What were your impressions of visiting Denmark?
I went Denmark as a short-term exchange student in 2012 and stayed for 3 weeks. I had a host family over there for a week and then spent rest of my stay with 29 other students from all over the world. Our student group had stayed in a school's dormitory which was empty due to summer break.
I was very lucky as host families go..I was 20 at the time and my host ‘parents' were sth like 30–32 and had a 6 month old kid. They asked me excitedly ‘would you like to hold him?!' couple of minutes after we met for the first time. I was shocked bc I wasn't expecting such behavior. Before I went there, everyone told me to be careful with their kid and respect their space and all in all don't act like you'd do with Turkish families with kids, so I was nicely shocked but welcomed their warmness. We were all very close in age, they were very energetic, very easy to talk, had planned out all week for my stay in their house and most important of all had also planned a day trip to Copenhagen. My host ‘mom' was on a maternity leave and my host ‘dad' took a week off from his work to spend time with us. Their small but incredibly nice house was in a town called Harlev. So very clean and green, lined up with very nice 1-store houses. All of the houses on the street looked so similar but I remember seeing their house for the first time and recognizing it right away bc of two small flags visible from the kitchen window; they had 1 small Danish and 1 small Turkish flag prepared bc I was coming, it was super cute. There were sth like 1000 people living in the town and when we talked about Copenhagen, they said that they dont really like it bc its a big city, crowded and loud...I said ‘oh I also would like to live somewhere smaller'. Where would that be they asked. Izmir would be nice I said, its a city but much smaller than Istanbul. What is the population in Izmir they asked. I checked up on Wikipedia and found that it has a population of around 3 million..we laughed, a lot.
During my stay with the family, they planned a brunch in their house to introduce me to their extended family. Brunch also had some Danish food which I can try. They planned another day inviting their close friends to their garden for a barbeque and afterwards we ate marshmallows. It wasn't the first time I tried marshmallows but it was first time I tried them roasting on a bonfire, it felt like out of a movie experience for me. They were soooo very considerate that I remember feeling like tearing up. I was comparatively more religious at that time and still wasn't eating pork (now I don't really care and I don't go out of my way to have pork but at least I eat it). So they bought me a different package of marshmallows which don't have preservatives made of pork. It was also my first time trying out cider, which I absolutely looove and I don't know why we don't have it in here. My host ‘mom' took me to her weekly new moms meeting and then my host ‘mom' and me spent a day watching BBC's mini series of Pride and Prejudice because I said I liked it in between lines before. We played a board game in the evening. They took me around their town and to another slightly larger town called Køge. We made a day trip to Copenhagen and visited Rosenborg Castle and Amalienborg Palace. We baked a cake with my host ‘dad'. It was a great week. Afterwards, when I was staying with other students in the same program everyone talked about their own host families and I realized I got super lucky as almost all of their families were either very old or very busy to spend time or have fun with them. But all in all, everyone was on the same page with all of the Danish people they met so far was very nice.
During my stay with other exchange students we had a lot of fun, visited a dairy farm, made a traditional foods night, went canoeing (for 11 kms, I hate canoeing now), went camping (it was super cold; we were staying 6 people in a tent and had to hug each other and lie like bunch of sardines to keep warm → I hate camping now) etc. I still have them all on my facebook and still talk with some of them time to time. One of them even hosted me and a friend of mine for a night when I visited Brussels, Belgium.
Other than these, I remember it being very cold even though it was in the middle of summer and being fascinated by sky getting darker only around 22:00. I didn't enjoy the cuisine very much and weather sucked, but except for those I had an incredibly good time in Denmark. Also, all the Danish people I met there and actually few others I met afterwards were all so very nice!
*On a side note, I also remember realizing how different the quality of life is compared to Turkey. My host family were of 3 people one of them being a premature born baby (meaning had a lot of health problems), mom was a kindergarden teacher and dad was working as a salesman in a furniture store. They owned a super nice house and a car, and were able to go on a cruise trip (they did so previous summer). So I could compare them to my cousin's family who are also around same age and had a kid. Both of them working, they were living in a flat in Istanbul on rent, had no cars and were usually spending their vacations in their hometown or at best somewhere in south coast. There was a huge gap between their quality of lives and with the economic situation at the moment, that gap is probably much larger right now.
Wow..didn't plan to write this long
I married a Dane. I got to visit my wife's family once before we were married, and have traveled back at least once a year every year since. I've visited København, but I've mostly spent time in north and midt-Jylland, where my in-laws live.
Danes impress me as reserved, frugal, environmentally conscious, and very egalitarian. If they are ever boastful, it's only of their cleverness in handiwork or crafts. They very much value family and time with friends, but at the same time they tend to not involve themselves too much in other people's affairs. They tend to be tough and independent, yet there are many social norms that everybody adheres to out of tacit universal agreement. Danes get terribly annoyed when someone breaks a social rule, but rarely say anything or do anything about it. If it's someone's job to help you, they actually do it. Overall, they tend to respect the monarchy and look at the royal family as admirable ambassadors of the country (which is more or less their primary role). They tend to be very peaceful, but the portrayal of violence in media tends to be more visceral and brutal. Christmas in Denmark has a certain feel to it, hyggelig og varm, that I don't get in the USA. Danes tends to use a lot of irony in their humor. I still don't understand a lot of their idioms. Also, Danes have a number of customs that they have no idea where they come from. When we married, they hoisted me up, tore my shoes off, and cut the toes off my socks - but when I asked them the origin of the tradition, nobody knew; it wasn't until I read a New York Times article on getting married overseas that I found an explanation.
Our shortest visit was to Denmark, sometimes called a "perfect little country", and not without reason. This is a Nordic Scandinavian country similar to Norway and other nations in the area, full of bright unique color schemes,
I'm an American who spent 4 days in Copenhagen after spending many weeks in and around Stockholm. I'm pretty sure I'd gotten acclimatized to Sweden and therefore had a weirdly skewed impression of Copenhagen :
- Wow, the people are so outgoing and expressive!
- Wow, it's so warm here!
- Wow, the streets are so dirty here!
- Wow, it's so cold here!
- Wow, it's so clean here!
- This may be the most lively of the Scandinavian cities!
Very peaceful country. Lots of historic architecture and beautiful scenery. The people are generally very friendly and among the most educated ones in the world.