Why I Could Never Move (Back) to Denmark

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The problem with visiting Denmark in May is that it makes you think you regret leaving.

I moved to Berlin almost exactly two years ago. Last week, I visited Copenhagen for four days, the longest I’ve been there at a stretch since 2011. The buildings were adorable, the sun was slanty, the locals were height-weight proportionate, I started to have moments like ‘why did I ever leave this magical place?’

Then reality kicked in and I realized why I left and I would never move back.

The Drinking

On Friday night, on my way home from dinner, 9 pm, 10 tops, I biked past three different groups of people carrying someone too drunk to walk. Sure, it was Friday, and fine, if I lived in a country whose most famous export was Aqua I’d probably be drinking too, but get it together, Denmark.

One of the reasons I quit drinking three years ago was how normal it is here, how essential for basic social life to function, how acceptable Danes find slurred Fridays and slept-through Saturdays. All week no one spoke to me, not even to hold a door open or say pardon me. After 10 pm, with grandpa-breath and teetering, they won’t shut up.

Which brings me to…

The Social Culture

One of the things I was looking forward to about my little trip was visiting all my old haunts, places I used to drink coffee or smoke shisha or—OK, those are basically the only things I ever did when I lived here. But anyway, I visited my old cafes and everything looked exactly the same, right down to the baristas, but there was never a flicker of recognition, never an acknowledgement that I came to these places regularly for years.

Then I remembered that at the coffee place closest to my house, the one I went to probably twice a week for two years, no one ever once remembered me, never once remembered my order, asked me if I lived nearby. I would sometimes try to start it off, all ‘how’s business?’ after I ordered my same old Americano. We would chat for a few minutes, then next time I came in it was Memento, no recognition, no ‘Americano, right?’ After awhile I stopped bothering. Six years into this country, I realized that resignation, that learned misanthropy, is called ‘being Danish’.

The Racism

Ahhh, Denmark, the Mississippi of Europe. While living here I was constantly confronted by casual ugliness (‘you’re visiting Turkey? But it’s full of Turks!’), bone-headed public policy (If you want to marry a Dane and get a visa to live here, you have to speak Danish and your spouse has to pay a $10,000 bond), and Mad Men-era political discourse (one of the political parties ran an ad this year that published the names of all the foreigners who had been granted Danish citizenship with the tagline ‘One person on this list is a danger to Denmark’s security’).

Just in the four days I was visiting, two friends told me about ethnically motivated beatings that had taken place in their neighborhoods and two other friends told me they were moving to the suburbs because the local schools didn’t have enough white kids left. Another friend got mugged recently, and the first question everyone asked when he told them was ‘were they black?’

This shit is exhausting. Sometimes living here is like following your Republican friends on Facebook.

The Expats

There’s nothing more depressing than living somewhere no one wants to be. Expats in Denmark are so miserable that the government launched a state-funded website specifically to create diversions (singles nights, English book clubs, flat landscape appreciation societies) to make living here more bearable.

But expat unhappiness in Copenhagen is so dense, not even light can escape. Get three expats together and it’ll be about six minutes before it descends into variations on the gripes I’ve just named (and I didn’t even get to the weather!). Get two together and they’ll you their secret plans to move back home, maybe start over again somewhere as rosy as Denmark once seemed. Get one alone and he’ll tell you he’s desperate to leave, but the jobs are too good, the romantic partners too perfect.

Yeah yeah, I’m being too harsh. Every country has problems, Denmark’s are just different from the ones I grew up used to. Overall, Denmark is quiet, introverted and socialist, my three favorite things. Also, if I ever want to spend a weekend being drunk, mean and discriminatory, at least now I know where to go.

112 Comments

Filed under Denmark, Personal

112 responses to “Why I Could Never Move (Back) to Denmark

  1. Has it really been two years since I’ve been reading your blog? I remember being sad I had just found your blog about Denmark (thanks to the awesome Seattle post), right as you were leaving for Berlin. This post makes me feel all sad now that I’m living here for the next two years. I haven’t seen too much racism yet aside from the fact that one of my professors gestured towards me while talking about some moon festival in Thailand, which was pretty awkward. Oh, and I did see those videos of that Asian-American dude getting beaten up by “the non-ethnic Danes” in the 6A bus, and nobody in the bus doing anything about it….

    I agree with you on the social culture part, but it definitely looks as if there are some crazy conservative parties in all of Europe in general (Golden Dawn in Greece anyone?) and I’ve never actually met anyone who is with the danskfolkeparti. They are pretty much just the Tea Party of Denmark.

  2. Very interesting and similar to what a lovely American couple told me about Hawaii, there really are some backwards places out there. I have a friend moving back to the US (dual citizenship) because his wife and kids have had enough of Copenhagen. I kinda always wondered why. This fine blog post probably gets me closer to the truth. (This is me wondering off to find that Seattle post that Lipstick mentioned.)

  3. Speaking as a Dane, I wish I could say that it’s not true… but I can’t, so I won’t, as sad as it may be 😉

  4. Hunter McCann

    These things are all pretty much half-truths, but also to stereotype an entire country is a bit of a stretch. They may grumble about the weather or taxes from time to time, but the overall majority of Danes and expats I’ve met here love Denmark and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else! Im from the US but now live in Danmark, and I would NEVER even consider moving back to the US! But for more actual reasons rather than: some people complain about stuff sometimes and people don’t remember my high-and-mighty-important self

    • Pygmalion

      Your take on what was written was pretty snooty for someone who tries to imply that he is janteloven-compliant. I left after 8 years for the very reasons identified in this blog entry. i was not excluded by the Danes I lived among, although very few “invited me in”, which I had also experienced in a Boston suburb I lived i when I didn’t fit the paradigm (I was a single mother in a neighborhood of owner-occupied two-family homes, but somehow being a single-mother was not common there, and I was a professional among blue-collar worker families). There was plenty of chit-chat. But when I was in the greater CPH area, it was as this entry describes, to the T. The only time anyone held the door open for me, EVER, in Denmark, was when I visited some other expats in Noerrebro – there, on three separate occasions,in one afternoon, three young men held the door for me. It is no problem if your experience differs, but why the virulent reaction and holier-than-though attitude suggesting that this writers’ observations were false, because they weren’t shared by you?

    • Anita

      Hey! I actually got a decent job offer in Denmark. I live in the US right now. Do you think it would be a good idea to move there? I am a single female but I am also not white. I don’t know if that would make a difference on the racist issue. Any feedback would be appreciated!

      • Thomas Petersen

        Listen, this blog is full of nonsense. It is obvious that the writer have not spend one second understanding Danish culture.

        People are different, they have different perceptions and also different kind of ways in what to expect.
        There is a tendency among many, like this one, that they come as tourists, expecting it to be just like that if you live there. Like anywhere else, that is not the deal.
        There is also one thing, that many immigrants forget, especially from the US, is that you must also be tolerant. There is a lot of drinking culture in Denmark, sure, but that’s the culture since the Vikings. But you can also easily get to get great coffee as well. If you are intolerant to people going out, people drinking and so, yes then Denmark is not the place for you. Not meaning the streets are pawed with drunks – that is far from the case. Besides, they could easily be Swedes or Norwegians 🙂
        It also applies to “meeting Danes”. While you in for instance the US are more open right away and may I also add, more superficial in the Danish eyes, then the Danes are more reluctant and for some they can seem cold. Are Danes cold? Not the least, yet it takes more effort to get to know them and that’s where some go down on. However, it is because a Danish friendship is a lot more inclusive and means a lot more than in other countries.
        So when you take your own perception and think oh my culture is like the Danish culture, then you are doomed to fail.

        When it comes to racism, there probably is some, somewhere. I have never ever in my life experienced it.
        But, the Danish humour is very sarcastic and can for some seem cruel or rude – and can be mistaken for racism. Also, the Danish culture is very upfront, yet also very honest. That also means that people say things straight to your face and in my experience a lot from the US simply can not handle it, where things have to wrapped in cotton.
        May I also add, that Eurostat also pointed out, that the Danes are the most tolerant nation in Europe, when it comes to other cultures, religions or sexuality. It can just be hard for people from other cultures to figure it out.

        I am a Dane, yet I have lived abroad for quite some time (now in the UK). So I have both seen Denmark from the inside, as outside.
        I think you should go, read some about the Danish culture, be prepared and make an effort. It will be highly rewarding for you.

      • Martin

        Honestly. Don’t do it. We just returned after a year in Denmark. This country has serious problems as do their inhabitants. We met ver nice Danes but we would NEVER go back.

      • Thomas Petersen

        There is one thing you really can say about Americans leaving the US. They are usually arrogant, expect everything to be American, that people have to do ovations when they arrive and usually expect others to be of lessor values.

        Thank you for leaving and returning to the US.

      • Martin

        Peter. What makes you think I am from the US? But thanks for confirming what I already wrote. Just out of curiosity, do you actually recommend her to come to denmark?
        Anita: http://somethingmanky.blogspot.co.at/search/label/discrimination

      • Anita, I would seriously recommend against it. your level of suffering will depend on several things, but I can assure you how ever positive and happy you are as a person, the coldness and quacks of the natives will get to you.
        These are the kinds of attitudes that are very common place in Denmark.

        http://cphpost.dk/news/mp-black-people-should-be-called-neger.8407.html ( This is the main English paper in Denmark)

        I am also NOT white, and have lived and worked here in Copenhagen as a Computer Engineer with a Phd for the last 4 most miserable years of my life. As a single healthy highly skilled male with no kids, I pay high taxes on my hard earned money and get back basically nothing in return, feel like I am just being robbed every time.

        When I leave Denmark this year, I will take a 6 month sabbatical traveling round the world to regain my sanity, and happiness. If I am ever to return, it will be to visit the Faroe Islands.

        I must add that feroese people are generally some of the nicest, warmest and most friendly people, at least when compared to Danes on the mainland. If you choose to come get some faroese and Icelandic friends, they will make your life in Denmark bearable.

      • Per.

        The blog is complete idiot and full of stereotypes. Danes are not generally racist, but ofcourse they have the small group of people who are otterly racist, but in general we’re a tolerent people. The problem is that we do have a lot of crimes caused by immigration, but that is caused by immigration from Pakistan or Iraq but not from the US. As long as you behave decent you shouldn’t have a problem.

