How to befriend with Danes-2: ‘Learn to discuss, not to debate’

‘Thank you very much’ to every reader of this blog. Thank you for your encouraging and praiseworthy comments on my previous posts. Before moving further, let me also clarify matter related to view points presented here. Each blog posts is based on my personal observations, experiences, and research. Such experiences may differ from person to person. Therefore I advise every reader to read my write-ups in the same way. Consider them as a supportive guide, not a definite rule to follow.

Last time, I discussed about the importance of being patient, while attempting to befriend with Danes. In this post, I will talk about importance of having fruitful discussions in increasing rapport with Danes. We can judge by a simple example.

I was sitting in a regular meeting of BEST (Board of European Students of Technology) chapter at DTU(Technical University of Denmark). We were discussing about an upcoming engineering competition. At one point, a native Danes said, ‘In Denmark, we love to discuss but not to debate’. It is not about arguing endlessly after taking one side, but trying to arrive on mutually agreeable opinions covering every side. It reduces the conflict and decision made at the end is acceptable to everyone. Not just about discussion with classmates, I experienced this phenomenon very much true during most of my interactions with Danes.

Being an avid reader of many different areas of life, I often found a common ground to interact with Danes. Danes are always curious to know, what a foreigner feel about their country. This can also be true for each one of us about our own countries. Often, this gave me possibility to initiated a conversation which, then lasted for a very longer duration.

Majority of Danes love to have a discussion about range of topics. For example, apart from interacting about chemical engineering; I discussed about Africa, Danish Film Industry, and Denmark’s position in EU with my university professor. Many Danes have good knowledge in range of fields. You may be wondering, why it is like that. There are some obvious answers.

Danish people travels a lot. There is very high chance to meet many Danes in Denmark, who have recently been to your native land. Danish economy counts on knowledgeable society as its biggest asset. Apart from traveling around the world, Danes also have a very good understanding of world affairs. Very high penetration of Internet and high individual usage of internet reflect this trend. They also have a reasonably clear picture of their government standing in important matters. This can also be true for employees of small firms aware of their management plans.

Forget about everything I have said so far; even during the ordinary meetings, Danes try to arrive on any decision through the process of consensus building. That is, through the process of discussion. Even if someone argus, it is not about creating conflict. It is rather more about raising opinions. Opinion of every individual present in the meeting is honored before arriving on final decision. This is contrary to top-down approach of decision making in some other places of the world. So, learn to have your opinion in matters not just related to your professional life, but also related to other areas of life. Because in Denmark, Danes love to hear your opinions.

What to discuss with Danes? Well, this is a very difficult question to answer. At the start, Danes may look bit reserved in communicating their ideas with a new person. Later, they become pretty straight forward in commenting, suggesting and even criticizing the view point. I found some people did not like fun-filled ways of commenting on others viewpoints. It is not about hurting someone but just the way of communicating opinion in slightly lighter manner. So, ff you are a sensitive person with less inclination to accept such approach in communication, then may be you can refrain from discussing topics sensitive to you.

It can be difficult to break ice with Danes. First patience and then ability to have your say in different matters will make you closer to them. In the next post, I will talk about some other interesting aspect of living comfortably in Denmark and socializing with Danes. Stay tuned!

Disclaimer: This entire post is based on my personal experiences.And it has to be read in the similar context.

By Ankit Khandelwal • November 30, 2015
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How to befriend with Danes-1: Eat the ‘patience’ pill first

[This is the first in the series of posts, where I will share some of my personal experiences on how to befriend with Danes]

During my stay in Denmark, I have often come across the question on how to make friendship with Danish people. I was aware about the reserve nature of Danish people even before moving to Denmark. I have studied a lot about the German culture during my IT job and somehow pre-assumed that Danish culture could be similar. I am an extrovert person in nature and easily engage into conversation with others. Coming from the society where being social is like a habit, I knew that is always need a little bit of extra work to work in different culture.
So, then I was in Denmark and how things went well? This series will talk about it.

First and foremost, you need to have a lot of patience to have a friendship with Danes. They are very open in normal and initial conversation but friendship is different than regular normal conversations.

