Fun Facts / Things I’ve Learned!
I’ve been in Copenhagen for exactly two months now. It’s safe to say that I’m pretty comfortable in this city. Don’t get me wrong, I still find myself being pushed outside of my comfort zone and sometimes I am overly aware of cultural differences. Here are some key things I’ve noticed about Denmark and Copenhagen lifestyles:
- Danes love danishes! That was just for alliteration, but by danishes I mean all pastries: croissants, chocolate croissants, almond croissants, cinnamon rolls (kanelsnegl’s), which come in chocolate versions, flødebolle (fluffy marshmallow on a wafer, covered in chocolate or caramel), fastelavnsbolle, cakes, muffins, cookies, tartes. You get it.
- Danes love coffee. Cafe’s galore. But they don’t come cheap :/
- At first glance, it seems that everyone in Copenhagen either works in Design or Architecture. Both of which the Danes are very proud of, and have a very distinct style. You can tell from simply walking by the many businesses, hearing about the Opera house, and visiting the Black Diamond Library (which connects to Christianborg Palace). If you visit the very popular Design Museum, you will see the famous chair room (see featured image). They say, “The chair is the piece of furniture that is closest to human beings. It touches and reflects the body that sits on it, with arms, legs, seat and back. It is a designer’s touchstone and design history’s favorite object. And the chair is one of the most culture-bearing design objects.”
- Be on time! This was learned in part through my Danish Communication and Culture class. The Danes start on time. If you’re running late, let the host know. If you’re early, take a lap and come back when you’re supposed to.
- Pedestrians wait for the light to change. There is very little jay-walking compared to the US, and especially New York City, which is what I’m most familiar with. This varies in other European cities, but in Cope, people will look at you a little funny if you walk while the man is red. Exception: late at night. Because it’s too cold for that…
- It’s very cold. It’s quite windy. We don’t see much sun here. It’s a big day when we do.
- You know biking is a thing. Everyone knows this. Get a bike. Get gloves. Good to go.
- Brunch! One of my favorite things. There aren’t many breakfast places, if any. But brunch is everywhere, even tiny coffee shops. Often it consists of a bunch of small plates: yogurt, bread and butter, a fried egg, various cheeses and meats. Yum!
- Social trust is huge. There’s a story about a Danish woman who went to NYC and left her sleeping child in a stroller outside a cafe. Even though she could see the stroller from the window, someone called the police. She tried to tell the police that this was common in Denmark (I personally have seen it several times), and people trust one another enough to do this, without fear of kidnapping. I could go on about this story, and other similar ones, but for now I’ll leave it at that.
- Take it slow. Life moves slower here than in the US, however, there is still little to no stress. Schedules are not overpacked and moments are savored (see: hygge). There is a time for anything that is required of you, and if there isn’t, you have too much on your plate.
I’ve loved experiencing this in my daily life, and I hope to keep it with me when I leave!