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)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Denmark for Dummies 2017 (A Superficial Guide to the Greatest Country in Scandinavia and Possibly the Universe)

You're smart.

You're planning to go to the greatest of the Scandinavian countries.

Yes, admit it, you've always wanted to visit Denmark much more than Sweden and Norway because the Danes invented the atomic bomb and hygge. You tell yourself, "Why would I want to go to Lofoten or Ikea when I can go rock climbing on Saltholm? I'm trendy, I want to ride my bike with the Danes because they're the happiest people in the world." 

Actually, that's not true any more. Our beloved Norwegians beat us this year, but unlike them the Danes always make the news for positive reasons, like killing healthy giraffes in Zoos, or harassing refugees at the border so they get so desperate they flee to Sweden.

Come and visit us, will you? And please bring your credit cards and your rain coat because God knows you're going to need them!

                    GUIDE TO DENMARK
         A superficial introduction to the Scandinavian Paradise slightly left of Sweden. 

Name in Danish: Danmark

Inhabitants: 5.6 million

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

Capital: Copenhagen (1.5 million)

Ranking: Most Livable City in the World (Monocle, British Magazine, 2008, 2013, 2014)

Other Top Rankings That We Take Pride In:
a) Most Trusting People in the World.
b) Average Consumption of Beer (Fourth highest in the world.)
c) Crime per Capita: Fourth lowest in the world.
d) Best Government in the World (2014)
e) Second Best Country for Women (beating Saudi Arabia)
f) Second Best Country for Singles Traveling Alone
g) Least Corrupt Country in the World (We bribed us to that)

Language: Guttural.

Government: Constitutional monarchy.

Currency: Kroner. (7 DKK to a US dollar, 0.04 to the Angolan Kwanza)

Religion: No, thank you.

Name of Queen: Margrethe II.

Name of Prime Minister: Lars Løkke Rasmussen, or The Little Swindler as we like to call him.

Worst Cake Ever:  Immigration minister Inger Støjberg celebrating the 50th amendment to keep foreigners out of our Aryan Heaven. 

Most Important Thing You Should Know About Denmark: We have more pigs than people.

Second Most Important Thing You Should Know About Denmark: The best football player in the world isn't Messi. He is Danish.

Best Selfie of the Decade: Ex-Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt with her two secret lovers, Barack and David.

Famous Dead Danes You Should Mourn Now: Hans Christian Andersen (author), Søren Kierkegaard (philosopher), King Canute (conquered England), Tycho Brahe (conquered the universe), Isak Dinesen (conquered Africa), Karen Blixen (conquered Meryl Streep), Vitus Bering (explorer, had a strait named after him), Niels Bohr (physicist), Georg Jensen (design), Carl Nielsen (composer), Carl Dreyer (film director), Victor Borge (comedian), Bertel Thorvaldsen (sculpturer), Hamlet (Shakespeare's boy toy).

Famous Living Danes: Caroline Wozniacki (tennis player), Lukas Graham (singer), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Mads Mikkelsen (actors) Lars von Trier, Susanne Bier (film directors), Margrethe Vestager (EU Commissioner and Google's worst nightmare), Lars Ulrich (founder of Metallica), Helena Christensen (model), Jussi Adler-Olsen (the Danish Stieg Larsson, just alive), Michael Laudrup, Christian Eriksen, Lord Bendtner, Schmeichel & Schmeichel (soccer players),  René Redzepi, Carl Meyer (chefs), Bjarke Ingels (architect), Margrethe II (Queen of Denmark), Mary (Crown Princess of Tasmania)

Famous Half Danes: Viggo Mortensen, Scarlett Johansson, Tordenskjold.

Danes Who Ought to Be Dead: Jante.

Best Athlete & Heartthrob Who Happened to Win Gold and Bronze at the Olympics in Rio: Pernille Blume, swimmer.

Danish TV-Series That Have Conquered the World But Not Netflix:  The Killing (Forbrydelsen), Borgen, The Protectors (Livvagterne), The Bridge (Broen, co-production with Sweden), 1864,  The Legacy (Arvingerne).

Biggest Selling Danish Pop Song of All Time:  7 Years by Lukas Graham (Grammy nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 2017 but beaten by an unknown singer named Adele)

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

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

Best Danish Word We Like to Shove Down Your Throat:  Hygge.

Hygge almost always involves good food, akvavit, and spying on your neighbors the Danish way. Please don't embarrass yourself by trying to pronounce the word. We don't want to laugh at you. 

Best Danish Word You Shouldn't Teach Your Children:  Listepik

Most Important Cliche: Tak for sidst.

Worst Sin You Can Commit in Denmark:  Not saying tak for sidst.

What Does 'Tak for Sidst' Mean? You wouldn't understand, anyway.

Denmark's Claim to Fame in Spain, Greece and 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 the UK: Bacon and bikes.

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

Second Most Important Invention of All Time:  Lego

Third Most Important Invention That Actually Wasn't Invented In Denmark But We Take Credit For It Anyway: Danish pastry (Thanks, Austria)

Best Tourist Attraction If You're Into Knights in Shining Armour: Frederiksborg castle (Hillerød) 

Best Tourist Attraction If You're Eight Years Old: Legoland.

Best Tourist Attraction If You're Eighty Years Old: Tivoli.

Most Overrated Tourist Attraction: The Little Mermaid.

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 beating the Germans 2-0 in the finale, and the whole country behaved like a frat party.

Most Awesome Cities in Denmark: Helsingør (Elsinore), Ærøskøbing, Faaborg, Ebeltoft, Ribe, Skagen, Svaneke, Aarhus (European Capital of Culture, 2017), Copenhagen, Christiania (if you still think that Che Guevara and bean bag chairs are cool?)

Best Time to Visit the Land of the Danes: From late May to early September.

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

Most Patriotic Sacrifice for the Motherland to Make Sure Our Superior Gene Pool Survives:  Do It For Denmark


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

Worst Danish Traits: Intolerance, sarcasm, disrespectful.

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:  You used to be good at football. What the hell happened?

Third Most Stupid Thing to Say to a Dane: Sweden and Norway are my favorite Scandinavian countries.

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

Winner of's International Contest, 2009. Updated April 2017.
Copyright, Peter H. Fogtdal, Danish Accent, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017

The art work on the very top of Denmark and Sweden boxing was taken from businessinsider. com. The beautiful photo of the bikes at Sortedams dosseringen in Copenhagen was from VisitDenmark.


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