I have already started my master studies at Technical University. And we used to go to Copenhagen sometime for a little walk or hanging out with other friends.During one such day, one of the person of our department suddenly found us roaming around the round tower in Copenhagen. He is in the same department as mine apart form the fact that he and his group members are were researchers and I was just a master graduate student Still, there is something particular about Denmark is no hierarchy while socializing. You can speak to anyone without difficulties.

Let’s get back to our topic. They invited me to join them for a coffee and I agreed for it. We sat in a coffee and I sat next to a Danish person. He was also a researcher, although he did not belong to the same research group as mine but working in the same department building. I had a very interesting conversation with him for over 2 hours related to many things especially about Denmark and how individual people are named in Denmark. He was very pleased to know about my curiosity of learning Danish of my own.

Our meeting ended, weekend was over and all of us returned back to our usual day to day schedule. I have seen this person again after 3 days, as usual I have raised my hand, waved it a bit and said hi with smile. He did not reply at all. ‘Really?’ How come a person do have such a short term memory? It was just 3 days and we had 2 hours long conversation over a coffee. In my mind, I thought may be Danes like to keep private and personal life separate, so may be if I meet him again in an informal setting, he will open up? Like the last time.

Anyway, it happened 2-3 time again as he work in the same building where my department is located. I did it again as usual this is my habit to just casual hi. In the 3rd time, he reply saying hi and did ask, how I am doing, how I am finding Denmark winter etc.

Somehow, I have realized that this is what needed to befriend with Danes. Keep trying for more time until they are able to open up. I had several interactions with my friends (youngsters) in Denmark about this phenomenon. They said to me that it is very normal. Majority of the Danes are not do not know how to open up to foreigners. Either they are shy or either they are too comfortable with their Danish friends.

So, whatever the case may be, you do know that befriending with Danes just requires slightly different approach. You need to have a lot of patience initially and once you are able to establish a good level of trust, you can have Danes as a friend for your entire life. I will talk more about it in my next blog post.

Disclaimer: This entire post is based on my personal experiences.And it has to be read in the similar context.

By Ankit Khandelwal • October 19, 2015
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Copenhagen: Served excellent example to make my home town an Eco-friendly place


I have learn a lot of new things during my stay in Denmark. One of the most important was cycling. I was amazed to see that many people use cycle on the daily basis and there are special paths build for them. I thought, something similar can be done my hometown Kota, Rajasthan, India also. When I was taking an online course from University of Pennsylvania as part of my Zero Cost MBA(Envisioning 21st century global manager) project, I have taken Copenhagen cycling as a case study and tried to present an idea of replicating some elements of it in my home town. Recently it has got huge push in local media as well as among the civic authorities. I thought, I could share this with you here.

(The article appeared in the local media is in Hindi. I have translated the article for you in English, which you can read below. You can also read the assignment submitted as part of the online course, which has served an inspiration for this article).

dainik bhaskar

साइकिलिंग के मामले में कोटा देश के लिए नजीर बन सकता है। कोटा के कोचिंग इलाके में ही रोजाना लगभग 50 हजार साइकिल चलती हैं। इससे प्रतिदिन लगभग 7 हजार लीटर पेट्रोल की बचत होती है। इसके बावजूद शहर में कहीं भी साइकिल के लिए डेडिकेटेड ट्रैक नहीं है। पर्यावरण और स्वास्थ्य के लिहाज से देश-दुनिया के कई बड़े शहरों में भी साइकिलिंग के लिए अलग ट्रैक बने हुए हैं। भास्कर ने इस मुद्दे पर एक्सपर्ट्स से बात की तो सामने आया कि कोचिंग एरिया में साइकिल ट्रैक आसानी से बन सकता है।

Kota can become a shining example for the country in terms of cycling. Around 50,000 people commute daily through cycling in the coaching areas of Kota. It saves approximately 7000 liters of daily. Even then also, there is no dedicated track anywhere in the city for cycles. Many cities in country and abroad have separate cycling tracks to keep environment and health in check. Bhaskar has spoken with experts on this issue and got the conclusion that it is very easy to make a cycle track in coaching areas.

केवल अतिक्रमण हटाने भर से निकल सकता है रास्ता
इसके लिए जितनी जगह चाहिए उतनी जगह तो अतिक्रमियों ने ही दबा रखी है। अधिकारी इस पर थोड़ा सा ध्यान दें तो बिना विशेष खर्चे के ही साइकिल ट्रैक बन सकता है। इससे शहर के पर्यावरण में भी सुधार आएगा।

Track can be made just by removing illegal development on the routes

The space required for the track has been already available but encroachment by many people. If authorities (officers) pay attention to it a bit, then cycle track can be made without any expensive budget. It will also improve environment of the city.

इन इलाकों में संभावना
साइकिलिंग के जानकारों के मुताबिक, नए कोटा में आईएल से अनंतपुरा चौराहा, कॉमर्स कॉलेज से केशवपुरा चौराहा, गोबरिया बावड़ी से घटोत्कच सर्किल, तलवंडी से ओपेरा रोड, केशवपुरा चौराहे से सीएडी, मोदी कॉलेज चौराहे से जवाहर नगर एयरपोर्ट की दीवार तक डेडिकेटेड साइकिल ट्रैक बनाए जा सकते हैं। मानकों के अनुसार साइकिल ट्रैक 1.5 से 2 मीटर का होना चाहिए। इन सभी सड़कों पर इतनी जगह है और यही वह इलाका है, जहां कोचिंग छात्रों का आवागमन ज्यादा है। इन सभी सड़कों पर साइकिल ट्रैक जितनी जगह तो दोनों ओर अतिक्रमियों ने ही दबा रखी है। इन्हें हटाकर भी ट्रैक डेवलप किए जा सकते हैं।

Probable areas

According to experts, in new Kota, dedicate cycle track can be made from IL to Anantpura Circle, Commerce college to Keshavpura circle, Gobriya bawari to Ghatokatch circle, talwandi to opera road, Keshavpura cirlce to CAD and from Modi college to Jawahar nagar airport wall. According to standards, cycle track must be 1.5 to 2 meter wide. All the roads have this much space available and these are areas where coaching students are commuting in large numbers. In all those roads, the space equivalent to developing cycling track has already been occupied illegally. Tracks can be developed just by removing those illegal construction.

यूं रोज बचाते हैं पांच लाख रुपए
कोटा शहर में मोटे अनुमान के तौर पर 70 हजार साइकिलें है। प्रत्येक साइकिल का रोज का न्यूनतम 5 किमी भी माना जाए तो 3.5 लाख किमी साइकिल रोजाना चलती हैं। किसी वाहन का 50 किमी प्रति लीटर का भी एवरेज माना जाए तो इस साइकिलिंग से रोजाना 7 हजार लीटर पेट्रोल की बचत हो रही है जिससे लगभग पांच लाख की बचत होती है। शहर की हवा में रोजाना भारी मात्रा में प्रदूषित गैसें घुलने से बच रही हैं। नियमित साइकिलिंग से जुड़े लोग बताते हैं कि इसे प्रमोट किया जाए तो साइकिल चलाने वालों की संख्या और भी बढ़ सकती है।

Daily savings of Rs. 500,000
According to a rough estimate, Kota city has approximately 70 thousands cycle. If it is assumed that every cycle on an average commute 5 km daily, then all the cycles are traveling a distance of around 350,000 km. Assuming 50 km per liter an average for a vehicle, then everyday cycling is saving 7000 liters of petrol, resulting in savings of 500,00 rupees. Lot of polluting gases are avoided being mixed into the air of city. People belonging to regular cycling tells that if promoted, number of bicyclers will increase tremendously.

