Milos Tomic: My year in Danish capital - short anecdotes of Serbian student about Denmark and Danes (part 1)

Last year I had a chance to spend a year living and studying in Denmark. How? Really easy answer: as a bursar of Kingdom of Denmark’s Ministry. After a year of studying at the Roskilde University and living in Copenhagen, in my mind I made a very colorful picture book about the countrys charms. Land of Vikings, famous Danish pastries, Carlsberg, Lego, Hans Christian Andersen, Søren Kierkegaard…

On my return from Denmark I summarized several societies’ stereotypes about Denmark and Danes that I most came about, and decided to talk about them through my own prospective.

moja godina u danskoj prestonici

All Danes speak English

This is true. Although many of them will say how their English is not that perfect and sometimes they will come across as shy, thinking that they will get embarrassed in front of the foreigner, in general Danes speak English quite well. And same can be said about young and old generation. While living in Copenhagen I noticed how the city is being labeled as “international city”. If you are a tourist, international student or just been working in Denmark, you will have no trouble communicating with Danes. Danes are very talkative and willing to help you if you ask for their help on the street and more importantly, every information you will need can be find in English as well, from the transport schedule info, studies, job advertisements, administration and so on.

If you are a pedestrian in Denmark there is a great chance you will be hit by a cyclist

This depends. It’s an absolute truth that everyone and I mean everyone cycle in Denmark. Besides every driving lane you will see a lane for bicyclers and great number of cyclists. There is a belief that Copenhagen has more bicycles than people. This can be very likely. During the early morning hours or the late afternoon you may notice great number of cyclist who are going or coming back from work. Because of this, there is a “fear” of being hit on some corner by a reluctant cyclist, who will “mow down” the pedestrian while crossing the street. This can only happen if the pedestrian crosses the street outside the crosswalk. Otherwise the chances of this happening are really minimal, taking to the consideration the fact that Danes are really abide by the traffic laws (and laws in general).

All Danes wear black

This is mostly true. Truth to the matter is that on the street you can find many people wearing darker cloths. If you are shopping, in stores you can find at least one stores department or a whole collection of darker cloths, grey or absolutely black items. Furthermore when I returned to Serbia and started cleaning my wardrobe, I realized that 90% of the things I bought in Denmark were, oddly enough – black. And not to forget, with black outfit one must wear white trainers. It’s a Danish thing, obviously.


The project ‘Nordic Reading Corner’ is financially supported by The Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade