Category Archives: Denmark

You named her WHAT?

In Denmark you cannot name your children anything you want. Well, you can, but the government will reject the birth paperwork if the name is too exotic or silly.
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Ghost Ship


Apparently a Russian shipping company went out of business or something, while a ship, The Alexa, was out at sea. The crew ran out of supplies and fuel in Iceland, but someone there gave them enough supplies to get back to Europe. They made it to the channel between Denmark and Sweden, put out the anchor, and abandoned ship. That was on July 13th, and it’s been there ever since. The Danish government has put a lien on the ship to insure that the shipping company pay the crew before they can reclaim the ship. General consensus is that it’ll be a twelve to eighteen months before the ship gets hauled off, but a recent storm moved the ship about 800 meters! (That’s half a mile!)

It’s a huge ship, which looms quite impressively even at a good distance.

Danish Dentistry

new_home_smile.jpgBefore I left the US, I read that to the rest of the world, Americans are “obsessed with dental hygiene”. I guess that’s true, given the amount of purely cosmetic work Americans have done. Some of it is really foolhardy. So, I was curious about what the Dentists are like here and…I’ve certainly had the chance to find out.
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More bank strangeness

It wasn’t easy, but I eventually got a “Dankort”, and have been a happy card user ever since. You can use it virtually anywhere (if they don’t take Dankort, then they don’t take plastic at all), and it’s nice to have a log of my purchases. I have no idea where my money went during the cash-phase of my residency in Denmark.

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A few oddities…

Apparently bikes fall or are thrown into the canals all the time. Once a year, the police fish them out, notify owners (each Danish bike has a sort of VIN number), and put the unclaimed up for auction. Here’s what a fairly new bike looks at the bottom of the canal, along with a close-up:

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I’m told that if the police ever have reason to pull you over on your bike (no lights after dark, for example) the first thing they’ll do is check a national list of stolen bikes. Bike theft is a problem — my friends had two of their bikes stolen this weekend.
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Sorry, I don’t know Danish

That’s the phrase that I said to people when I first moved here and they’d just spoken to me in Danish. Since then I’ve learned that all I really need to say is “I’m sorry.” In either case the effect is the same — they switch over to English, and we can converse just fine.

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Danish cash, plastic, and banks

Until now I’ve been living off my U.S. ATM card. I pull Danish Crowns (“Kroner” in Danish) out of an ATM, Visa charges me 1%, and everybody’s happy. But now my U.S. account is empty, so I need to use the pay that has been deposited into my Danish account. Simple enough, except that I haven’t been given a debit card yet (which is a whole other story). So, finding myself out of cash, I went to a branch of my bank in the small town where I work. I walked in an explained that I didn’t have my debit card yet, and could I please withdraw some cash. The woman behind the counter responded, “This is a cash-free branch.”

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My new pad

I got my apartment today. It’s what we’d call a 2 bedroom in the US, but here they call it a 3 room apartment. It’s about 85 square meters, or around 900 square feet, which is meager in the US but quite large for Copenhagen, especially for one person. It’s on the floor that in the US would be called the 2nd, but in Denmark the 1st floor is considered to be the first floor above the ground floor. The living room and small bedroom face out onto a beautiful and unmistakably European courtyard. The kitchen and big bedroom face out to a small, quiet street.

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