साइकिलिंग में हम काफी आगे, फिर ट्रैक के मामले में पीछे क्यों?
कोटा शहर में साइकिलिंग को प्रमोट करने के लिए पिछले चार साल से साइक्लोट्रोट्स क्लब बना हुआ है। क्लब से करीब 200 सदस्य जुड़े हुए हैं। अध्यक्ष चंद्रेश शर्मा बताते हैं कि गुड़गांव, नोएडा, दिल्ली, हैदराबाद, बेंगलुरु समेत गुजरात के कई बड़े शहरों में साइकिल ट्रैक बने हुए हैं। जबकि आबादी के अनुपात में इन शहरों में साइकिल चलाने वाले कोटा से कम ही होंगे। मोटे तौर पर कोटा शहर में 10 फीसदी लोग साइकिल चलाते हैं। भले ही इसमें बड़ा हिस्सा कोचिंग छात्रों का है। हम इस मुद्दे पर प्रशासन से बातचीत करने के लिए तथ्यात्मक तैयारी भी कर रहे हैं। प्रयास सिर्फ इतना करना है कि सड़कों के किनारों से अतिक्रमण हट जाए। बस, इतने में साइकिल ट्रैक के लिए जगह निकल आएगी। एक बार ट्रैक शुरू हुए, फिर लोग खुद ही ट्रैक खाली छोड़ देंगे।

Ahead in cycling, then why behind on tracks?

A club has been formed from past 4 years to promote cycling in Kota. Currently, the club has around 200 members. President Chandresh Sharma told that Gurgaon, Noida, Delhi, Hyderbad, Bengaluru and many cities of Gujrat has cycling tracks, that too when they do not fair well in ratio wise for the number of people cycling. Around ten percent of the people are driving cycles in Kota, even if the major portion belongs to the coaching students. We are also trying to speak with administration on this matter. Just needed an effort to remove illegal construction around the roads. Just by doing so, give free space for the tracks. Once the track start, people will automatically leave the track.

कोपनहेगन: वहां 20-25 किमी साइकिल चलाना आम है

साइकिलिंग को लेकर हमने बात की कोटा के रहने वाले अंकित खंडेलवाल से, जो करीब तीन साल तक पढ़ाई के सिलसिले में डेनमार्क की राजधानी कोपनहेगन रहकर आए हैं। यह महानगर साइक्लिंग के लिए मशहूर है और यहां की 35 से 40 प्रतिशत आबादी साइकिल पर ही सफर करती है। अंकित बताते हैं कि वहां 20 से 25 किमी साइकिल चलाना बिल्कुल नहीं अखरता। मैं खुद रोज इतनी साइकिल चला लेता था। कभी थकान नहीं होती थी। क्योंकि साइकिल के लिए वहां हर सड़क के साथ अलग से बेहतरीन ट्रैक बने हुए हैं।

Copenhagen: It is normal to cycle 20-25 km cycle daily

We have spoken to Ankit Khandelwal regarding cycling. He is by native from Kota and stayed in the capital of Denmark for approximately 3 years during his studies. This city is famous for cycling and around 35-40% of city population travel on cycle. Ankit has told, that driving 20-25 km through cycle is not uncomfortable. Even I have used cycle that much on daily basis. Never got tired, because special tracks have been made for cycling alongside roads.

साइकिल पार्किंग के लिए घर, बाजार, रेलवे व मेट्रो स्टेशन पर खास इंतजाम होते हैं। यहां तक कि मेट्रो में भी साइकिल रखने के लिए अलग से डिब्बा होता है। बड़े-बड़े उद्यमी, राजनेता और कई कंपनियों के सीईओ तक को मैंने वहां साइकिलों पर आते-जाते देखा। कोटा में साइकिलिंग को प्रमोट किया जा सकता है, क्योंकि यहां हजारों बच्चे पहले से इसका यूज कर रहे हैं।

Special arrangement has been made at home, market, railway and metro to park cycles. Even metros have separate coaches to park cycles during the travel. Many businesspersons, politicians and other people were seen using cycle very frequently. Cycling can be promoted in Kota, because already thousands of youngsters are using it.

(Appeared in Dainik Bhaskar, Kota edition, 05-07-2015)

Inspiration for this article came from Designing Cities Assignment-3, a MOOC course from University of Pennsylvania. I have taken this course as part of my Zero Cost MBA (Envisioning 21st century global manager project. Check the last 2 pages of this assignment, where I have used Copenhagen as a base city to modify my home town planning

By Ankit Khandelwal • July 21, 2015
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Democratic ways of decision making- my first taste of democracy!

#Like to thank all my wonderful kitchen mates at Kampsax Kollegiet, Kitchen 24

Ever get chance to live with Danes? With one, two or many of them? Well, at least I did. For a very long duration of time while studying my masters. Living in a dormitory with full of Danish people provided me unique opportunity to know lot of things about Danish culture, people and had my first test of democracy in very real way. Curious, what it is? Let me explain it for you.