      • It is clear that after having read the 2nd respond by Thomas Petersen, that he is, in fact, another danish racist. I’m Swedish and have been living in Copenhagen for 7 years. My husband is Danish, my child is Danish, I pay Danish taxes ( a lot of it…), I speak Danish. I’m just a regular person who happen to be Swedish living in Denmark and the amount of times a dane have called me a “F*ing Swede” would probably amount up to over 20 times… The last time it happened was today by a man in his 60’s who almost ran me and my 4 year old daughter down on his bike when we crossed the street ( I’m also quite visibly pregnant.) and because I was chocked I called out after him in Swedish asking him what he thought he was up to. The response? Take one guess. I’m so sick of living here as a foreigner and the thing is, my country is only across a bridge 15 minutes away, imagine all the people who come from further afar?
        My reply to you Anita; Take a job in Sweden. They’re not a-holes over there 🙂

  5. Helen

    I was missing you. Love your humor! Sounds like the Tea Party would be right comfy there.

  6. I didn’t knew it was so hard in Danmark.

  7. lucy

    Wait, does this mean that you’ve found a city in which getting a group of expats together doesn’t immediately precipitate moaning?… and since when is customer service called “social culture”? I have the opposite problem as a European moving to the US – I hate knowing that few people in the service industry can make a decent wage without playing nice for my tips.

    • Pygmalion

      “So why don’t you just go home?”

      • Pygmalion

        joking. It is too bad you are suffering through good service. You have my sympathy. I know of one restaurant where they are rude to customers – but you have to be in Boston.

  8. lythya

    Yup. You’re describing us perfectly 😀 After a trip to America on a transfer program a friend and I were amazed at how strangers TALKED TO EACH OTHER! I mean, yeah, thanks for holding the door, but to stop and chat?!
    So we’ve dared each other to talk to a random person on the bus.
    Wow. We live in a country where we have to dare each other to do that.

  9. Heh. And I get told I’m unhappy in Fredericia because it’s no Copenhagen!

  10. Kim

    As a seasoned EXPAT in Europe I know the cycles you go through being a foreigner. First the starry-eyed magic of moving somewhere exciting – and then all the hassle of trying to fit in – and in some cases pure disillusionment. But believe me, people are no less zenophobes in Germany or Italy. Once you’ve learned the language of your host country you will discover that many of these issues are much the same anywhere in Europe. The key to becoming a happy EXPAT is to eye the opportunities that your location offers. Don’t necessarily blame the host country. Sometimes the problem lies in not having connected with the right environments in your host country and other times it is about your own attitude to creating and pursuing fulfillment in your life. Having said that Berlin is a great location. Good luck with that.

    • Kutubuku

      Kim, sorry but that’s BS you’re sprouting. I’ve lived in DK for 7 years, speak the language fluently, have a good job and regularly face racism because of my yellow complexion (read: Asian) but still it doesn’t work like in your theory. Reason I’m still here? Job’s too good

  11. An American expat in Denmark checking in to say, you’ve pretty much nailed it 🙂

  12. Ah Mike. We never talked about this stuff, but I guess we didn’t need to. My remedy for being happy in Copenhagen? Move to anywhere else in Denmark for like a year. Then go back. Oy vey.

  13. I’m just loving your last sentence! Pretty much sums it all up for me : – I

  14. In American restaurants and coffee shops they greet you and chat you up, but secretly hate you for that salad with no tomatoes, no peppers, extra avocado and dressing on the side. Besides, the service can get intrusive due to that overwhelming desire to be nice. I once snapped at a retail associate at a clothing store because I was asked if I needed help literally five times within my first three minutes in the store!

    • Pygmalion

      Have you been a spiteful waitress yourself? You seem to have personal knowledge. I have also been attacked by retail sales associates in the U.S. but I would gladly take the one or two times that has happened over being bumped into on trains, streets and in stores without anyone acknowledging that they meant me no harm. For example, saying “ëxcuse me”. But there need not be comparison to the U.S. or elsewhere for someone to speak or write freely of their own experiences and feelings on a blog. The author has, as someone else wrote, “nailed it” in my opinion; speaking for many of us who have been disappointed by the lack of hospitality in Denmark, nay, the intolerance of the masses (90% of whom, according to the Prime Minster during an interview, are Danish), and the abundance, nay, excess of racism and self-aggrandizement imposed on non-Danes through daily interaction, marketing, employment decisions, invitations, and comments.
      Any land that has to claim “verdes bedste” (toilet paper, food, trains, . . wait – not trains, football teams, windows, doors, stores, juice, soda, bread . . . . ) can only be trying to convince itself.
      Experiences differ. If you find otherwise – that is great! May others be as lucky.

      • noel

        As a waitress in the US i can completely verify that ALL of that niceness, that is fake as can be and the second we turn away from the table we are making faces and cursing the needy customers in our mind. i completely agree with the above commenter who brought up a properly paid server who is to the point and doesnt have to stroke the customers ego and put up with harrassment in hopes of getting tipped (aka paid because the 3.75 an hour we get all gets taxed from our tips so i frequently have bimonthly checks for $1-10) is a much happier worker and will probably be giving more efficient service, they also have agency as a worker and arent worried about sacrificing a tip if the customer is harrassing them, maybe too rowdy but will get even more pissed if they get cut off or if a customer is just a cheap asshole who doesnt tip/tips below 15-20%.

  15. We moved to America just 2 months ago and we all are super happy, even the Danish one. I know that I’ll get blasted for saying it but America is a nicer place to live than Denmark, hands down.

  16. What is your assessment of the sefie photo shoot of the Danish Prime Miinster, the Brish PM, and President Obama at the Mandela funeral?

    • Rasmus

      I know this is an old post, but i gotta reply to this.
      I could care less what our prime minister does in her private time. But when out on official business, representing the country, which she was on that occasion, what she did with that selfie was highly unprofessional and school girl like behavior, and she should be canned for it. And she will be, for that and a long list of other missteps and indiscretions, at our next election. Im danish, and this is an opinion shared by everyone i know

  17. I’m a dane and have always been one. I hate more than anything most of the time, I try not reveal my location on the internet, but this being said I do not completely agree with you.
    I completely agree when it comes to drinking (especially with teenagers) and the social culture is spot on! I do disagree when it comes to racism. I see Denmark as quite an open minded country when it comes to foreigners. There is a lot of debate about our integrations politic, and I hope see it change soon. But I feel you most keep in mind the reason for it being strict. You see in the 80s we let a lot of people in and supported them. But because of lack of integration we let a whole generation down, and things like big ghettos were created as a result. We thought we were doing the right thing but let them down.
    Of course the politic not fair at any point, but I would describe it as racism.

  18. psychinsider

    I agree with the negatives. I’m living with a Danish woman and have to pay crucifyingly high and unfair taxes on my modest pension and on a small house in my own country that I get no rent from. Danes are pretty reclusive, and they’re very poorly informed – I would say brainwashed – about what they get for their monstrous taxes. Small-town Denmark is ghostly, with shops closing half way through Saturday. Danes don’t go out too much because they can’t afford to. Probably OK if you’re born here and can reap the benefits of childcare and university (or if you want your kids to enjoy the benefits), but otherwise – no, don’t move here!

    • Per.

      The taxes are too high and the current generation are ill informed about what their taxes go to because at the moment they just doesn’t care, but when that’s said Denmark has a very split culture. If you live in Sjælland or in the big cities of Jutland many people do go out and eat as they do in other parts of the world, but in the other parts of Denmark alot of people are workers who earns a relatively good amount of money and likes to spend them on their kids, cars, houses and doesn’t see food as important or as something you pay alot of money for. It’s peaceful in the villages and people know each other in difference to other places in the world and that’s the good thing about it.

      By the way it properly better to earn much and pay more in tax then living in Eastern Europ and earning crap.

  19. Maria

    Wow. I think everyone needs to take a step back and recognize that we are all humans, all have different values and opinions, and that you can’t just bash a whole country like that. I live in the U.S, have traveled many places in the world and I know that every country is different each with their own culture and people. But people are not all the same and you can’t just generalize like that. There is so many pros and cons about living in any country, any city, and every neighborhood in the world, and just because YOU don’t like it, it does not mean that it is wrong. Different isn’t bad or wrong, it is just different. It actually makes me a little angry that someone feels the need to WARN others about a country as a whole. Let’s accept differences and move on from high school, because that mentality really belongs amongst people who can’t see beyond their own noses.

    • Mon

      Maria I agree with you. I personally think that living abroad should be mandatory. it widens your horizons. And I believe it can always be an overall POSITIVE experience.

  20. Right after I read this I read an article in the paper about Red Ribbon Week (a week dedicated to teaching students about healthy living) at our local high school. One of the guest speakers was a young man who was missing both legs and an arm. At 15, after a night of drinking, he’d passed out on the railroad tracks. I guess he had nobody to carry him home.
    Denmark has a serious drinking problem, yes. So does every other nation with which I’m familiar. Although I’ll admit it’s probably a bit more in-your-face in the streets of Copenhagen than along the train tracks of California.

    • Thomas Petersen

      Or you are a right wing person in disrespect for other cultures?

    • psychinsider

      Denmark isn’t SO different from many other places but it claims to be – ‘the happiest place on earth’: absolutely not true. Danes pay very high taxes to maintain this illusion but they’re messed up as anyone else.

      • Thomas Petersen

        You do realise that the vast majority of Danes are happy paying their taxes? And do you also realise, that paying taxes maybe is not per definition a bad thing? Maybe if you are a right wing tea-party fan.

      • psychinsider

        Yes, I realise this and on the face of it it’s mystifying. But my conclusion is that most Danes are unaware that they don’t get so much for their high taxes, they are in a historical trance about them, brainwashed. They always say (even the official Skat website says) that unlike other nationals they get free healthcare and schools. Healthcare is certainly not free, it’s no better and in many ways worse than the UK’s NHS (at 20% tax) and the main beneficiaries are students undertaking up to six years of university education (OK, that’s obviously better than the UK but far too generous/unrealistic). What’s the moral justification for, on top of 40% starting taxes for even low earners, taxing people for owning a property, sales tax on everything at 25% etc? And the Danes are all happy? Tell it to those who skrimp and save, constantly have to search out bargains, and despair every month when they do their personal bookkeeping. It explains why Danes love their agoraphobic, hyggelig lifestyle – many can’t afford to eat or drink out or to entertain and be friendly. No, I’m no right-winger, just a reasonably well-informed critic of such injustices and absurdities. The USA has it wrong on healthcare and higher education, yes, and the UK has it wrong on higher education (both with high fees), but Denmark has it wrong on the atrociously high levels of tax, especially for low earners, for social returns which actually aren’t so great. Your happyland bubble is bound to burst within a few years, I’m afraid.

