New in Denmark

Making a collage of a Danish relative

This is the beginning collage about my Danish grandfather, A. C. Larsen, I put together for the 125th anniversary of his birthday this week. Scott Larsen photo.

Ever since 2010 when I became really interested in my family’s genealogy, I have been collecting items: an old photo album of København circa 1900, postcard of a White Star liner, a reproduction of a 1902 map of Daneville, SD, a photograph of my Danish grandfather, a copy of the ship’s log listing my grandfather’s name as an 11-year-old boy coming to America.

Most people think may think genealogy is about ‘old stuff’ and in a way they’re right. But one can take such ‘stuff’ and create a connection with the past while documenting a piece of your family’s history.

You don’t have to get frustrated either in trying to find information. While at times it may be tedious, discovery of little bits and pieces of your family history is rewarding. A jig saw puzzle that never really ends.

Part of what keeps researching about a family member or relatives from Denmark fresh and interesting is not to let yourself be boxed in. Don’t rely on one source, say, in family research. Supplement your findings with maps online or like I did order from collectors. Do a photo search of your relative’s Danish birthplace or area where they lived. Can’t find information about the ship they took from København? No problem. Find an old photo around the time he or she left Denmark (see photo in my collage of the old København harbor with sailing ships).

When I was in Denmark, I saw countless signs with the name ‘Larsen.’ Now I could include these photos of the name Larsen in different sizes, shapes and type, and include them in my collage. You don’t use photos of a family name. Use various photos, brochures, maps or pamphlets from your trip.

Photographs from other family members may also be used. Like the small photograph of my grandfather, Anders Christian Larsen. It was his 65th birthday on July 28, 1954 and he is standing in his rose and flower garden in Pasco, Washington, USA. This makes a great ‘end piece’ of this collage. I have another photo I will include: an old black and white photo of Anders, age 20 or 21, as railroad fireman posing with the engineer in the cab of a steam locomotive engine.

Some years ago, I put together a collage of my father and made six other duplicates for my mother and five brothers.  A collage about a family member from Denmark or even one of your trips to the Land of Hamlet, is also an idea.

Let your imagination work with what ever you find or collect in creating a collage about a Danish relation or a recent trip you took. It will increase in value years to come because of the visual memories in conjures up in your own mind.




First Impressions

Friday morning, 3:00AM, an alarm set on my phone sounds to tell my partner and me that we have to get up. With our eyes still half shut, we rise up like the walking dead. The zombie like state only lasts for a short while though as this is the day that we move to Denmark and we are both extremely excited. Fast forward to today, I am sitting in our apartment in Odder writing this post, breathing in the Danish air. We are waiting to register as official residents of Denmark as the place to do that is not open until Thursday. The ball has to roll slowly until that happens as it is only when we register that we can get a social security number which you need to sign up for a lot of things. The job search is now in full swing as we are past the weekend and things are a little more settled. Needless to say, Denmark…. I am in you and now I want share my first impressions of Denmark, specifically Odder.



Coming here from England, near London, I am used to late closure times for most places and supermarkets staying open 24 hours a day except from Sundays. The places that don’t stay open all night generally do not close until midnight or sometime in the early hours. This is not the case in Odder. The general cut off point seems to be about 21:00, unless it is a bar or nightclub which are a bit closer to home on closing time. I am guessing that bedtime may be later in the big cities like Copenhagen and Aarhus, but probably not too much later. I spoke to a barman yesterday who told me that they generally stay open until midnight but put 21:00 as the closing time so as not to disappoint anyone if they wish to close early. He seemed confused when I started to chuckle. It is a strange notion to me that there is not everything on demand as there is in England, well maybe not everything. I am not saying that the way it is in Denmark is better or worse than in England, just different. There are pros and cons to both. The early closure times mean that the workers can go home to be with their family or friends. It is more about working to live rather than living to work. However, whilst we have been here the weather is beautiful and sunny the cut-off point is not that strict as everyone wants to enjoy the Danish summer.

We have been here for a couple of days now and have been exploring around the place we will be living in for the near future. We checked out the local supermarkets, a few cafes and the local library. Through this exploration, I have found a lot of truth that things are expensive in Denmark. I am not going moan about the cost of things. Although, a warning for those coming out here, kroner will not be in your pocket long enough for a hole to burn. With this expense, there does seem to be a good quality for the kroner you spend.

In the spirit of becoming a Danish resident, I want to try things that are essentially Danish. This means that I have had some fresh fruit in koldskål for my breakfast. I have also been enjoying some flødeboller.

Danish pastry was tried the first time I visited the country and I am yet to get my hands on a packet of Danish bacon. If anyone has anything that they think I should try then just let me know. All in all, my first impressions of Odder are that the people are friendly, things are expensive and everyone likes to have a drink in the sun. It seems like a great place to kick back, have a coffee and enjoy the view.



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