Monthly kitchen meetups

We were 17 people in the dormitory (called Kitchen in Denmark) with our own rooms and a shared kitchen. Except 4 of us, all the other residents of dormitory were Danish. The shared required each one of us to take duties in turn to keep kitchen neat and tidy. No one was spared of the duties and rotation of duties means, each one of us get chance to do every kind of different tasks.

Once in each month, all the residents of our kitchen met and discussed ways of making kitchen clean, imposing fines on those who are violating the rules and not fulfilling their duties. It was those meetings, where we have also discussed ways to celebrate Danish festivals and even planned group outings.

Since, the kitchen and other useful accessories were provided on the sharing basis, taking care of them was mutual responsibility. It was unique sense of freedom of defining our own rules and also obeying them with a sense of responsibility. Except some difficulties, this entire sharing system of values, responsibilities and ownership has worked very well. Despite being a foreigner, I never felt like an outsider, instead I formed a good bonding with each of the fellow Danes over a period of time. These meetings provided me a good sense of adhering of democratic values and process of collective decision making.

How is it different?

The hostels were I lived before coming to Denmark also had set of rules, but they were already formed by the higher authorities. We had to obey them. This older system has it’s own pros & cons but I am not here to say which is better than others. Both are good in their respective places.

So, if you are coming to Denmark and going to live with Danes than you will get plenty of opportunities to interact and take part in decision making. Only thing is , you need to take part in it like I did and had my first taste of democratic way of decision making.

By Ankit Khandelwal • April 2, 2015
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Loneliness: A hidden surprise for many!

Accepting requests of many people, I have decided to write again about my experience of Denmark and touch upon lot of pending ideas, I wanted to write once. So, here is my first coming back article.

Scene 1:
You are surrounded by people, even though it looks crowded and sometime uncomfortable; you can talk to the people and see them around you majority of time. This is the case in many countries.

Scene 2:

You arrived in Denmark and after a initial few days, do not find such crowded atmosphere and apart from your work place, may not find people to talk. Come winter and you are trapped inside your house. Even though, you got everything you came for, you started to fell lonely.

Let’s come back to reality. These scenes are not from any drama but are part of reality to many people. It is no hidden fact that Denmark is open society but to many it is also a closed one. Privacy of any individual is very much honored and no doubt that often you will find people are among themselves after working hours. This possess challenges for many people, who are used to live in social environment much more than what is on offer in Denmark.

Socializing with Danes requires an open minded attitude and as I have written in my previous article, being open minded is one of the key in adapting to live in Denmark. I have seen many other people, who are so used to their home environment, that they found it very difficult to adjust to this new reality. During the winter months, you will be forced to lock yourself inside the house. No matter, how much you try; the long winter can be difficult to cope up with. Those long dark nights can bring lot of troubles, if you are unable to cope up with the loneliness. M Though it can vary from individual to individual, feeling depression can be very normal in such scenario.

There is no denial, that Danes do socialize and you will find plenty of opportunity to talk and build communication. But first of all, it is very individual. And second, this will be slightly minimal, to what you were used to at your home country.

So, if you are coming to Denmark, then be aware of this hidden secret!!

By Ankit Khandelwal • March 19, 2015
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Where growth is horizontal rather than vertical!!

This is not an economic forecast, company share value or GDP (Gross Domestic Product) information.  What I was talking about the structural differences in the way houses are being built in Denmark.  The unusual pattern led to various interesting discussions with my Danish friends. I am presenting some of them here:

Try to look at the houses in Denmark slightly away from the city centers. You will observe a unique pattern in the houses. Most of the houses are made on a large scale with expansion on horizontal level. Surprisingly you will not see many houses with 2nd or 3rd story in their houses. Title of my blog post can be simplified based on this observation which says,’ Growth/Expansion of the house is flat (horizontal) rather than straight (vertical).’ The more surprising fact is that, usage of lift is almost invisible. In fact, it is rare to find out lift in buildings. Especially, buildings in capital Copenhagen are quite old. You might get scared while climbing up from one of those old wooden stairs.

