Friday, 30 December 2022

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Words of Wisdom: Honey Bees

Looking some old cards and found this poem from a friend from my teenage years. What nuggets of wisdom they are. I typed it out and archived it in my blog. God bless you all.

Be SILENT when anger stirs your heart.
Don't speak the word that sends the dart
Or adds a burden to some soul.
Add to your faith that self-control.

Be PATIENT when everything goes wrong
And Satan tries to steal your song.
Let the peace of God keep mind and heart
And every needful peace impart.

Be KIND when folk don't understand
And friends misjudge on every hand.
"Let your yieldedness be known"
Remembering that you're not your own.

Be READY always to extend
A helping hand to foe and friend.
Jesus prayed to those whose hate
Caused Him to die without the date.

Be FAITHFUL, plough and sow the seed
By steady plod and loving deed.
Though others may not know the cost
God knows your labor, 'tis not lost

Be JOYFUL in the Lord, don't frown.
Tho, all the world seems upside down
Neither circumstances nor place
Makes any changes in His grace.

Be CIRCUMSPECT in all your walk
And chaste in all your thought and talk.
You live not for yourself alone
But witness for the Lord you own.

Be WATCHFUL, unceasing watch and pray
Be on your guard each passing day.
He's coming, coming very soon
It may be midnight, morn or noon.

Monday, 19 December 2022

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Danish Christmas Brown Cookies - Gingerbread Man/Brundkagemænd

 


Makes one jar of 50 cookies

Ingredients:

1. 300g white whole wheat flour
2. 160g brown sugar
3. 120g butter
4. 2 eggs
5. 1/2 tsp baking soda
6. 1/2 tsp minced ginger (optional)
7. 1 tsp star anise powder
8. 2 tsp cinnamon powder

Directions:

1. Mix all the dry ingredients flour, brown sugar, baking soda, star anise powder, cinnamon powder together and mix well.

2. Add butter and mix well.

3. Add eggs and mix well and press into a dough. No need to knead it.

4. Take a portion of the dough, sprinkle some flour on the board, roll into a flat layer of 2mm thick using a rolling pin over a plastic firm to avoid the dough from sticking onto the rolling pin.

5. Form into desired shapes.

6. Place in baking tray laid with baking paper.

7. Bake at 175 degree celsius for 9-12 minutes.

8. Once done, let it cool at room temperature before decorating.

Additional Information:

Baby FECS loves this and requested to bake these Christmas cookies today so that she could decorate it. We had a cozy time together. Little FECS helped to make the sugar glaze.

References:










Thursday, 15 December 2022

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How Do You Teach Your Teenager If You’re A Christian And Your Spouse is Not?


Recently my heart is burdened. The larger Danish society is one where the youth parties like crazy and are exposed to alcohol at an early age, and are liberal with regards to boy-girl relationship (BGR). Our personal Danish parenting coach, who is an experienced retired principal of a school in the north of Copenhagen told us that we should be prepared that this is coming in 2-3 years for our son. He said  this is the case in every high school. He said that this is unfortunately very much a part of the Danish youth culture. And he said that this is the same case with drugs. He advised us to get prepared and be there when our children need help. He himself wished that it isn't this way. That all sounded very bleak. When he said that, I know I am on my own. 

At a Christmas family gathering last Sunday, my nephew who sat next to me and who just started at one of the best gymnasiums in Denmark in Gentofte told me that it's the teachers who are in-charge of buying the alcohol for the parties at the gymnasium and although some students are still 15 years old, they closed an eye to it.

How then can we teach our son who is growing up in the Danish environment about alcohol, party, drug, chastity, etc.? In general, Daddy FECS doesn't worry as much about these things, while I desperately want our kids to grow up God's way. This is the narrow way to a fulfilling life and future married life.

As I fret over these things, I found the following 10 advice that I have found while researching from the links provided in the reference section, helpful to me. They are summarized in the original writer's own words. If you face similar challenges as me, I hope they would be helpful to you too.

