Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)

Read The Tsar's Dwarf (Hawthorne Books)
"A curious and wonderful work of great human value by a Danish master." Sebastian Barry, Man Booker finalist (Click on the picture to go to the book's Amazon page)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Denmark For Dummies - A Superficial Introduction to The Happiest Nation on Earth (Updated, March 2012)

Winner of's International Blog Contest, 2009. Updated version, March 2012.

All Danes are blond and gorgeous. And every single of us have a cabin with a view of a lake. No wonder the whole world wants to be Danish, but don't get your hopes up. We're very protective of our gene pool.

You're smart.

You're planning to go to Denmark.

You've always wanted to visit our country because you know that it's the most exciting nation in the world. You tell yourself, "Why would I want to go to London, Barcelona or Shanghai when I can go rock climbing on Lolland?"

"Yes," you continue, "I'm trendy. I want to visit Denmark because the Danes are so eco friendly with their bikes, cuisine, and state of the art dildos. And most important, they're the happiest and most trusting people in the world."

Yes, that's right.

In 2008 Denmark was named the happiest nation on the planet. And I'm living proof of that. Right now this Danish novelist is sitting in happy Copenhagen staring at the happy rain, enjoying the 43 degrees of happy spring.

Come and visit us, will you?

And please bring all your credit cards because you're going to need them!

Here's a superficial introduction to my Southern Scandinavian Paradise. Everything you read in this guide is the gospel truth, so please don't sue. 

Name: Denmark (Danmark)

Inhabitants: 5.6 million.

Capital: Copenhagen (1.5 million)

Ranking: Most livable city in the world (Monocle, British Magazine, 2008)

Other Top Rankings in the World That We Take Pride In:
a) Most trusting people in the world (April 2011)
b) Best restaurant in the world (Noma, 2010, 2011)
c) Most Pork consumption per capita (not counting your neighborhood Iman)

Language: Danish.

Government: Constitutional monarchy.

Currency: Kroner. (5.6 DKK to a US dollar)

Religion: No, thank you.

Name of Queen: Margrethe II.

Name of Prime Minister: Helle Thorning-Schmith. As popular as chlamydia.

Size: The 8th biggest country in the world if you count Greenland. (Always count Greenland).

Weather: Not really.

Unemployment Rate: Rising

Hospitality If You're Not White: Falling

Crime per Capita: Fourth lowest in the world.

Corruption: Second lowest in the world.

Average Consumption of Beer per Capita: Fourth highest in the world.

World Ranking for Danish Men In Bed: Number 9.

Famous Dead Danes: Hans Christian Andersen (fairy tale writer), Søren Kierkegaard (philosopher), King Canute (conquered England), Tycho Brahe (conquered the universe), Isak Dinesen (conquered Africa), Karen Blixen (conquered Meryl Streep), Vitus Bering (explorer), Niels Bohr (physicist), Georg Jensen (design), Carl Nielsen (composer), Carl  Dreyer (film director), Victor Borge (comedian), Hamlet

Famous Living Danes: Caroline Wozniacki (tennis player, cute), Lars Ulrich (founder of Metallica, not that cute), Anders Fogh Rasmussen (General Secretary of NATO; he'll be happy to bomb any country America tells him to), Helena Christensen (model, unfortunately not in porn), Peter Høeg (author), Michael Laudrup, Peter Schmeichel (soccer players), Lars von Trier (film director), René Redzepi (chef)

Danes Who Ought to Be Dead: Jante.

Famous Half Danes: Viggo Mortensen, Scarlett Johansson, Ludvig Holberg.

Biggest Danish Film Star of All Time: Asta Nielsen (Die Asta from the silent age)

Best Mads Mikkelsen:  Mads Mikkelsen

Most Trendy Film Director Right Now:  Nicolas Winding Refn

Most Hilarious Grossfest: Clown, The Movie

Denmark's Favorite Neurotic Who Probably Isn't a Nazi:  Lars von Trier

Most Popular Danish Children Song of All Time: Barbie Girl by Aqua

Best Danish Band Right Now: Mew

Most Famous Danish Building: The Opera House in Sydney (Jørn Utzon)

Danish Imperialism: Lego, Maersk, Ecco, Vesta, Bang and Olufsen, Carlsberg, Tuborg.

Daily Smokers: 10% of population. (All of them will be sitting on your lap when you go to an outdoor café)

Obesity Rate: 22% of population.

Best Danish Food: Moss, lichen, and soil mixed with bone marrow from an animal you don't want to eat. (Noma, world's best restaurant)

Denmark's Claim to Fame in Great Britain: Bacon.

Denmark's Claim to Fame in Spain, Greece & Cyprus: Blond girls with herpes.

Denmark's Claim to Fame in the Far East: Badminton.

Denmark's Claim to Fame in the Middle East: Cartoons.

Most Important Danish Invention of All Time: The atomic bomb (Niels Bohr)

Denmark's Biggest Contribution to American Sports: Morten Andersen, the all-time leading scorer in the NFL.

Best Tourist Attraction If You're Into Knights in Shining Armour:  Frederiksborg castle, Hillerød and Kronborg, Helsingør  (Hamlet's castle) 

Best Tourist Attraction If You're Eight Years Old or Behaving Like It: Legoland.

Best Tourist Attraction If You're Eighty Years Old or Behaving Like It: Tivoli.

Most Overrated Tourist Attraction: The Little Mermaid.

This is the kind of abuse we Danes have to tolerate every day: Foreigners who fondle our national treasure as if she were a common strumpet. Shameless, that's what it is.

Time of Glory I: When the Danish vikings conquered England in the 11th century.

Time Of Glory II: When Denmark won the European Championship in soccer in 1992 and the whole country behaved like a frat party.

Most Beautiful Cities in Denmark: Copenhagen, Helsingør (Elsinore), Ærøskøbing, Faaborg, Ribe, Skagen, Svaneke.

Places to Avoid at All Costs Unless You Have A Secret Death Wish: Mørke, Ringsted, Brøndby, Fisketorvet.

Best Months to Visit the Land of the Danes: From late May to mid-September.

Best Month to Commit Suicide Because It's Dark, Dreary, and Everybody Wish They Were in Thailand: January.

Best Danish Traits: Tolerance, sense of humor, informality.

Worst Danish Traits: Intolerance, pettiness, self-satisfied melancholy.

What You'll Miss the Most If You're an American Visiting Denmark: TV anchors with perfect teeth.

What You'll Miss the Most If You're Italian: Bread and Berlusconi.

What You'll Miss the Most If You're Norwegian: Norway

Most Beautiful Area of Denmark: The Silkeborg lake district in Jutland and the island of Bornholm.

Most Stupid Thing to Say to a Dane: Now, which part of Germany are you from again?

Second Most Stupid Thing to Say to a Dane: Sweden is by far my favorite Scandinavian country.

Enjoy your stay.  And please forgive Copenhagen for looking like Pompeii.  We're building a Metro that we don't need ...

Copyright, Peter H. Fogtdal, Danish Accent, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012