why Danes are so strange
why Danes are so strange

Why do you know about the Danish people? Are Danish strange? Are Danish fun?

The University Post recently collected a list of 119 great stupid questions asked by Copenhagen’s new exchange and guest students.

Funny, honest and some almost obscene, the questions were all about the bizarre customs of the Danish people. Now we’re back. This time with what you find strange

why Danes are so strange
why Danes are so strange


by Anna Meera Gaonkar

International students foreign to the loony whims of Danes were asked to seriously ask stupid questions. At an orientation for new international students, they responded to our stupid question request with some really, well, stupid questions. Could I go to class naked? Why are there so many cows in Copenhagen? How do I get the phone number of the cute University Post editorial assistant?.

We were at another orientation meeting last week. And we asked our new students what they considered strange in Denmark and among Danish natives.

A few of the suggestions are a bit cryptic. So if any of you can come up with explanations or a new interesting discovery, please enlighten the rest of us by giving us a comment in the box below. The strange things that we don’t understand in the newsroom we have marked with (?).

What’s so strange about Copenhagen and the Danes?

  • The weather is really weird and scary!
  • Cheap shots here taste like mouthwash!
  • Babies are left alone in cars and carriages
  • People hang out at the cemetery in their free time, just for the fun of it!
  • All (a lot) of the doors open IN – opposite to Canada!
  • Absolutely nothing about Copenhagen is strange. That’s strange
  • Everyone in Copenhagen is so good looking
  • There’s no “baker – culture” here (?)
  • Danes drink mouthwash
  • Few people kiss at parties – few people dance
  • So many bicycles, but so much glass on the streets…
  • Metros without drivers
  • Boxes in the supermarket when you pay your stuff – where you can throw cans in (?)
  • The Danes only eat bloody hot dogs all the time! (?)
  • Christiania
  • Cyclists bump into you every time you turn a corner!
  • Danes ride their bikes so fast without getting into accidents. How?
  • Too many bicycles around
  • Danish sounds really weird
  • Employees at the Danish Immigration Service actually treat you like a human being! (?)
  • People ride Christiania bikes all over the city. They seem to be quite inconvenient
  • So many Danes ride bicycles, but don’t wear helmets
  • No one ever crosses the red traffic lights, even when no cars or bicycles are coming!
  • Serious issues with the tap water
  • It’s illegal to have someone on the back of your bicycle
  • All Danish girls wear black, only black
  • The bike rules are so hard to learn for foreigners!
  • The Danish transport ticket machines
  • People are so quiet in the public transportation systems
  • You have special roads for bicycles!
  • People are not very particular about locking their bikes
  • Danes and their way of driving! How do you not kill each other in the public traffic?
  • Why don’t you have cottage cheese?
  • The strange little green person on the exit signs
  • It’s so cold and Danes wear so little clothes
  • Danes dislike people from Greenland
  • Getting robbed within one hour of arrival in Denmark
  • Danes have better beer than Germans!
  • Traffic jams with bikes instead of cars!
  • People sing very loudly on their bicycles and ring their bells constantly!

What did you think?

6 COMMENTS

  1. “Boxes in the supermarket when you pay your stuff – where you can throw cans in”

    To explain the purpose of these machines, requires a long explanation than simply a few word. Humor me here:

    When danes buy cans of Soda or Beer (or whatever), a small amount of money is paid BESIDES the original cost of the product. So if I as a dane wanted to buy a bottle of Soda, it would cost be 1$, PLUS 0,5$. This expense is called “Pant” and there is not litteral translation for it. An explanation for this extra cost comes later.

    When I’ve finished my drink, rather than just throw the empty bottle in the streets (as seen all over the world) or in nature, I can return said bottle (or can) to the mentioned machine, and get BACK my 0,5$ that I paid earlier. Which means that I still only paid 1$ for my soda, provided I return the bottle to a machine designed for this purpose.

    As a result of this, seeing bottles and cans along the sidewalk, is not as regular as you might think. Sure it happens, but not very often. Because who wants to throw away money?

    “The Danes only eat bloody hot dogs all the time! (?)”

    This is a relative question, or rather, a personal observation rather than an actual fact. We do eat a lot of hotdogs, yes. Because it’s basically a part of our culture, along with beer, pork, potatoes and so forth.

    In denmark, we have special motorised stands (yes, a wagon with a mount-on engine and a little seat up front), where hotdogs are sold, along with beer, chocolate milk, soda and more. These used to be seen around every single corner, but have become close to extinct, due to various fuel stations offering the same services, for people on the go.

    Fun fact: These wagons are called “Restaurant fodkold” in danish, which means “Restaurant cold feet”, because you cant sit down anywhere.

    “Employees at the Danish Immigration Service actually treat you like a human being! (?)”

    This is largely due to our mindset. In general, the danes as a people, are very friendly, but can seem a bit “foreigner shy” if you please. people who work in places such as immigration service, are REQUIRED to be nice to everyone, regardless of situation, to listen to their “customer” and (this is taken directly from the job description): “Treat others, as you would have the treat you.”