Man of my Danish friends agree to this fact and they said that there is a plenty of space in Denmark, so they prefer to build and expand houses in horizontal direction rather than straight ones. Someone even said that, expanding house horizontally will reduce the heating cost during winter, though I have never tried to investigate this logic scientifically.

But nevertheless, this trend is changing now rapidly. In Copenhagen itself, hi-rise building are on the rise. City center is also getting a new shape.

So if you are coming to Denmark then you may or may not witness this trend, but if you do visit outside cities than do not forget to see the horizontal growth of the houses.

By Ankit Khandelwal • May 24, 2012


Spirituality! A missing link in Denmark

Title might looks surprising to many but it is a reality.  Not many people in Denmark go to church on a regular basis. Add to this, recent news from the Church ministry of the Danish Government reveals falling number of visitors at the places of worshipping god. Let’s not talk about the spirituality, as this topic has been discussed widely by everyone.

Talking about the title of this post, I have to give some brief background. I am from India where spirituality is part of day to day life style of the people. People take out time for their busy schedule to visit temples, mosques, churches and other religious places to worship. For most of the people, a day starts with morning prayers and offering to God. Evening prayers on the bank of some rivers attracts people for other countries also. Apart from daily prayers, festivals are part of life coming throughout the year.

Coming to Denmark was quite a nice surprise. Not many people here go to Churches on a regular basis and spirituality in day to day life style is also missing. Even not many festivals are celebrated in Denmark. I spoke to many of my Danish friends to get reasons behind such thinking.  Since most of them are young, they tell that they do not really call themselves religious and prefer not to follow it at all. Many of them openly call themselves atheist.  Considering Denmark is a free and open society, this fact can be easily accepted.

As my conversation lasted only with young people, it will not be good idea to scale up my opinions about entire Denmark. But still, if you are coming to Denmark from the country like mine, then be ready to see this kind of surprise too.

By Ankit Khandelwal • April 18, 2012


Help is always given to those who ask for it in Denmark!!

This is not a Harry Potter movie and I am not Professor Dumbledore who is going to tell you what you have to do and how? You have to understand yourself what is needed and come forward to make things done. Looks strange but that is very normal and part of life in Denmark. Taking initiative, have opinions in discussions and being straight forward is considered very good way of interacting in the land of vikings. If you have a problem and you do not speak out very clearly than it will be perfectly assumed that there is no problem at all. So taking initiative is a great help while residing in Denmark.

Many people come to Denmark from a country where procedure have been already fixed or specified by someone else. Say for example, I have undergone my bachelor studies in my country under a fixed curriculum. I did not to worry for many things like finding subjects, making study plans etc. The situation is entirely different in Denmark. Flexible study system is one of the major differences I felt while coming to Denmark. More important is the fact that it is expected that you take your own initiative in defining your study line and then execute it with the help of your supervisors. First step is always yours.

This also reflects in other spheres of the society. People who take initiatives on their own are highly appreciated. Those who put efforts in time bound execution of tasks are well respected.  In Denmark, an effective contribution is expected from every participant.  As long as you have questions, feel free to ask to bring more clarity into it. Danes are very tolerant people, love to discuss and answer questions.  Once you agreed on something and put a definite framework, it will be a moral and ethical foundation for the concerned person to execute it as per the agreement.

Apart from the other things, it is a good idea not to expect that everything will be told to you. If you are good in taking initiative, then you can live very well in Denmark. If you are not then you might face lot of problems. Land of vikings Denmark has an open society, where everyone has freedom to speak.  Taking initiative and becoming responsible for your own development is one of the key aspects of this freedom.

So if you are coming to Denmark then try to develop this aspect to avoid certain basic problems, because someone has truly said, ‘Help is always given to those who ask for it’.

By Ankit Khandelwal • April 16, 2012


Lego Mindstorms: Is that a new movie series on the line of Star Wars?

This is the question I asked when LEGO was first introduced to me. It was sometime during the November 2009 (2,5 months after I landed Denmark). Me along with my Danish friend Jonas were planning a Summer Course under the banner of BEST (Board of European Students of Technology), Copenhagen. I was just going through the details of one of the previous course which was titled as, ‘LEGO: Do not mind the storm’. I have never heard of anything like this before.

