New culture: 11 things I found strange about Denmark when I first arrived

By: Veronika Popova

Veronika Popova is from Bulgaria and used to blog at MigogAalborg about her life as an international student. Today, she lives in Copenhagen and works for Wunderman MSC CPH.

I felt like sharing a short fun article on some of the things I found funny/strange when I first came to Denmark.

1.Bikes

It’s probably the most obvious one, but I cannot stress enough on how different this is from I came from. It’s so different that when I first arrived I would just walk freely on the bike lane, like a complete jerk #tourist. Danes will bike, winter or summer, snow or rain. And now I do it too! It’s not my favorite, but it’s doable, and I could never imagine doing something like that before.

2.The flag

The fact that the Danish flag is included in almost every sort of celebration. It’s really nice to see how much national pride Danes have. But what I found funny was the overuse of it when it comes to birthdays. Flag in front of the door, paper cups with flags on them, flag napkins, flags on the cake, flag inspired cake most likely, flag sprinkles, flag candles! I love it! Also now I have learned that the only way to pick someone from the airport is with flags, you don’t bring flags, better stay home.

3. Fitness & Health

It might sound super ridiculous to some, but when I first came to Denmark, I remember I had days where I would “count how many people run outside”. It’s definitely not something very popular in Bulgaria. Yeah, we do run, but in the park. Here people run everywhere, and it’s acceptable and it’s awesome! The only way it should be :). The Danish general health & fitness culture was absolutely inspiring (still is) and fascinating to me.

4. Cinnamon shower

This is by far, the most bizarre Danish tradition I have encountered and I love it! It’s so mind-blowing to me it has successfully kept its authenticity over the years, and up to today, people are still doing it. In case you don’t know what it is, it’s literally a spice shower for the unmarried man or women on their 25th birthday. You don’t want to know what happens if you hit 30 and you are not married! You can try google “pebersvend” .

5. Girls wear black, a LOT.

And everyone looks so stylish. The Scandinavian nations in general, I have realized, have an amazing sense of style and fashion. Streets look like a minimalistic fashion show. But at first, it was so weird to me, everyone was wearing skinny black jeans, most likely destroyed Converse (5 years ago) and a black jacket, no colors allowed.

6. Greenland people are not to be called Eskimos!

I had no idea it was offensive :X. But here I learned you just call people from Greenland, Greenland people. And “Eskimo” is borderline racist. Thankfully they are a really sweet nation, so I haven’t gotten in any trouble yet.

7.The wind

The wind always blows in your face. No matter where you are going, what direction you are taking, it will be blowing in your face. But don’t worry, 5 years later I almost don’t notice it :D.

8.Casual hair

Scandinavian girls have mastered the “casual bun” hairstyle! And they make it look so effortless and easy, which is not, trust me, I have tried. It’s some sort of Scandinavian magic only Vikings are capable of.

9.Drinking games

Oh boy, do Danes love their drinking games! It’s very unpopular concept in Bulgaria, while here there are all sorts of creative ways to get drunk 😀 . Back in Sofia we will just chit chat, dance, maybe eat while drinking, here the possibilities of keeping your drinking super entertaining and action packed are unlimited!

10.Everyone is tall

Okay not everyone, but the majority. And I mention that only because at home I used to feel like a giant (m.1.71). I was the tallest girl in my class, much taller than some boys even. And here not only that I am pretty normal size, most people are way taller than me 😀 ! Love it!

11.Remoulade?

“You just need to try” Is what people would tell me for that lumpy, yellow, weird looking salad dressing? And I did, and oh my, I loved it! Nothing like fiskefilet med remoulade :D.