1. Accept the things you can't control
2. Don’t worry about your children’s exposure to your spouse's values
3. Model your values at home
4. Spiritual inoculations
5. Don’t allow your home to become a battleground over values
6. But create a stable, respectful, loving and caring home environment
7. Pick your battle
8. Choose your child’s social circle
9. Pray daily for the strength
10. Endure seasons of prodigal living 

1. Accept the things you can't control

Admit that you cannot control what is taught or demonstrated by the other parent. It’s a matter of learning to tell the difference between the things you can and can’t control. Trying to control the environment the other parent brings only invites hostility at home. You can't change your spouse, so stop trying. Let go of control and let God manage what you can’t change and make the most of your time with your children.

In this world, some conflict cannot be bridged despite our best efforts; we may not be able to provide our children with the most positive family life we had hoped for. But no matter what our situation, we can entrust our children to God knowing that He, our perfect, strong and loving Father, can somehow turn the hard things into good things. In the Bible, there are many children—even in Jesus’ own family tree—who grew up in messy, less-than-ideal families, but were raised up by God to great things. We can only do our best and look to God to provide our children with the things we can’t offer them.

You can’t dictate the behavior of another person, but you can stay faithful to your own values and convictions. Believe that your prayers will be answered and God’s hand is at work in our lives weaving a tapestry of purpose that we can only glimpse from time to time.

2. Don’t worry about your children’s exposure to your spouse's values

Don’t worry about your children’s exposure to your spouse's different values. They will be exposed to many different values and beliefs in their lifetime, and they will eventually make up their own minds. Let them see the firmness and fruits of your own faith.

Teach your children about your values, read them the Bible stories, but welcome your spouse's stories as well. Explain that people don’t all believe the same way. Welcome their questions, and be ready to answer them without criticizing their other parent. 

3. Model your values

Sometimes all you have to do is talk less, be true to your values and your kids will be inspired! Children respond to what we do more than to what we say. How you interact with your spouse is more important than any sermon they could hear in church. Let your life be a walking sermon.

Children with one parent not living a Christian life makes it more important than ever that you model your faith at home. This means expressing joy, love, forgiveness, and faith in everyday life. Reveal God as a source of joy and comfort. Your children will see you living your faith.

4. Spiritual inoculations

Discuss different viewpoints and influence your children toward Jesus with much intentionality. Medical inoculations are controlled introduction of a virus by injection to allow the body to develop antibodies that can combat a live virus. Similarly, model the Christian walk and impress upon your children the decrees of God (Deuteronomy 6:4) intentionally using “spiritual inoculations” – controlled introduction of the viewpoints that oppose the Word of God and discuss them with your child. Then teach biblical concepts that help children combat them. 

For example, you can discuss a TV program that glorifies greed and then present children with a more godly view of money management and stewardship. 

Children with one parent not living a Christian life will need inoculations to help them deal with an environment that is hostile to their growing faith. But in doing so, it is critical that you remain neutral about the other parent and that the inoculation is not seen as a personal attack.

For example, a comment like, “Your father shouldn’t be lying to his boss, he is so self-centred,” pulls on children’s loyalties and burdens them with your judgment. Ironically, it also diminishes your influence as they react defensively against your negativity. A more appropriate response is, “Some people believe that lying is fine when it serves a purpose. But God is truth, and He wants us to be honest as well. Let’s talk about how you can practice that in every aspect of your life.”

5. Don’t allow your home to become a battleground over values

What if your spouse is adamant about not wanting your values and you can’t reach a compromise? The most important thing to remember is not to allow your home to become a battleground over values.

6. But create a stable, respectful, loving and caring home environment

Love your husband, love your children, create a stable, respectful, and loving home environment, and strive to instill the foundational values that will help your children navigate a diverse and challenging world. If they experience a loving, caring home environment, they are more likely to grow into loving, caring adults.

Child training is encouraging your children to want to please you and be like you. They will want to please you only when they find pleasure in your presence. You must become the vital source of their joy if they are going to give up their rebellion and choose to exercise self-discipline and self-denial.

7. Pick your battle

You don’t want to exasperate your kids – you want to train them up in the ways of the Lord. That means you have to let some things go. One parent said, “If there is anything I regret, it is the times I’ve exasperated our children by choosing to battle over things that really don’t matter in the long run.”

