The 5 Worst Things About Moving to Copenhagen

September 21, 2012  //  By:   //  DISCUSS  //  16 Comments

1.000 people move to Copenhagen each month. I moved here from Århus a year ago and sometimes that three-hour bus ride seems like it takes you to a different world. If you are on this page, you probably moved here from another country and will scoff at my problems, and so you should. But see if you can’t recognize a few of the worst things about moving to Copenhagen…


1.    Every conversation leaves you clueless

During my first weeks here in Copenhagen, it seemed like every other conversation I had was about something I had no clue about. It’s what I imagine starting at DTU must feel like.

But if you have no idea what DTU is, then that joke just passed you by. And that is happening all the time. Your life is now filled with sentences like;

“Oh, that’s normal, he’s from Vestegnen”

“She is such a RUC type”

“It’s kind of a Hellerup clientele at that bar”

To which you can only unconvincingly shrug and answer “Yeah, that’s really very goo.. Bad, I mean bad, really bad…”

2.    You get lost

Not so much in a philosophical way, but in a very literal there-should-be-more-school-and-less-hookers-on-this-street kind of way (also, you are on Istedgade).

You could use a map, but the only people who use maps in Copenhagen are middle-aged Asian men and I’m beginning to wonder if the mere act of owning a map doesn’t makes you at least one eights Asian.

You could use a map on your phone, but looking down all the time will absolutely get you run over by a pack of feral bicyclists (native only to Copenhagen).

Even if you manage to get where you are going, you are undoubtedly going to get drunk there and then you are lost again. Take comfort in the fact that soberly rediscovering places you’ve been before is a hobby here, like hiking or walking home in last night’s mini skirt.

3.    You lose your entourage

There are only so many people in a group that you like and that are going to like you. Statistically, it’s unusual to enthrall every single person you talk to.

That’s why, when you walk up to a person of interest and slur something semi-intelligible, you find out that Danes aren’t that nice and you.. What? What do you do? Usually, you’d go back to your group of old friends who would immediately tell you how nice you look and what an asshole that guy at the bar was.

Not so anymore. You’ve known the people you are out with for about five minutes and there is no easy confidentiality to your relationship.

Have this situation occur enough times and you start to wonder if maybe its you that’s the problem (I guess you could avoid this by being exotically foreign and attracting people like the foreign exchange student you are, but I wouldn’t know).

Word of advice: Don’t go to go to Kødbyen until you have sufficient self-esteem or an entourage worthy of Tupac. Hipsters are brutal.

4.    New friends are hard work

It takes time and effort to find new friends.  It’s not as easy to just arrange something and you get too caught up in thoughts about who to invite, who they might bring, what you should talk about and how to avoid dying if they decline. It’s infinitely easier to just spend the day alone, doing laundry and finding comfort in your tears.

5.    Copenhagen is hard

There are way more people than apartments in Copenhagen. That’s why it becomes almost a privilege to pay a rent so high it would make your grandma scratch out her eyes for a room in a concrete block in the outskirts of town.

But if you don’t feel sufficiently bent over and fucked after that, you also get to buy 50 kr. coffees, 90 kr. coctails and pay 24 kr. just to get to the place where you are ripped off. Just don’t expect a smile on any of the bus rides, Danes are notoriously distant to strangers. At least you get to live in a place where there is about two minutes of darkness in the summer and four seconds of daylight in winter. Get ready to be mocked for your accent, drunker/poorer than you’ve ever been before and completely helpless the first three months.

Welcome to the city. You’ll love it here, I promise.


Not how you felt? Share your experiences down in the comments section!

User Rating : 4.1 (1 votes)
About the Author :

Sine Morris is a fugitive from Århus who is constantly baffled by the strange actions of these "copenhageners." She never leaves Frederiksberg, where she lives at a kollegium with her adopted hamster, Sved. Sine studies IB so that she can one day become an American and manipulate the world with her marketing magic. Sine is starting to warm to this strange part of Denmark, but is still not convinced that they will ever accept her need to say "ikk'å" and "midtbyen".

16 Comments to “The 5 Worst Things About Moving to Copenhagen”
  • Tuni
    June 9, 2016 - Reply

    such a funny and entertaining blog. I figured that one of the difficult things for me here in Copenhagen is the bike life :D In the beginning it was a big tough to get used to the rules and hand signs and people are usually easily annoyed with slow and confused bikers :D but I figured it out after all!

  • Tedgeline
    February 23, 2015 - Reply

    This is exactly what we experienced moving to Copenhagen. We are done with overpriced everything and everyone looking like they just attended a funeral. Welcome to the land of no smiles. Even for working professionals, it is expensive. One expat guy at work had to buy his nuts (health junkie) from the work cafeteria because nuts get taxed like 200% at the grocery stores. Mixed nuts cost more.

  • Heather
    January 12, 2015 - Reply

    Best things by far are the harbour swimming in summer and free festivals. (from my perspective free Danish lessons and the international mix of people).

  • Heather
    January 12, 2015 - Reply

    I really like the Danish humour in this post. I moved here from England and have experienced points 1-5 although I think the worst thing about the expensive coffee is that it is often accompanied by really poor customer service and needless waiting. I’m not as much of a party animal as you Sine but when I first arrived I noticed there is always cake whenever I get where I am going on my bicycle whiles lost, of blown off course, I also have the added bonus of being surrounded by internationals in the same situation through Danish lessons. Although amazingly nearly everyone has the ability to speak English, the commune and offices internationals head to for registration etc are really Danish including the opening hours. How is that fair! Clueless doesn’t cover the emotions I was feeling the first three months, but fortunately I arrived in summer, which is awesome in Copenhagen.

  • Completely new religions do not come up day to day, thus serious notice must be taken every time a belief move from cult status to bona fide faith. Not too long ago, a nascent creed has thieved the hearts and mind of lots of adolescent Americans. Its important tenets include the undeniable fact that every person gets along very well in high school, and for that reason that to be a young adult is without a doubt super admirer. The particular title of this unique religion is High School Musical.

  • Peter Maag
    December 12, 2012 - Reply

    Dear Sine,
    I think your article is marvellous, and very true

    I know it is a bit late for you, but for other people from Jutland I would recommend
    Jydens Håndbog til København
    or one of the similar ones

    and if you are not from Jutland but understand Danish I would highly recommend reading it as it is hilarious! just as Sines very nice text

    merry Christmas everybody :-D

  • Hanne
    September 21, 2012 - Reply

    Well written, Sine Morris.

  • Jess
    September 21, 2012 - Reply

    You said it! But I can honestly tell you that it is exactly the same, whether you’re a student or a working pro.

  • Michelle
    September 21, 2012 - Reply

    Du er så sej. Jeg savner dig! <3

  • Sine Morris
    September 21, 2012 - Reply

    Thanks guys! I guess I’ll have to get started on the best things then… Any ideas?

  • SB
    September 21, 2012 - Reply

    This is awesome. Srsly.

  • LK
    September 21, 2012 - Reply

    Looking forward to the five best things ;)

    • Sine Morris
      September 21, 2012 - Reply

      Thanks guys! I guess I’ll have to get started on the best things then.. Any ideas?

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