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There are no outstanding tourist attractions in Denmark, and from a sightseeing perspective only Copenhagen is really interesting. On the other hand, the country itself is extremely pleasant: everything works like clockwork, and the country’s wealth seems to have been distributed more evenhandedly than elsewhere. The people are attractive, and Danish families are extremely photogenic. Everything is very civilized, and it’s easy to envy their lifestyle: everyone looks happy. The only irritations were the prices, but Dances themselves earn a lot of money, so for them it’s less of a problem.” (Andreas, 2018)

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“Of Copenhagen we saw nothing besides the airport – our focus this time was on Jutland. We rented our car from the Copenhagen Car Rental Centre, which can be reached by shuttle bus from the airport, but the shuttle bus itself isn’t easy to find. From Terminal 3 you have to head for the metro station beside the ticket counter, then go over an overpass. The shuttle bus station is at the bottom of the steps.

There are no tolls on Danish motorways. It’s worth buying online tickets in advance for the more important ferries (for example for the Odde Sjaellands-Arhus stretch on the Copenhagen-Arhus route). The website is exclusively in Danish, but not impossible to figure out. One important point is that where it asks for your car license plate, you have to write RENTAL CAR. The route from Odense to Copenhagen takes you over the third largest bridge in the world. The ferry and the bridge each cost 25 kroner (3,60 USD).

Denmark is at least as expensive as Iceland. You have to pay for water in restaurants (if you don’t buy another drink as well) so there’s an obligatory drinks charge.

A kebab with fries is 85 kroner (12 USD), a cheap pizza is 109 kroner (16 USD), a main course in a café is 165-185 kroner (24-27 USD), and a main course in a restaurant is around 240-280 kroner (35-41 USD). Soup, dessert and a glass of wine are around 85 kroner (12 USD).

Most Danes, in my experience, are friendly, cheerful, open and happy to help.

Aarhus, Aalborg and Odense are all pleasant towns, and each is worth stopping in for a couple of hours. There are also some areas of beautiful coastline in the north, including Løkken Beach and the Rubjerg Knude Fyr, a lighthouse.

The Djurs Sommerland theme park is world-class – a really top attraction, and worth visiting for a whole day with children of any age. An unlimited day pass costs 295 kroner (43 USD).
(bld, 2019)


Practicals

Transport

Gasoline (1 liter/0.26 US gallon): 1.61 USD

,, Most Danes don’t dare cross a pedestrian red light even on trafficless streets, in the middle of the night, and they’ll surely give tourists a  sour look if they do.  

Denmark used to have Uber, which was quite a benefit for visitors who couldn’t afford the excessive taxi rates, but the Danes quickly put an end of it, judging that Uber wasn’t “following the rules.” (2020)

Excellent safe cycle paths everywhere.

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“If, by chance, you’re driving to Denmark, it’s worth knowing that the highways are toll-free, but in addition to the ferries, you also have to pay to cross most of the larger bridges (!!)

Driving standards have, apparently, declined markedly over the past ten-fifteen years, and drivers sometimes behave stupidly, which is irritating. This isn’t a fully developed highway culture of the sort you find in Germany, for instance. (Mark)

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Denmark - Aaalburg - public bus

Denmark - penny-farthing (also known as a high wheel) bike - o.t. photo

Denmark - bicyles on train - j.i. fotója

Food

Three-course meal for 2 People in a mid-range restaurant (in 2020): 85 USD

“Walking in Denmark, and search for something fast, typical, local or even unique to eat, a strange word keeps cropping up: Smørrebrød. This literally means ‘butter bread’, and just about anyone, if given good quality bread, butter and salt, could make some good buttered bread, but smørrebrød means more than that. Much more.

According to the standard definition, smørrebrød is an open sandwich with a range of toppings: fried meat, charcuterie, marinated or smoked fish, mussels, egg, vegetables and mayonnaise, chives or cucumber, all generously applied. Its history goes back to the Viking era, when bread was eaten with meat and onions. By the Middle Ages this had already been augmented with butter or fat, and by the 1700s the townspeople of Denmark were already making open sandwiches with butter and a range of toppings. The word smørrebrød was first recorded by Holberg in 1731, by which point this Danish specialty had already been noticed abroad.

