Hej" - Goodbye
- One of the most popular drinks in Denmark is called "Cocio" - It is glorified chocolate milk that comes in a glass bottle.
- Mayonnaise is a popular dipping sauce. At first I found this odd, but now I am kind of partial to it. Next time you eat McDonalds French fries try it with mayonnaise.
- A very common gift for any occasion is a bouquet of flowers. There are flower shops on every corner and even some in the metro stations.
- The drinking culture here is incomparable. The legal age to purchase alcohol is 16. Many children start drinking before this age. Beer is consumed like water, and roughly costs the same. You also can open carry. We see people drinking on the train and one of our friends said he even had someone walk into his college class with a beer. I was siting in Starbucks and a man walked in with a beer in his hand.
- Everyone speaks English. Well mostly everyone. Starting at the age 3-5 years old up to 9 years old children are taught English. Then from the age of 7 and onward they are also taught additional foreign languages, usually German or French. The Danish langue is unforgiving, in the way that you have to perfectly pronounce something in Danish or they wouldn't be able to understand you.
- You can turn in your plastic bottles for money. If you save your plastic bottles, you can turn them in at the grocery store and a receipt will be printed that is equivalent to money and it will be discounted when you check out at the grocery store.
- It is not a common thing to see people out in public working with a computer. The only place you will ever see anyone working would be in a coffee shop.
- Everyone wears headphones. Walking through the city I think 1 out of 3 people you see has headphones on.
- People leave their babies outside the store in their strollers while they shop in the store. This is something I dont think I will ever understand, but if you talk to a Dane they dont' see anything wrong with it. The city is so safe that is it not an uncommon sight to see a stroller occupied by a baby sitting outside of a shop with no parent close by. While discussing the topic, someone made the comment, "Why would you want a baby interrupting your shopping experience."
- It is very common for couples to be together for years and have multiple children before they get married.
- There are more "Expresso House's" and "Joe The Juice's" than there are Starbuck
- McDonalds is way better in Denmark than in the US. I never even think about eating McDonalds in the states, but here we eat it once if not twice a week.
- The Danes don't call their pastries Danishes.
- The basic most popular danish food is called smørrebrød - it is an open face sandwich on dark brown bread.
- Majority of the Danes are very tall. There is a reason the nortic countries are known for Vikings. On my husband's football team he has had multiple players that are 6'8 or close to it. Walking around the city you will notice even the women are tall!
- There are 19 famous castles in Denmark.
- College is free in Denmark (thanks to the taxes) and not only is it free, college students also get paid to go to school. If you live in your own apartment while you are in college you will receive more money to help cover rent.
- Most people don't shop for groceries for a long period of time. It is more common to grocery stop for only 1 or 2 days worth of groceries.
- Smoking cigarettes is still a pretty popular thing over here. You hardly ever see people smoking in the states but in Denmark teenagers start to smoke at 14-15 years old.
- The Danish alphabet has additional letters in it than the English alphabet does.
- Cinnamon Shower - If you turn 25 and are an unmarried man you get a cinnamon shower on your birthday which is your friend just throwing pounds of cinnamon on you? Strange.
- Most of the bathrooms throughout Denmark are shared by all genders. This took me some getting used too, but it isn't that strange after all. The bathrooms that are shared the toilet area is its own separate room/stall then everyone just uses the same sinks. Make sure you don't assume every bathroom is shared, I have made that mistake and had to run out realizing I was in the mens bathroom.
- The bathroom light switch is outside of the bathroom. This doesnt make sense to me. How many siblings do you think turn off the bathroom light while someone is in the shower?
- Danes think that driving longer than 30 minutes is a far distance. They are baffled over the idea of a 4+ hour road trip. Denmark is such a small country it doesn't take that long to get around and the Danes are used to existing in their area and not really going far beyond it. We had to travel 2.5 hours to an away game in Jutland and you would have thought we were traveling for 10 hours.
These are some random, odd, funny things I noticed while living here. Don't quote me on these facts and I am not saying every Dane feels all of these things. But really, Denmark is one of the best cities in the world. I highly recommend visiting and experiencing the culture.