The Quirks of Denmark
The little things that make Denmark Danish.
When you move to a new country, you’re always going to experience new aspects of their culture that you may not see in your own home country. Some things are big, like the tax system or language, but then there are all those little nuances that are sprinkled throughout a culture, making it supremely unique. I come from the US, so the perspective of this post will be that of an American, but I’m sure some of the things I’ll list below will be new to you as well.
In the states, it’s typical for your packages to be delivered to your home or apartment building. Most apartments have a mail room where packages are dropped off, so you just go downstairs and pick it up. And if they’re delivering to your home, most times the package is left in front of your door.
In Denmark, most packages are delivered to a secondary location where you need to go and pick them up. The pick-up location can be anywhere from a 5-minute walk away to a 30-minute walk, depending on where you live, the carrier, and if you had the option to pick the location or not. If you have the option to receive your packages at home, most of the time you must be at home to receive them, otherwise your package will be taken to a secondary location.
Fredagsbar (Friday Bar)
Friday bars are the reward Danes give themselves for making it through the week. Most offices and schools have their own Friday bar starting around 16:00. They aren’t technically open to the public, so they’re a great way to unwind with your colleagues and strengthen the social relationships you have with them outside of work. At Aarhus University, each school has at least one Friday bar, although most have more, and they take place in rooms around campus with a bar built into them and room for games and tables to be set up. The drinks are typically much cheaper than if you were to go to a bar in the city center, but each Friday bar has its own pricing and drink options. Some even have food! Well, snacks, not “food” food, you know? Anyway, they’re a great way to hang out with your peers and celebrate the weekend with some drinks, games, and dancing.
Fredag Slik (Friday Sweets)
Okay, so Fridays are clearly a big thing around here and, honestly, I get it! After a long week, it’s nice to enjoy time with friends and family, and what better way than with candy? This tradition doesn’t require much explanation, but essentially Danes try to eat healthily during the week and then while parents enjoy Friday bar, the kids are rewarded with some sweet treats. It’s the Danes’ way of moderating their sugar intake. It’s not a perfect system, but in theory, limiting your sweets to one day a week sounds like a pretty solid plan to me!
Their Love of Candles
Never in my life have I seen such a booming candle industry like I have in Denmark. In nearly every store, there’s a candle section that offers at least a few different heights, colors, and, sometimes, scents of candles. There are always several candle display options available, as well, and in bigger stores there’s an entire candle wall or aisle. This may not sound too odd - after all, candles are popular nearly everywhere. In the states, for instance, big box stores always have a candle aisle, but it’s filled with a multitude of brands and nearly all the candles are scented. Here in Denmark, most of the candles sold are unscented, because the purpose of the candle is not to make the room smell nice, but to make it feel warm and cozy. So, when you’re grabbing your lighter, you’re not just lighting one candle, but several. The goal is to fill the room with the warm glow of the candles and make it feel all hygge, and trust me, it works. I am slowly but surely becoming more and more obsessed with candles, and I think it is truly for the better.
There are many things that make this country unique and I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit more about the quirks of Denmark.