Smørrebrød is also the art of recycling leftovers, as the Danes are known to be grand masters of recycling. With some leftover boiled potatoes, fried meat, herring, boiled eggs, pickles and mayonnaise, and just a little style, you can transform a slice of bread into a gourmet snack.

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“The Danes are very at home with meat dishes, but they also serve everything with a side salad – even lasagna and burgers. They also drink a lot of coffee, which they brew weak, but make up for this in the sheer volume they consume.

There are three main fast-food chains in Denmark: McDonalds, Burger King and Sunset Boulevard. Besides these there are a wide range of sandwich bars (these are run by Danes) and kebab shops (these are run by Turks and Arabs), where you can get pizza too.

Old-style diners, however, don’t really seem to exist, and nor do those little restaurants with a set daily menu offering just one or two options per course, like you still get in some parts of Europe. The fact is, though, that’s exactly the sort of joint which could succeed in the city center, where there are lots of tourists looking for something quick, inexpensive and hot around lunchtime.
In terms of cookies and pastries, there isn’t much of a selection, but what they do make is delicious.




Denmark - chicken with redcurrant

Denmark - Danish Smørrebrød - g.b. photo

Denmark - picturesque shrimp sandwich - j.i. photo

Shopping

Denmark is more expensive than Sweden.

Public safety

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Denmark - police

Denmark - Aalborg - Jens Bang's House - bike cops - v.g. photo

Health

Be aware that aquavit (a destilled spirit) can sneak up on you, so do not drink to excess.

Background

Denmark - national flag - Danes call it 'Dannebrog' ('Danish cloth') - This is the oldest, continuously used national flag, adopted in 1625.

Destination in brief

Denmark in brief 

Denmark is one of the Scandinavian countries, located in Northern Europe. Its only overland neighbor is Germany (to the south).

Size: 43,100 km² (16,573 mi²)

Population: 5,7 millions (2019)

Capital city: Copenhagen 

Denmark is a kingdom, a constitutional monarchy (the king cannot independently perform political acts).

Denmark is a member of the European Union.

The world’s largest island, Greenland, is an autonomous Danish territory. The distance between the two is 2,932 kilometers (1,822 miles).

Official language: Danish (among the Scandinavian languages, Norwegian is closest to it

According to Swedes, the Danish language is like someone is trying to speak while suffering from a throat illness or being unable to swallow their saliva or, another version, while having a hard-boiled egg stuck in their throat that they are trying to get out. 

On a more serious note, Norwegians and Swedes find it easy to understand written Danish, but the spoken one less so. Norwegian and Swedish languages are closer to each other than they are to Danish. The Danes have a somewhat easier time understanding Swedish and Norwegian. For a non-Scandinavian, it is more challenging to learn the Danish pronunciation than either the Swedish or the Norwegian one

Most frequent surname: Jensen 

Currency: Danish krone (DKK)

Average net monthly salary: 2700 USD (2019)

According to some surveys, the people of Denmark are the happiest in the world. 

Denmark is a very safe country with a low crime rate. 

April and May are the rainiest months of the year. 

Most interesting tourist attractions: Copenhagen, Cathedral of Roskilde, Kronborg Castle (Helsingør)

Stereotypes about the Danish people: 

Some say that Danes do not really like foreigners, though they seldom admit that openly (the “PC police” are everywhere). They do not like Germans because of the occupation during the war, have no sympathy for the Swedes because they are neurotically meticulous, Muslims are suspicious because they keep themselves culturally separate, and Eastern Europeans are undercutting local workers by providing cheap labor. 

Danes do not need a rich work-day vocabulary as they do not see a need for having more than one way to say something. 

  

Geography

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Denmark - Fynn island - typical landscape - Magdalena photo

Denmark - dunes - b.e. fotója

Climate

3 months of winter and 9 months of bad weather

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“Fortunately, Denmark isn’t as damp and misty as Britain – or at least not for most of the year. That’s not to say that highs of 15°C in July aren’t conductive to autumnal mists, but at least in winter the temperature drops to freezing point, which reduces the moisture in the air. In any case, any fogs that come don’t last for long – they’re soon blown away by the frequent gale-force winds.

Be in no doubt – if it wasn’t for the cold and the strong, continual gales, Denmark would definitely be cold and damp all year round. It is precisely from the Jutland peninsula and its surrounding islands that the English – hardly the most demanding when it comes to weather – decided to decamp to Britain.

