A few month ago I wrote an article about what I have learned about Denmark and I got a lot of positive, kind and funny responses – both from expats and Danes. A lot of people made similar experiences about Jutland or the Swedish “hate-love without the love” situation; and Danish readers wrote me, that they really liked to see their culture and habits from an international perspective.
I had fun writing the first post – so here is part no. 2: What else have I learned about the country of LEGO and MAERSK?
Walking through the streets, I figured that many houses and apartments in Denmark don’t have curtains or blinds to block the view. The windows are wide open and no one seems to mind that everyone can look into their home from outside and see what they are doing or watching. It might be less common in inner Copenhagen, but if you are taking a walk through the streets of the suburbs, a small Danish city or village, you can see into almost every house and flat from outside.
Personally, I think it is a very strange thing. In my parent’s house in Bremen, we have thin, but not transparent curtains on every window facing the streets and we keep them close during day and night.
Maybe I am just too curious or a bit creepy, but I can’t help but look into strangers houses if there are no curtains (and every now and then I see some inspirational interior – maybe that is why they keep their home so “open”). Right now, I can see my neighbor cooking dinner – I dont know what to do with this information, but hey – it looks delicious 😀
Just a small thing I realized throughout the past year. In Denmark you are not in a relationship with someone but you are “boyfriend/girlfriend with somebody”. It is a direct translation from Danish and all of my Danish friends use this expression out of habit. Some of them never thought twice about it until I mentioned it 🙂
no-name or brands
There might be a certain pattern in Danish shopping behavior: many Danes really, really like brands. Whether its clothing, interior or accesoires: they are willing to pay double or even more for a branded instead of a no name product. It is not necessarily better quality, but it’s more about the image than the material. Of course there are exceptions, but most of my guy friends and my boyfriend can pay up to 400kr for a plain white T-shirt with a small “Minimum” or “Revolution” logo on it. It doesn’t look different from a H&M T-Shirt to me.
Dubbed movies are a joke
As a German, I never ever questioned the fact that movies are translated and dubbed with German voices. I never thought it is weird that Leonardo DiCaprio (YEAY he finally won an Oscar!), Ryan Reynolds and Jamie Foxx have the same “German voice” in their movies – a young man called Gerrit Schmidt-Foss is the voice-over for all three actors. My friend and I use to make it a game to figure out which other actor share the same voice.When I lived in France, Harry Potter spoke French as well and it was no big deal for me.
It wasn’t until I moved to Denmark when I realized that it is not common to synchronize the movies. Every American blockbuster in the cinemas or International tv series is shown in English with Danish subtitles. Only children movies and cartoons are synchronized. My Danish friends make fun of the fact that actors have a “German” voice; it’s hideous and a lot of jokes get lost in the translation. That might also be one of the reasons why Danes speak excellent English and the majority of Germans have difficulties to get rid of their accents.
Credit cards and mobilpay
Denmark is a cashless country – and I love it! You can pay nearly everywhere with your credit or debit card, no matter how small the amount is. You don’t even need cash to pay your taxi and at the stand of your local market – you can swipe or transfer money directly with your phone. It’s so convenient. I was used to carry cash all the time in Germany, since a lot of (smaller) shops won’t accept cards or there is minimum amount of 10€ before they accept it. Now I only need either my phone or my card to pay and there is no reason to carry kilos of coins around (and probably lose them).
What I haven’t learned yet
according to the 3 parking tickets I got with my work car during the last months, I still haven’t learned to park right in inner Copenhagen. But maybe that’s because I am Asian and I am bad at driving. 😉
I still discover new habits and things about Denmark on a regular basis and I am sure, there will be a part 3 in a few months 🙂 Which experiences have you made and which things might be strange for you but not for Danes? This is Part 1 of What I have learned about Denmark.
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