Does anyone live or have experience of living in Denmark?
Consistently cited as among the most, if not THE most, happy country in the world. Small gap between richest and poorest. Great education and literacy. Superb knitwear, interior design and men.
Is it too good to be true?
My friend moved to Copenhagen last year for work and loves it. She says if she met someone, for instance, she would happily stay for good. She can't really pinpoint anything about life there that she dislikes.
My cousins also live there, albeit they are on a foreign service posting. They wish they could stay longer. DH and I went to visit them a few weeks ago and he said it was the first European country he had ever visited that he could genuinely see himself living in.
I loved it.
It's very quiet outside of Copenhagen though, really, massively rural.
Super friendly people though, easy to get around, everyone speaks decent English which helps when you first arrive. Medical serves etc are fab but you'll pay a shed load in taxes...
Yes, I had an idea that Copenhagen was kind of an anomaly and the rest of the place would be quieter. That's fine though. Presumably it makes for nice holidays/weekend breaks. [shallow]
We live in Denmark! I love it on the whole, but it is just like anywhere in that it does have its faults. I've lived mainly in Copenhagen but also Århus. It's a pretty small country with good public transport so easy to get to places if you live outside the capital.
(And yes, smaller gap between rich and poor than in the UK, working life geared towards families, schools can be hit and miss I think so that would probably be the same as the UK?)
Everyone has given glowing reports of denmark. I am afraid that I will buck the trend. It is a fascinating country, but there a lot of things that make it difficult to live in in my opinion. People can be very rude (e.g., danish language with no word for please!). People can be very racist and getting worse. The education is very different to the english education system. They are behind us at corresponding year levels, respect for teachers is less than in the UK (although in a different way, more using phones in class and ignoring the teacher than calling the teacher a c* and throwing a chair). Danish men are both very enlightened and will contribute to housework in a way that make your jaw drop, but can be extremely caveman like in other ways (the danish pick-up scene has to be experienced to be believed). Binge drinking can rival the UK, with the same rivers of puke on a saturday night. Also danish people both expect you to learn danish and will use danish as a way to exclude you. A very hard language to learn.
But having slated denmark completely. Some of the people are lovely and great fun. Life is definitely more equal and the facilities are great. I live in sweden now. I love living in scandinavia, but there is no way I could live in denmark again. But make sure to visit at least once a year. Great place for holiday, but not to live - pretty much like the UK is now!
PS I lived in Aarhus in Jutland. Maybe that is why experience is different to those who have lived in copenhage. A truly fantastic city,
There is a book by someone who moved to Jutland "A year of living Danishly" I think its called.
Married to a Dane from Jutland. No joke, the only reason Denmark is the happiest country is because of Danish people having a misplaced sense of nationalism. Speak to a Dane and their country is the best at everything. I'm fed up of hearing how Americans are stupid (I'm not american but we live here) and anything/ everything is better if it is Danish (even if it's made in China but designed by a Dane). Truthfully I have Danish people, on the whole, to be racist and miserable.
There are always pluses of a country and for Denmark I think they have pretty good food and Skagen is nice in summer.
Doh - Truthfully I have found Danish people....
Yes i live in denmark and dont recognise the glowing reports. i live in rural jutland. Stuff i like:
much more informal. no titles used.
stuff works, roads get fixed etc.
free danish classes
student grant and no fees for higher education.
the national library service is simply fab.
legoland is on my doorstep.
drs and nurses all have excellent english
sportw clubs are v cheap due to state subsidies
childcare is also cheap for the same reason.
when you takk to authorities theres no computer says no mentality.
Theres a lot less confrontation in general.
stuff i dont like
danes are just weird. they rarely extend the hand of friendship. ive been here 8 years and have 3 danish friends.
Most jobs are come by who you know, most are never even advertised.
There is very little to do, even less if you dont have chilfren.
They are really arrogant. Denmark is the bedt at evrrything and you would honedtly think that this us the only country where you can see a dr for free. You get a damn site more for free on the nhs than here. Yes it was the first country to allow civil partnrrdhips but the world has moved on since then. They still cant marry. The idea of other benefits astounds them - tell them thrres no vat on childrens clothes in the uk and watch their jaws drop.
ive never met so many racists and islamaphobes who call themselves christians, despite knowing very little about the scripture and showing no trace of chridtian love or charity.
They are stuck on first wave feminism. Theres very little to push teens out of gender norms when they choose a career.
Postcode lotteries are a way of life - you are entitled to the same treatment and benefits as evrryone in your county, but there are no top down targets or guidelines.
Telly is crap. borgen and the killing are the exception, not the norm.