It is a telling fact that in the world of Danish mythology, swamps are considered sacred places. The anthem of Christian Denmark celebrates a ‘lovely land with spreading, shady beech trees, near a salty eastern shore. Its name is ancient Denmark, and it is Freya’s hall.’


History

“Despite an embarrassingly lackluster history, the Danes remain proud of their past, and I don’t intend to mock that pride – after all, it’s only been a little over a thousand years since they were the scourge of Northern Europe. It must be strange to live in a land where, apart from the odd storm, nothing much really happened for centuries at a time – it’s why they’ve been forced to create a national mythology which turns Denmark’s history into a sort of ‘sleeping beauty’ story. The Jellling Viking Memorial commemorates the deeds of Harald Bluetooth, the first king to ever unite Denmark, and is a world heritage site. In its physical form, it looks like an 11th century graveyard next to a chapel about the size of a pigsty.

Other famous places are also connected to famous people. The former royal ‘palace’ is linked to the only Dane whom educated people around the world are sure to be familiar with: sprung from the brain of an English writer, he stands as a tragic figure with a skull in his hand, unable throughout his life to decide at last whether it is better to be or not to be.

In the casemates of the same castle, Kronborg, is a statue of Ogier the Dane. This mythical figure – most Danish heroes are fictional – was reputedly a knight of Charlemagne, and they say he will rise from his slumbers to protect his people when they are in greatest danger.”

Nowadays

“Denmark… the world’s happiest country. A country where pedestrians, motorists and cyclists all smile at you, and you smile back, feeling better about the world. Nobody hurries, and everyone is calm and cheerful.”

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“We spent most of our time on the Jutland (Jylland) Peninsula. Walking the streets of the historic towns, what strikes us most is that everywhere there are flowers, flowers, flowers! All are beautiful and well-tended. It seems that when they lay cobbled streets, they even leave spaces to plant roses. The buildings, meanwhile, are generally painted bright, vibrant colors. Many of these houses are built around courtyards, and the front gates are left open, meaning you can wander inside and admire the neat flowerbeds of roses or hollyhocks, which give these yards a really homely feeling.

In most places we saw people sitting on street benches or in their gardens, chatting and relaxing, not rushing about. Even in the bigger cities, like Sønderborg and Aarhus, the sheer number of flowers is very impressive. The difference between the bigger and smaller settlements on Jutland is that the centers of the smaller towns are made up almost exclusively of historic buildings, while the larger cities are a mix of the old and the modern, giving them a more twenty-first century feel. As in Holland, instead of putting up curtains in their windows, they prefer to decorate their windowsills with flowers or pretty porcelains. (2017)

People

An average Dane might be a bit more wait and see before opening-up.

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“We Danes tend not to be too fond of the Germans, since they invaded us in the Second World War, but we do like working with them in industry and business, since they’re so hard-working and precise. We’re even less fond of the Poles, since they come here and work for very little, pushing down wages. Many Danes feel that by working for less, they’re stealing our jobs. The Swedes and the Norwegians are our brothers, so we like them, though like brothers we’re always in competition with one another. The problem with the Swedes is that whenever they come over to Denmark, they immediately drink themselves stupid, because alcohol costs less here. Apparently, the Swedes and Norwegians consider us Danes to be incorrigible chatterboxes, and it’s true at least that on the international stage we talk a lot about global warming and other crises, trying to raise our voices so that even a tiny country such as ours is heard.” (Uffe)

Tourist etiquette

1. Danes obey the rules and seem to get baffled when foreigners do things like jaywalking and littering. So please don’t do it.

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What are Danes tired of explaining?

Our taxes aren’t ruining us.
It’s Finland that isn’t part of Scandinavia, not Denmark.
Viking helmets did not have horns.
Viking was an occupation. Someone who went Viking was a Viking, and very few Scandinavians were Vikings
We’re not homogeneous.
Not everyone is tall, blond, and, or muscular.
It’s tough to fool the government to give you welfare, so you don’t even have to work.

(a.s., 2021)

Gastronomy

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Denmark - Rødgrød med fløde - Red berry pudding (here with almond gratings) - a very popular Danish dessert - g.b. photo

Denmark - artistically composed shrimp sandwich - j.i. photo

Attractions

Denmark - idyll

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