7 typical reactions when you tell a foreigner you’re Danish
One of the pleasures of travelling is meeting new people and sharing your cultural differences. Through years of trips around Europe, it has been interesting to experience some common reactions when telling people I’m from Denmark. Here a list of the most funny and frequent:
SO, YOU SPEAK DUTCH?
I was surprised when I first got this question, but since then I have had it many times when meeting new people on my travels. And I’m sure other Danes must have had it too? But no, we don’t speak Dutch in Denmark. They do so in The Netherlands, which is not even our neighbouring country, and the languages are not similar at all.
What we have in common with the Dutch people though seems to be the love for bikes. We speak Danish in Denmark, which is very similar to both Swedish and Norwegian.
AHH… BACON AND PASTRIES!
Yes, we do love our bacon in Denmark, and we tend to get picky about the quality whenever we go abroad. You know, sometimes it’s just not crispy enough.
That said, there is a lot of focus on healthy food in Denmark these days, so we sometimes find it funny that we’re mostly known for bacon and pastries, and that abroad ‘Danish bread’ equals sandwich bread whiter than our blond hair.
While we Danes love our sunday trip to the bakery and a well deserved ‘cinnamon snail’, we can’t live without our dark rye bread – ‘rugbrød’.
Even non-football (soccer) fans are proud when a foreigner excitedly remembers at least one Danish player – unless by coincidence their local club can muster another. Michael Laudrup is without a doubt the most well known player abroad, even though his active career ended years ago. A career that saw him playing for both sides of the Spanish ‘El Clásico’ – FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.
And when you start talking about football, we Danes won’t let you forget that we actually won the European Championship in 1992. A triumph that is still celebrated like a national day. Maybe because we haven’t come close to winning anything since?
ARE YOU FROM COPENHAGEN?
No, I’m not. And like most countries
Denmark is much more than just our capital. But like with Mr. Laudrup, we’re still proud to have a capital city that people actually know about, and that quite a few have visited.. or at least have a brother who has, or a cousin who studied there years ago. The world is small.
When I get this question I tell them I’m from Odense… in the middle of Denmark… the third biggest city? Only to get a puzzled look. “Well, it’s a two hour drive from Copenhagen”. “Ahhh I see!”
OHH, A VIKING!
We Danes are proud to be called vikings by foreigners. It makes us feel like brave men from cool movies like Lord of the Rings. We completely tend to forget that the vikings must have been the worst tourists in history! Plundering, raping and burning down cities on their way. Still, horn-graced helmets can be spottet among the fans when Denmarks national football (soccer) team plays.
I LOVE THE DANISH TV SERIES
“Ohh, I really loved ‘Borgen’, ‘The Bridge’ or what it was called?” Since the popular Danish criminal series were shown on British tv, it’s been a big reference point to Denmark for the Brits. And yes, we’re definitely proud of that.
Mainly because it takes the focus of old references like ‘Aqua’ and their Barbie girl monster hit from the 90’ies. We also happily add that several Danish actors have been featured in James Bond movies, and that ‘Jamie Lannister’ of Game of Thrones is indeed a Dane.
YOU MUST BE USED TO THE COLD?
Not really, we never get used to the cold, and we always complain about the weather. As it hasn’t been like that in like… forever. But actually it’s not that bad. We might live in a Scandinavian country, but then again, far away from the Lapland-linked wild of our brothers in the north.
Yes, we can get lots of snow in the winter, and the temperature might occasionally drop to minus 15 degrees celcius. But we DO also have good summerdays of 25-30 degrees plus, and we also have nice beaches.
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By Brian Schæfer Dreyer