      • Thomas Petersen

        You make the same mistake, as many of the fellow Americans in here, that you assume something, without backing it with fact and to make it fit into your own perception of the world (and Denmark).
        Fact is, that the income tax levels lie right in the middle of the tree of the OECD countries. Google it, and you will find it (I am not your secretary) – or even better learn Danish, open some serious Danish Newspapers, open some books – and learn. .
        You also make the mistake to draw parallels to countries with a completely different system like for instance the UK, assuming that oh income tax…then that is the tax is it not that people pay? Well no.
        In the UK (I live there), yes you pay income tax and no it is not 20 percent, but higher. Besides your income tax, you pay council tax, a garbage tax, water tax, bedroom tax and so on and so on. When it comes to the Scandinavian countries you pay it all under “one”.
        Also, you forget, that what your “tax bill” you get form Skat, is not the real percentage you pay. That states the absolutely maximum, yet no one. Not even one single individual pays that. Because you have personal deductions, if you have mortgages, travel X km to work etc etc. influence your final tax.

        The there is the, “Danes do not realise how little they get for their tax”.
        Well I must say what a statement since you know what every Dane think. Well again, fact show that the Scandinavian tax system, produce a dynamic one, that makes tax the most efficient and also contributes to economic growth. Research upon research have stated this for decades and your remark is simply a bit silly. The same goes with the quality of the healthcare system, that is in the very top and to compare it with the NHS is just hilarious. You simply do not know what you are talking about.

        The same goes with people that “are not well off”. Well first, Denmark is the most income equal country in the world and since you mention the UK over and over, I can enlighten you with that the UK is the fourth most unequal.
        You are far better off in Denmark/Scandinavia living in the bottom of society, than in the UK, or France, the US and a looooong list of other countries.

        So let me give you an advice. It is fine you have your opinion. But it is an opinion, not backed by fact and you ignore things in order to to make it shape into your world. You are not really well informed, so sorry to break reality into you.

        All types of systems, countries etc. are not suitable for all. Not all Americans like it in Scandinavia – sure. But many do. So it is up to you, how you are as a person (and not). Scandinavia just have another, quite unique system and society. that does not mean, that you necessarily will find it a happy one, yet the vast majority does.
        The Scandinavian system is not perfect and have it faults, yet I would choose the system over any other. Its a caring, compassionate, including, homogenic and let me again be so naughty by bringing in some more facts for you.

        Denmark is the place where it is the easiest to climb the social latter. Not the American dream or some other rubbish. It is in Denmark, which also by the way is the country where it is the best country invest in and create a business. I can go on and on.

        So this entire blog, is maybe a safe haven for the ones who apparently did not like Scandinavia and also bare a grudge. Fine with that.
        Yet this untrue crab is basically too much and is just an embarrassment (again) to your fellow Americans and the US as such.

      • psychinsider

        I’m not American but English. I am learning Danish. I read a lot about Denmark. But I am not taken in by so-called ‘evidence’. My experience of how much worse off I am financially in Denmark is absolutely true for me, in cold hard figures. In so many ways the NHS in the UK is cheaper than the Danish health service. You can cite any statistics you like in defence of the Danish delusion. The ‘happiest country in the world’ is total nonsense, just propaganda; use of antidepressants is very high in Denmark, divorce rates are high, smoking is epidemic and is it not true that Denmark has been called the ‘cancer capital of the world’? Your statistics just don’t stand up to experience and common sense. I know quite a few hard-up Danes. (Perhaps this is due to being hard up myself, skat-raped as I now am, as well as old.) Many Danes shop in Germany or the UK because it’s so much cheaper, and many get their teeth done in other countries. Many refugees I meet in Denmark want to head for the UK for many reasons, which is surely relevant here. The Welsh husband of your Prime Minister has deftly dodged high Danish taxes, and Gucci-Helle has colluded with him. I don’t blame you for being defensive but – the threshold for beginning to pay income tax in the UK is just below £10,000 and starts at 20%, only going up to Danish 40% levels after £32,000. In Denmark the tax threshold is less than £5,000! No-one in the UK pays a ‘garbage tax’ separate from council tax – you’re just making this up. Everyone in the UK gets free prescriptions at 60, not as in Denmark at 65, and there are also travel concessions and winter fuel allowances in the UK. Brits don’t have to pay any VAT on food and books. One can see what Scandinavians are after but you’ve gone much too far to the left, and to the politically correct loony left, but not yet as loony as Sweden of course (most of the Danes I know love to mock Sweden). You are badly misinformed, naive about statistics, and by the way extremely rude and patronising. And why do you live in the UK if Denmark is so fantastic? This is just puerile nationalism.

      • Thomas Petersen

        It seems like you, as others on this site, tends to use your own personal experiences and lack of success as a parameter for Denmark as a country, society and as a nation. I have seen this many times this assumption, that your own situation is symptomatic for all in the country and certainly for all prospective immigrants.

        As I wrote before, not all countries/systems work for everybody. If you are a Sicilian male with deep rooted gender structuralism that stands in contrast with the more Nordic way of thinking equality among sexes, then maybe Scandinavia is not the place, nor if your political views – for instance – from a UK perspective being right wing. Then Scandinavia is probably not the best place to be. So basically you obviously do not like the Danish/Scandinavian system mainly because, you disagree politically.

        When you then first say, people in Denmark are ignorant and thus claim, well you can pour as many statistics as you want you will just ignore it. Well that kind of says it all does it not?

        You have also ignored all of those massive welfare subsidies you get in Denmark, you are completely ignorant about the meager conditions for welfare subsidies in the UK – like the unemployment grant is £70 a week and the millions of people in the UK living in poverty, not to mention the homeless, the working poor with multiple jobs, the uneducated, the fact that 1/3 of the UK kids get their main meal a day in school and the massive social problems.
        What you are seeing is ghosts, and what you praise is false.
        You use your own failure and lack of success, to project your hate for the Danish society/Danes/Scandinavians, since you apparently is simply not good enough. On top of that you claim the truth. It is utterly pathetic.

        And why UK? Well I am taking an MsC in the UK in addition to my MA. For that my tuition fee is paid and get a grant each month. Can some English guy, do the same? Nope. So much for “your” loved system.

        And yes I pay waste tax for my city council.

        I Wonder what planet you are from and no wonder the Scots had enough.

      • psychinsider

        For someone doing a Masters you are astoundingly biased, drunk on statistics, and ad hominem in your way of arguing. I am not, by the way, a failure at all, but a successful, retired academic on a sadly low pension that the Skat authority takes almost half of, indifferent to my personal circumstances. I am not at all right wing, I have always voted Labour in the UK and I think UK taxes need to go up a bit and university fees be abolished (at least for first degrees). There’s a lot wrong with the UK and USA as I said (unheeded by you) in my earlier post. But Denmark has gone too far left, that’s all, and is blind to its many faults and exaggerated claims to happiness. Massive welfare subsidies, ah yes, like those received by Robert Nielsen for 25 years, is it, as I read in the Danish newspapers? What works for Denmark (for now but not for too much longer) as a tiny country, won’t ever work for a country of 63 million. I don’t, by the way, love the UK, or the USA, or any other country. Nor am I opposed to the Danish political system only, but also to Jante-culture (see Linda Koldau’s trilogy ‘Jante University’) and fraudulent claims to happiness. It seems, if you want to talk about which planet I’m on, that we are sadly both from the Planet of Non-Dialogical, Aggressively Locked Horns. Are you sure your ancestors weren’t Sicilians?

      • Thomas Petersen

        I do understand that you feel upset, since I revealed that your hatred to the Scandinavians and Scandinavia as such, has more to do with your bitterness and your political views.
        However, your constant rhetoric about statistics and ignorance by it, are simply just unworthy of you and somewhat tiresome. Either you can argue for your case, backed by facts – or you can’t.

        When it comes to your pension – and do not know your details – but you do realise it actually is individual? That you get certain additions based on your personal details?

        Robert Nielsen is an just an example of a twat. There will always be some idiots around trying to suck on the system. Those you will find all over and in every social layer. But the good Robert is no excuse to then abolish a system that benefits thousands upon thousands and that have worked for decades.
        Critics usually throw the jante-law, yet the very same thing is said to be the very essence of that Scandinavia has, are and also in the future will be one of the most prosperous and wealthy areas in the World.

        You can have your opinions on the Danish welfare system, being to generous, too naive, be to open for idiots like the good Robert and maybe being too homogenic. Maybe it actually is because Scandinavians are… homogenic.
        I just stop you when what you are writing are simply not true or that you simply misunderstand how the Scandinavian system works.

        P.s. Labour, in Scotland at least, ARE right wing.

      • psychinsider

        Oh dear. To anyone else out there reading this sad spectacle – sorry we seem to have become two typical know-it-all, bigoted male twats. Make up your own mind about Denmark, of course. Be born here and you might like it, but think twice about ever moving here later in life.

  21. C. Robert Suarez

    Hello, I am a brown man (a pure mutt to be exact. Part German, part Spanish, part native American Indian but I am quite simply a ‘brown’ person and no one looking at me thinks otherwise) and I love the Danes. I love their – how best to say it – their quiet adoration of the simple. I feel a tremendous amount of love and warmth when I am with them even though we are not saying much or they are not paying any attention to me. I appreciate how much they give to silence and how much it gives back. This is so unlike the typical, my typical, American environment where everyone accepts everyone else’s rudeness, loudness and ill manners. I laud the Danish culture and while no one culture is perfect, I feel rewarded by being with them. Whatever outward words or insults you may feel from them, I find them so much more warm and full of care and love than what I am used to in the US.