Another parent advised, “I have observed parents relating to their children in intermittent displeasure and seen the negative effect it is having. I have pointed out their destructive tendency to always criticize or show displeasure with their child. It is a vicious cycle. A child’s bad behavior provokes looks of displeasure and looks of displeasure provoke bad attitudes leading to bad behavior. If you cannot train your children to do as they ought, it is far better to lower your standards and enjoy them as they are than to allow your looks of displeasure to become the norm. A kid may grow up to be undisciplined and self-willed, but there is no reason to add to it a feeling of being unloved and unable to please.

I am not suggesting that there is not a remedy that solves the bad behavior. I only emphasize that a vital part of stopping the bad behavior is to cease the cycle of looks of rejection, followed by more bad behavior, followed by more looks of rejection, followed by “I hate you and never want to see you again; why did you have to be my mother/father?””

8. Choose your child’s social circle

It all starts very young. You must choose your children’s social circle and guard it. This is probably the hardest thing for a parent to do. It requires great effort and constant vigilance to sift your social circle. There are times your kids will not understand, and there are times that other parents are offended, but a mother hen should guard her chicks against the foxes and coyotes, regardless. It may require an adjustment to your lifestyle to protect your kids. A chicken that has roosted under a chicken hawk nest needs to move even if it is inconvenient.

Find a social circle that is righteous and productive where you have nothing to fear from 25 of the teenagers getting together to play soccer or go roller skating together.

Remember, they will evolve from you providing their complete social circle to choosing for themselves. You cannot control them past the age when they grow to be autonomous, so you must train them to choose their friends wisely. For the time will come when what you say has little bearing. Train them before they are ten and you can trust them when they are twenty.

9. Pray daily for the strength

Pray daily for the strength to walk in the light and introduce your children to Jesus at each and every opportunity. Your model is a powerful bridge to their personal commitment to Christ. Do all you can to take your kids by the hand and lead them to walk in the way of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Father, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

10. Endure seasons of prodigal living 

You may have to endure seasons of prodigal living as your children try out the values of the other parent. This is a truth that many parents fear. Children may experiment with the “easier, less demanding” lifestyle of the other parent, especially during teen years, when they are deciding whether the faith they have been handed will become their own. What should you do? Lovingly admonish them towards the Lord, not away from the other parent. And be close enough to reach when they repent, as many children and young adults will return to the wisdom of your values.

My after-thoughts

All these advice are well and good, but not that easy for me to carry them out. We are all not perfect. We carry things out in mess and brokenness, but we have to remember that we serve a great and Almighty God. Cling on to Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." God can use broken and messy people like you and me, so that one day we can say when we look back after our children are long grown up - To God be the glory.

As I fret over these things, the Word of God in Psalms 37:1-9 from the Bible spoke peace into my heart. I will cling onto God's promises that God’s hand is at work in our children's lives weaving a tapestry of purpose that we can only glimpse from time to time. I can only do my best and look to God to provide our children with the things we can’t offer them. God says, "Do not fret." 

The meaning of this Hebrew word (according to the Strong’s Concordance) – to blaze up, of anger, zeal, jealousy: - to be angry, burn, be displeased, X earnestly, fret self, grieve, be (wax) hot, be incensed, kindle, X very, be wroth.”

Be still. Wait. Display patience — a quiet trust that God is in control. We can focus on controlling our anger and allow God to control the concerning situation. I don’t try to fix the outcome or control the situation. I can trust God to move, to control the situation. I can trust Him with the outcome and fret not.

I lifted my burdens into the hands of God. He has been faithful throughout all my life, He will once again prove Himself to be faithful in the lives of our children. My heart leaps up with joy to the steadfastness of our Lord.

I will let go and let God. 

1 Do not fret because of the wicked;
   do not be envious of wrongdoers, 
2 for they will soon fade like the grass,
   and wither like the green herb. 

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
   so you will live in the land, and enjoy security. 
4 Take delight in the Lord,
   and he will give you the desires of your heart. 

