New in Denmark

Words goodbye…

This would be my final post here, since I left Denmark for good some time ago. And what can I say, it was a positive experience most of the time. I found some friends, studied Electronics and took few Architecture classes, learned some Danish, attended some great festivals, got drunk on some of them, attended unforgetable Christmas parties, bartended for a while. Gosh, I even managed to fall in love over here. But we won’ t get into details now. No, no. However, I’ d like to share some of the things I learned during my stay. And I hope it would be helpful for all of you who are just about to arive in Denmark, curently living in Denmark or who are about to leave as well.

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For the new comers: You’ ll find it difficult at first. You won’ t know anyone, it’ d be hard to even find a place to live in the beginning. For the first few months you’ ll most probably miss your home, your friends, family. Some of your old habits won’ t be relevant in here. The cultural differences may crush some of you. But that’ s all part of the experience. So don’ t dig into it too much. After a while you’ ll manage to settle in. You’ ll find a friend or two. you’ ll learn to be on time if you are usually not, you’ ll suceed in discovering the beauty of this country, just trust me on this on. You won’ t have to try too hard to be liked by anyone, and won’ t take that long until you start feeling at place here.

For the ones already here, for a while: You’ve been through some pleasant and not so pleasant experiences now. You have your fair share of people you could trust here. Got a nice school system, free healtcare, a bike, few pals and well-a daily routine. Managed to get taste of the food, the beer, the art, the culture and why not- the nature around. Started learning the viking’ s language. Failed or suceeded in that. But no matter what, you’ re able to get a word or two in Danish and to be real – be proud of it. Some of you may even found love here, either in the eyes of a dane or some of your fellow internationals. And it feels nice, to belong here, because you finally got most of what you ‘ re fighting for, even if you don’ t realize it at the time.

For the ones leaving: First of all, you’ ll be back. Well, eventually. Or not. Doesn’ t really matter. Because the adventure you’ ve been through here is what matters most. You fell in love with at least one very Danish thing. For some of you might be the open-minded culture. Others may fell for all the small quirks of the little, yet amazing country that Denmark is. But now you have to let go on all of that. My advice for you is-keep the memories. All the festivals, beer, frienships, fun and etc. Keep that wherever you go. I know that, I miss even the weather sometimes, so yeah, it’ s normal. Whatever you choose to do with your life after living/studying/working in Denmark you’ ll know that you’ ve suceeded in tipping your toe in the happiness that country provides. It’ s a great lifetime oportunity whatever happened to you here, and it’ ll give you a new perspective on everything that surounds you from now on.

Well, that’ s all for now boys and girls.
Hope you’ ve had an awesome time reading and if you feel, you can share whether you’ re new here or not, some of your experience down at the comments.

Learn to DIY(Do It Yourself) @Denmark

Not long ago, I have written a blog post with title, ‘Help is always given to those in Denmark, who ask for it’. This current post is also similar to the previous one, albeit in slightly different way.
This goes also for asking the help. Asking for help in the need also a criterion for DIY(Do It yourself), because no one else is going to ask if things are going fine. Everyone is happy and busy with their lives. It is not just about taking initiative, but also doing it yourself.

There can be many other ways too to look on it. Starting from stated goals in the meeting, coming on time, and preparing for the meeting in advance, it can be the culture of DIY (Do it yourself). In meetings, once the goals are stated and you agreed for things. It is more or less DIY. Of course, you can always gets the help from the other people.

If you look around, most of the people in Denmark learn to do many things themselves. It is not surprising that many small things, people do it for themselves and it enables a sense of independence in most of the people. I seems to like this idea without any reason.

I am not sure, how it is like that, but lack of human resources can be the reason for many of the automation. From the time you enter into Copenhagen Airport, you starts to feel that there is hardly the need of anyone do manual tasks. Artificial intelligence or lack of manpower? I am not sure, what to say on this. But, many processes are automated and procedures have been simplified to reduce the need of human power.

This also goes for other activities. For example, processed food is very expensive in Denmark. But, if you buy raw material from the market and cook your own, you will find a huge difference. I am not suggesting you to avoid going out, just trying to make a comparison to validate my point.

I was living in a dormitory during the duration of my studies at Technical University of Denmark. Instead of hiring an expert; we cleaned, painted and even re-furnished entire dormitory kitchen ourselves. For the first time, I realized that there is no need to hire expert for such small thing. Normally, in my country, we pay some amount and ask someone else to do this. Coming from a very big country, I could always find someone to do such tasks. That does not apply so well in Denmark.

