A Praise to the Danes and some tiny cutting remarks

May 25, 2016  //  By:   //  DISCUSS, OFF CAMPUS  //  No Comment

Oh those Vikings ! Their blond locks flowing in the wind, being launched at high-speed on their two-wheeler and having their chin up (no, no, not in a pretentious way !) – the Danish style definitely looks magnificient at first sight. Cycling is Denmark. Respect and compliance are king and queen in Denmark. Before going through the bright side of Danes and looking at what makes the Danish society so unique and admirable… let’s critique it a little. No one’s perfect unfortunately. Not even them!

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The outside cold does not seem to be able to enter their Danish homes which are filled with warm and cosyness (so hygge), it does succeed  in seeping into the cool character of the Danes. In Denmark, you stick to the rules. – just don’t be late. No excuses. Moreover the Danes are pretty individualistic in their social interactions. And this can definitely be felt in everyday life. One prime example is the street dynamic. People absolutely do not look at each other while walking or biking in the street, consequently they pretty often bang into each other, but  the respect is so internalized that they don’t even feel the need to apologize ! Fabulous ! Or maybe this is just their viking side – not being overly generous with the manners (also plausible).

As many foreigners say, the Danes are the like the cool and popular kids in the class room – it’s not easy to be part of their clique. They are indeed very selective in their friends. That’s why it is a real achievement and so trendy for foreigners to have Danish friends.

You will definitely see more than one foreigner, prancing around these trophy danes in front of everyone!I can only wish you to have a Danish friend one day, this feeling of being the chosen one is absolutely spellbound. If you really can’t manage to get into the Danish friendzone, just wait for the Tuborg hour (5pm in the winter and 6pm in the summer). After 3-4 beers, your time to socialize with these Nordics has finally come ! How exciting ! However, you should be efficient in your approach…Indeed, you will have approximately 10-15 minutes between the time it takes them to open up and the Tuborg (or Carlsberg) saturation time  where backtracking to English will no longer be an option.

So if you are not mastering the language of Andersen yet, you’d better be fast and efficient in your communication! Tough shit, I know but take it easy. You have every right to be a tiny bit annoyed by the Danes – they  do indeed always seem to remind you of that hot chick or handsome guy at highschool, always getting the better grades, while never missing a party and reaching heights of popularity…It’s okay, we get you.

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Having criticized these Danes, let’s go through their good sides and let’s just realise that if we were all acting Danish, the world would certainly be a better place to live in.

First of all, they are honest, totally law abiding (except for the occasional stolen bikes), and are totally reliable. Which is of course extremely pleasant when arriving in a new country. Danes are also very direct, they call a spade a spade and if they don’t know…they don’t know. A priori, no one will tell you stories on anything. You can trust a Dane. Moreover, street harassment is totally absent. If you are a woman coming from a country where this bullying is widespread, these will become even more abhorrent and unacceptable after experiencing the civility of Danish streets. A woman coming from any other european country will for sure notice the difference when coming to Denmark, or more generally Scandinavia. The advance of the danish society is therefore noticeable in the daily life, where social attitudes are marked by gender equality, just like it is much more gender-neutral than other european societies.

Although inequalities obviously exist in Denmark, just as they do elsewhere; they are nevertheless substantially reduced and hardly discernible in Denmark. For example, the difference between the chic areas of the capital and the less favored districts, is minimal, compared to other places in Europe or elsewhere.

The government is committed to maintaining an equality of opportunity, b0th at the beginning, and at the end of the life of its citizens.

 

Equality and modesty, is also a Danish value, seem extremely natural to the society and, as foreigners, we only become aware of it little by little…It is clear that Denmark, with its exceptional quality of life, is an absolutely pleasant place to live, and it seems that we can only get really aware of its outstanding value only when we leave it.

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So let’s just admit it : the Danish society is far ahead. If the Danish miracle  is not applicable to every country and is probably (and unfortunately) not going to last in those places — fortunate are the ones who were able to know this little eldorado. May the Danish golden age lasts as long as possible !

 

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About the Author :

Séverine Guex is an exchange student coming from the french part of Switzerland. Studying political science, History and History of Arts, which makes her particularly sensitive to contemporary art, design and fashion. Being in the World capital of the gastronomy makes perfect sense for a foodie and professional pizza maker.

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