5 Commit your way to the Lord;
   trust in him, and he will act. 
6 He will make your vindication shine like the light,
   and the justice of your cause like the noonday. 

7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
   do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
   over those who carry out evil devices. 

8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
   Do not fret—it leads only to evil. 
9 For the wicked shall be cut off,
   but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. 

Lord, whenever I begin to feel anxiety rising up in me over the faith of our children, help me to stop. To pray. To trust in Your plan and leave the fretting behind. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

References:










Friday, 2 December 2022

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Biblical Sex Education for Teens



The internet gives our children a distorted view of sexuality through pornography, lewd and sexual content that is harmful to both the body and the mind.

It takes what is meant to be beautiful, pure, exclusive and private; and puts it on public display, degrading it, making it dirty, cheap and an agent of destruction.

We don’t want our children to have such a corrupted view of sexuality. It has life-long implications. We all want the very best for our children. We want them to have the right perspective about love, marriage and sexuality. 

Marriage concerns the whole life of our children. It can either be a lasting source of deep joy and fulfillment, or it can also be a source of brokenness, isolation and deep pain. Divorces are rampant. Dead and lifeless marriages are also common place.

In order for our children to have a chance at a successful, loving and lasting marriage, all aspects need to be addressed and taught. This is not the only aspect, but this is one important aspect that we as parents have to address and teach our children to have the right mindset. 

If we don’t, who would?

No one has the best interests of our children at heart except their parents.

We live in a different age and time - the age of internet. Good foundation has to be laid young and early in our children's lives, before the negative influences from outside set in.

I feel like I have taken a PhD in parenting teenagers, but I am just scratching on the surface.

This guide is the result of my pain-staking effort for the last two years (since I have had the opportunity to stay at home) with my desire to do my very best as a mother in guiding J and C to navigate through their childhood years, their teenage years and into adulthood.

I am once again risking awkwardness, but I am sharing it with you with the sincere hope that it could benefit you with your children too.

May God bless your children and give them the most lasting and loving marital relationship they can have. God wants to. He is the one who created marriage.

This guide is most suited for teenagers age 12 and above. Here is the link to the guide.
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Talking to Your Child About Puberty

 

Raising teenager have been one of the most challenging periods in my life as a mom. Never before have I cried so much and be on my knees praying for our children so much.

I don’t like to step out of my comfort zone, but for the future of our children, I will do so.

Our children’s life today is exposed to all kinds of information on the internet, pornography included. You can’t shelter them from all the bad stuff. The best internet filter isn’t fool proof, but you can teach them the right values that will hopefully guide their actions. 

Today I am going to risk awkwardness and share with you two books I have found - one on puberty and the other on wholesome sexuality.

We are all created male or female. Quoting from the books I have read, "Sexuality lies at the core of our human existence. 

"When your child has grown up, his or her relationship can either bring a deep sense of brokenness and shame or an incredible blessing. Therefore, we have a responsibility to equip our children with a healthy, wholeness view of sexuality early.

Children are naturally curious. Don’t leave them wondering about sex. Talking about healthy sexuality may be the single most powerful way you have of stepping into the lives of your children. It also can be the most difficult. 

When you dare to broach the subject with your child, you are communicating, “You are important enough to me that I will risk talking to you about this uncomfortable topic.”

The fear of too much too soon often means we speak too little too late.

Parents may be afraid that talking about it will rob their children of their innocence, but studies show that when children receive values-centred sex education at home, they are less likely to be promiscuous and more likely to have a healthy view of their personhood and sexuality. Innocence is a function of attitude, not information. Good information about sex, on the other hand, is one of the key tools we should use to help a child mature."

From the bottom of my heart, may God bless your children and your teenager as you navigate through this season of life.

P.S. No, J and C have not been exposed, but I want to be a step ahead of the world and teach them well and with the right values in this area.

The material in the first book is geared towards age 8 - 12 and the second book is geared towards age 6 - 11. So I am already late with J. But I won’t make the same mistake again with C.

These two books can be found in Amazon.

