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)

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Denmark for Dummies 2019 - A Superficial Guide to the Greatest Nation on Earth (Except for Bhutan, Perhaps)

You're smart.

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

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

Actually, that's not true any more. Finland and Norway 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 or locking them up on small islands so they get so desperate they flee to Sweden.

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

                    GUIDE TO DENMARK
                                    A superficial introduction to our Scandinavian Paradise. 

Name in Danish: Danmark

Inhabitants: 5.7 million

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

Capital: Copenhagen, Copenaghen, Kopenhagen, Copenhague, København (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.
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) Lonely Planet's Top Destination in 2019, Copenhagen.
h) Least Corrupt Country in the World (We bribed us to that)

Language: Guttural.

Government: Constitutional monarchy.

Currency: Kroner. (6.50 DKK to a US dollar, 0.04 to the Angolan Kwanza)

Religion: No, thank you.

Name of Queen: Margrethe II.

Name of Prime Minister: Mette Frederiksen.

Famous Living Danes: Caroline Wozniacki (tennis player), Lukas Graham (singer), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Mads Mikkelsen, Lars Mikkelsen, (actors), Kevin Magnussen (race car driver), Lars von Trier (enfant terrible), Lars Ulrich (founder of Metallica), Helena Christensen (model), Jussi Adler-Olsen (the Danish Stieg Larsson, just alive), Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel, Michael Laudrup (soccer players), René Redzepi, Claus Meyer (chefs), Bjarke Ingels (architect), Mary (Crown Princess of Tasmania), Brigitte Nielsen (tall tabloid fodder who just gave birth to her grand child at 54).  

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

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 who had a strait named after him), Niels Bohr (physicist), Georg Jensen (design), Carl Nielsen (composer), Carl Dreyer (film director), Victor Borge (comedian), Bertel Thorvaldsen (sculptor), Hamlet (Shakespeare's boy toy).

Danish Anti Heroes: Struensee and Nikolai Jørgensen.

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

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 lighting candles, even though nobody has died. 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 Phrase: 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 Armor: 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 final, and the whole country behaved like a frat party.

Most Awesome Cities in Denmark Apart From Copenhagen: Helsingør (Elsinore), Ærøskøbing, Faaborg, Ebeltoft, Ribe, Silkeborg, Skagen, Svaneke, Aarhus (European Capital of Culture, 2017), and 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, xenophobia.

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 Norwegian: Norway

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 please forgive Copenhagen for looking like Pompeii. We're building a Metro that we don't really need.

Winner of's International Contest, 2009. Slightly updated January 2019.
Copyright, Peter H. Fogtdal, Danish Accent, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017

Most pictures are mine except the beautiful photo of the bikes in Copenhagen which I borrowed from VisitDenmark, and perhaps one or two more, so please forgive me, I mean well.