Parties are so boring you wouldnt believe.
Having a job makes everything much much better, so dont come unless youve got one lined up.
Right, well, I've got the spectrum of opinion
I find this interesting: Theres very little to push teens out of gender norms when they choose a career. especially as people are saying that in many ways it's a much more equal place.
Yeah it's like Animal Farm with some being more equal than others.
As an example, parents are able to take time off to look after their DC. Where DH works it's the women who take this time off. I sat in on a meeting and they explicitly said 'mothers' instead of 'parents' when discussing this policy. I wanted to bang my head against the wall and it's one of many reasons I will never move to Denmark.
I've never lived in denmark so there is really no point to me being on this thread but I'm a bit surprised that expecting people living in denmark to learn danish is considered character flaw for danes. I would suggest that if you're not prepared to learn the language don't live there. And yes I know its not an easy language but it is not the general populations job to exclusivly switch languages to english because 'johnny foreigner' has moved in....
Viking, my experience of trying to speak Danish was negative. I tried to order a drink and the waitress switched to english and said 'you will never be able to speak Danish like a Dane'. I got up and left the cafe and my MIL told me I was being rude as the waitress was right. Quite frankly I have better things to do with my life than learn a language to just be insulted.
I grew up in the north west and when in Chester or Liverpool there were always foreign speakers. It doesn't take much effort to help them. I later worked for an investment bank and worked with many nationalities, some of whom had a very limited grasp of English and me of Chinese or Japanese. We always got there and did it without insulting each other intentionally.
Viking you're missing the point. In Denmark all I comers get free Danish lessons, which is great. It is, however, tricky to pick it up straight away (of course) so in the meantime it's very handy that everyone pretty much can speak fluent English.
This can however make speaking Danish even more difficult as it's hard to get any practice if everyone insists on using you to practice their English, as soon as they work out that you're a native speaker.
Nothing to do with not being prepared to speak Danish.
When I was learning danish I found that I was expected to be fluent straight away by some people, others refuse to even be civil and listen to me fumbling through danish while I tried my best and others used the fact that it is very hard to understand to talk about me in front of me. May be all these happen in other countries but not in sweden or germany - two other places where I have lived and learnt the language. In Denmark it felt like you have to be fluent or non-danish speaking, but being in between was particularly tough.
I agree with purpleapple I think. It seems like if you're unable to speak Danish then they're relaxed because they can exclude you and treat you as foreign. If you're perfectly fluent they relax because they don't need to use their English in front of you and you're integrated enough etc. If you're anything in between then their eyes get wide and they can't listen to you, so uncomfortable are they at the prospect of having to converse with someone who knows some Danish.
Thankfully I can feel myself reaching the point of being past them freaking out about my Danish skills. Unfortunately my experience of Denmark might have been ruined too much for me to want to stay here permanently though.
I'm reading A Year of Living Danishly at the moment - the author is a journalist who used to work for Marie Claire and moved to Denmark (carrying on as a freelance writer) when her DH got a job at Lego.
I'm sure the author must be a Mumsnetter as she uses mumsnetty words like judgy and slattern and she just seems like a typical Mumsnetter.
The book is very entertaining and appears to be a good introduction to the highs and lows of living in Denmark.
Oh yes, I definitely recognise that general intolerance towards the in-between language stage. I spent years speaking English until one day I just thought 'fuck it' and decided to force people to listen to my bad Danish. If they switched to English, I just carried on in my bad Danish. Never talked to anyone as rude as that waitress or MIL though. That's horrible and no way to help out encourage someone trying to learn a bloody difficult language and it takes the same sort of
bloody -mindedness-- nerves as apparently some of the Danes have.
Actually I share an office with a colleague from Copenhagen and a colleague from Aalborg and my Aalborg colleague probably gets more of a ribbing than me.
Stumbled onto this thread as have been offered a job based in Århus but with some travel.
OH is Danish, but from the west coast of Jutland and has always said he'd never move back and I'm just at the stage of wondering whether I even want to try and talk him round.
I don't personally recognise a lot of what has been said on this thread, but I know some of the attitudes are what the OH found frustrating about his country. He's a bit of a cheerleader for the NHS these days
Part of me thinks why not just try it out, there's little risk in for me as my work is contract based so not giving up a job or anything, it would impact on the OH more though and I don't know if I can ask him to do it.
I would be very wary of moving if your DH says he doesn't want to move and he grew up there. Arhus is much more cosmopolitan but think again if you want to make friends. You need to be there 20 years to make friends and even then you might have 1 or 2. Arhus is also quite expensive property wise.
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