  22. Mon

    Thomas your English is great for a non native. Psychinsider for a native English speaker you write beautifully. Loved the whole interaction and was greatly informed by both sides. I have to confess if I would get a job in Denmark I would move tomorrow, at least for a while. But will like to lay my bones next to those of my dear father. Sorry getting too somber… It’s late and tomorrow an American working day awaits me and I need to be at my top game! since as a foreigner I am an Ambassador of my own culture…

    • That was quite the interesting exchange between the two gentlemen, above. Match, set… I’m an American. Salary 110.000 DKK (I only started in September). Taxes: 33.000. Whatever percentage that is… No child here in Denmark – son in university in New York. It is what it is. I work here; I pay taxes here and that’s that. I’ve lived in 7 countries or so. There is joy and delight in every country as well as pain and aggravation. I am glad just to have a job, enough food to eat, clothes to wear, a warm flat and an education. That’s more than what many people have. Denmark is what it is; no better and certainly no worse.

  23. karl knudsen

    You´re all like admiral Lord NelsonI think. He “kept the telescope for the blind eye” when he attacked Copenhagen at “the battle of Reden”.Though,- he wash a gentleman and did not destroy the town completely. He only stole our fleet. It is my impression that you all have a great leak of historic knowledge concerning the connections between ordinary socialisme and raw capitalisme and are domed to live in an ever lasting struggle with your self about that´, It´s my opinion that they can´t live with out each other. On one hand,- don´t you all see that the more taxes you pay, the more the inhabitants in a country will consume, if the money afterwards are distributed correct. Is´nt that socialisme ? On the other hand,- if the government is not doing that, the whole capitalist world will suffer and ind the end break down, just like it did a few years argo. Do´nt you all agree?. I am very worried because many of you, surely now or later vill be in a position of having power to take solutions concerning those matters. Please be careful and use a pair of field glasses when you take decisions in the future.

    • psychinsider

      No, the more tax you pay the less disposable income you have. Danes stay indoors and don’t eat out much because they don’t have the money. They often shop in Germany because food in Denmark is too expensive (with high income tax + extremely high sales tax). Denmark has some good ideas but it’s way ‘too socialist’ in my opinion. Of course the USA is far ‘too capitalist’, with taxes too low to provide decent health & welfare. The UK is somewhat similar but has a health service equal to Denmark’s for less tax. What high Danish taxes buy is mainly good unemployment benefits and free higher education – better than the UK, yes, but you pay much too much for those benefits, which are also partly dubious, creating dependency. And where only a tiny proportion of Americans achieve the so-called American dream while millions suffer (and it’s similar but less so in the UK), in Denmark the fairness-&-happiness brand of culture conceals many subtle inequalities and much unhappiness. We all tend to kid ourselves. I think UK taxes must go up but Danish ones will have to come down sooner or later, and even then there are no guarantees of utopia, only temporary pragmatic adjustments and believing our own hype.

      • karl knudsen

        Yes, we all do kid our self more or less in DK I think, but is´nt that because we may all have turned in to be slaves,- actually and in hind,- more or less ruled by former preusian war and land lords for hundred of years? Think of some old and former members of the heigh establishment in DK. In UK I think they are reasonable proud of Gibraltar and the thereby the reasonable free admittance to the mediterranean see. In DK and in cooperation whit among others Lord Nelson. we still do have Kronborg and in reality, the admittance to the Baltic see, but luck around to see if we are proud concerning that. Well,- no I think. to be proud of something in DK is no good. Remember we live in a land where it´s no good to be proud of anything at all. That´s why, among many others, many former and also some precent ministre, do drink too much I think. They need pride of their own doing and are anxious of what would happens too them if they where absolutely true towards them self. Taxes in DK are too heigh, let´s leave that as a true statement,- but the government is afraid to do to much about that. People in DK needs pride,- thats whats rotten in Denmark. Make the thoughts of if all the people in DK where able to pay by them self,- for all there social needs,- in their whole life and lend their left over to someone else. That would be a reason to be proud and may be also to stop drinking to much. By now they only leave and lend their debt. Miserable and a good reason to start drinking. That they did in Russia before 1989. Luck at Jeltzin. He tryed to be true towards himself, but why did he really die?

      • karl knudsen

        Sorry,- I lost your last reply. I hope you have got it.

  24. Peter Stephensen

    Perfect description of Denmark as written by American Author, Garrison Keillor:

    Sober-faced Danes queue at the bus stop in the rain, which they do not flinch at, and it dawns on you that a daylong rain is not unusual, this is a North Atlantic winter. The sun won’t shine tomorrow, maybe not the next day. You have arrived in a land where Christmas means more than in, say, Barbados; it is the last outpost on the long grim trek toward spring. Dark gray sky at noon, dull brown brick all around, dead trees, broken glass in the gutter, and you, sorry you, your head like a sponge full of mud. At first you think it’s jet lag, and then you realize that everyone else feels this way too.

    Welcome to the birthplace of existentialism.

    • psychinsider

      Everyone else may feel this way but most protest they don’t, they live in the happiest and most egalitarian country in the world. Strange how Kierkegaard, one of their few heroes, has been so left behind in Denmark’s conformity culture.

      • Thomas Petersen

        I see you are still spreading your ignorance. Get a life.

      • psychinsider

        Oh dear, you’re such an angry man, aren’t you, always in need of a fight? I think we should have a truce. Please find someone else to attack.

      • Thomas Petersen

        No not at all. I just do not understand your desire to spread all this nonsense. If you really don’t like it, why not just move? Leave! If it is that horrible, why are you still living in Denmark? Why not go home then to the UK?

      • psychinsider

        You may have seen Michael Booth’s recent book ‘The Almost Nearly Perfect People’. Or the blogging on it in The Guardian. I am far from alone in finding Denmark strange, its reality at odds with the hype it puts out about itself and that its citizens swallow. Like Booth, I have a Danish partner. Like you, I have some reasons to live in a country I don’t wholly admire (to judge from your anti-British rhetoric). I don’t think Denmark is entirely horrible, nor am I spreading nonsense. Your total lack of comprehension of other viewpoints, and your combative personality, are worrying. Slut.

      • Thomas Petersen

        Oh you mean Michael Booth as in the guy that tried to promote a book that was so full of errors that his publisher had to get in re-written? As in Michael Booth, that ran scared because the Danish Broadcasting Corporation programme Detektor, went through his claims one by one and basically caught him at best in twisting the truth?

        The problem with you and like minded is, that you only want to see what you want to see. You put your own failure on the shoulders of someone else.

        So I am asking you again. If it really is that horrible – you do state it is – . What are you doing in Denmark then? Why not move somewhere else or at least to your fab UK? If you are quick you might even still experience the last few months before it is no longer called the UK. Denmark is not for everybody, fine with that. But if you really do not like it, why not move then?
        The answer blows in the wind – and you know it.
        I am not anti-British, I just don’t see the paradise as you do. So much I am looking so much forward to moving back.

      • psychinsider

        I think the short answer here is – fuck off. This is a completely undignified and depressing exchange. Leave me alone.

      • Per.

        The danish poverty problems are not only based on the taxes, but just as much on peoples poor decisions. If you’re out of a job and live on welfare, do the decent thing and move to Jutland in the small villages where rent isn’t a big deal. People who suffer from too little money mostly insist in staying where they are, which in a lot of cases is in a big city where the rent shoots through the roof.

    • There’s a reason why I don’t listen to our friend Garrison. Prairie Home Companion, indeed… My head is never like a sponge full of mud. Hardly ever, at least. The grey skies are beautiful in a subtle way. Whatever… I came here from Malaysia – 320 days of sun – and if I can wait for the bus without having a fit of angst, so can everybody else. Garrison, you exaggerate…

  25. Janus Tobias Madsen

    I must admit “psychfinder” that you at least got a lot of things wrong and the same goes with some of the Americans here. Just because you do not like the system or find the people not like you were used to back in England, that does not entitle you to shit a lot of crap on and in the country that harbours you. As someone else stated, move then. It is a free world. If you find England so much more attractive, then have a talk with your partner and if he/she is just a little concerned about you, then you can move back.

    I, really DO understand Americans and British (not all though) – lets call them “Anglicans”, do not find Denmark as attractive as others. The culture is simply to far away. Danes are homogenic, anglicans are the opposite, Denmark is left wing, Anglican societies are usually not, Scandinavia is among the most equal countries in the world, The level of education in Scandinavia are very high, the level in the Anglican countries are not.

    I can go on and on.

    But, just because it is different, does not necessarily make it wrong and just because it does not fit into your perception of the world does not make Danes the scum of the earth or Denmark the last station before hell.

    And that is why the one making this blog is basically a racist and so are you.

    • psychinsider

      Yes, WTF indeed. But of course not all Danes are like this – these few are just virulent cyber-bullies. To JTM above I say ‘do not abuse me by calling me racist, that is absurd’. In the UK, telling immigrants that if they don’t like everything there, they can leave, is considered racist. And where have I ever said that Denmark is shit/scum of the earth or the UK is great by comparison? I haven’t. I’m just saying that in my fallible opinion there’s a lot of defensive, delusional propaganda about Denmark. Is that view so hard to consider? But please let’s leave the nastiness there.

      • Janus Tobias Madsen

        I really can not see the point, that if you are in a life situation, that you find is simpy not good for you. Then why not change it? It is really obvious that you do not like living in Denmark for various (obscure) reasons, so why not just leave? I can see you before praised the UK, so why not change your life situation, go from one thing you do not like, to something you like. It is simply a matter of being logic.

        And yes you ARE a racist, because you express yourself about Danes in a way that is racist. You are generalizing, you make multiple negative assumptions based on your patos, your perceptions are generally wrong and your “facts” are as biased as it can be (when not wrong). Yes you are a bigot, narrowminded, selfish and….a racist.
        You even can not remember what you wrote yourselfish, even though it is all listed above. Read it again if you want.

        Feel free to criticize as much as you like and certainly Scandinavia is not utopia. But it is for the vast majority of the populations a great place to stay and be in.
        When you get it that wrong, people react. Is that so hard to understand?

        Debates are great, but it has to be on a sober, intellectual basis. If you read above on the American, starting this, she argues that on her local café, the waitress did not want to sit down and talk with her for hours. On that and some other really insignificant examples, she judges and entire population, culture and country.
        If you have lived just a tiny little bit and have a tiny little understanding of Danish culture, you would know why. It is different yes, but is it then wrong?
        You and her, thinks that.