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1500659444/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s01ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1518631681/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Thursday, 24 November 2022

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How to Keep Teens Away from Drugs


More than a month ago, Daddy FECS and I attended a Drug Talk at J's school. The speaker is a policeman whose child is also attending the same school as J. This father and policeman shared his experience in his job dealing with drugs with the youth in Denmark. He said that it's important that kids understand the danger of drugs and know how to deal with it when they are in the situation. 

Our personal parenting coach who is a retired principal of a school in Gentofte told us that the partying, alcohol and drug culture is very much a part of Danish youth culture. It’s often during these parties that the kids get introduced to drugs. It is something we can't avoid. It is there in every single junior college (gymnasium) and Efterskole. We just have to face the fact that our kids will get exposed to this. He advised us to have a good relationship with our kids, so that it will be safe for them to come to us if they are in trouble. This sounded like post-damage control to me, rather than prevention! He said yes there’s no way we can prevent it. Coming from Singapore, this is a culture shock.

What shall I do? This has been on my mind.

If I raise this subject with J, would it arouse his curiosity to try drugs?

If I don't raise it with him, what if he be tempted to try drugs thinking that it is not that harmful? By then it will be too late.

I have been wondering how to get this conversation off the ground in a way not to arouse his curiosity to try out drugs. I still haven't found a way... But God is a humorous God, and He really does hear our prayers.

Denmark is known to have the most comfortable jail in the world, while Singapore has one of the worst. Curious about the condition of the jail in Singapore, two days ago, J asked out of the blue, "Mommy, shall we watch this YouTube video together about Singapore's jail?"

All those men who ended up in jail committed crimes under the influence of drugs. This gave me a teachable moment to show J how drug can destroy a person's life.

So ironically it was through J's own initiative that the conversation on drugs took off in a natural way, although he had selected the videos for a different purpose, namely to show how bad the Singapore jail is.

But I just want to thank God. He has heard my cry for help. He created this opportunity for me to connect with J and gave me the words to do so in a gentle and indirect way - believe me, this is not something I am good at.

God in a way is also showing me that drugs is also a hard-to-deal-with issue in Singapore. I can't just run back to Singapore thinking that our children would be safe there, but God will be with me in our parenting, with our children. I can trust Him with our children growing up in Denmark.

If you are also finding it challenging how to talk to your teenager about drugs, maybe these YouTube videos could help you too. It is a series of 4 videos, but watching one is sufficient, although J couldn't put them down! The videos are very touching. They brought tears to my eyes. J was solemn throughout. In a way, I think it made him think. 

Well, after watching the videos, he forgot to criticize the Singapore's jail system. The Singapore jail system isn't perfect, but it isn't so bad after all. It is clean, the food is decent. The inmates receive psychological assistance.

Below is the link to the series of YouTube videos:




With all my heart, may God bless you in your parenting of your teenager at home. 

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28

Monday, 14 November 2022

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Encouragement for Your Marriage: Love = Giving

 


What is love?

Love = Giving

It’s the ability and willingness to sacrifice your own wants, interests and desires for the sake of your spouse/children,
EVEN WHEN YOUR SPOUSE/CHILDREN DON'T DESERVE IT.

Blessed are those who have found such a person as their spouse or parent.

But even more blessed still are those who are such a person to their spouse/children.

Few parents can do it for their own children. Even fewer still can do it for their own spouse.

As I searched my heart, I actually haven’t done so for my own children, even though I say I love them. I wanted Baby FECS to go to ballet. It’s my own want and desire, not hers.

Lots to learn in this area 😭😭But God’s forgiving love surrounds our hearts and make it possible for me to improve as a parent and as a spouse.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. Because of that we all have hope that we can become better parents, better spouse.

Saturday, 22 October 2022

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Flower Fields in Denmark (Blomstermarken)


Just found out the places we can go for flower-plucking in Denmark. It's too late in the season now, but making this post so we are ready for next year.