When my friend told me that it was all about LEGO Mindstorm, I simply asked, ‘Lego Mindstorms: Is that a new movie series on the line of Star Wars?’ Many of the people who heard this were either laughing or smiling while looking at me. One of them asked me, ‘You dont know Lego Robotos?’ I said, ‘NO’. They thought I am joking so they again asked me at least 4 times before the final one, ‘Seriously you dont know about Lego Robotos, you did not play with them?’  Well, I just said that I have never heard of them before coming here. Later my friends have displayed some information related to it on Google Images and some videos on Youtube.

I will not ask such questions now after living 2 years here but may be that time it was quite obvious. Later, during my research I realized that it is very common (especially in Europe) as well as some countries outside Europe to use these toys as a medium of play, learning, education during childhood. But I never heard of it anytime in India. May be it is my fault :) or maybe not.

Frankly speaking, I come from a small town in India. I spend most of the time playing outdoor games. As far as I know, LEGO might be a well-respected name here but it is directly not present in India (yet) and even if they are present then I never heard of them. May be they are present in big cities. But this just gave me a reason to investigate more on what can be the reasons behind its creation.

Logical Understanding:

It is very simple and natural. Denmark is one of the countries which experiences extreme weather most of the time. It is no common that people, especially children spent most of the time inside. I observed the severe weather conditions myself during a visit to Western Part of Denmark (it is known as Jutland). It is quite common that under such conditions, children get intuitive to LEGO Robots, which initially were made more than 50 years before. Those were the days when there were no computer games to pass the time or video games to entertain. I think if I would be in this situation, I would have been addicted to LEGO too.  Talking about my childhood, my place has sun most of the time of year offering plenty of opportunity to stay outdoor (of course not during the hot summer). So that is quite a normal reason that may be things like LEGO were not there (or may be in big cities) during my childhood. May be they are present now.

So if you are coming from a place where such things are not present, then you might be the one telling such stories to others in Denmark.



By Ankit Khandelwal • February 1, 2012


Open ended discussions, an attitude which might look sarcastic sometime.

See the following 2 sides before going through my analysis presented in this post:

1. Denmark is an open society and Danes are very open minded people. Though they may look reserved but once become friend, they are very open minded and love to discuss lot of issues.

2. ‘Danes are very sarcastic in nature; they make fun of everything they talk even criticizing others and their food and happenings’ complain many of the foreigners.

This is very confusing thing as I felt both of them myself and thought of writing about it, especially for the people who are planning to come here. I found that Danes are very open and love to discuss everything. But not everyone is so fond of it.

It is difficult to describe what is right or wrong. Let’s try to go a bit depth on it. Openness in Denmark is welcomed by everyone who comes here. What made me more surprised that Danes even do not mind getting criticized for something? They are the fun who makes fun of themselves easily without getting too much worried about it.

Looking at the other side, when Danes interact with people from other nations, sometime friction occurs. Many people are proud of their belief and somehow do not want to discuss about it. In some cases, it can go slightly farther when many people get offended by this attitude. Now, for a normal Dane who is not aware of this situation, he is just talking the way he is used to do with everyone in Denmark. So if you feel like this then the best way is to tell your fellow mate about it and I am sure he will respect it. This is the openness in which you can easily express yourself and so far I have not faced any issues related to this.

I am not a judge of anyone’s opinion but just expressing my views on one of the most common misunderstanding which occurs many times. So if you are coming to Denmark, be ready to face this misunderstanding and also be open to tell your fellow Danes about it.

By Ankit Khandelwal • January 30, 2012

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Denmark: An insider view from a student's perspective

Ankit Khandelwal

[This blog has won world's 5th best exchange blog award in the year 2012] A former Indian student studied master's in chemical and biochemical engineering as an Elite Master Student. Currently, he is member of Youth Good Will Ambassador Corps Denmark. He is writing about some insights of Denmark from his perspective related to day to day life, education, food as well as sports. Despite returning back to India in 2012, he still maintains good ties with Denmark. Follow him: @enlighting Website: .