      • psychinsider

        Denmark has ‘free’ higher education, didn’t I say that? Better than the UK, yes certainly. Health care is about the same quality but more expensive in Denmark. Pros and cons exist. Sure, I can leave if and when I really dislike it enough here. But I know refugees who experience Denmark as unfriendly and racist yet obviously cannot leave it. One blogger above suggested that Danish pride based on deep collective fears about its historical shrinkage explains fierce reactions like yours, and the kinds of abusive denial aimed against Booth. That may or may not have some truth in it. Ytringsfrihed! Slap af!

      • Janus Tobias Madsen

        You are being a demagogue. You use “free” when talking on education – well a matter a fact..it is free! You even get a grant. Healthcare in England are…I mean you can not even compare it to Scandinavia. It is really really bad. You pay some more on your medicine in Scandinavia, but the difference is actually very Little when you calculate it into your life expected income.

        You also misunderstand pride with fear (sorry you did not got me there simply because it is too silly). Maybe you mean inferior complex, well we leave that to the World Champions: GB 🙂

      • psychinsider

        Ha ha ha, and let’s not even get started on that unfortunate giraffe.

      • Soeren Laursen

        I appreciate your comments phsychinsider….

        Thomas why don’t you just reflect on what is being said and accept this is his experience living in Denmark? It is a valuable input to an interesting discussion.

        I am also Danish and living in Denmark. I have a master’s degree in economics and management and I own a business in Denmark. My wife is a doctor. We have two kids 5 and 7. I have experienced living for about 1,5 year in Japan which is a very different culture.

        My conclusion (my subjective input) about Denmark after living here 38 years 😉

        1) The weather is just depressing from September to mid April (unless you like rain, fog, grey clouds and rarely getting a glimpse of the sun if you work 9-5 …etc.. you get the picture). Occasionally May to August can be very nice and comfortable but most people will not bet the summer vacation on it and leave for Italy, Spain or France during July/August.

        2) The weather results in people spending a lot of their time indoor and it affects their desire to go out and meet other people outside their family, core groups and well be social. (it is just too cold and depressing to be outside. Hence, if you live in a suburban area like I do in Denmark, you rarely even talk to your neighbours from September to mid April.)

        There might be more of a social culture in larger cities but only if you are formally part of some groups or institutions. At least this is my experience having lived in both Aarhus, Vejle, Viborg area, Horsens area and Copenhagen. It is very very hard to penetrate existing social groups even as a Dane. As a foreigner people tend just not be bothered with socialising with somebody likely to move away again soon. And generally it is always difficult to interact if you have different socio-cultural backgrounds. Danish people generally believe their culture’s values to be superior and “the truth”. The best way to short cut this problem of socialising is probably to get drunk with a Dane.

        3) This creates an environment ideal for certain types of human activities. These are typical indoor leisure and social activities like watching handball in local “sports halls” or on tv, browsing the Internet at 00:18 at night like I am now….. well and to work.

        Work a lot. In Denmark you are your job until you actually get to know somebody really well but that can take a long long long time.

        But there are lot of good things about this. Surely people enjoying indoor sports will love Denmark. Its a mecca for such things. If you are a programmer you will probably like it too. (C++ language was invented in Denmark)

        4) The history of Denmark is that of a lost “small empire”. Today it is only the core of the old power (Copenhagen area) + Jylland and Funen which is left. I would argue Copenhagen is almost like a city state within the rest of the country. Keep that in mind when you analyse the country.

        5) The reasons I think people continue to live in and contribute to the Danish society (e.g. pay high taxes and put up with bad weather) are:

        a) Fear of losing existing benefits

        that Danes are essentially afraid of losing their safety net which they have been brought up with and are basically in a kind of dependency relationship with the state. Since about 50% of the work force is employed by the state or local authorities it means this statement is in fact very real and not just some “feeling”.

        Their relations to other people, groups etc are basically often really weak and the savings rate is generally not very high if you neglect the pension system… (you are penalised with a 60% taxation if you use these pension funds before retirement and some of them you cannot actually withdraw until retirement)

        b) Equality

        since few are flashing a lot of wealth and almost nobody appears to be truly poor or “broken” you tend to get a feeling that things are going pretty well and it does not challenge you and does not create feelings of envy which can really make people sick and unhappy. Yes you pay a lot in tax – but hey so does your neighbour so he cannot get ahead either.

        c) Fairness of the system

        – you just get a feeling the system is pretty fair. It is not immediately obvious that somebody are getting special deals from the system. (although there are special deals to the 25+ riches families for sure but come on that is like a natural law of humans. Some just rise to the top of the pyramid no matter how you design a human social system)

        d) Security – comfort

        – generally everything works rather well – on time – as expected. If you have kids as I do – you will appreciate this a lot.

        e) Wealth endowment

        Denmark has considerable wealth from oil and gas exploration – hence it pays a lot of the welfare bills at the moment. Its generally a social club with a nice fat endowment you joined. Why would you wanna leave it? None of the critical infrastructure was destroyed by wars since modern industrialisation begun due to a very neutral and cunning foreign policy.

        f) Language mobility is low

        although some people speak pretty good English the majority is not able to manage their current job in another language like English. Hence they cannot just move even if they don’t like the weather.

        Now… would you find this an interesting culture and country to visit. Yes I think so. Can you learn good things from this country and it’s people? Absolutely. Can you make a lot of money? Well not really but it’s about as likely as in most other OECD countries. Are you safe? Yes absolutely. Will your children enjoy life in Denmark? Yes I think it is surely the case since they will socialise through the school once they get a hang of the language.

        Is it then the “happiness utopia”? No way. It is depressing in many many subtle ways. My personal conspiracy theory is that the 25+ riches families have perfected a system of collaboration with the state bureaucracy and political class. 95% of the “workers” are “happy” and give their soul to the companies and forget about the rest of their social life. They cannot accumulate wealth easily and a forced to take jobs with the incumbent players. In Denmark you settle for security and boredom because the rich are just really really smart here. Hell you might even not work much and still get some of the spoils but most people do have some measure of greed in them and want at least to obtain middle class status.

  26. Martin

    Wow,
    people express their experiences in Denmark and all the Danes in here keep telling them to leave?!
    I mean honestly!? wtf!

    • Janus Tobias Madsen

      Why not? I mean if you don’t like it. What is the point then? Then go to Iowa, Milton Keynes or where ever you think you will get a better life.

  27. Peter Stephensen

    I lived in Denmark for the better part of 7 years, and am American. Jeg taler dansk, har to born da taler dansk, and just short of 7 years after our arrival, my Danish wife and I decided that Denmark was no longer the right place to raise our children. The primary reasons being the narrow mindedness in relation to cultural diversity (or most things non-Danish for that matter), the ridiculous cost of everything, the horrific weather, mediocre at best health system and the general boring and mundane, in-door / entitlement lifestyle of Denmark.

    Having said those things, living in Denmark did teach me many valuable lessons. I understand and respect the systemic thinking, admire the focus on family well-being and understand why Danish people like their system. It works for them. For most non-Danes that I knew in CPH, it was all a bit of a nightmare.

    One of the greatest lessons I learned, however, was how it felt to be treated as a minority….a real minority. I hold a PhD from one of the world’s most respected universities, have lived in and travelled the world, but because of my skin tone, my eye color and my “accent”, I was treated as if I were a second class citizen, living in DK to milk their precious system for all it’s worth. From bus drivers to waiters in restaurants….post office clerks to grocery store check-out women, the teachers of my children to my own Doctor….my day in and day out experiences with every day Danes repeatedly left me shocked at how miserable life here is. I believe that I have always treated everybody equally, but after my experiences with Denmark and it’s culture, I am even more conscious about my interactions with people different from myself.

    For any of you reading this blog that aren’t familiar with Denmark, don’t believe the notion from Danes that Healthcare and Education are free. I paid an exorbitant amount of tax to help fund those programs, so they are not free by any stretch, and the quality of and access to leave a lot to be desired. The healthcare system is archaic, and the education system needs a bit of an overhaul to emphasize more on academics in the earlier years (IMHO). Where I live now, my out of pocket healthcare costs are a fraction of what they were in Denmark, my take home pay has increased by close to 40% (I was working for Denmark’s largest, most recognizable global company at the Management Level), my pre-taxed and matched education contributions will fund a good portion of my children’s advanced education, my pension will be more than quadruple what it would have been had I stayed in Denmark, (not to mention my govt. funded Social Security) I can access high quality health services at a moment’s notice, have more than 4 weeks of paid time off, not including national holidays, have flex time / telecommuting options, work a 40 hour week, and most important to me, the people that I interact day in and day out smile, speak pleasantly with one another and are actually curious about one another’s backgrounds.

    Now, I am living in arguably the most liberal and forward thinking city in the country, but the massive diversity, and the positive nature of the populous are the exact environment that my wife and I want to raise our children in. Our children are thriving, the education system at their age actually focuses on academics, they are healthy, enjoying the fantastic weather and geography that this region has to offer, and we couldn’t be happier to be out of dark, drab and depressing Denmark. At their public school, my kids are exposed to children from 20+ different countries, and are receiving a peripheral, invaluable education on diversity and the world. We socialize with people from all over the world, and have made friends with a couple of Danish families who are living here for limited timeframes due to education, and they simply don’t want to go back to Denmark. After seeing how other cultures live and thrive amongst one another, these Danes are sad that they have to take their children back to such a closed off, dark society. They are trying to figure out how to stay.

    I do look forward to visiting Denmark again, seeing old friends, having a beer at Nyhavn, maybe a bacon hot dog from a polsevogn, perhaps going on a canal boat tour ; reminding myself of the things that I actually enjoy about Denmark. I also look forward to the inevitability of being treated poorly by a Dane, seeing stoic, robotic Copenhageners bump into one another as they b-line it down Stroget, listen to the sad tales from friends and relatives of another horrible summer that has passed them by, and be reminded of the things that make living there so soulless.

    For all of those people in this forum who were in my shoes, who have had multiple Danes tell them to just leave if you hate it so much, my advice to you all is to do so. I did, and it has been the most liberating experience of my life.