1. Fruervangs Blomstermark in Zealand


Always open, no entrance fee
1 hour car ride from Copenhagen
Køgevej/Værløsevej, Faxe, Denmark


2. Camp Adventure Flower Field in Zealand



Entrance fee: 75 DKK
Opens from July to September 10am - 6pm
Self-pluck 125 DKK per bouquet



3. Plukselv Blomster Fyn



They have tulips too
Tel: +45 20 99 15 75
kontakt@havearkitektfyn.dk

4. Blomstermark in Jutland


Always open, no entrance fee
3 - 5 DKK per stalk

Allerupvej 52
9930 Dronninglund
Tlf: 41 43 30 97


5. Blomstermark in Jutland


Drammelstrupvej 126, 8300 Odder
+45 22 49 24 60
bw.vestergaard@gmail.com


If you have a huge garden, you can also make your own flower field, here is how to do it:

Saturday, 6 August 2022

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The Road Ahead (Lyrics & Music Score)

The Road Ahead 

Verse 1:
One man on an island
One drop in the sea
All it takes to set a wave in motion

Is a single word, an action
A hope that we can be
The change that we've been
Longing to see

Pre-Chorus:
For our home, our land, our family
It's all within our reach

Chorus:
See this island, every grain of sand
Hear this anthem, it's the voices of our friends
Come whatever on the road ahead
We did it before, and we'll do it again

Verse 2:
When the moments turn to hours
And the day's last light is gone
Look around us always and remember

There were times we were uncertain
But we just kept walking on
It's always darkest just before the dawn

Chorus

Bridge:
Our home, the home we share
Where the garden always grows toward the light
Though the road ahead is daunting
I know we're gonna be alright

Chorus x2











Additional Information:

Singapore National Day is coming up on 9 of August, and I am trying to teach Baby FECS and Little FECS this national song. This song was last year's National Day's theme song and is our niece, YQ's favorite song. She asked for this song during their visit in June during bedtime "hygge". It is also our favorite song. So we will try to learn to sing it by heart and remind us of our time together in June. Oh how I miss all of you :-)

References:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZLitNdYUx0

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

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The Best Outdoor Obstacle Course in Denmark (Junglesti)

 

Baby FECS really loves the outdoor obstacle course. By far the the best one we have come across in Denmark is the one at Sommerland Sjælland, a popular amusement park among Danes. You have to pull a raft across river, walk across a hanging bridge, go through a dark maze-like hut, swing across water, etc.

Little FECS had a great time there during his childhood too. Unfortunately, this outdoor obstacle course is quite far away, an hour's drive from Copenhagen, and it is not free, as it is not located in a nature park. Thus, you need to buy entrance ticket to the amusement park. So going there just for the outdoor obstacle course is not worth it, but fortunately the amusement park has a lot of other fun stuff to offer. So next time we have a visit from our little nieces and nephews from Singapore, we really hope to bring them there - that's the reason for this post :-) I just want to do my homework beforehand, while the memory is still fresh in my mind :-) 

We have also wrote a separate post for our visit to Sommerland Sjælland, which you can read here:


Prices

Normal tickets cost 289 DKK. Buying your tickets on-line gave you a discount of 10 DKK for the normal tickets. If you are a member of FDM, you get further discount and we paid 215 DKK per ticket.

If you buy a fixed day ticket on-line, you will pay 169 DKK per ticket, but being Denmark, with unpredictable weather conditions, we decided against this offer.

For the month of July, there are also circus. Going to circus is an expensive affair in Denmark, with ticket costing 500 DKK, thus it is value for money to go there during July as the admission ticket includes also the circus show.

For the most updated information on opening hours and admission prices, click here:


Address

Gl. Nykøbingvej 169
4572 Nr. Asmindrup

+45 59312100

By Car

From Copenhagen, it takes a little more than an hour to drive to the park and 2.5 hours by train. We drove to the park. The first thing upon arrival by car, you will drive-through to buy or show your pre-purchased tickets.  There are ample parking available in the park.

Thereafter, as you follow the road, you will arrive at the open field carpark. Here are more information and a picture of the carpark:


You can find your way there here:


By Train

If you choose to go by train, there is a package including admission tickets. Check their website for more infromation: http://sommerlandsj.dk/koeb-billet/pakketilbud/bus-regionstog.html

If you are arriving by train, here is how the train station at Sommerland looks like:


Here are some pictures of the outdoor obstacle course:













We particularly love the suspended bridge...







































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