Living in Denmark

lagt inn 22. des. 2011, 14:38 av Tormod Tveiterås   [ oppdatert 2. apr. 2015, 04:32 ]
Being a Norwegian, having lived in Denmark for - more or less - 2 years, I consider myself rather competent for giving some advice on living in Denmark, or Copenhagen to be more specific.

Sections:
The danish way
Danish mathematics
 The danish humor
 Love and affection in Denmark
 Danish Language
 Danish Internet Links


The danish way
Every foreigner coming to Denmark must have noticed how directly and frankly danes tells you that you do not live up to their expectations, if you don't. If you fail in your professional work, you never need to doubt it - you will be told!

This does not mean that danes are unfair, they are just professionals when it comes to negotiations and business behaviour. Many businessmen and -women has come to Denmark, to get beaten up in a business meeting. The best advice I can give is to behave professionally to avoid breaking your neck as you work in Denmark. Behaving professionally means:

1. Never promise anything that you can not deliver!
2. If you promise anything, be shure to deliver.
3. If you can not deliver on time, tell about it.
4. If you can not deliver on time, and you have not told about it - plan to leave the country in a hurry...

Danish matematics
If you speak english, you are lucky if you go to Denmark. For some strange reasons, danes are able to use matematics based on units of 10 when they are speaking english.

The danes has a counting system that is BOTH based on units of 10 and 20. Most danes does not even know about this, so I guess it is in their genes - or in the food. In other countries, we say forty as four-x-ten, fifty as five-X-ten etc. It does not work that way in Denmark. They actually say thirty and forty, but at 50 they shift from basing number on 10 to basing them on 20. 60 is called "tres". That means three-X-20. 80 is "firs", meaning four-X-20.

I do beleive this 20-system comes from the old society of agriculture in Denmark. When farmers sold eggs, a tray of eggs counted 20. This was called "snes", and was an important unit in yesterdays society.

Now, in between thees 20-units they call the numbers "half-20". 50 is called "halv-tres", which means half-way to three-X-20. "Halv-fjers" is 70, half way to 80, "fjers" i.e. four-X-20. 90 (can you beleive it!) is "halvfems", meaning "half-fives", so 100 equals five-X-20.

I have explained this to a number of danes. They did not realise this until I told them!! So, the 20-unit-system is in their spine. I do admire danish teachers that must have a hell of a job to teach these guys such a dual system!

The danish humor
Humor in Denmark is dominated by two major aspects:
1. Use sarcasm & 2. being ironic
Sarcasm is an art in Denmark. If you can make a sarcastic comment to your friend, your work-mate, your spouse (if you dare...) or any other person you meet, - that astonishes, shocks and shakes people that listen to it; feel free to do so - if you are danish. It is a highly appreciated and well developed art that is loved and hated by everybody in Denmark. This is not ment in an evil way, although it may hurt. Naturally they are making their point very clear, but the accompanied sarcasm is not neccesary considered as mean. (It can be, but usually it is not.) By the elegance the "sarcasm artists" uses their language, you can not be hurt. You will have to admire their colourful way of using their language - if you understand it. Many danes uses sarcasm when they speak english, too, so you will probably meet it.

If they start making jokes with you, as a foreigner, be happy! This means that you are accepted, - you are one of the guys! They just show their love and affection for you that way.

Love & affection in Denmark
Now, that's an other issue! The way "Love and affection" works in Denmark is just amazing. "Well, what does this Tormod know about this??!" you may ask. ...you may well ask...

I may not have experienced too much about this myself (but who knows?), but I am an observer, and I have noticed A LOT about this while staying in Denmark.

First of all: I would have loved to be a child of a danish mother!
I have heard mothers talking to their kids in various situations: While walking on the street, in the bus, or when they talk to their kids on the phone. They use worlds like "lille skat" which means "little treasure". They use a voice that is so soft and caring, that their affection for the kid just creeps through the phoneline and into the little kids ear. "Take care, my little treasure! I will be home for dinner." "Have you done the shopping for me? You are so sweeet."
-WOAW! What a gift it is to have a danish, caring and loving mother!

Than secondly: Danish men talks to their beloved ones with another voice
This is really strange, but most danish men I know totally changes their voice when talking to their girlfrends, wifes or mistresses ("Now how do you know that..."). I hear this when they talk to their beloved ones on the phone. The pitch changes, they tend to use an extremely soft voice, and they are almost singing a lullaby. I do not know how this affects their women ("I do not understand girls"), but I do beleive it really hits them. Frankly, I do beleive danish men could give cources around the world, teaching other men how to talk to women.

And finally: How does girls communicate "love & affection" in Denmark?
I have no idea!
(If you are not my wife, click here Database 'Dingja-Web', View 'Innholdsider', Document 'Men hvorfor?')

Danish language
If you speak english, be happy! If you speak a nordic language like norwegian or swedish, you will probably be able to understand some danish. It takes some time to adjust to the strange danish sounds, but the words (if you are able to hear them...) are really quite understandable. Reading danish and understanding a lot of it will be a surprise to people speaking english.

Do not plan to learn it! Even the danish says that it is one of the most difficult languages in the world. The reason is their very specific danish sounds. They use for instance a voiced "d", like no one else does.

Some links that can come in handy:
www.aok.dkAOK means All About Copenhagen. Where to find hotels, restaurants, concerts etc.
www.billetnet.dk/If you need tickets to concerts, this is the place to look! It even has an english service!
www.mojo.dkMojo is THE Blues Club in Copenhagen. Live music every night from 21:30 (or 22:30, when the evening concert starts). If you can stand Blues, you just have to go there!
www.ht.dkHT is the name of the yellow buses in Copenhagen. If you want to find out the timetables or the routes, its all there.
www.krak.dkKrak makes fabulous maps of Denmark. Their web-site is excellent for finding adresses (you need to know the FULL address, though), and planning routes from A to B. A must for travellers, even for the danes!
www.degulesider.dkIf you for instance need a number to a mobilephone, the Yellow Pages comes in very handy. I have not found an english version, but "Mobilbogen" means mobile phones, and name=Navn in danish. You should be able to figure out the rest...
www.dba.dk"Den Blå Avis" is - unfortunately - in danish only. It is a fantastic newspaper/website for selling and buying stuff. And I mean STUFF: Used cars, sailboats, furniture, musical instruments, etc. etc.
http://www.nada.kth.se/skandlexikon/Norsk-dansk-svensk ordbok
A very useful translation service between the nordic languages. (Not very useful for english speaking persons...)
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