    • psychinsider

      Peter Stephenson, great post, thanks, sounds like you made a very good decision. Unfortunately many expats who clearly see what you saw are in inescapable refugee situations or other dire circumstances, have family commitments and/or stubbornly pro-Danish partners that make it impossible to leave without major traumas and/or financial or legal nightmares, so they suffer and compromise. Hard to quit the Cult of the Dano-Stepford Teat!

    • Malcolm

      I have lived in Denmark for about 6 years now and I am Canadian, but have lived in the U.S. and in London before.

      I don’t really know the purpose of this blog really is, nor most of the people that writes on this. It seems like a bunch of really bitter persons.

      For me, Denmark has been an absolutely lovely place to live in. It is not perfect – but where is that? If you have been around as I have, it is surely one of the greatest places on earth.

      I have met incredibly bright, positive, liberal persons, have dealt with a very generous system where things actually work (not like in England and the U.S.) and can actually see the point in the Danish/Scandinavian culture.
      It seems like the Danish-bashers here, have not really put their background behind them, look with nostalgic eyes to their homeland and have not really lived in Denmark, but lived in a bubble. I have been in a couple of the expat societies here and there are some ten percent that simply can not cope with the Danish culture and society.
      That has not really anything to do with the Danish society and culture, but with themselves not being able to adjust to the Danish lifestyle and truly expect that everything is like America, Manchester or where they come from. It seems like, they can not see further form themselves. Some also expect, that they do not have to do an effort or make some commitment (or very little). They are the ones that fails and would fail anywhere else in the World.

      I like that people chip in, in a huge pot, that then is split up and goes to the society and can see that if you do not apply to this and you have your eyes stiff put on your tax bill, I can see it becomes difficult for you.

      My kids got a much better education, than I could have got anywhere else, without for me actually paying for it. I have access to a much better healthcare system than I have seen and experienced my self and for a price that is very low when you look on what it actually cost to run it.
      I have a job in a place that has such a high standard, that I have not ever even heard or experienced it elsewhere.

      • psychinsider

        Sorry Malcolm but you’re not really Canadian, are you? If you are, your English certainly isn’t very good! Let’s suppose you are Canadian – however, you need to learn the difference between ‘Danish-bashing’ and fair comment. Why do you presume that critics of Denmark are all bitter, nostalgic, cannot cope, live in a bubble, are unable to adjust, and don’t make an effort? (And by implication are illiberal and not bright?) And about your 10% estimate, well we all see the world in our own way I guess. I meet lots of refugees and expats and I’d say about 20% are ‘happy’ here; the equally effortful rest are struggling with the negative features outlined above. See also http://blogs.denmark.dk/peterandreas for a Danish man’s take – criticism is not all from expats! Yes it’s true nowhere is perfect and we could say plenty that’s critical of the USA and UK. By the way, maybe it’s no coincidence that Denmark was called ‘the Canada of Europe’ in an episode of South Park.

      • Malcolm

        I am French-Canadian and may I add your English is not very good either. I wrote it super fast and you can tell you really concentrate yourself on the language you are using. What is your excuse?

        I can’t really see you are doing anything else than just manically bashing Denmark and Danes. You put the shield up in front of you and declare fairness. It is not of the sort. You are highly bitter and biased and even has to mock Canada as well. You do not seem like a very pleasant person to be frank and you list a lot of things here that are not true or twisted into your very own twisted hatred of Denmark. If you just spent half your energy, that you uses here and put that in getting your self integrated, you would probably stop being so angry.

        I have my perception on things, you are certainly entitled to have yours. That does not make yours in any way the truth or any better.

        I have had great years and still do in Denmark, so has my family and as I stated, I have by far only met people that are really happy in Denmark, foreign or not – and I really understand them.

      • psychinsider

        Ouch ouch ouch. Touché. But my English isn’t very good? Perhaps you can point out a single error? Otherwise my PhD was plain wasted and my publishers were lazy.

      • Malcolm

        You do not have a PhD. So stop pretending and start listening to people that are less bitter and use your time on other things than searching the internet to confirm your twisted hatred beliefs.

      • psychinsider

        Ah Malcolm, mon ami, I’m afraid I do in fact have a real PhD! But perhaps you’re partially right and I do have my anti-jante shield up, and nothing much better to do in hyggeland. By the way, I love Montreal and Toronto, far livelier and more multicultural than anything in Denmark. But never suggest my English is incorrect – that’s duelling talk! Bon chance. (By the way, where are redneck twins on this blog when one needs a childish scrap to ventilate all one’s alleged unintegrated bitterness and racism?) Pause.

      • Malcolm

        No you don’t.

        And Copenhagen and the rest of Denmark is by far more multicultural and livelier than Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton and pretty much any place in Canada and huge parts of the United States and the same goes with the United Kingdom. It is your own prejudice and hatred talking, that clouds your perception of the world.

      • psychinsider

        Oh I do – but it doesn’t matter at all. It’s only a piece of paper from one of the UK’s ridiculously expensive 200 universities.
        Denmark more multicultural than the UK?! Now you really are sadly misinformed. The varied ethnic population of the UK is much bigger than the entire population of Denmark and British people are much more ‘politically correct’ than Danes. Toronto has much more active multicultural-friendly policies than Denmark.
        But there are words for all this – phenomenology – which means that the world is simply what each of us sees and that no ‘real’ world or objective truth exists. And internet addiction, which both of us are currently suffering from. And locking horns, which we poor men seem to do so often.
        Hatred? No, I don’t think so, it’s disappointment, a reaction to all that hype about the ‘happiest country in the world’ stuff: I expected so much more. Mais, c’est la vie, hein?

      • Malcolm

        You still do not have one and yes they are quite expensive. Not free for everyone to get a degree like here.

        Being multicultural, is not the same as the number of nationalities living within a country. You do know that?

        Toronto is almost racist compared to Denmark, so do not know what you are talking about. Go to Toronto and pretend you are just slightly French and you will see…

        Very nice you inform me of Phenomenology, since I wrote a book about it. There are some more elements to it though.

        I think someone else wrote here, that Denmark is not for everyone. Maybe you expected a fanfare of happiness and joy? And some smooth adaptation to Danish Culture which probably is the most homogenic in the world. Then getting to be disappointed, then reluctance, then bitterness and then hatred. Seems to me that way.

        Don’t you like people are somewhat laid back? That things actually work, that there is not so far from bottom to the top, that its a safe country, that social mobility is very high, that Danes are in general bright and well educated, the great summers, the general standard of living?

      • Peter Stephensen

        Malcom. I respect your right to your opinions regarding Denmark, but you come across pretty ridiculously in these posts.

        No place is perfect, naturally, but this constant nationalistic chest pounding is almost embarrassing at this point. It’s not unlike the Napolean Complex, really. Your posts in particular absolutely highlight the attitude that I have thankfully removed my family from.

        So happy to be gone. So happy

    • Peter – I would imagine that your employment is of a high standard and that many of these benefits are paid through/with your employer. From one American to another, you must concede that your experience is not usual. I read that your children attend public schools, in the most liberal progressive city in the country… Where are we? Seattle, Cambridge? Mt. Airy (Philadelphia – my neighborhood!)?

      Your situation is hardly indicative of an average situation in our country. I think that you are comparing apples and oranges…

      I’m not defending Denmark nor am I negating your experience. I am saying that one cannot compare your situation )flextime, 4 weeks holiday, diverse public schools, reasonably-priced healthcare) to the “average” American experience. . . no. You know full well that it’s not that type of party in most places in our country. And I also have the different skin color and eye color – and I’m female to boot. Not easy. But I’m here for the moment so it is what it is. Best wishes.

  28. Mariam

    There is racism here in Denmark. I was born in Denmark, but my parents come from Africa. I have met many racist here in Copenhagen. I had to change schools 4 times, because I was bullied by the color of my skin. I wasn‘t just the white kids, but also the non ethnic -danes. I‘m a freshmen in high school and was very surprised to see that my school was divided. All the danish kids hang out with each other and the kids who are from different cultures or have different skin color hang by themselves. I am the only black girl in my class, but the rest of the class is full of kids who either come from Turkey or Pakistan or somewhere in the middle east. They some times come with racial slurs and sometimes it‘s right in my face.
    I also heard a danish girl say she didn‘t want to go in our class, because there was too many “ Perker in there“ .
    The fact is I was born in Denmark! I speak perfectly danish. This is the place I should call home. I have experienced some much racism that I now have anxiety and depression. I now think that Denmark is a toxic place. If danish people are trying to deny this! they should watch as many Jane Elliot videos as they can. The are being ignorant! Try walking in a person of colors shoes in Denmark, then you will get it!

    • Janus Tobias Madsen

      There is some racism everywhere, yet it is really nothing compared to what you see in the United Kingdom, France or in the US (especially in the South).
      You have to differ by the way, the difference from being bullyed and there some racist comes in, and then real racism. That some 5th grader called you something racist, does not actually mean that person is a racist. What you refer to are inconsidered, inmature teenage idiots. And they are everywhere.
      Also, remember tolerance comes both ways and are not a one-sided affair and I am a bit puzled you bring Jane Elliott into this, since I do not think you really know WHO she really is and stands for.

      I seems more like you are obsessed with being a victim, yet you are not.

      • chizobaudeorjiwac2014

        Janus how DARE you tell her that she is obsessed with being a victim? She has had to relocate four times. And what she has gone through would not happen, even in the south (in the U.S) because there are large populations of Black people there. If it happened, the culprits would be punished. In the UK and France you can even be sued. Danish people will support the bullies or blame the victim (like what you’re doing) and excuse racist language which is the result of racist thought. It’s so funny how Danes pretend to loathe political correctness but they cannot tolerate even the slightest bit of criticism of their country.

        Mariam I hope you get to leave that shit hole one day. It’s sad that your parents had to make the sacrifices they did, but onward you must go. Leave them to their own ignorance if you can.

      • Janus

        Well, how dare you writing something based on… nothing. You have not even bothered reading what I actually wrote, but put together a serious of already fixed opinions in your head.

        I can assure you there is a lot more racism in the US and France and you should really have a look on your hatred.

      • chizobaudeorjiwac2014

        Janus, everyone read what you wrote. You said she was “obsessed with being a victim”. In your own arrogance you can’t even admit your society has a problem-it’s not her obsession, it’s THEIRS. Your response to my post is proof that you don’t have a leg to stand on.