    ——-

    Now, some of these other observations/questions/Statements, I find really really amusing as a dane. Some of them I find weird. However, on in particular sparks my interest…
    “Serious issues with the tap water”
    I don’t understand how that’s… relevant…
    We have some of the BEST water straight out of the tap, as opposed to say.. America, or England. o.O

    If you have any further questions, feel free to ask 🙂

    Sincerely

    A dane.

  2. "So many Danes ride bicycles, but don’t wear helmets"

    to answer the question, it dosen't stand in the law that you need to use a helmet and many use the chance not to use or buy a helmet at all. even though many 'danish' people want's a law for it, for the savety for people or somethin'.

    from a teen in denmark,

  3. From a true Dane,

    Bikes to us, are much better than cars. Most people who live in Copenhagen ride bikes around just for the fun of it, and as to why we can ride them so fast without crashing, we’ve been riding bikes our whole lives.

  4. *The weather is really weird and scary! – Sadly, i cannot deny the weird weather *sigh*
    *Cheap shots here taste like mouthwash! – I wouldn’t know, i don’t drink.
    *Babies are left alone in cars and carriages – We have to much trust in each other.
    *People hang out at the cemetery in their free time, just for the fun of it! – A lot of cemeteries are real pretty actually. A lot of flowers and colors.
    *All (a lot) of the doors open IN – opposite to Canada! – Less chance of smashing the door into the face of the person on the other side.
    *Absolutely nothing about Copenhagen is strange. That’s strange – Now that I think about it..
    *Everyone in Copenhagen is so good looking – I guess this one comes back to preference really.
    *There’s no “baker – culture” here (?)
    *Danes drink mouthwash – No. What the hell, we spit it out like everyone else.
    *Few people kiss at parties – few people dance – I, once again, wouldn’t know.
    *So many bicycles, but so much glass on the street… – Yes. I know, it’s freaking annoying.
    *Metros without drivers – Well.. yeah.
    *Boxes in the supermarket when you pay your stuff – where you can throw cans in (?) –
    *The Danes only eat bloody hot dogs all the time! (?) – N O T H E Y D O N O T J E S U S
    *Christiania – What about it?
    *Cyclists bump into you every time you turn a corner! – I think that’s you not looking properly.
    *Danes ride their bikes so fast without getting into accidents. How? – We’ve cycled all our lives, friend, it gets easier as time goes.
    *Too many bicycles around. – But, isn’t it better than having to many cars around?
    *Danish sounds really weird – Thank you.
    *Employees at the Danish Immigration Service actually treat you like a human being! (?) – Well obviously.
    *People ride Christiania bikes all over the city. They seem to be quite inconvenient – Sometimes- but for the most part they are very convenient.
    *So many Danes ride bicycles, but don’t wear helmets – I’ve seen a lot more people with helmets now, rather than a few years ago.
    *No one ever crosses the red traffic lights, even when no cars or bicycles are coming! – Because Jay-walking is a serious sin.
    *Serious issues with the tap water – What about it.
    *It’s illegal to have someone on the back of your bicycle – I can agree with you there.. it can get a bit annoying.
    *All Danish girls wear black, only bla- N O
    *The bike rules are so hard to learn for foreigners! – LEFT hand up: You’re gonna stop, Hand right: You’re gonna turn right, Hand left: You’re gonna turn left. Anything else?
    *The Danish transport ticket machines – Haven’t seen those machines around for a while
    *People are so quiet in the public transportation systems – Well, not everywhere. But- we honestly just don’t wanna bother you.
    *You have special roads for bicycles! – Yeah. We do.
    *People are not very particular about locking their bikes – Well, I certainly am.
    *Danes and their way of driving! How do you not kill each other in the public traffic? – Years of practice.
    *Why don’t you have cottage cheese? – We have recipes for ’em though.
    *The strange little green person on the exit signs – Really?
    *It’s so cold and Danes wear so little clothes – That’s not all Danes.
    *Danes dislike people from Greenland – WHY DOES EVERYONE THINK WE HATE THEM. WE DON’T.
    *Getting robbed within one hour of arrival in Denmark – I’ve never had that experience.
    *Danes have better beer than Germans! – I don’t drink! : D
    *Traffic jams with bikes instead of cars! – Obviously. Have you SEEN how many bicycles there are?
    *People sing very loudly on their bicycles and ring their bells constantly! – Only if they’re drunk.

  5. “There’s no “baker – culture” here” We most certainly have baker culture in Denmark, we quite literally invented the show “the great bake-off”, and there’s also one or several bakers in most, if not all, towns and cities, plus a formal education to become pastry chefs, and we’ve had baker culture for hundreds of years with an introduction of viennese bakery a hundred or a few years ago, which became so popular that even the Austrians have a word for Danish viennabread “Kopenhagener Plunder”

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