10 surprising things which I learnt from Danish culture

1,Enjoying every moment of sun

Danish weather can really suck. You get this long, dark rainy autumn which turns into winter and you don’t even notice when the season changes. It’s just the same. Spring is actually not much better, well there is one crucial difference which is light – days are longer and you feel more alive again. Light is so appreciated after those long months of darkness. It seems quite depressing right? Well Scandinavian people found the way to tackle this weather what is (among others) hygge 🙂 – but about this I will write in another point.

I have learnt something else from the Danish way of tackling the weather – appreciation. When there is sun you get out of your 4 walls and go for a walk or into the nature. When there are days of a real sun and great weather you really appreciate that. You get excited and you go sunbathing even in front of your apartment building. You don’t care, it’s sunny, so you go wherever to get needed vitamin D. You often get even earlier off from work, cause it is too warm to stay inside. Employers know that you need to catch the moments of sun for better health and in consequence your productivity.

In Denmark you learn to appreciate those tiny shiny moments and you really do so. 

2. Enjoying actually every type of weather (or just not caring)

Yes, despite of appreciating the moments of sun (even the little ones) you stop caring about the rain or the bad weather. You don’t have the influence over it so why to care about it ? It doesn’t make sense and thinking about it just drains your energy. It is enough that the weather conditions in itself are quite depressing, so why to talk about it and immerse in this? 

3. Caring about nature is a common sense

The awareness about nature, global warming is really big in Denmark. You know that you shouldn’t use single use plastic, you know that you should sort out the trash. And as long as it is individual how much you actually care about it, you feel that the awareness is there. You don’t need to explain to anybody why you should do care.

Denmark there is a huge choice of eco fruits and vegetables and eco food. The quality of food is really high(despite of non eco meat) and for instance caged eggs are banned! Remaking things from the used and old ones or the natural resources is a big thing is Denmark and it’s very fashionable!

Caring about the nature is very much reflected even in Danish national songs!  

4. Not having barriers in the society 

What I love about Danish society is its flat nature. The structure of the society is flat, which means there are almost no barriers between high ranked people and the ordinary ones.

You can drink beer with your teacher after lectures at the University, you can have fun with your boss on Friday afternoon and you can run a marathon with a prince.

This creates a really pleasant atmosphere in the society. It also reflects the equality in Denmark and also equal wages. I was also amazed that disabled are so much involved in normal life of the society coparing to other countries. You learn not to have barriers towards them. For me it’s really heart warming seeing people with disabilities having equal opportunities and leading (almost) normal life.

Many countries should learn from that! 

5. Hygge, hygge and one more time hygge

Instead of immersing in the weather you can coexsit with it. You can have hygge everywhere and with everyone. You put lots of candles, lights and create a cosy atmosphere in your house so you just “colaborate” with the weather to have hygge. For those who don’t know hygge, it is a concept of spending time mindfully, in a relaxed way, in a cosy place and atmosphere. You can create an adjective from this word which is hyggeligt and even if you meet somebody it can be hyggeligt.

Hygge helps you to go through this dark winter with a smile on your face. The weather makes you stay in your cosy house, grab a book, light a candle and read, watch a movie, or have a lovely chat with a friend. 

6.Relax is a crucial (obligatory:) part of live

Denmark is known for a work-life balance. Even though it is not practiced in all industries, you get to feel chill. Ironically enough people get stressed a lot, so there is a big emphasis on relaxation and time off. You actually learn here to divide your work life and your private life. You even don’t hang out much with your work friends cause there must be a division into work friends and life friends. This particular thing might be actually hard for new comer who wants to make friends at work but this is another topic to discuss. 

I used to take so much on me (well I still work on it 🙂 but here I learnt to slow down. In Denmark you shouldn’t work over time cause then you might not be productive the next day, and actually working longer can mean that you were simply not productive to finish your tasks.

  Therefore relax is obligatory to make sure you are productive again the next day.

Additionally, the more you work, the more taxes you pay, so at the end it doesn’t make sense. Relax is crucial for your health, you hear is often from your Danish doctor who often prescribe you… rest 🙂 

7. Cycling, cycling – everywhere, the weather doesn’t matter 

Coming back to the weather topic (I know, so much is about the weather:) 

Danish lifestyle teaches you not to care about it and keep cycling anytime. In Poland, I cycled quite a lot, but if there was rain or snow, I wouldn’t dare to cycle. That is not the case in Denmark. You don’t care. Bike is the best way to commute and waiting for a bus in the rain is not fun. It is much more fun to cycle in this cycling traffic, to feel this positive rush of cyclists and to really wake up before work. Well, you get to buy a proper rain jacket and rain trousers,  but nobody will be surprised that you are coming for a meeting soaked 🙂

8. Wearing black clothes is a choice of comfort, well and style

Cycling and even walking in this rainy weather makes you adjust your clothes. You might get a cultural shock when you come to Denmark – everybody wears dark clothes.

Back home in Poland when somebody wore black all the it meant that he or she was mourning. Here I realised that is it the most practical colour and Danes love to feel comfortable, so they created a style which is cool and comfortable! Even if the rain splashes on your trousers, you cannot see it much. If you come to Denmark and you want to blend – wear black 😀

9. Not showing off – The Law of Jante talking

Danish people are very modest, you see same houses, black clothes, minimalistic decor. This approach is rooted in The Law of Jante(Danish-Jenteloven).

Along with Wikipedia] it is a code of conduct that portrays not conforming, doing things out of the ordinary, or being overtly personally ambitious as unworthy and inappropriate.

Even though the law dates back to 1933 (and many say that is it actually much older), this can explain some behaviours in the society. I would even say that Danes try to fight this rooted attributes to feel more confident and to show what they can. The original statements of the law are really harsh – like you you should not think you are anything special at all, you should not think you are better than anybody else etc. These are quite extreme and can indeed be harmful.

Although a new comer to Denmark can learn the modesty of the Danish society and combining it with its own culture can often result in a great balance!

10. Trust in the society makes it all work smoothly

Denmark teaches you to trust people. Here everybody has the same, there is almost no poverty and crime rate is very low. People sometimes don’t close their homes or cars – I must say this happens in the smaller cities and safer districts, but my point is that there is a common trust. You trust your neighbour that he will not harm the environment, you trust people on the beach that they will not steal your stuff when you are swimming in the water. You trust your coworker that he will do his best for the good of the whole company and team, not just for himself. This is a wealthfare state which makes you care for the social and in consequence economic well-being.

P.S. I don’t want you to become to naive when coming to Denmark, lock your bike and user a common sense – bikes are especially on the thieves radar, so be aware!

What do you think about Danish culture? Do you have any experiences with the Danish culture?

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