      • Janus

        Sorry, but I do not really bite to your pub-arguments.

      • chizobaudeorjiwac2014

        Your immature deflection is exactly what we’re talking about. I’m just glad word is getting out.

    • psychinsider

      Mariam, you experience racism in Denmark and it’s a fact for you, it’s not at all that you’re wallowing in victimhood! It’s true there is probably some racism everywhere but in countries like the US and UK the multicultural mix and population is much greater than in tiny Denmark, so there is more solidarity among black people and more respect and protection for them. The best you can do in your situation, probably, is to try to find allies, to be carefully assertive, study hard, and wait until school is finished and you can choose somewhere friendly to be, but I appreciate that it’s not easy when you’re being singled out and bullied. And don’t let yourself be bullied or misunderstood on this strange website!

    • karl knudsen

      My dear Miriam. At february 5. 2014 I wrote a comment concerning “something is wrong in the state of Denmark” trying to help some of all you young people to understand why some of that is all true. At february 18. 2014, Pscyhinsider dared to use a word named PRIDE, for the first time. I think I´ll have to explain the the depth of this word for you a little further and please do not be sorry because of that. You see,- from my point of view you are a victim of your parents decision long time argo and now you have 2 possibilities,- neither to be angry on your parents or proud of yourself. Promise me,- please don´t be angry on your parents. Raise your head, finnish your school, study the reason why your parents went to Denmark and if possible go back to yours and your parents country and fight for your rights to stay there. Luck at what the Israelis are doing to day. They went all over the world as refugees for 2000 years before they understood that they actually have to help them self. That´s the right you also have to use, before you start to blame somebody else This also because i think that you feel that you are not especially welcome to stay here in Denmark and because of that I´ll now try to explain for you why the danes are like they are. Again “you see”. In 1945 we finally got rid of the german troops invading Denmark. Before that we also lost a war against the same country in l864, not to mention admiral Nelson who stole our fleet,- but he left again and now we are left on a little peninsular at the north west corner of the european continent, fighting for another, sneaking invasion of other foreigners. All because of bad leadership from our governments leak of competence and pride. With the result of by now,- far to many people without work and our prisoner filled up with a lot of “naughty foreign Boy´s”. But on top of that,- I do agree whit Shakespire.There is still something rotten in the state of Denmark. Among other the leak of pride.

    • Soeren Laursen

      Mariam,

      Read the HC Anderson tale of the ugly duckling…. that’s what has happend to you. Same thing happened to me as a “foreigner” in a small rural town in Jylland, Denmark when I was a kid. It’s an ugly human behaviour but not a specific Danish racist trait.

  29. psychinsider

    I think I understand what Karl is saying to Mariam but I disagree with part of what he says. Denmark like the UK and many other European countries was once outgoing, domineering and powerful but those days are long gone. We now see more worldwide migration than ever and it is unstoppable. I don’t think people have to ‘go back to their own countries’ unless they really want to (and often they can’t anyway). Formerly vigorous nations like Denmark, UK, etc. tend to take a long time, centuries, to face up to their shrinking place in the world, often nursing hurt national pride. I suspect a lot of the Danish lifestyle, high taxes and extensive welfare, and exaggerated self-promotion today is a reaction to these historical factors. But while Denmark tries to stress integration of immigrants, the UK as a much bigger and less governable place cannot do that, and instead has a vast, complex network of cultures, ghettos and so on. Both countries have racism but of different kinds. Mariam is more visible in Denmark but would blend in better in various parts of the UK. In the long run I suspect Denmark will have to change dramatically and become unrecognisable to its citizens of today, probably losing its own language for example. The UK too will change dramatically, becoming ever more heavily populated and perhaps broken up by ethnic, economic and cultural divisions. Many of us will be dead by then; perhaps Mariam will live to see such changes. I don’t think the migratory trends we are seeing and are swept up in now can be reversed, unless far right parties ever get into power, which is unlikely and undesirable. In the meantime we all have to make our own, fallible individual judgements, compromises and choices.

    • karl knudsen

      Happy to see that psychinsider february 28. think that he/she understand some part of what i´m saying about the situation concerning Mariam. I also see what he/she think is the the cause of trouble for her just now and do agree, but by the proposals about how to solve some of her precent problems right now, I must disagree. To “face the music” I must admit and believe, that her biggest problem is the color of her skin. That´s why i wrote something about her finally to go back to her parents country again.Then she also will be able to see a “light at the end of the tunnel” because it then, also will be a good reason for her too, by now to live and in the end,- when she has ended her studies,- perhaps be happy and proud. By now her situation only shows the way of how to end up, having a very troublesome time the rest of her life. The proposal about how to just wait and see, until there is some more people in the same situation as her, can´t help her much to day. Isn´t that true? However,- when I´ve said that,- is´nt it also true that a whole lot of danish inhabitants, actually already do have the same problems as Mariam,- just the other way around? Remember,- all in DK live in “Jantelovens land” and are not allowed to be proud of anything. They are afraid of,- and don´t understand why so many unknown people are standing “south of the border”,- knocking at the door,- begging to be let in. By now they still live in a country whit inhabitants, appreciated as the ” the most happy people in the world”. but are they really allowed be proud of and show the will to fight for it´s continuation then? Though,- they also do live in a country where all know the story about how 7 skinny cows did eat 7 fat cows and the skinny cows still kept on being skinny, but Is that the country anyone would like to live in and end up whit? Would´nt it be better if they woke up and did fight with an open mind for what they really do believe, in some way or another? There actually is a singing in DK about that. I´m a born descendant of the old vikings in DK,- the same as a lot of native´s in the UK, but I´m not a Chamberlain,- more a Churchill perhaps and as long as people in DK don´t wake up and “face the music” there still will be “something rotten in the state of Denmark”, no matter how former big rulers they have been.

  30. Henriette

    Of course the things mentioned here exist in every country in the world to some degree; and it really is degrees that we all are arguing here. I can only add my own opinion.
    I am a Dane who had been fortunate enough to work at a Danish multi-national company (A.P. Møller) which has allowed me to live in Netherlands, Malaysia, Vancouver, New York, Minneapolis, Chile, and Panama City. My thoughts are gathered from having lived and worked with many ex-patriots from all over the world in Denmark, and have also been an ex-patriot myself in these many places I have listed.
    I think if you are an American, Canadian or from the UK, and you grow up in a small, regional city with a semi-homogenous population, you will enjoy Denmark very much. But if you come from a large, diverse and cosmopolitan city like New York, Miami, or London…you may very well hate it in Denmark for many of the reasons listed.
    The ways of life and philosophies on life are just very different. We (Danes) are perceived by outsiders as a closed culture where people keep to themselves.

    The immigrants who stay in Denmark are often the ones who come from countries where the political situation is unstable or where they can not get good jobs in their home countries. The first opportunity they have to move to a place like the UK, Netherlands or US, they take it with no love lost for Denmark.
    This is true even in cases where the person has been living in Denmark for over 10 years, speaking Danish and having children who have grown up in Denmark. I speak here of a Peruvian friend of mine who, after a decade, still feels on the outside of the Danish mainstream and wants to leave.
    This is a real problem and something you just do not see with immigrants where I live in New York. We are made to feel that we are just as American as the people who have lived here for generations. If anyone were to suggest otherwise, they would be called-out for it.

    Try to ask the Pakistani guy who has lived in Copenhagen for 25 years if the same could be said in Denmark. It’s a sad situation for immigration in Denmark and the real issue is that there are already tons of immigrants living in Denmark who don’t feel like they are a part of the culture….and this means big social issues coming for my country.

    I live in the US now, no longer with Mærsk, but I still keep in touch with a surprising number of Danes who have lived here for years and would never go back to Denmark. I still have family in Jutland, so I visit often, and until recently have always thought I would eventually move back someday.

    Last time I was in Copenhagen, I got off the train in Norreport and saw graffiti (in Danish) that said “Fuck the Turks” with a swastika next to it. Out of the tons of commuters passing by, no one stopped or seem to think it was odd.
    After 2 days of seeing it there, and commuters just pushing past each other and accepting this as life in Copenhagen, I reported it to DSB management, who were unaware of it.
    It frustrated me that my fellow Danes didn’t take the same offense. At the same time I realized that I had taken note, and taken action. The fact that someone wrote the graffiti there was not what upset me (this could happen anywhere); it was the fact that no one seemed bothered by it….and it made me realize I could never go back to living in Denmark.

  31. Hi.

    This is an interesting discussion about Denmark and I welcome it. I’m proud to be a Dane and I treasure the Danish welfare state. I’ve been to the US 17 times since 2008 and I’m planning to visit this great country several times in the future. One of the American traits I think we should embrace is people’s extraordinary openness to talk to “strangers”. I envy the fact that Americans’ have no cognitive barrier when talking to “strangers” in the public sphere where we Danes might find such behavior suspicious. However, I have several US citizens visiting me in Denmark and they never observed racism the way it has been expressed on this blog. Ethnocentrism is a barrier that has to be overcome – otherwise you’ll not be able to experience other cultures in an unbiased way :=) In other words, experience Denmark with an open mind and keep in mind that we have different cultures 🙂

  32. Adea2008

    This is very wrong, yes we like to drink, yes we just don’t invite everybody in our home, but my mom is halv african both her and I have never had Andy problems with racism. I like that danish are honest .

  33. The real problem for at Dane on this page, is that we admit to the problems that Denmark has, then it will automatically be construed as an agreement to all the negative things about Denmark that have been posted on this page.

    Yes, Denmark does have a problem with racism. But please leave your own socio-culturally conditioned meaning of the word behind, and focus on the actual problem. Danes do not hate people of other ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, etc. They are an insular people, and mostly racism is lack of exposure to other ways of doing things.
    I was born in Denmark to Polish parents; I’ve experienced the Danish form of racism myself. It’s mostly people not understanding where I’m from, and that my way of doing things is different, not better nor worse than their own. An example: My in-laws believe that the only right way to eat an avocado is with lavish servings of shrimp on rye bread. When they were first introduced to an avocado with soy sauce, they stared at it. After much heckling on my part, they tried it. It took them 3 separate attempts and they ended up liking it, even though it was so vastly different from what they were used to (no soy sauce). Unless one is used to exposing one’s palate to many different flavours, studies show that it takes at least 3 exposures to a new taste to manage to “get over” the foreigness of the taste to properly appreciate the taste and make an informed decision about what it is and whether one likes it.
    And that’s just food. If Danes “notice”/point out the strangeness of a person, it’s in all likelihood because it’s still very new to them. Not because they inherently think that person is bad or worse. Yes, we do have Danish People’s Party dingbats which as a Danish citizen I am deeply ashamed of (but those of the UKIP-spawning country should not really cast stones), but they are not a reflection of the entire people.
    But it doesn’t mean that Denmark doesn’t have a problem with the DPP dingbats or conditions that foster new members of the party.

    And yes, we do pay high taxes. And yes, a person will probably only ever tap into the full benefits of that system if born, raised and educated in the country. This is what being a socialist country is about. We all pay through the nose to the common fund (Skat) and reap benefits when needed. I have gone through most of my life being a minimal burden on the healtcare system except for the occasional prescription of penicillin for a tick bite. But I still pay my taces knowing that some other person who does need medical help will get that. Because that’s what we do. I don’t begrudge that person the expenses. So moving here, yes, the high taxes suck (I would also love to get more from my wages but that’s the basic premise of living here that I accept).

    And at the end of the day, I have a friend in the States who pays what amounts to 35% income tax (federal and municipal). On top of that, he still has to pay for education and healthcare and/or insurance and dental. I pay 39%, no deductions. I get education and healthcare. I will readily admit that there is room for quality improvement in healthcare(!) but it is still free. How am I deluded?

    Yes, people shop in Germany and get their teeth done. Some do it because that is what they need to do to feed their families. A large portion do it because they want to minimise their food expenses in order to prioritise having a flat screen tv or going on holiday. It’s a question of prioritising, not need. I want to have more fun money, so I do what I can. And the majority of people who go to German dentists don’t do it because their tax bill has rendered them bankrupt but because dentists have agreed on large fees for their work. Blame the dentists, not the tax slip.

    We don’t often eat out. Not because we can’t afford it, but because we prioritise our money differently. At the beginning of each month, I buy books first and food second. No reason to throw money at a chef, when I can cook most dishes myself. If I want to socialise with friends, I’ll invite them over. It doesn’t have to take place in a restaurant (though it’s nice on occasion). Okay, so we’re not (yet) a country of people who eat out. That’s not a sign that we’re backward or broke from paying taxes, just that we prioritise differently. Maybe as an expat, you are used to prioritising differently, and well yes, then this is very different and maybe a part of living and socialising that you miss. But there’s no reason to use that fact to paint Denmark and Danes, all 5,summat millions of them with a misanthropic, tax-broke dingbat brush.

    As I see this blog and the really bitter comments on it, the problem is going to another country with the premise that the home country is best. That what we’re used to is the best way of doing things (even if we’re aware that there are other ways of doing things). That the (e.g.) American hospitality social system is the best, or the tax system is the best, etc. In that case, any deviation from the norm is considered an example of how Denmark is worse. No, it’s different. Same as a Dane going abroad and meeting foreign cultures and way of doing things and thinking “well we have this/do this better in Denmark”. No, it’s different. The only way to properly assess these things is to let go of the ethno/sociocentric goggles (and this goes for Danes such as my in-laws and other nationalities equally) and stop comparing the foreign way of things with the home country ditto.

    Okay, Denmark has ridiculously high taxes (but nowhere near the highest in Europe or the world), the Janteloven (but then I’ve been told about the “tall poppies” syndrome by Englishmen and Aussies), the Danish People’s Party and immigration issues (I’ll just cough Tea Party and UKIP here); but then there isn’t one first world country that doesn’t have a party for resource-guarding, rightwing dingbats. People get born, live, have problems and then die. This is true for all countries. It is not unique to Denmark nor does it mean that Denmark is horrible. It is what it is.
    Danes are the happies nation on earth. That’s because we have low expectations. This means that we rarely get disappointed (expect the worst, get something marginally better or better and it’s a win/win situation), but it also means that we rarely have high aspirations, and those that do are viewed with suspicion (“is it possible to be happy when you’re hoping to become Donald Trump and you may fail? Gosh, this is so different a concept that I fail to grasp it”. That’s the Jantelov for you). When we then meet high-hoping, hardworking bragging, proud Americans (to mention an example), we falter. What funny business is this?

    This is where some Danes and some people on this blog are completely alike although nationalities differ. It’s different and thus strange and thus worse than what we know from home.

    There are some really good sides to Denmark, Danes and Danish culture and society. There are some really bad sides, too, and a host of nuances in between. Same goes for every single other country a person could move to.
    If you hate the Danish way of doing things, fair enough. Then Denmark is not for you. Heck, I’m a Danish citizen but if the Danish People’s Party gets more votes, then Denmark will seize to be for me and I’ll bloody move.
    But please let go of that ridiculous bitterness about it. I’ve lived in 3 different countries abroad, some I’d go back to in a heartbeat, and some were simply not for me. Living in any country is an acquired taste. You either end up liking or disliking it. Doesn’t mean the country is horrible, just or a bad match.

  34. Oh, and please excuse the typos. I’ve been writing the above statement whilst sitting outside trying to soak up the precious few sunrays that the Danish weather affords us. I can barely see my computer screen.

    I also agree with Thomas’ Holme’s comment, both about what Danes could learn from American culture (and I could add a few things from other cultures that would be helpful, too) and about experiencing other cultures in general.

  35. Bianca

    I completly agree with you. I have been livin in Copenhagen for 8 years now and I hate it for so many reason I can make a list.. But I’m trap because I have a son and my husband doesn’t want to move anywhere. I’m not american, I’m mexican and I liked my life a lot better in Mexico no matter what people can say about Mx. I have also lived legally in USA for 4 years before i got married and I also had it a lot better even tough I missed family sometimes. All the comments from people that are unhappy in dk are true, but most danish think they own the absolut true and the rest of the world is true. For women is even worse, again I could make a list, so girls who will fall in love with a scandinavian in general, think twice about it, don’t melt with the blue eyes and sweetness. You can check in but you can never leave.. Unless you want to leave your kids..

  36. Observer

    I salute psychinsider for his elegant communication skills and fine presentation. Thomas has excellent command of English but his nationalistic views prevents him looking deep.
    You have to be an immigrant and live in Denmark to comprehend what is like to be discriminated.
    I have postgraduate education from UK and returned to Denmark to seek employment but had to deal with problems such as my name not being Ole and my dark hair.
    Most Danes are honest. But their upfront approach to people makes them appear rude. May I recommend a social skills course integrated in their elementary school systems. This is not personal just a statement of principle.

  37. Louise

    speakning as a Dane who currently live in the US, I must say that It’s a load of crap calling this article “Why I could never move (back) to Denmark” You obviously have no Idea how Denmark is, since you have only lived in Copenhagen, which I think most Danes would agree with me isn’t really a good representation of Denmark as a whole. Yeah sure, maybe people people don’t say “hi” or remember you in Copenhagen, but trust me they do other places, and I must say that many people here where I live in the US are the exact same way.

  38. Mystery Student

    I’ve lived in Denmark for basically my whole life until my early teens where I lived in the US. Later moved back to live with my danish family.

    Reading through the entire page I see it filled with unhappy people who need to shut down their computer and find every opportunity to go socialize holy christ. The things I will say are controversial yet typical. So here is some key (negative) things about danes:

    Outlook:
    Denmark allows no fuck’ups so to speak. If you haven’t prepared your overall look you will be downgraded so fast. Any type of superficial ugliness is frowned upon, and you will be expected to look your best in clothing that is generally very expensive. Here there exist a social ladder where everyone has a place. So referring to that colored dude with a Phd, posted above – he is expected to look and act like one, say with a Hugo Boss suit driving an Audi. People here live like tribes, so you need to belong to a decent one.

    Dating:
    People are very homo-social – that is they prefer social company with their own sex. A large % are single and people have high expectations on their partners. Gender roles are strongly enforced, men must be dominant, women submissive. Being gay is allowed even an easy route to socialize, while being all flamboyant about it like the 2014 Eurovision winner isn’t.

    Friends:
    A key part of being danish is to be able to make fun of yourself and others. Because part of the culture is to chatter later on behind your back. Typically such a discussion is never mensioned to you and you are left to discover your weaknesses on your own. Danes call this “bagtale,” and its not really intended to be evil, however it could be and that is where you would have to change.

    Some danes talk metaphysically – as in “inside joke” or cross referencing, using tone of voice/facial expression to communicate a thought they won’t explain to you.

    Communities:
    For those you “stuck” here you should try to make a better change rather than blame society. Yes uneducated Danes with shitty jobs will be the first to look down on you based on color, only because they obviously aren’t that smart. Just ignore them or confront them your choice. The reason why they do it is because of high number of crimes happening in neighborhoods of colored people. People live in segregated communities divided by wealth. They see a causal relation here. If you ever encounter a pissed Dansk Folkeparti member, don’t worry, they are late for their nightly game of Mousel(card gambling game) and drinking gammel dansk with coffee. Unfortunately there are so many (bad) sterotypes here its rediculous – for the love of god don’t become of them if you are colored.

    Conclusion:
    However, you must learn the language if you are planning on staying here, because that is looked down upon even if you are white.

    I don’t mean to rip on Danes, I really like them and this country. I’m just trying to mension issues I’ve seen way too many times, and of course no country is perfect. All I’m saying is Denmark damn near could be – if only they knew what is holding them back.

  39. Andy

    Nice blog 🙂 Excellent title. After 4 years of living here, that’s exactly how I feel: rottin’ in this place 🙂 I am actually trying to figure out how to get the hell out of here >.>; I have been lucky to meet nice people and they were the reason why I changed my mind about leaving so many times. But… there’s really no attachment from their side, no matter how close we are. Also…I miss the busy night life (and I don’t mean pubs where the main point is getting drunk), I want to be able to enjoy a night out without ending with people puking everywhere, sleeping with their faces on my toilet and giving the other guests no other choice but to pee in the bushes somewhere :/ Denmark seems to me like a place for old people to retire, who want to enjoy nature and have some quiet (assuming you don’t live next to some drunk teenagers). Also, a relationship here is so unattractive to me, because of the cultural stuff. I just feel I cannot trust or rely on anyone. I want my life back >.<;

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