Friday, 3 December 2010

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Slices of Danish culture... through the eyes of a Singaporean

Denmark... where tulips actually thrive... rather than wither...
Close-up

where small little white and yellow flowers spring up all over the grass...

Close-up...


One of my favourite castles in Denmark, The Frederiksborg Castle

Denmark... where you get to have the whole street to yourself most days of the week!!! If you wish to get away from crowds, you have to come and visit Denmark :-)

Denmark... a population of 5 million... but but where are the people??? Hmmm... I have been trying to figure this out for the last 6 years... and here is my reasoning...

The shops start to close on a Saturday at 2pm and all are closed by 4pm (except the supermarkets which close at 5pm). All of them are closed on Sundays (except the 1st Sunday of each month).

Many tourists experience great difficulties in trying to find a chance to spend their money in Denmark!!!

Danes are in general very down-to-earth and unmaterialistic... and the buildings are... erhmm... "down-to-earth" too!

While every country is competing to build the world's tallest skyscaper shooting "up-to-the-sky", the Danes pride themselves for having the "shortest" buildings in the world and...

Danes are pleased that they have recently succeeded in scraping the plans from the Danish government for Denmark's first skyscaper!!!

Snow-filled balcony... love the brillant white...




Denmark... where trees are "naked" two-thirds of the year... and sometimes... the people too ;-)

A local church (in Lyngby). If you would like to see people, you have to time your visit during a Danish wedding or a baby's baptism... and pretend to be an invited guest... otherwise, the chapel will be almost empty.

The "wilderness" of Danish's nature... compared to the "tidiness" of Singaporean's green...


I have grown to love both.

Danish ducks enjoying the Danish winter...

Danes have grown up... giving "vaskere"/throwing snowballs

Our solution to not having the space to afford a big fridge is... open out-door "fridge". It is freely available 12 months of the year... just have to make sure to cover the pot :-)

My Significant Other's favourite food... Danish sauages... bake beans... sunny-side-up egg... Danish Christmas tea... Danish ryebread... BREAD... BREAD... BREAD... and MORE bread... Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner... Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday... Saturday & Sunday... every day of the week... boy, how did I manage to survive in Denmark for the last 7 years!... :-)

The secret to surviving in Denmark and actually enjoying living in Denmark, is to know how to cook for people. Danes normally invite friends over to home-cooked meals, and boy, they really take pride in their work!

As you can imagine... for a Singaporean girl like me, next to learning the Danish language, that made life very tough for me for the last 7 years... cos' I am pretty hopeless, when it comes to cooking. I am so used to eating out in Singapore. Fortunately or unfortunately for me, my Significant Other is not a typical Dane - he is not so keen on cooking too. Thus, we usually do not invite guests home for dinner as effortlessly as the Danes do... until we discovered to our relief...

... the wonders of BBQ - just let the grill do the cooking for you :-). Thank God for Weber Grill! Thus, my Significant Other and I tend to only invite guests during the summer time...

But we intend to go and attend some professional cooking classes soon... in order to integrate well into the Danish society...

It is a common practice in Denmark to set the dining table... and very often, even make a sitting plan of where the guests should sit... whereas where I come from in Singapore, we usually just use paper plates and cups for convenience.

When I first came to Denmark, I was overwhelmed by the number of glasses I needed to wash after a gathering!!! Now I actually find it quite therapatic and relaxing to stand and wash the glasses... can you believe it!!! It helps now that we have a dish-washer, although I still enjoy doing the dishes by hands :-)


Danes normally sit around the dining table throughout the whole evening (unless one is going to the rest room), whereas in Singapore, it is more free-and-easy, where guests move all over the room, or usually plant themselves in-front of the TV.

The TV serves as an important, or even a central entertainment tool in Singapore, whereas in Denmark, it is considered rude to turn on the TV, while having guests.

When I first arrived Denmark, my legs got numbed from sitting in the same place for 6 hours in a row!!!

But I have become so accustomed to it, that when I am back in Singapore, I actually forget to get up and walk around the room!!! And I get so confused, that I actually forget to switch on the TV for the guests!!!

I am lost between two cultures!

Ever wonder why Danes are such good public speakers?
Giving speeches is an old Danish tradition observed by the young...

and the "young-at-heart"... at special occasions such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations etc.

Guess you are wondering... have i given my maiden speech in Danish yet? The answer is no :-)

At the end of each speech, it is polite to stand up and toast the host by saying "xxx længe leve, hurra, hurra, HURRAEEE. Skål".

Danes are pretty serious about their speeches... sometimes, they practise night...
and night... for it

The Danes are in love with their flags... not in a nationalistic manner, but in a cosy relaxed manner...

They pull the flags out and plant them in the garden, on the dining table, etc. on almost every occasion - birthdays, welcoming loved ones back from the airports...

In Singapore, the flag hardly makes it's appearrance, except during National Day... as it is almost considered "sacred".

Doing housework is very much part of daily life in Denmark... and the Danish girls can go to a special school for them to perfect their skills... unheard of in Singapore!!!

The secret to the Danes' excellent cleaning skills?

Here is the answer revealed: many Danes have worked as cleaners at their parents' home, graduating to real cleaning job and...

to this my Significant Other is the cream of the crops - he has worked as a professional cleaner at the hospital... and he is now applying his skills well at home :-)


While cycling is part of recreation in Singapore, it is a popular form of transport in Denmark

Next to China, Denmark is the world's no. 1 country with the highest proportion of cyclists. In 2007, 35% of Danes cycle to work and 25% of Danes cycle for their shopping trips (source: http://policy.rutgers.edu/faculty/pucher/Irresistible.pdf)


As Denmark is flat, the weather is cool (you don't perspire when you cycle), and the traffic is safely equiped with bicycle lanes along all roads, cycling is ideal.
One of few streets of the city of Copenhagen where there is no bicycle lane.
My Significant Other putting air into the tyres of my bike :-)

It is a free service provided by all bicycle shops during the shop's opening hours.

Denmark... where it is common for babies to sleep outside 7 days a week in all weather conditions... (that's J in there currently taking his nap)... even during a...

...SNOW STORM!... (ok, i have exagerrated... it is more likely a heavy snow fall here, but I think it is considered a snowstorm in Singapore :-)

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