New in Denmark

The old Danish post service you know… Just three times more expensive!

 

Regular readers, from my first post here back in September 2010 (which was – selvfølgelig – about farts“Mind your language!”) will know that I am in l-o-v-e with Denmark and those crazy Danes! (I’m Scottish but I felt like I had finally come home when I moved here to Copenhagen in 1998.) I love the traditions, the humour, the contrasts, the people. There is only one thing that gets my goat up (okay then, two – if we count the blatant Danish overuse of the ‘F’ word – “I swear I heart Denmark!“). And that, dear readers, is the Danish postal service! Boo! Hiss! 😉

Don’t get me wrong. I love our postmen (and especially our very nice parcel lady, with whom I always have a long chat).

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But the cost of sending a letter? Daylight robbery! I’ve growled before about price increases (“Pass the smelling salts, I’m buying Danish stamps“) but even I couldn’t foresee this new craziness. Here are the current options if you want to send a letter or a greetings card to a friend. I know I’ve said it before, but even Dick Turpin had the decency to wear a mask – ha!

Brev (letter) – for letters within Denmark, delivery takes up to 5 days – cost: 8 Danish crowns (roughly USD 1.20 or UK£0.91). Keep in mind that not all postboxes are emptied every day, so it may take even longer than 5 days to arrive…

Quickbrev (quick letter) – next day delivery – cost: 27 Danish crowns (roughly USD 4.07 or UK£3.06). Oh, and you can’t just pop a Quickbrev in the postbox. You have to physically hand it in to the post office! I kid you not. Honestly, it would be funny if it wasn’t true!

And if you want to send a birthday card to a friend outside of Denmark, for example, Europe? That costs 25 Danish crowns (roughly USD 3.77 or UK£2.83). You can use a postbox or hand them in to the post office… But, again, keep in mind that not all postboxes are emptied every day.

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PostDanmark is now part of nordic PostNord – a Swedish Danish conglomerate. Bringing with it a colour change from the traditional red to blue. So all post bikes, vans, uniforms, logos etc are now blue. But, they assure us, postboxes will stay red. Hmm, let’s see what happens… And the snappy marketing line they have come up with? “Post du kender. Bare blå.” “The post service you know. Just in blue.” Perhaps they should have said. “The old post service you know. Just three times more expensive!”?

Funnily enough, our neighbours the Swedes, also served by PostNord, continue to enjoy normal postal rates. How on earth did they manage that? Answers on a postcard, please! Oh, wait, don’t bother. Just send me an email instead…

Have a terrific Tuesday!

Diane 🙂

Gotta catch ’em all! Food waste…GO!

While others around the world are trying to ‘catch ’em all, here in Denmark I’m invariably trying to catch…the best food bag! 😉

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Forget Team Mystic, I’m on Team Fight-Against-Food-Waste. There are several apps in Denmark which connect socially responsible food stores and restaurants with overstocks to hungry (and canny…) customers who enjoy getting a bargain. My favourite is TGTG (Too Good To Go) which is available for Apple and Android. The app also covers the UK and Germany.

Once you are logged in, you can search on a map, or search by offers which are nearest/cheapest/closing soon. The offers mainly fall in to two categories. Restaurants: where they provide you with a box and you fill up on sushi/whatever they have in their buffet. Bakers: where they provide you with a ‘magic bag’. Usually a mixture of bread, bread rolls, cake and Danish pastries.

As regular readers will know, I just l-o-v-e Danish bread and pastries (did you miss my 6 part run down on Danish pastries? go catch it here!) So I’ve – selvfølgelig – been trying what bakers are offering. Here you go. All fresh. All food that would, otherwise, end up in the bottom of a dumpster at the end of the day.

This entire bag, from a baker in Kongens Lyngby, cost 25 Danish crowns (roughly USD 3.75 or UK £2.85). Two loaves of bread, one ham and cheese sandwich, a couple of te birkes, a couple of kanelsnegle and about 10 assorted rolls.

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This entire bag, from a baker in Charlottenlund, cost 30 Danish crowns (roughly USD 4.50 or UK £3.40). One loaf, one loaf of ryebread, three te birkes, two kanelsnegle, 4 teboller, a pizza snail and two sausage rolls.

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There was so much food in these bags that we actually ended up putting half of it in the freezer. To give you some perspective on price, one loaf of bread at the baker costs roughly 30 Danish crowns. Our next stop will be trying out some sushi…

What can I say but yum, yum, yum – everyone on Team Fight-Against-Food-Waste wins!

GO! Have a marvelous Monday!

Diane 🙂

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…)