Copenhagen is becoming one of the most popular cities in Europe, and it’s easy to see why. Besides the amazing cultures and architecture, you’ll quickly find that the city offers some of the bests beer and dining experiences you’ll find. Plus, if you’re thinking about moving to Copenhagen for a student exchange program, the renowned universities will ultimately seal the deal.
Another important plus is that the people of Copenhagen are extremely friendly. You may notice that there is no word for “please” in the Danish language, and that’s probably because it’s already implied. The residents are also very polite, which means they may not always approach you first. However, if you get into a conversation with a Dane, chances are that you’ll be talking over cocktails or a half-dozen beers a few hours later.
It also won’t take you long to understand the meaning of the Danish word “hygge.” This basically translates into “coziness,” which is a great description for just about everything in this city. There’s a warm feeling in the people, the places and in the overall environment itself.
The official language is Danish in Denmark. And the good news is that it is a relatively simple language to read. However, speaking Danish gets a little more complicated. The Danish people find it incredibly difficult to understand when a foreigner is pronouncing a word incorrectly, and even the missing accent can be a problem.
There are a few reasons for this, with the first being that there are only 6 million Danish speakers in the entire world. With so many English speakers, it is quite common to hear words spoken in poor English, which gives those English speakers “practice” in understanding different dialects and accents. Danes just don’t have that experience. Plus, Danes typically speak English as well. So if they realize that you are an English speaker, they will automatically switch to that language to communicate with you more effortlessly. In fact, just about everyone in Copenhagen speaks English. But if you want to show some effort, simply pick up “tak,” which means “thank you,” and “skål,” which means “cheers.”
Denmark has four distinct seasons, with temperatures and the climate varying with each. Spring in Denmark can still be pretty chilly. There are often frosts and snow in March, along with varying weather than can often surprise even the locals. April will average temperatures around +10 °C, but it may be windy. But if you hold out for May, everything begins to bloom.
Summer can be very raining, with average temperatures ranging between +20 °C to 23 °C at the day’s warmest points. However, expect temperatures to drop at night, typically between 7° C and 13 °C.
When autumn hits, temperatures can still stay pleasant in September. In October, things begin to cool off, with averages around +10, and frosts begin again in November. Western winds bring in the winter in Denmark, with daily temperatures ranging between -5 °C and +4 °C, with rainy, cloudy weather. Snowfalls are typically mild.
Denmark’s holidays are of great importance to its people, but they don’t always include a lot of festivities. Most holidays work around the Christian calendar, with Easter, Christmas and St. John’s Eve being among the most important.
Some other holidays include Fastelavn, which is the carnival in February, along with New Year’s Day and Great Prayer Day. There’s Labour Day, and April Fools Day is also very popular, with a lot of pranks. In the past few years, the people of Denmark have also begun to celebrate Valentine’s Day and Halloween.
Shrovetide is primarily a festival for children, where they dress up and take around collection buckets to fill with money, usually on Quinquagesima Sunday.
Great Prayer Day is combination of holidays for the Danes, and the festival falls on the fourth Friday after Easter Sunday, but between 17 April and 21 May.
The German occupation began in Denmark on 9 April, 1940, but Denmark became independent again on 5 May, 1945. When the announcement was made, the Danish people placed candles in their windows, and that tradition continues.
There’s a legend that Dannebrog, the Danish flag, fell from the sky on this day in 1219, where King Valdemar II the Victorious was crusading near Lyndanise in Estonia. Beginning in 1913, small Danish flags were sold, heralding the day as a “flag day.”
The first Sunday in November is known as All Saints’ Day, which is a day to remember the dead. Many place candles on the graves of loved ones the night before, which is also celebrated as Halloween. This is similar to the American holiday, where children go from door to door in costumes to get money or treats, hence the “trick or treat.”
The evening before St Martin’s Day is known as Martinmas Eve. Danish legend says that Martic was found by geese when he was trying to hide to avoid becoming a bishop. Therefore, he decreed that every year, geese must be eaten on this day. Families celebrate the day with large meals, including a roasted goose.