So, why it is like this in Denmark? Lack of manpower is definitely one reason. That is also one reason that hiring someone for small tasks is quiet expensive too. Some other reasons in my view:
– The work-life balance in Denmark allow anyone to have sufficient time for himself/herself. Why not use it to do small things on their own?
– Income inequality is very low in Denmark as well as in other countries of Scandinavia. Therefore, no-one is above or below in the income scale.There is no way you can hire endless amount of people to do small things, unlike many other countries.
– Feeling of independent is very high among the Danish people. This can also be the reason for doing so many such tasks on their own.
– From self-assembling chairs at IKEA store or automated queue system at the post, there is hardly much room left, where you need someone to do small tasks.
– Not just being independent, it also goes about sense of empowering everyone about individual responsibilities and freedom. I experienced it, when computer center of my university was open 24*7 for the study purpose.

Hope, you understood and give prime consideration to the culture of DIY(Do It Yourself), before and after arriving in Denmark.

(Based entirely on my personal experiences, it may not reflect opinions of everyone)

Dining, Woodhouse Style (Part II)

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Good food experiences always make you have good feelings about a city and Copenhagen is a place where you can find them More specifically, one of the places you can find such an experience is in the heart of the city at Tivoli, in the Woodhouse restaurant. As I described in the first of this two part series, the customer service and the food are welcoming. (more…)

Quick: Name a Danish and British historical event in 1843

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Front gate of Copenhagen’s Tivoli amusement park taken with my Olympus digital camera in 2012 and the title page of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carole’.

Name two important events that which took place in London and Copenhagen in the same year. I’ll give you a hint: one is literary; the other is a popular destination.

Give up?

The opening of Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen and Charles Dickens published ‘A Christmas Carole’. Both took place in 1843.

“When the people are amusing themselves, they do not think about politics”, said Tivoli founder Georg Carstensen (1812 -1857) to King Christian VIII.

The Danish monarch granted Carstensen a five-year charter to create Tivoli & Vauhall, Tivoli from Paris’ Jardin de Tivoli (which it was named after Italy’s Tivoli near Rome) and Vauxhall after London’s Vauxhall Gardens.

Tivoli, now surrounded by Copenhagen, actually started outside the capital, west of the city on roughly 15 acres. It was only in the 1850s when the amusement park was annexed into the city limits.

Opened on August 15, 1843, one of the thousands first-time visitors was a tall, gangly, awkward Dane, Hans Christian Andersen. He was enthusiastic about the park, fond of the park’s Chinese-style buildings and gardens, and came away writing his fairy tale, ‘The Nightingale’ two days at the end of the park’s first season.

Some think it is the oldest amusement park in the world but that’s not true. Another Danish park, Dyrehavsbakken (The Deer Park’s Hill), commonly referred to as just Bakken, is located north of Copenhagen near Klampenborg. It opened in 1583.

It’s said the American Walt Disney found his inspiration for his first Disneyland in Anaheim, California after visiting Tivoli. “Happy and unbuttoned air of relaxed fun,” said Disney about Tivoli.

With 4.7 million visitors in 2015, Tivoli is the second-most popular seasonal theme park in the world, the most-visited theme park in Scandinavia and the fourth most-visited in Europe, only behind Disneyland Paris, Germany’s Europa-Park Rust and the Efteling in The Netherlands.

Later in 1843, British writer, lecturer and author, Charles Dickens, began writing his most famous holiday ‘A Christmas Carole’.

Written in six weeks beginning in September, it was published on Dec. 19th that same year. The five shillings novella (22 pounds in today’s currency) had a press run of 6,000, quickly sold out by Dec. 24th and it has never been out of print.

While Dickens realizes a small profit – the expense in publishing ate up much of his profits – the success of his book was huge.

Years later, Andersen and Dickens would meet. But in 1843, an amusement park inspired a Dane to write one of his fairy tales, while a British writer, concerned about poor social conditions in England, wrote about it in a story that has become a Christmas classic.

Dining, Woodhouse Style (Part I)

woodhouse-9Summertime has its many delights and a juicy, tasty hamburger with all the fixings is one of them. If you want to find such a delicious burger in Copenhagen, one of hte places you will want to visit is Woodhouse in Tivoli leisure garden. (more…)