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, April 5, 2014

Denmark for Dummies 2014 - A Superficial Guide to the World's Happiest Nation (Unless You're a Giraffe, Of Course)

Winner of's International Blog Contest, 2009. However, I just did a 2016 updated version that you can go to by clicking here.

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 Paris, New York or the Himalayas when I can go rock climbing on Lolland?"

"Yes, I'm trendy. I want to visit Denmark because the Danes are so eco-friendly with their bikes, cuisine, and wind mills. And most important, they're the happiest and most trusting people in the world, always making the news for positive reasons, like killing healthy giraffes in their Zoos and letting their kids watch them getting eaten by lions."

Yes, that's right. In 2008 and 2013 Denmark was named the happiest nation on the planet for humans. And I'm living proof of that. Right now this Danish novelist is sitting in cozy Copenhagen staring at the sleet, enjoying the 43 degrees of sloppy spring and his $10 latte.

Come and visit us, will you?

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

Here's a superficial introduction to my Southern Scandinavian Paradise. Enjoy. 

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, 2012, 2014)
c) Most Pork consumption per capita (not counting your neighborhood sheikh)
d) Best Government in the world (2014)

Language: Danish.

Government: Constitutional monarchy.

Currency: Kroner. (5.5 DKK to a US dollar)

Religion: No, thank you.

Name of Queen: Margrethe II.

Name of Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. As popular as chlamydia, but somewhat prettier.

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.

Best Selfie of the Year by Far: Helle Thorning-Schmidt with two unknown pals.

Famous Dead Danes: Hans Christian Andersen, 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 (Shakespeare's boy toy)

Famous Living Danes: Caroline Wozniacki (fading tennis star, known for her Sienna Williams' impersonations), Lars Ulrich (founder of Metallica), 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), Jussi Adler-Olsen (like Stieg Larsson, just alive), Michael Laudrup, Peter Schmeichel (soccer players), Nicklas Bendtner (underwear model), Kevin Magnussen (Formula One driver), Lars von Trier and Susanne Bier (film directors),René Redzepi (chef)

Danes Who Ought to Be Dead: Jante.

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

Best Mads Mikkelsen:  Mads Mikkelsen

Danish TV-Series That Have Conquered the World and Perhaps Mars, Too:  The Killing (Forbrydelsen), The Castle (Borgen), The Bridge (Broen, co-production with Sweden)

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

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 between 2009-2012, 2014. You can now make reservations for January 2022)

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.

Denmark's Claim to Fame in Great Britain: Bacon & The Killing (Forbrydelsen) starring Sofie Gråbøl and her sweater.

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. 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 football (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, and Christiania (if you still think that Che Guevara and bean bag chairs are cool)

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 grumpiness.

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 my favorite Scandinavian country.

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

Copyright, Peter H. Fogtdal, Danish Accent, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

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